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If you’ve ever seen It Started in Naples, you’ll remember the Isle of Capri as an exotic lair where Sophia Loren lookalikes rollick. Fifty years later, beautiful revelers still steam up the Italian island’s fashionable hotels and bars, and perhaps nowhere more than in Hotel La Palma, the chicest haunt on Vittorio Emanuele II drag.Capri offers a potpourri of glitz, culture and nature, and at the close of a rigorous day shopping, eating pizza or trekking the bluffs, a glamorous spot to sip grappa and swap boasts may be just what you’re up for. Or a sauna and massage. La Palma runs the gamut.Despite its central location a Manolo Blahnik hop from the main Piazetta, Capri’s oldest hotel keeps its 74 rooms (66 double and 8 single) intimate and cozy. The frescoed walls take their cue from the airy “voyage-in-Italy” brushstrokes of 19th-century guests who painted in exchange for their lodging at the site’s original “Casa Pagano” inn.
Lively Caprese scenes in equally lively Caprese greens, blues and yellows brightened the interior of my Junior Suite, where you’d half-expect a musical to break out under the faux dome ceiling and arched doorway. The striped closet curtain and majolica floor tooted the same cheery colors, as did the bathroom ceiling and wall frescos. Nearly all of the rooms have a private terrace.
Read more: Places to Stay in Capri - Hotel...
When in South Italy’s storied Campania region, where would you rather stay:A) a mega-chain hotel?B) a restored monastery, palace or manor? If you answered “A,” no need to read on. But for travelers who yearn to be lord of a castle -- even for only a night -- can discover top heritage properties in the Campania capital of Naples, in nearby Sorrento and on the island of Capri across the bay.
And what getaway to these mainland cities is complete without a boat ride to Capri? Here are several vintage offerings to bring history to your bedside after visiting the Greek temples at Paestum, the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum or the resorts Tiberius left behind on the “Blue Island” of Capri.
Read more: Historic Hotels in and Around Capri
Cherry brandy, fado music and hand-painted tiles make for three perfectly sound reasons to visit Lisbon, Portugal, any time of the year. Two more are its international documentary showcase, Doclisboa (in October) and festival of independent world cinema called Indie Lisboa (in April).
If you're attending either, or both, of these emerging festivals, you'll want a fabulous place to repair to after hectic days of screenings, panels and parties. One solution to consider is the Heritage Hotels of Lisbon, a boutique chain of luxury boutique hotels that arguably rivals cinema in providing period stories and fantasy escape.
Read more: The Heritage Hotels of Lisbon
Český Krumlov, the Czech Republic's answer to Camelot, is so fairy-tale perfect you half expect mini-chiclets to rain down on its cobbled streets. Marionettes deck the panes of its gingerbread shops. Bears roam a castle moat. And the town's very name describes the bend in the Vltava River that rings this UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 13th century.It's no wonder Hollywood came here to shoot The Adventures of Pinocchio and opening frames of The Illusionist. All that's missing in the medieval fantasy set is a green ogre. Český Krumlov's mediating role between filmed artifice and real world makes it an ideal junction after summer's cinema rites in another corner of Bohemia, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Yet unlike the spa town of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), this South Bohemia destination lacks thermal waters to drink in or splash about. The closest thing is the indoor pool, sauna and solarium of its five-star Hotel Růže, housed in a 16th-century Jesuit monastery and university.
Read more: Doing it The Czech Way--The...
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