Wundervölker, Monstrosität und Hässlichkeit im Mittelalter (German Edition)

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The struggling economy has led to an increase in pickpockets in the more crowded touristy pockets of the cities and towns across the country, encouraging you to be vigilant while in a bus station, a crowded street market, or wandering through the throngs of locals in the streets.

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Keep your passport and cash in a secure location, such as a safe in your hotel or on a money belt hidden from view. As a precaution, you should bring copies of credit card information and your passport. You do not have to be paranoid while traveling Greece, but you should be extremely aware of your surroundings and your belongings when in a crowd. The unpredictability of travel can cause undue stress and anxiety about common misconceptions of countries you may visit while exploring Europe.

However, Greece is a country known for its elaborate tourism industry, and you will experience a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment in which you can enjoy a unique expedition into history or a relaxing day on the beaches of the Mediterranean islands. Greece is a safe place to travel, with heat exhaustion amongst tourists more common than any sort of reported crime. A number of tourists who enjoy the nightlight and take time to linger on the beaches have complained about bombes, adulterated drinks served in select bars and clubs around Athens and resorts famous for their partying atmosphere.

The drinks contain diluted drugs illegally imported that leave the consumer worse for wear the remainder of the night and the following day. Reports of resorts catering to large tour groups and young solo-travelers using the bombes are much more common than restaurants, upscale nightclubs or bars, and luxury accommodations. When visiting a crowded bar, nightclub, or beach resort, remember to keep a hand over the top of your glass. More often than not, the perpetrators are not locals of Greece but visiting foreigners.

The CDC recommends staying up to date on vaccines before leaving your country of residence. You should check with your doctor or speak with a travel clinic before departing for Greece to learn about recommended vaccinations or medicines if staying in the country for longer than 90 days or pursuing work with animals. You are at a low risk of contracting hepatitis while abroad, but should always consider vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B before traveling. Greeks are warm and friendly, welcoming and hospitable, and also proud of their culture and history with over 90 percent of traditional Greek descent.

Locals shake hands firmly when first meeting and good friends give long embraces or kisses on both cheeks. Punctuality is a guideline but not a rule unless working with guides and private transportation. Greek culture stresses family values and the community spirit, and grandparents and senior citizens are treated with respect and dignity. On the beaches, the dress code remains casual, and in some places, nonexistent. However, proper decorum on a nude beach remains necessary, which can mean no cameras or cell phones while on the sand. It is uncouth to sunbathe nude or topless when not on a designated beach or close to a family area or church.

When visiting a monastery or holy site, women are expected to cover their arms and legs past the knee. In restaurants, table manners remain casual. Discussions are social and friendly around the dinner table and refusing food is impolite. In smaller towns or less visited areas of the country, do not be surprised if a member of the family invites you to dinner. If dining at a private home, asking for a second helping will delight the host and hostess, as it will be seen as a compliment to their cooking skills.

A traditional Greek meal consists of large portions and various side dishes placed on the table to accompany the main dish. Bringing the host a small gift of flowers, wine, sweets, or pastries is considered good manners and food is a large part of the Greek culture, from olive oil to roasted lamb.

For a unique experience, you could visit the town of Elassona, which hosts a biannual feta cheese festival. Thessaly in central Greece celebrates the myth and production of the cheese believed to be passed down from Greek gods.

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The artichoke festival in the Cyclades takes place in May when producers source more than 10, artichokes to create a variety of different dishes featuring the treasured earthy vegetable. Try to avoid using hand gestures while in Greece as body language is an easy way to offend someone without intention when not realizing the cultural meaning of a simple gesture. Greeks give a simple forward head nod when indicating yes, and a vigorous backward tilt when answering no, making the headshake and nod obsolete when speaking with locals.


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When visiting a brick and mortar store, haggling is frowned upon. When scouring vendors along the streets near tourist destinations, bargaining is encouraged and expected. Tipping is not essential in Greece, but taxi drivers have learned to expect a tip from tourists.


