Athanor Hotel

Bourgogne

High time for High Wine in Amsterdam

by Matthew Florent - April 17th, 2014

Thanks to writing this blog, hotels send me bits of news before the wider public gets to hear about them.

This serves two excellent purposes.

1. It makes me feel important which I quite like.
2. It helps me decide where to go and when.

For example boutique hotel, The Dylan in Amsterdam emailed me a little while ago to tell me about the Serendipity Collection. Excellent name for a collection I’m sure you’ll agree. But what is this collection?

I shall tell you.

The Dylan Amsterdam

The Dylan Amsterdam in the Netherlands

It is 16 new rooms including two signature suites created in partnership with a bloke called Remy Meijers. If you haven’t heard of this interior designer don’t worry. How many of us know the names of more than about 3 interior designers? In fact I think I know two. And one of those is Remy.

The point is that if you had a hotel and you wanted a couple of rooms redesigned with the specific purpose of making people who walk in suddenly and overwhelmingly feel that their house décor is wildly inadequate Remy is your man.

The hotel was among the very best small hotels in the city before Remy got involved; now it’s probably number 1. The view hasn’t changed, that’s still the Emperor’s Canal you’ll be pleased to hear.

And two other things haven’t changed that are absolutely vital for any guest to partake in while there. If you go and don’t do them then you and I can’t be friends because I won’t ever be able to understand why.

Vinkeles on the Water. It’s Michelin star food.

Very nice Melissa but so what? I’ll tell you so what: You eat it on a canal boat.

The Dylan Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dylan Amsterdam in the Netherlands

I know, I had to sit down when I found out too. Dry land eating is dead to me now.

Second is the cleverest high tea I’ve ever heard of. The Dylan took the incredibly brave and wise decision to remove the tea from High Tea (omg) and replace it with wine.

High Wine.

I know I know, a thousand times, I know. Whoever is in charge at this hotel is a genius. If I wasn’t taken I would find them, woo them, woo them some more and then come the next February 29 get down on one knee and beg them to marry me.

Once married we could go to Amsterdam, go shopping, visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Hermitage, eat Michelin Star food on a canal boat and in the afternoon… mini sandwiches, cakes and wine at The Dylan of course.

No tea, thanks very much!


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Prince Harry, palaces and Dalmatians.

by Matthew Florent - April 10th, 2014

Beyonce & Jay-Z, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Douglas, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey… and lots more have all been to Croatia.

And this is not a new thing. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton all went many moons ago.

The three spots of choice for famous visitors appear to be Split, Dubrovnik and an island between the two called Hvar. So I’m going to all three and the chances are I’m going to see someone famous.

The only slight issue with this is my inability to play it cool when I see famous people. They don’t even have to be all that well known to be honest. If they were on television once in the 1980s it’s enough to get me overexcited. So I’m going to take Henry with me. To act as a buffer between the celebs and I, so I avoid embarrassing myself horribly. And avoid ruining the famous people’s holidays.

Villa Dubrovnik

The trip will start in Dubrovnik at the aptly named Villa Dubrovnik.

Perfect spot to safely spy on celebs because it’s high above the Adriatic with views across the water to the old city. No super yachts will be sneaking past me. The hotel’s recent renovation has resulted in many nice things but most important is the restaurant on the cliffs. This is the best place to enjoy this view. My binoculars and I will have a lovely time up there drinking wine and eating prosciutto. And actually, I hear this place is so nice, I might not even need binoculars to spot movie stars. They may well be staying in the hotel with me.

Being a seaside setting it would seem silly not to get on a boat. Villa Dubrovnik offers free boats that can take you to Lokrum island which, I’m told, has a fortress, botanical gardens and a lake. Sounds ridiculously pleasant.

But these are short trips and I want more boat time so will be heading to Split by sea with a quick stop at Hvar. Prince Harry spent his summer holidays there not long ago so the chances are I’m going to like it. If it’s fit for a royal, it’ll do me nicely.

