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Luxury Group Blog

Almaty, Kazakhstan An inviting contrast of old and new

A destination many don't even know about let alone visitig, but we couldn't suggest it strongly enough. Almaty which was the capital since 1997 is now a vibrant city partly thanks to oil riches with wide tree lined streets, ancient cathedrals and countless restaurnats offerng surprisingly good food at unbelievably reasonable prices. Modern malls filled with designer boutiques live side by side with ancient structures in a city filled with historical cathedrals and sites well worth visitng. The Central Gorky Park, The Zenikov Cathedral and the Medeu speed skating rink sitting at 1691 meters with panoramic views of the city and many other ' things to dos ' which you will read about in travel books, but our aim here at Luxury Group is to tell you about places and things others don't know about. Places that are tried and tested and hand picked for you. Suggestions on where to visit, stay and eat for an unforgettable experience.

Our suggestion for luxury accommodation is Intercontinental Almaty Hotel. A high rise welcoming you with flowing fountains on manicured grounds with a soaring high ceiling inviting lobby lounge. Hotel features excellent breakfast buffet and view rooms equipped with work desk, free high-speed WiFi and Tea and Coffee free of charge. There is an authentic Turkish Hamam in the fitness center. 

    

Many years of Russian rule and influence is not only responsible for everyone speaking Russian here but also some tasty Russian food. Try Medved Restaurant ( 137 Shepetikov Street ) for some delicious Russian cuisine. Beef Strogonof or delicacies made with Rabbit and Horse meat as well as meals made with chicken liver. Decor is most charming as is the attire of the servers.

  

For fantastic Indian food head over to Tandoor Restaurant ( Tole Bi Street 102 ) 

For a truly great steak in an elegant restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, we highly suggest Ziyafet Steak House a block away from the Intercontinental Hotel

on 172 Zheltoksan Street 172. ( ziyafet.kz )

 

A visit to the Arasan Russian Baths is a must in our opinion. ( www.arasan-spa.kz )  Built during the Soviet times this is an authentic " Russian Banya ' where you are beaten not so softly with Birch tree branches neatly bunched into a shape of a fan. It feels wonderful. But there is much more to this place. It offers a variety of services such as massges, body wash by experts and Turkish Steam bath, Finnish Steam bath and Moroccan baths with heated stones. Two bars which serve food as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and compelte wellness and spa treatments for men and women. You'll be glad you visited. 

   photos:  Arasan Wellness & Spa Almaty 

Getting a taxi is most interesting in this town. You will rarely see a car with a taxi sign on top, instead the way to get a taxi is to stand by the side of the street with your hand stuck out and within seconds a private car will stop and ask for your destination. Here's the more interesting part, the going rate for all destinations within the city is 500 Tenge which at the time of this publication is equivalent to ( US $ 1.47 ) 

They say, when our days are done, its those thigns we didn't do that we're most likely to regret. So go see and discover. We don't know of any other  activity that enriches the soul more than seeing the various places and people of the world far, far away from the familiar. 

So, have you booked your flight yet ?!?

 

 

 

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

A delightful historic city with a coloruful past. This is, after all, where the assasination of Arch Duke Ferdinand led to the start of first World War, but one

best not bother with that and instead enjoy all that city has to offer at present.

Stroll through the old town and savor the local traditional meals. Cevapi, small grilled meat sausages made with lamb and beef mixture and served with sour cream in a Bosnian pita bread or Burek, a meat filled flaky pastry rolled in a spiral and cut into serving portions, this dish also comes with cheese or spinach filling called Sirnica and Zeljanica respectively. Restaurants big and small are open till late. Wash it down with a strong local coffee served in locally made vessels.

Visit the various war related sites, such as the Tunnels which were dug under the airport runway during the siege to bring in food and supplies. Srebrenica site of the genocide and mass graves and cities of Tuzla and Mostar are also excursion possibilites from Sarajevo. 

During winter Sarajevo and its regions of Jahorina and Bjelašnica offer some of the greatest values for skiing. 

For your accommodations in Sarajevo Luxury Group suggests Hotel Europe Sarajevo for a variety of reasons. The graceful structure housing this hotel is an 1882 Austro Hungarian building which has survived the many volatile events of this city. The Viennese Cafe Restaurant alone is worth staying there but the hotel with its excellent location adjacent to Old Town and its wellness center with indoor pool and ample meeting and conference facilites is a wise choice.

Hotel Europe: www.hoteleurope.ba/

Hotel Europe in Old Town Sarajevo. Five star luxury.

Viennese Cafe at Hotel Europe Sarajevo

Locally made handiwork make for great souvenirs you can actually use. 

Burek, pictured above is filo filled with meat, cheese or spinach.

Viennese Cafe at Hotel Europe. A must visit place in Sarajevo.

A waiter delivering coffee to the neighborhood clients. 

People in cafes till late hours. A common site in Sarajevo. 

 

 

Luxury Group Blog

Zürich, Switzerland. The Swiss financial heart and much more

Its very easy to fall in love with this most liveable city as it has been labeled due to all the green spaces, excellent public transport and cleanliness.

Zürich, the financial and cultural center of Switzerland today is cosmopolitan, multicultural and inviting. The Swiss attention to detail is visible everywhere and all areas of the city seem to be well cared for. The Limmat river as it emerges from Lake Zürich adds much charm and beauty to this vibrant business center.

We love the exciting shopping and fabulous restaurants along Bahnhofstrasse and the surrounding areas and the super charming Altstadt.

 

 

Bahnhof Strasse the main drag which starts from the main railway station is a great place to start as you're overwhelmed by the liveliness of the city and the endless array of shops and restauratns that greet you.

 

Speaking of restauratns, we would like to suggest two:

   

Brasserie Lipp http://www.brasserie-lipp.ch

 

 Aura Resturant http://www.aura-zurich.ch

 

For hotels, we like the Park Hyatt for a long list of reasons.