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Restaurants provide a service charge already. If you enjoyed your meal and the service while dining out, rounding up the bill will tell your server you that you appreciated their professionalism and attention. Greece uses the euro as its form of currency. As one of the original Eurozone members to start using the euro as legal tender in , other currencies are not widely accepted. If a vendor or merchant is willing to take a form of currency, you will probably end up spending more money than if you had used euros, not including credit cards or debit cards.

Euros are widely available across Greece with varying exchange rates depending on the accessibility of ATMs, banks, or the amount of exchange stations. Most Greek airports have exchange stations at which you can exchange for euros, but the rates are often less favorable than those at stations in the city center. This is also true for larger hotels. Despite the convenience, the unfavorable rates make searching for a currency exchange a better option. In larger cities across Greece, it is easy to find a currency exchange or an ATM. If traveling to more secluded or smaller areas of Greece, it is essential to have euros on you before arriving, as small town does not always have currency exchanges, working ATMs, or allow visitors to pay with credit cards.

Make sure to note the times that currency exchanges open and close as the closing times tend to vary based on the day, with many shutting their doors by pm between Monday and Thursday, 2 pm on Friday, and remain closed all weekend. Larger cities and general tourist areas across Greece accept the major card providers, while more remote areas might only take certain card providers if any at all.

Cash is the best form of payment to use when traveling around the country, especially when considering accessibility and breaking down the currency into tips. Travelers from the United States are accustomed to tipping, but when traveling abroad, the subject becomes an uncomfortable point of uncertainty. The amount differs from person to person but retains a customary base of what to offer to each person in regards to showing your appreciation for their work.

A bellboy or porter averages 1 euro per bag. A housekeeper averages 1 euro per day for every day you stay in a hotel. A concierge generally receives a tip of between 2 to 3 euro after providing excellent service. Restaurants become a different tipping scenario entirely. Tipping is expected after receiving excellent service, especially for tourists, though some restaurants in Greece will round up the bill and offer the extra money to the waiter.

Other restaurants include a service charge, in which case a small tip is appreciated but not mandatory. If the restaurant does not round up to the bill or include a service charge, Greeks customarily leave between 10 to 20 percent for a tip, depending on the service. Taxis in Greece do not expect a tip but are always happy to receive one. This often comes in the form of rounding up the fare to the nearest euro or adding an extra 5 percent to the overall amount.

Taxis do charge for handling bags, which is not considered a tip but a handling fee. The important thing to remember when visiting Greece is that tipping refers to good to excellent service and shows your appreciation for the service you received. However, after years of Americans visiting Greece and knowingly or unknowingly providing outlandish tips, larger tips have become expected of American tourists.

Unfortunately for fans of Homer, Plato, and Socrates, ancient Greek is no longer the most widely spoken form of the language and instead would sound like an English speaker attempting to converse using English older than Elizabethan. Over 11 million people speak modern Greek alongside their regional spoken dialects.

With the exception of Tsakonian, a language deriving from Doric Greek and spoken in the Peloponnese region, the majority of Greek dialects descend from the common supra-regional language spoken in late antiquity. However, many Greeks, especially those working in the tourism industry, speak English, German, French, and Italian, with English and French taught in elementary schools. Even though you can easily find English speakers in the more popular destinations of Greece, including the resort islands, famous monuments, or museums, it is polite to learn a few words of Greece to show your appreciation to the country, the people, and the culture.

Traveling through and around mainland Greece and its surrounding islands has become better organized over the decades through the growth of small flights, train connections, bus stops, ferries, and well-tended highways. The variety of options that connect greater Greece to Athens has increased with both domestic and international tourism and has allowed the cultural divide between the regions to narrow.

While taxis are an easy way to travel around Athens and other cities across Greece, they are only recommended as means of transport between nearby destinations, such as the airport and your hotel or a local restaurant. The fares are cheap compared to other European countries; however, they can add up if the taxi remains your only means of transport. Car rentals provide the most freedom when traveling through Greece, allowing you to plan and follow the map you create on the mainland or along the islands.

