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European Luxury HotelsFebruary 23, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox Travel Agent
Several new luxury hotels will be opening in Europe this year under the Preferred Boutique brand. Among these intimate gems are the Relais Monforte in Italy’s Southern Piedmont region, and the Tivoli Victoria, a renovated palace in Vilamoura, Portugal.
A Junior Suite at the Relais Monforte in Italy
Built from an ancient farmhouse, the Relais Monforte conjures the beauty of classical Italy with its proximity to Monforte d’Alba, a medieval walled town. The hotel has maintained the layout of the original farmhouse, offering only 36 rooms and an internal patio that serves as entrance to some of the rooms. Suite #16 is ideal for families, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two balconies. The best suite, our sources say, is #4, which sprawls out over 484 square feet and can connect to a deluxe double room—perfect for two couples traveling together. Both rooms have a large terrace. The best views can be enjoyed from the rooms on the first and second floor, which face the valley and offer large balconies.
While the building might be antique, its amenities are anything but: It features a 1,184-square-foot spa with two treatment rooms, sauna, steam bath, Kneipp circuit and an indoor pool with whirlpool corners and blood circulation jets. Agents should book treatments three to four days prior to clients’ arrival for weekdays, seven to 10 days prior for weekends. As no official spa director has been appointed yet, agents can contact Fabrizia Manassei ([email protected], 011-39-0173-215626) to reserve time at the spa.
The property includes a nine-hole par-31 golf course that unwinds through vineyards and hills. The signature hole of the course is number four, a par-3 of 150 meters with a lofty perched tee from which players have a breathtaking view over the vineyards and the Alps as a backdrop. The golf course recently reopened after major renovations to the greens and fairways, which were replanted using eco-friendly techniques to achieve the best result with minimal impact on the environment. Three 18-hole courses are within a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
For oenophiles, Monforte d’Alba is right in the heart of the Barolo DOCG (Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed, the highest possible standards in wine production and grapes control) producing area. The area produces approximately 10 million bottles per year, 65 percent of which are exported (almost 15 percent to the U.S.). Four hundred local vineyards are open to visitors, offering tours, tastings and snacks. Prices vary between $12 and $19 per person, depending on how many wines are tasted.
If guests don’t feel like leaving the hotel, they can try some selections from Relais Monforte’s own vineyard and winery.
The lush hills of Piedmont are ideal for an ultra-romantic wedding, and Relais Monforte will handle every detail of the celebration from accommodations to banqueting, to hairdressing and flower arrangements. Bordering the hotel is a countryside church—Sant’Anna—that can be used for wedding ceremonies or special blessings. Relais Monforte can arrange for the bride and the groom to arrive at the church on a Vespa, a bicycle, a golf cart or with horses strolling through the vineyards on the country road. When couples book more than 15 rooms for their wedding party, the hotel gives the bride and the groom complimentary use of the main suite.
The closest international airport is Turin (TRN), approximately 56 miles away. It offers a wide range of flights into major European cities. Milano Malpensa (MXP) is approximately 112 miles away. This airport also offers direct flights not only into European cities but also to the U.S., Africa and Asia.
Fabrizia Manassei ([email protected], 011-39-0173-215626) is in charge of reservation requests and agents can also contact Rachele Belladelli ([email protected], 011-39-011-4474605 or 011-39-0173-215626).
Elegance in Portugal
In Vilamoura, Portugal, the Tivoli Victoria offers guests 280 rooms, 17 of which—the Presidential Suite, two Executive Suites and 14 Junior Suites—feature private butler service. Junior Suites are ideal for families, as the sitting room can double as a second bedroom for kids. Be sure to request rooms with a view of the Victoria Golf Course fairway.
On the top floor of the hotel, the Elements Spa by Banyan Tree is the first of its brand in Portugal. The Spa has 14 treatment rooms for guests, and the signature Thai Essence and Tropical Rainmist treatments are the most popular. (The Rainmist Romance or Rainmist Rejuvenation treatments are great for groups.) Agents can contact Spa Manager Chootima Losakul (Joy) at [email protected] or 011-351-91-5484148.
Guest rooms at the Tivoli Victoria in Portugal feature balconies or private gardens
The Tivoli Victoria specializes in golf vacations and is within walking distance from three golf courses: the Victoria (designed by Arnold Palmer himself), the Millennium and the Laguna. The hotel has a dedicated Golf Desk and exclusive changing rooms with direct entrance to the underground buggy park, allowing immediate access to Victoria Golf Course. The Golf Desk also offers guaranteed starting times at several Algarve courses. Agents with golf fans for clients should contact Golf Manager José Carlota ([email protected], 011-351-289-303303).
The hotel has numerous indoor and outdoor banqueting facilities for weddings. Guests can have cocktail receptions or dinners by one of the hotel’s swimming pools, or more formal meals in the gourmet restaurant overlooking the pool and golf course. The Presidential Suite on the first floor is perfect for an intimate cocktail reception or dinner on its wide veranda. For larger parties, the Vilamoura Nikki Beach offers outdoor banqueting areas, lakes and bridges for a great ambience. Free shuttle service there and back ensures a safe trip for all guests. Agents can contact Ana Paula Santos (011-351-289-303303) to help plan weddings and celebrations.
Faro Airport is 12 miles from the hotel, and limousines transporting guests from the airport to the hotel can be equipped with a moist towel, newspapers in the clients’ language, Tivoli Hotels & Resorts music CD and mineral water in a cooler.
Experience Manager Angela Martins ([email protected], 011-351-91-8296547) can arrange private wine tastings with the hotel’s sommelier, visits to the local market with Executive Chef Luis Baena (followed by in-room cooking and dining) or helicopter trips to the different golf courses and beaches in the area.