  

The Park Hyatt Zürich  http://zurich.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Alden Suite Hotel Zürich for intimate refined luxury and the spacious suites.   http://www.alden.ch

 

 

Luxury Group Blog

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia The super exotic destination !!!

Yes, we said it, the super exotic destination and we’re certain you will agree upon visiting. Sandwiched between China and Russia this is one place world travelers should not overlook.

Mongolia has 21 provinces ( Aimags in Mongolian ) the capital city is Ulaanbaatar and there are 3 large autonomous cities, Darkhan, Erdenet and Choir. The provinces are subdivided into Soums or districts of which there are 298. The biggest province is south Gobi ( Umnugobi aimag ) occupying an area of 165,000 sq. km and has the smallest population of only 42,000 due to its harsh climate.

 

 

The locals

The locals

 

 

Luxury Group recommended hotels:

 

Kempinski Khan Palace: http://www.LuxuryGroup.com or
http://www.kempinski.com/en/ulaanbaatar/hotel-khan-palace/welcome/

Kempinski Khan Palace

Kempinski Khan Palace

Terelj Hotel:
http://www.LuxuryGroup.com or www.tereljhotel.com

Terelj Hotel

Terelj Hotel

Ulaanbaatar Hotel:
http://www.LuxuryGroup.com or www.ubhotel.mn

Ulaanbaatar Hotel

Ulaanbaatar Hotel

Restaurants: Hazara Restaurant in District 13 Ulaanbaatar 

Shangri-La Hotel Ulaanbaatar  www.shangri-la.com/ulaanbaatar/shangrila/about/

 

 

comes highly suggest.
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Places to visit in Ulaanbaatar:

 

Sukhbaatar Square, the main square in Ulaanbaatar named after the famous patriot. The Parliament house, stock exchange, Opera and Ballet theatre as well as cultural palace are located in the surroundings of the square.

 

Sukhbaatar Square

Sukhbaatar Square

Bogd Khan Palace Museum: Most of the temples and monasteries along with their belongings, were destroyed during the stalinist purges of the late 1930’s. The Winter palace of Bogd Khan was spared in good condition. This is where Mongolia’s last king lived for 2o years.

Bogd Khan Palace

Bogd Khan Palace

Terelj National Park: Drive to Terelj National Park, one of the most visited sites near Ulaanbaatar. Terelj is set in the picturesque valley of the granite mountains and Terelj river.

Terelj National Park

Terelj National Park

Luxury Group Blog

Moscow, Russia. No longer an obscure spy movie setting !!

Moscow is no longer a grey scary capital of Communist Russia but a major tourist destination and very justifiably so. The Kremlin alone contains nine churches and several museums including the Diamond fund with its royal jewels. There are also many cultural performances including the world famous Bolshoi theatre. For those people from the pre-perestroika era, strolling through Red Square and exploring the city without the minders disguised as guides, that used to be required, can be a completely different and pleasant experience.

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If St. Petersburg is the soul of Russia, Moscow is its heart, an international marketplace and business hub where young people come to work and play. Cospicuous consumption has caught on in a big way, and Capitalism is everywhere, judging by the women dressed in designer clothes, fancy designer boutiques and expensive foreign cars on the street. Prices are on par with other European capitals at trendy cafes and restaurants and sushi is the current cuisine of choice. But for those looking for more down to earth food prices you can still find reasonably priced eateries along the Old Arbat - a pedestrian walkway catering to tourists - and the chain restaurants which are the favorite of locals as well.

Its true that traffic is bad as in any major city but Moscow more green than you'd think. A ring of parks running next to major streets and many others including the famed Gorky within the city center are a testament to that. This green belt provides also a great opportunity to observe Russians in their daily life; kids enjoying the playgrounds, young adults with their iPads and old men competing in chess tournaments.

Signs are not in English so that may prove frustrating but the famed clean beautiful Moscow Metro offers more than 180 stops and goes everywhere you need to be. Most hotel concierges will provide you with multi-lingual maps. Speaking of hotels and we naturally focus on the luxury ones we've got a few recommendations for you, the Ritz Carlton Moscow: www.ritzvarlton.com/moscow


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Also The Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow: www.radisson.ru/en/royalhotel-moscow

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If hungry, you are in for a treat in Moscow as many top restaurants also double as bars and clubs so its always sure to be a feast for the eyes as well as Russians dress to impress. One of our favorite is Cafe Pushkin designed to exude the feeling of a 19th century aristocratic house:

www.cafe-pushkin.ru/en/

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We encourage you to shelve your old perceptions of Moscow and go see what it has developed into today.

Luxury Group Blog

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Quite possibly the most under rated fun city in Asia.

While we love Bangkok, Tokyo and other well known Asian cities as much as anyone, we know once you visit Kuala Lumpur - capital of Malaysia - you will simply be amazed. This highly progressive city has gone from zero to 100 in the past 2o years. Super modern downtown with some of the best shopping, dining and nightlife anywhere. Kuala Lumpur is described by many as Singapore without the high prices and limitations. Of course Malaysia is much larger than Singapore. English is widely spoken among the Malay, Indian and Chinese people which comprise the inhabitants Malaysia. Just tell your taxi driver to take you to the Golden Triangle the epicenter of which is Starhill on Bukit Bintang Road. Home to the beautifully designed Starhill Gallery designed by famed architect, David Rockwell, short listed for the World Architecture Festival award in 2013 which connects to JW Marriott via " Time Tunnel ". While many visitors to Malaysia head straight to the resort cities of Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and Penang, Kuala Lumpur is worth lingering in. Take it from us.

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Expect to see tall skyscrapers, super luxury hotels and an unending array of fabulous restaurants serving reasonably priced cuisines from a variety of ethnicities. Many of the restaurants and bars stay open till 3:00 A.M. nightly. This is one lively city.

