6 Ways to Explore Italy This Summer and Beyond

April 25th, 2024

Once you’ve ticked off the sights in Rome and Milan, where to jet off to next? To make easy work of planning your ultimate Italian summer getaway, we’re rounding up the country’s “bests”—from show-stopping pools and breezy beach clubs to scenic train rides and cruises. Read on for our top picks…

Best Pool: In a country known for its dramatic pools, it’s hard to crown one winner — which is why our vote goes to not one but two legendary Italian piscinas. On the Amalfi Coast, the heated infinity pool at Caruso, A Belmond Hotel is situated at an astonishing 1,000 feet above sea level, appearing to drop off the cliffs and into the Tyrrhenian Sea below. You won’t find a more scenic spot for taking in Amalfi’s soaring coastline. Meanwhile, in Umbria, the family-owned Tenuta di Murlo estate encompasses 18,000 acres of countryside and a collection of historic villas, cottages, hotel suites; one of its most lavish pools is the private L-shaped piscina at Villa Penna, which blends so seamlessly with the surrounding landscapes that you might think it was a natural swimming hole (which coincidentally, the estate also has).

Best Beach Club: Set on a private beach on Sicily’s Bay of Mazarrò, Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel occupies the island’s most covetable coastal perches. Now that the resort has launched Lido Villeggiatura, A Villa Sant’Andrea Beach Club, guests have yet another vantage point for appreciating the hotel’s seaside scenery. Inspired by the hotel’s midcentury Mediterranean glamour (the property was famously a private villa until the 1950s), the new beach club offers white-and-blue stripes sun loungers, six tented cabanas with plush sofas, dedicated butler service, and plenty of locally-inspired design details — from colorful cushions with lace-inspired “merletto” detailing, lava stone tiles from Mount Etna, Sicilian terracotta vases, and sun sails swaying in the sea breeze. Daily programming ranges from sunrise yoga by the water’s edge to open-air cinema nights in partnership with the Taormina Film Festival, DJ sets and seafood barbecues, wellness treatments in private cabanas, and excursions in the beach club’s new private speed boat Apreamare Gozzo 35, constructed by master boat builders from Sorrento.

Best for Artisans: International art gallery Galleria Continua and Belmond are teaming up for the third year on their MITICO art series. While this year’s art initiative will pop up in six Belmond properties around the world (including Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town), art lovers won’t want to miss a site-specific work by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren at Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, near Florence, where the artist has used the glass roof at Bar San Michele as his canvas. Consisting of panels of vividly colored glass in shades of red, green, blue and yellow, the retractable art piece transforms the bar into a kaleidoscopic installation of primary hues.

Best for Foodies: Umbria is ranking high on gourmands’ wish lists now that Tenuta di Murlo has launched a cooking school where guests can learn to make traditional Umbrian pizza and pasta and enroll in interactive group cooking classes. Also new for this year is a farm area that will function as a meeting place for culinary experiences like truffle hunting and apiary workshops. The hotel can organize picnics amid the property’s rolling hillsides, with estate-grown wine, olive oil, honey, biodynamic fruits and vegetables as gourmet picnic provisions. For guests wanting to get a broader taste of the region, culinary towns like Norcia (famous for its cured meats) and Castelluccio (Umbria’s lentil capital!) are just a drive away.

Best Train: What’s better than a road trip? A luxury train journey across Italy’s most breathtaking coastal landscapes. In June, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train will travel to the Ligurian Coast for the very first time in its four-decade history, connecting Paris and the breezy seaside town of Portofino, Italy. The overnight journey will wind through the French countryside and along the Riviera, ending with a two-night stay at Splendido, A Belmond Hotel. As part of their stay, guests will enjoy a night of cinema under the stars at the town’s iconic Piazzetta; they’ll also be among the first to check out the hotel’s newly launched Splendido Grill, where classic Italian dishes are enjoyed on a breezy terrace overlooking the Ligurian Bay.

