Exeter Edition – News & Travel Wisdom
Romanesque Gem Re-opens in Budapest
In October the Museum of Fine Arts re-opened in Budapest after being closed for almost four years. The building was badly damaged during WWII, and one of the highlights of the restoration is the Romanesque main hall which has been closed to the public for more than 70 years. Go for the large collection of European art, including Raphael and Bruegel. 70 artisan craftsmen were engaged in the restoration. Watch a short video of the incredible restoration process here.
Art in Berlin
Navigating the art scene in Berlin can be overwhelming. With over 400 galleries and scores of museums and exclusive private art collections many people don’t know where to start. We can arrange early and after hours museum tours at blockbuster museums such as the Pergamon and Neues and advise which galleries and private collections are a MUST see. The Hoffman Collection is the most fascinating. Erika Hoffman invites you into her stunning central Berlin home for an annually changing selection of her private art collection.
Castle Stay in Salzburg
Set in parkland the 15th century castle, Schloss Mönchstein sits perched on a hill overlooking Salzburg and has recently undergone a lavish refurbishment. With 24 rooms and a spa, the highlight is the Glass Garden restaurant which has stunning views over the city.
Two New Art Influenced Berlin Restaurants
Chef Bjorn Swanson has returned to his hometown and created one of Berlin’s best restaurants, Golvet. Formerly a roof top nightclub, the space has been re-imagined incorporating panoramic views of Potsdamer Platz with a pared down interior and elements of Berlin’s famous street art, creating the restaurant has clearly been a labor of love. Unpretentious, friendly and knowledgeable service shine though. The chefs work in a stylish open kitchen using local seasonal produce to create delicious food that gained a Michelin star after just 6 months.
The Anomalie Art Club is an art space, event space and restaurant located in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of the city. Family run by four siblings the restaurant, La Mifa (Family) specializes in organic vegetarian food. The menus change with the seasons, but truffles are a permanent feature. Imaginatively lit with changing art and a bohemian vibe, this is a true Berliner experience.
Croatia & Montenegro
Stay in a former Palace in Montenegro
The Iberostar Grand Hotel Perast which opened this year is located in the heart of the bay of Kotor, otherwise known as Boka Bay, in the idyllic village of Perast in Montenegro. The 103 room boutique hotel is made up of three individual buildings: the original 17th century Palace Smekja, built of Korcula stone; the adjacent building which was a garment factory, originating from the 1930’s, and a third new extension designed to blend with the historic surroundings.
Perast, a UNESCO protected vi has just 200 inhabitants, and perhaps the best views in Montenegro, looking out to the small island with the historic church of Our Lady of the Rocks. Enjoy a day or more on a private boat exploring the bay, enjoy a local olive oil or wine tasting, and of course visit Kotor itself. Take some time to swim in the bay and enjoy the spectacular views or indulge in a spa treatment before dining by candlelight on the hotel’s piazza.
Idyllic Istrian Retreat
For anyone looking for an authentic local experience that provides an insight into Croatian culture look no further! Romana and Miroslav Plišo renovated the 19th Century Habsburg era Villa Meneghetti, an idyllic Istrian stone mansion several years ago. Now a part of Relais & Châteaux, this 24-room hideaway is in Bale which is a short drive from the Venetian inspired coastal town of Rovinj. Eat farm to table food, drink award winning wine and taste olive oil produced on the estate. Learn about the food and wine of the region from the passionate local team of chefs and oenologists. The perfect way to combine learning about the local gastronomic culture with relaxation!
Stay Close to the Lakes
The key to visiting the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is to stay close by the night prior to make the most of your day and mitigate the crowds. This is finally possible with the Fenomen Plitvice – a luxury boutique hotel with 18 rooms and lodges right in the national park. Fenomen translates as phenomenal due to the the outstanding natural beauty of the location.
This year, American Airlines will fly direct from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik three times each week starting June 7 and ending September 27.
Unique Artistic Atelier
One of our most recent discoveries is the wonderful clothing designer Natali Leskova, who created her brand seven years ago. She paints and sometimes photographs images of St. Petersburg and then tailors the images into clothing. We can arrange for a visit to Natali’s atelier in St. Petersburg and she can talk about her work and how she designs. One of her creations would be a unique memento of a visit to St. Petersburg. She can even make something to measure and ship.
Escaping the crowds in Peak Season
There is so much to see and do in St. Petersburg, and often more than time allows. To maximize time and minimize crowds in peak season, we can arrange for privately guided evening tours of the largest collection of art in the world at the Hermitage on Wednesday and Friday between 5pm to 8pm. This is a wonderful time to visit the museum and enjoy dinner at one of our recommended restaurants immediately after.
An evening with the Mariinsky (Kirov) in a Palace
On selected dates between May and September, there is a wonderful opportunity to see an imperial Russian palace come to life and enjoy an evening of classical music in the intimate setting of one of the last imperial palaces ever built in St. Petersburg that of Grand Duke Vladimir. Located right on palace embankment overlooking the Neva River, this experience will be unforgettable. Imagine yourself here.
World-Class Concert Hall in Moscow
If not coming to Russia by cruise, we would always urge anyone to visit Moscow and St.Petersburg together. Just this week, one of our travelers gave us this feedback:
‘We hadn’t planned to go to Moscow but because you urged us to, we did. And you were certainly right. It’s a very different city, with a different vibe, and we’re so glad we went.’
Moscow is one of the world’s greatest capital cities and constantly evolving. Described by the Economist as an architectural triumph, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed Zaryadye Park in Moscow has completely transformed the city. Stunning Beautifully landscaped with a simply spectacular suspended bridge, the park is located just behind Red Square and has already established itself as one of Moscow’s must-see attractions. Just last month the magnificent state-of-the-art 1,560 seat new Philharmonic Concert Hall opened. With sublime acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, the sound is world-class.
A jaw-dropping 23,500 square feet of exhibition space with a 500 seat cinema lies within the new Amos Rex subterranean museum in Helsinki. This museum also houses 19th and 20th Century art, plus temporary exhibitions. Have lunch or dinner at the Restaurant Lasipalatsi within the complex – straight out of a Wes Anderson movie!
Stay in a hotel in Bergen with Musical Heritage
We can’t think of a more unique hotel than the Opus XVI. Created by Britt and Alexander Grieg, the relatives of the famous Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, the hotel even has a small museum dedicated to his life. With just 65 rooms and suites housed in a historic building that used to be the largest bank in Bergen, the Opus XVI probably has the best location in Bergen, just steps from Bryggen, Bergen’s main wharf.
Revamped Art in Stockholm
Closed for five years, Sweden’s premier art museum, the National Museum in Stockholm has re-opened just two weeks ago. This vast 150-year-old museum is packed with art, jewelry and design. It is also FREE!
Perhaps Denmark’s biggest identifier is design. A huge new cultural complex, BLOX opened earlier this year, right in Copenhagen’s harbor. Restaurants, homes and an outdoor space for events share the space with the Danish Architecture Center which has a program of exhibitions on architecture and design.
Chic Stockholm Boutique Hotel
The beautiful boutique Bank Hotel is a welcome addition to the Stockholm hotel scene. In a great central location with neutral but stunning design the hotel is run by a company that has several restaurants, making the restaurant and bar at the hotel places that locals also want to patronize. There is a strong modern art focus, with a local gallery providing rotating art.