Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Girl Can Dream...

Travel is one of the most important aspects of my life.  Growing up, my parents often took my brother & I out of school to go on worldly adventures year-round.  Most of the understanding I have towards people, culture, and the beauty of the world is from my experiences during my travels.  I have been to some truly magnificent places, but I still feel like there is so much more to see!  The world is endless!
Anyways, I thought that I would share just a few of my ultimate dream hotels.  If I'm lucky, maybe one day I will be able to stay at one of these magnificent hotels.

1. Le Sirenuse is a Moorish Baroque style hotel on the Amalfi Cost of Italy in a small town called Positano.  It is run by the Sersale family, who spent years lovingly restoring the building from an 18th century villa into a lavish resort. The charm of this place is absolutely off-the-charts.  John Steinbeck wrote his essay 'Positano' while staying here in the 1950's. You can swim in the pool surrounded by lemon trees and bougainvillea,  enjoy a classic Neopolitan meal by candlelight at La Sponda while overlooking the ocean, hike in the nearby hills, enjoy a day at their luxurious spa, or even rent one of their vintage wooden speedboats and sail off into the Tyrrhenian Sea.  A girl can dream...right?

2.  Within Cappadocia, in the ancient Turkish village of Ürgüp, the 5th century Yunak Evleri hotel sits carved into the mountains.  The "cave hotel" is compromised of 30 ancient rooms which are deeply cared for.  Decorated in traditional Ottoman antiques and furnishings, you find your way to your room by navigating through cavernous hallways.  When the sun sets, guests gather on the courtyard surrounded by Turkish pillows and outdoor fireplaces for a classic Turkish feast.  Cappadocia offers many activities for lovers of the outdoors such as bicycling, hiking and horseback riding in the countryside.

3.  Even though I grew up a mere 20 minutes from here, I have always dreamed of staying at the magnificent Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California.  The eco-friendly hotel is truly a work of architectural beauty, nestled above the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Endless views of the ocean, coupled with the serene, tree-filled mountains of Big Sur make this hotel one-of-a-kind.  It is the kind of place where you feel as if the stress and noise of everyday life is worlds away.  The stunning architecture surrounded by endless nature are both humbling.  There are 39 rooms and 2 private guest houses to choose from.  Enjoy sustainable seafood & wine at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant located within the hotel, wake up to morning Yoga classes, go whale-watching, or even take a hike in the Big Sur wilderness.

4.  Between May and November each year, the small village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden is completely quiet, with only 500 permanent residents.  But thousands flock to this rural village between December and April, when the majestic IceHotel takes up its temporary winter home.  Built completely out of Ice and Snow taken from the Torne River, the IceHotel boasts enough rooms for 100 people to stay, a full bar, a church, a main hall and a reception area.  Each sub-zero suite is unique and usually has a theme (this year they apparently had a 'Tron' inspired room), and the architecture of the hotel is different every year.  Before you check-in, they give you a run-down on how to survive in your -5 degree room (hint: lots of fur blankets).  The IceBar serves vodka in glasses made of ice.  When Spring arrives, the IceHotel melts away, until the next year.

5.  Set in the lush, sub-tropical gardens of Madeira, Portugal, overlooking the Bay Of Funchal lies Reid's Palace.  Madeira is an island just off the West African coast with volcanic rock & white sand beaches.  Reid's Palace is over 120 years old with 3 swimming pools, 2 tennis courts, a library, spa and 10 acres of terraced botanical gardens that descend the hillside down to the ocean.  The inside of the hotel is reminiscent of an era past,  where worldly poets, adventure-seekers, and the elite would come for rejuvenation.  

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