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It’s a statement of sophistication for the northern Italian powerhouse of Milan, where culture, fashion and a buzzing nightlife come together. Park Hyatt Milan, set in a 19th-century palazzo, effuses elegance, with a soaring nine-metre-high glass dome floating above the overstuffed chairs of La Cupola Lounge, a brightly lit central meeting space just beyond the discreet entrance. La Cupola is just one dining option, the most renowned being the excellent, two Michelin-starred restaurant VUN, helmed by Neapolitan chef Andrea Aprea, and diners can also stop for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail in the classic Mio Lab bar. Step further into the cocoon of cream travertine, Venetian stucco and hand-blown Murano lamps in the 106 rooms and suites (with large marble-filled bathrooms) or indulge in a moment of relax at The Spa by Sisley – and don’t forget that you’re in the heart of Milan, steps from the vibrancy of the Piazza del Duomo.
The mellow red-brick, blue-shuttered Villa Fontelunga peeks through landscaped gardens on an estate of 200 olive trees, conjuring up the archetypal Tuscan image. Indeed, it is located close to the town of Cortona, the setting for the film Under the Tuscan Sun, and the main nine-room villa – plus two separate self-catering villas nearby – have views across rolling hills, fields and a secluded valley. Inside there is an assured mix of antique and contemporary furnishings, including pieces from Philippe Starck and Arne Jacobsen alongside terracotta-tiled floors and oversized headboards in subtly colourful Italian prints. For those who want to enjoy their own moments under the Tuscan sun, the property offers an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, tennis court and mountain bikes, while further activities can be arranged. With communal dinner parties organised twice a week, a welcome hamper for the self-catering villas and the team’s local knowledge informing their guest recommendations, staying at Villa Fontelunga feels like returning to the country abode of old friends with excellent taste.
The restoration of the 19th-century Victorian mansion that houses Oddfellows On The Park took the approach of letting the original Gothic Revival architecture shine through – and touches of the historical stories behind this old hall can be found in the property’s modern quirky style. There’s the Galloping Major Restaurant – serving seasonal British produce with a twist – named after the hall’s second owner, who extended it into the grand home it is today. Or the Pigsty beauty salon (with a mud treatment room!), whose moniker recalls the appearance of the now smart space when the owners bought the property. The interiors contrast original Victorian features, such as exposed beams and fireplaces in the bedrooms, with playful modern design features – for example the Gothic-style chandelier made from bicycle chains in the reception area. This nods to the hotel’s setting: the 100-acre Bruntwood Park, a public recreation space with woodland, ornamental gardens and sports facilities (including a BMX bike track), that provides beautiful views from the rooms and a sense of idyllic English charm.
Wood is at the heart of the AROSEA Life Balance Hotel – not simply in the clean, calming Swiss pine-filled interiors, but also in the sustainable philosophy that originally inspired its owners to build this South Tyrolean property. For up in the off-the-beaten-path Ulten Valley, where forests cover mountain slopes, the district’s biomass heating plant, which warms the hotel, is partly supplied by local farmers who can earn additional income by selling their wood to the plant. This local-first, environmentally committed thinking informs the AROSEA experience, from the use of pine, slate and sheep wool in the interior design to the wellness offering – natural Alpine products and an outdoor pond for swimming, for example – to the “zero-kilometer” food approach (food that is produced in the direct vicinity of the property). While guests can savor this in the modern, light-filled main dining room with lake views, they can also enjoy the cosy atmosphere of the wood-paneled 18th-century “Stube” – smaller dining rooms found in surrounding farms and rebuilt at the property. Named after valleys and villages in the area, they embody the mix of tradition and modernity, nature and sustainability that runs through this eco-resort.
Built in the style of a traditional Tyrolean castle, complete with turrets, thatched roofs and red-and-white shuttered windows, A-ROSA Kitzbühel resort may outwardly resemble a scene from a time gone by – but once inside, the warm colours and accent on such materials as wood, marble and tile paint a much more contemporary picture. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel like royalty staying here: a visit to the enormous 3,000 sq m spa, offering both indoor and outdoor pools, eight saunas and more than 20 treatment rooms with a magnificent view over the majestic Alpine landscape, will leave you feeling perfectly pampered. The grounds surrounding the hotel accommodate one of Austria’s most stunning nine-hole golf courses, while several others can be reached within minutes. Whether you opt for complete relaxation or an active time out, this Alpine fairy tale has got you covered.
