Hotel of the week

Murano

By Anthea Gerrie, August 19, 2010

The Murano delivers a very particular vision of Marrakesh conceived in Milan - Italian high design in an Arabian nights setting. The result is startling at times, but not altogether unpleasing.      

Rooms are spacious and attractive, the pool is cool in every sense, and the setting - in the tranquil oasis just outside the city centre known as the Palmeraie - a great base for Morocco's fascinating, but hot, dusty and noisy, shopping and entertainment capital.

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Villa Sant'andrea

By Anthea Gerrie, August 12, 2010

What can transform an already very good hotel into a truly great one? If you already have a great location and beautiful rooms, it is people. And the Villa Sant'Andrea has achieved greatness in its first season under excellent new management by Orient Express.

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Soho House

By Anthea Gerrie, August 4, 2010

With its lack of handsome lobby, uniformed flunkeys or even a sign over the door, Soho House is the antithesis of Berlin’s imposing five-star hotels. Yet it is a five-star animal, albeit of a different breed.

This is the latest enterprise of the media luvvies’ empire, now owned by Richard Caring, which started as a private club in London. Part of its appeal is that guests become members for the duration of their stay, admitted to the  fabulous 7th-floor bar, lounge and restaurant, and the rooftop pool and bar above.

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Royal Crescent

By Anthea Gerrie, July 28, 2010

If Bath is, as many assert, a Regency theme park, the Royal Crescent Hotel is its best ride. And one you don't have to queue for if you are staying inside this magnificent row of five Grade I listed houses designed by John Wood the Younger. He is said to have dreamed up the lawn-fronted crescent, which so spectacularly overlooks the city, because its shape had symbolism relevant to his masonic lodge.

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Viura

By Jenni Frazer, July 22, 2010

Nobody, apparently, was more surprised than the villagers of Villabuena de Alava in Spain's Rioja winemaking region when an extraordinary building started taking shape right next door to their 17th-century church.

But oddly, the small but eclectic Hotel Viura, named for one of the important white wine grapes of the region, now blends into the landscape, despite its ultra-modern concrete cubist architecture.

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Fairmont St Andrews

By Daralyn Danns, July 15, 2010

Set in 520 acres of lush, secluded estate beside the rugged Fife coastline, the Fairmont St Andrews - just three miles from this week's British Open - captivates you from the moment your cab noses on to its long driveway.  

The exterior resembles an elegant French chateau, but as soon as you step inside, the tartan carpets, paintings and the warm hospitality remind you that you are in Scotland. The bright, airy glass-roofed atrium adds an American flavour, as befits a hotel bought by the up-scale North American chain Fairmont 10 years ago. 

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Luton Hoo

By Robyn Rosen, July 8, 2010

Other than the giveaway in its name and the occasional low-flying aeroplane, guests at the sumptuous Luton Hoo could be forgiven for being unaware of its proximity to Luton airport.

The peace, calm and luxury make the hotel feel like a rural idyll, yet it is just 30 minutes up the M1 from North London. A winding, gravel drive flanked by towering trees, brings you to the magnificent palladian Mansion House built by Robert Adam in 1767, its 1,000 acres of parkland containing gardens landscaped by Capability Brown.

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Ston Easton

By Anthea Gerrie, July 1, 2010

V The trouble with newish country house hotels is that, polished and swagged within an inch of their lives, they spoil us for the real thing. Like Ston Easton Park, a really grand old pile relatively recently converted to a hotel.            Being seriously old, it has a fascinating history — but age brings its problems. So I had to get over the fact Ston Easton has a shabby, discoloured façade compared to the splendid mansions of golden Bath stone a few miles away, and that my vast bedroom smelled faintly musty.

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Grand Hotel Vesuvio

By Anthea Gerrie, June 24, 2010

No-one does old-style glamour like the Italians, and it's particularly true in Naples, the very essence of old-style, baroque, schmaltzy Italy. So it's no surprise to find a wealth of recession-defying silk, marble and silver at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooking Vesuvius, Sorrento and other heart-stopping delights of Naples Bay.

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Cape Grace

By Daralyn Danns, June 17, 2010

With its own quay at the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain as its backdrop and Robben Island across the water, the Cape Grace occupies one of the most magnificent locations in Cape Town and is just a short stroll from the smartest shops and restaurants.

A near faultless five-star hotel, with all the amenities to match - including huge rooms, flat-screen TV and free wi-fi - it is the friendly, professional staff who make the Cape Grace so special, seeming genuinely to care that your stay in the hotel and the city is perfect.

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