Friday, May 30, 2014

Diane Visits Belgium & Italy with Belmond

Last month one of our owners, Diane Parks, and her husband, Michael, traveled to Belgium and Italy on a trip hosted by Belmond.

She and her husband started in Brussels at the lavish Hotel Amigo, a Rocco Forte hotel. Diane raved about the location of the hotel. It’s in walking distance of everything. Being an avid runner, she had fun on the hilly streets and complimented on the cleanliness of the city.

Next, Belmond took her on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, an iconic luxury train that “takes you back in time” as you travel from Brussels to Venice. She and her husband experienced the delicious formal dinner in the dining car where they were served a five course meal paired with wines. Guests spend just one night on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, so for those of you leery about there not being a shower onboard rest assured there really isn’t a need. That gives you more room in your luxurious cabin.

When she arrived in Venice, Diane stayed for three nights at Belmond Hotel Cipriani. The resort is on a separate island from the center of Venice so it escapes the noise of the city. It is still easy to get around Venice though because the hotel has its own water taxi that is constantly going back and forth for its guests. Diane said the service was impeccable and the resort has the only outdoor pool in Venice. Belmond Hotel Cipriani has a new Michelin star chef, and Diane assured us it was only a matter of time before the hotel had a Michelin star itself as every meal there was fabulous.

Diane and her husband then traveled to Florence and stayed at the Belmond Villa San Michele. The hotel sits on top of a valley that has a stunning view of the city. The pool is even higher than the hotel and is a beautiful place to relax. It is a thirty minute drive into town, but it goes fast and is worth it to be away from the hustle and bustle of town.  A couple of tips she picked up in Florence: When visiting the Duomo, women cannot wear shorts (but can wear a skirt) and need to cover their shoulders. She also said to buy Accademia tickets ahead of time so you can quickly pop in to see Michelangelo’s David.

To cap off the trip, Diane and Michael stayed at Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello. The views were stunning and the infinity pool had a view from the cliff that could take your breath away. Diane loved that there was a complimentary two hour boat ride down the Amalfi Coast with a private guide onboard who told you about the history and culture of Amalfi, while serving you drinks and food. The hotel is a great place to stay before you leave for the airport. It’s only an hour away and Diane recommends that over staying in Naples.

If you are interested in creating a dream trip through Europe like this please contact your travel advisor at Sanders Travel Centre and we will customize an exceptional Belmond experience for you!

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