Leaving the rolling scenery of Monsarraz, I traveled to the capital city of Lisbon for a weekend with a more urban experience.  My choice of accommodation, the newly debuted H10 Duque de Loulé, proved to be a welcome respite after a long drive.














I chose the new H10 Duque de Loulé, located at the northern end of Lisbon’s famed Avenida da Liberdade, because it so prominently features Portugal’s iconic azulejos, or blue and white tiles, in a modern way.  It’s 89 delightful rooms are decorated in a modern, Portuguese, international style of whites and blues.

I stayed in a wonderful suite, but found all the rooms to be fantastic.  They all have amazing bathrooms with blue and white subway tile homages to the azulejo.  The hotel makes you feel like you are staying in an elegantly decorated townhouse with its rooms separated by French doors, pocket doors, and chrome hardware.

My favorite part of the hotel, however, was the roof terrace and bar.  With panoramic views over Lisbon, an exclusive lounge area, and great cocktails, it’s an amazing secret. The roof terrace was a delightful place to relax with a glass of wine after a long day hiking Lisbon’s many hills.

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Our trip to Portugal actually began with a flight into Madrid and a scenic drive to the Portuguese border at Elvas.  We explored the scenic towns of Elvas and Vila Vicosa before continuing on to the hamlet of Monsaraz.

Monsaraz - 2

Monsaraz - 1

Elvas, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its military fortifications: well-preserved forts, city walls, and an impressive aqueduct.  After a long flight from the US and then a couple of hours driving, it was nice to stretch our legs and explore the town. We took a wonderful tour of the Fort of Saint Luzia, just outside the city, and explored the aqueduct.

Continuing on, we took the back roads to Vila Vicosa, known for its famous 16th century palace, marble buildings, and impressive square.  It was a great place to walk around for a couple of hours and enjoy the very well-preserved and stately architecture.

Monsaraz - 3

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I came across the GlocalMe international mobile wifi hotspot while struggling with Internet options for a 10 day trip through Portugal and Spain.  I was planning to drive a lot and knew that I needed an internet option to be able to pull up maps and recommendations on the fly.  I was not wild about paying my US mobile provider hundreds of dollars for international data so I began researching hotspot options.


Of course, there is the option of getting a SIM card upon landing, but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle, would be going to multiple countries, and wanted to keep my existing setup.  Some companies will rent hotspots, but I found that the rates were not particularly affordable and the hotspots promised to work for a few hours at best.

I came across GlocalMe after finding some basic reviews.  The device promised to deliver hassle-free internet connectivity wherever there was cellular service, without the need to buy SIM cards or worry about local providers.  The rates were great, costing about $30 for a gigabyte of data. Since my recent test, the company debuted a new model, which looks even better!

After getting the device, I tested it out in the US.  It was as easy as powering the device on, waiting for about 2-3 minutes until the blue light went steady, then connecting to the wifi signal. The same was true when I got to Spain, I just powered on GlocalMe and the device went through some easy flashing lights and connected to the internet in about 2 minutes.

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Miura Hotel – Czech Republic

August 13, 2015

I’m loving the Miura Hotel in the Czech village of Čeladná sitting among the incredible Beskydy Mountains with its enchanting, mist-ensconced peaks, and royal ruins. Framing this amazing natural beauty is Richard Kučík’s audaciously designed Miura Hotel, a sharp-sided steel building with high-tech spa treatments and world-class art (original works by Andy Warhol and Damien […]

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Carmo’s Boutique Hotel – Ponte de Lima, Portugal

July 7, 2015

Planning an upcoming trip to Portugal, I came across the delightful Carmo’s Boutique Hotel in Ponte de Lima, Portugal – what is said to be the oldest town in the country.  Carmo’s Boutique Hotel is a fifteen-room, super romantic getaway that should be part of your next trip to Portugal.  Not far from Porto and […]

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Four Seasons Announces Awesome Mobile App

June 21, 2015

Four Seasons, one of my favorite hotel chains, just announced a pretty revolutionary app that takes travelers beyond the standard reservations and information focus of existing apps that many hotels have. The new Four Seasons app brings the technology and anonymity that we have come to love to the hotel arena.  It is a do-everything […]

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Japan’s Delightful Atami Fufu Ryokan

May 29, 2015

Just looking at Atami Fufu transports me back to magical, amazing Japan. The ryokan, or traditional Japanese inns, embody the culture, tranquility, and attention to detail of the country. The beautiful Atami Fufu ryokan embodies the very essence of omotenashi, the Japanese fine art of hospitality, whose attitudes and practices have been refined over centuries. […]

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Praia Verde Boutique Hotel: Algarve, Portugal

May 3, 2015

I’m in the process of planning my next trip to Portugal and sadly will not have time to visit the Algarve. Right now, I’m wishing that I were relaxing at the casual chic Praia Verde Boutique Hotel. Charming and unique, the hotel sits at the spot where dense pine forest meet the blue Atlantic waters. […]

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The Decadent PalazzinaG – Venice

April 19, 2015

Ciao Italia! If you are staying in Venice, PalazinnaG is the place to be!  Even forgetting its amazing location on the Grand Canal, this hotel is stunningly amazing.  Imagine amazing interior design by Phillipe Stark in an historic Venetian building:  ancient framework artfully integrated with sleek modern materials and contemporary design. With no reception desk […]

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Inkaterra Opens its Fabulous Hacienda Urubamba in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas

April 9, 2015

Immersed in the countryside in a gorgeous area of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba opens with 12 rooms set in the Casa Hacienda with grounds spanning approximately 100 acres. With architecture and interiors inspired by the area’s cultural history, the contemporary hacienda-style hotel was designed by Denise Guislain-Koechlin with the support of her husband, […]

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