It’s a great, wide, wonderful, world out there. So why not explore it to the fullest? Please allow me to show you some of the best this world of ours has to offer. From A to Z, here is how I viewed the world alphabetically.
ALVEAR PALACE, one of the grandest hotels in all of South America, is a true palace and undisputed symbol of the Belle Époque. The Alvear Palace is the jewel in Buenos Aires’ crown. This classic hotel is recognized worldwide for its unparalleled combination of elegance, hospitality, personalized service, and high technology.
|BREAKFAST BUFFET AT THE ALVEAR PALACE|
BARCELONA, offers the surreal ‘Route Gaudi”, an architectural tour of the works of Antonio Gaudi. Not to be missed are Gaudi’s La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, and the surrealistic Parc Guell, an architectural extravaganza that has been compared to Dorothy’s “Oz” and Alice’s “Wonderland”.
CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI in Istanbul, Turkey is the only Ottoman Imperial Palace & Hotel by the Bosphorus. This 5-star luxury Imperial Palace hotel is located on the shores of the magnificent Bosphorus overlooking the ancient city of Istanbul, the only city in the world lying on two continents. The hotel provides a one of a kind experience with its historical ambiance and excellent Kempinski service.
|GARDEN OF THE CIRAGAN PALACE|
DANUBE RIVER CRUISES glide their passengers down one of the world’s most famous rivers. But don’t be disappointed…the beautiful Blue Danube isn’t blue at all. It is a mocha-green ribbon that entwines itself through the rolling hills, vineyards, vibrant cities, and quaint hamlets of Europe.
EMBASSY SUITES FT. LAUDERDALE, located six short blocks from Port Everglades, is the premier spot from which to begin or end all cruises out of Port Everglades. This reasonably priced hotel (that offers complimentary breakfasts, Manager’s Receptions, business and fitness centers) is also a good choice for an economical Florida vacation.
FAENA HOTEL, in Buenos Aires, is a century-old red brick grain silo that France’s super ‘star-chitect’ Philippe Starck turned into an artfully stylish hotel.
Rojo Tango, the hotel’s dinner show will seduce you from the moment you enter the velvety red room. It is the city’s most expensive tango show, but also the best.
GRAND HOTEL EXCELSIOR VITTORIA in Sorrento, Italy, has a history full of superlatives. This grand hotel has hosted the likes of Richard Wagner and Oscar Wilde. They enjoyed the same view of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius that guests enjoy today.
|GRAND HOTEL EXCELSIOR VITTORIA|
HARRY’S BAR, the one and only original Harry's Bar--is not your ordinary watering hole. It is a fashionable haunt frequented by celebrities, royalty, locals, and tourists. It has been said that, in the legendary city of Venice, more tourists ask directions to Harry's Bar than to the Piazza San Marco. Be sure to sip the bar's liquid trademark...the Bellini.
INDIANA is the location of the totally restored French Lick Resort, now the Midwest’s premier resort and casino destination. A half –billion-dollar renovation restored the French Lick Hotel and the West Baden Spring Hotel which was proclaimed it the Eighth Wonder of the World when the hotel first opened in 1902.
JANUARY is the perfect time of year to visit Antarctica, the greatest show on ice. This barren, white continent, that thrills the imagination and overwhelms the senses, is a continent of superlatives. While it is the most forbidding, most inaccessible land on earth, it is also the most majestic and most pristine.
KEMPINSKI Çıragan Palace’s Tugra Restaurant is the place to order Külbastı Lamb and Kebab Testi in Istanbul. The feast at Tugra’s Turkish and Ottoman restaurant begins with the ambience … rich Ottoman décor…live classical Turkish music…and the ever-stirring backdrop of the Bosphorus.
LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL GLACIER, a Chilean kaleidoscope of the stunning artistry of Mother Nature, is one of the most breathtaking sites in South America. This awesome wall of ice is a brilliant spectacle played out in hues of blue and white.
|LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL GLACIER IS AN AWESOME WALL OF ICE|
MONACO is home to Le Louis XV, in Monte Carlo's Hotel de Paris. One of the world's most luxurious restaurants, it is a temple of haute cuisine where table cloths are ironed on each table, cutlery is polished by white-gloved assistants, silver-filigree Christofle hedge sparrows peck at imaginary crumbs, and the monthly flower bill averages in five figures.
