What makes a vacation feel luxurious goes beyond the sheets, the the marble bathroom counters and even the room service, though we admit those are certainly part of it! Step in to any of these 10 cities and at every turn you’ll feel yourself wrapped in luxury from the dining to the sites to the shops. MILAN
The hotel: Just a few steps from the Duomo, those in the know stay at the new five-star Boscolo Exedra Milan for its super sleek, sophisticated and contemporary rooms. Best of all, there’s a spa and indoor pool for a spot of R&R.
The restaurant: The two-Michelin-starred Cracco is one of the best restaurants in Italy where chef Carlo Cracco’s innovative cuisine combines the Milanese classics with more simple and light food. Leave room for dessert. Via Victor Hugo.
Did you know: The Navigli is a canal area full of bohemian character. By day, take a boat trip; by night explore its lively bars and restaurants.Shops: Designer divas should head to Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga. Foodies should follow their nose to Peck, a historic delicatessen linked with Cracco Restaurant.
The hotel: The new Belle Epoque-style, luxury Boscolo Exedra Nice stands on the city’s main boulevard. Its restaurant, La Pescheria, and the large Fitness & SPA area with pool and hammam, are destined to become an elite venue.
The restaurant: Chic, sleek and creative. Don’t miss the chance to sample the food in the Michelin-starred Keisuke Matsushima restaurant where the chef of the same name skilfully combines French cuisine and ingredients from the East. 22 ter, Rue de France.
Did you know: Art in the City is a guided tour of 13 works of art and sculptures that line the route of the tram. The tours take place every Friday at 7pm and cost 10 euros ($x). The shopping: Splash the cash in the designer stores along Avenue de Verdun and rue de la Liberte, or for more affordable high-street fashion brands such as Zara and also for Galeries Lafayette department store make a beeline for L’Avenue Jean Médecin.
The hotel: Designed by world-famed architect Ricardo Bofill in the shape of a sail, W Barcelona’s bold, avant-garde design slices the skyline and is the talk of the town with most of the rooms affording knockout city and sea views. Unwind at the Bliss Spa, cool off in the sleek infinity rooftop pool or tap your toes to the DJ’s beats in the rooftop bar.
The restaurant: Restaurant Moo has one Michelin star and is located in the Hotel Omm just off Passeig de Gracia in central Barcelona where you can rub shoulders with the Catalan elite. Rossello 265.
Did you know: Portal de l’Angel is one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Spain, located in the Ciutat Vella district by Placa Catalunya. The thoroughfare is so popular that around 3,500 people walk through it every hour.The shopping: Passeig de Gracia is the place to go for high-end goods, but few department stores can beat El Corte Ingles. If markets are more your scene, don’t miss La Boqueria, just off Las Ramblas.
The hotel: The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze has 117 enchanting rooms, a swish spa and swimming pool. It’s also set in the largest private park in the city but is only a short stroll away from the major sights of the Uffizi and Duomo.
The restaurant: One of the best tasting menus in the city can be experienced at the atmospheric Alle Murate, which also boasts some magnificent frescoes. Via del Proconsolo 16/r.
The shopping: Florence’s ‘Fifth Avenue’ is Via dei Tornabuoni, where any famous designer worth their salt has a shop.
Did you know: Florence is home to the fabulous footwear designer Salvatore Ferragamo who was nicknamed ‘shoemaker to the stars’. Go to the basement of Palazzo Spini Feroni to explore a small museum featuring original models made for actresses such as Sophia Loren.
The Hotel: The Fashion Hotel features spacious, design rooms and a rather cool SKYYbar on the 10th floor with amazing views over the city.
The Restaurant: Stanislavski combines art, culture, hospitality and good food with an open kitchen and Brasserie-style dishes. Leidseplein 26.
Did you know: In November, Amsterdam is transformed into the chocolate center of the world with workshops, tours and parties all devoted to the sweet stuff. Go if you dare…Shopping: The Nine Streets – De Negen Straatjes – is in the heart of Amsterdam’s canal district and is one of the city’s most delightful shopping areas with designer boutiques, art galleries, jewelers and gift shops.