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Photographed here is Naab Persian Restaurant located in the heart of Starhill on Bukit Bintang road, serving delicious Iranian cuisine.

www.naabrestaurant.com/‎Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 12.59.15 PM

 

Luxury five star hotels galore with expansive lobbies often featuring dizzying choices of magnificent restaurants, bars and lounges such as the Tea Salon - photographed below - at the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur.

www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/kuldt-jw-marriott-hotel-kuala-lumpur

 Tea Salon

 

Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur. www.shangri-la.com/en/kualalumpur/shangrila

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The gleaming new Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur which is a super modern, luxury high-rise with floor to ceiling windows allowing you to take in the dynamic skyline of Kuala Lumpur. kualalumpur.grand.hyatt.com/‎ The reception is on the 32nd floor and on most occasions you take the elevator down to your luxurious modern room. The hotel is walking distance from KLCC mega shopping center and the world famous Petronas twin towers, long the world's tallest building until the title was taken away by Burj Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

grand hyatt KL

 

Drive 20 minutes out of Kuala Lumpur to Berjaya Hills and visit the magnificent destination resort: The Chateau Spa & Organic Wellness Resort. www.thechateau.com.my - An oasis of relaxation, gourmet organic cuisine and rejuvenation. See you in KL.

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Luxury Group Blog

Tokyo, Japan. Everything you've heard and so much more...

photoTokyo, Japan.


Land of the rising sun's capital is a megalopolis of over 13 million people. Home to the world's largest fish market, The Tsukiji Fish Market and some 88,000 restaurants and more Michelin starred restaurants than any other city in the world. Tokyo is famous for a lot of things, such as the ubiquitous vending machines that offer anything from canned coffee to umbrellas and ladies hosiery. Tokyo is also one of the cleanest and well run cities on the planet. Everything seems to work like a well oiled machine. Politeness is the order of the day in this fabulous city and the polite bow will be seen in all places including by the porters who load your bags into the bus. Areas not to miss are Asakusa, Akasaka, Shinjuku, Ginza and of course the hip and fashionable Roppongi Hills. Tokyo has the most extensive urban railway network in the world making it easy to navigate all the above places and just about anywhere else via rail, including of course the airports in Narita and Haneda.

file://localhost/Users/mariosarafraz/Desktop/photo.JPGThere are countless fine hotels in Tokyo but The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon in Asakusa is one of our top recommendations for many reasons. Located in the very heart of Asakusa across from the temple and overlooking the newly built Tokyo Sky Tree. ( 2013 )

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon. www.gate-hotel.jp/english.html

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Another fine hotel located in Akasaka is the ANA InterContinental Tokyo. At the time this is published the hotel boasts a 3 Michelin Starred restaurant led by Chef Pierre Gagnaire on the 36th floor - world's highest restaurant - with views of Tokyo's beautiful skyline and the Tokyo Tower. ANA InterContinental Tokyo. www.anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp/e/

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The Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and Ginza shopping district. The Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo.

www.shangri-la.com/en/tokyo/shangrila/

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For high quality Japanese and Chinese food in Ginza, do not miss Metropole Benitora in Sanwa Bldg Ginza. Address: 4 - 6- 1 Ginza 2 Fields Sanwa Bldg. Chuo, Tokyo.

Hotel Chinzanso: www.hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.com

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Hotel Claska. Authentic Japanese in the purest form. Rooms decorated by Japanese architects and true to the culture and heritage of this great nation with all the modern conveniences.

www.claska.com/en/

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For best transportation from downtown to airport and back we suggest the Narita Express. Efficient, Fast and reliable. Like most other things Japanese.

If your travels take you to other regions of Japan, such as Toya in Hokkaido, may we suggest The Windsor Hotel Toya. www.windsor-hotels.co.jp/en/

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Luxury Group Blog

Sweet land of smiles, beaches, temples, manicured gardens and amazing villas, Bali, Indonesia.

Bali, known as the island of gods for the numerous temples and shrines on the island, but the name alone conjures thoughts of days spend relaxing on fabulous beaches while soft gentle breezes caress your skin and attentive hotel staff cater to your every need. Well, all is actually true. There is so much to enjoy in Bali and in a nut shell we shall give you our version of where to go and what to expect: Bali is predominantly Hindu while the rest of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim.

Seminyak and Legian, perhaps the most commercialized, hip and also home to most luxurious villas and hotels of all sizes as well as bars, restaurants, boutiques, clubs, massage parlors and of course hotel options.

Kuta, which is close the airport and usually full of back packers, lower priced hotels and the younger late night type crowd.

Ubub, which is further inland has cooler climate and is known for being home to artists of all kinds.

Nusa Dua is a complex of five star hotels by the beach and is secure and safe for tourists, local and international.

Some of the hotels Luxury Group suggests are:

The Mulia Bali www.themulia.com

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Sentosa Private Villas: www.sentosaseminyak.com - gorgeous private villas with pool, indoor/outdoor showers and ponds with fishes.

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The Mansion Hotel, Resort & Spa: www.themansionbali.com - located in Ubud and beautiful throughout.

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The Villas Seminyak: www.thevillas.net/english/index.htm - private villas in the heart of hip Seminyak.

Villa Babar: www.balivillababar.com - on Bali's more quiet west side with 360 degree view of mountains.

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Tugu Hotel Bali: www.tuguhotels.com/bali/ - an amazingly beautiful place with an authentic antique collection.

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Lv8 Resort Hotel: http://lv8bali.com - located in Canggu

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Elephant Safari Park & Lodge: www.elephantsafariparklodge.com - A unique experience in Bali.

