Tag Archives: hotels

Art of Romanticism

The magnificent Art of Romanticism. In 1861 Italians united Italy. After some battles. Thanks also to a great engagement of artists. All the kingdoms disappear to let space to a unique country. The process that brought all the country under the same king started in 1815, after the Congress of Vienna. We call this period Risorgimento (Resurgence). It gave the chance to Italy to change its shape. People worked hard to reach the goal and art gave an important contribution to it. Art of Romanticism became the flag of the movement.

The ability of the art to make a revolution impress me a lot. This happens many times, in almost all the eras, especially in the last centuries. Anyway, who loves art has an interest in analyzing the historical context. Not only. Who loves art want to pay attention to the techniques. It’s amazing how artists changed the way to paint in the 19th century. I like a lot of painting and sculptures and going around the Italian museums and exhibitions I saw the evolution of the style. Also the differences among the artworks of the various artists of the same period.

Art of Romanticism: the 19th-century revolution

Romanticism started at the end of the 18th century. When the new generation of artists understood that Neoclassicism wasn’t influencing anymore the society, they started to search for something new. They changed completely the way to express their ideas and point of view. The art of Romanticism has various features. Romanticism canceled the Neoclassical reasoning, control, geometric perfection and, above all, imitation of the art of the ancients.

Not all the artists of the period made a radical change, but most of them yes. They wanted to draw a line to separate the past from the present. Their style was dominated by unbridled passion, strong feelings and a renewed fervor for the religious world. Moreover, if the neoclassical artist was convinced that the perfection of art had been reached by the ancients, the romantic drew, instead, inspiration from the dark and mysterious world of the Middle Ages. That period until then had been considered a period of no importance and purely negative.

Art of Romanticism in Italy

Who loves art can easily understand how nice is a journey into the art of Romanticism. That period is really amazing because it takes people into modern art. The paintings are not only a representation of a view, but there is a sign, something more. I think the feature of the style is visible in the vigorous brushstrokes capable of interpreting reality. Color and not too defined signs tell a story.

This is what I like about the art of Romanticism. Then, of course, there are many elements related to the history of that period. I love to explore the most important event of Italian unity. Also, I like to see in the paintings how Italy was at that time. The same feelings, especially talking about techniques, come from the sculpture. If you want to see art in Italy you have a lot of opportunities. But I recommend you to explore the artworks of the 18th century.

Romance artists

If you like art visit Italy. Art of Romanticism has a huge collection spread in all the country. There are many museums that offer the view of great artworks to the visitors. Time to time in various Italian cities there are thematic exhibitions. I like them because they collect paintings and sculptures also from foreign museums and private collections. So it’s easy to see some artworks that are usually not visible to the public.

I will write more about some art galleries and museums. Because Italy can show you the best examples of the art of Romanticism. But now I want to share some pictures I took during my visits. So I let you enjoy them. Before I remind you that after finding a flight, maybe using some free miles obtained with your credit card, you can reserve a hotel and buy the tickets to enter the museum. Planning in advance will be useful especially if you want to see some temporary exposition because you will check the place and the dates.

Paintings

                                          One of the famous “kiss” of the painter Hayez

 

In the painting, you can see the famous writer Alessandro Manzoni, one of the Italian literature icons

 

                                     This young girl represents Italy, that was born in 1861

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to read more about my art incursions, check out the dedicated section of my blog. Share this post and subscribe to my newsletter, you will get updates and extra contents.

Luxury in Jesolo

I needed to plan a meeting in Jesolo, not far from Venice and for me it is a pleasure to be again in this small town. I decided to book an hotel for my few days stays to have all the comforts and also a good position to watch the sea directly from my room window. It is summer and the place start to host people on holiday, so also to be quiet, since I am in Jesolo for work, and have some good rest it is a need and not all the accomodations can offer this aspect.

Hotel Almar is a quite big resort located direcly on the beach, it offers a variety of facilities as a spa, gardens, pool, the private beach on the turquoise sea. There are also bar and restaurant where to taste specialities form the Mediterranean cuisine proposed in an innovative way. The professional staff gives assistance for any need and this is an added value for who wants to relax between work meetings.

