Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

February 20th, 2008
My Favorite 8 Hotels Around the World

When I was a little girl, I wanted to buy a stairway to heaven so I could stay in a perfect place with fluffy pillows and happy people. Well, after all my travels, I don’t need that stairway because I have found some hotels that are pretty close to heaven. For a hotel to make my celestial list, they had to be extraordinary. So, after hours of contemplation, I have compiled my list of eight hotels around the world that I think are truly Diva-worthy.

For me, a fine hotel is like a delightful lover, I am greeted with warmth when I walk through the door, the champagne is forever chilled, and there is always a wonderful room where I can dream. Oh yes, these hotels are located in great areas, they are priced decently, and you won’t want to leave. While my list ranges from a rock star hotspot in Paris to a bohemian boutique in Mexico, the one thing they all have in common is their remarkable ability to make me smile every time I think of them.

Stockholm, Sweden: Hotel Diplomat

Situated on the chic strand of harbor in Stockholm, the Hotel Diplomat has breathtaking views of stunning Scandinavian buildings and sparkling water. Located in the heart of the financial and cultural districts, this Art Nouveau building has been renovated with the best Scandinavian accoutrements available. Family owned for four generations, the blend of tradition, modern design and elegance is evident from the moment you walk in the door.

Price range: $211-545 USD per night

Hotel Bars and Restaurants: The T/Bar is the number one hot spot on Thursday nights in Stockholm. So, it is an easy elevator ride from your room to a seat at the bar. I love to watch the beautiful blondes parade around the bar like show horses. It really is a spectacular site. Bath products in the room: FACE, a local-owned company that was started by a woman. Oh, did I mention that the bathroom floors are heated?

Hotel Diplomat, Strandvaegen 7c, 10440 Stockholm, Sweden

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Oslo, Norway: Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel made it’s debut in 1874, and it has managed to stay the talk of the town ever since. Playwrights, Nobel Peace Prize winners, entertainers, politicians, and of course, Divas like me have loved this hotel for centuries. When it comes to quality and style, this place is it. Home of the Nobel Peace Prize award dinner, each year the hotel is abuzz with dignitaries, royals, and the world’s most famous people. The hotel even has special silver cutlery that they bring out only for the Nobel Peace Prize awards.

The Ladies’ Floor, with 13 rooms, is dedicated to female guests. Each room has been designed by a famous Norwegian woman. From famous actresses to wealthy entrepreneurs, every room is an expression of a well-respected Norwegian woman. All of these women chose beautiful colors, fabrics, lighting, and bath products. The Ladies’ Floor also offers extensive treatments, makeovers, and Chinese massages/aromatherapy at Dragonfly spa and facials at The Beauty Lounge. The hotel will arrange your transportation, and it is well worth it. It was one of the best spa days of my life.

The Grand Hotel crowns Karl Johans gate, Oslo’s main street. It is only a few-minute walk from the National Theatre and the Nobel Peace Centre. It is walking distance from the train station where you can catch the airport train, which takes you to Oslo Airport Gardermoen in just 25 minutes.

Price range: $179-$389 USD per night

Karl Johans gate 31, NO-0159 Oslo, Norway

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Hotel Maya

Stylish and classy this ‘boutique urban resort’ offers the ease and enjoyment of a resort in one of Asia’s hottest cities. The hotel is walking distance of the Petronas Twin Towers and Suria shopping center. Contemporary designs, refreshing colors, trendy restaurants, and warm hospitality are merely the cherry on top of this luxury hotel. Oh, and the bathtub is out of this world!

Price range: $200 and up

Hotel Restaurants and Bars:For Solo women, you will love the safety of the bar on the top floor. It is a private bar for guests and it overlooks the splendid Twin Towers, the highest¬–and most beautiful modern buildings¬–in the world. It is a very big hotel, but really feels like a small boutique once you check in and wonder around. Spa/Health

Club: Divas can check out the, Anggun Spa offering Malay urut, Thai massage, even shiatsu. After that jet lag, or shopping calisthenics, the butlers are available to prepare a selection of fruit, herbal tea or, draw an aromatherapy bath.

