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ME AND MY MONTANA

September 28th, 2012

Triple creek ranch, MontanaHigh School Rodeo, Montana In dreamy Montana, heaven knows no end. This quiet corner of America’s Northwest is the territory of America’s last, genuine cowboys. Montana is also famous for its Big Sky, endless and ever changing. The best way to experience this state is to stay in comfortable guest ranches like Triple Creek Ranch, owned by Craig Barrett, the former CEO of the American IT company Intel. Read more »

traboccoTrabocco Punta Cavalluccio - main courseTrabocco Punta Cavalluccio

In the old days they were smartly build wooden fishing installations battling with the fierce sea along the coast of Abruzzo. Nowadays these trabocchi are the most charming seafood restaurants in Italy. They look a bit alien with the silhouette of a giant crab walking on its thin, fragile stilts along the shores of the Adriatic coast. Most tourists in a hurry will barely notice them. Others travel from far away just to come and eat here. Tell any Italian that you plan to have some frutti di mare on a trabocco, and you are guaranteed to get many wide smiles. Read more »

FIT FOR THE OLYMPICS

April 3rd, 2012

Espa Life Corinthia LondonEspa Life Corinthia LondonLondon likes to keep fit, well rested and in shape these days. In anticipation of the 2012 Olympics, new hotels and spas are popping up all over the UK capital. 2011 saw the opening of the Corinthia hotel in Whitehall and it’s impressive four-floor Espa Life spa and gym. This grand old building was previously the Ministry of Defence HQ and has now been revamped by GA Design. The spa is sumptuously kitted out with calacatta and black marble, tiled hammam-style steam rooms and a curious swimming pool – the lighting around it works so that movement in the water is reflected on the ceiling. Read more »

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Mountain GorillaVolcanoes National Park Rwanda, Mountain GorillaFor extreme close encounters with impressive silverback gorillas, you have to travel to the magnificent Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Sissies better stay home, because gorillas now and then like close. Very close. Sometimes you can almost feel their breath when they are standing right in front of you, looking inquisitively into your face. Read more »

PRESERVING THE ROOTS AT FAVIKEN

February 17th, 2012

faviken magasinet magnus nilssonfaviken magasinet magnus nilssonThe most promising chef in Europe might have Viking blood and long hair but he is nothing but a sheep in wolf’s clothing. To demonstrate, the 28-year old Magnus Nilsson of restaurant Faviken puts on his furry wolf’s coat before he heads out in the freezing cold of North-Sweden. Temperatures of minus 30C won’t stop this young chef or his kitchen team to go out foraging. Underneath meters of thick snow they look for fresh juniper branches, still green and aromatic and burried under the icy landscape of Jamtland. We’re talking mid-winter when the sun barely is seen above the horizon and subzero temperatures that make you quickly head for a warm place, preferably next to a roaring fire. Read more »

suite 606 Radisson Blu Royal Arne Jacobsensuite 606 Radisson Blu Royal Arne JacobsenAlthough the apartment hotel STAY is still our number one in Copenhagen – think afordable huge, lofty rooms with lots of space and smart, Danish design – we have to mention the first design hotel in the world. To be specific, it’s room 606 of the Radisson Blu Royal in Copenhagen that drew our attention. Forget Schrager and Starck as the pioneers of design hotels. It was good old Arne Jacobsen who created in 1960 the first design hotel avant la lettre. The hotel was integrated in the SAS House, built for the Scandinavian Airlines System. Only the full name of SAS makes you think back to those glamorous days of being stylishly up in the air. Read more »

FOLLOW THE COMPASS NORTH

January 23rd, 2011

SpitsbergenSpitsbergenBarely eighty years ago Spitsbergen was the Arctic end of Europe where only the polar bear reigned supreme. A century later, he shares his icy empire with a town of seasoned Norwegians and the rare tourist who ventures this far north. The Svalbard archipelago, of which the largest island is Spitsbergen, lies midway between Norway and the North Pole. Any traveller looking for Arctic sensations will easily find them here (just one comfortable SAS flight away from Oslo or Tromsø). Everyone reaches 74° north, but you have to be a bit more intrepid to reach 81° latitude. Read more »

STAY WITH ME IN COPENHAGEN

January 22nd, 2011

Stay hotel CopenhagenStay hotel CopenhagenWhy stay in a small hotel room when you can have a spacious, serviced apartment or loft for the same price? Stay is a brand new hotel concept located on the Island Brygge, a fast developing residential area, just a five minutes drive from the centre of Copenhagen. And one a stone’s throw from the buzzy meat packing district. Stay offers a total of 193 apartments with 15 different layouts, ranging from a one bedroom 90 m2 to an Atelier XL of almost 150 m2. The design is Scandinavian minimalism with furniture from quality Danish brands. Read more »

FJORD SKIING IN NORWAY

January 20th, 2011

Lyngen Lodge, NorwayLyngen Lodge, NorwayLyngen Lodge, NorwayLyngen Lodge, NorwaySo you are bored of skiing in the Alps? Tired of pistes that are black of thousands kamikaze skiers populating them? You long for virgin snow and wild sceneries? Look no further than 70° North, where you can ski from summit to sea. All it takes is to book a room in the extremely cosy Lyngen Lodge owned by the Englishman Graham Austick and his Norwegian partner. Graham invites his guests to climb 1500-meter high mountains so they can ski down in extremely fluffy and pure snow. Read more »

