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Wanderlust

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Naturparadies Finca Serena

A new resort has opened on Mallorca: Finca Serena s situated inland surrounded by rich vegetation. A location you will want to return to again and again.

We have no influence over it but wish we had. The weather is one of the most important reasons why we venture out on our travels. And Mallorca certainly fulfils this criterion. One of the reasons for the good weather on the island is its magnificent mountain regions that not only provide a protected retreat for a number of animals. The ninety kilometer long mountain range, Serra Tramuntana, keeps the vast majority of the rain clouds at bay.

The island has plenty more to offer: Fabulous bays, 180 in total. One of them is the half-moon formed Cala Murta. It can be reached through a pine forest and is another insider tip. Not to mention the Mallorcan cuisine with Spanish and Arabian influences, and the countryside that is positively bursting with abundance and entices you to linger for hours. And then there’s the Finca Serena, which opened this spring. It is situated inland, in the middle of Mallorca, on a forty hectare estate surrounded by vineyards, olive and lemon groves, cypresses and lavender fields.

Once an old finca, Pau Guardans transformed the location into a 5-star luxury hotel, where guests refuel and can indulge in the sweet pleasures of life.

The interior captivates with simple rusticality and timeless elegance. The 25 rooms were designed according to the Japanese Wabi-Sabi concept and follow Richard P. Powell’s motto: „Reduce everything to the basics, but don’t forget the poetry.“ They are completely furnished with natural materials such as cotton, linen, natural stone and wood from the area and have a view of the gardens, plantation and the Mallorcan countryside.

A number of the ingredients that the head chef Celia Martin- Nieto processes to veritable culinary delights are from these vegetable gardens and fruit plantations. Martin-Nieto relies on the gastronomical variety offered on the island for her dishes. The restaurant Jacaranda has a dining hall with ceiling- high windows and an extensive terrace, on which guests can dine under an open sky and with a view of the sumptuous countryside.

And of course the surroundings entice you to explore. Traditionally this is done by bike but there are also hiking paths. A yoga retreat, golf courses in the vicinity and an in-house spa with indoor pool, sauna and fitness area ensure that you will be revitalized after your holiday.

Photos Copyrights: Finca Serena

Highlands Highend

A Train Journey in the Belmond Royal Scotsman

Day 1

I generally prefer individual trips and single expeditions, but in this case I am venturing something new: A journey that literally embodies the term «travelling». At Waverly Station in Edinburgh I receive a hearty welcome with Champagne and bagpipes before boarding the nostalgic Belmond Royal Scotsman. I savor the feeling of the train pulling out of the station from the viewing platform on the luxurious «Observation Car» and with each kilometer of track travelling north in the direction of the Highlands I gradually bid farewell to everyday life and dive deeper into the gentle green of the countryside that is slowly rising up around me. At English Afternoon Tea my last remaining thoughts of mails and “to dos” vanish. I look forward to the days to come.

Day 2

What an amazing morning setting! As the train moves in the direction of Inverness and light hands skillfully massage my back, I look out of the spa-carriage at the play of colors in the forest. I lose myself in the change between the blue of the pine trees and the green of the deciduous trees. I could not be any more relaxed. Equipped for the day I travel by private bus to Cawdor Castle, a beautiful castle with an even more enchanting garden. Seemingly random flower creations gently border the dominant tower, mossy ground and walls give the property an air of mystic.

But Ballindalloch Castle is also a must. The extensive rose gardens would impart a sense of romance to even the most masculine male. My statement: just lovely! The same applies to the «Secret Whisky Cocktail», awaiting us back at the platform, served by the Royal Scotsman Crew … The journey continues past flocks of sheep to the most westerly point on probably the most picturesque section of our route. Arriving at Kyle of Lochalsh, a secluded fishing village, I relish the contemplative evening mood and the cool breeze from the sea and start to get dressed up for an enjoyable evening.

