A Travellerspoint blog

The amazing Barvikha Luxury Village, Hotel & Spa

Barvikha is a suburb 30km west of Moscow along the famous Rublyovka Chaussee where Russia's powerful, rich and famous live, including President Vladimir Putin. There is also the offical government guesthouse, Barvikha Castle Meyerdorff. In 2005, Russia's leading luxury conglomerate Mercury Group opened a large luxury village with many luxury brand flagship stores, plus a hotel and spa, at the highest standards. Barvikha Hotel is member of Leading Hotels of the World. It is by far the most luxurious hotel in all of Russia.

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 23:00

Grande Dame Hotel at war: Donbass Palace

The Grande Dame Hotel of the industrial metropolis of Donetsk was initially built in 1938. It was completely renewed by Ukrainian-Tatar billionaire Rinat Akhmetov in 2004.

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Donbass Palace

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Akhmetov also owns top soccer club Shaktyar Donezk. A trophy cabinet in the hotel lobby.

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Lobby bar

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Elevator

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Inside-out view on the large chandelier

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Standard room

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TV with many international channels

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Bath

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Amenities by Molton Brown

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View from the room

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Indoor pool and spa

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Fitness room

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Donbass Palace has remained open during the conflict (foto: July 2015)

Posted by LuxuryRogue 22:00

Charismatic Hotels: the Sibir (Siberia) in Tobolsk

Tobolsk is one of the most pictoresque cities in all of Russia, and the Sibir Hotel, located right next to Tobolsk's Kremlin is probably Russia's most atmospheric and authentic hotel. A great place for history lovers.

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Hotel Sibir from outside, right next to Kremlin

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Hotel Sibir lobby

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Hotel Sibir restaurant

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Ceiling painting

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Wall carpet

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Plenty of old Siberia maps on the walls

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First floor alleyway

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View from room to Kremlin

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 02:50 Archived in Russia

Historic Hotels: the "Insel Fehmarn" in Samoa

"What's in a name?"

Even if this hotel did not meet my usual quality standards, and I stayed in the Tanoa Tusitala instead, while the Aggie Grey's was being refurbished, I found the history of the "Insel Fehmarn Hotel" worth writing home about:

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(Memorial Plaque in the Hotel Lobby)

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(Fotos: Insel Fehmarn website)

There are other remnants of German history in Apia, capital of the former Deutsch- and today's independent Samoa. Eastern Samoa - capital Pago Pago - still being occupied by the USA.

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(Monument to German ships of the Kaiserliche Marine that perished in a typhoon off Samoa in 1889)
SMS Eber - SMS Olga - SMS Adler

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I stayed at the Hotel Tanoa Tusitala ("storyteller"), the current Nr. 1 on the island, located in embassy row, which owes its name to Robert Louis Stevenson (pictured here in the lobby background; author of "Treasure Island", "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hide") who used to live at this place.

The famous Aggie Grey's Hotel was unfortunately not open during a complete refurbishment, however several other facilities, including the airport catering and an airport resort hotel, are run under the same name by her grandchildren:

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 01:38 Archived in Samoa

Charismatic Hotels: the Esplanada in Dili, Timor-Leste

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Map of Timor-Leste (Source: Wikipedia)

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"Presidente Nicolau Lobato Airport" in Timor-Leste's capital Dili. The national freedom fighter hero (against Indonesia) welcomes visitors martially ...

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... with AK-47 in hand.

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The Esplanada Hotel right on the beachfront has seen part of the hostilities after inauguration in 2002, but always provided a tranquil safe haven, situated between the embassies of the USA and the EU.

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There is only one alternative to the Esplanada Hotel, the Novo Turismo Resort ...

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More luxurious, but a little less charisma.

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Christo Rei beach and statue at the Western end of town

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Resistance museum

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Interesting murals from the book "Peace of Wall - Street Art in East Timor" in the lobby of Esplanada Hotel

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...

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...

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Timorese taxi drivers focus on inner values

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Airnorth connects Dili with Darwin daily, and less frequent with Manila. There are also daily flights by Garuda to/from Bali.

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View over Dili ...

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... and the harbour.

Bye bye to a beautiful country worth visiting.

Posted by LuxuryRogue 00:54 Archived in East Timor

Charismatic Hotels: Airways, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

My new favourite hotel worldwide, combining luxury, design, exotic location, and a bit of "dangerzone" feeling: the Airways in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

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It's all about aircraft ...

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... views ...

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... atmosphere & design ...

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... and location, right next to the international airport (spot the aircraft right on the hotel roof, in the picture centre).

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Many foreign dignitaries have stayed at PNG's best hotel.

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Lobby

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Cafe

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Executive lounge, privy to the "Dakota" room category, with excellent butler service

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Restaurant VUE with million-$-views

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Wine & cigar stock

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Pool

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Spa & Gym

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Dakota room / junior suite

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Sunrise

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Limousine service ...

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... directly from the airport arrival zone.

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Greek-Cypriot hotel owner Sir George Constantinou was shot in Port Moresby in 2008. His billionaire estate still owns the Airways and several other hotels in the South Pacific.

Posted by LuxuryRogue 11:02 Archived in Papua New Guinea

Historic Hotels: Campo Imperatore, Gran Sasso Mountains

Campo Imperatore on Gran Sasso Mountain is the historic location where Otto Skorzeny (Austrian soldier in WW2) freed Benito Mussolini in a daring commando operation. Today there is a hotel by the same name and an observatory on this mountain plateau, which resembles Tibet or the Andes,.

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Campo Imperatore is conveniently situated on the highway between Rome and Pescara.

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From the main highway it is only 25 km uphill ...