The main, modern road networks that crisscross Greece connect the southern edges of the country to the extreme north. The main roads remain in great shape, but regional roads often need attention due to their narrow, winding nature. If renting a car in Greece, make sure to check the gas gauge upon pick up. Car rental companies in Greece like to deliver the car as close to empty as possible, that way when you return the car, they can make a profit off the amount of gas you have left in the tank, which often amounts to a full tank.

You are only requited to return the car with the same amount of gas with which it was given to you or just slightly above. There is only one Metro in all of Greece, and it is located in Athens. The city has a large enough population with enough urban sprawl to necessitate the underground transportation. The Olympics brought a large and an expensive overhaul to the metro network, providing new and easy to navigate signs, along with an audio-system that recites the stops and highlights of those particular stops in different languages, including English.

When visiting Greece, Greek student cards are only valid for Greek students when riding the metro. Greek towns and cities have their own bus systems to provide transport to the local residents. Only a handful of cities, such as Athens, Patra, Kalamata, and Thessaloniki, are large enough to require the services of the bus system, with the majority of towns and villages small enough to walk through or ride in a taxi amounting to a low fare. The national roadway offers an easy way to travel between cities from south to north by bus when sightseen or transferring to a new region of Greece.

Trains remain a popular way to travel through mainland Greece, with the most popular route taking passengers from Athens in the south to Thessaloniki in the northeast. The Greek railway organization OSE operates the network with the northern line offering the most substantial lines. Standard services run between Athens and Dikea near the Turkish and Bulgarian borders. A network around the Peloponnese runs as far as Klato with bus services carrying passengers to Plata to reach ferry connections. Prices and schedules vary due to the financial instability of the country, so one should always double-check prices on the OSE website or by calling when in need of information pertaining to departures from Athens or Thessaloniki.

There are two types of class services when traveling by train. The regular train provides a slow transit stopping at all stations between destinations. Even first-class tickets on the slow train can be cheaper than a bus ticket. The modern trains, known as intercity or IC, links most major cities across Greece.

Depending on the class and train-type, passengers could have their meal delivered to their seats. Overnight services offer a choice between couchettes, two-bed, and single bed compartments. Ferries have become an important and reliable way to travel between the islands and the mainland of Greece. Even with the addition of more flights going to many of the Greek islands, the ferries are well regarded as comfortable, easy, and quick. Ferries from Athens can depart from the main port at Piraeus or the smaller ports of Rafina and Lavrion.

The modern amenities offer comfortable seats and onboard cafes accompanied by breathtaking scenery between the islands. Due to the distance between the mainland and various islands, a ferry ride could take up to 10 hours, in which case flying offers a better choice. Ferries also connect Greece with international destinations, such as Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Venice in Italy along with select Turkish islands. Greece offers romantic landmarks and family-friendly destinations, captivating activities and unforgettable experiences within renowned history ranging from prehistoric to medieval times.

Whether interested in the natural beauty of the highlands and the islands or fascinated by the beaches and the cultural heritage, Greece offers your choice of endless destinations that will be sure to satiate the soul of culinary enthusiasts and amateur archeologists alike.

The natural beauty is legendary due to the gentle green hills that roll through to the south and the rugged limestone peaks that punctuate the north. The mild Mediterranean climate provides lush vegetation and draws visitors from around the world interested in indulging in the charming beaches. Mycenaean Greeks first mentioned the word in the s BC, with the earliest inhabitants consisting of Phaeacians. Settlers from Corinth arrived in the 8th century BC before gaining independence and quickly falling to the armies of the Roman Empire by the 1st century BC.

After Byzantine forces left the island, the Republic of Venice took control between the 14th and 18th centuries, leaving when the French and eventually the British took over around the early to midth century. The Venetians contributed to the gorgeous architecture of Corfu Town and an attention to restoring the antiques connected to the islands classical heritage. The coastline provides sheltering bays and lovely beaches decorated with sand and pebbles overlooking crystal clear blue water.

