Category Archives: Most Beautiful Hotels

Sofitel Winter Palace • Luxor, Egypt

Victorian splendor on the banks of the Nile

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In 1922. the guests at the Old Winter Palace, if they took notice of a short post on a bulletin board, would have been among the first in the world to learn of the great discovery by archeologist Howard Carter. When first peering into the boy King Tut’s tomb for the first time in two thousand years, he was asked what did he see. “Things, wonderful things…” he replied. Carter was a regular visitor to the hotel and continued to stay there during his subsequent archeological excavations. He could often be seen strolling in the garden.

The Old Winter Palace, founded in 1886, is still a magnificent colonial Victorian edifice with high-ceilinged elegance, spacious guest rooms and many more pleasures than available to Howard Carter in 1922.

Old Winter Palace Luxor - pool

The hotel is situated in a lush tropical garden with a large pool as the centerpiece. Each guest room is different, with high ceilings, luxury amenities and comforts. Fascinating artifacts from the history of the hotel and its guests are on display along the wide, huge corridors.

Also of note is the formal French cuisine at the “1886”, on of Egypt’s best known restaurants, a tribute to an era when to dress for dinner was a social nicety that one ignored at one’s own peril. And formal dress is still required today for the candlelit dinner, an exquisite experience. There are two other fine restaurants including a beautiful terrace restaurant on the Nile side of the hotel.

Old Winter Palace - Valley of the Kings - King Tut

Sofitel Winter Palace
Location: Cornish el Nil, Luxor, Egypt; 20 minutes from the airport.

Luxury style: Modern adventurers will appreciate the service and comfort of the Old Winter Palace after a hard day visiting the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens or the Temple of Luxor which is right next door. Visiting the monuments in Egypt is a life experience not to be missed.

What we’ve heard: Be sure to never confuse the “New Winter Palace” with the Winter Palace itself. The New Winter Palace, on the other side of the garden and also managed by Sofitel, is a fine hotel, but does have the beautiful historic significance of the Old Winter Palace.

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The Waldorf=Astoria • New York City, New York

New York City’s Art Deco grande dame

Waldorf-Astoria & Waldorf Towers

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Relax in the art-deco masterpiece that is the Waldorf-Astoria’s ornate and detailed lobby. Listen to the daily piano accompaniment to the coming and goings of guests on the piano that Cole Porter used to play. Wander to the Astoria lounge in the afternoon to sample a complimentary afternoon tea for guests.

She’s a grand old dame, full of history and legend. This heritage is celebrated weekly at the elaborate Sunday brunch held at Peacock Alley restaurant with a magnificent buffet set up in the famed Lobby Clock Tower with over 12 themed food displays and over 100 gourmet items. Also of historic as well as culinary interest is the Bull and Bear Steakhouse and Bar with a decor preserved from prime time 1940’s.

Waldorf Suite

The visitor will have a wide palette in the selection of rooms. The deluxe rooms are spacious with each one individually decorated with luxe materials and art. The business executive can choose the slightly larger business class rooms. Ever more luxurious is a stay on the concierge floor, called the “Astoria level” with access to the Executive Level Lounge. A whole series of suites are also available.

For the most ultra-luxe service and amenities, the separately managed Waldorf Towers has entertained presidents and kings in its superlative and exclusive accommodations on the 28th through 42nd floors of the tower.

Debuting in late 2007 will be a full-service spa which will occupy most of the 19th floor.

Address: 301 Park Ave., between E. 49th and E. 50th Sts., New York, NY 10022; 40 minutes from airport; allow extra time for rush hours.
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Waldorf Astoria guest room

The Waldorf-Astoria
Location: 301 Park Ave., between E. 49th and E. 50th Sts., New York, NY 10022; 40 minutes from airport; allow extra time for rush hours.

Luxury style: History buffs, New York-o-philes, special occasions, business leaders, families, special interest groups

What we’ve heard:  The historic atmosphere recalls 30’s films depicting New York’s upper crust at play. Hotel is also family-friendly with baby-siting services available and spacious rooms to accommodate small children in the parents’ room.

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The New York Palace • New York City

A luxury palace in the heart of Manhattan

The New York Palace

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Leona Helmsley no longer rules the Palace, but it is still known as a place fit for a king (or queen.) Located at nearly dead center midtown, the Palace guest is within minutes from an amazing number of New York sightseeing hotspots or many midtown business venue especially those at Rockefeller Center.

The property itself consists of the historic 1882 McKim Mead & White mansion called the Villard Houses after its financier owner Henry Villard. In 1980, the building was developed as a hotel, gaining a newly built 55-story modern tower, opening as the Helmsley Palace, gaining much notoriety from an advertising campaign where Leona Helmsley ruled her palace. In 1993, the queen was deposed and the hotel underwent another multi-million dollar refurbishment.

New York Palace, formerly the New York Helmsley Palace

Room choices include Deluxe, Executive Club and Towers accommodations, crowned by four Triplex suites. Each triplex features an outdoor terrace. The large spacious rooms are opulently furnished and feature marble bathroom, seating and work area with full-sized desk and king-sized or two double beds. The busy executive will find it easy to stay in touch with high-speed Internet access and multiple phone lines. And of course, there are views aplenty from this ideal midtown eyrie in the 55-story tower.

There is a state-of-the-art fitness center and the newly opened “Gilt”, a restaurant situated within the Villard mansion serving Modern American cuisine.

New York Palace, near St Patrick’s, Rockefeller Center

The New York Palace
Location: 455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022; 40 minutes to an hour — allow additional time for heavy traffic periods.

Luxury style: The perfect business location for CEOs, upscale sightseers, a shopper’s wonderland with easy access to Fifth Avenue with stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s and other high-end retailers; also a family friendly place with the spacious rooms perfect for a small family, unlike some postage-stamp-sized rooms in some NYC hotels.

What we’ve heard: Unlike the legions of newer Manhattan boutique hotels, the Palace isn’t hip or trendy. But it is a finely run, comfortable and elegant spot, beloved by many.

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