The Villa Norangdal hotel is just a 10-minute drive from the nearest town in Norway’s western fjords region, but it feels far-removed from civilization. The historic hotel is surrounded by some of the country’s wildest scenery, which you can enjoy in improbable luxury. The hotel is also an excellent base for exploring the valley that stretches out beyond the front door.
Villa Norangdal’s storied history began in 1885, when it was built for tourists traveling through the area via carriages. Notable visitors in the hotel’s heyday were mountaineer William Cecil Slingsby and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The hotel closed in 1965 and remained shuttered until 2007, when it re-opened after four years of extensive renovations.
Today’s boutique hotel respects the past while looking to the future. Each of the six rooms is resplendently decorated to match a specific decade: 1900, 1920, 1930, 1950, 1960 and 1970. Each room is more stunning than the last, with spot-on wallpaper, furniture, art and accessories that fully transport you the minute you step inside. Each room has a wide-angle view of the surrounding mountains.
Downstairs, you’ll be treated to an expertly prepared multicourse meal using local ingredients and paired with a well-curated wine list. Ask to have your dessert served by the fire in the hotel’s Slingsby Lounge, named for the venerable mountaineer and decorated with leather couches and a large bear pelt. You can almost smell his cigar smoke and hear him whispering tales of conquering the country’s challenging mountains as you sip coffee by the fire.
Save time to relax in the outdoor Jacuzzi, where you can ponder the mountains that surround you. The hotel makes for a perfect spot to take a breather on a long tour of the region, or as a launch point for hiking, skiing, guided mountain climbing and more.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
Oaxaca is, without a doubt, a city so impressive one must experience it firsthand to understand its splendor. It is an incomparable place that will leave you in awe of its cultural wealth, a place that invites you to experience the extraordinary. In this light, Posadas celebrates the opening of Grand Fiesta Americana Oaxaca, an irresistible option for enjoying this magnificent state in an exclusive and fascinating way.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World is known for highlighting beautiful and unique boutique properties around the globe. Stay in one of the collection’s newest members on your next getaway.
Sleeping comes with difficulty for some travelers. Sleeping is a must when traveling, but especially for people with nausea, fear of flying, motion sickness, claustrophobia or anxiety. Sleeping helps some people cope better with the flight, too. There are some sleep aids that can help people with whatever the issue is, while some need to be prescribed, others are over-the-counter drugs that one can get without hassle.
The 1985 song “One Night in Bangkok” mentions many of the overindulgences of this city. One of them is massage parlors. Today, however, a Thai massage is considered an activity that improves one’s physical and mental well-being. The city has shed its former reputation as a place of wild nightlife and decadence, over the past few decades emerging as a major center for international commerce, wellness initiatives and tourism.