Day 3

The early bird catches the worm. After a good long morning walk at the harbor, I enjoy my first coffee and the free view from the veranda of the train, slowly departing and travelling east. Sea inlets similar to fjords gently wind inland in the rising sun. Now and then a stray white house appears on the grassy cliffs. The calm water surface reflects the stillness of the countryside – and also in me. Grateful for these unique images, I make my way to breakfast, after all I need some sustenance before the pending whisky tasting, which is part and parcel of a visit to Scotland. On the advice of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society representative, I advance from the smoky 9-year-old to the milder 23-year-old Single Malt. Adding a few drops of water makes the rough character somewhat tamer. I gain a deeper understanding at Tullibardine Distillery. The flavors of the national drink are diverse but there is still only one rule: «Let the oxygen in, let the alcohol out. Wait and taste.» I decide on the 25-year-old «Big Bad Boy» and make a toast in Scottish: Slàinte Mhath!

Day 4

I am looking forward to trying something completely new – clay pigeon shooting. Optically equipped with my camouflage trousers we travel by bus from Boat of Garten to the shooting range. I follow the instructions of the professional and prop the shotgun against my shoulder and cheek. Shifting the weight forward for attack, I attempt to follow the agile clay pigeon with the barrel. The first shot misses, the others are much better. I then try variations in height, direction and speed. The clay pigeon rolling around the ground at the last shooting range slips through my fingers. In hunting days of old that would mean: no rabbit for dinner. But I have no such worries about my creature comforts on this trip, on the contrary. Every day the culinary team conjures up the most delicious meals in the train’s small caboose; gaining my utmost respect. And the last evening in Dundee is no exception to the previous soirées with regards to enjoyment; it is announced in elegant fashion. The ladies opt predominantly for the little black dress, the gents appear in fine suits – and our whisky expert joins the international group stylishly clad in the traditional kilt. The secret remains uncovered as to whether one wears something underneath or not…

Day 5

Slightly wistfully I sit down for the last time at the table set with old silver and look through the window at the dewy morning green. I could really get used to the crisply fried asparagus on poached eggs and fine Scottish salmon. And the fresh smoothie will probably not appear automatically on my breakfast table for the next while. The train is travelling back in the direction of Edinburgh. Not only the countryside but also the experiences of the past few days pass before my mind’s eye. The journey on the Royal Scotsman was travelling in its truest sense – slowly and continually diving into, breathing in and relishing everything around me with the path as the destination.

Photos Copyrights: Belmond/Matt Hind, Angela Bortenschlager, Scott Powell, Ryan Davies

Georgia

the balcony of europe

In 2008, when i visited Georgia for the first time, i encountered a depressed country without self-confidence. 11 years later i am experiencing a land that is in the process of rediscovering itself and
is allowing color and joy back into its very core.

Due to its location in the Near East, Georgia is referred to as the balcony of Europe. I have always been interested in regions in which different cultures merge and generate mutual synergies. With this in mind, I travelled in 2008 to the country between the Black Sea, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus and the volcanic Armenian highland. After my tour across the once thriving and fer- tile but then grey country I decided, due to the depressing attitude of the people, never to revisit Georgia.

Fortunately I abandoned my intention and this year in June flew once again to Tiflis (Tbilisi), the capital of Georgia. The city was founded in the 5th century and flourished in the Middle Ages to become one of the richest cities of its time due to intersecting trade routes. The hot sulphur springs are just one of the special features of this constantly changing city. Stricken by a number of occupations by different nations, Tiflis does not have its own clear identity. The population only seems to have recognized now that their plurality is the city’s wealth. Tradition meets youth culture, previous depression and fear gives way to the youth’s hunger to structure their lives in a more gratifying way. Restaurants with specialties of the country and bars, offering Georgian pressed wine, border the centre.

But the thing that pleases me most is the fact that the people in Tiflis are laughing again and have an open approach to tourists. Do I think Tiflis is a beautiful city? It is definitely becoming one. The people are doing their very best; the offer for tourists is being constantly extended. The city council is trying to create architectural highlights and the creative heads in the city are opening charming boutiques offering exciting fashion. Tiflis is changing and this development is extremely positive for the city and the country as a whole.