                                                                                                                                                                    

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The St. Regis Bali Resort. Spread across 9 hectares of lushly manicured grounds the gorgeous 123 suites and villas welcome guests in the grand St. Regis tradition. Located on Nusa Dua's most exclusive white sand beach and 30 min. from the international airport the hotel perfectly combines barefoot elegance with Balinese inspired living.

http://www.stregisbali.com 

The-St.-Regis-Bali-Resort_1259078744        

 

Don't miss Indonesia's famous dish, Sate beef, chicken or shrimp with Peanut Sauce and other delights like Coconut water fresh from the fruit.

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For a complete list of Bali's fabulous hotels hand picked for those who want only the best, visit: www.Luxurygroup.com

One of the most overlooked yet exciting cities in Asia, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia is a huge metropolis with a population of over 10 million ( October 2013 ) local currency is Rupiah. Shopping and leisure activities abound at Kuningan, Kemang and world class glittering malls at Thamrin Square. Also great shopping at Plaza Senayan for local handicrafts and woodworks for which Indonesia is very well known and also Plaza Indonesia. Manga Dua has the over crowded shops filled with local handicrafts as well as knock-offs of famous brands mostly visited by locals. Kota Tua is the old town which houses historical sites and museums. Hayam Wuruk is Jakarta's China Town. Ancol is a water theme park north of the city and also a marina for those who own boats and yachts. Many use this marina to head to the many beautiful and pristine islands north of Jakarta.

 

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Pulau Seribu is another attraction with untouched islands just 45 km away from Jakarta.

 

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Luxury Group has selected the best hotels for you in Jakarta. Grand Hyatt located in the very center of Jakarta, with multiple restaurants, outdoor poolside dining, the famous bar lounge with live music overlooking Thamrin Square. Website: http://jakarta.grand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

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Mulia Senayan Hotel in the Senayan area of Jakarta is another grand luxury hotel with more restaurants - some with star chefs - bars, cafes and live music than you can imagine with luxuriously decorated rooms and plush surroundings all around. Website: www.hotelmulia.com

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In the more quiet side of town, you will find the glorious and super luxurious The Dharmawangsa. This hotel will spoil you with its sheer quality. Website: www.the-dharmawangsa.com 

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Indonesia is well known for its magnificent furniture production and high quality lumber and Jakarta is a great place for purchasing them ready made or custom made. For a complete list of the most luxurious hotels in Jakarta and worldwide visit: www.LuxuryGroup.com

San Juan - Puerto Rico, United States A must visit !

San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States A truly likable city which is surprisingly easy to navigate and it is quite possible to see most of the good things this city has to offer in a weekend. The central streets of old San Juan can be overwhelming with the plethora of souvenir items which are on offer and if we had to suggest one souvenir item which could actually be of use to you, it would be the shop selling custom made Panama hats.

As luxury hotels are our focus at Luxury Group, we can't help but to start with that subject which is dear to our heart. Hotel El Convento www.elconvento.com is an old San Juan mainstay and as you may have guessed it was actually a convent for nuns at one point. Rebuilt in 1959 quite beautifully the restaurant & bar overlooking the grand open air courtyard is a must see.

El_Convento_CourtyardTwo other luxury hotels we really like are The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort www.stregisbahiabeach.com and The San Juan Water Beach Club hotel www.waterbeachhotel.com This hotel's skyline pool and bar is a must visit !

 

 San-Juan-Water-and-Beach-Club-Hotel-Hotel-patioA locals favourite place is the CafiCultura on San Francisco street on the corner of Plaza Colon. This is a lively place with excellent decoration, high ceilings, tastefully done marble floors and an ambiance which you'll love and you'd be glad you visited. The delicious items on the menu will keep you coming back as finding a good place to eat when away from home is always a really a good thing.

 

We also like Oceana Hotel for its view restaurant for great food, people watching, lovely music and fabulous drinks. www.Oceanapuertorico.com

 PR15e61001_9_800_000_6Sightseeing is a joy in San Juan aided by its seemingly endless historical buildings such as the Governor's mansion and the many cobblestone streets which add to the charm of this city.

Cafe del Angel on Avenue Ashford No 1106 is another established and reputable place for excellent local meals without pretension and the restaurants in the five star hotels can be very much relied upon for predictable quality meals.

 

If you enjoy visiting museums, we suggest Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico which are quite close to each other.

For beach lovers, which is just about everyone, a visit to Isla Verde is highly suggested. Most luxury beach resorts are located here and for a good reason. Enjoy !!!

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Luxury Group Blog

St. Moritz, Switzerland. When you desire for and demand simply the very best !!!

You wish to go to a winter sports and resort destination where quality, class and perfection are the priorities, you head for St. Moritz. Long known by those in the know as the premier choice for superb skiing, winter sports and alpine mountain experience. This Swiss alp resort city has got it all. Its now March 2012 and we're just back from this truly amazing place and as usual we've got the best information on where to sleep, play and eat. By train about 2.5 hours from Zurich main station. Depending on road conditions, car trip may take longer. You can also get here by train from Milan, Italy.

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There are 4 luxury five star hotels in the city that stand above all else.

1. The Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains. our favorite www.kempinski.com/en/stmoritz/Pages/Welcome.aspx

2. Badrutts Palace, legendary powerhosue of a hotel. www.badruttspalace.com

3. Suvretta House, equally legendary and located away from the rest up the hill. www.suvrettahouse.ch

4. Kulm Hotel. www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch/

You will find fabulously high quality gourmet faire at the various restaurants located in the aforementioned hotels. The Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains alone has two Michelin starred restaurants. for when you crave a very good local's hangout which is open very late after midnight, we suggest the pizzeria located in the basement of the Laudinella hotel located across from the Kempinski. They have a lovely array of pizzas and pastas as well as a nice salad bar to feed your hunger.

Don't miss the several cafe's and restaurants located high on top of the mountain accessed by cable cars and funiculars.

