Last year, I made a solid dent in my European exploration goals and was fortunate to travel to Madrid, Amsterdam, Milan, Florence, London, Berlin, Vienna, Prague (I live here- so it’s a given), Rovinj, Graz, and Linz. I walked, ate, and window-shopped my way through these cities and merely scratched the surface of these destinations. When I travel, I subscribe to the slow travel philosophy and would rather let a city unfold by taking in fewer sites and up-ing the neighbourhood strolls, cafe pauses, grocery and market shops and check out tips from spotted by locals. As 2012 gets underway, another year of travel is upon us and my research is in full force.
I typically scour websites, articles, blogs, Hipmunk, Airbnb and Tripadvisor to figure out where I want to go and stay. So far, here are my top five hotels that have made my list of where I would like to stay in 2012. I think I’ve got my bases covered with sun, mountains, vineyards, a loft and a historic retrofit-turned modern hotel. On a slightly unrelated note to hotels, is anyone familiar with these two travel resources: Magazine Hidden Europe or the Matador Network ? I just stumbled upon both and I am excited to give them a read for recommendations- they look very rich in information.
Here are my top five picks of hotels that look down-right awesome.
5. Vivere Suites and Rooms, Arco Trento, Italy-This place looks super relaxing nestled in the mountains of North Eastern Italy in Arco Trento. You can drink wine from Vivere’s vineyard and indulge in delicious Italian food. Sign me up!
4. Hillside Beach Club, Fethiye, Turkey- Tucked into a secluded bay on the Aegean coast, Hillside Beach Club looks like a massive, but fun holiday village with 333 rooms on the property. Now, I am not the person who usually has their bags packed and runs to a “holiday village” but I am willing to make an exception for Hillside Beach Club. As a place to explore, relax and recharge, it looks terrific. Plus, it has received some impressive reviews. 25+ weather from April to October isn’t bad either. They have five categories of rooms (A-E) and lots of activities.
3. The Conservatorium Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands- I am super excited about this place, and slightly biased because this is where I am getting married. I fell in love with the Conservatorium the first time I discovered it while it was still under-construction. The Conservatorium represents my favourite type of architecture because it takes something old and turns it into something new while preserving the past. This hotel was an old bank (you can see pigs in the wall tiles), opposite the Van Gogh museum. The property was purchased, gutted, re-designed, renovated and received a new look by Italian architect Piero Lissoni including massive glass addition that is simply stunning. You’ll here more about this one as I get closer to the wedding.
2. Matelote, Antwerp, Belgium- Cosy, utilitarian and modern is what comes to mind when I think about staying at the 12 room Hotel Matelote in Antwerp. I love the look of the loft bedrooms and neutral colour palette designed by local, Peter Deelen.
1. Feldmilla Design Hotel, South Tyrol, Italy- This is a family run hotel with 35 rooms located in the Valle Aurina (Italian), a valley on in the South Tyrolean Alps that boast peaks of 9,850 feet. Feldmilla is where I would go to connect with nature, hike the mountains and relax. I am particularly interested in visiting/supporting this hotel because they have a strong sustainability policy part of ClimatePartner. The hotel is climate neutral and does its bit to reduce CO2 with their own hydroelectric generator on site. On the food end, their restaurant can accommodate gluten free and lactose free (I’m neither)- but always good to know!