I chose the five-star Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace as the place to retreat and revive my body and soul during my city visit– an excellent choice. If I am visiting lively, exciting cities I want to have a ”home“, where I can reload my batteries. The very tastefully designed hotel also offers culinary delicacies in its own Ati restaurant and a beautiful stylish spa for relaxing. From my room I can see most of the old town and I enjoy my cigar on the hotel roof terrace in pleasant summer temperatures. With a delicious gin & tonic in my hand I am already looking forward to continuing my journey of discovery the next day, full of energy. ”Tiflis, I am happy to be able to stand on this balcony of Europe.“

Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace

The hotel offers a stunning view of old Tbilisi and boasts 220 well- appointed rooms and suites in soft-pastel colors that are easy on the eye. The hotel has the largest ballroom, meeting facilities and everything in between, ready to host business meetings or social gatherings. Settle in for a meal or enjoy a cocktail at the dining points. Grab a cold beer and cheer for your favorite sports team while enjoying stadium-like food at the Craft House. After a full day of work or exploration, treat yourself to views of the city and delicious cuisine on the roof top restaurant.

Photos Copyrights: Sheraton

Das Tegernsee

Between Heaven and Lake

High above lake Tegernsee, at a place between heaven and earth, the hotel of the same name invites its guests to a true well-being experience with stunning views at a unique location.

Das Tegernsee consists of five different buildings from diverse periods and in particular five different styles. The oldest part of the hotel complex and our favourite is the listed building Sengerschloss from the year 1842. The splendid art nouveau villa experienced an eventful time seeing both hardship and glamour. Following extensive refurbishment, the building has had a fresh new look for some time.

Two double rooms, eight suites and two exclusive restaurants have been renovated with loving attention to detail. Old meets new in a skillful symbiosis. An elegant fairy-tale castle with every imaginable comfort. In contrast the «Alpenchalets», newly built in 2016, are perfect for families. They are furnished

in  modern alpine style with a lot of wood, while the rooms in Herberge Quirin are inspired by the former servants’ rooms with their maritime flair and their puristic design. Again going back to former times, because while the nobility resided in the Sengerschloss, the former accommodation for the servants was in Herberge Quirin. Yes, even the guests reflect the design potpourri. Everyone is welcome here.

Delightful rooms with a view

Gourmets   in   particular   will   be   in   their   element   at   Das Tegernsee: Whether sampling haute cuisine in the «restaurant Senger» or innovative dishes with alpine products in the style of a modern sharing-concept in the «Alpenbrasserie» – no grounds for complaint here. The wine selection is excellent, and the very high quality culinary delicacies range from a traditional high mountain ravioli to boiled fillet of veal. Both restaurants share a breathtaking view of Lake Tegernsee and the finest cuisine; all managed by the executive chef Norman Fischer.

Feel- good sanctuary

The highlights of the hotel include the spa and wellness area on a total of 2,400 square metres. A panorama sauna for up to 40 guests with a view of the Tegernsee valley awaits you. The surrounding nature was the idea behind the spa concept, as is true for the entire building. The focus on the lake constantly plays a central role with clever use of selected materials from the area such as natural stone, limestone, driftwood, river pebbles and brushed oak. The classy recliners are from Dedon or Kettal and entice  you  to  relax.  The  white-blue  sky  above  you,  sparkling Lake Tegernsee below. If the word «dreamlike setting» did not already exist, it would have to be invented for this spa.

Conclusion:  Das Tegernsee  is the perfect  feel-good address for all those escaping the city and elevates the term relaxation to a completely new level. Hardly surprising that the nobility had their summer retreat here. Ah, life can be so sweet; especially in the Tegernsee valley…

Photos Copyrights: Das Tegernsee

Sri Lanka

More than tee and Ayurveda!

Sri Lanka is shaped like an outstretched palm! I made up my mind to get to know the country by reading this palm. When I travel, I always want to combine enjoyment with adventure. This applies to the selection of the country I am going to visit, to the accommodation I choose right through to the means of transport and my activities. There should be a little bit of everything included. That is why I chose Sri Lanka as a destination to discover. The country is internationally famous for its cultivated tea plantations and purifying Ayurveda treatments, but the island to the southeast of India has so much more to offer and that is what I wanted to discover.