The most popular activities to experience when on the island are:. Dramatic hiking paths crisscross the remarkable rugged hills and the mountains that span the remote northern region of Zagori, home to 48 stone villages that overlook the Vikos Gorge. The region remains popular among active travelers who enjoy the promises of mountain biking, paragliding, canyoning, and rafting through the fantastic scenery.

Fans of archeology enjoy the connection to ancient Kassope, one of the best examples of a Hippodamian grid, an invention of the ancient architect Hippodamus of Miletus, considered the father of European urban planning. Inhabitants abandoned the city in 31 BC to establish the nearby settlement of Nikopolis, which hosts the Nikopolis Museum. The traditional cottages decorated the landscape around the region that leads from the towns of Epirus to Timfi, Pindos, and Mitiskeli.

The preserved village of Ano Pedina contains the fabulous Monastery of Evagelistria alongside homes located at an altitude of nearly 3, feet above sea level. Picturesque stone houses and charming cobbled roads fill the traditional settlement of Monodendri, which is located at over 3, feet above sea level. The village offers a cobbled trail to Misiou Bridge and the entrance to Vikos Gorge. Narrow passages, quaint stone bridges, and lush greenery connect the villages of Zabori, providing access to the secluded beauty and thrilling activities. Majestic mountains provide access to lush gorges and gurgling rivers found when exploring the Arcadia Highlands and the nearly 50 miles of pathway on the Menalon Trail.

The trail is perfect in spring and autumn due to the shifting weather at altitudes shifting between 1, feet to over 5, feet above sea level. The ancient region takes its name from Greek mythology as the home of Pan. The stunning forests and gorgeous mountaintops hide boutique hotels and secluded ruins found around historic churches and picturesque alleys. There are several highlights worth exploring:. With such a diverse and lavish history, Greece also features hidden ruins with fascinating functions apart from the preserved temples and homes situated amidst the famous Acropolis of Athens.

The Antikythera Mechanism is over 2, years old and demonstrates the complexities of imagination and design in antiquity. The ancient computer remains a feat of engineering and astronomical precision, along with a hidden treasure of the Mediterranean. The mechanism sat in a museum for over 50 years before archeologists and historians could understand the structure, design, purpose, and function of the machine.

The mechanism was constructed in the 3rd century BC and contains over 30 gears hidden within the dials. Regarded as the first analog computer, the machine made calculations based on astronomical and mathematical principles. The small size of the mechanism suggests the engineer had portability in mind. Using the crank on the device to insert a date, the user would then find information on the position of the stars, sun, moon, planets, and lunar phases, along with a calendar of solar eclipses and the date of the next Olympic games. Active travelers eager to pursue an adventurous tour of Greece have an incredible amount of escapades from which to choose, be it taking in the diverse land or the seascape through marvelous forests, staggering coastlines, and the central scenery with four-fifths consisting of mountainous terrain.

Zicasso offers a differs range of custom-tailored Greece tours. All tours are personalized to suit your preferences, requirements, desired destinations and activities to create your own perfect vacation to Greece. Travelers can experience the flexibility and convenience of self-planned, independent travel or a packaged group tour curated by a travel specialist. Both options will ensure a hassle-free experience with magnificent accommodations, authentic local guides, and unimaginable excursions. Whether you wish to explore the Greek Islands or immerse yourself in the spirit of the ancient world, fill out a Trip Request to let us know about your dream Greece vacation.

We will match you with two or three Greece specialists who will help you handcraft the best vacation experiences for you. All Rights Reserved. CST Headquarters: W. To personalize and improve your website experience this site uses cookies. By using Zicasso. Skip to main content. See our reviews. Ratings of Zicasso 's Service. Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest. Newman, Kara 1. Chronicle Books. Parrish, Thomas To Keep the British Isles Afloat. Pierson, Stacey Peter Lang.

