While I was in Bolzano a few months I stayed at the Hotel Laurin, a traditional luxury hotel in the region and an absolutely wonderful place to stay. I loved the place for many reasons, but as I sat in the smoking room one night with a cigar in one hand and glass of local red wine in the other, I pondered the question, “what exactly do I like in a luxury hotel?”
First, I’ll take a smoking room please. The bar at the Hotel Laurin had big, comfortable leather chairs and couches, dark wood paneling, a wide selection of wine and liquor, plus bartenders with the perfect amount of reserve, but the highlight for me was the separate smoking room off to the side outfitted with a stand-up humidor stocked full of Cuban cigars. I went down each night for a nice smoke and glass or two of wine and not surprisingly, each and every night there were more people in the smoking room than the regular bar. Bring back the smoking rooms – it’s good for business.
Second, big, wide sweeping staircases. I’m lazy enough to want to take an elevator if I need to go three or more floors, but a big staircase just oozes class. The second time I stayed in the hotel, I was on the third floor and actually managed to walk up and down more than a couple of times, each time letting my mind wander to thinking I was staying there in the 1920s.
Third, high ceilings and comfortable beds. The beds are generally a given in a nice hotel, but ‘o my are they welcomed. The high ceilings seem to correspond with older buildings and given my choice, those are the kinds of places I like to stay. I appreciate a little age in my architecture.
Fourth, a good breakfast and I don’t mean the traditional European thing, which seems to consist of some sandwich meats, breads, and juice. The breakfast at this hotel had a dozen different types of fruit, omelets, bacon and eggs, good coffee, a variety of juices — and the sandwich meat and bread thing.
Fifth, free wifi. I can’t believe how many expensive hotels tack on another $15-20 a day for wifi. unconscionable.
So, lend me a hand — what do YOU like to have when you stay in a luxury hotel? And what are some of your favorite hotels around the world?
Bolzano is the capital of the South Tyrol region of northern Italy, which is one of my new favorite parts of Europe. Although I was there in the only down month of the year (November), that presented less of a problem in Bolzano than the rest of the region.
The above shot is a view of Bolzano and the Dolomite mountains that border the town and dominate the region from the tallest building in town.
The area immediately around Bolzano offers plenty of scenic overlooks and fabulous sightseeing. I rented a car for a few days and wandered around, which is the best way to navigate the valleys and mountains in the South Tyrol region.
The Christmas market in the main square in Bolzano. Christmas markets are most traditionally found in the German areas of Europe, but given South Tyrol’s odd bit of history, in that it used to be part of Austria until after the First World War, the tradition finds its way this far south. The locals in Bolzano told me that buses of Italians from further south came in every weekend, full of shoppers.
The park right next to the Hotel Laurin. Just to the left of this shot is the train station, which is no further than a few hundred yards from the hotel. Yet another reason I enjoyed staying there — easy to get to.
Thanks to Samsung for sponsoring a few of my activities recently in South Tyrol and gifting me a Samsung Galaxy SIII. All views expressed here are my own honest opinions, and do not reflect the views of Samsung or the South Tyrol Tourism Board, which also assisted me on this trip.