I booked my accommodation at Uga Escapes to be able to experience a broad cross section of the country in 12 days. This hotel group is owned by an industrial family that got into construction and infrastructure after producing safes and then security installations; they have been operating five beautiful hotels distributed over the entire island since 2012.
During the drive from the capital, Colombo, to the north central province Anuradhapura in the middle of the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka tiredness begins to take over after the long flight. However, the driver is so skilful at rocking the vehicle through the traffic that I soon sink into a dreamlike state and only blink cheerfully into the sunlight when I arrive at the oasis of Ulagalla.

ULAGALLA

I am taken to a beautiful 150-year-old manor and welcomed with a ceremony intended to bring me joy and happiness. 25 luxury villas, extending over approximately 23 hectares and covering 200 m2 respectively, entice you to go on a journey of discovery in this true haven. Each single house has its own pool and breath-taking flora and fauna on the doorstep, emphasising Uga Escapes‘ position as forerunner in sustainable luxury tourism on Sri Lanka. Electro carts and bicycles are the mode of transport on the grounds. I am enraptured as the colourful bird life in the harvested rice fields immediately diverts my thoughts from my stressful everyday life. Although WLAN and the mobile network still work in this natural paradise, I quickly put my telephone away to be able to enjoy all things unspoilt by human hand. In the high trees I spy flying foxes sleeping upside down; they will be going in search of insects at twilight. Iguanas, peacocks, turtles and a family of monkeys swinging through the trees bring a contented smile to my face. The 3 days I spend walking, cycling and reading in this idyll go by far too quickly. However, the next point on my agenda waits, as my holiday does not only consist of relaxation, but also activities to challenge my body.

UGA BAY RESORT

On the East coast of the island I check into the family friendly Uga Bay Resort. As the very new hotel has been constructed in a semi-circular shape, each studio has a view of the inner garden and of the ocean. There is a coral reef offshore from the bay. A dream for snorkelers and shell collectors. When walking on the beach I do not only see young people happily splashing about in the water trying to impress each other with their antics, but people of all age groups; the positive effect of the cooling water and the gentle waves is clearly tangible.

A collection of fishing boats attracts my attention and an old fisher addresses me and invites me to watch the sharing of the catch and the trading with the fresh fish the next morning. A magnificent spectacle that has to be experienced. In the afternoon the sky suddenly darkens above the palm grove, indicating that a storm is brewing, to such an extent that you could believe it is the end of the world. However, the storm changes course to the open sea and the backdrop of colours from the dark grey sky above the rough ocean in front of the yellow beach provides me with the best photo of my travels.

CHENA HUTS BY UGA ESCAPES

My next accommodation „Chena Huts“ (by Uga Escapes) in the southeast of the island makes me aware of the impressive wildlife Sri Lanka has to offer. Even on the drive there, a large bull elephant decides to stand in the middle of the road, blocking all traffic. Waving the flies from his sides with a broken off branch, he stands in the shade of a large tree and waits for the astonished drivers to throw fruit at his feet so he can grant them passage unscathed. The luxury bungalows at Chena Huts are situated adjacent to Yala National Park. Discreetly and sensitively interwoven into the bush and tree landscape, this area offers everything that good taste desires. On the terrace of the main house, I relish the excellent dishes, served by friendly and competent staff. My glance is drawn to a family of buffalos trotting by in front of the sea and two peacocks competing for the attention of the grey peahen. One more moment in which I simply want to press the „pause “button. This happens repeatedly during the next two days while we are on safari through the nature reserve with the jeep. For example, when we drive past the alligator mother, who is protecting her young in her mouth from the all-eating enemy, or when we park beside a bush in which a powerful eagle is observing his lunch that is hissing on the ground. These moments make one feel so small and grateful to be able to experience this natural spectacle.