Specials for women/girlfriends: “Stay and Shop- Weekend Package": 3 days / 2 nights accommodation in a luxuriously appointed room (check-in on Friday and check-out on Sunday) Daily breakfast for 2 people Hi Tea for 2 persons at our Maya Brasserie 12:30 pm till 4:30 pm Mini bar consumption on-the house (replenished on a daily basis) *only for Junior Suite and Deluxe Suite. Unlimited broadband internet access in the privacy of guests’ own room and WIFI.

138, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Berlin, Germany: Bleibtreu Hotel

The Bleibtreu is the embodiment of restrained elegance, creativity and attention to detail. Architect Herbert Jakob Weinand designed the Bleibtreu with a unique blend of traditional and contemporary touches, combining avant-garde modernism with sensuous beauty. Handcrafted furniture made from untreated woods, Italian mosaics, and a simple color scheme of blues and whites lend the former nineteenth-century Charlottenburg Patrician mansion a sleek, comfortable vibe. ‘Bleibtreustrasse’ is one of the most attractive side streets along the ‘Kurfürstendamm’: right in the middle of things but well away from the hustle and bustle of the main road.

This is a place where the locals go, so you really get a feel for Berlin. If you’re a lady with a love for labels- Bulgari, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Hermes and the like can be found all over Berlin, along with interesting Berlin boutiques.

Price range: $170- $324

Spa/Health Club:At the end of a long day, turn to the Bleibtreu to keep you looking and feeling good. The hotel’s steam baths, light therapy, massage, yoga, acupuncture, and nutritionists will all keep you in top form. And if all that German beer is starting to catch up to you, book a personal trainer to take you jogging in the Grunewald or to guide you through a workout in the hotel’s fitness center.

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Paris, France: Hôtel de la Trémoille

Amid Paris’ historic streets, just-off-the-runway fashions, and sinfully sweet pastry shops, the old-world glamour of the Hôtel de la Trémoille. In an ideal location in the heart of Paris, the hotel is located in the center of the famous “Golden Triangle”, bound by the Champs-Elysees (the glamorous street lined with cafes and luxury shopping), Avenue Montaigne, and Avenue Georges V. as well as some of the hottest venues in Paris, including Poona Lounge, Buddha Bar, and Nobu. Hôtel de la Trémoille is more luxurious than ever, while still maintaining its architectural heritage and grandeur. Case in point is the hotel’s lobby, aglow with old-world lamps, delicate portraits, and plenty of plush, deep-crimson armchairs to sink into after a long day of sightseeing and shopping.

For Divas who can’t be bothered to leave their rooms, Hôtel de la Trémoille offers an ingenious system whereby each room has a private compartment, or “hatch,” that links the room to the hallway, allowing you to receive room service without ever having to put on a bathrobe. Kick back with champagne, or become a part of Paris and people watch, jetsetters, stars and night owls. And take fashion tips from the beautiful French women.

Location and how to get there: By Metro- The Trémoille is near lines 1 and 9. Line 9: Alma-Marceau Station; Line 1: Franklin Roosevelt Station or George V Station. The trip from the airport takes about 30 minutes. You can also take a taxi from the airport, or the Air France bus, which leaves every 15 to 20 minutes (15-minute walk to the hotel from the Invalides stop).

Price range: Rooms- Suites $545- $1,400 (remember the Euro!)

Hotel Restaurant and Bar: Louis 2 Restaurant and Bar is certainly Parisian chic. With a menu created by Chef Frederic Duca, meals ranging from lobster, to salads, and inventive desserts you taste buds will be pleased. Elegant ambiance can also be enjoyed at the hotel bar, where mid-day snack and cocktails are served.

Specials for women/girlfriends: ZEN WEEK-END PACKAGE: Stay at La Trémoill and experience their beauty treatments. One night at the hotel, Continental Breakfast included, and two treatments (per room) to be chosen between: Half-an hour relaxing foot massage, Half-an hour facial care treatment, Half-an hour back/neck/shoulder massage. $617- double room.

