Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (VIII)

Category: Travel Blog

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (VIII)

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Residenza Napoleone III – Private Suite in Historic Palace


Want to live like a principessa? In your own suite of royal rooms? The Residenza Napoleone III allows you to indulge in this fantasy. Located in the sixteenth century Palazzo Ruspoli, it may be Rome’s tiniest – only two suites – yet most luxurious hotel option.


The Ruspoli family had the grand idea of opening two of their historic apartments, and running them as luxury hotel suites. The Napoleone Suite is the most dramatic. Silk-draped canopy bed, antique paintings and furniture, and brocade-covered walls all lend an aristocratic feel. 


The Roof Top Garden Suite is more staid and classic, but with an amazing view from the roof top terrace.The Palace, which has been in the Ruspoli family since 1713, is located just down the street from the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti. Breakfast is served each morning and Princess Ruspoli (yes, she’s a princess!) can arrange anything from a candlelit dinner for two to dinner for twenty in the grand salon.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Rome Sweet Home – Short Term Rentals


If there is one thing a traveling foodie misses while on the road is having a kitchen. The chance to bring home bounty from markets and transform it is a dream. So, if you’re coming to Rome, and want to call it home, Rome Sweet Home has the biggest selection of short-term rentals in the city.


The site is divided by neighborhood, so familiarize yourself with where you want to be before you start searching. A big trend in rentals these days seems to be ground floor studios, so look carefully before you rent. Some of these can be quite nice, but they certainly won’t have a view.


The range of apartments is huge, going from studio flats to multi room palazzi. 



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: The Inn at the Roman Forum – Luxury Boutique Hotel in Monti


This small 5-star luxury hotel is located in Monti and includes only a handful of rooms, strung out over a four-floor townhouse. Each is decorated differently, with rich fabrics and custom made furnishing. Two of the best rooms are located at the very top floor, and look out into a private garden in the back. 


The common area, also located on the top floor, includes a cozy living room with fireplace and a small terrace with amazing views out over the Roman Forum. Make sure you visit the ancient cryptoporticus in the basement.

Top 10 Destinations in South America (V)

Ole! Besides salsa, sombreros and tequila, South America is a feast for one’s senses, with something for every kind of traveler. The continent is a patchwork of remarkable sceneries, with its snowcapped massifs, dangerous jungles, dreamlike deserts and spectacular mountain ranges, with many of its wonders remaining largely undiscovered.


South America offers rich experiences to travelers seeking natural wonders, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Any of these Top 10 Destinations in South America would make a fascinating trip on its own, or you could combine some or all of them for a memorable tour.



Top 10 Destinations in South America:  Lima, Peru


The capital of Peru, Lima was the center of Spanish rule for 300 years. Founded in 1535, Lima is a modern mega-city with an old center, which still retains its colonial architecture.


For active types, Lima offers great surfing, and also bicycle, running, and walking tours.


‘Limeños’ are obsessed with food! Cuisine is a large part of the identity of Lima, the South American city of choice for foodies, and Peru's national cuisine has emerged on the world stage in recent years.


Lima's government has established the 'Boulevard of Gastronomy' in the Surquillo district, formerly a farmer's market and now a pedestrian mall showcasing the fresh ingredients used in Peruvian cooking. The city's annual food festival, held each September, is the most important event of the year for many gourmands.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Torres del Paine, Chile


Yet another Chilean attraction that you have to check out during your South American holiday is the National Park at Torres del Pain. It's where you can experience a host of geographical wonders — from mountains and glaciers to lakes and rivers, all in one place.


It's a 2-hour drive by bus from Puerto Natales to enter the park. It's a great destination for those who would love to spend a few days trekking amidst natural beauty. There are also guided tours and hikes you can take part in here.


There are many trekking options for you to pick from — the basic W is an all-time favorite, giving you access to some of the most splendid views. Choose to stay at organized dormitory-like accommodations, replete with all facilities, or camp in tents out in the wilderness. If you wish to splurge, you can sign up for the Eco-Camp, which would require at least 4-6 days. The Circuit trek is more challenging and physically grueling, where you can climb right up over the top of the massif. With steeper climbs, it is more arduous than the W, but you can experience the towers and horns of the place much better.