The apres ski bars at the hotel are unbelievably cozy and inviting. The Kempinski lobby bar is especially nice with a D.J. and a live band which add so much to the charm and ambiance of this beautiful space adorned with a gorgeous fireplace. For late night sophistication and some unbelievable people watching head to the King's Club located at the Badrutts Palace hotel but also accessible from the main street.

Below are some scenearies from St. Moritz, the hotels, the quaint shops, the well healed man walking his dog in his fur coat, King's club front door and the majestic Swiss Alps.

 

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Luxury Group Blog

The loveable, lovely and beloved Rome, Italy !

What can we possibly say that hasn't already been said about the eternal city ? The city that everyone loves and wants to visit. For those who haven't yet gone and even for those who have here are our suggestions.

The entire city is a living museum with amazing artwork, stunning architecture and unbelievable ancient sites but at the same time a lively 21st century city buzzing with life.

After you've visited the big famous historical sites such as, Vatican city, St. Peter's Basilica, The Pantheon, The Colosseum, The Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, and more you will be ready for some serious quality Roman food. There are countless cafe's and Trattorias all over the city but for a truly world class meal, visit the 3 Michelin starred La Pergola Restaurant: www.romecavalieri.com/lapergola.php located inside the Rome Waldorf Astoria Cavalieri Hilton Hotel. www.romecavalieri.com/ For more casual dining and delicious pastas, seafoods and other Italian favourites visit Piazza del Popolo where you will find less tourists and more locals. Try Ristorante Sabatini - 23, Vicolo Di S. Maria Tel. + 39 06 5818 307.

Best designer shops are on Via dei Condotti & Via Vittorio Veneto but for more unique shops visit Via del Corso and other boutiques scattered around the city. Via Cola di Rienzi starting from Piazza Risorgimento and the Tiber river and Via Nazionale between Piazza della Republica & Piazza Risorgimento also have many interesting and unique shops.

As for your hotel in Rome, which happens to be our expertise, Luxury Group recommends 3 fantastic and absolutely ideally located grand hotels.

Grand Hotel de le Minerve: www.grandhoteldelaminerve.com/

 

     

Grand Hotel Flora Marriott: www.hotelfloraroma.com/

Hotel Eden Rome: www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1872&EM=VTY_MD_eden_1872_overview

We hope and know that you will love this city as much as we and just about everyone else who visits it does. Rome is a timeless, elegant city which is extremely inviting, warm and very unique. Enjoy !

Luxury Group Blog

Chic, Exotic, Legendary, Vibrant, Beautiful and Shocking Cannes, France !

We are truly challenged for an adjective that would accurately describe this magnificent seaside city. Home to the world famous Cannes Film Festival each May there is much, much more to this city than just that.

Exquisite shopping, dining, beach scene and as though the city itself did not have enough to offer, Cannes is also within close proximity of some of the world's most exciting cities such as Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Cap Ferrat and Cap d'Antibe to name a few. First order of business is where to stay. There are 5 or so five star hotels in town but Luxury Group recommends and suggests, Hôtel Majestic Barrière: www.lucienbarriere.com/localized/fr/hotel/etablissements/cannes_hotel_majestic_barriere.htm

This hotel has it all, superb accommodations, exquisite restaurants with indoor and outdoor dining, unmatched bar scene and an enviable service and security. Every detail has been anticipated for your comfort and pleasure. Its no surprise that some of the most well healed guests from around the world make this hotel their temporary luxurious pad while in Cannes.

Are you hungry yet ?! there are countless restaurants in town as you would expect from any French city specially one as visible as Cannes, and many of them are very good, but we suggest 4 which cover the category from chic to casual.

For fantastic seafood and other specialties head straight to, Le Caveau 30:

http://www.lecaveau30.com/

If you feel like fabulous Italian fare and wood oven baked pizzas plus incredible people watching, there is Le Vesuvio: Address: 68 Boulevard la Croisette Tel. + 33 4 93 94 0828 Also for superior breakfast, lunch and dinner and the city's best people watching the clear choice is, Le Voilier: www.Levoilier.fr

Finally for arguably the world's best tasting pizza visit La Pizza Restaurant:

www.crescere.fr/restaurants-pizzacannes.htm

           

 

  Their signature half moon pizzas are highly coveted and you are bound to find a line of people waiting to sit down each time you visit.

Luxury Group Blog

Historical, super artsy and legendary city of Florence, Italy !

When visiting such a famously historical city, the birthplace of the Italian language, the obvious suggestion would be to visit the world renowned museums such as the Uffizi gallery and Pitti Palace, which of course one should do, but the fact is, the whole city of Florence can be described as one large museum. Every sidewalk, wall, structure left and right oozes history, culture, art and seven centuries of Florentine history. Under the dynasty of the Medici family and its most famous member – Lorenzo the Magnificent – Florence became the “centre of the world” for its figurative arts, science and literature. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, Florence was in fact the main cultural and artistic centre in Italy and Europe and was visited by the most famous 19th century Italian poets including Alfieri, Leopardi, Foscolo and Manzoni.

The second half of the 19th century saw the growth of the Macchiaioli movement, which paved the way for Italian modern art. Many of the works are now displayed in the Gallery of Modern Art in Palazzo Pitti.

But what we want to tell you about is where to stay, eat and do other fun unique things that you may not be aware of.

As for hotels, Luxury Group really likes the old palazzo residence expertly converted into a high ceiling all suite hotel, super cozy and luxurious, Palazzo Magnani Feroni.

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www.palazzomagnaniferoni.com/

Merely 2 blocks away from Ponte Vecchio and just about anything that one would like to see in this incredible city.

Relais Santa Croce: www.relaisantacroce.com/en/hotel The perfect balance of history, culture and modern comforts in this 18th century residence.

We also suggest Antica Torre Di Via Tornabuoni N. 1

www.tornabuoni1.com/site/index.php

Also located in the heart of Florence and run by super competent management and staff. Makes you feel at home. The hotel is housed in a prestigious building in the heart of Florence with impressive history.

