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August 21, 2012

Leading Hotels of the World Offer Art, Culture, and a Place to Put Your Feet Up

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

New York, New York—Reported by Coleman Bentley for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

More than a mint on the pillow, Leading Hotels of the World have long offered their guest’s a far greater welcome gift: authentic local culture. Understanding that most top-tier travelers arrive at their destination with the intent to experience its every in, out, and eccentricity, Leading Hotels has launched a series of packages designed to encapsulate the best of the cultures they were built upon. This isn’t vacation, this is travel.

The recent buzz on the burgeoning Philadelphia art-scene has centered on the opening of the Barnes Foundation, and The Rittenhouse Hotel, with a variety of ticket offers and packages, is giving guests an up close and personal look at the intricacies of the collection. Featuring works by some of the greatest European and American masters of impressionism, post-impressionist, and early modern art, the Foundation’s collection can be enjoyed via the “Barnes with Dinner Package,” which includes overnight accommodations, one ticket per person to the Barnes Foundation—with a digital audio—as well as an eight-course tasting menu dinner at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse.

A far cry from Philly, Buenos Aires has long been a hotbed of Latin dancing and the Faena Hotel’s “Passion for Tango” package embraces this cultural tradition. Offering guests a one-hour tango lesson, tickets to the Rojo Tango Show at El Cabaret, as well as a welcome drink, daily breakfast, daily yoga/meditation classes and access to the fitness center, this getaway is designed to be a flame-rekindling taste of South American heritage.

If those dancing legs just don’t move as well as they used to then hop a jet to Amsterdam where the Hotel de l’Europe has crafted a divine park-stroll-of-your-life getaway. The “Floriade Gold Package,” including VIP entry for two to Floriade, leads guests on a private tour of the park’s five distinct sections: environment, world stage, green engine, education and innovation, and relax and healing. After a cable-car exploration of the expo, wash down the afternoon with lunch at the beach club prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and a Floriade-themed afternoon tea.

Traveling southward through Europe, any art-loving traveler will be inevitably drawn into Prague’s rich cultural web. With so much to see and experience, however, it is easy to miss some of the city’s most rewarding destinations. Thankfully the Hotel Le Palais Prague will be there to help with an “Arts and Culture” package that puts the entire artistic history of one of the planet’s greatest art cities on speed-dial. Beginning with the three-day Prague Card that provides access to over 50 attractions and museums, the package then heaps on amenities such as a three-hour guided tour of the city’s historic center, round-trip limousine transfers to the airport or train station, a three-course candlelight dinner, and much more.

Speaking of more, Siena’s Grand Hotel Continental offers exactly that with their “Discover the Duomo Pavement” package. For eight weeks a year, spanning mid-August to October, Siena unveils the majestic etched, inlaid, and marble-adorned floors of its Duomo to the public eye. Featuring a daily buffet breakfast as well an Opa Pass that provides two adults with access to the Duomo’s open pavement, Crypt, Opa Museum, Baptistry, and Oratory of San Bernardino, the “Discover the Duomo Pavement” brings true renaissance luxury to the 21st century.

Moving from one rolling, terra-cotta speckled countryside to another, Spain’s Barcelo La Bobadilla has created their “Special Granada Break” package. Designed to introduce guests to the historical elegance of the Iberian Peninsula’s southern-most regions, the package boasts a guided tour of the Alhambra palaces and offers an authentic taste Mediterranean cuisine via a complimentary dinner at the gastro-inspired La Finca restaurant.

Finally set yourself at the feet of the snow-capped Alps with Zurich’s Widder Hotel. Set within the throes of West Zurich’s “Art and the City” public-art festival, the “Art and the City” package brings sculptures, installations, performances, and posters—a total of over 40 works from globe-spanning artists—to the eyes, ears, and finger tips of every traveler. Complimentary champagne at the hotel bar and a daily breakfast are sure to accent your Swiss art-escape beautifully.

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