Landmark Hotels: 10 Priceless Locations

View of the Acropolis from the roof garden restaurant "Peacock" at Hera Hotel, Athens. Hera Hotel
By Beth Collins

Visiting the world's major landmarks is one of the great joys of traveling. Spending hours in a line to see them? Not so much. The key, of course, is to arrive early, but that can be tricky if you've booked a hotel on the other side of the city. You're better off staying at a hotel or inn that's within an easy walk. You may have to pay a bit more for the location, but being able to beat the crowds will be worth every extra dime (or euro, or rupee).

Check out these priceless locations in Paris, Rome, London, Barcelona, Moscow, New York City, and more great destinations around the world.

Photo Caption: Take in views of the Acropolis from Peacock, the roof garden restaurant at Hera Hotel, Athens.
View Next Slide
Exterior of Hotel dei Consoli, with the Vatican visible nearby in the background. Hotel dei Consoli
Distance from the Vatican: About a five-minute walk

There are lots of selling points to this family-run boutique hotel, including its prime location and its air-conditioning (something of a rarity in Italy's hotels). But it's the roof garden that keeps guests coming back. Perched on top of the third floor, the space is lush with olive, grapefruit, and mandarin trees. Sip your morning cappuccino as you gaze out over the rooftops to the dome of St. Peter's.

Hotel dei Consoli is housed in a restored 19th-century building with all the charm and character you'd expect when in Rome. Keep in mind that the 26 rooms are on the small side, at least by American standards (book one of the two junior suites if you want more space). But with a roof garden like Hotel dei Consoli's, you won't want to spend much time in your room anyway.

How Much: from €112 ($143) per room per night
Where: Via Varrone, 2/D angolo via Cola di Rienzo
More Info: tel. 39-06-6889-2972; www.hoteldeiconsoli.com

Photo Caption: An aerial view of the roof garden at Hotel dei Consoli, with the Vatican visible in the background.
View Next Slide
Hotel Torre Guelfa (right), alongside Torre Guelfa in Florence. Hotel Torre Guelfa
Distance from the Ponte Vecchio: About a two-minute walk

If there's a more perfectly located hotel in Florence, we haven't found it. Not only is Hotel Torre Guelfa a two-minute walk from Florence's famous bridge, but it's also a quick stroll to the Uffizi Gallery, Il Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria, and pretty much anything else you'd want to see in the city.

The hotel feels like an attraction in its own right. Originally a medieval fortress, it was restored under the guidelines of the Florentine Fine Arts Consortium, an organization charged with preserving all historical buildings in the city. The rooms -- quite large by European standards -- are tastefully decorated, but it's the common areas where the hotel really shines. The light-filled lobby has sky-high ceilings, arched windows, and several little gathering areas of cozy furniture -- perfect for sitting with friends and listening to an impromptu concert on the communal piano.

And then there's Torre Guelfa, the stone tower the hotel is named for. It's open only to guests and offers one of the best views in the city. Sipping a glass of wine while taking in views of Ponte Vecchio and the Arno is worth the price of the stay alone.

How Much: from €88 ($112) per room per night
Where: Borgo SS Apostoli 8
More Info: tel. 055-239-6338; www.hoteltorreguelfa.com

Photo Caption: Hotel Torre Guelfa (right), alongside Torre Guelfa in Florence
View Next Slide
Lobby at the posh Hotel Regina, Paris. Hotel Regina
Distance from the Louvre: About two blocks

Some unassuming Parisian hotels are barely noticeable but for a tiny plaque hanging next to the entrance. Hotel Regina is not one of those hotels. Prominently situated on a corner about two blocks from the Louvre, the hotel wears its location proudly.

Built in 1900 for the World's Fair in Paris, the hotel has maintained its Old World elegance over the years. The interior verges on opulent, with ornate ironwork, woodwork polished to a high sheen, and period furniture in the common areas. The aesthetic carries through the 90 guestrooms and 30 suites, with their jewel-tone palettes of crimsons, golds, and emeralds.

When you're not admiring the views from your room -- the Louvre from some, the Eiffel Tower from others -- grab a bite or a drink at the on-site Regina's Pub. Though the Tuileries Garden is just across the street, the hotel also has a private garden courtyard (open from spring through early fall).