A venerable mainstay among the five star hotels of Florence is the Villa Olmi Resort. www.villaolmiresort.com/en

Location, service, luxurious amenities and surroundings in this historic mansion will impress even the most seasoned. Let the expert Italian hospitality and know how take over and just sit back and enjoy.

The Westin Excelsior Florence: www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=43

Super luxury hotel located right on the river and minutes walk from Harry's bar.

You must be hungry by now and given the mind blowing choices of truly excellent eating establishments in Florence you will have no trouble stumbling into one fabulous restaurant after another, but allow us to recommend a few just the same.

L'Osteria di Giovanni: www.osteriadigiovanni.com/

Enoteca Pinchiorri: www.enotecapinchiorri.com/

Ristorante IL Latini: www.illatini.com/?lang=en for authentic mouth watering Italian cuisine.

While there are countless boutiques and shops dotting every street in the center, we would also like to recommend a master tailor: Piero Cisternino on Via Del Purgatoria 22 R. Tel. + 39 055 280118. He will mesaure you and custom make a suit for you that will fit you like a glove. With clients worldwide, he can use your measurements and send your suit to your home country. When it comes to making men's custom made suits, Piero knows his stuff.

Luxury Group Blog

Exciting, beautiful, glorious and dreamy Cape Town, South Africa !

          

 

This beautiful city has so much to offer we truly don't know where to begin. The Atlantic and the Indian ocean meet here and maybe that's one of the reasons why seafood is so good here, but then again so are the steaks at numerous fabulous steak restaurants. Below, are our picks of some of the restaurants & hotels NOT TO BE MISSED ! Hidden in the docks by the shipyard is the gem of a restaurant known to locals and those in the know, Panama Jacks: www.panamajacks.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether or not you like Indian food, paying a visit to Bukhara - the best Indian restaurant in the southern hemisphere is a must: http://www.bukhara.com/

 

As for hotels we've got several options for you.

For a combination of downtown location, grand style and majestic Table Mountain views there is The Mount Nelson Hotel: www.mountnelson.co.za/web/ocap/mount_nelson_hotel.jsp

 

 

 

 

Also in downtown ideally located very close to the Victoria Harbour but a much smaller boutique hotel with personal attention: The Sugar Hotel: www.sugarhotel.co.za/ Another downtown option is the Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella: www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1445 This hotel offers ultra modern rooms, some with Table Mountain views as well as a gorgeous all glass sauna on the top floor together with a swimming pool equipped with underwater music. The entire spa is equipped with radiant heating which is specially welcoming and relaxing.

Located just outside of Cape Town in False Bay is the majestic Colona Castle Hotel: www.colonacastle.co.za/

Beach, mountain views, sun and sand awaits you in this 5 star luxury hotel.

 

 

 

For breathtaking ocean views and numerous cafes and restaurants visit Camp's Bay in Ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to visit Stellenbosch for fabulous wineries featuring South Africa's best.

Luxury Group Blog

Some hot tips on places to sleep & eat in PARIS, FRANCE !

Here's our recommendations on some of the best places to stay and eat in the luxury category in Paris.

First you need a place to stay which offers the style, luxury, comfort and all the amenities that you're used to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. www.paris.vendome.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/ This hotel is in the Place de la Concorde and Louvre museum area. Super stylish with expertly trained staff.

 

 

Hotel Fouquet's Barriere. www.fouquets-barriere.com/ In the Corner of Avenue Champs Elysees & George V. Ultra hip, ideally located and so sophisticated !!

Hilton Arc de Triomphe. www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/PARDTHI-Hilton-Arc-de-Triomphe-Paris-hotel/index.do They leave nothing to be desired at this fabulous hotel. We like this place and we are not easy to please !

Hotel Paris Ritz. www.ritzparis.com

In the Place de la Concorde area and Louvre museum. A landmark in Paris. Do we really need to elaborate further on this hote ?!

InterContinental Paris Le Grand. www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/overview/parhb

In the 9th arrondissement. We are amazed at the level of quality in every aspect of this hotel.

Hotel Costes. www.hotelcostes.com/

This hotel is the favourite of celebrities and fashion models. Very close to Buddhar bar and fancy boutiques of Avenue St. Honore.

Among the many gourmet fine dining establishments in this city of expert chefs, Luxury Group suggests the following:

 

Le Relais de l'Entrecote. The steak and fries restaurant with the famous secret green sauce. It will be the most delicious cut of beef you've ever had. The restaurant takes no reservations and there is no menu, so get in early and get in que, enjoy and remember who told you about it. Just let them know how you would like your meat cooked.

L'Auberge Dab. www.rest-gj.com/aubergedab-1.html Gourmet dining in the true Parisian style !

 

 

 

 

 

Noura Lebanese Restaurants. 4 locations in Paris. www.noura.com

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Brasserie Lipp - St. Germain. www.ila-chateau.com/lipp/

Deserves every ounce of reputation that it's got, and more !!!

As for shopping, once you've visited the boutiques and department stores on Blvd. Haussman, and Avenue St. Honore and so many other places, we suggest you head to left bank and spend some time at Le Bon Marche Rive Gauche. www.lebonmarche.com/#home,a-la-une

Luxury Group Blog

Insider news on best hotels in London, United Kingdom

London, England. With so many luxury hotels, Luxury Group makes it easy for you to pick the finest of them to suit your needs.

The Ritz London www.theritzlondon.com

 

The Savoy London www.fairmont.com/savoy Re-emerged from extensive renovations in October 2010 better than ever.

The Lanesborough London www.lanesborough.com/ personal butlers and all else to satisfy the most demanding!

The Fours Seasons Canary Wharf - Gracing London's east end and minutes from London city airport.www.fourseasons.com/canarywharf/

The Mandarin Oriental London at Hyde Park and a steps away from the enticing shops of Knightsbridge www.mandarinoriental.com/london/

The Connaught in London's Mayfair www.the-connaught.co.uk/ The perfect marriage of style and classic tradition with a Michelin star restaurant !