Porter, Darwin; Prince, Danforth 4. Frommer's Great Britain. Rennison, Nick Richards, J. Memoirs of an Unjust Fella. Richardson, Bruce 1. The Great Tea Rooms of Britain. Rijks, Miranda The Eccentric Entrepreneur. History Press Limited. Russell, Iain F. Schaefer, David Sailing to Hemingway's Cuba. Sheridan House, Inc.. Simpson, Neil Phoenix Books, Inc.. Smith, James British Writers and MI5 Surveillance, — Steen, Thomas Prebensen Xlibris Corporation.

Skabelon:Self-published inline Strachan, Donald 8. Frommer's London Sweet, Matthew June Time and Tide July Time and Tide Publishing Company. Time Out June Time Out the Great Trees of London. Wald, Alan M. January UNC Press Books. Weightman, Gavin; Humphries, Stephen The overarching philosophy here is a gentle style of wellness grounded in Ayurveda, brought to life through the dining and spa menus, daily complimentary yoga and meditation classes, and a variety of formal wellness programs available for those in search of structure.

Food offerings are heavy on local seafood, Vietnamese staples such as pho and banh mi, as well as virtuous options chia bowls and egg white omelets are de rigueur. Cap Juluca was always considered the place to see and be seen in the Caribbean — but over the past decade, it faded in favor of newer, buzzier locales. Now the wait is over. Five new whitewashed villas, set seamlessly among the Moorish buildings arcing along Maundays Bay, bring the key count up to 66 rooms and 42 suites — with new perks like bathroom patios and Bluetooth speakers.

Plus, the easygoing resort has put locks on its doors for the first time — an upgrade that has some regulars grumbling. That is, until they hit the beach and realize that the Cap they know and love is alive and well. With draws that include Bahamian-focused art exhibits and an exclusive private island available for rent just off beautiful Cable Beach, Baha Mar — the multibillion-dollar casino resort complex — has been breathing new energy into Nassau since it debuted two years ago.

And now, the Rosewood Baha Mar is officially open, giving travelers yet another reason to visit. The Rosewood, which has a network of tranquil, cascading pools and spacious rooms staffed with personal butlers, feels like a world unto itself. The resort is polished and of-the-moment — note the 3, square feet of stunning murals by the New York company Silver Hill Atelier, which depict Bahamian island scenes in soothing tones of green, gray, and white.

There are help-yourself cookie jars in the library. Silversands , a just-opened resort on the northern end of Grand Anse Beach, is a game changer for the beautiful, unspoiled island of Grenada. Split across two clean-lined, contemporary buildings clad in South American bulletwood, the 43 guest rooms and suites — plus nine residential villas — have private balconies with ocean views and a light palette of blond oak and Italian Calacatta marble.

Guests have access to a watersports center — equipped with stand-up paddleboards and kayaks with clear bottoms so you can spot starfish while gliding past — as well as a spa stocked with Espa products and Puro , a dedicated cigar-and-rum bar that serves up sunset tastings of the local spirit. From the saucy s Visit Jamaica posters in the lobby to the giant sound-system in the bar, the property feels like a celebration of Jamaican style , in all its brash, colorful, reggae-inflected glory.

With all this, plus a swimming pool in the works, Skylark may well be needing the additional floor of guest rooms being planned for later in Plush velvet furniture. Floor-to-ceiling marble. Chandeliers that literally drip in gold. The bi-level rooftop infinity pool, for instance, was hand carved out of marble and features tiered seating that allows guests to fully recline while taking in the Condado Lagoon. Active types can rent water sports equipment for paddleboarding or kayaking, while foodies will want to secure reservations at Raya, where celebrated Puerto Rican chef Mario Pagan whips up Asian fusion dishes that spotlight local ingredients like guava and heart of palm.

