Chitwan National Park is a scenic 360-square-mile tract of forest and elephant grass in the Terai lowlands of Nepal. (On clear days, the snowcapped Himalayas are plainly visible.) Although the park contains tigers and leopards, they are difficult to see, and Chitwan is chiefly known for its large population of Indian rhinoceroses and more than 500 species of birds. Taj Hotels, in conjunction with the excellent African safari company &Beyond, has operated luxury tiger camps in central India for some years — I recommend Banjaar Tola and Mahua Kothi — and they have now opened Meghauli Serai in Nepal, a lavish lodge of 16 villas (with plunge pools) and 13 contemporary rooms. Activities include jeep safaris, walking safaris, canoeing on the Rapti River, and elephant bathing and feeding.
I have long had a soft spot for the Hotel Eden in Rome. More than 30 years ago, I dined with the hotel’s then-owner, the gracious Giuseppe Ciaceri. The panoramic view from the rooftop restaurant (and its adjoining terrace) is incomparable. Sig. Ciaceri was in a mood to reminisce and, waving his arm expansively, he recalled sitting at exactly the same table in June 1944 to watch the first American tanks enter the city past the Victor Emmanuel monument. Nowadays, the Eden is part of the Dorchester Collection (which includes the Hotel Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel, as well as the eponymous London grande dame). Following a 12-month comprehensive renovation, it is scheduled to reopen this fall. I can hardly wait to renew my acquaintance with La Terrazza dell’Eden and one of the most beautiful and stirring views in the world.
The wait is finally over. One of the world’s most storied hotels finally reopened on June 6 after a four-year, $450 million renovation. Formerly a private palace on the Place Vendôme, the Ritz Paris became a hotel in 1898. Much of the money has been spent on utilitarian projects, such as replacing the plumbing and air-conditioning systems. However, the number of accommodations has been reduced from 159 to 142 (including 71 suites). New additions include the world’s first Chanel spa, an underground ballroom, a 21,500-square-foot garden and a tea salon inspired by Marcel Proust, who was a regular guest. The gloriously romantic L’Espadon restaurant is now under the aegis of chef Nicolas Sale, who trained with Alain Senderens and Pierre Gagnaire, and already boasts four Michelin stars for his two restaurants in Courchevel.