14, rue de la Tr̩moille, 75008 Paris РFrance

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Prague, Czech Republic: Hotel Josef

In the very heart of one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe, designer Eva Jiricna has create a modern masterpiece. The 109- room Hotel Josef in Prague’s old town offers a design concept that elegantly blends the most modern elements with the rich history of its surroundings. The designer of the hotel Eva Jiricna, is a woman, she knows all about women’s desire when traveling. Plus, it is a hot spot for the jetset, you might run into someone famous while sipping a café in the lobby. My favorite part is the glass bathroom. This is definitely a place you come alone, or with someone you know very well. The location is perfect for strolling during the day and club hopping at night.

Price range: $200 – $290 USD: including breakfast

Hotel Josef, Rybná 20, CZ-11000, Prague

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Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Hotel Quinto Sol

Wrapped around a magical Mayan tree, the Hotel Quinto Sol is a charming boutique hotel that emanates Mexico’s old world charm. With only a few cozy rooms and 24-hour security, this is my favorite retreat on the Maya Rivera. Many people like to be on the beach, I am not one of them. I find that beach life is a bit nosy at night and way to crowded. That is why I love this hotel.

It is only 2 blocks from the beach and is located on Fifth Avenue, in the oh-so-very-chic side of town. The hotel is surrounded by great restaurants and cafes, so you are sure to find something yummy to eat and great locals to meet. The room rates are very affordable, which is great if you want to take a few weeks off and chill. They have a fun roof-top Jacuzzi that gets crazy in the late afternoon. You can grab beach towel from the front desk and walk down to Mamitas, the best beach in Playa. The hotel is on the corner of 5th Ave and 28th Street.

Price Range: $100 – $250

Hotel Quinto Sol, 5a Avenida con 28 calle Norte, Playa del Carmen, 77710 Q.ROO, Mexico

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Barcelona, Spain: Regina Hotel

When I first started traveling alone, I asked everyone where I should go in Europe. The resounding answer was, “Barcelona!” And, after much research The Regina Hotel kept popping up as a great hotel in the heart of the pulsing city. I must admit, the hotel was more than I expected for the price. The rooms have beautiful hardwood floors and modern amenities. The Hotel is located next to Plaza Cataluña, in the center of Barcelona. Here is where the city’s two most cosmopolitan avenues begin: Paseo de Gracia and Las Ramblas.

Hotel Regina is steps away from the best boutiques, shopping areas and restaurants in Barcelona. And it’s a short ten-minute walk to the Gothic Quarter, the Cathedral, and The Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona.

Price Range: $230 – $370 USD per night

Regina Hotel Vergara Steet, 2 & 4 08002 Barcelona Spain Phone +34 933 01 32 32

Website: www.reginahotel.com Reservations:reservas@reginahotel.com

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Amsterdam, Netherlands: The Dylan Hotel

Amongst the charming canal-line streets of Amsterdam is the dramatic Dylan Hotel. From the outside, it looks like a humble renovated mansion, but don’t let that fool you. This hotel is Amsterdam’s most stylish and intimate destinations and it’s located in an exceptional 17th century building on “Keizersgracht,” one of the city’s famous canals. Of all the hotels that I have stayed, the Dylan has done the most remarkable job of respecting the architectural integrity of the past while dramatically fusing it with the present.

Each of the hotel’s 41 rooms and suites are individually designed to offer a magical blend of color, texture and style. It was hard for me to leave my hotel room because I was so enthralled by the attention to details in my Dylan loft. Really, if you have a chance to spend a night in the Dylan, you should. Oh, and don’t forget to borrow one of their adorable bikes and tour Amsterdam.

Price Range: $385-$480 USD per night

The Dylan Hotel Keizersgracht 384 1016 GB Amsterdam The Netherlands Tel: +31 20 5 30 20 10

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