UGA RESIDENCE

I spend the final days of my 12-day Sri Lanka tour in the Uga Residence, at the centre of Colombo. While the city pulsates in chaos and numerous Tuk Tuks skilfully wind through the traffic like bees in their hive, I swim a few lengths in the elegant pool, bordered by arched walkways. The evening street food tour, which the hotel organised for me, again ignites my spirit for adventure. I am lead to parts of the city that I would never have dared to discover alone. I also sample specialities that were prepared at small, mobile burners on the street. The people are happy and show a huge level of affection if you are interested in their culture, their country and their life. However, the greatest joy above all these wonderful experiences on the hand-shaped island is mine. The welcome ceremony at my first accommodation did actually bring me joy and happiness!

More info on the street food tour under: www.pepper.life/experience/colombos-street-food/

Uga Escapes – five distinctive Boutique-Hotels on Sri Lanka: Ulagalla, Jungle Beach, Uga Bay, Residence and the latest member Chena Huts. From a Safari holiday in the jungle or the cultural treasures of past dynasties, snorkelling and spas on the tropical beach to exquisite days spent at the residence in the heart of Colombo – Uga Escapes opens the door to a very special trip through Sri Lanka. The carefully selected locations make the hotels the ideal starting point for discovering all the country has to offer. The lotus flower in the logo is the symbol for the philosophy of this very individual hideaway: Giving guests an authentic travel experience and at the same time contributing to the protection of the island’s rich heritage. Biological construction material, solar and water treatment plants, the use of clay and glass instead of plastic and biological vegetable cultivation are only a few of Uga Escapes’ standards.

www.ugaescapes.com

Paris, mon amour!

If it were possible to marry a city, I would immediately get down on one knee and produce an engagement ring that would outshine the Eiffel Tower. I let myself fall under the city’s spell and captured its breath-taking beauty for you. You’ll fall in love with the city of love too, believe me.

I would like to warn you in advance that the planned sightseeing, shopping and cultural programme could take a little longer than you think. Why you may ask? Because every single corner in Paris is quite simply enchantingly beautiful, so you will want to linger for a while and soak up the city’s charm. Magnificent historical buildings along the Seine, beautiful streets and alleyways lined with architectural gems and delightful cafés, restaurants and department stores shape the cityscape. The Shangri-La in Paris is located just a few steps away from the Eiffel Tower and the Seine and as such is the perfect starting point for every city tour. As soon as you enter the luxury hotel you are immersed in the regal history of the building, which was the residence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grand-nephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. You will receive the royal treatment as a guest in the 5-star hotel during your entire stay and the excellent service personnel fulfils your every wish. The elegant, historical furnishings in the rooms and suites fuse in perfect harmony with the city’s impressive backdrop. The Eiffel Tower seems almost within reach and you are tempted again and again to reach out to the city’s landmark. You can marvel at the view and the evening play of lights on the tower while enjoying a sparkling glass of Champagne.

After an exciting day in the city of lights it’s time for a little relaxation. CHI, The Spa is an oasis in the middle of the Parisian city centre which spoils its guests with diverse fitness offers, a swimming pool with an outdoor terrace and a separate beauty treatment centre.

Hungry? Let the range of culinary delights inspire you and satisfy your appetite after a long tour of the city. All your breakfast needs are fulfilled in the elegant restaurant La Bauhinia, which welcomes you under a magnificent glass dome. You can also choose between two other gourmet restaurants distinguished with two Michelin Stars: Shang Palace indulges you with Cantonese delicacies and L’Abeille takes you on a culinary journey through France. My favourite was the sole „Meunière“ with „Belle de Fontenay potatoes“ – sounds like a poem, and it was, at least for my taste.

If you manage to tear yourself away from the enchanting charm of the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, there are numerous cultural offers and sightseeing spots that you should not miss on your visit to Paris. I have made a brief list of my personal must-sees for you:

The Eiffel Tower. The city‘s landmark can be admired from different vantage points in the city centre, either when walking along the Seine, visiting the Palais du Trocadero or from the breakfast terrace at the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. Insider tip: the Rue de l’Université and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge also offer a wonderful view of the tower and are not yet too overcrowded with sightseers. The view from the Eiffel Tower over Paris is priceless, but it is advisable to book tickets in advance online.