Torres del Paine also offers visitors opportunities to go fly-fishing, kayaking through the waters and even ice hiking up the glaciers. You must sign up for the Glacier Grey boat trip if you would like to get a closer view of the icy glacier.


Most Spectacular Abandoned Destinations Across The Globe (II)

Abandoned cities, ghostly islands, deserted train stations, or castles in ruins, places forgotten by people, which have an apocalyptic, but special beauty. This is the second part of our series of the most spectacular abandoned destinations across the globe. Subscribe and stay tuned for more!


7. Most Spectacular Abandoned Destinations Across The Globe: Castle of Miranda, Celles, Belgium

The castle was built in the 19th century by the French aristocrats, but during and after the end of World War II was transformed into an orphanage. The building was abandoned in the 1980s due to family heiress who has not allowed authorities to recondition it. The age of this castle and the countless stories buried in its walls have made Miranda a favorite place for ghost hunters.


8. Most Spectacular Abandoned Destinations Across The Globe: Island of Hashima, Japan

In the past, the Island of Hashima was extremely rich in coal deposits and was inhabited by over 5,000 miners. When oil took the place of coal as the main source of fuel, the small industrial town has become a ghost town.


9. Most Spectacular Abandoned Destinations Across The Globe: The abandoned Mill, Quebec, Canada

The mill which was built by the French colonists became today one of the main tourist attractions of the area. Although it might be difficult to get to it, the landscape is amazing.


10. Most Spectacular Abandoned Destinations Across The Globe: The Orpheum Auditorium, New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States of America

The Auditorium was opened on the day the Titanic sank: April 15, 1912. Today, a supermarket occupies part of the building, while the rest remains petrified in time. It’s definitely worth a visit if you happen to be around New Bedford.


11. Most Spectacular Abandoned Destinations Across The Globe: The submerged city, Shicheng, China

Shicheng has been submerged beneath the waters for 53 years now, since the water station upon Xin'an River has flooded the area. The town, which was built over 1,300 years ago, is now an amazing attraction for adventurous divers.


Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand (III)

Nestled away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, are the islands of New Zealand. Often overshadowed by its large neighbor, Australia, this is a country that should be singing its natural rugged beauty. Instead, it quietly carries on — knowing that every day, a few thousand new visitors fall in love with it.


There's a wealth of beauty to discover here — and these top magical places to visit in New Zealand are just a few of our favorite places.


7. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Franz Josef

Nestled within the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the country's most fast-moving glaciers, currently sliding down the mountain at the rate of 200 meters per year. Hikes begin in the tiny town of the same name (population: 330), where local guides provide boots and crampons.

The alternative is taking a short helicopter transfer onto the ice. The guide will hack out a path, taking you through extraordinary blue ice tunnels. The air is clean, crisp but not too cold, and you'll feel refreshed with every breath.

Half-an-hour away, another sliding glacier Fox, is open to explorers. Although not as steep as Franz Josef, this glistening sight will still leave you in awe.

Back in town, book a rejuvenating mirimiri and romiromi massage at the Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Feel your feet melt in the hands of a professional as she recites Maori blessings during the treatment.


8. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Lake Wanaka

A favorite with travellers, Lake Wanaka is one of New Zealand's most stunning sights. Settle in for a peaceful lunch overlooking the tranquil waters at the Kai-Whakapai Café, and you will never want to leave.

Kayaking, fishing and hiking are amongst the activities available at the lake, while boutiques and Spas are there to be enjoyed in the town. However, this is one place you may simply want to take in the view — so find a spot on the grassy bank, pull out a book and spend the day surrounded by unimaginable beauty.


9. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Queenstown

This adventure capital is home to every sort of high-octane sport; from skiing and river rafting to bungee jumping, canyon swinging and skydiving — all done with a background of idyllic lakes and mesmerizing mountain ranges.

Stop off for a coffee with a view (and perhaps a massage) at the Hilton Hotel, which sits in front of Lake Wakatipu, before hiring a kayak and heading out into the blue.

Finally, take the 20-minute trip to nearby Arrow town, where the country's gold-mining history came alive.


10. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Milford Sound

This famous fjord of plunging waterfalls, dark blue waters and dramatic sky-high mountains can be reached from Queenstown by propeller plane or four-hour car journey — and if you're feeling particularly brave, a four-day 53km hike from 

Lodging in Santa Barbara, California (V)

Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, located in Southern California. If you’ve planned a tour of the Central California Coast, then Santa Barbara is definitely the best overnight destination. This articles series will reveal everything you need to know about lodging in Santa Barbara, California:


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Hotel Corque – Classy wine country inn


In 2007 the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians bought the aging Royal Scandinavian Inn. They subsequently gave it a multimillion $ head-to-toe makeover and a new name that reflects its classy, yet casual wine country theme.

All 132 rooms and suites have beds with comfy custom mattresses and a slew of upscale amenities, including Wi-Fi. Ask for a room with a private terrace or balcony with views of mountains and vineyards.


The hotel sits at the edge of downtown Solvang, so you can easily walk to restaurants, shops and tasting rooms. The Chumash also own the equally sleek and stylish restaurant next door, Root 246 — head there for cocktails, regional wines and farm-fresh seasonal dishes, or order room service in your private quarters.


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara – Hip, artsy, eco-friendly lodgings


European-style Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara is a good choice if you're into style and culture and want to ditch the car and walk around the Funk Zone, Lower State Street, and the waterfront area. 


It's a block from the beach and Stearns Wharf and steps from the Amtrak station, and the electric shuttles and buses stop at the front door. Contemporary art adorns public spaces, which include a plant-filled living wall and an art library. Hotel Indigo is also an alternative art exhibition space for the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum.


Some of the 41 eco-friendly rooms have private outdoor gardens and mountain views. All have Euro-style wet bathrooms. For meals, pop down to the hotel's on-site restaurant, Anchor Woodfire Pizza and Bar, or order room service.


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Hyatt Santa Barbara – Rooms with a view


Historic Hyatt Santa Barbara (formerly Hotel Mar Monte), built in lavish Spanish Colonial Revival style in 1931, occupies three acres at one of the city's most enviable spots: right across Cabrillo Boulevard just steps from East Beach. 


Today's hotel complex includes four buildings, a restaurant, a spa (book a massage or facial) and outdoor pool. The 173 rooms reflect a range of amenities and rates. Pay the most for second floor deluxe ocean view rooms with balconies, and less for those with mountain views or smaller rooms in the historic (i.e., older) sections. Dogs are welcome in some rooms for a fee.


Places To Visit In Switzerland (Part 2)

Last week we started a new series about the most important places to visit in Switzerland. This week we continue our list with five more amazing tourist attractions:


6. Mürren is a friendly and car-free summer and winter holiday resort situated on a sun-drenched mountain terrace, and provides hikers with one of the best bases for exploring the Alps along well-marked trails. Expect to spend at least six hours if you decided to venture down the main hiking trail here. Also, you’ll want to spend a day riding the 23,000 feet of aerial cables that connect Mürren with the top of Piz Gloria at 6,900 feet (2,100 m). This ride, which is definitely one of the places to visit in Switzerland, takes you through a series of stops and it’s the longest cable car ride in Switzerland.


7. St. Moritz is the winter resort playground of the rich and famous. Known for its unending miles and miles of ski tracks, snowboarding runs and spectacular upper crust shopping, St. Moritz is also a hiker’s paradise during the summer months. It is also home to the “White Turf”, featuring the best of Switzerland’s equine athletes racing on snow. Thoroughbred racing, harness racing, polo and racing on skis are very popular during the winter months, and are sights not to be missed. You can join in the fun as well by taking one of the many horse-drawn sleighs that serve as “taxis” in St. Moritz. Located in Canton Graubünden.


8. Zürich’s Bahnhoffstrasse is one of the finest shopping areas anywhere in Europe and definitely one of the places to visit in Switzerland. During Christmas time, the streets are lined with tiny lights, while people window-shop to their hearts’ delight. Vendors line the streets offering toasted almonds and hot cider, and the lure of fresh-baked goods and Christmas cookies are everywhere.


9. Harder Kulm is Interlaken’s mountain and offers great views of the famous holiday resort between the lakes of Thun and Brienz and the entire Jungfrau region. This area is especially good if you’re traveling with children, who will undoubtedly love the Wildlife Park at the Valley Station, and the trip to the top by funicular. Located in Canton Bern.


