Hungary’s capital has always had a few things going for it: classical music; Art Nouveau architecture; a wine scene just out of town. Design and luxury, not so much—until this year. Opening in June, the 67-room Rácz Hotel & Thermal Spa(raczhotel.com; doubles from $336), near the city’s main shopping street, has dramatic chandeliers and views of the Royal Palace, but the real draw is the 16th-century, unesco-designated hammam spa with domed ceilings. Up next this summer: the 102-room Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace(buddhabarhotelbudapest.com), the second hotel project by the renowned Parisian hospitality group, with an Asian themed bar and a restaurant with—yes!—an enormous Buddha as its centerpiece. Further evidence of Budapest’s new Golden Era of Design? WAMP(wamp.hu), a burgeoning monthly fair showcasing everything from fashion to dishware by local young artists.
It's Cinco de Mayo today and you know what that means. Yes, that's right, 2-for-1 margaritas at Benny's Downtown Tap Room. No! Think bigger. It's the anniversary of the 1862 Battle of Puebla, when a ragtag Mexican army unexpectedly whipped the better-trained French, guaranteeing the country's independence. Strange to say, the anniversary is more popular in the United States than in Mexico (and not at all popular in France). So for anyone looking for a reason to celebrate, check this deal out.
All this Royal Wedding chatter got you thinking about your next trip to London? Or maybe it’s the weather forecast in Santorini you’re after (high 60s, scattered showers and possible T-storms until Saturday….) Check out Best of Europe, Travel + Leisure’s latest digital edition for iPad ($1.99), now at TravelandLeisure.com/iPad or on the App Store. The editors of T+L have put together an essential compendium of where to go right now from the Azores to Istanbul, just in time for your summer holiday planning.
The recent turn of weather reminded us that summer actually is right around the corner. Where else would we rather be than the Greek Isles this summer? Thanks to Vacationist, you can now book a trip there for less. We have options for all types of travelers, from a couples-only resort onthe southeastern coast of Mykonos to large family-friendly villas on Nikiti's pristine coast. Since the summer season is popular in Greece, be sure to book a room now.
Nine days in the Sardinian town of Cagliari in 1921 was all it took to inspire D. H. Lawrence to write one of the last century’s great travel narratives, Sea and Sardinia. Spend a night at the Lighthouse Capo-Spartivento, on the southernmost tip of Sardinia, and you may be inclined to pen a classic of your own. Set on an isolated promontory 350 feet above the Mediterranean, Italy’s first and only lighthouse hotel was built in 1856 by the Italian Navy, which still operates its third-story lantern. As for the floors below, owner Alessio Raggio has spent 20 years perfecting the place, filling the four barrel-vaulted guest rooms with Murano-glass chandeliers and enormous circular beds facing the sea. You can book one suite or take over the entire property (including two “apartments,” with ceilings made of glass, for better constellation viewing). Also on hand: three chefs preparing just-caught fish to order, a cistern turned cellar brimming with Sardinian wines, and untamed private beaches. Chia; farocapospartivento.com; doubles from $550, including breakfast.
Photo by Roberto Patti/Courtesy of Faro di Capo-Spartivento
It’s no secret that the introduction of iPads into the market, just over a year ago, has resulted in the reshaping of how just about every industry imaginable does business. And as I’ve reported before, hotels are no exception to this.
A relatively new trend that I’m seeing on the rise is the use of iPads as personal, portable concierges.
May is just around the corner, so we’re thinking about easy weekend getaways that are perfect for the warm weather months. First up is PlumpJack, a mountainside retreat at the base of Squaw Valley, well-situated for hikers and cyclists looking for outdoor adventure a few hours outside San Francisco. Sybarites will love the Riviera Palm Springs, a newly-renovated resort 100 miles from L.A. with a grand spa and expansive gardens.
Raymond Bickson, chief executive and managing director of the luxury chain Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces, gave a master class in hotel branding to a select group of CEOs yesterday. It's a story that few have heard: how that company regrouped, rebounded, and reinvented itself in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack that killed scores of people and nearly destroyed the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (above).