And naturally I’m then heading to the palace.

Hotel Vestibul Palace

No, not Buckingham Palace, it’s better than that. Hotel Vestibul Palace in Split. Which is within the walls of the city’s ancient Roman Palace. A palace in a palace. Very posh. Although I must admit it’s a small palace. Just seven rooms wouldn’t be enough for the Queen’s corgis but it’ll do me very nicely indeed.

Nearby are the Dalmatian Islands. I mention them partly because they are beautiful and worth exploring. But mainly it’s because Dalmatia is where Dalmatian dogs get their name from and I wanted an excuse to use a photo of one!


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Madinat Jumeirah Dubai: Book a Club Room for amazing benefits

by Matthew Florent - April 6th, 2014

Madinat Jumeirah is one of Destinology’s most popular luxury resorts in Dubai, and one where we receive a large amount of repeat bookers.  With an average rating on our website of more than 95 out of 100 for all three deluxe resort wings, it’s not hard to see why.

Surrounded by tranquil Arabian waterways and fronted by the golden shores of Jumeirah Beach, the location is fantastic – and with Sinbad’s Kids Club available for younger guests – a stay here is ideal for the whole family too.

Some recent award news is that at the TimeOut Restaurant Awards Pierchic (below, left) won the most romantic restaurant award and Al Fayrooz Lounge (below, right) won the highly recommended afternoon tea award at Al Qasr. So its a connoisseurs choice, too.

The resort counts a Talise Spa, huge swimming pool, 25m indoor lap pool and 5 tennis courts among its host of fine facilities – and services are exceptional too with a traditional Arabian souk, numerous design boutiques and a sauna and treatment centre perfect for pampering after some retail therapy.

Booking a Club Room or Suite at Madinat Jumeirah offers the following range of enhanced benefits. The inclusions below are applicable to the Arabian and Ocean Club rooms at Mina A Salam and Al Qasr and for all Suite categories across the resort plus the Malakiya Villas.

•    Return airport transfers to and from Dubai International Airport in BMW or Lincoln limousines
•    Daily breakfast within selected buffet restaurants or in the Club Lounge
•    Complimentary and unlimited access to Wild Wadi Waterpark with 30 thrilling rides
•    Complimentary access to Sinbad’s Kids Club with daily activities and entertainment
•    Complimentary internet access in rooms and public areas
•    Complimentary sunset beverages and a selection of canapés offered daily
•    Complimentary access to the private 2km beach with views of the Burj Al Arab
•    All day tea, coffee and soft drinks served in the lounges
•    Daily afternoon tea with light refreshments
•    Late checkout subject to availability

So, if you’re thinking of visiting Dubai this summer – head to this immaculate resort and write a review on our website after your visit!


Destinology World Wide Travel Blog

LONDON – THE JAMES BOND WAY

by Matthew Florent - April 3rd, 2014

The London Film Museum in Covent Garden is now the home of  the largest official collection of James Bond vehicles ever exhibited in London. The exhibition, which is open 7 days a week until the end of 2014, features  a wide range of vehicles, miniature models, action sequence boards, vehicle concept art and props from all of the James Bond films including ‘Wet Nellie’ Lotus Esprit S1, from The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger, 1964 and the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye, 1995.

Bond In Motion London Film Museum

Inspired by this exhibition, we decided to create a an itinerary for Bond fans to experience London, the James Bond way.

9am.  Shop on Saville Row, Mayfair to make sure you look the part

Remember that time when you saw James Bond wearing something other than a high end tailored dark suit or tuxedo? Nor do we. Although with research (or a sharper memory than us) you will find the occasional casual outfit, Agent 007′s wardrobe is pretty much full of suits, tuxedos and a poplin or oxford shirts – all of them made from the highest quality fabrics and fitting perfectly.  So if you really want t experience London like James Bond, then it’s time to take a trip to Saville Row, located just a few streets away from The May Fair. Since the late 18th Century, tailors on Saville Row (previously  known as Saville St)  has been the destination for bespoke tailoring for the rich, famous and influential London society.

