Europe

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: Lots of travelers have heard about the ultra-modern "design hotels" in the vibrant city of Barcelona, but they might not have a clue about why they’re special. On a recent trip to the capital city of Catalonia, we tried three hotels that exemplified this trend. At

I first met Tom Hale, the founder and president of Backroads, in his Berkeley, California headquarters about eight years ago. And I was a little floored by his exercise regimen. That morning, as on most mornings, he had risen somewhere between three and four to exercise. He had done 400

When I was in Budapest in 1989, the mood was dour, the city’s Art Nouveau treasures were crumbling, and there was nothing for anyone to buy except little souvenir bags of paprika. But fast forward 17 years. Not only is the Communist government history but I have to discard my

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: The hotel opened in 2004 in the restored 1906 Gresham Palace in Pest, one of the grandest and most important Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. With its dramatic setting at the foot of the Chain Bridge and views across the Danube to Buda, the hotel is

     I was standing on a bed of quivering mud, the Irish Sea lapping away at my brand new Gore Tex hiking boots, at a point where the River Leven meets Morecambe Bay. Six other people in shorts and fleece and silly smiles stood there with me, engaged in

Number Sixteen,16 Sumner Place, London SW7 3EG WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: It’s a Victorian terrace house that was refurbished a couple of years ago by the stylish folks from Firmdale Hotels. This is their "affordable chic" property. Think contemporary British art, designer fabrics and wallpapers, and cool colors. There are

Two hours south of Naples, the mountainous Amalfi Coast is better known for vacationing Roman emperors, film starlets Santa Caterina at night (credit Santa Caterina) and Ferrari rallies than for rigorous hiking. But gaze upwards