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This view is not what it seems
It seems like only yesterday that we were freaking out over the amazing renderings of the JW Marriott Venice, which, at that point, was soon to open on its own private island in the Venetian lagoon. The major freak-out point? Those dreamy views from the rooftop pool, overlooking St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, we were in Venice, saw where the JW Marriott is located, and got a hold on the view situation. And you know what?
It is, let’s say generously, a rather free interpretation of the actual view.
Um, yes. Do we really need to say anything more? Ok, we'll say just a little bit more about this stunning view of Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay from the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.
This is the view from one of the Premium Bay View Rooms which are located on the 20th through 25th floors. There are city views on these floors as well that are just as interesting, especially since the hotel overlooks Chinatown ,but really, it's all about the bay here. Fingers crossed for a clear and sunny day!
All rooms at the Hilton SF FD feature 32" flat screen TVs, a long desk for working and tea and coffee makers. Best of all, you don't need Zuckerberg dollars to stay here as we found a bay view room for this weekend for just $239 a night.
Welcome to a new occasional series, Hidden Gems, in which we’ll be profiling hotels you’ve never heard of – but should have. We’re talking small places without the budget for PR and marketing, and which may not have been done up by a famous interior designer, but with incredible USPs like immense history, the best homemade food, or unforgettable views. Let’s start with Classique in Lazise on Italy’s Lake Garda, which we stumbled on – literally – last year while taking a lakefront stroll, and have been dreaming of a return ever since. Two weeks ago, we finally made it!
This is the kind of room with a view that you dream of. Classique sits on the pedestrianised waterfront of Lazise, arguably the prettiest town on beautiful Lake Garda. Here, from your room – through the floor-to-ceiling windows, or from the little balcony – you can watch the sun set over the lake, behind the famous peninsula of Sirmione (a place so beautiful that the Roman poet Catullus wrote about it), go to sleep to the sound of the ducks and swans (Lazise has three ‘pet’ swans), and awake to the glassy lake waters turning pink in the light of the dawn. It is a view like no other.
The 100-room creek side hotel is located near Uptown Sedona and positions its rooms to face Bear Wallow Canyon and its infamous Mitten Ridge. But the best views might come from the courtyard that splits the property in half and extends outward from the lobby and its adjoining restaurant and patio, continuing on and fanning out as it approaches the creek.
A grassy sitting area occupies the middle ground while the pool and hot tub give you a front row seat to take in the creekside trees (which were still a few weeks away from blooming during our visit) and mountain views. It is especially nice during Kimpton's free wine hour.
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If you stay at the Bauer Il Palazzo, one of the four Bauer hotels (owned by a local family) in Venice, you’ll have breakfast at Settimo Cielo, a seventh floor rooftop terrace with sweeping, weep-inducing views of La Serenissima taking in everything from St Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Riva degli Schiavoni to the Grand Canal, the Santa Maria della Salute church on Dorsoduro, the island of Giudecca, the islands of the forthcoming St Regis and JW Marriott, and the Lido, stretching out in the distance.
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Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. You can see it from the ground, a little dirty, a little noisy from the traffic, and sometimes even a little alarming, thanks to the anti-Falklands/pro-Malvinas encampment in there. You can hold onto your bag like there’s no tomorrow, and take a photo of the Casa Rosada through the metal barriers that may or may not be up.
Or you can see it from on high, in your swimsuit.
View from the far side of the lake of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
We've highlighted the natural beauty of the Fairmont Banff Springs in the past, but its lesser-known sister property, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, is no slouch when it comes to killer views herself.
A few years ago, we dreamed about what it might be like to stay there, and now we have experienced it first hand. We'll dive in a little deeper next week, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what attracts people to this property. It is positioned next to Lake Louise, which is fed by several glaciers that trickle down from the surrounding jagged peaks of the Canadian Rockies.
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Ignore the Simpsons-style clouds, and have a look at the architecture. Pretty nice, right? Even nicer when you consider where this is: the Ciudad Vieja of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
There aren’t many hotels in the Ciudad Vieja, and there are even fewer with rooftop terraces. But this is the view from the Alma Historica Boutique Hotel, which opened a month ago in a historical mansion on Plaza Zabala, the tranquil, second square of the old town.
It’s cold in Bosnia Herzegovina at the moment, really cold. In Mostar on New Year’s Eve, when we snapped this photo, there was a wind chill of 17 farenheit. Which made it difficult to get out into the Old Town and see the famous, and tragic, Mostar Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage area.
Luckily, from our room at Villa Anri, we could sit inside and see the bridge – the reason we were in Mostar in the first place – from the comfort of our room.
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
Andaz Tokyo was on our list of major hotel openings this year, so we felt like a kid in a candy shop when we walked into the giant Toranomon Hills development the day after the ribbon was cut back in June.
Zooming up to the 51st floor, the Japanese capital stretches out in front of you, both its urban density and the green core of the Imperial Palace, providing mesmerizing views both during the day (above) and at night (below) – worthy of our Best Killer View award.
As you set off to do your last-minute holiday shopping/card-sending/gift-wrapping/eggnog-chugging, we'll leave you with this killer view from room 207 at the Anderson Inn in Morro Bay, Calif. near San Luis Obispo.
There’s only eight rooms at the inn, which sits directly on the water at Morro Bay but almost every room has an up close and personal view of the Morro Rock and the (somewhat loud) sea lions that swim around it. If you're doing the whole "driving along California coast" sometime in 2015, then consider this a must-stop.
Morro Bay itself is about three hours north of Los Angeles and 45 minutes south of San Simeon, home to Hearst Castle. It's an incredibly small little town, with knick-knack touristy stores and salt water taffy shops lining the main drag, which probably has seen better days.
But The Anderson Inn has modern-designed rooms with flat screen TVs, super soft bedding and giant showers with body sprays. These come in handy when you've been on the road for a while. Or even for just a few hours.
Put it this way, if nearby Madonna Inn might be too
scary kitschy for you, then The Anderson Inn will be just your style.
The Colombian city of Cartagena continues to gain momentum with American travelers thanks to new flight routes and a growing sense of safety. That last part is probably the most important, as Colombia tries to shake its reputation as a dangerous nation.
So far, so good, and people are beginning to spread the word. The walled city, known as Al Centro, features narrow, colorful streets of colonial architecture that wraps New Orleans and Old San Juan into one. There are dozens of small boutique properties uniquely designed within this old infrastructure, with many balconies that allow you to look out over the street.
Rooftop patios are also very popular within the walled city, providing beautiful views of the streets, cathedral tops, the ocean, or the wall itself. Some provide a glimpse of all of them at the same time, such as the Movich Cartagena de Indias Hotel, which we feature in this week's killer view.