Best Cruise: Sicily isn’t a destination you can discover in one go — or is it? Next summer, PONANT, in alliance with Smithsonian Journeys, will circumnavigate the Italian island, bringing the destination’s ancient civilizations, cultural riches, and awe-inspiring landscapes into deep focus. Setting sail from Valletta, Malta on June 2-10, 2025, Le Bougainville will head towards the southwestern coast of Sicily, home to the seaside commune of Porto Empedocles and the UNESCO-recognized Temple Valley archaeological site. Next, the ship will journey to Tunisia’s alluring capital to visit the ruins of Ancient Carthage and the Bardo National Museum before arriving in Trapani to visit the San Lorenzo Cathedral and the medieval hilltop commune of Erice. From there, it’s on to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, where Byzantine mosaics and Baroque churches exist alongside chic artisan studios and trendy restaurants. After a loop around Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian islands, travelers will sail north to Stromboli, taking in panoramic vistas of the active volcano, before crossing through the Strait of Messina to arrive at Taormina. The final port of call is Syracuse, which Cicero called “the greatest and most beautiful of all Grecian cities,” where you’ll find the island’s greatest archaeological sites, Parco Archeologico della Neapoli.

Top 2024 Summer Destination: Switzerland

April 18th, 2024

As the “coolcation” trend only gets hotter, Europe’s new summer hotspots are beginning to emerge—and Switzerland is leading the way. Families will want to seek out hotels like Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa or La Réserve Geneva Hotel, Spa and Villa, both of which have robust children’s clubs and kid-friendly programming (wakeboarding school, anyone?). Meanwhile, art-lovers should set their sights on Zurich’s La Réserve Eden au Lac, which is conveniently located near all of the city’s top cultural institutions. No matter your idea of summer fun—from boating and picnics to open-air concerts and mountain hikes—these three iconic Swiss properties are ideally poised for seasonal adventures. Read on!


A new themed mountain trail with views of Eiger’s North Face (one of the world’s most formidable peaks) is luring active travelers to Switzerland’s Jungfrau region. The perfect base camp for your adventure? The legendary Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, which is located a funicular ride away from the start of the trail. Dating to the mid-1800s, the Belle Époque hotel (the former stomping grounds of Goethe and Lord Byron) has chandelier-lit salons, trickling marble fountains, six tennis courts, and a 5,500-square-meter spa with a vaulted indoor swimming pool and an outdoor saltwater pool. It’s also super family-friendly thanks to its sprawling Bienhuus (Bee House) play facility, where the little ones can partake in dance classes and face painting and make decorative wreaths, beeswax candles, and bracelets. Be sure to make reservations at the hotel’s Radius by Stefan Beer restaurant—which was recently awarded a Michelin Star and a Green Star—where the Swiss chef creates tasting menus with ingredients like wood sorrel and Mirabelle plums sourced within a 50-kilometer radius of the hotel.


Zurich is an eminently walkable and bikeable city with an exploding cultural scene. In the summer, the city comes alive with a whole calendar of free outdoor summer concerts ranging from Openair Wipkingen held on the River Linnett to Stolze Openair, the city’s largest free open-air festival. For a fittingly cultured place to stay, look no further than La Réserve Eden au Lac. Designed by Philippe Starck, the lakeside landmark is located strolling distance from the Opera House, the Pavilion Le Corbusier, the Art Nouveau-era Bad Utoquai bathing pavilion, and the Kunsthaus Zurich art museum (look out for masterpieces by Monet and Van Gogh). The Swiss city is also renowned for its public art: there are more than 1,000 works by the likes of Nikki de Saint-Phalle and Augusto Giacometti scattered around town. Back at the hotel, guests can opt for Motoscafo boat rides across the lake, picnics in surprise locations, wellness sessions in a floating sauna, and golden hour magic at the hotel’s buzzy Peruvian rooftop restaurant.