NEGRESCO, a Belle Époque palace, is the Grand Dame of the French Riviera in Nice, France. The Negresco is a wedding cake-like confection iced in pink and green. With its sweeping view of Nice’s Bay of Angels, the Negresco was classified a National Historic Monument in 1974.
OSAKA, the sushi restaurant in the W Hotel in Santiago, served the best sushi I have ever eaten. By all means, treat yourself to a platter of Carpassion…salmon laced with passion fruit syrup and framed with a shredded phyllo border.
PRIDE, one of Seabourn Cruise Line’s pride and joys, is a stunning, ocean-going vessel straight out of James Bond…and 007 would love it. Seabourn Pride served as our luxurious home away from home for an exhilarating Baltic cruise that took us from Copenhagen to beautiful Bornholm Island where the rocks form the landscape.
|SEABOURN PRIDE IS STRAIGHT OUT OF A JAMES BOND MOVIE|
QUEEN MARY 2, affectionately dubbed QM2, is a name that evokes nostalgia for a more civilized era. Her every detail harkens to the Golden Age of Ocean Travel…a time when passengers like Marlene Dietrich crossed the Atlantic on Queen Mary 1 with 38 trunks.
REGENT NAVIGATOR/ REID’S PALACE is R&R at its finest. Regent Seven Seas Navigator, an intimate all-suite ship began our cruise on the Portuguese island of Madeira in a little-known town named Funchal. Our elegant pre-cruise hotel, Reid’s Palace, perched on a cliff-top overlooking Funchal Bay, is a hotel that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
SYMPHONY, Crystal Cruises’ ultra-luxe ship was our floating palace for a colorful autumn cruise from Montreal to New York City. From the first flute of champagne to the final farewell, there was little wonder why Crystal Cruises has received so many prestigious awards.
TAJ MAHAL, a divine poem in white marble, symbolizes the eternal beauty and purity of love. Once you have glimpsed that soaring bubble of marble, you will never forget it. Enough said!
|TAJ MAHAL…A POEM IN WHITE MARBLE|
URUGUAY’S Punta del Este is South America’s jet-set resort. The 10,500 winter population of this once sleepy fishing village soars to over
1-million people during the Southern Hemisphere summer months of December through March.
VENICE’S CIPRIANI HOTEL is a paradise of romantic fountains encircled by enchanted gardens, sea gulls, cerulean waters, green lawns, white awnings, and the mysterious light of a lagoon. This tranquil oasis in the bustling city of Venice is la dolce vita…the sweet life. It is the perfect in perfection...the serene in serenity...the glitter in glitterati. In this less than perfect world, perfection is the Hotel Cipriani.
WHISPER, Silversea’s luxury vessel that cruised us from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santiago, Chile afforded us the luxuries of a private yacht, the amenities of a country club, and the fine services of an exclusive hotel. We were pampered by Silver Whisper’s butlers, sipped champagne as the sea caressed the ship, and were wrapped in a warm feeling of home upon the sea.
X-ING (CROSSING) THE EQUATOR, while sailing from Rio to Barbados, Silversea’s Silver Wind threw a memorable Crossing the Equator Party. King Poseidon initiated landlubbers (pollywogs) incredibly soaked with the sins of life ashore. Having paid their homage to the Ruler of the Sea, those pollywogs were deemed official experienced sailors (shellbacks).
|SILVER WIND’S CROSSING THE EQUATOR PARTY|
YOUNTVILLE, the hub of the Napa Valley, is where the California Wine Country experience begins to unfold. Yountville is also the locale of the Vintage Estate, composed of the Vintage Inn, a charming country-style inn, and Villagio Inn and Spa, a faux Italian village with soul.
ZEALAND, as in New Zealand, is known to locals as EN-ZED. A gorgeous, under-populated, unpolluted country, "Noozillan" is a verdant, pastoral land where the sheep outnumber the people 25 to 1.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer, and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio. She is the winner of 43 national Travel Writing Awards.