James Bond in Skyfall

 

11am. Hire a Private Chauffeur to drive you around London in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

Jame Bond style doesn’t end with the wardrobe, equally important is the car he drives, so on your mission to visit some of the landmark London locations Agent Bond has been seen in, make sure you’re seen getting around in the right car! This private tour will take you around to 15 Bond film locations in Rolls Royce Silver Shadow,  the car  Zhukovsky travels in from The World Is Not Enough.

Rolls Royce Silver Cloud

3pm. Go to the Bond In Motion exhibition at the London Film Museum

It’s what inspired us to write this blog post in the first place, and really is a highlight of our one day London – The James Bond Way itinerary. Featuring the actual cars used from the James Bond movies, this is your chance to see how the cars, central ‘characters’  to all movies,  have evolved over time as well as check out some of the fancy Bond car gadgets. The London Film Museum is in Covent Garden.

The Jaguar XKR on location

5pm. Go on a high speed boat chase on the River Thames

The private tour of London is a great experience, but it is missing one key aspect of the way Bond travels – speed! So take to the water with  The Ultimate MI6 Spy Experience and what London wizz by on route to the O2 to the tune of your favourite bond songs.

7pm. Stylishly sip on a cocktail

Chances are you know how James Bond likes his favourite cocktail to be served. Whether you prefer Martinis or Mojitos (or any other type of cocktail) , make sure you choose a classy venue surrounded by stylish people. The May Fair Bar is an award winning London bar that is regularly frequented by influential Londoners and visitors alike.

Cocktails at the May Fair Bar

late. Stay in an exclusive suite

Ever wonder how 007 has the energy to live one action packed day after another? Easy, he gets a good night’s sleep! The May Fair Suites collection offers the largest and most iconic suites in London, but the one that we think James Bond would choose to stay in is the Ebony Suite, complete with futuristic facilities, stylish black interiors and a large terrace with panoramic views of London.

Stay Stylish, stay in the Ebony Suite in Mayfair

 

The 007 franchise is the longest running in film history with twenty-three films produced since 1962 and is based on the books by Mayfair born, Ian Flemming.

 

 


The May Fair Hotel Blog

Every time I go to Bruges I worry that it’s not real.

by Matthew Florent - March 30th, 2014

How can it be? It’s too pretty to be a real place.

I pinched myself several times on a recent trip while walking around salivating at chocolate shops and wondering what time it becomes OK to start sampling Belgium’s extraordinary array of beer.

But I didn’t wake up. It is real. I’m not Alice and this isn’t wonderland. It’s Bruges. And I’m Melissa.

The whole place appears to have been put together with a level of care that reminds me of a very very expensive wedding cake. A cake that’s big enough for you to mini-break on for a few days.

I can’t be sure how many photos I took in total but, to give you an indication of why I might have repetitive strain injury in my finger, during the half hour canal tour alone I took 74. Because whichever way you look at, and whatever it is you happen to be looking at, there’s a postcard waiting to be printed.

There are two very important things one needs to make sure of, when a couple of days here await.

First, if you’re on the five two diet, make absolutely certain the two immediately precede or follow your trip. Because you have to eat waffles here. And pancakes. And truffles and bounteous hot meals of beef and mussels and frites. And drink the beer I mentioned earlier because nobody does beer as well as the Belgians.

HUOSTDO_39322097_Exterior__hotel_1024x681

Second, and this is even more important, stay at Hotel De Orangerie.

I don’t normally give orders to readers, it’s probably rude and I don’t imagine to know any more than you do about anything. But I do know that if you don’t stay here you’re, at best, staying in the second best hotel in the city.

It’s everything I love about Bruges condensed into a little converted 15th-century convent.