La Réserve Geneva Hotel, Spa and Villa occupies a privileged location within a 10-acre park on the lake’s right bank, with views of the Jura mountains. While the property’s 20,000-square-foot Nescens Spa—the city’s largest wellness haven—draws its share of health-seekers, families love the property for its vast wooden playground, interconnected rooms, and seasonal activities ranging from tennis lessons to pastry making to wakeboarding lessons with a two-time World Wakesurf champion. Don’t miss the city’s new family friendly attractions like Renzo Piano-designed CERN Science Gateway, located a quick 20-minute ride from the hotel. Swiss wine is a well-kept secret (98% of it stays in Switzerland!), but at the nearby Lavaux vineyards, just 15 minutes west of the city center, guests can sample the region’s famed Chasselas wine and discover the region’s 200+ winemakers!

Springtime in London

April 15th, 2024

from neighborhood scavenger hunts to Chelsea blooms…

There’s no better time to visit London than the spring, when the skies have cleared, the parks are bursting with flowers and lush greenery, and the streets are overflowing with people eating and drinking outdoors. If you’re planning a visit, here are the can’t-miss events and seasonal spots to put on your list—from the V&A Museum’s largest ever photography exhibition to a flower-powered installation at one of the city’s buzziest restaurants.

The Doyle Collection, London (The Bloomsbury, The Kensington, and The Marylebone)

The Bloomsbury is a top pick among families, thanks to its classic London style and prime location near the cool Neal’s Yard and the British Museum. This spring, families can enjoy a complimentary self-guided city scavenger hunt, created in partnership with the Blue Badge Tourist Guide and the children’s illustrators behind the Drawn Together Art Collective. The 60-minute walking tour begins and ends at The Bloomsbury Hotel, where children who show a completed treasure hunt map will earn a tasty surprise from the concierge! Also new for spring is a seasonal installation at the hotel’s buzzy Dalloway Terrace, where London-based florist Princess & Ko has created a floral wonderland of green foliage and yellow mimosa flowers (the official emblem of International Women’s Day). As part of the activation, the Provençal rosé brand Maison Mirabeau has crafted a menu of rosé-inspired cocktails inspired by some of France’s most legendary actresses including Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve.

Meanwhile, The Kensington Hotel is offering tickets to one of the season’s hottest-ticket art events: the V&A Museum’s “Fragile Beauty” exhibition, which opens on May 18 and will showcase more than 300 photographs (the largest photography exhibition the museum has staged to date!) from Elton John’s legendary art collection. Guests who book the hotel’s Fragile Beauty Exhibition Experience package will snag two tickets to the exhibition plus a full English breakfast each morning of their stay. Later in the season, The Kensington will offer a similar package for guests interested in high fashion—specifically, the world of fashion icon Naomi Campbell, the leading lady of “Naomi: in Fashion” which opens at the V&A in June.

For a quick weekend escape, consider a stay at the fashionable Marylebone Hotel, known for its unbeatable address and on-site health club (home to an 18-meter swimming pool and complimentary Pilates and yoga classes!).

The Beaumont

A hidden gem in Mayfair, The Beaumont hotel has long been an insider’s spot that feels intimate, but never snobby, thanks to a team that knows guests by name and to its acclaimed restaurants and bars that draw a local crowd. For a curated sense of place, guests receive exclusive access and offerings at nearby stores, including Heywood Hill bookstore, Leica Cameras, and leather goods boutique, Métier. This is the first spring season for the property to showcase its 29 additional rooms and suites (for a total of 101) that have been designed by the late French American designer Thierry Despont. Not to miss is ROOM, a one-of-a-kind suite that was originally designed by Turner Prize-winner Antony Gormley due to the City of Westminster’s requirement that new buildings contain public art. The Lego man-like accommodation offers a bedroom with nothing but an all-white bed – no TV, minibar, artwork or telephone – so there are no distractions for a healthier night’s sleep. Fun fact: Every first Tuesday of the month, up to six guests can order a selection of board games at the Gatsby’s Room. For those looking to add on a cocktail, the team recommends Manhattan for backgammon and Mint Julep for Scrabble.