How Much: from €199 ($258) per room per night
Where:
2, Place des Pyramides
More Info: tel. 33-01-42-60-31-10; www.regina-hotel.com

Photo Caption: Lobby at the posh Hotel Regina, Paris
View Next Slide
Metropol Hotel, Moscow. World Hotels
Distance from the Red Square: About ½ mile (a three-minute walk)

Moscow is an expensive city, and the Metropol is no exception. But if you're going to splurge, this is the place to do it. The hotel is grand, cutting an imposing figure across from the Bolshoi Theater and within view of the Kremlin and Red Square. Built in 1901, it has a storied past, including a stint as the residence of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee during the Bolshevik Revolution and a hub for journalists during WWII. It closed in 1986 and, after extensive renovations to restore it back to its original splendor, reopened in 1991. Today, the Metropol plays host to presidents (including Obama), diplomats, royalty, artists, and celebrities.

The Art Nouveau décor borders on overly lavish in some areas, but the 362 guestrooms are understated (if a bit dated). Don't skip the complimentary breakfast -- eating under a glass-domed ceiling in an opulent room, with a harpist playing in the background, is a key part of the Metropol experience.

How Much:
from 9,232 Russian rubles ($293) per room per night
Where: 1/4 Teatral'nyy proyezd
More Info: tel. 7-499-501-78-40; www.metropol-moscow.com

Photo Caption: Metropol Hotel, Moscow
View Next Slide
Rubens at the Palace, London. Red Carnation Hotels
Distance from Buckingham Palace: About 1,060 feet (a three-minute walk)

Perhaps it's the influence of the famous landmark that gives such a royal feel to The Rubens at the Palace, the closest hotel to Buckingham Palace. Every detail suggests luxury, from the doorman who greets you at the grand entrance to the supremely helpful staff -- including special children's and pets' concierges. Each of the 151 rooms and 10 suites is outfitted with unique décor. Ask for a room with a view over the Royal Mews.

Even if you're the type to shun hotel restaurants for a more authentic experience, the options at The Rubens will be tough to pass up. The Old Master's Restaurant is a buffet as buffets were intended, offering carving stations with roasts like prime rib and leg of lamb, plus fish, salads, soups, and more. You can also indulge in the decidedly British fare at the Library Restaurant. Start with the Twice-Baked Somerset Goats' Cheese Soufflé, then move on to the Little Braxted Rump of Lamb, and finish with the Sticky Toffee Pudding.

The hotel also has four bars, each with its own identity: indulge in tea and scones at the Palace Lounge, sip a glass of bubbly at the Leopard Champagne Bar, try a cocktail at the South African-themed Bbar, or enjoy a nightcap at the Cavalry Bar.

How Much: from £139 ($213) per room per night
Where: 39 Buckingham Palace Road
More Info: tel. 44-020-7834-6600; www.rubenshotel.com

Photo Caption: Rubens at the Palace, London
View Next Slide
<strong>Distance from La Sagrada Família: </strong>About a three-minute walk<br><strong>
<br></strong>Itsy bitsy European hotel rooms might feel charming if you're a couple traveling on your honeymoon, but they're downright cramped if you're a family. Barcelona's solution is Hispanos 7 Suiza, a series of apartments that sleep up to five people. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, a master bedroom, and a twin bedroom. Unlike many apartment rentals, each unit comes with daily maid service and room service, so you get the best of both worlds -- the living space of an apartment, but with the comforts of a hotel. <br><br>The location is as appealing as the extra space. The apartments are a three-minute walk from Gaudí's <a href="http://www.frommers.com/destinations/barcelona/A1309.html" target="_blank">La Sagrada Família</a>, so you can easily be the first in line any day of the week. The apartments are also about two blocks from a grocery store, where you can stock up on essentials. On days when you'd rather not cook, head to La Cupula, the restaurant at Hispanos 7 Suiza, for Catalan and Mediterranean fare.<br><br><strong>How Much: </strong> from €140 ($179) per apartment per night
<br><strong>Where:</strong> Calle Sicilia 255
<br><strong>More Info: </strong>tel. <strong>34-93-208-2051</strong>; <strong><a href="http://www.hispanos7suiza.com" target="_blank">www.hispanos7suiza.com</a></strong><br><br><em>Photo Caption: Dining on the terrace, with a view of Sagrada Familia at Hispanos 7 Suiza, Barcelona.</em> Hispanos 7 Suiza
Distance from La Sagrada Família: About a three-minute walk

Itsy bitsy European hotel rooms might feel charming if you're a couple traveling on your honeymoon, but they're downright cramped if you're a family. Barcelona's solution is Hispanos 7 Suiza, a series of apartments that sleep up to five people. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, a master bedroom, and a twin bedroom. Unlike many apartment rentals, each unit comes with daily maid service and room service, so you get the best of both worlds -- the living space of an apartment, but with the comforts of a hotel.

The location is as appealing as the extra space. The apartments are a three-minute walk from Gaudí's La Sagrada Família, so you can easily be the first in line any day of the week. The apartments are also about two blocks from a grocery store, where you can stock up on essentials. On days when you'd rather not cook, head to La Cupula, the restaurant at Hispanos 7 Suiza, for Catalan and Mediterranean fare.

