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In a world as varied and filled with splendor as ours, idyllic locales abound. The enamored honeymooner agonizes over brochures, seeking a sublime prologue to a life-long partnership. The harried CEO seeks a relaxing venue for a retreat for her executives. In both cases, there are too many options and not enough time. While choice is always a good thing, sometimes it’s helpful to have a short-list ready to go. These hotels have everything going for them, and most importantly of all, a location that’s the envy of their competition.
Hotel Caruso, in quaint Ravello, Italy, is made of stones that, by their careful arrangement, tell a story of immaculate privilege. The hotel was painstakingly crafted from the remnants of a 1,000-year-old palace. The ancient royal who commissioned the palace had it seated atop a limestone bluff, perhaps so that his progeny could enjoy an expansive view of the tranquil Adriatic sea.
Today, the palace is an ornate mix of classic Italian architecture and the varied trappings of our modern world. The hotel boasts 15 private gardens that are scattered around the property as well as a heated infinity pool. Two on-site restaurants cater to just about every culinary taste. Mimmo Di Raffaele the Caruso’s chef, not only happily offers guests a glimpse into his kitchen, he takes them under his wing and gives them a few secrets of the trade in the form of brief cooking lessons as well.
The Caruso offers a breathtaking view of the alluring Ravello valley, with trails that lead to Vescovado Square, home of the Cathedral of Ravello. This rustic vista has a history of luring some of the world’s most endearing personalities as well, including Humphrey Bogart, Jackie Kennedy and Greta Garbo.
It isn’t merely a matter of opinion that Paris offers some of the most romantic locales the world has to offer. The icon of this honeymooner’s mainstay is the Eiffel Tower, and the hotel with the best view is the Mercure Paris Centre. Guests at the luxury hotel return home with tales of sitting at the windows with friends, enjoying coffee and gazing out at the subdued, honey-toned lighting of the tower at night.
For those that can’t return home without a photo of themselves in front of the icon, the hotel offers easy access to the perfect spot: the river Seine, which is only a short hop away via Trocadéro station and Metro line 9.
The hotel, with its 405 soundproof rooms, has been completely renovated in recent years, and offers a delicate mix of old-world charm and modern conveniences. With free Wi-Fi, an impressive and well-stocked bar, a full-featured fitness room and an integrated restaurant, the Mercure Paris Centre is one-stop access to the most romantic city in the world. For the busy exec, the hotel offers six private meeting rooms. Culinary enthusiasts will appreciate that some of Paris’s finest dining establishments—Semilla, Le Jules Verne and Le Violon D’Ingrs—are only a stone’s throw away.
Vermont in autumn lowers blood pressure as a matter of course, and standing amidst its lambent forests has been known to stop the most cynical, over-burdened executive in their tracks. The main lodge of Twin Farms, situated smack-dab in the middle of this natural wonder, is as graciously aged as the wine in its cellars. The 300-year-old lodge is made of pine, maple, stone and brick.
Once the home of Nobel Prize winning author Sinclair Lewis, the hotel now provides easy access to tranquil Copper Pond and a world-class ski lift. The property itself offers cottages that bring the hotel fully into the modern era, complete with heated stone floors, two fireplaces each, and flat-panel TVs. Not to tip too far away from its wealth of natural wonder, the hotel also has wall-to-wall windows to allow a panoramic view of the forest.
Cocktail hour arrives just before dinner, and the main meal itself is delivered to each cottage. The more adventurous can request a picnic lunch or dinner, and courses are also served in the hotel wine cellar. Twin Farms also offers Out of the Woods Spa, which utilizes all-natural and all-vegetarian ingredients in its products.
A private—and man-made—island is the home of Burj Al Arab, a triumph of engineering that evokes visions of ancient seafaring vessels. The 321-meter structure is sail-shaped, a nod to the classic boat design of the region. Housed within the exotic structure are six restaurants that all operate 24 hours a day, as well as the two-story Assawan Spa. The sea-facing Al Muntaha restaurant provides the best view of the sea anywhere in the area.
The hotel offers access to the island’s private beach as well as Wild Wadi Water Park, which guests can walk to within minutes. The island itself provides insulation from the dazzling Dubai metropolitan life, and yet it is only six kilometers away from the region’s finest shopping experience: The Mall of the Emirates. Upon returning to the hotel, guests can leave the kids at the Sinbad’s Kids Club, the hotel’s supervised play area, and enjoy a refreshing stop off at the health club, fitness center or solarium.
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