L’oscar London

Housed inside a converted Grade-II listed Baroque church with Jacques Garcia interiors, L’oscar London is one of the city’s most fashion-forward hotels. It’s also one of the best spots to enjoy afternoon tea, especially now that the property has rolled out a new afternoon tea menu with infusions from Newby Teas (the world’s most awarded luxury tea brand) and small bites inspired by seasonal flavors (think rhubarb and strawberry choux or lime and elderflower cheesecake). Vegan guests can opt for the hotel’s plant-forward menu, with a selection of veggie-centric finger sandwiches and sweets like dark chocolate mousse with yuzu and matcha.

The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel

London’s Chelsea Flower Show is an annual celebration of show-stopping seasonal blooms and innovative garden designs. As part of the floral festivities, The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel will debut spectacular floral displays around the property, as well as botanical cocktails and a floral-inspired afternoon tea by star pâtissier Benoit Blin. Guests also receive early access to London’s oldest botanical garden and private tennis courts in Cadogan Place Gardens.

Gift Guide for Every Mother Figure

April 11th, 2024

Gift Guide: Mother’s Day

Whether she enjoys hosting a dinner party, dressing up for every occasion (including bedtime!), or is embracing her role as dog mom, there’s a gift for every mother figure this May:

For the Hostess:

UXUA Utopia: A Very Gifted Guest House

The boutique property on the Bahian coast of Brazil tends to attract a cool crowd (Anderson Cooper loved it so much that he built a house; its where Solange Knowles spent her honeymoon; models like Candice Swanepoel have been spotted there…), so it’s no surprise that leading trend forecaster Li Edelkoort joined forces to release this coffee table book. The 288 pages combine elements of design, art, and travel, exploring owner Wilbert Das’ achievements in establishing values for a new world through a local project meant to set a global example. Past guests can reminisce about their holidays while flipping through the beautiful pages, and those yet to visit can daydream and imagine themselves in the tropical paradise of Trancoso, Brazil. The book retails for $150.

Artisan Olive Oil from Tenuta di Murlo in Umbria

Tenuta di Murlo’s exclusive olive oil, harvested at the 18,000-acre estate from a blend of Dolce Agogia, Frantoio, Leccino, and Moraiolo olives holds the DOP label (Protected Designation of Origin) that is awarded to products that are produced, processed and prepared with ingredients from the specific region. For subtle amaro and spicy flavors, while also enjoying a fruity aroma with herbaceous notes, gift a bundle of three bottles for $83 on shop.murlo.com.

Charlotte & Co at Dromoland Castle

Instead of the requisite trinkets that often fill hotel gift shops, Dromoland Castle’s Charlotte & Co, a boutique celebrating Irish artisans and giving visitors a one-stop shop to pick up an authentic, Irish-made item to remember their trip. The boutique features a collection of Irish contemporary design comprising homewares by KOPPER KREATION made with reclaimed copper, steel, and brass; handmade perfumes made in and inspired by The Burren national park from Burren Perfumery; super chic freeform architectural modeling kits from ARCKIT (think Lego goes high design); and several other proudly Irish makers.

Elegant Teatime with The Westbury’s Finest Set

Relax with your valentine using The Westbury’s quintessential set of afternoon teacups and saucers. Available in a set of two, are crafted from the finest bone china and with a hand-painted gold rim. It elevates a DIY afternoon tea experience from the cozy confines of home. This set is available on shop.doylecollection.com, with a retail price of $88.