On one side its ivy-covered facade overlooks the canal with easily the best outdoor sitting space in town. On the other a giant barn door, originally designed to let a horse and cart through, acts as the front door behind which a painfully perfect 20-room hotel oozes that charisma and care that chain hotels repeatedly try to unsuccessfully impersonate.

They can’t copy this though. Because the man who showed me to my room would marry the hotel if he was allowed to and wasn’t already in a relationship. It doesn’t matter how deep your pockets, you can’t pay for the passion of this chap. He epitomises the reasons independent hotels continue to defeat the economies of scale odds.

HUOSTDO_39322106_Charming_Room_1024x684

The rooms are a masterpiece of interior design. Effortless eclecticism that demonstrates great taste and great patience as the furniture was clearly a slowly built collection, not a job lot. If I thought there was any way of getting away with stealing everything in my room and having it delivered to my London flat I would have done so.

Breakfast was yummy, which was unsurprising. Surprising was that nobody was wolfing their food desperate to get back out into the delights of Bruges. Although I then realised I was subconsciously taking my time over every mouthful too. Because when you’re in this hotel you’re already in the best of Bruges. And the rest is just outside the window.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Take me to Mardi Gras

by Matthew Florent - March 27th, 2014

“Come on take me to the Mardi Gras, where the people sing and play. Where the dancing is elite and there’s music in the street both night and day…”

Paul Simon fan or not I challenge anyone to hear this verse, read these words and not conclude that New Orleans is the place to be on March 4.

I first heard the song as a child and ever since I’ve wanted to find out what he was talking about. And this year, finally, I will be headed to one of the world’s most famous parties.

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

For those of you who haven’t spent years obsessing about a Paul Simon song, Mardi Gras is basically music, parades, picnics, floats and general merriment that takes over New Orleans. In this town they take their annual celebration very seriously indeed and throw themselves headfirst into it.

Dressing up in extraordinary costumes and dancing takes over any thoughts of work as the city’s businesses and roads are pretty much shut down in favour of unashamed fun.

I don’t think I’ll be dressing up to be honest, more my style to watch from the sidelines with a cocktail or two and then inevitably get up and join in before too long and immediately regret not having a costume.

To best absorb the atmosphere one must stay right in the heart of the city so I’ve gone for Soniat House. Originally built in 1830, the hotel is three Creole townhouses in the French Quarter bustling with antiques, spiral staircases, balconies and art.

Soniat House

Soniat House in New Orleans, USA

The hotel has a reputation of being the best boutique hotel in the city but that’s not why I chose it. It was this line I read in an article about the hotel that sealed my selection: “the one where the fantasy of New Orleans is played out with the most finesse.”

Being there for Mardi Gras is one of my oldest fantasies so these words sung to me much like Paul Simon’s did.

If you’re going to be there then look out for me. I’ll be the one, in the words of Mr Simon, mingling in the street and jingling to the beat of jelly roll.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Eco-Friendly Georgian Mansion in Oz…

by Matthew Florent - March 23rd, 2014

I get very bored reading marketing material from hotels boasting about their green awards and credentials. I don’t really know what these green awards mean and there seem to be so many that I can’t tell which are genuine and which are pointless.

However. When I accidentally find out a hotel is genuinely taking the environment seriously and yet hasn’t shouted about it, I am rather charmed.

Woodbridge on the Derwent in Tasmania is one such hotel.

HUHBAWD_26074495_Exterior_View_1280x364

Woodbridge on the Derwent in Tasmania, Australia

The owners took an 1825 building (seriously old by Australian standards) and turned it, carefully, into a nine suite hotel without ruining any of the original features. A clever trick. Especially clever because the level of luxury guests experience doesn’t suffer at all.

In creating the new look Georgian mansion, timber, furniture and fittings were re-used wherever possible which is, I’m told, an extremely expensive process. And as it happens the hotel is very energy-efficient too. Although you’d never know because they don’t show off, they just do.