The Louvre. The third largest art museum in the world is a must on your agenda. The museum is inspiring both because of the extensive art exhibition and also because of its unique architecture. Insider tip: only 150 metres from the Louvre you can find the Palais Royal, a Parisian City Palace that is viewed by many as one of the insider tips in the Parisian city centre. The palace’s beautiful gardens and unusual architecture entice you to stroll and linger.

Montmartre. Montmartre hill is the highest point in Paris and as such offers a magnificent view of the whole city. The white radiance of the basilica Sacré-Cœur forms the heart of this arrondissement and the neighbouring narrow alleyways are full of charming cafés and shops just waiting to be discovered.Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysee. Combine shopping with culture and marvel at the Arc de Triomphe, the largest arch in the world, after a stroll along the Champs Elysee Boulevard. The ascent is well worth it – the all-round view is indescribable. As already mentioned, there is something to discover on every corner in Paris, a number of other Paris highlights such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Musee d’ Orsay, Place Vendôme, Pont Alexandre III, Jardin des Tuileries, Galeries Lafayette and much more are waiting for you. Let yourself be swept away by the city’s magic and make your own list of personal favourite spots in Paris. I am convinced that after your visit you will give Paris a resounding ‚Oui‘!

Photos Copyrights: Topolindra & Shangri-La Paris

Alpine, Asian, Authentic

In the heart of a magnificent mountain backdrop the Chedi Andermatt is delighting its guests with a fusion of alpine chic and asian expression, culinary delicacies and the spa and health club extending over 2,400 square metres.

For some time now the small Swiss town of Andermatt has been slumbering peacefully, that was until the Egyptian businessman Samih Sawiris decided to breathe a bit of life back into it with the 5-star deluxe hotel The Chedi Andermatt, which within a very short time has elevated to a top position in international hotel, gastronomy and spa rankings.

Generous Luxury & Asian Delicacies

The affinity to nature and attention to detail can be sensed throughout the hotel and is particularly apparent in the 123 rooms and suites. Natural materials, panorama windows and over 200 fireplaces bring the Andermatt mountain landscape into the cosy rooms. However, the real luxury can be found in the generous dimensions. The hotel offers high rooms and lots of space, even the smallest double is 52 square metres. On a culinary level, The Chedi Andermatt offers its guests only the finest: In The Restaurant (14 GaultMillau points) exciting and delicious combinations from Western and Asian cuisine are prepared in four open atelier kitchens. The Japanese Restaurant (1 Michelin Star and 16 Gault-Millau points) is exceptional for the Swiss Alps. Authentic Japanese dishes are prepared by Japanese chefs at the tempura and sushi/sashimi bar. Since it opened in 2013, over a quarter of a million freshly prepared nigiri sushi have passed over the counter, and, according to GaultMillau, the hotel now ranks as one of the best addresses in the Alps. The guests can also get advice from a sake sommelier, a service rarely found in Europe.

Pure Luxury

There is no question, the enterprise in the Uri Alps is luxurious. In contrast to a number of other mountain hotels, this luxury house does not flaunt, but impresses with its design of Alpine chic and Asian elements.The 2,400 square metre spa and health club with an exclusive sauna area, ten deluxe spa suites, hydrothermal baths, a 35 metre long indoor pool covered by a glass roof and a heated twelve metre long outdoor pool with a view of the magnificent backdrop of the Alps is an additional highlight.

Conclusion: The Chedi was initiated by the visionary investor Samih Sawiris and with its 123 generous rooms and suites has in only five years become one of the forerunners in the international luxury hotel sector, a position that is substantiated by numerous awards. The Chedi Andermatt provides an insight into another world and views of an unforgettable part of 
Switzerland.

Hint:

Treat yourself to a little bit of The Chedi for home: the cuddly Ploh bathrobe costs CHF 220.00 and promises to remind you of an exceptional time in Andermatt.

Photos Copyrights: Chedi Andermatt

Paradise Portugal

Paradise Portugal

Now is the perfect time to travel. Pack your cases. Life is too short to stay in one place. In Portugal you will experience two hotels that redefine the term Luxury : The Tivoli Palacio de Setzeis, a dream palace and The Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, wich recently made it into Forbes Magazine’s hot favourite list of the best new luxury hotels in the world.