Despite the conference area, the resort is more typical for holidays, but maybe this is the aspect I like because I need relax and rest in some moments. The suites are really modern and spacious, full of amenities to give to the guest a more pleasant experience. The balcony or maybe I should say the terrace offers an amazing view of the sea, a superb panorama. The elegance and the luxury are the leitmotiv of the hotel. Each detail is important for the staff.

 

Anasa

Hotels or apartments?

Now it is your turn. I need to decide between hotels and apartments. What is the best? For the New Year’s Eve destination I and my friends decided to go to Prague, but we are discussing the accommodation. I suggested to rent an apartment, but one of my friends insisted that hotels are better. He suggests to book a boutique hotel so someone will clean the rooms, we will have the breakfast included and so on. I wanted to go to an apartment to be more independent.

That is why I am trying to get ideas and suggestions from you. We have the task to decide, but you can be a support. What do you think? Are hotels better? Or are the apartments the best solution? Generally, it is a matter of price, but at the last moment you can’t find cheap rates, so the point is more related to the services and the amenities. To let you help me, I can describe what we found on Booking.com.

Hotels or apartments? The apartment

For our New Year’s Eve, I proposed to rent an apartment in Prague. Checking on Booking.com the different available options, I selected the most interesting one. It is larger than what we need, but we love luxury and comfort. What are the features of it? Simply: a marvelous terrace with a great view of the city. Not only, but there are also more things to mention. This is better than hotels for me.

The apartment, called Luxurious Pařížská, is located 400 meters from the Old Town Square. The position is really very good to see the attractions. The terrace then allows having a superb point of view on the Prague center. Free WiFi is included in the rate. There are hitters and a very big space. Five bedrooms, so one more than what we need, a living room, three bathrooms with a bat and a spacious living room. Plus a seating area and a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher.

Hotels or apartments? The hotel

My friend prefers definitely the hotels so this is our selected option. On Booking.com we found a very good one, but what about independence. It is a boutique hotel, called Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa, and it is located 5 minutes walking distance from Charles Bridge. The place is perfect and it is a very good structure, with even more amenities of other boutique hotels.

What are the features? Free WiFi, reception open for 24 hours and they offer a complimentary welcome drink. Breakfast is included. They have a spa, Ecsotica Spa and Health Club, hosted in 11th-century cellars, you can imagine what a beautiful setting where to relax. The access is free and guests can use the fitness area, sauna, and pool. It looks perfect, but what about the independence?

What do you prefer?

Please help me! I am not asking to support my proposal against the one of my friend, but just to express your thoughts. We have limited time to book and it is necessary to define what we want. I am asking you what would you prefer. Hotels or apartments? What is your choice when you travel? Why? What are the elements that influence your choice? Comment below and you will give me a real help to decide and also to convince myself and my friends. Thank you!

Boutique hotel: why choose it

Why not a boutique hotel? This is what a friend of mine asked during our plans for New Year’s Eve… I was focusing on apartments and, I admit it, I was insisting a bit on this solution. Why? I want to feel totally free and completely independent. This because we will be on holiday. Anyway, now we have some more doubts and we need to decide between a luxury apartment and a boutique hotel.

I am thinking to share some pics found on Booking.com so maybe you can help us to decide. It becomes like those TV show when you can ask help from the audience. I am not a TV lover, but I think there should be a famous format called “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. I am trying to win my stay for the New Year’s Eve, but I have to decide among the luxury apartment. Before to do that I can explain to you why my friend prefers a boutique hotel. Let’s see together how and why to choose it.

Why choose a boutique hotel

A boutique hotel is an expression of charm and luxury. The structure offers an intimate stay. This is the real difference between the hotel chains and the big resorts. Boutique properties can show a unique style and décor, along with the perks they feel best suit their guests. There is a smaller footprint that helps guests to feel comfortable and in a place more similar to their home.