I need to learn to be more like Woodbridge. Unfortunately I’m the kind of person who tells you I’m going on a diet while eating “my last cake”, insists I’m going to run four times a week before I’ve bought the trainers and celebrates a great idea long before I’ve done anything about making it a reality.

One more quick boast before I do learn though. Because I am going to Woodbridge. And while there I am going to cooking school, wine tasting and touring, whisky tasting, fly-fishing, cycling, kayaking, boat cruising and antique shopping. That’s all before I head for Mt Field National Park to see the wildlife.

And I’ll be staying in a room with a history lesson attached as all nine have a story. While many hotels claim to be relevant to the area they inhabit, this one is the area it inhabits and is therefore steeped in convict history and rammed with colonial antiques. I’m hoping they give me The Sarah Schaw room. I occasionally think I’ve done something impressive but this woman had 14 children. So quite right that she had a nursery (that’s what this room used to be) and quite right that there were nannies to help her. Although why the nannies had to sleep on the roof I can’t be sure. Perhaps I’ll give it a go while I’m there. Sleeping on the roof that is, not having 14 children.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Boats, Beauty and Japanese Mystique

by Matthew Florent - March 19th, 2014

Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the most beautiful places can only be reached by boat. Or, in rare cases (Jurassic Park for example), helicopter.

But preferably not a helicopter because they are very loud and require an ugly blot on pristine landscapes to be built in the form of a helipad.

So let’s stick to boats and ban choppers.

My conclusion is based on entirely non-scientific reasoning. My reasoning being that roads are ugly, lakes/rivers/streams are lovely. Cars are noisy and brash, boats are serene and gentle. Water is the source of life on earth, roads are made of Tarmac. Plus, living in the UK I spend so much time driving on, looking at, crossing and cursing on roads that for a hotel to be truly relaxing no roads is a must.

HOSHINOYA Kyoto

HOSHINOYA Kyoto in Kyoto, Japan

So when I was looking for the perfect place to stay in Kyoto it wasn’t Hoshinoya Kyoto’s stunning looks (thanks to the mix of traditional Japanese ryokan design and 21st Century architecture) that made my decision for me. Although I must say it helped.

It was its position on the banks of the Hozugawa River in Arashiyama that made me reach for my oar and when they told me I could only get to it by boat I started merrily paddling.

HOSHINOYA Kyoto Kyoto, Japan

HOSHINOYA Kyoto in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto has become a must-do addition to any trip to Japan and thankfully it’s very handily placed as a bolt on to a trip to Tokyo thanks to the country’s top notch trains.

It’ll take you 140 minutes. Not 139 and not 141. When the Japanese tell you a train journey time they mean it.

Once you’ve caught your train and then your boat and settled in to your luxury digs you’re not going to have much time to chill out I’m afraid. There’s far too much to see.

If you decide to go then I suggest you write down everything I’m about to say in a list format and when you get there cross them all off as you explore the very best bits of Japan.

Or you could print this out. If your handwriting is anything like mine then your list will look like it was scribed using your toes to hold the pen, while riding on a rickety rollercoaster. Blindfolded. My handwritten lists are about as useful as ancient Sanskrit when it comes to reading them back.

- The Heian Jingu temple is impressive from the offset with towering red gates.

- Contemplate the Zen beauty of the maple-shrouded Tofuku-ji temple.

- Marvel at the glistening gold roof of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) set in a traditional garden.

- From the balcony of wooden-pegged Kiyomizu-dera watch the teeming compact city below.

- Around the moat-ringed Nijo Castle, cherry and Japanese plum trees perfume the air with springtime blossom.

- Take a trip to the prize-winning Modern Art Museum and browse through avant-garde Nihonga (Japanese painting).

- Step into the steaming wooden baths at pine-timbered Funaoka Onsen and let the hot spring water melt your aches away.

- As night falls, the enormous bonfire forming Chinese characters on Mount Mandara is a bewitching sight during the Obon festival.

