Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Best of, Part II

We've got enough recommendations to keep you busy for a while, so it seems like the perfect time to introduce the second part of our luxury hotel list. It's not easy to decide where to go when you have a world map in front of you -- and a lot of options at -- but we're directing you towards some of our best recommendations to help you make up your mind.

Feature I
New York Times travel writers are enamored with what summertime in St. Petersburg has to offer: long evenings of light for months. While you're in St. Petersburg, why not make a trip of it and visit Moscow, too? There are plenty of high-class luxury hotels in Russia that can offer the services you require as a discerning visitor.

"Russian entrepreneurs have poured money into new bars, restaurants and hotels. Growing numbers of visitors from abroad, along with well-heeled Russian tourists — their wallets fat with petrodollars — and members of the increasingly mobile Russian middle class head here for summer vacations."

Feature II
Years of distinction haven't left this venerable vacation spot stale. The top property with views to spare is actually a cluster of separate accommodation experiences, including private villas tucked near the golf course and seaside suites with views of the ocean. A shuttle will take you to all the brand-new spots around the resort.

"The Boca Raton Resort and Club effortlessly combines the old ways with the new, a combination of modern accommodation with service from bygone days. In February 1926, the Cloister Inn was opened as the most expensive resort in North America, and two years later, it was purchased by Clarence Geist and combined with a new golf course and cabana club."

Feature III
Celebrities love to spend their money, but only when it's for the best. This hush-hush feature details some hotels that cater to the most famous people in the world, but that never offer any secrets about their guests. The Aman Resorts chain is one example, which is rumored to have planned Katy Perry's wedding to Russell Brand in India.

"Being catered to like a celebrity isn't an everyday thing for we non-movie stars, but a top hotel is one of the best ways to evoke that sense of ultra-luxury. The best service, the most beautiful accommodations, and the most varied amenities await for you at these hush-hush hotels."

Feature IV
The City of Love has a ton of options when it comes to wining and dining. We give tips in this piece about selecting the best lodging in Paris -- for one, check if your room has undergone renovation -- and then go from there. One of our top recommendations is Le Meurice, which has been providing stunning lodging for guests since 1835.

"The first thing to do when booking any venerable city hotel in Paris is to double-check that your booked room has been renovated. Many luxury hotels have undergone stunning transformations in the lobby area and restaurants, but there's also the chance that sections of the hotel haven't yet been retouched. By confirming your room's renovation state, you guarantee your money's worth."

Feature V
Have kids, will travel? Conde Nast raved about some hotel chains (like the Four Seasons) that are perfect for families traveling with children. Booking a villa instead of a guestroom will also afford you some extra space when you need it most.

"Getting a villa to call your home-away-from-home can reduce much of the vacationing stress you normally experience when traveling with children. With another atmosphere and more space, a villa allows kids to have the run of their surroundings, comfortably, while still give parents space to breathe."

Feature VI
Asia could seem too far away for those of us who prefer a shorter plane trip, but for an extended vacation, you can't beat the sights, sounds, and tastes of its complex and quickly-changing cities. From the Philippines to Japan, there are recommendations given that can open your eyes to a new standard of service.

"Of all the places to travel, Asia is still one of the most mysterious destinations. It's a challenge to get to some of the smaller towns in China, Japan, and Korea, but the feeling of discovering a little-known source of tranquility and mystery is one of the things luxe-minded travelers crave."

Feature VII
It's nice to have visited somewhere your friends haven't. This Uruguay feature entitled A Hideaway in Uruguay, Even in the City features beach towns and top-ranked hotels in this often-overlooked South American city. Don't forget that you can branch out and travel in a few other South American countries as well.

"While you're planning your trip, take advantage of closeby countries that can also boost your relaxation factor. Skiing in Chile, eating in Argentina, and horseback riding in Uruguay should get you ready to face the daily grind again."

Feature VIII
Grab a yummy pie at the market in Portland and start planning the rest of your trip. When you have a luxe hotel to use as your home base when you are on vacation, the rest of your trip comes a lot easier. Top hotels include The Heathman and the Sunriver Resort, and top attractions include the Vera Katz Esplanade and Pittock Mansion.

"Portland certainly is a must-visit for anyone visiting the Northwest, and its charm is surpassed only by its touristic offerings for the casual traveler. With great rest to be had at ranked luxury hotels, you'll be able to take in more of what Portland has to offer—and that's a lot."

You're probably not feeling lost about your vacation, but you are spoiled for choice. We're sure a lot of people would love to be in the same situation! Your luxury hotel awaits in whatever destination you select as your next getaway, and it's bound to be an experience of a lifetime.

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