Fogo Island Inn likes to challenge preconceptions, so when it describes itself as a ‘public house’, one can be sure it is like no other. Replacing traditional ‘pub’ dark corners, this is a light-filled, transparent architectural and cultural ensemble. Nevertheless, its spirit owes something to its antecedents, so the island community is heartily invited to enjoy the library, art gallery and fine-dining restaurant. Located in Newfoundland, Canada, Fogo Island Inn presents a multitude of opportunities: how about a day with a chef or learning to paint? Ocean fishing and cross-country skiing are other fitting activities. Of course this all depends on which of the island’s ‘seven seasons’ are happening during your stay.
Its reputation stretches far beyond the shores of the Inner Alster Lake, over which it has a fine view, and indeed beyond the northern powerhouse of Hamburg: at Restaurant Haerlin, the creative French cuisine of classically trained Executive Chef Christoph Rüffer has won awards aplenty, including a pair of coveted Michelin stars. Served against an elegant backdrop – think cream and pale green, with Chinese silk tapestries, gold embossing and a 20,000-crystal chandelier – the culinary offering is technically perfect, intense with occasionally unexpected flavour combinations, and employing top-quality seasonal ingredients. There’s also a built-in wine closet and excellent wine list, as well as an eight-seat Chef’s Table one floor below, where gourmets have a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen team at work. The sophistication and refined luxury carry over into the restaurant’s ‘home’, the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, the epitome of grand European hospitality, its 156 rooms and suites set in a 19th-century mansion between the opera house, smart boutiques and the lakeside.
Cradled by the Austrian Alps, and with panoramic lake views that appeared in the Bond film Spectre, the natural setting of VIVAMAYR Altaussee would be enough to induce a feeling of wellbeing in most weary guests. However, the full VIVAMAYR experience – a medical and detox programme based on findings developed by Dr F. X. Mayr nearly a century ago – offers an approach to healthy living that leaves exponents’ habits altered forever. Recognised as best spa for targeted healing by CNTraveler, the Altaussee outpost opened its doors in 2015, sculpted from wood sourced from the surrounding forests and with an elegant pine, light and pastel-filled interior. Located in a region known for its salt sources, this “white gold” plays a major role in the VIVAMAYR spa area – with its sole steam bath, indoor swimming pool with salt water pool, Watsu treatment in a highly concentrated salt tub and sauna with rock salt wall – highlighting again the natural connection to a healthier life.
When, in 2004, Dr Harald Stossier founded a medical and detox centre on the idyllic shores of Lake Wörthersee, in southern Austria, he started a small empire that has now expanded to several locations, all of which convey his philosophy for health and wellbeing. Based on the findings of Dr F. X. Mayr, developed nearly a century ago, the VIVAMAYR approach includes sophisticated diagnostics, effective holistic treatments and an individualised diet plan to combat the ills and stresses of modern life. In a tranquil setting which is sun-drenched in summer and snow-sprinkled in winter, this luxurious hotel offers a pool, spa, fully equipped gym and beauty salon, as well as freshly prepared organic food in outside and indoor locations with lake vistas, underlining the healing effect that draws guests to this serene centre.
Right at the foot of Mallorca’s UNESCO World Heritage-protected Tramuntana mountains, a world away from the island’s party strongholds, lies an oasis of tranquillity: Castell Son Claret. Founded in the 15th century, the property – which opened as a luxury hotel in 2013 – sits on more than 300 acres of pristine, unspoilt countryside where the fragrances of bergamot, grapefruit, orange, rose and jasmine linger in the air and nothing blocks the view of the spectacular mountain range in the distance. The garden’s luscious bounty – including almond blossom and lavender – doubles as ingredients for the indulgent spa treatments at Bellesa de Claret, some of which can be enjoyed outdoors. The hotel is also home to the only two Michelin-starred restaurant in the Balearic Islands, Zaranda, where chef Fernando P. Arellano and his team create innovative dishes in the glass-fronted kitchen.