Cambridge, England , may be steeped in history, but its streets have a lively, youthful energy, and the city finally has a hotel to match. Founded in as a room coaching inn, it was expanded in a gallimaufry of styles. Inside, designer Martin Brudnizki plays with the history and iconography of Cambridge and England i. The suites, painted in soothing English country house blues and greens, are named after famous Cambridge graduates: Byron, Tennyson, Newton, Darwin. Try the rich risotto with Somerset truffles and salty-sweet Berkswell cheese, and the Duke of Cambridge tart, a slab of custard with marmalade and candied citrus peel.

Sitting on acres of prime Hampshire countryside, Heckfield Place was built as a private house in , and for most of the 19th century was home to the illustrious Lefevre family. Sixteen years ago, it was purchased by the Hong Kong-born, Boston-based financier Gerald Chan, who commissioned a painstaking renovation. But the decor is nonetheless defined by its simplicity and understatement, giving the hotel a distinctly contemporary feel. In the snug Moon Bar, a vast disco bar twinkles above midnight-blue walls, and a fire sizzles and smokes all day long, whereas the plush theater has a rolling program of talks, films, and events.

The hotel has harnessed his spirit in its skin-care products, Wildsmith, which are made with botanicals grown on the grounds. It was here that Edward VII allegedly entertained his socialite mistress Lily Langtry she accessed his parlor via a secret underground passage and where the post-theater crowd have long descended for late night coupes, rowdy songs, and croque-monsieurs. The upstairs floors, where the infamous private dining rooms once stood, are now home to 33 guestrooms. William Morris wallpaper is the backdrop for cozy touches such as Matilda Goad scalloped lampshades, rosewood wardrobes, green velvet headboards, and Art Deco reading lamps.

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Bathrooms — with rainforest showers and freestanding claw-foot tubs — come thoughtfully stocked with essentials like tampons, lip balm, and deodorant, while the minibar provides British bottles like Bruichladdich whisky and Cotswolds Gin. Downstairs, the Georgian splendor of the Grade II listed building is brought to life; many of the 18th-century details, like floral moldings and original chandeliers, are still present.

Come midnight, the piano begins to tinkle, and an ebullient crowd belts out familiar show tunes. A butler is assigned to each guest; waiters effortlessly remember orders from the day before. The 39 rooms — designed by Jacques Garcia — have stone fireplaces, hand-embroidered headboards, and baby-eiderdown duvets. Go for a dip in the outdoor pool, stroll the landscaped gardens, or grab a bite in the lively restaurant, which is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal. The chandeliers, sconces, door handles, decanters, and carafes are more exquisite than those typically found at other five-star hotels.

No surprise, really, given that this working Bordeaux wine estate is owned by the year-old French luxury glass and crystal maker Maison Lalique. Four years of restorations went into the 18th-century compound, whose glamorous interiors glass-inlaid oak desks, glittering chandeliers, and Deco-inspired furnishings bring a touch of urbane luxury to the pastoral region. Le Barn , an easy half-hour by train from Paris in the forest of Rambouillet, forgoes the airs of Lord and Lady So-and-So and invites you play in the stables.

Equestrianism is first among them, as Le Barn lodges a neighboring horse school. An on-site restaurant nails comfort classics made with high-quality ingredients: potato and cottage cheese fritters, poule au pot, grilled squid and chorizo, a gorgeous steak frites. Tear yourself away for Mediterranean-inspired small plates and a glass of Syrah at the bustling ground-floor restaurant , where an open kitchen and communal seating encourage guests to practice their French with the mostly local clientele. As a Starck production, Brach is full of unexpected surprises, from the custom scents in each of the public spaces to the foot subterranean swimming pool, fitted with over-water trapeze bars and gymnastic rings for aqua aerobics and amateur acrobat sessions.

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The result is the epitome of understated luxury, with original stained-glass windows and Art Deco chandeliers tempered by sleek mirrored surfaces and custom-built furniture in dark blues and caramel. A new interior courtyard suffuses the common areas with light, while the all-marble subterranean spa — home to a hammam, a sauna, and a foot indoor pool — is an oasis of calm in the busy St. Hotel St. George is a breath of fresh air in a city dominated by clean-lined Scandinavian-style architecture.

