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Mission Inn Resort & Spa • Riverside, California

Landmark of luxury

Mission Inn Resort & Spa • Riverside, California

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Mission Inn Hotel began its illustrious history as a modest 12-room adobe boarding house. Through a gradual process of accumulation, renovation and additions by eccentric owner Frank Miller, the hotel reached its current state adorned with arcades and orange gardens, turrets and domes, flying buttresses, spiral staircases, catacombs and carillon towers. Walking into the magnificent lobby, the guest will be struck by the dark wood beamed ceilings, stucco arches, and wooden pillar lining the corridor. A 94-foot carpet displays the name of all 21 of California’s Missions.

Riverside Inn - Pool

Although history will keep many a visitor fascinated, relaxation and rejuvenation is a strictly modern affair. At Kelly’s Spa, a Tuscan-inspired oasis of tranquility, offers massages and body treatments with imported herbs and oils. A relaxing dip in the pool or soak in the outdoor spa tub can top off the session.

For dining, the Mission Inn offers four unique dining experiences. The Mission Inn Restaurant serves California-style cuisine on the pation; Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood is noted for its award-winning wines. Around a colorful blue-tiled fountain and weathered-rock waterfall, Las Campanas serves authentic Mexican cuisine. Service is rounded out by Bella Trattoria with oven-baked pizzas and panini.

Mission Inn - Suite

Because of the Mission Inn’s long history, there are scarcely any rooms that are exactly alike. Oriental carpets, antiques, four-poster beds are some of the design elements used in the rooms and suites. Wandering throughout the hotel is a special experience with discoveries of stairways, walkways and catwalks that offer fascinating views of the inn’s special architecture.

Mission Inn
Location: 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501 ; distance from airport

Luxury style: History buffs will find the Mission Inn totally fascinating and catnip to their imagination. It’s also a romantic getaway with the fine furnishing and one-of-a-kind rooms.

What we’ve heard: Start your stay with an hour plus guided tour of the property by a docent. Some of the most interesting spots are not available to the public and you will marvel at the colorful history of this renowned and eccentric hotel masterpiece.

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The Oberoi Udaivilas • Udaipur, India

A princely dreamscape by Lake Pichola

The Oberoi Udaivilas • Udaipur, India

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The vast spacious interiors of the Oberoi Udaipur are designed to echo the princely hunting lodges built by the Raijput, the upper-caste Hindu warrior princes 200 years ago. Built by local craftsmen with traditional materials and methods, the acres of white marble gleam in the sunlight, creating an idealistic portrait of a regal India.

The accommodations live up to the promise of the exterior–the guest rooms are the ultimate in luxury at every level of accommodation. There are sixty-three richly appointed Premier rooms, with private walled courtyards, complete with silken parasols, table and chairs. Inlaid furniture, Raijput inspired decoration and marble bathrooms; nineteen additional Lakeview rooms look out to reflecting pools and the hotel’s own nature preserve.

The luxury suites, each over 1,150 square feet, have private infinity pools and tented dining pavilions, and spectacular views. Guests in these suites have their own private butler to see to their every need. The unique Kohinoor suite, over 2000 square feet, has a private pool, sauna, sitting room and fountained courtyard.

The Oberoi Udaivilas • Udaipur, India

A highlight of a stay at the Oberoi Udaipur is the exquisite spa managed by Banyan Tree. Rejuvenation and relaxation are achieved in serene spa suites, spectacular views of Lake Pichola and the City Palace inspire the spirit while guests experience the healing hands of trained therapists. Holistic treatments drawn from Ayurveda, Thai and Western techniques. Treatments can be complemented by a dip in the spa’s pool or some relaxing moment in the steam room or sauna. An extensive menu of yoga sessions is also available as well as state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

The Oberoi Udaivilas • Udaipur, India

The Oberoi Udaipur
Location: Hardasji Ki Magri. Udaipur, India; transfers from the airport include a trip in the Oberoi private car and then a trip across Lake Pichola in the hotel launch.

Luxury style: Service is the watchword at the Oberoi Udaivilas, the icing on the beautiful cake. Even travelers used to five-star ambience will marvel at the decor, service and setting of this tribute to a royal era. And, in 2007, the Oberoi Udaivilas was named the “Best Hotel in the World” by the discerning travelers in the annual Reader’s Poll.

What we’ve heard: Rave reports are heard about the lovely outdoor terrace with traditional Rajasthani musicians and dancers, many recruited from remote villages.

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Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

Exotic grandeur by the Bosphorus

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

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The Ciragon Palace occupies a spot where the ghosts of numerous palaces hover, hosting Ottoman sultans and foreign dignitaries for several centuries. The current incarnation was rebuilt in 1910 and was transformed into a stunning hotel in 1991. A new renovation has just been completed, adding a new building that retains the 19th-century flavor of the palace as well as updating all accommodations to the luxurious comforts and technological amenities demanded by today’s upscale traveler.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul - Lobby

Although the hotel’s location in the center of Istanbul, there is still a relaxing resort atmosphere. Wandering in the extensive lush gardens and then a dip in the one of several swimming pools will please the tired sightseer. Then, a treatment in the spa ranging from wraps to massage to the pleaures of the traditional hamman will revify the traveler. Dining choices are elegant and suitable for a sultan–a beautiful Ottoman-style dining room with a magnificent terrace overlooking the Bosphorus. The Gazebo Lounge offers a special Turkish High Tea with local sweets like baklava and baked layered pastry with chees. Also available is International High Tea with scones, canapes and champagne, again with the spectacular views of the Bosphorus. And of course, the hotel bar is a center of conviviality.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul - Room

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
Location: Ciragan Caddesi 32, Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey; 25 kilometres to the airport.

Luxury style: Istanbul is an enticing exotic place, full of unexpected beauty and culture born of its over thousand-year history. For those who the ghosts of a place exert a siren call, the Ciragan Palace Kempinksi Istanbul will delight. The explorer’s significant other with no interest in these qualities will also stay happy with a resort atmosphere and pampering of sultanic proportions.

What we’ve heard: Although there is a new wing and the older building, the continuity and pleasures of this palace are available in both places, unlike some other historic properties with new additions.

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