Andy's Top 10 Hotels of 2010by Bike tour guru
"SLEEP" is an equal and integral part of the DuVine equation for luxury bicycle tours and adventure travel...so when it comes to our choice of hotels, we select not only the "must-see" places of interest, but also properties that provide a real sense of local charm. Remember...DuVine style is all about the experience...be it on the bike, while dining, sampling the local potables, or relaxing for the evening. Hence, I take great care when deciding which properties measure up our standards. And although each may be special in its own right...I'd like to share where a few of my favorites places to stay have been this year.
I guess you could call these my top 10 hotels of the year...(in no particular order of preference...)
Orto degli Angeli in Umbria
Imagine lying back in bed after a wonderful day cycling through the Sagrantino vineyards and a delicious dinner in a restaurant located in the remains of a Roman amphitheater and looking up to see an original Frescoe painted on the ceiling above you? Tha's right, our ancient villa, Orto degli Angeli, with the original noble family still in residence, is a museum in itself. This historic hotel where Francesco Antonini dei Conti Angeli Nieri Mongalli's family has lived since 1788 integrates architectural elements and original building materials from the ancient world and overlooks the ruins of an ancient Roman theatre and temple. A vaulted underground room, which was a part of the two thousand year old theatre, serves as the dining room of the restaurant, creating an unforgettable dining experience. You will sleep like royalty in this unique property. You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Umbria, Italy.
Flocon de Sel in Megeve, France
What can I say? When I first read the mission statement from the owners of this hotel - "to stay unique, to give to our guests the possibility to make the most of the tranquility of the place, with luxury services offered in a convivial atmosphere, without ostentation and at the same time help with exploring the landscape, this unique environment which is ours" - I knew this place would be DuVine! The service is flawless, the location - set in the mountain pastures with commanding views of the valley below - is incredibly intimate and the 2 star rated Michelin restaurant definitely put this on the top 10 list! This is available on our bicycle tours in the Alps.
Villa Beccaris in Piedmont
What makes a hotel special? Is it the personal connections made with the staff, the incredible views out your window, the linens, the impeccable and attentive service, the amount of luxury services offered? Or is it a just a feeling you get when you enter a room? Perhaps sometimes that is all it takes! When you walk into the limonaia , the glassed-in Belle Epoque breakfast room with views over Barolo vineyards at Villa Beccaris, you will understand why this hotel ranks on the list! You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Umbria, Italy. You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Piedmont, Italy.
Hotel Adriana in Hvar
Not only is it Croatia's first and only member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World... but the views from the Adriana - a panorama that includes the Cathedral, the Arsenal, the Venetian piazza, the yacht harbor and the bay all in one - are absolutely stunning! Talk about an island paradise... and the Top bar is the place to be! Location, location, location. Oh...and a little bit of St. Tropez and Ibiza all in one. You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Croatia.
Bastide de Gordes in Provence
Talk about the perfect perch! Bastide de Gordes sits high above the Luberon valley offering some absolutely gorgeous views. What better way to spend an afternoon post-ride than lounging by the pool admiring the scenery? or better yet, at the world-famous Spa Sisley located on the property? Yes, definitely a must on the list. You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Provence, France.
Relais San Maurizio in Piedmont
There is no place that makes you feel as if you are on top of the world [literally and figuratively] like the San Maurizio! Surrounded by the Langhe hills with panoramic vineyards views, it is the perfect vantage point for a journey of the colors, fragrances and flavors of Piedmont. Originally a 17th century monastery, the property has been transformed into a stunning and discreet resort, one that gives new meaning the word exclusivity! Oh, and did I mention the vinotherapy spa Caudalie? It is epic zen - italiano style! You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Piedmont, Italy.
Â La Chiusa in Tuscany
This charming little relais and restaurant holds a very special place in our hearts. La Chiusa is the product of the lifelong work of two of our dear friends, Dania and Umberto. It was Umberto's vision that transformed his family's medieval olive mill into a stunning luxury hotel. In many of the hotel's fifteen rooms, you can find old millstones and other reminders of the building's agricultural past. Umberto is a true Tuscan man and makes sure his guests get anything they want. Every afternoon you can find him overseeing his splendid staff from his table under the pergola where he will be happy to share a bottle of prosecco, fresh grapes from his vineyards, and the story of how he brought running water to the town.Dania is a world-renowned Tuscan chef and the Ristorante La Chiusa, where we eat on the first night of the tour, is her baby. She has devoted a lifetime to preserving traditional Tuscan cuisine, using only the freshest seasonal ingredients and age- old methods. Her meals are unforgettable. She always makes a point of coming to our table after the meal and giving us a tour of the kitchen or autographing copies of her cookbook. There is also an extraordinary selection of local wines. You will stay here on our bicycle tour in Tuscany, Italy.
Chalet Royalp in Villars
Imagine being nestled in at your 1,300 ft '"base camp" of Villars sur Ollon in the heart of the Vaud Alps looking out from your private balcony at the idyllic setting that spans in front of you - featuring a spectacular panorama extending from Lake Geneva to Mont Blanc. This charming chalet is the perfect ski "lodge", the perfect combination of a typical mountain lodge atmosphere with the exquisite elegance of an exclusive high end resort. Oh, and it's also the first ski-in and ski-out hotel in the Vaudauoise Alpes - offering direct access to the ski resort. You will stay here on our ski trip in the Alps.
Iguana Crossing on Isabella Island, Galapagos
Staying here is like escaping to your own private island - scarcely populated except for the flora and incredible variety of fauna to be found - including, of course, the ubiquitous marine iguanas. Located in between the pristine white sand beaches with their emerald green water and directly behind a wildlife-filled lagoon, this spot couldn't be more special. Even better, as you relax in your room, you can listen to the soothing sound of surf and watch the volcano beyond the wetlands come alive. Yes, a true island getaway awaits you at Iguana Crossing! This hotel is available on our adventure travel Galapagos Islands tour.
Taybet Zaman in Petra, Jordan
Step back in time, but not in luxury at this uniquely modern interpretation of 19th century Jordan - complete with an exotic dash of Arab indulgence. As you walk through the village and its ancient stone structures, you feel transported back to the old village, complete with the scents and sounds of the market, a very sensory experience. Staying at Taybet Zama, with its unique blend of modern elegance and rustic charm, is unlike any other typical hotel stay, especially when you consider that just outside your window is a view unlike any other, one of the modern wonders of the world, Petra. You will stay here on our adventure travel tour in Jordan.