The leading business publisher, Forbes (of ‘Rich List’ fame) recently announced its experts’ pick of Europe’s most luxurious hotels.
Among them are the following six which are available to book at the best rates through Luxique. Alongside is a snapshot of the jury’s verdict:
• Le Meurice Paris: ‘Modern elegance, with the opulence of Versailles.’
• Claridge’s, London: ‘The destination of choice for the world’s celebrities and royals.’
• Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, St Jean Cap Ferrat, France: ‘A legendary hotel that epitomises and exudes old-world glamour, while simultaneously offering modern amenities for today’s discerning traveller.”
• Hotel Adlon Berlin: ‘An historic masterpiece, in a prime location, provoking a sense of awe upon arrival.’
• Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, Budapest: ‘Behind the opulent and grand façade lies the fully restored 19th-century spa where guests can enjoy anything from a mud or seaweed bath to an array of full-body wraps.’
• Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy: ‘A much-vaunted palazzo hotel that has dazzled royalty, celebrities, billionaires and chic in-the-know jetsetters for more than a century.’
by Andy Moreton, with acknowledgements to Richard Carnell of Forbes.com.
I’ve just spent a week in the Italian city of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region south of Milan.
Parma is not as bustling and touristy as many of the country’s bigger cities, but it has all the features that you would want in Italy – a rich history, fine architecture and warm weather even late in the summer season.
It is also famous for its cuisine and is justly proud and protective of the two foods which bear its name: Parmesan cheese and Parma ham or Prosciutto. There are interesting guided tours showing the traditional way each is made.
Parma’s most famous son was the composer Verdi and it’s well worth trying to get a ticket for a Verdi opera at the beautiful Teatro Regio. The conductor, Toscanini, also came from Parma and his life and work is celebrated in a charming museum.
Parma has been welcoming many more British tourists since the low-cost airline, Ryanair, began flying there from London Stansted in March 2006. Parma’s airport is only a couple of miles from the city centre, but most travellers from outside the UK will have to fly to Milan or Bologna and then connect with Parma.
At the moment, Luxique offers just one luxury hotel in Parma – the Palace Maria Luigia, a traditional Italian hotel right in the city centre and boasting a fine restaurant.
by Andy Moreton
Holidaymakers on the beautiful beaches of the Italian island of Sardinia have given notice that nothing will be allowed to disturb their peace and quiet – especially not brash celebrities.
Flavio Briatore, the managing director of the Renault Formula 1 team and co-owner of an English football club, found this to his cost when he and his entourage tried to bring their dinghies ashore from his luxury yacht.
People having a restful afternoon on the Capriccioli beach were having none of it. Shouting ‘Shame, louts and go home!’ a group formed to meet the third dinghy, attempting to push it back out to sea. Water was thrown from hastily-filled children’s buckets, followed by wet sand bombs.
Briatore, who was in Sardinia to open a new restaurant, was outraged, saying: “We are nice people and we get treated like this. I will close down everything. I pay my taxes and this is my right.”
The Italian newspaper, La Stampa, saw this as the start of a fightback against celebrities flaunting their wealth on the country’s top beaches in front of ordinary cash-strapped Italians. The paper commented: “From north to south, the rebellion against those who show off their power and wealth is growing.”
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers a selection of superb luxury hotels in Sardinia.