- Take a cruise up the Hozu-Gawa river and savour the peace of a traditional retreat.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Is New Zealand worth it?

by Matthew Florent - March 16th, 2014

New Zealand is quite far away, isn’t it?

I was reading a book the other day that suggested it might take as little as two hours to get there one day. Apparently this involves leaving earth, waiting for it to spin and then popping back in again.

It all sounds very civilised and means New Zealand could be a feasible mini-break spot for a weekend one day. How lovely would that be!

As I read on I discovered that I’ll have been a pensioner for sometime by the time this might actually happen. Which is a little irritating as by then I won’t be able to enjoy New Zealand properly as this is about as far from a fly and flop destination as it’s possible to get.

Grasmere Lodge

Canoe on Lake Grasmere

So the big question is, is New Zealand worth the schlep? Ask literally anyone who has been there and they’ll tell you it’s worth flying for several months to have half an hour on the ground – that’s how beautiful it is.

While Frodo’s ears and Gandalf’s beard might not be real in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, that unbelievable backdrop is very much of this planet.

Arguably the most beautiful spot of all is Arthur’s Pass National Park in the heart of the Southern Alps. Mountains, gorges, and rivers combine to create a postcard picture wherever you look.

Grasmere Lodge 2

Grasmere Lodge in Canterbury, New Zealand

Nearby is Grasmere Lodge in Canterbury, which used to be a sheep station. If the sheep still lived there they’d be the happiest sheep in the history of the world and would almost certainly have evolved quickly into regular bathers and loo-users so as not to ruin the incredible décor.

The original homestead remains but several thousand buckets worth of TLC have turned it into a grand mansion with rooms so beautiful they might distract you from the views. This in impressiveness terms is roughly equivalent to being distracted from a unicorn sitting on your bed.

Wood and stone walls, tartan carpets, chesterfield sofas and fireplaces combine to create a place to stay that is worthy of the setting.

You’ll want to go outside quite a lot though with horse-riding, fly fishing, alpine valleys, virgin forest and limestone rock formations to treat your retina to.

If you prefer, horses can be replaced by horsepower with four wheel drive safaris on offer. Although if you’re going to rely on an engine to explore, the whole hog is available in the form of a guided helicopter tour.

I don’t know what heaven looks like and what activities are on offer once you get there but I like to imagine it’s a bit like Grasmere Lodge. If it is then I for one will be going to church at Christmas, Easter, every Sunday and any other time they’ll let me in from now on.

So, yes, New Zealand is far away. But it’s closer than the moon and much better by all accounts.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Shortlist for my Easter Escape…

by Matthew Florent - March 12th, 2014

Just when you think it’s safe to come out of the gym, Easter arrives. I’m not sure who it was that decided that our major religious holidays had to involve overeating but that person should probably subsidise my gym membership. Because I love chocolate. And I love eggs. So naturally chocolate eggs are my nemesis.

Now, and for some time to come, they are everywhere. In every shop I go to and in every window I walk past, beckoning me with those eat-me eyes and their promises of even more delicious treats inside them.

I mustn’t give in because I’ve only just defeated my Christmas excess. And to help me I have come up with a cunning plan. While chocolate is my nemesis, heat is chocolate’s nemesis. So I am going to join forces with my nemesis’ nemesis and go somewhere sunny over Easter. Yes I am clever. No I shan’t be going to Belgium. Sorry Belgium, you’re very nice but your chocolate is not conducive to me fitting into my jeans.

Here’s the shortlist for my Easter escape.

Katitche Point Greathouse in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
The BVI is the place pirates used to go on holiday. But don’t that let that put you off, they’ve all gone now leaving behind lots of very cool names like Dead Man’s Bay and Smugglers Cove. In their place is an abundance of much more polite sailors and island upon beautiful island to explore. But I’ll need a base and this is up there with Richard Branson’s Necker Island at the top of the tree. Set on rocks with views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the four bedroom villa is so secluded and private that even the most determined Easter egg pusher won’t be able to find me.

