Hotel Photos: Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna

Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna - lobby lounge

Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna - lobby lounge

I just returned from a trip to Austria, which always feels nostalgic. Vienna is where I chose to spend time in college - I couldn't believe how grand and stunning the city was. Plus, I have always loved the German language, coffee and cake breaks, and classical music. Vienna was made for me. Today, it isn't trying to be the next Berlin or Brooklyn - there is great innovation and a young spirit, but it really leans into that imperial court feel and coffeehouse culture. I love that. 

The first hotel I stayed in was the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, in one of the Hansen Suites. The hotel is whimsical and has a hint of French flair - the lobby lounge has pops of color and a huge low-hanging chandelier, while my room was masculine and muted. It's a great choice for Vienna, ever so slightly removed from the city center, but an easy walk to everything you need.

The Dolder Grand in Zurich

I started this blog years ago because of an obsessive love I had for great hotels. The Dolder Grand, located in the hills above Zurich, Switzerland, is one of the GREAT ones. It reopened in 2008 after no Swiss franc was spared for its renovation and restoration. Famed architect Norman Foster designed two wings surrounding the historic main building.

The artwork is provocative...and FAMOUS - don't miss the Warhol above the check-in desk. The award-winning spa (most recently Virtuoso's Best Spa winner) is enormous and stunning. Basically, this place is another world. It's an easy "Dolderbahn" ride into the center of Zurich but you won't want to leave once you're here.

7 Things I Loved About the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa, Switzerland

I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to the Swiss Alps, including the village of Arosa, which I hadn't heard of before this trip. In Arosa, we stayed at the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, one of those hotels that I really hated to leave. I woke up early on the day we left, just so I could have more time on my balcony, to sink into the cashmere-covered chairs in the lobby, and to linger over the breakfast buffet. Let's meet there next time...I already miss it!

1. My room view

2. These Hermès chairs that could double as pieces of art in the lobby.

3. My hand-painted blue door. Each floor had a different color scheme, with hand-painted hallways and doors. So beautiful!

4. This pasta at La Collina (one of five restaurants) for lunch - Tagliatelle with lime sauce, fried shrimps and young spinach

5. Sledging down the mountain!! The hotel has a private railway, the Tschuggen Express, which zips you up the mountain in less than three minutes. So awesome.

6. BOWLING ALLEY! You can't come to Switzerland without indulging in fondue at least once. On the bottom floor of the hotel is Bündnerstube. And after inhaling way too many chunks of bread dipped in cheese, you can shuffle over to the mini bowling alley (it's IN the restaurant!).

7. The spectacular spa designed by Mario Botta!

Welcome to the Del - Coronado

I just finished a week in Florida - Naples, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Key West - and flew straight to San Diego. I'm on assignment with National Geographic, which means I'm on the go, researching, eating, finding cool spots, taking photos, updating social media, meeting people from early mornings into the night, and writing, writing, writing late into the night (99.5% of the time it is amazing!!). But I had to take a moment and show you the view from my room at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

I started this blog originally to write about hotels because I loved them so much - and my life and work has evolved so much. But to stay at this iconic hotel - well my heart skipped a beat when I walked into the lobby. And a few beats more when I saw this view.

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The King David Hotel, Jerusalem

Let's get to some photos of The King David Hotel in Jerusalem. I told you all about their massive, incredible breakfast in this video, but let's sit down at the kitchen table with a cup of tea to see the room. The panoramic view over Jerusalem and the hotel's iconic pool below was what made the room so incredibly special. The space itself was beautiful, comfortable, and complete with fluffy hotel bathrobe that I wanted to steal. But the view was what made me never want to leave. And indeed, I did leave kicking and whining all the way to the valet stand. I would be so bold as to say this should be in the top 25 hotels to see in your lifetime for its place in the history of Jerusalem and how you feel like royalty or the President when staying here.

My favorite photo of the view at dusk