The Dorchester www.thedorchester.com/ Inherently British ! Park Lane, Mayfair.

 

 

 

For so long the definitive address in London for prestige, luxury and ultimate in service.

 

The Landmark London www.landmarklondon.co.uk/

One Aldwych www.campbellgrayhotels.com/one-aldwych-london.html?lang=EN#/one-aldwych-london A modern classic. Contemporary and luxurious with a vibrant bar and an amazing indoor swimming pool.

For a complete array of world's finest in luxurious accommodations visit
www.LuxuryGroup.com

Luxury Group Blog

Why Buenos Aires, Argentina is the best destination in Latin America

This lovely unique latin American city has truly captured our hearts. So much to offer and so many things to do. We find it hard to cover it all, but we can at least let you in on some precious tried and true secrets ! 

Enjoy the wide tree lined boulevards of this inviting city.

 

 

There are many luxury five star hotels scattered around the city. Most visitors first head to the famous Recoleta district where the grave of the famed Evita Perone lies inside the cemetery there. This also happens to be one of the finest neighborhoods in the city. La Biela Cafe with it's magnificent outdoor/indoor seating is not to be missed. It lies gracefully in the corner of Avenida Quintana in Recoleta. Some of the wait staff have been working there for more than 30 years. All taxi drivers will know where cafe La Biela is. It's the ulitmate spot for meetings and see and be seen with great breakfast, lunch and dinner as well fabulous coffees. Order a cafe con leche and the local version of the croissant, Medialuna dulce.

www.labiela.com

Hotels in Recoleta area are:

The Alvear Palace www.alvearpalace.com

Four Seasons Buenos Aires: www.fourseasons.com/buenosaires/

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires: /app/webroot/img/upload/images/room-description.jsp

Now may we suggest a couple of not to be missed restaurants in Buenos Aires

Broccolino Italian Restaurant: www.broccolino.com/

La Brigada Restaurant: http://www.parrillalabrigada.com.ar One of the very best we´ve experienced in Buenos Aires, or anywhere else on earth for that matter. There are more expensive places, but none better. This well oiled machine of a fine restaurant serves the finest in meats, salads, appetizers, deserts and wines, Argentinean style, in an atmosphere which is cozy, inviting and extremely charming. The extensive and well stocked cellar can be seen under your foot from the glass floor and that is only the beginning of your unforgettable dining experience. Eat at La Brigada in the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires and thank us later.

Sottovoce Ristorante: http://sottovoceristorante.com.ar/ Finest Italian food and atmosphere in Buenos Aires.

LA CABAÑA: www.lacabana.com.ar They claim to have the finest beef in the world, and we tend to agree !! While there take a look at the photos celebrities and heads of states who have dined there before. 

La Estancia Restaurant: Avenida Lavalle 941 - Tel. (11) 4326 0330 for charbroiled excellent Argentinean steak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the more hip waterfront area - Puerto Madero - you'll find countless new restaurants but the long standing Las Lilas is a local favourite. www.laslilas.com/restaurant.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also very much recommend: Hereford steak Restaurant: Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 1140 - Tel. ( 11 ) 4342 8689

While in the Puerto Madero area, do not miss the ultra hip hotel designed by the famous French designer Philippe Starck: Faena Hotel + Universe.

www.faenahotelanduniverse.com

Buenos Aires as you may be aware is the birth place of Tango. For an unforgettable Tango dinner & show experience, head to San Telmo district and enjoy an enchanting Tango show at Senior Tango www.senortango.com.ar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best hotel in San Telmo area is the InterContinental Buenos Aires: www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/overview/bueha 

For an afternoon coffee or drinks visit the venerable and 150 + year old Cafe Tortoni: www.cafetortoni.com.ar/

For a complete listing of the world's finest Hotels, Resorts & Spas visit

www.LuxuryGroup.com

Luxury Group Blog

Visit Aruba for the finest sandy white beaches !

 

We make Aruba easy for you. Take your pick from the bustling harbour area where the cruise ships dock or the more isolated resort area where the luxury resorts sit along the amazingly beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters.

The harbour area is an inviting development of shops, restaurants, cafes & casinos offering food, relaxation, gambling and more.

The hotel to stay at in this area is the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. This hotel is located inside a luxury shopping mall featuring name brand designer shops and even a starbucks cafe. www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/auabr-renaissance-aruba-resort-and-casino/

 

In the resort area we suggest the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino:

www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/auabr-renaissance-aruba-resort-and-casino/

Another hotel we really like: Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa. Located in Palm Beach.

www.radisson.com/palm-beach-hotel-aw/aruaruba

 

 

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English, Dutch, Spanish & the local Papiamento are the prevailing languages.

Luxury Group Blog

Visit Beirut, Lebanon first when venturing into Middle East

Although other cities in the Middle East get the lion's share of the attention, we think Beirut, Lebanon is still the best kept secret in the region. Magnificent beaches, fabulous shopping, luxury hotels, gourment dining - arguably best food on earth - exciting night life & casinos, sultry belly dance shows and so much more. Take what you hear in the news with a grain of salt and go visit Beirut. There is a reason why it's the playground of the rich gulf Arabs in the know. 

Visit the Verdun & Achrafiye districts to see what this city has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel: Le Royal Beirut in the Juniesh district. www.leroyalbeirut.com/

Restaurants: Do not miss the extremely popular Kabobji restaurants, for an array of delicious Lebanese food, which is known to be addictive by the way. Several locations in town and one in the main street of Beirut, Al Hamra.