10. Engelberg is in central Switzerland, and is one of the greatest places to visit in Switzerland for families and for sports enthusiasts. The area boasts a top ski school and the biggest paragliding school in Switzerland, as well as other snow sports. There are over 50 miles (80 km) of ski and snowboard trails, and 9,900-foot (3,018 m) Mt. Titlis provides a wide array of downhill runs. There are also 25 miles (40 km) of cross-country ski trails and 20 miles (32 km) of winter hiking trails available to wanderers of all levels. Also, the Engelberger Monastery gives tours of its interiors, and of its dairy, where visitors can indulge in fondue, for starters.


To be continued..


Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand (III)

Various styles of architecture clash together in Bangkok. In addition to modern skyscrapers, apartment buildings and glamorous shopping malls, there are beautiful temples and palaces, simple homes and a charming old town. Keep reading to discover the most important tourist attractions in Bangkok, Thailand.


9. Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Temple)

A visit to Wat Pho is an absolute must of every Bangkok trip. Bangkok’s largest temple is home to the famous Reclining Buddha with gold plating. The 4-meter long and 15-meter high statue is reminiscent of Buddha’s Nirvana state. Dropping 25 Satangs in the 108 bronze bowls is supposed to bring good luck. Today the temple is regarded as the most important center of learning the art of traditional Thai massage. Visitors are expected to wear decent clothes and behave properly.


10. Chinatown (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Viewpoint)

Chinatown is a small world of its own at the heart of Bangkok. You can expect a maze of narrow lanes with several cook shops, variety stores and buzzing market places with their own flair. This quarter of the town is always teeming with life and action. You should visit Chinatown during the Chinese New Year, which is in the second month after the winter solstice.


11. Wat Yansangwararam (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Temple)

Wat Yansangwararam is around 15 km to the South of Pattaya. Thai artists have erected Buddhist temples in a huge area. The entire complex is under the patronage of King Bhumibol. At the heart of hills, nestling among the tropical vegetation, you will find several buildings, parking slots and a spectacular lake. Particularly impressive is the 130-meter-high Buddha statue, which has been recreated on rock walls with laser technology.


12. National Museum (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Museum)

Thailand’s oldest and largest National Museum is on Na Phra That Road. The spectacular collection of the works of art provides a good overview of the country’s history. If you want to explore the building and study the collection, please reserve a couple of hours for this trip. A guided tour in German is offered every Thursday at 9:30 am. Also available is a small restaurant, serving drinks and snacks.


13. Sri Guru Singh Sabha (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Temple)

The Sri Guru Singh Sabha temple is located in the Pahurat district, the “Little India” of the capital city. The Sikh temple protrudes through the sky, simple and elegant. Its construction is supposed to have cost 100 million Bahts. Visitors are welcome to join the breakfast in the temple (approx. 8 am).


Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik (Part 2)

Walking the streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which is protected by UNESCO as World’s Cultural Heritage since 1979, you will feel that every corner, every building and every stone is telling a little piece of this amazing story, creating such a unique ambiance that will put this city among your favorite ones.


4. St. Saviour’s Church (Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik)

Between the entrance to the Franciscan Monastery and the City Walls you can see the jewel of Dubrovnik Renaissance architecture, the St. Saviour’s Church. It was built as a votive church in 1520, after a strong earthquake. It miraculously survived the Great Earthquake of 1667. St. Saviour’s Church is the work of the local master Petar Andrijić from Korčula and today is used mostly as an exhibition hall or concert chamber.


5. St. Ignatius Church (Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik)

You can reach the church via the beautiful 18th century Baroque stairs connecting Gundulić Square with the square of the great Dubrovnik physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, Jesuit priest, Ruđer Bošković. They very much resemble Rome’s Spanish Steps. Designed by the Roman architect Pietro Passalacqua, the stairs lead to St. Ignatius Church, which is nearby Collegium Ragusinum, the renowned Jesuit school where several great scholars were educated. The Church of St. Ignatius – or the Jesuits, as the locals call it – is the work of the famous Jesuit architect and painter Andrea Pozzo. The interior has been decorated by the spanish artist Gaetano Garcia with Baroque frescoes presenting scenes from St. Ignatius΄ life. The Jesuit complex is considered to be the finest Baroque setting in Dubrovnik, thus, it is not surprising that theatre directors at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival often use this venue as an open-air stage.