How Much: from €140 ($179) per apartment per night
Where: Calle Sicilia 255
More Info: tel. 34-93-208-2051; www.hispanos7suiza.com

Photo Caption: Dining on the terrace, with a view of Sagrada Familia at Hispanos 7 Suiza, Barcelona.
View Next Slide
Exterior of Hera Hotel, Athens. Hera Hotel
Distance from the Acropolis: Less than 500 feet

The Hera Hotel couldn't be in a more perfect location. Right at the bottom of the Acropolis hill, the 38-room boutique hotel is half a block from the New Acropolis Museum. It's also an easy walk to bars and restaurants so once you reach the Hera, the rest of your stay in Athens can be car-free.

The hotel's 38 rooms are understated and classic, with muted color schemes and marble-tiled bathrooms. Request one of the double rooms on the fourth floor or the Junior Suites on the fifth floor -- you'll wake up to a view of the Acropolis every morning. If those are all booked, don't despair. You can still get a stunning view of the ruins every day from Peacock, the restaurant on the roof garden.

How Much: from €80 ($102) per room per night
Where: Falirou 9
More Info: tel. 210-92-36-682; www.herahotel.com

Photo Caption: Exterior of Hera Hotel, Athens
View Next Slide
Lobby at the Trident Agra. Trident Agra
Distance from the Taj Mahal: Less than a mile

Anyone who has spent time at the Taj Mahal will tell you that it's not enough to see it just once. You need to see it several times, preferably at different times of day -- especially sunrise and sunset. Not an easy task if you're staying far from the attraction, but a cinch if you're staying at Trident Agra. The hotel is less than a mile from the Taj, meaning you can easily wander over to see the changing light fall over mausoleum's polished white marble.

When you're not admiring the 17th-century structure, you'll be tempted to stick around the Trident. The hotel grounds feel almost like a campus, with fountains, gardens, and courtyards. And like a campus, there's plenty to do. Between the pool and playground for kids, you could easily spend entire days here. Children stay entertained too, thanks to the free kids' clubs. For dinner, try the pizza made in the wood-fired oven, then head over to the bar for a nightcap.

How Much: from 7,000 Indian rupees ($136) per room per night
Where: Fatehabad Road
More Info: tel. 866/706-5888; www.tridenthotels.com/agra

Photo Caption: The lobby at the Trident Agra
View Next Slide
The lobby of the Muse, New York. The Muse Hotel
Distance from Times Square: About one block

Booking a hotel in the heart of Times Square sounds great -- until it's 3 a.m. and you're trying to sleep. Fortunately, The Muse has a way of being near the action minus all the noise or stress. If you do need to unwind, yoga gear is available for you to use during your stay. And then there's the complimentary wine hour held every evening, a low-key way to kick off a night in the city.

As with other Kimpton properties, this 200-room property is pet-friendly. Ginger, the director of pet relations, is a 6-year-old teacup Pomeranian who personally welcomes guests with canine companions. With the help of her human colleagues, she can offer advice on the best dog-friendly spots around the city.

How Much: from $299 per room per night
Where: 130 West 46th St. between 6th and 7th avenues
More Info: tel. 877/692-6873; www.themusehotel.com

Photo Caption: The lobby of the Muse, New York.
View Next Slide
Guest room at the Sterling Inn & Spa, Ontario. Sterling Inn & Spa
Distance from Niagara Falls: About a seven-minute walk

For some reason, most of the hotels near Niagara Falls can be divided into three categories: nondescript chains, flashy casino hotels, or tacky spots that don't seem to have changed much since the 1960s. Luckily, the Sterling Inn & Spa sits comfortably outside all of these categories. The boutique hotel is in a restored dairy -- in fact, a three-story-high milk bottle from the original business serves as the entrance.

The location is the main highlight, but the hotel has just enough hints at luxury to be its own draw, too. The 41 guestrooms are decked out in a sophisticated red chocolate-brown and off-white palette. Each room has a gas fireplace, a rain shower, and either a two-person Jacuzzi or an in-shower steam unit. There's complimentary breakfast in bed, and the on-site restaurant, AG, gets rave reviews for its locally inspired cuisine. The spa menu includes all the standard massages, wraps, scrubs, mud baths, facials, and nail treatments you'd want on a relaxing getaway.

How Much:
from C$115 ($113) per room per night
Where: 5195 Magdalen St.
More Info: tel. 289/292-0000; www.sterlingniagara.com

Photo Caption: A guest room at the Sterling Inn & Spa, Ontario.
View Next Slide
advertisement
advertisement