Being based out of Rome and travel writing means I have the pleasure and privilege of really getting to know Italy. And sometimes that means its very best hotels- whether as a guest, reporter or just for cocktails. As I continue to focus my writing on the very best of Italy-- from luxury to local-- I'll be reviewing hotels for Forbes Travel, as well other publications. And hopefully I have more opportunities to travel the Mediterranean in search of that perfect place to stay. Earlier this month, Forbes asked me to take a look at Starwood's St. Regis Grand hotels to see what changes have come and are ready for us: this article originally appeared in Forbes Travel on June 2 2015.
The St. Regis Istanbul Photo Courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc
There’s one thing for certain about The St. Regis: It’s insistent on providing luxury hotel experiences to as many corners of the planet as possible. In April, the brand welcomed The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya to the family. And that’s on top of already announcing 15 more new or newly renovated properties across the globe. To help you keep up with the surplus of sophistication, Forbes Travel Guide provides a closer look at the two new openings around the Mediterranean.
The St. Regis Venice San Clemente Palace, Photo Courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc
The St. Regis Venice San Clemente Palace The Venice hotel takes its place in the Italian triumvirate with the Rome and Florence properties. Following an extensive restoration, the San Clemente Palace re-opened in April 2015 as an incredible oasis just a 10-minute boat ride from St. Mark’s Square. The secluded island of San Clemente has always been a private retreat; its nearly 1,000-year history includes a monastery, military outpost, sanitarium and patrician guest house. And it is that rich millennium of exclusivity that San Clemente aims to repeat. The 189 guest rooms and suites showcase a beautiful combination of traditional Venetian refinement (terrazzo floors and brocades) with contemporary design. Particular attention was made to the island’s grounds. A swimming pool that’s surrounded by a lush garden and lounge area heightens the oasis vibe. Additionally, the San Clemente offers a grand terrace, tennis court, spa, children’s club and three restaurants. CHANGED TO KEMPINSKI
The St. Regis Istanbul Meanwhile, crossing the seas that Casanova swam, Istanbul’s of-the-moment Nisantasi neighborhood welcomed this Art Deco-inspired gem in March 2015. The 118-room hotel is an homage to the grand hotels of a bygone age. With an exterior envisioned by Emre Arolat Architects and an interior highlighted by an incredible collection of art from the turn of the 20th century, the property proves nothing short of captivating. All rooms feature unique art pieces, while hanging like a cloud in the lobby is Supernova, a Lasvit-designed chandelier with 343 glass panels. Once all of the works in the public spaces and rooms are tallied, the new hotel easily makes for one of Turkey’s finest art collections. Of course, this Istanbul outpost has the same unparalleled personal butler service you’d find at other St. Regis addresses. The new property has Iridium, too, a spa with seven treatment rooms, indoor pools and a hammam. When you’re done with your massage, head over to one of The St. Regis Istanbul’s two marquee restaurants, St. Regis Brasserie and Spago by Wolfgang Puck, to complete the bespoke experience.