In the evening visit Awtar Restaurant for gourmet Lebanese dining coupled with authentic belly dance shows. www.awtarrestaurant.com/

 

Luxury Group Blog

Prepare to be very surprised by Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, may not be high on the list of your places to visit, but perhaps it should be. For now nearly all who travel there are either oil executives or politicians. But Baku has so much to offer if you only gave it a chance.

Since the discovery of oil this city has been going straight up.

Great bars and restaurants, elaborate shopping mall developments. fabulous boutiques featuring global brands you'd recognize instantly, but

beyond that, it’s a pleasant city with tree lined streets, an old town section and so much history.

Delicious kabobs at various restaurants, but one we recommend is Anadolou Restaurant. www.anadolu.az/index.php?language=en.

There are several of them in town, but the best one is the one located near fountain square where all the designer boutiques and popular bars are.

With all the new modern entertainment options many locals still take pleasure in an afternoon game of backgammon under a tree on a lazy afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for luxury accommodations, that’s real easy. Hyatt Regency Baku. www.hyatt.com/bau 

Luxury Group highly recommends Hyatt Regency Baku, Last time we were there in September 2010 the President of Russia was just checking out. That should give you an idea of what’s the best hotel in town.

Since 2010 there have been many new arrivals such as Four Seasons Baku, Jumeirah Baku and JW Marriott. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baku is located on the shores of the Caspian sea and about an hour drive out of town is where the best beaches ( Khazar ) are. Worth a visit as well.

Baku,Azerbaijan, give it a chance, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Karvansaray resturant located in the old town Baku will transport you to another time while serving the most delightful kabobs.

Luxury Group Blog

Why Istanbul, Turkey is still one of the best & most unique of destinations !

One of those cities that quickly transports the western traveler to another time and place. We all know how pleasant and welcomed that feeling is. Feeling as though you’re millions of miles away from your familiar surroundings in an environment that seems to belong to another time.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the Grand Bazaar and linger. There is some colorful merchandise on offer here, which can only be found here. The atmosphere is somehow addictive. You can easily spend your whole day there as its so easy to get lost in the maze of visual stimulants inside. There are some very nice restaurants inside the bazaar as well. Havzulu for one. Delicious food which you can select upon entering the restaurant before you sit down as they are already prepared and waiting to be enjoyed.

Take a Turkish Bath and have a traditional rub down. Most of the luxury hotels have very nice Turkish baths, such as the Ceylan, InterContinental.

istanbul.intercontinental.com.tr/tr/general/

Take your time to really discover this very amazing and historical city straddling the romantic Bosphorus which divides

the city between Asia & Europe. Take a boat ride and see the city from a different point of view. Enjoy a hot Turkish tea and Baklava at the famous Gulluoglu Baklava Bakery.

www.gulluoglubaklava.com/baklava.html

Dine at the Sultanahmet Kuftecisi by the famous musk. They’ve been in business for some 70 years in the same location.

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Hotels Luxury Group recommends in Istanbul:

Kempinski Ciragan Palace. By the romantic Bosphorus. www.kempinski.com/en/istanbul/Pages/Welcome.aspx

Ceylan InterContinental. In the heart of the city at Taksim.

http://istanbul.intercontinental.com.tr/tr/general/

Georges Galta Hotel:  http://www.georges.com/en/

Ajia Hotel. On the Asia side. One of our favourite. You will adore this place.

www.ajiahotel.com/

Eresin Crown Hotel Sultanahmet. In the center of it all.

www.eresinhotels.com.tr/ourhotels/default-en.html

Hotel Armada:  http://www.armadapera.com/home

When in Turkey, many, perhaps the majority head south to the coastline of Antalya. Luxury Group offers some of the finest hotels in the Turkish Riviera.

Mardan Palace www.mardanpalace.com/

Kempinski The Dome Belek www.kempinski.com/en/belek/Pages/welcome.aspx 

Summer months ( June, July, August ) can be very hot up to 45 degrees Celcius and more. But then again some sun starved people welcome that.

Also we highly recommend that you visit city of Nevsehir and the famous caves. 

Why not stay in the luxury hotel uniquely built into the caves: Argos in Cappadocia www.argosincappadocia.com/EN/

Finally visit Sapanca for wellness and spa treatment of your life at the Richmond Hotel & Nua Wellness Spa. www.richmondnua.com/english/index.php

Luxury Group Blog

We think Paris is the Prague of the west !

There are many cities which are compared to Paris, to stress their beauty but in the case of Prague many agree that the proper way to address it would be: Paris is the Prague of the west.

This is a truly beautiful city, which manages to take your breath away even if you’ve visited it before.

Its cold during the winter, but the warm charm is present through out the year. A stroll down Parizka street is sure to dazzle even the most well travelled. The romantic Vltava River and those graceful bridges over it. The magnificent castles, the pleasant marriage of old and new makes this city a true standout.

You will surely visit Venceslas square and its surrounding area, but be sure to also visit what the locals call the “ Yellow Market “ ask any hotel concierge and they will direct you. Restaurants offer very nice meals at surprisingly reasonable prices, although bargains are becoming harder and harder to come by as we move away from the early days of the fall of the iron curtain. 

Luxury Group's pick of hotels in Prague: 

                                                                                     Hotel Savoy http://www.hotelsavoyprague.com

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The Mark Luxury Hotel Prague http://www.themark.cz

Hotel Paris Prague http://www.hotel-paris.cz/

Radisson Blue Alcron Hotel http://www.radissonblu.com/hotel-prague

 

A fabulously luxurious hotel which will dazzle you in every way. The Mandarin Oriental Prague.

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Mandarin Oriental Prauge www.mandarinoriental.com/prague/

Four Seasons Hotel Prague www.fourseasons.com/prague

 

If you’ve got the time take a train to the city of Karlovy Vary for the fabulous spa & wellness treatments they offer there. A popular destination for wellness treatments by Russians for many years. Stay at Carlsbad Plaza Spa & Wellness Hotel http://www.carlsbad-plaza.com/en/