Author: Debi Lander

Cruising Portugal’s River of Gold

Share: River cruising, luxury sailing on ships smaller than ocean liners, has gained tremendous popularity, especially with the Boomer generation. The desire for adventure and learning is enhanced by what is called “experiential travel” or connecting participants with the history and culture of a destination. The journey includes excursions and interactive workshops in cities and towns strung along the waterway. I recently took a Viking River Cruise in Portugal that not only met, but also exceeded those goals. Arrival in Lisbon Portugal rests in Southwestern Europe bordering Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. The entire country is only about half...

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Perfection at the Adler Thermae Resort

Share: There’s a famous quote that says, “Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” I tend to agree. I found it hard to resist the emotional pull of the wondrous Duomo in Florence, Rome’s ancient Coliseum or the colorful row of houses on the tiny island of Burano. Italy’s towering mountains, sunny landscapes and rustic charms accompanied by fabulous food and wine and Italian hospitality make it one of the finest travel destinations anywhere. The abundance of Renaissance art alone made my head spin. I found myself mesmerized by my...

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Aria Budapest Hotel Sings

Share: The Aria Hotel Budapest sings with excitement the moment you pass through the door of the original 1880s exterior into its modern decor. No doubt the tone is the result of its inspiration and musical concept by master designer Zoltan Varro. The luxury boutique hotel followed his passion to “simultaneously recreate the rich, lavish atmosphere of a historic Hungarian palace while also embracing visitors in the warmth and comfort of a private residence.” All I can say is the lobby wraps you in music and surrounds you with delicate notes of beauty. Follow the keyboard tiles snaking through...

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Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest

Share: The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest sits on fabled history almost as long as its name. The renovated historic venue along the Danube River was constructed from 1904-06 over the Nákó House, a neo-classical palace built in 1827. Visitors now wander the lobby, off Széchenyi Square, and experience the grandeur of old-time Budapest. The smart ones book a room. Originally, the palace served as an office building but was also a home for wealthy British aristocrats connected with the Gresham Company. Bombing of the nearby Chain Bridge during WWII caused great damage. After the war, Soviets occupied the city and soldiers took up residence in the quarters. The palace fell further into disrepair. Today, you walk through the stunning wrought iron peacock gate, Páva Udvar or Peacock Passage, and indulge in Art Nouveau opulence. Pause among the iron works, including an aviary-like domed roof; mosaic floors created by laying 1,021,200 tiles; and colorful stained glass panes to appreciate the beauty. Sculptures and flowers delicately and skillfully placed complete the mesmerizing space. Dining presents another fine option for tourists, and my meal at the Kollázs Brasserie & Bar became a gastro-indulgent affair. Kollázs, by the way, means,  “collage” in Hungarian, so the restaurants aims for creative combinations blending local and international flavors with traditional and modern dishes. When I entered the dining area, I found the restaurant décor...

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Savoring Sun Valley and the Trailing of the Sheep

Share: When Hemingway first came to Idaho—on September 19, 1939, to be exact¬ home was Suite 206 at the Sun Valley Lodge. “Glamour House,” he nicknamed it, and so it remains. The Sun Valley Resort is the granddaddy of U.S. ski resorts, the first in the nation, founded by W. Averell Harriman in 1936. Since then it has attracted the rich and famous for  seasonal recreation:  golf, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, swimming, tennis ice-skating and skiing. The chic yet cozy Sun Valley Lodge has been updated and remodeled many times and, in fact, the resort just finished another monumental...

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