The hotel: Olissippo Lapa Palace still gets hearts fluttering. Built in the 19th-century, this luxurious palace set on a hilltop in a beautiful sub-tropical garden has panoramic views – and you can sunbathe by the pool too.
The restaurant: Eleven is Lisbon´s only Michelin-starred eatery and is cool and contemporary attracting celebrities, politicians and globetrotting gourmets. Rue Marques de Fronteira.
Did you know: Beneath downtown lies a hidden Roman underworld, complete with bridges, corridors and chambers – and it’s open to the public for two days every year.
The shopping: The famous Feira da Ladra (Thieves’ Market) takes place Monday to Saturday on the Campo de Santa Clara. Take tram 28 for the ride of your life through the extensive hilly and narrow streets.
The hotel: Hate clutter? Head to andel´s Hotel Berlin for its modern design and sleek architecture. Sip a cocktail in the Sky Bar on the upper floors of the hotel for breathtaking views over the German capital.
The restaurant: The famous fish restaurant, and tongue twister, Fischers Fritz is the only two-Michelin-Star restaurant in Berlin. Expect intimate dining and grand décor. The Regent Berlin, Charlottenstr, 49.
Did you know: For one night every year (30 January) more than 100 museums and cultural institutions leave their doors open all night long for The Long Night of the Museums.The shopping: A spending spree is easy at the shopping mall KaDeWe and along Kurfuerstendamm street – both in the west. Those that want to combine a spot of shopping with sightseeing should head for Friedrichstrasse, in the east near Unter den Linden.
The hotel: For minimalist chic, opt for 101 Hotel and ask for a room with a harbor view. For art-deco ambience, head for the recently renovated Hotel Borg.
The restaurant: You can’t visit Iceland without eating fish – only the best is served at the new upscale and hip Fish Company. It’s also easy to find, next to the tourist office. Vesturgata 2a, Grofartorg.
Did you know: Icelanders’ curiously believe in elves and other hidden beings – try a themed walking tour, such as a ghost or elf walk, for a unique perspective on the city.
The shopping: Stroll along Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur streets to browse a variety of Icelandic boutiques. Design store Kraum, situated in the oldest house in the city, represents over 120 designers of clothes, jewellery, art, furniture and other funky things.
The hotel: As soon as you walk through the doors you know this is a Missoni hotel with timeless style, glamour and the signature bold use of color and striking patterns. With a prime location, some of the 136 rooms and suites enjoy stunning views over the city’s landmarks and the famous Royal Mile.
The restaurant: The Dogs – very cool, very reasonable and slap bang in the heart of the city champions Scottish and British ingredients, in dishes that will comfort and excite. 110 Hanover St.
Did you know: Golf has been played in Scotland since the 14th century with Edinburgh reputedly home to the world’s oldest golf course, the Old Links at Musselburgh – a 9-hole course which is still used today. Shopping: The West End village is a little clutch of cobbled lanes with quirky boutiques at the West End of Princes Street. Check out Arkangel, Frontier and Mrs Smith for women’s clothing and Trinket for vintage jewellery and bags.
The hotel: Hotel Metropole has an ultra-modern ESPA spa and some rather opulent and eclectic interiors too. Think Egyptian statues, Renaissance tapestries and bright, contemporary fabrics and you get the picture.
The restaurant: Master Chef Alain Ducasse has two wicked eateries here: one located at the Hotel de Paris and another, Bar Bœuf & Co, that’s only open during summer and bases its menu on sea bass and beef.
Did you know: The city is home to arguably one of the world’s most famous casinos, the Monte Carlo Le Grand Casino, opened in 1863 and today one of Monaco’s premier tourist attractions.
Over 125 distinct nationalities are among Monaco’s ‘local’ inhabitants with the majority being French and Italian. The city also hosts an International Circus Festival every year in January.
The shopping: It’s not so much where to shop, but can you afford it? If you can, head for the ‘Golden Circle’ – Avenue Monte Carlo, Avenue des Beaux-Arts and Allees Lumieres – where Gucci and Prada draw you like a moth to a flame…
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