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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.
There is no shortage of killer hotel views in Las Vegas, especially at night, but give us a room where we can admire the Strip from the comfort of a warm, bubble bath and well, that's almost as good as winning the jackpot. Almost.
This is the view from room 528, a Parlour Suite at The Cromwell Hotel, the boutique hotel which opened in May (Previously, the hotel was the old Bill's Gambling Hall.) The suite has over 700-sq.ft. of space with a living/entertaining room that has a small kitchenette and a powder room as well as a bedroom with a large bathroom. The tub, however, is placed in the corner of the bedroom so that it overlooks the Strip. Smart thinking.
Just remember, the windows work both way so you might be putting on your own Jubilee! show for the guests over the way at Bally's.
Next week, we'll have more on what it's like to spend the night at The Cromwell. But if you can't wait, the Parlour Suite is going for $869 and $889 a night this weekend. It drops down to its normal rate of $609 on Monday.
Disclosure: Juliana stayed at The Cromwell as a guest of the hotel.]
It might be a wine-themed hotel, but it wouldn't even take a glass to get us into this bed.
The Yeatman is the most luxurious hotel in Porto, located across the Douro River in Gaia amongst the wine lodges on the hillside. The fact that it is not actually in Porto proper gives it something the hotels downtown can't offer: An absolute knockout of a view, which you can take in from the infinity pool, your private terrace, or the bar and restaurant.
But good luck getting out of bed if you end up in the Taylor's Master Suite. Paying tribute to its associated winery, this room is outfitted with a wine-barrel bed. Dare we say we are drunk in love with this thing? If you can believe it, there's even a mirror attached to the underside of the top of the barrel. Yee haw.
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If there’s one thing that’ll get us on a plane to Athens, it’s a designated selfie spot. We jest, of course – but the idea of a designated selfie spot was so
horrifying compelling that during an afternoon in Athens last week, we had to go and see it for ourselves.
The selfie spot is at the Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square (Athens' main square), though to our relief, when we asked at the concierge desk where to find it, they had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. To save you the mortification of trying to explain the concept of a selfie spot to an Athenian - right there in the cradle of democracy, literature, philosophy and everything else that selfies run in the face of - just head to the rooftop bar and restaurant.
The selfie spot, it has to be said, is incredible in the flesh. Of course, an Acropolis view in Athens is no big deal - the majority of hotels have them from rooftop terraces, if not from the rooms themselves. But most Acropolis views are not like this (the only one that comes close, we reckon, is the Hilton, which is a little further out of the city center). The Grande Bretagne not only dominates the skyline around it, meaning you’re looking straight at the Parthenon, but glance to your left and you’re looking straight at the Greek Parliament, with the Evzones soldiers trooping around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour.
Those shopping for hotels in the Atacama Desert and the town of San Pedro will find that selecting a property has just as much to do with its outdoor offering as it does its comfort level. Most mid-range and upscale hotels in the area assist its guests in exploring the outdoor environment of the Atacama, typically including half and full day excursions into the rate. It makes sense to do it this way, because anyone who comes to the area plans to play outside. If you don't, you're in the wrong neck of the woods.
It's fitting, then, that the most luxurious hotel in San Pedro, Tierra Atacama, would take advantage of the area's best attributes in constructing its own. When you have a backdrop as beautiful as the Atacama Desert and the Andes Mountains, you might as well let it do the talking. And as you'll see in the photos, they didn't shut up the entire length of our stay. During the day, it's the mountains. At night, it's the stars. But we'll get to that later.
Upon arriving at the hotel, the first thing we noticed was how simple it was. The buildings are low and close to the ground, and much of the exterior is the same color as the surrounding terrain. When you enter the lobby, which is also the living room, dining room, and bar area of the hotel, the huge glass windows hit you right in the face. That's the point, though - a sustainable approach that doesn't get in the way.
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A five star property, locally owned (huzzah!) and designed by architect Christophe Pillet, it’s a clever cross between a riad and a resort: 50 rooms, two restaurants (one French, one Moroccan), a rooftop bar, Givenchy spa (the first in North Africa) and hammam and gym – but in a very beautiful, entirely Moroccan building. Oh, and since it’s perched on a hillside, it also has panoramic views from its rooftop terrace over the medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And it’s saying: take a dip! Or at least it does to us, which we’d gladly do if we could find ourselves in Udaipur, Rajasthan by snapping our finger. Alas, we’ll lust after it from afar, its sparkling blue contrasting against the pale walls and turrets of a traditional palace Udaivilās is modeled after.
Part of Oberoi Hotels, the hotel sits on the banks of Lake Picola, with third-level up Premier Rooms allowing you to step straight off your terrace into the water. A second pool is set within a large courtyard.
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The house launch and the Bosphorus Bridge, from the garden at Sumahan
A converted alcohol factory on the Asian side of Istanbul, right on the bank of the Bosphorus. There’s little not to love about Sumahan on the Water, which we mentioned last week as one of our favorite Bosphorus hotels. Today, we’ll take you through the keyhole.
First impressions are key, of course, and Sumahan does a blinding one: it sends its wooden boat to fetch you at the little dock in Tophane, on the European side. From there, it’s a 15-20 minute chug up and across the Bosphorus to Çengelköy, where you’ll dock just beside the ground floor rooms.
Sumahan was designed by its Turkish-American architect owners, Nedret and Mark Butler (Nedret’s family originally owned the factory, and transforming the abandoned space was the subject of her thesis). You can tell it’s a labor of love: each of the 24 rooms is named after a different village around the Bosphorus, and a huge amount of thought has gone into the design.
While other rooms at the Williamsburg hotel have more "artistic views", only the Manhattan King rooms offer the amazing sight of the entire island of Manhattan.
Even better, the bathrooms have a little window too which overlooks the rest of the room, and the room's windows. You have to jostle yourself a little to see the Empire State Building but it's a cool feature. You'll probably end up in the shower longer than normal, too.
Don't worry. While you can see out into the room, the people in the room can't see into your shower, thanks to a mirror window.
Manhattan king rooms can go for well over $500 a night on the weekends (Williamsburg residents joke this hotel is where all the parents of the broke hipsters stay) but you can book a Brooklyn Queen size room for less and then head up to the hotel's Ides rooftop bar for completely unobstructed views.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more from The Wythe including their kick-ass minibar selections and the best room to book.
Disclosure: We paid a media rate of $200 for this room on Sunday night.