Last Stop through Balkans: Dubrovnik

After learning about the recent history of Dubrovnik–including the city being partially destroyed in the 1990s and later renovated–I really wanted the opportunity to explore “The Pearl of the Adriatic”. Medieval fortress? Check. Chic shopping? Done. A famed spot only findable by its “Cold drinks…this way” signs? Count me in.

We visited Croatia in the fall of 2013 as a part of a Balkan road trip. Our journey took us through three countries, beginning with Albania. Beautiful in parts, one could tell that this poor nation was still reeling from Communist rule that ended in 1991. Our favorite parts were the southern coastline and the quaint village of Berat (where our “expensive” meal was $26 for the two of us). We next ventured into Montenegro, and the difference between it and Albania was shocking. We lunched in the coastal town of Kotor (a must-see!) prior to continuing our road trip with the most wonderful people from Australia.

By the time we reached our last stop of Croatia, we were all fast friends and continued to tour Dubrovnik together. There, we explored Old Town’s city walls, as well as the famous cliff bars. Home base for my boyfriend (now husband) and me was the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, which was adjacent to the gates of Old Town and had stunning views of the sea. It was a perfect meeting spot for our group to meet to walk into the walled city, where we strolled, had incredible meals of fresh fish, meandered on the actual wall, watched cliff divers, and soaked up the culture.

 

 

The Best Hotels in the World

Travel + Leisure recently debuted its annual list of the world’s best hotels, and I scoured the list of the top 100 to see if I had stayed at any of these top ranked properties. The travel Twitterverse was abuzz with all of this news, and it made me think of some of my favorite stays. From overlooking the tallest building in the world to my favorite New York City boutique hotel, I’ve had the opportunity to have stayed at some incredible places. Here are my top five hotels:

  • JW Marriott Phuket: right on the water, this incredible property is stunningly gorgeous, has an incredible staff, and is the perfect place to get away from it all.

    Beachside in Phuket

    Beachside in Phuket

  • The Palmer House: my absolute favorite place to stay in Chicago, this now Hilton property was rebuilt several times during its history. The lobby ceilings are absolutely exquisite!
  • The Address: one can see the tallest building in the world, as well as walk to the Mall of Dubai, from this elegant urban hotel.
  • On the Avenue: a darling boutique hotel in the heart of Manhattan (which is currently being transformed into a NYLO property), On the Ave is located on Broadway and West 77th. 
  • A three-way tie: as I’m hoping that one of the places that I’m going to stay during my upcoming vacation makes my top 5 list. In Athens, we will be within walking distance of the Acropolis at the King George. Kontokali Bay Resort and Spa will be our home away from home in the Ionian Island town of Corfu, and the Hilton Imperial will welcome us within the historic city walls of Dubrovnik.

What hotels did I–or the experienced team at T&L–miss? What hotels or resorts would make your list?