Blue Diamond Riviera Maya

Blue Diamond Riviera Maya in Playa de Carmen, Mexico
Who likes chocolate eggs and is most likely to have loads of them? Children. Who aren’t allowed into this hotel? Children. Melissa 1, Chocolate 0.

Other pluses are the private pools that come with many of the rooms here, fine dining, spa treatments, three restaurants, bars and nearby Mayan ruins. And there are no chocolatiers. I know because I checked. If the lady on the front desk who answered my call was surprised by the question she didn’t let on – that’s customer service at its best.

Villa Spaletti Trivelli 2

Villa Spalletti Trivelli in Rome, Italy
In the photographs I’ve looked at, this 12-bed villa appears to have the most beautiful collection of furniture and antiques I’ve ever seen. While it might not be as hot here as Mexico or the BVIs (and therefore less likely to climatically defeat chocolate), the fear of getting any chocolate on such beautiful things will ensure I don’t touch a crumb.

This little hotel, owned by Italian aristocrats, is close enough to the Trevi fountain to be able to throw your coin in and make a wish from your window. Not that I’ll have anything to wish for if I’m staying here.

Which one should I choose?


Small Luxury Hotels of the World Blog

Top 5 places to visit in summer 2014

The modern life is full of hum drum and speed. There is literally no time to relax and rejuvenate for anyone owing to the busy work schedules. Everyone is busy minting money no matter and there is absence of peace of mind. But, there is something to cheer about because summer 2014 is approaching soon and its holiday time for all. The holidays are always an extremely relaxing time where one can stay away from the modern life rat race and regain all the lost energy. And what better way of celebrating holidays than by going on a vacation with family or friends to some far off place. Travelling to a new place is a wonderful experience and this experience could become even more rewarding if you choose the right place to travel to.

In order to help you with your dilemma, I have tried to compile the top 5 places that one must visit during summer 2014:

1. Chicago Also known as "the windy city", Chicago is one of the biggest cities of United States. It attracts almost 50 million tourists from around the world every year. Chicago is blessed with some most exotic and expansive beaches that make it an ideal location to travel this summer. Apart from the beaches, there is magnificent mile, Ferris wheel and great lakes cruising that offer the tourists to travel to Chicago's neighboring cities such as Toronto and Montreal in cruise.

2. Ireland Also known as the republic of Ireland earns most part of its revenue from its tourism. Ireland has been voted as the world's friendliest country and the favorite holiday destination in 2011 itself. And if this reason is not enough for you, then there is the famous scenic coastline and the beautiful towns by the shore side for the tourists. The cliffs of Mohar and Burren are the two most famous geological travel destinations in Ireland. If you like the Irish scenery but don't want to make the trip across the sea - don't worry! You can find similar scenes by staying at one of the many hotels on lake windermere, such as The Belsfield Hotel, located on Kendal Road, Bowness-on Windermere, LA23 3EL, 084 4736 8604

3. Sydney It is one of the biggest and most famous cities of Australia, visited by 15 million visitors every year. The major travel hotspots in Sydney are the Opera House, Sydney Bridge, Luna Park and its amazing beaches. Port Jackson is a natural harbor located in Sydney that is famous for its scenic beauty and thus every year attracts tourists from around the world.

4. Rome If you have a curiosity for the past and interested in seeing the famous archaeological wonders, then Rome is the place for you. With plenty of museums, parks, panoramic views and unique culture, Rome offers a treat for the eyes and the soul. The Colosseum and the Vatican museums are considered to be the most popular tourist spots in the world.

5. Macau It is one of the most famous travelling destinations in the Asia. If you always had a thing for knowing Chinese culture, then Macau is the place for you. In fact, Macau has a lot of influence of Portuguese culture as well. With the famous casinos and nightclubs, it is a heaven for the party lovers. There are a lot of choices of hotels and resorts in Macau owing to its world class tourism industry.

So, if you are planning to visit these wonderful travel destinations or any other places, then make sure to have a good time!