Adjara Group, the hospitality team behind the hugely successful Rooms hotel and Fabrika hostel, are single handedly making Tblisi, Georgia, one of the coolest cities on the globe. This past spring they opened the Stamba , their most glamorous property to date. Located in a former printing house, at its industrial Brutalist center is an ambitious weeping fig tree that grows up through two of its five floors. Guests can view its branches as they swim in the glass-bottomed rooftop pool. Vintage tiles, green-leather banquettes, and potted plants give the restaurant the feel of a lush courtyard in Cuba, and its open kitchen sends out addictive comfort food, both local order a khachapuri and international.

The Art Deco-meets-industrial glamour of the public spaces continues in the spacious guest rooms, each with a unique design but many with deep brass soaking tubs, Soviet-era pendant chandeliers, oversized windows, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. At this whitewashed retreat, perched above Agio Ioannis beach, each of the 32 rooms feature private plunge pools and unimpeded sea views. If you venture out of your room, you can relax at one of the two infinity pools or sundecks.

Pro tip: Opt for the pool at the top of the hotel which was blissfully empty our entire stay but still staffed for any cocktails and snack requests.

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The third Santorini property from husband-and-wife hoteliers Antonis Eliopoulos and Kalia Konstantinidou, this suite retreat had a former life as a three-story Cycladic mansion — the domain of an eccentric Greek socialite with a passion for horses. Elements of the original estate can still be found throughout; the ground-floor stables have been converted into guest rooms, each with its own private patio and plunge pool or hot tub, and the interiors have been modernized with bespoke furniture, mosaic floors of locally made tile, handcrafted textiles, and Aegean accents.

The sleek, clean-lined building rises above moss-covered lava fields and surreal milky blue water. By the check-in desk, a window perfectly frames dramatic clouds that rise from the ground, while outside, guests wade in a private section of the geothermal lagoon. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a neutral color scheme in the 62 suites emphasize the views outside, while an elaborate tasting menu at the fine dining restaurant Moss showcases Icelandic cuisine. But the real reason to go is for the 4, square-foot spa, where guests nourish mind and body with a series of scrubs made with exfoliating silica, collagen-rich algae, and minerals.

It might be the only place the world where you can get a massage while floating in geothermal waters. Architect Fabrizia Scassellati renovated with care, sourcing fabrics and furnishings from local artisans, and preserving original details that lend the rooms a sense of place. Modern additions — a pint-sized elevator, automated check-in system, colorful tiled baths — are balanced by original wood-beam ceilings, terracotta floors and a central staircase of pietra serena , a Tuscan sandstone typical of Renaissance-era Florentine palazzi. Rooms are filled with books and antique furniture, fires crackle in the 16th-century fireplaces, the long-abandoned garden blooms with hydrangea, and every nook has a story to tell.

All you have to do is listen. Built in by Gabriele Bozzi Corso and passed between aristocratic families over the centuries, the hotel is the latest from brother-and-sister hoteliers Antonia and Enzo Fiermonte. The marble and ironwork staircases transport guests to another time — and to the stylish bar, where they can grab a cocktail and enjoy aperitivo hour in the courtyard.

Their grandmother whose brother was boxer-turned-Hollywood star Enzo Fiermonte, a. Lake Como has no shortage of world-class hotels — but strangely, until recently, none were located in Como itself, an ancient walled city built by Julius Caesar. The four-story, pink stucco property, which formerly housed a bank and offices for architects and dentists imagine climbing a spiral staircase made of marble for a teeth cleaning!

When it opened in , the hotel quickly gained a reputation as an oasis for artists and creative types — and Raffles honors this tradition with nearly works from Polish artists, making the new Europejski a destination in itself. The wine is just as fastidiously produced: the vineyards are tilled by horses, and port is made only when conditions are ideal.

When art dealer Iwan and Manuela Wirth took over the Fife Arms about four years ago, the Scottish hotel had a storied past — but its future was looking a little grim.