Travel Desk: Romantic getaways and Spanish spas

Fionn Davenport rounds up the latest travel news from scross the globe

 

Designer perspective

Milan’s neoclassical Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is set to mark its 150th anniversary in April by launching guided walks along its rooftop walkways as part of a multimillion euro programme of restoration.

The city’s most famous shopping arcade, lined with designer stores and elegant cafes, will offer visitors a new perspective of the building along two iron-and-glass-covered walkways and around the enormous 36-metre-high glass central dome, 47m above the marbled floors of what is known locally as il salotto buono, the elegant living room.

Ever since its opening the arcade has been a favourite for the Milanese passeggiata, or evening stroll, as it links Piazza del Duomo with Piazza di Marino and the doors of La Scala.

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Two painters are better than one

Oslo’s Munch Museum and The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have teamed up to present a joint exhibition of two of Europe’s best-known artists. Van Gogh + Munch opens in Oslo on May 9th and will feature 75 paintings and 30 drawings by the two artists, including their most famous works – Munch’s The Scream and Van Gogh’s Starry Night – under one roof for the very first time. The exhibition will run in Oslo until September 6th before shifting to Amsterdam for four months.

See munchmuseet.no or vangoghmuseum.nl

romantic hotel

Five of the world's most romantic hotels

It’s Valentine’s Day, but surely romance is a year-round feeling? Here are five hotels that will help fan the flames of passion and provide the ultimate in honeymoon luxury.

Amangiri, Utah
(1 Kayenta Rd, Canyon Point; amanresorts.com; suites from €1,223)

The setting is idyllic: 600 acres overlooking the Escalante National Monument, with perfect views of the bluffs and canyons. The luxury within is exquisite, from the beautiful suites to the Zen spa with its floatation room.

Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Rioja
(Calle Torrea 1; starwoodhotels.com/luxury; room from €300)

Take a flamboyant, wrinkled-titanium sheet design by Frank Gehry, add a Michelin-approved restaurant and top it off with a world-class spa and you’ve got this spectacular hotel in the heart of La Rioja. It’s in the middle of an extensive vineyard, and the bodega runs terrific wine tours – all factors that drew Brad and Angelina to shack up here for a few days.

Post Ranch Inn, California
(47900 Hwy 1; postranchinn.com; room from €589)

No kids, TVs, alarm clocks or pets – just the sound of the ocean 1,200ft below as the ultimate romantic soundtrack. The ocean-view rooms are the best, but the luxurious treehouse suites offer their own brand of romance. This is a luxury inn aimed at couples, who can loll about the pool before going for a massage.

Song Saa, Cambodia
(songsaa.com; villas from €976)

The name means ‘sweetheart’ in Khmer, because this ultra-luxurious property is spread across a pair of private islands just off the east coast of Koh Rong called Koh Bong and Koh Oeun (‘his’ and ‘hers’). You get there by seaplane from Phnom Penh or by boat from Sihanoukville and when you do, you’ll have your own fisherman-style, over-water jungle bungalow complete with pool. Southeast Asia doesn’t get more romantic.

Villa d’Este, Lake Como
(Via Regina 40, Cernobbio; villadeste.it; rooms from €460)

Of Lake Como’s necklace of ornate villas, this 16th-century palace is undoubtedly the most spectacular. It’s reopening on March 19th after a multimillion euro renovation. The lure is the intoxicating perfumes of the terraced gardens; the live music in the moonlight; and the gorgeous rooms – all luxury and elegance.

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Treat your senses in Spain

The elegant Puente Romano Beach Resort in Marbella is set to open Spain’s first Six Senses Spa this summer.

The spa group has expanded from its Asian base into Europe and the US in recent years, offering its trademark luxury experience moulded to suit the local aesthetic: the new, nine-room spa will combine Andalusian features like whitewashed walls, hand-painted tiles and a Moorish-inspired hammam with Six Senses signature treatments, including massages, facials and wellness therapies as wells as Yogic programmes such as Yogic Sleep (designed to boost relaxation). QMS Medicosmetics and The Organic Pharmacy are the confirmed skincare product partners for the spa.

See puenteromano.com or sixsenses.com

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Your 60-second guide: Pittsburgh

STAY

Omni William Penn Hotel
(530 William Penn Place; omnihotels.com; rooms from $200)

Old European-style grand hotel built by Henry Clay Frick and celebrating its centenary in 2016.

EAT

Isabela on Grandview
(1318 Grandview Ave; isabelaongrandview.com)

Stunning views complement the exquisite food.

DO

Andy Warhol Museum
(117 Sandusky St; warhol.org; admission $20)

Six floors of art to celebrate the city’s most famous artistic son.

Get away at home

Fancy putting your feet up somewhere nice over a winter weekend? The Step House Hotel (stephousehotel.ie) in Borris, Co Carlow is offering a Sunday overnight package that includes B&B accommodation and a four-course table d’hôte dinner prepared by ex-Peacock Alley chef Alan Foley (think Kilmore hake with wasabi crust) for €85 per person sharing.

If you’re heading to the northwest, Harvey’s Point Country Hotel (harveyspoint.com) outside Donegal Town has a two-night B&B mini-break for ¤198 per person sharing and is available until March 29th.