VANUATU, THE HAPPY ISLANDS

December 20th, 2010

Voted as the happiest place in the world, Vanuatu might be the Pacific’s best-kept secret. Here, the ocean is blue, the beaches are white and empty and the smiles of the Ni-Van are big and plentiful. The greatest plus of these 83 islands that make up Vanuatu is that it offers a mix of comfortable to even luxury lodging and an authentic and fascinating culture. After climbing active volcanoes or visiting custom villages it’s time for extreme relaxation in one of the luxury resorts. Read more »

SWEET FULFILLMENT

October 20th, 2010

Life can be sweet, especially if you live in Antwerp and you swing by restaurant Het Gebaar owned by top-patissier Roger Van Damme. To set the mood, the restaurant looks like a gingerbread house found in the small botanical garden in the city centre of Antwerp. Van Damme takes deserts and sweet dishes to a new level and got rewarded for this with a first Michelin star in November 2010. This young chef has also a soft spot for Japan. It all began when he first visited Tokyo for a culinary get-together with ex-El Bulli chefs from around the world. Read more »

Pack your bags (not more than 20 kg please and no Manolo or Gucci needed anyway), hop on a plane for half a day and embark on a trip of a lifetime. Final destination is Botswana where the mighty lions roar louder, the safari camps are more comfy and the views are more va va voom. If you need a helping hand to select one or two camps out of the numerous luxury options, then follow our advice and be a happy camper. Read more »

OPEN MINDS AND CLOSED COUNTRIES

September 26th, 2009

Ask Classe Touriste what the best trip in 2009 was? Easy. It’s DPRK, aka North Korea, aka the most secret and closed country in the world. Not really politically correct, we hear you saying? Well, for once we didn’t think about politics and just booked our flights to Pyongyang. Yes, it’s true; you can travel as a real tourist to this rather unknown country thanks to the professional assistance of Koryo Tours. This English tour operator imports already more than 14 years curious travellers into North Korea. Read more »

Does the real Italian deal still exist? Si, si! You just need to pack your bags and head to the direction of unknown and Mafia reputated West-Sicily to board an aliscafo that will whisk you away from one charming island to another. Welcome to the Isole Egadi, three minuscule freckles in the sun-tanned face of the South of Italy. So far, only local Italians who fill up the island in July and August have discovered these three Mediterranean pearls. Read more »

Close your eyes and imagine Empress Dowager Cixi roaming the century old dwellings of the Summer Palace in Beijing, Wurthering Hights style. If you don’t fancy Chinese concubines, then stay anyway at the magical Aman at Summer Palace, one of the most charismatic hotels in Beijing. This 51 rooms hotel occupies the former dwellings of the Summer Palace and offers a secrets door to access this famous World Heritage Site when “normal” (read: ten thousands of gymnastic, eating, singing and partying Chinese) visitors are not allowed to enter the park. Read more »

hotel distrito capital, corner suite, Mexico Cityhotel distrito capital, corner suite, Mexico Cityhotel distrito capital, corner suite, Mexico Cityhotel distrito capital, Mexico CityMexico City has never been off the most stylish and interesting cities hotlist. With again more pollution hanging in the air, then H1N1, it’s time to put the spotlight on one of the newest additions to the hotel scène in vibrant MDF. Distrito Capital is owned by hotel entrepreneur Rafael Micha, a man who knows how to turn a hotel into a neighbourhood’s hotspot. Read more »

flight-attendants

We must admit that going around the world in business class, was one of the most exciting things we ever did. With oneworld we flew with Finnair, British Airways, American Airlines, Air Mexicana, JAL and Cathay Pacific around the world for a price of proably one business class ticket to Hong Kong. Real travelista’s don’t have to ask what our top three is. We were extremely charmed by British Airways new World Traveler Class and the T5 facilities at Heatrow. The cabin of the World Traveler Class offers an excellent lay-out in the airplane with a decent amount of privacy for those wanting to sleep or relax. Superb service, tasty food and a good selection of inflight entertainment. Read more »

What is the strangest food you ever ate while traveling? Strange maybe for you but not for the locals who lick their fingers for a glass of brennevin and Icelandic rotten shark or plate of raw octopus just caught right out of the Med and slammed to death on the spiky rocks. For us, it all began with some percebes, or goose barnacles, in an empty restaurant on a beach near Sintra in Portugal. Read more »

STEALTH POWER

May 18th, 2009

WallyBoard now the most stylish, ultra-slick boat in the world. Maybe you don’t have the cash to buy one of these handcrafted and tailor-made beauties, but for a modest 5700 euro a day, you can rent a Wally in the Med. We must admit, it’s a hard choice between all those streamlined beauties. First there is the 106′ ” WALLY B”, sailing around the Western Mediterranean like Sardinia, Cote d’Azur, Corsica and Southern Italy. This beautiful sailing and motoryacht can host 6 guests and has a crew of 5 (skipper, deck hand, engineer, cook and stewardess). Read more »

“I am a sheep in wolf’s clothes”, says Vesa Junttila, artist, car lover and quaint habitue who hangs around in Panimo Barin Saariselkä, a small, snow-covered village in Finish Lapland. Besides skiing or sledging trough empty ice-landscapes, people travel here to dig gold and trade them in Panimo bar for beer, food and even lodging. Even the guys at Morgan Stanley think it’s great. Now, do I still hear someone complaining about not travelling because of recession? Just find some gold in the rivers of Finish Lapland and enjoy the Sami hospitality until you run out of gold. When you do, just dig some more. Dig it? Read more »

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