There is no place in Europe where the sun shines more frequently and you could even imagine that it shines brightest here in the Algarve, at the south-west tip of Portugal. It reflects on the Atlantic Ocean as its tempestuous waves break on the rugged cliffs. Vilamoura, not far from the coast, is considered a jetsetter paradise. Vineyards, olive groves and Roman ruins shape the landscape and exist beside designer boutiques and golf clubs. Situated above the vast green expanse of the Victoria championship golf course, the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort offers the perfect retreat. Not only are the sandy beaches at close hand, the five star resort also has five pools, which should not remain undiscovered. And on a culinary level, the extensive hotel has a lot to offer, as indulgence is given a high priority in the Anantara Vilamoura. The Ria Restaurant specializes in fish and seafood. Every morning the catering team presents the best catches of the day, which can then be preordered for lunch. Chef Bruno Viegas and wine guru Bruno Cunha stage opulent evenings with perfectly coordinated Portuguese dishes and wines in the EMO restaurant. The hotel also orchestrates unforgettable culinary experiences in a private ambiance, including your own chosen menu and private chef as part of „Dining by Design“. From here you can also discover the Herdade da Malhadinha Nova vineyard. In Abernova, situated in the middle of nature, the family company endeavours to produce the best wine in the world. Visit a wine-tasting, treat yourself to a picnic in the vineyards and find out more about the manufacture of these complex, fruity wines.

The Tivoli Palácio de Seteais is located near the Palácio Nacional da Pena in Sintra, a picturesque city, 25 kilometres from Lisbon. At one time the Portuguese nobility had extravagant palaces and decorative gardens built here. Its exciting cultural landscape contributed to it becoming a UNESCO world heritage site. The Tivoli Palácio de Seteais itself is, as the name suggests, a palace from the 18th century. The rooms and suites are designed in majestic style and offer a breathtaking view of the Sintra mountains, the Moorish castle and the Pena Palace. It is not easy to outdo this panorama; however the luxury hotel manages to do this with its fabulous cuisine. In the Seteais Restaurant you dine surrounded by frescoes and paintings. Order the Royal Tasting: five courses of mouth-watering enjoyment for two people, or let yourself be pampered in the newly opened Corales Wine Room with exclusive Portuguese wines and regional delicacies. The Tivoli Palácio de Seteais also offers wine lovers excursions to the nearby Adega Regional de Colares vineyard. Located in a time-honoured building from the 19th century, Adega houses wooden barrels and vats with a total volume of over one million litres. Find your favourite wine and drink to love, life, to whatever takes your fancy. Because as Louis Pasteur so aptly put it: „There is more philosophy in a bottle of wine than in all the books in the world.“

Photos Copyrights: Vilamoura Algarve Resort & Tivoli Palacio de Seteais;

The Fontenay

Paradise for Architecture and Design enthusiasts

The Fontaney Hotel is a city resort situated at one of the most beautiful spots in the world. In the heart of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg , nestled in a park directly on the shores of the alster lake.

You could be forgiven for thinking you are walking on clouds throughout the entire hotel, on soft carpets; the interior design is devoted to a love of materials and detail. There is no need for ostentatious chrome or gold leaf, fine wood and minerals express the understatement that is typical of Hamburg. Almost 200 members of staff attend to the guest’s every wish under the management of director Thies Sponholz. Check-in is at cosy curved desks and chairs, which are located in front of a green inner courtyard. However, my attention is drawn to the heart of the hotel. The 27-metre high atrium with round sofas up to 25 metres long. Six stories wide, my gaze is directed upwards to the glass banisters of the bar. When the pianist plays the Steinway grand piano, the tones drop like pearls along the eight-metre high chandelier down to the soft carpet. Can you feel the musical rain?
Guests can choose from a selection of 130 luxurious rooms and suites. Schramm Werkstätten in Germany designed an extra comfortable bed and mattress series specifically for the hotel. The “Parkview” garden restaurant offers a wide range of cuisine with a box view of the Alster. You are also granted a view of the Alster in the bar on the sixth floor. Above the bar, you will find the “Lakeside” gourmet restaurant; the crew, under the direction of Cornelius Speinle, offers contemporary fine dining and creative dishes of the highest level.
The hotel’s motto “Everything in flow” is also reflected in the exclusive spa area, extending over 1000 square metres. The urban roof landscape with a 20-metre long indoor/outdoor pool and sun terrace is a magical place. While you swim, the Infinity-Pool and the Alster Lake seem to merge to form one waterline.
Water, trees and the sky inspired the architect to create a building with a basic form made up of three intertwining circles, blending seamlessly into the Alster landscape. The result is not only a paradise for architecture and design enthusiasts but also a balance between nature and urban life.
www.thefontenay.de