You can benefit from a tailor-made service, incomparable assistance, like in a family, to a high level of privacy. You have a quiet space to relax. There are more reasons to book a boutique hotel anyway. This starting point, of course, it looks like a great competition with the luxury apartment. Anyway, a hotel gives you more, like someone who cleans the room every day and a ready breakfast every morning.

The reasons to book a boutique hotel

  1. Most of the small boutique hotels are family-owned and run. The family members manage directly the structure and the services.
  2. Many boutique hotels are luxury places with the breakfast included in the rate.
  3. The staff knows the guests by name, so the interaction is more friendly.
  4. Some hotels of this type are located in beautiful quiet places or in the best tourist parts of the cities.
  5. The setting is unique and not like big chains with the structures made using the same standards and design.
  6. There are fewer amenities than bigger hotels, but you can get support to craft your perfect getaway. Maybe the spa is missing, but who are searching for a romantic break, the boutique hotel is simply perfect.
  7. They are not offering loyalty programs and neither co-branded credit cards, but guests will always get special treatment and discounts. Anyway, there are some companies that operate with boutique hotels and they give you a card as a loyalty programme. It is the case of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In this case, you can get also free nights.

How to book a boutique hotel

Now you know the benefits given by this type of structure, so what you have to check is already listed. In fact, a real boutique hotel has the described features. Plus: they have four or five stars and not many rooms. Checking the pictures you can see the setting. There is always something exclusive and surely you will never feel to be in a déjà vu. Check the availability and the prices on Booking.com. Then I suggest you contact directly the hotel. Maybe they have special rates or they can offer a particular condition. Don’t forget anyway to read the reviews. It can be useful.

And now?

Let’s go back to my challenge. Do I have to book a luxury apartment or a boutique hotel? Well, I really need your help. So stay tuned, because I am preparing a post with more details and you will be able to help me in my decisions. You will be so important because I will get more advice to share with my friends.

 

 

 

Book a five-star hotel now

Is booking a five-star hotel a dream or an illusion? Before to reserve your room in the most fabulous hotel ever, you should know a few things. I want to explain to you how the rating works and give you some tips. There is a bit of history and quite a lot of experience and knowledge. I will make you aware of the five-star hotels so you will be completely conscious to choose.

Five stars indicate a high-level resort and it is also a term that defines luxury. Do you know how a hotel get the stars? I am going to explain this because if you want to sleep in a great hotel, you need to be aware of reality. I think you already know that in each country you can find a five-star hotel with totally different features and luxury level. Why? Let me go step by step into the topic.

 

 

Some history

Today to travel is an easy experience for many people, but in the past, it was generally more expensive and more difficult. The number of travelers increased in the last century and this gave a new idea to important companies. Think about the Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide or to the Michelin Guide. They wrote some books with information and tips about destinations, hotels, restaurants and about all what is needed by a tourist. In 1958 Forbes had a Travel Guide, at that time called Mobil Travel Guide, and the staff invented the term “five-star”

That was the origin fo the five-star rating system. Quickly and easily other guides started to use it and now it is common for all of us. But now we don’t have any international system yet. That is why you can see huge differences between European, American, African, Asian five-stars hotel. Each country makes an evaluation and the features are always different, also the level. Have you ever been to a five-star hotel in a country that it can be like a three-star hotel in your country? To me happened and that is why the raring is never the only criteria you should use.

How is the hotel rating?

You as a traveler go in an Italian five-star hotel and inside you find a gourmet restaurant. Then you go to Indonesia and there is no gourmet restaurant in your five-star hotel. This example shows how can be difficult to rate a hotel, especially without a common way of act. The problem is also to sizing the big and the small hotel or to measure the features of a family hotel and the ones of a big chain. How can you compare them and decide what are the main elements that give more or fewer stars? How can you give to tourists concrete help to choose the best accommodation?

These questions need an answer from the World Hotel Rating Project. After a lot of work made by experts on the international level, there isn’t yet a solution. Somehow the failed and now we still have the same problem. What we can affirm now is that the stars, how it happens for restaurants, came from opinions.

