A Visit to Berlin

berlin reichstag

The Reichstag is a major attraction in Berlin

By Art Terrero

Reborn as the Capital City of Germany and the seat of the federal government, Berlin has also re-emerged as a cultural capital of Europe where the art and design scenes are continually developing and celebrated.

This modern, albeit nearly 800-year-old, city is a showcase for artwork, music, fashion and design created by German and international artists. As a result, tourists get a healthy dose of culture just by exploring the town.Both young and established artists have relocated to Berlin from around the world. The 1990 reunification also led to artistic riches for Germany. “For those 40 years [when the country was divided], the cultural landscapes filled up on both sides of the Berlin Wall,” says Dr. Heinz Buri, the cultural officer for Berlin Tourism Marketing. “When the wall came down, we had a double art scene. We had, for example, two museums for technical history; we had seven symphony orchestras and three opera houses. We decided to keep this huge cultural landscape.” Continue reading

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ME Barcelona

By Art Terrero

The new ME Barcelona is in a burgeoning area of the city called the “Innovation District”; it’s also close to the Barcelona International Convention Center, which is spurring other construction nearby. Although the property’s proximity to this business area may keep the hotel filled with conference-goers, we found ME Barcelona to be a fun, stylish and lively hotel that is already starting to draw a loyal local market. The scene is set as soon as one walks in the door: An inviting lobby bar with DJs playing world music and floor-to-ceiling windows are the signature design features of this wide-open space. Also on the ground level is the curiously named Sky Restaurant & Lounge, a casual dining venue that’s already creating a local buzz with its Thursday and Friday night parties. The hip Angels & Kings Bar’s concept has been imported from Manhattan’s downtown nightclub scene. This new sixth-floor outpost takes it all a step further, however, with an outdoor terrace and covered pool where cocktails and tapas are served.

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The Palazzo Las Vegas

By Art Terrero

We recently checked out the pools at the Palazzo Resort and Casino Las Vegas. Our advice, following the VIP-studded event? If  you’re seeking a chic scene with a high level of service, bring it on!

That’s because among the four acres of 10 pools, five fountains and four Jacuzzi spas, not to mention lush landscaping, there are 41 cabanas, each with a 32-inch flat panel television, safe, air conditioning and a fully stocked refrigerator. Continue reading

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Traveling to Buenos Aires

This lively city offers history, fine dining and impressive accommodations.

By Art Terrero

The classic architecture of Buenos Aires is continually compared to that of Madrid, Rome and, most frequently, Paris, yet it is its neighborhoods that give the city its unique identity. That was our opinion after a few days of navigating its wide boulevards and expansive plazas, then ducking into its narrow, personality-filled streets.

Celebrated as the birthplace of tango, this lively city encompasses almost 50 neighborhoods filled with unique hotels, museums and galleries.

Then there are the restaurants and cafés. The city is famous for its restaurants catering to every cuisine and price range, although the Argentina beef, renowned throughout world, reigns supreme. We thoroughly enjoyed our grilled steak at La Cabana, the famous steakhouse in the heart of Buenos Aires—it’s also a member of Orient-Express—and the bistro-style La Cabrera (011-54-11-4831-7002). Be sure to complement the steak with a bottle of Graffigna wine, which comes from vineyards in the San Juan district. If you want a taste of seafood with a Mediterranean twist, we suggest you secure a reservation at Oviedo (011-54-11-4822-5415), which features an exceptional wine list. Continue reading

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Italy’s Bettoja Hotels

These four properties provide a personal touch in Rome and Florence

By Art Terrero

On a recent visit to Rome, we stayed at the Hotel Mediterraneo, one of four hotels owned by the Bettoja Hotel Group. These properties, which are clustered together geographically, are within walking distance to many of the city’s most famous attractions (Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, Imperial Forums and the Opera House) and are conveniently close to the Termini Railway Station.

Guest rooms at Hotel Mediterraneo are comfortable and inviting.

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Bettoja Hotels Memories

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Helsinki, Finland

By Art Terrero

If you’re enamored of fashion and design, go now to the Finnish capital.

Finland has always been known for its spare, clean and functional design, a reputation that burst forth internationally at design fairs around the world in the ’50s and ’60s. Today the country’s talent still maintains a thriving arts scene, and it translates into special shopping and cultural opportunities for visitors. The harbor of Helsinki, which has a wide array of design shops and studios.

Vitra Design Museum

On a recent visit to Helsinki, we enjoyed a whirlwind tour of the city’s design shops and museums. We noted a rare energy in this Scandinavian city, which had just wrapped up its annual Design Week, a period when designer studios and installations staged in private homes are open to the public and a wide range of fairs, exhibitions, shows and get-togethers are held all over the city. (The next Helsinki Design Week will be held September 24 to October 5. See www.helsinkidesignweek.fi.)

It’s easy to enjoy the city’s artistic elements throughout the year. Start your visit at Design District Helsinki (www.designdistrict.fi), a sprawling region that is home to more than 150 boutiques, studios, galleries and restaurants.

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Spain: Seville and Tenerife

By Art Terrero


The newest addition to the Gran Meliá collection of hotels is a gem in the heart of old Seville, close to the city’s major historical sites and fabulous side streets, filled with shops, cafés and tapas bars.

We arrived at the Gran Meliá Colón just after it had opened doors to the public, and were instantly taken to the Red Level—the adults-only boutique hotel-within-a-hotel. Perks include an in-room Nespresso coffee machine and access to a private lounge with its own concierge to enjoy breakfast and happy hour. Another bonus of being Red Level guests and receiving “red glove” service is the combination of white-glove and red-carpet treatment, including preferential treatment in dining rooms and the spa.

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British Virgin Islands

By Art Terrero

We’ve been to the Caribbean quite a few times but hadn’t yet made it to the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Our recent trip uncovered a jewel in the rough, filled with wild landscapes, fabulous scuba and some unforgettable resorts.

Our first stop was the island of Tortola. We stayed at a house at Frenchmans Lookout, a favorite of supermodel Kate Moss. We were enchanted by this five-bedroom house, available to families or any VIP seeking an exclusive vacation. Here’s the lowdown: The house has four bedrooms on the top floor and another on the main floor. All rooms are fabulous but we’re told that the paying guest usually gets dibs on the Master Suite. Whatever the choice, each room has stunning views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel and, depending on the room, views of Virgin Gorda, St. John, St. Thomas, Little Thatch or Jost Van Dyke.

The house has well-trained staff, ready to serve every need, including a chef to pre- pare bespoke meals.

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Scotland: Its Whiskies and Festivals

By Art Terrero

Scotland is worth a visit for dozens of reasons; two of our favorites are to experience its many festivals and to enhance our knowledge of the many, many varieties of Scotch whisky. Here are the findings from our arduous research.

Edinburgh skyline

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