Photos Copyrights: The Fontenay Hamburg

Baur au Lac

The Queen of Lake Zurich

The long-established Baur Au Lac has been welcoming its guests in an exclusive setting direct on lake Zurich for 174 years.

No country can look back on more traditional and impressive grand hotels than Switzerland. Their charm, magic and patina convey the feeling of former times to hotel guests and revive the past with panache and style. Several of them have been family-run for generations. Authenticity, ambiance and not least the host’s heart and soul make them living icons of the Swiss hotel industry. Most notably the Baur au Lac in Zurich.

THE FIRST HOUSE ON THE LAKE
For generations the hotel has been regarded by discerning travellers from all over the world as one of the top addresses in Switzerland. Elegance and comfort have shaped its reputation just as much as the proverbial service and the excellent gastronomy. In its own park, on the banks of Lake Zurich – and still a stone’s throw from the bustling bank centre, the hotel icon also enjoys a privileged location. 
Johannes Baur wrote hotel history with the Baur au Lac: He was the first to run the risk of building his hotel directly on the banks of Lake Zurich. As early as 1854 the Leipziger Illustrierte Zeitung reported on the hotel that was only ten-years old with these words: “The exterior is very promising, more than very promising. However, when you view the inside, wander through the luxurious salons and bedrooms, all your expectations will be surpassed.” This still applies today, 170 years later, because the Baur dynasty and subsequently the Kracht family, related by marriage, always set new standards in the Swiss luxury hotel industry. Consequently Emperors and Kings spend the night under the roof of the hotel icon. Today presidents and Excellencies stay at Baur au Lac and as always the most famous artists of their time.

ILLUSTRIOUS GUESTS OF DISTINCTION
Richard Wagner completed and premiered the first act of his Valkyrie here. Marc Chagall worked on the designs for the windows of the Fraumünster church. The foundation of the Nobel Peace Prize was concluded within the walls of the grand hotel. Thomas Mann spent many weeks in the Baur au Lac. After the war Christina Onassis, Gina Lollobrigida, presidents, business tycoons, chancellors, oil moguls from the Middle East, composers and major conductors came to the hotel and still do to date. However, names are not mentioned, as uncompromising discretion is traditionally given a high priority at Baur au Lac. And when Baur au Lac invites guests to events such as “Art in the Park” or the traditional Rive Gauche Summer party, the Swiss VIPs turn out in force.

BOUND TO TRADITION
The founding family in its sixth generation provides the hotel with uninterrupted continuity and direction. Today the Baur au Lac ranks worldwide as one of the oldest 5-star hotels that are still owned by the founding family. Tradition is lived here and the hotel never assumes a museum feel, because thanks to continuous dedication the contemporary challenges are fulfilled with the right service offer and modern technology; that is the hotel’s recipe for success. And to ensure that Baur au Lac continues to shine in its full splendour; over 150 million Swiss francs have been invested in the hotel in the last 20 years.

The hotel has a highly motivated staff base, consisting of a good mix of experienced professionals and dynamic, dedicated young people. Several members of staff have worked for Baur au Lac for over 40 years – a popular feature with the regular guests, as it gives them the feeling of “coming home to Baur au Lac”.
www.bauraulac.ch

Photos Copyrights: © Baur au Lac