For the Fashionista:

Scottish Fashion from The Fife Arms

Renowned British couture designer Giles Deacon has collaborated with The Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland to create an exclusive capsule collection in celebration of the inaugural Festival of Fashion. A frequent visitor to the hotel, Deacon merged the bespoke house tweed and tartan with his high-fashion expertise. The collection is comprised of the Munro Victoria Cape ($2,775) and three versions of the Munro Bag (from $678), including one that features an archival print of the legendary Braemar Gathering, an annual event regularly attended by the reigning Monarch and members of the British Royal Family. His pieces are worn and collected the world over by private clients, red carpet celebrities and royalty (he designed Pippa Middleton’s wedding dress). The Munro Capsule collection can be found on The Fife Arms’ online shop.

Centenary Collection from COPA X FARM Rio

Two of Rio’s most iconic brands, Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro and FARM Rio, the city’s most renowned fashion brand, have collaborated on a centenary collection inspired by Rio’s vibrant Carioca spirit and Copacabana Palace’s 100 years of timeless elegance. The collection is the first time FARM Rio has teamed up with a luxury hospitality brand, connecting contemporary fashion with time-old glamour. Within the collection, the black Copacabana Chemise ($260) brings a tone of sophistication embellished with the classic tropical bananas print for a quick transition from walks on the beach to dinner by the pool.

The Parker X Sant & Abel Women’s Parker Boxer Set

Sleep in style in a new pajama set this Mother’s Day. Sant & Abel created an exclusive Parker Palm Springs print with colorful sketches of the iconic cheeky and whimsical elements that lie within the hotel’s estate – from the Jonathan Adler-designed bronzed banana statue and the poolside, Lemonade Stand to the pink lip artwork by Jessica Rowe and the room service cyclists. The word “DRUGS” in the print is a nod to the 1930s vintage sign sourced from a pharmacy in Idaho that now hangs in the lobby. The shirt & boxer set can be purchased online here for $170.

For Dog Moms:

Pet Pampering Accessories from Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel X Chommies

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the iconic Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel has expanded its circle of love to guests’ furry companions with a Mount Nelson x Chommies collaboration. The range of luxury pet accessories is modeled by the hotel’s very own beloved cat, Nellie, who has captured the hearts of staff and guests for 15 years and can be found roaming the Lounge and Verandah on property. The collaboration includes tennis-inspired rope collars and leashes as well as a luxury knitted picnic blanket and a handcrafted food & water bowl set. Shop the entire collection online here; 10% of the proceeds go to the Underdog Project, a local program that provides therapeutic workshops to youths through shelter dog training.

Coastal Charm Pet Collection with White Elephant X Pawsitivity

White Elephant Nantucket teamed up with Pawsitivity to create a custom pet collection of collars and leashes, featuring signature Nantucket icons and the iconic White Elephant logo. The collection is 100% handcrafted in Massachusetts, made using durable metal hardware coated for saltwater usage and wear tested in Nantucket Sound. The collection can be found both online and at the hotel’s newly redesigned retail space starting at $45. For the ultimate pet-friendly stay on Nantucket, check out the newly renovated Cottages at the Boat Basin including 12 “Woof Cottages” for those traveling with furry friends (personal pet tags are included with each stay!)

Now Open: Nantucket’s Cottages at the Boat Basin Unveils a Complete Renovation for 2024 Season

April 11th, 2024

Nantucket’s Cottages at the Boat Basin, overlooking the famous harbor, unveiled a six-month multi-million-dollar renovation today. Drawing on Nantucket’s rich seafaring past and Quaker influence, Nantucket-based designer Audrey Sterk infused new life into the 29 Cottages, which occupy an enviable perch along the slips of the award-winning Nantucket Boat Basin.