Of course, there are procedures and experts with the task to make the evaluation, but mostly it depends on their opinion. In some countries, Italy especially, the number of stars depends also on the fiscal system. Now everything is related to rank properties, or at least it is what the travel industry does.

Regional ranking

What about lobbies, restaurants, comfortable beds and customer services? If you want to book a five-star hotel now, you need to know that the criteria are different region by region. Each country has specific rules, but we can sometimes consider a bigger area as it happens in Europe. As an example, I post here the table with the rating established by Hotrec, the umbrella organization that groups 39 associations from 24 countries. This is the biggest association in all Europe and they evaluate hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

Hotel starCategoryCatalogue of criteria
*Tourist- 100% of the rooms with shower/WC or bath tub/WC
- Daily room cleaning
- 100% of the rooms with colour-TV together with remote control
- Table and chair
- Soap or body wash
- Reception service
- Facsimile at the reception
- Publicly available telephone for guests
- Extended breakfast
- Beverage offer in the hotel
- Deposit possibility
*SSuperior TouristThe Superior flag is provided when the additional service and accommodation provisions are not sufficient for the next Hotelstar. The bathroom facilities are usually at the same level as for two stars hotels but built from cheaper materials. The cost for regular inspection by independent associations is waived as well.
**StandardIn addition to the single star (*) hotels:
- Breakfast buffet
- Reading light next to the bed
- Bath essence or shower gel
- Bath towels
- Linen shelves
- Offer of sanitary products (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving kit)
- Credit Cards
**SSuperior StandardThe Superior flag is provided when the additional service and accommodation provisions are not sufficient for the next Hotelstar. The Standard-Superior does usually offer the same service level as three-star hotels but the interiors of the hotel are smaller and cheaper so that the three stars were not to be awarded by the inspection body. A two-star superior does not require mystery guesting.
***ComfortIn addition to the standard star (**) hotels:
- Reception opened 14 hours, accessible by phone 24 hours from inside and outside, bilingual staff (e.g. German/English)
- Three piece suite at the reception, luggage service
- Beverage offer in the room
- Telephone in the room
- Internet access in the room or in the public area
- Heating facility in the bathroom, hair-dryer, cleansing tissue
- Dressing mirror, place to put the luggage/suitcase
- Sewing kit, shoe polish utensils, laundry and ironing service
- Additional pillow and additional blanket on demand
- Systematic complaint management system
***SSuperior ComfortThe Superior flag is provided when the additional service and accommodation provisions are not sufficient for the next Hotelstar. The accommodation facilities for a superior hotel need to be on a modern level and fully renovated which is checked regularly.
****First ClassIn addition to the comfort star (***) hotels:
- Reception opened 18 hours, accessible by phone 24 hours from inside and outside
- Lobby with seats and beverage service
- Breakfast buffet or breakfast menu card via room service
- Minibar or 24 hours beverages via room service
- Upholstered chair/couch with side table
- Bath robe and slippers on demand
- Cosmetic products (e.g. shower cap, nail file, cotton swabs), vanity mirror, tray of a large scale in the bathroom
- Internet access and internet terminal
- "À la carte"-restaurant
****SFirst Class SuperiorThe Superior flag is provided when the first class hotel has a proven high quality not only in the rooms. The superior hotels provide for additional facilities in the hotel like a sauna or a workout room. The quality is checked regularly by mystery guesting of an external inspection service.
*****LuxuryIn addition to the first class (****) hotels:
- Reception opened 24 hours, multilingual staff
- Doorman-service or valet parking
- Concierge, page boy
- Spacious reception hall with several seats and beverage service
- Personalized greeting for each guest with fresh flowers or a present in the room
- Minibar and food and beverage offer via room service during 24 hours
- Personal care products in flacons
- Internet-PC in the room
- Safe in the room
- Ironing service (return within 1 hour), shoe polish service
- Turndown service in the evening
- Mystery guesting
*****SSuperior LuxuryThe Luxury star hotels need to attain high expectations of an international guest service. The Superior Luxury star is only awarded with a system of intensive guest care.

