Grand Hotel Continental (Siena)
In Italy’s most romantic city —after Venice of course— is a palace that is two centuries newer than Brunelleschi’s Florentine masterpiece. This seventeenth-century aristocratic residence was built as a wedding gift from Pope Alexander VII to his niece. Humble. Inside Siena’s medieval walls, the hotel is only minutes on foot—the city is closed to general traffic—from everything this unspoiled medieval city has to offer: the magnificent Gothic cathedral, the world’s best town square: Il Campo, and excellent restaurants and boutiques. Don’t let the name scare you; it’s a well-sized hotel with only fifty-one rooms and suites. It boasts a truly successful mix of ‘unashamedly opulent’ old and minimal, but still opulently modern. Carrera marble, frescos, and travertine floors are the norm. Their restaurant is renowned and wine cellar is unique.