Located 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, the island of Nantucket continues to retain the historic charm lingering from its days as the world’s whaling capital in the 19th century. The Boat Basin’s storied history spans over 300 years beginning in the late-1720s when the island was the busiest whaling port in the world and its wharves were flourishing with boat-building ships, sail lofts and candle factories. During that time, 15-20 whale ships would be anchored in the harbor and stacks of oil casks lined each wharf. In 1830, the California Gold Rush played a role in the whaling industry’s collapse on the East Coast, but by 1920, Nantucket entered a new era of tourism with travelers arriving by steamboat from posts across the Northeast. By the mid 1960s, the waterfront, which became known as the Nantucket Boat Basin, developed into a fisherman’s community and artist enclave with more than a dozen galleries lining the wharves. The Cottages, as we know it today, officially arrived on the scene in 2002 when the accommodations became part of White Elephant Resorts.

Checking into The Cottages is the closest thing to staying on the water, without being on a boat, nautical soundtrack included. The setting is reminiscent of a seaside village. The individually styled accommodations with names like Sea Syren, Essex and Orion, are inspired by the names of the great  whaling ships of the 1700s. A collection of 12 accommodations, dubbed ‘Woof Cottages’ continue to be available for those traveling with pets. Ranging from studio cottages to split-level three-bedroom lofts, every inch of the historic accommodations, particularly the bedrooms, living spaces and bathrooms, have been revamped without altering their original architecture. Original details including vaulted ceiling beams and individual floor plans have remained. All cottages offer full kitchens and most feature private outdoor decks.  The accommodations feature a color palette of inviting tones of deep ocean blue, misty gray and stark white.  Caged lighting, nautical charts of Nantucket, brass barometer instruments, rope and jute detailing in the furnishings and carpet, and woven fixtures inject a dose of contemporary maritime charm while the humble, functional materials hark back to the island’s whaling roots.

An extensive collection of artwork, including 3-D pieces of framed mariners knots, along with other works hand-selected by the hotel’s owners are displayed throughout the accommodations. A focal point of the cottages is a mural that’s handpainted by Sterk and digitally modified to fit in each space. The floor-to-ceiling seascape—which took nearly eight months to create—stretches across an entire wall and depicts a “First Nantucket Settlers” scene, with large-masted sailboats, lighthouses, a distant hamlet, and coastal vegetation brimming with native plants and animals. The mural tradition is deeply woven into the fabric of the island: in the 1800s, owners of whaling ships commissioned murals for their homes.

Amenities include complimentary access to Priority Bicycles and kids’ fishing rods, reels and nets. Guests are also steps from town and can take advantage of complimentary shuttles to the beach. Pets receive the VIP treatment with beds, a welcome basket of treats and toys, and personalized pet tags. For recommendations on the island’s most pet-friendly activities—including the best places to run free and play fetch, guests can email local insider Bailey, a black lab/Brittany Spaniel mix at petconcierge@thecottagesnantucket.com

To celebrate the renovation, The Cottages is offering a special opening rate starting from $310 per night. High season rates start at $1,250 per night. Starting rates are for one-bedroom Cottages. For more information, visit: https://www.thecottagesnantucket.com/

About White Elephant Resorts

White Elephant Resorts is a collection of premier hotels and resorts on Nantucket, MA and in Palm Beach, FL that specialize in bringing their award-winning combination of service, design, and amenities to today’s discerning traveler. Properties include The Wauwinet, with access to both bay and ocean beaches and home to award-winning TOPPER’S restaurant; White Elephant, the iconic hotel located right on Nantucket Harbor with the Brant Point Grill; Jared Coffin House, a historic hotel in Nantucket Town and its restaurant, Tap Room; The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin, private waterfront cottages; and Nantucket Boat Basin, a 240-slip full-service award-winning marina. White Elephant Palm Beach debuted in November 2020 in Palm Beach, FL with Nantucket-favorite LoLa 41 restaurant.  In 2023, The Wauwinet, White Elephant Nantucket, and White Elephant Palm Beach were ranked in Travel + Leisure’s T+L 500 awards, and both White Elephant Nantucket and The Wauwinet were recipients of Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. TOPPER’s is AAA’s only “Five Diamond” restaurant on Nantucket and has been a recipient of Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” for 27 consecutive years.



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