6. St. Blaise Church (Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik)

The Church of St. Blaise, the patron saint of the city of Dubrovnik, was designed by Marino Gropelli. It has existed in its current state since 1715. Its terrace with a balustrade and a staircase reveals the influence of the Venetian Baroque style. On the main altar there is a gilded silver statue of St. Blaise, allegedly the only artifact that survived the devastating fire from 1706. St. Blaise has been the benefactor of Dubrovnik since 972. Ever since, he is being celebrated in a huge procession every year on February 3rd. This festivity is one of the most important events in the city and has recently been protected by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California (IV)

Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, located in Southern California. If you’ve planned a tour of the Central California Coast, then Santa Barbara is definitely the best overnight destination. This articles series will reveal everything you need to know about lodging in Santa Barbara, California:


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Fess Parker's Wine Country Inn – Luxe quarters in an Old West town


Hitch your hoss, soak in the tub and sit by the cracklin' fireplace at this upscale lodge in the heart of Los Olivos, owned by relatives of Fess Parker (Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone on TV way back when). 


It's a good choice for overnight lodging if you're touring the northernmost wine trails and/or if you want to mosey around Los Olivos and sample wines and foods at the tasting rooms that line the main avenues.


All 20 luxury rooms (plus one suite) have fireplaces, wet bars and Wi-Fi. The complex also houses a wine shop, a day spa and a California-Greek restaurant — Petros Los Olivos, the SB County outpost of famed Manhattan Beach chef Petros Benekos. 


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Four Seasons Biltmore – Beachfront queen since 1927


The posh Spanish-Mediterranean Biltmore Hotel opened in 1927 just above Butterfly Beach. 


Today's Biltmore, owned by Beanie Baby mogul Ty Warner and managed by the Four Seasons group, shines from a recent top-to-bottom makeover that restored rich historical detail and added a host of modern-day amenities.


The hotel includes 178 rooms, 17 suites and 12 cottages, the ocean-view Bella Vista Restaurant, Ty Lounge, plus a spa with 10 treatment rooms, a pool and gardens. 


A stay here includes full privileges across the street at the historic Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club.


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Hot Spots Reservation Service – Lodging connection for Santa Barbara and beyond


Need a place to hang your hat for the night? Call Hot Spots and they'll help you choose an option in your price range and make reservations. They answer the phone 24 hours a day, every day, so you don't have to worry about having to sleep on a sidewalk in the middle of the night. 


Hot Spots' territory covers Santa Barbara County, Ventura and parts of San Luis Obispo County. 


Hot Spots also operates a 24-hour espresso bar and visitor information service on lower State Street near Stearns Wharf.


Lodging in Berkeley, California (III)

Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Northern California. The city is noted as one of the most politically liberal in the nation. Today we conclude our extensive review about lodging in Berkeley, California:


6. Lodging in Berkeley, California: Hotel Durant – Boutique hotel near the campus


Hotel Durant is an upscale boutique hotel with a Spanish Mediterranean architectural style and a location convenient to the campus and downtown Berkeley.


Hotel Durant prides itself on the completeness of its services in a newly renovated setting. 


Complimentary Internet access, high def. TV, well-stocked minibar–you'll find it all at the Hotel Durant, plus their own restaurant, Henry's, described as a "gastropub." Hotel Durant has a full "green" certification.


The clientele is part leisure traveler and part business traveler. The place is also pet friendly.


One unusual decor item in the lobby is a "blue book" set of messages dangling from the ceiling. Blue books are the traditional test-taking medium for students.


7. Lodging in Berkeley, California: Hotel Shattuck Plaza – Berkeley’s newest old hotel


The "new" Hotel Shattuck Plaza adds to the sense of vitality in modern downtown Berkeley.


A multi-million dollar renovation of this stately downtown property brought new energy to the urban scene. The rooms have all the expected upscale amenities. Shortly after the Great Earthquake, the hotel was first built in 1910 by the Shattuck family of Berkeley.


The lobby of the hotel presents an inviting bar and fine dining in the signature FIVE restaurant. FIVE stands for the five senses, suggesting they all come into play over a meal here.


Hotel Shattuck Plaza's lobby bar is also a casual meeting place, good for a drink or dinner before or after theatre or after work and before a hop onto the BART train, only a few steps from the front door.