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on an immensely beautiful mountain road, a great delight for drivers, ...

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past cows ...

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and wild horses ...

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until you reach the plateau ...

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where you can imagine Skorzeny hovering in with his glider planes.

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Today's observatory ...

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some of the residents ...

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and finally the Campo Imperatore ...

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which is not always open (there is an alternative hotel at the mountain bottom, the Nido del Aquila) ...

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and quite a run-down wreck, but nevertheless worth a visit.

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Recommended reading:

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"The Eagle Has Landed" by Jack Higgins, 1975

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 02:03 Archived in Italy

Charismatic Hotels: Lake Kezenoy, Chechnya/Dagestan

Excursion to Lake Kezenoy, high up in the Chechen Caucasus Mountains:

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A three hours drive uphill from Grozny, partly on gravel roads:

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This road sign is at 2.000m above sea level, and exactly on the border between Chechnya and Dagestan:
(Lake Kezenoy in the left background)

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With a friendly local guard:

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Beautiful Lake Kezenoy is two thirds in Chechnya and one third in Dagestan:

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The brandnew Lake Kezenoy Hotel & Villas and its Sports Sanatorium at 1.800m:

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From outside:

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View towards the lake:

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With a collection of ancient Chechen swords and pistols:

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Hotel Kezenoy lobby:

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Hotel Kezenoy first floor;

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Hotel Kezenoy waiting room:

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Hotel Kezenoy's general manager lady and Hasan from the Chechen tourism ministry

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Click: Official hotel opening in the press (Vesti Respubliki Online)

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 03:51 Archived in Russia

Charismatic Hotels: ROOMS Hotel Kazbegi, Caucasus, Georgia

This Designhotel is situated at a three hour drive from the capital Tbilisi, in Stepantsminda, high up the Georgian Military Highway, in the Caucasus Mountains, next to the Russian border, with a million-dollar-view on Mount Kazbegi (where Prometeus was chained to, after he stole the fire, according to the ancient Greek sagas). Here are some impressions:

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 03:50 Archived in Georgia

Ferragamo's Four Fashion Hotels in Florence

In beautiful Florence, choice of top hotels is certainly impressive, but definitely not easy!

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View over Florence from Villa Vedetta

For the holidaymaker or relaxation tourist, there is only one hotel:

The Four Seasons, situated on the outskirts, with a fantastic pool, spa and garden.

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Lobby of Four Seasons Hotel Florence

For the businessman, art enthusiast, fashonista or other upscale traveller, the decision is more difficult:

My personal choice is the Lungarno Hotel, owned by the Ferragamo family - of celebrity shoes & fashion fame.

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Salvatore Ferragamo was born in 1898 near Napoli. When the family moved to the USA before World War I, Salvatore quickly made his luck in Hollywood, providing made-to-measure shoes to stars like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich or later Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. He moved back to Italy in 1937 and acquired Florence's biggest private medieval palace, the Palazzo Spini Feroni, which today houses the Ferragamo company's headquarter, flagship store and museum. After Salvatore's death in 1960, the family managed to keep control and grow the business, including many other luxury lifestyle products, like their Lungarno Collection hotels.

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The name Lungarno originally derives from the cobbled streets that stretch alung the Arno River since antiquity. Nowadays, the Lungarno Collection comprises the four Ferragamo hotels in Florence, plus their super-luxury hotel "Portrait" in Rome. In addition, the family owns the "Borgo San Jacopo" gourmet restaurant inside Hotel Lungarno, "Villa Le Rose" in Chianti, the "Puro Suites" at Scarlino Yacht Club, including use of Nautor Swan Sailing Yachts, a company controlled by Salvatore Ferragamo's son Leonardo, who also runs the Lungarno Collection.

The fabulous four Ferragamo Florence hotels are distinct properties with different styles and strengths and price tags. What they have in common is not only the family ownership, or the sophisticated style by interior designer Michele Bönan, but also the town's monopoly position closest to the Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno.

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Ponte Vecchio

Here's my personal impressions of the Lungarno Collection in Florence:

Portrait Florence
This is the group's newest (Spring 2014), most private, expensive and luxurious all-suite hotel in Florence.

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The Portrait hotel's private lobby lounge

Hotel Lungarno Florence
This is the group's most famous property, very sophisticated, elegant, romantic and "old school", with an award-winning restaurant and perfect balcony views of Ponte Vecchio.

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Hotel Lungarno (center, with balcony rooms)

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Ferragamo biography book in the Lungarno lobby

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Lungarno lobby bar with view of Ponte Vecchio - and Ferragamo croco shoes

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Lungarno view toward Ponte Vecchio and Hotels Portrait, Gallery Art and Continentale

Hotel Continentale Florence
This is the group's most edgy and avantgarde boutique hotel (member of Design Hotels Group), with a slightly feminine or gay touch, appealing to the urban lounge and party crowd. It also hosts a popular rooftop terrace and a spa.

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Entrance to Continentale

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View from the popular Continentale "La Terrazza" rooftop directly above Ponte Vecchio

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Avantgarde design hotel interior

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Crazy elevators at Continentale

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Continentale relaxation lounge above the tourist crowd (right at Ponte Vecchio entrance)

Gallery Hotel Art, Florence
This is the group's most commonly accessible hotel (by taste and price), with contemporary design and art exhibitions.

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Entrance to Gallery Art

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Gallery Art lobby bar and restaurant with a nice sundeck outside

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Gallery Art library

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Temporary public art installation between Hotel Continentale and Gallery Art

Ferragamo headquarters, flagship store and museum in Palazzo Spini Feroni

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(Museum foto: Wikipedia)

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 01:47 Archived in Italy

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