What about six-star hotels? They do not exist in the European ranking and if you take a look in the various countries, you can get the same result.

If you want to know more about the catalog of criteria, you can have your copy here.

The doubts of a traveler

When you search for a five-star hotel you generally do it online. All the review websites use the five-star system and this means that also the reviewer gives stars to the structure. From one to five. This makes again the confusion, especially because you see stars everywhere on the website and you don’t know about the real ranking. There are always opinions. Some done by experts, some others by guests, with their criteria and knowledge, and also some wrote by competitors.

Take into consideration that the review represents only how much a person liked the hotel. It has no relation to the level of luxury of the hotel. You have any way to move into the world of luxury hotels and the travel industries. It includes tourists. So let me give you some advice. From the research to the reservation.

Use Booking.com to reserve a five-star hotel

Many people are going to check TripAdvisor. It is good to read a lot of opinions, but not all of them are real. Why? It is open to everyone, you can insert a review after some months and the system does not verify them deeply. Booking.com or similar platforms are asking and accepting reviews only from who booked a room and stayed at the hotel. Plus there is a limited period to write the opinion. So they are more real.

Of course, keep in mind that anyway, the evaluation is very personal. Your criteria can be different. You can also compare pictures and read comments left by business travelers, group, families and so on. With filters, it is easier to focus on the most relevant reviews for you. Also, travel blogs can help you, but be careful, because some posts are sponsored, so the advice is paid.

Check the rating

The most important thing is the rating. If you want to book a five-star hotel now, focus on the source. Check the country rating system. I know that it is bad, but also not all the countries have a very well organized procedure. So Hotrec in Europe or AAA’s in the USA, for example, are more reliable than the organizations of certain regions. In Italy, Spain, and Belgium the hotel stars are regulated by the law. This is safer for you.

Be in touch with the hotel

After the research online you can have some doubts, so the best way to clarify them is to talk to the hotel. Call the staff, ask your questions about offers, amenities, and facilities. An alternative writes an email to them. You will obtain two results: the information you want and the service quality. Their way to answer, their speed, the details give you a precise idea on how they work. This helps you to understand the level. Believe me, the real five-star hotel is recognizable.

Take care of the details

Do you want to stay in a five-star hotel? Pay attention to the details. Luxury doesn’t reside in the overly fancy, like a big flat screen or a big bottle of champagne and so on. Everything can be found in the tailor-made service and also in the personalized touch. A well-furnished room shows a particular artwork or the last design object, high-quality toiletries and so on. So check the setting of a room by pictures and description.

The hotel features

The reservation process is giving you a precise idea of the hotel. If you have difficulties and if they are not able to face and to solve problems, it is a bad sign. It will be the beginning of a nightmare that can continue during your stay. About breakfast, the point for a five-star hotel isn’t the cost. You have to check the quality and the variety of food. They have to provide sweet and salty food, freshly made and in enough quantity to serve the clients. If they have a restaurant and they bake directly it means that your hotel is ready to give you a five-star stay.

WiFi is not always provided for free, but if the price is so high, maybe you should consider another hotel. It is important also the spa and the quality of it is already visible from the hotel website. Pictures are not so important, except for some details, but the list of the amenities, of the treatments and the description of the service give you feedback. Of course, when you are there you can immediately notice if there are differences. That is why it is good to read carefully and ask directly to the structure. It is always hard to express high quality if you don’t have it. Because it is a matter of style.

Conclusions

In the end, I can confirm that there aren’t rules to evaluate a hotel. That is why public opinion becomes very important. You can also use social pages as Twitter to search for a review, just keep in mind the real value of them. The last tip is: don’t trust a too low price. Also, a five-star hotel needs the client to avoid an empty room, so it offers discounts.

But they can’t be so huge. If the rate is too much convenient there are different reasons. Among them: the quality of the hotel isn’t high, they give you the worst room (also in this case the hotel isn’t a luxury one) or there are some tricks. Be careful. Now you are anyway more aware of a five-star hotel and you can choose better.

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