Until recently, travelers looking for first-class accommodations in Siena had to stay in the countryside—or wrangle an invitation to a private villa. At last, there's a lavish option in the heart of town: the Grand Hotel Continental, in a converted 17th-century palazzo. Chamber musicians perform in the opulent Salone delle Feste, under a frescoed ceiling hung with Murano glass chandeliers. Two crystal-and-steel elevators take guests to the 51 rooms, which vary in design. The second and third floors mix original murals with 19th-century antiques and traditional fabrics. Smaller, fourth-floor rooms—with terraces and modern checks and stripes—are honeymoon favorites. Grand Hotel Continental, 85 Banchi di Sopra, Siena; 39-0577/56011; www.royaldemeure.com; doubles from $358. —Valerie Waterhouse
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