Over the last decade, our team has had the exquisite opportunity to stay at some of Europe’s most hospitable and beautiful hotels. Before the vacation season for 2017 gets in full-swing, it seems a good time to reflect on destinations and places to call home for your enjoyment. Here’s a list of superb accommodations we are sure you will remember forever too.
Hôtel Félicien – Paris
What if your first visit to the most famous touristic city in Europe saw you introduced you to the best people, the best, restaurants, and amazing experiences you never expected? Well this is mine and Mihaela’s Paris. A few years back a good friend named MartinSoler introduced us to an extraordinary man named Philippe Vaurs, the visionary CEO of Elegancia Hotels. My first nights in “la Ville Lumière” were spent as the guest of this brilliant hotelier, at the legendary Seven Hotel at the city’s center. As fantastic as Seven’s rooms and suites are though, another introduction some month later, to one of the world’s most talented creatives, allowed us a preview of a truly magnificent hotel.
The famous French designer Olivier Lapidus is somebody I am honored to call friend now. Though we seldom speak, he and his lovely wife Yara are iconic examples of delightful talent and kindness. Phillipe had suggested we meet Olivier for his part in designing a glamorous and delightful new Paris hotel. So it was, we had a tiny role in letting people know about Félicien, anda unique experience in a world of dreams, journeys, and sensations. One glance at the decor of the Hotel Félicien reflects its designers love and genius, and the fresh cut flowers in a room are jealous of a beautiful staff and accommodating flair all of Vaurs’ hotel creations exude. I have to get to other cities and other hotels, but I cannot tell you how great a Félicien stay is anyway, you have to spend time there yourself. This may be the best four-star hotel in the city. Before I leave off, “Hi Phillipe and Olivier, much love from me, Mihaela, and Paul. We’ll never forget you.”
Hôtel Félicien: 21, rue Félicien David, 75016 Paris – Phone: +33 1 55 74 00 00 – Email: email@example.com
Lato Boutique Hotel – Heraklion
I’ll bet I’ve written 500 stories about Crete. It’s my favorite destination for 1000 different reasons. I first learned of the mystic island where Zeus was born from my studies into ancient civilizations in college. Anyone who has been to the island will assure you, there’s truly something spiritual and unique about the land of the ancient Minoans. The echoes of that gentle but powerful, and oh-so-refined ancient empire still resonate there. Our first trip there began and ended at the hotel of a man we’d call life-long friend. And even though friends on Crete come easy, Lefteris Karatarakis showed me and my family the pure white spirit of Crete hospitality is. I won’t tell all of the tale, but in 61 years I never met such an intelligent, interesting, and generous host. The Lato Hotel, and his new eco-hospitality creation Olive Green down the street, are reflections of the man’s vision and his care.
Every guest to Lato may not have a car sent for them, but then again each might. All guests are not necessarily treated to the owner’s personal wine selections, or treated to his favorite fish restaurant – but some are. Each Lato guest does not wake up facing the Cretan Sea and the brilliant blue over the whitecaps below – but they can. Maybe Lefteris won’t quiz a brilliant new chef on your wife’s impeccable sense of taste – but then again he may. One must continually perfect the art of preparing fried octopus continually, or so I am told. But to be true, Lato Boutique Hotel has not pool or beach – if it did other Heraklion hotels would be out of business for sure. What this Crete stay does have is like Félicien in Paris – you have to take my word and go. “Hey Lefteris, no one could ever forget you my friend! Surprise!”
Lato Boutique Hotel: 15 Epimenidou Street, Heraklion, Crete – Phone: +30 2810 228103 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angleterre Hotel – St. Petersburg
When I got the call that Russia’s most famous ballet mentor had agreed to interview with us, Olga Malik insisted on covering the story. The unbelievable Nikolai Tsiskaridze was the story, and the graduating class of the world’s most famous school of dance. But the hospitality of Angleterre Hotel was a big part of the excitement and grandeur for our talented writer. St. Petersburg is in and of itself, a treasured memory for anyone who visits there. As for Angleterre, their director and our friends at World Hotels surpassed every guest expectation we can think of.
Olga’s story was for my Our Russia Magazine, a picture window inside the world of unimaginable artistry and dedication, to which Tsiskaridze and his staff adhere. We also covered the moment on Argo News back then too. Olga told us of the behind the scenes at the hotel and at the Vaganova Academy. I recall the picture of St. Isaac’s from outside Olga’s window most, but the spaces at Angleterre are also memorable for us all. There never seems to be enough space in a story to place all the photographers showing a destination or space. Angleterre is located in the heart of St Petersburg, just across from St Isaac’s Cathedral and close to the famous Hermitage Museum. Other highlights include; the magnificent Borsalino Restaurant, the Superior Deluxe room where Olga stayed, and the hotel’s offer of an exclusive private box at the Mikhailovsky Theatre.
Angleterre Hotel: St. Isaac’s Square Ul. Malaya Morskaya 24, St Petersburg – Phone: +30 2810 228103 – Email: email@example.com
Hotel Bethel – Copenhagen
This Danish wonder has a dozen or more exclusive luxury hotels to choose from, but sometimes a one-of experience is just not about five diamond resorts and extravagance. Simple people can appreciate magnificent opulence and taste, while at the same time having more humble requirements. Mihaela and I are in this category, and this was especially true for our honeymoon on the canal in Nyhavn. For those of you who have never been, this is by far the most picturesque and interesting area of the city. And Hotel Bethel is a warm and friendly base camp for anybody visiting.
The hotel is not about exclusivity, for you are as likely to meet young backpackers here, as you are to rub elbows with a bank CEO from out of town. Again, describing the hotel or how Copenhagen functions is a difficult task. Maybe it’s enough for you to know we keep fond memories of a classy little hotel not far from Tivoli Gardens, the Littel Mermaid, and on the most visited canal there. The staff here directed us to some wonderful restaurants and sites we’re sure we’d have never found without them. Free coffee and tea at the hotel’s cafe highlighted every morning late afternoon break from shopping and sightseeing.
Hotel Bethel: Nyhavn 22, Copenhagen – Phone: +45 33 13 03 70 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Hotel Toplice – Lake Bled
Grand Hotel Toplice is something right out of a fairytale. For those of you who have never traveled to Slovenia’s Lake Bled, this may sound like the cliche, but I assure you the refined class of this 1930’s style resort, combined with the majesty of the Julian Alps, it really is a dreamscape. looks our over one of the world’s most marvelous and picturesque bodies of water, Slovenia’s Lake Bled. Palatial, legendary, epic, memorable, no adjective or string of adjectives really completes the picture and experience of this place.
87 luxurious guestrooms, 33 perfect suites, Grand Hotel Toplice legendary thermal springs, their healing qualities, and hotel staff right out of a movie script – this is one of Europe’s great hotels. Gastronomy to wellness and ordinary hospitality, there is no better stay on the lake that we know of. One of the many highlights of this wonderful hotel is the Julijana Gourmet Restaurant, and indescribable delight inside an indescribable delight.
Grand Hotel Toplice: Cesta svobode 12, Bled, Slovenia – Phone: +386 4 579 16 00 – Email: email@example.com