Best of 2019: Hotels

· · ·

One of the most important, fun and (believe it or not) challenging parts of our job is constantly staying up to date on old favorites and new discoveries in the Mediterranean travel world. As the year starts winding to a close, we like to go through some of our favorite trips for business or pleasure, and put together some favorites for our past, potential and future clients. Part of what makes Bella Vita Travels so special is that we hand-pick our properties, tours and guides. The excursions we suggest to you are ones that we have done ourselves, and the hotels are ones that we know personally. Travel continually changes, as do destinations, and it’s one of the most interesting parts of our job to research how to make your dream Mediterranean vacation absolutely perfect.

Here are our picks for our favorite hotels of 2019!

Megan’s pick: Althoff Villa Belrose, Saint Tropez, France

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me or who follows BVT’s social media, that I am an avid lover of Saint Tropez. My family makes an annual pilgrimage there that is usually a mix of work and leisure. This year, we had the pleasure of staying at Villa Belrose. Normally, we choose to stay within walking distance of the village, but it has been a few years of wanting to visit this particular hotel and since we also had our 7-year old son with us, we thought to try a more resort like hotel rather than boutique hotel. From the moment we arrived until our departure, this hotel turned out to be a complete delight. 

We were kindly escorted to panoramic sea view terrace for a glass of rosé during a pleasantly informal check-in, in the time to finish our glass of wine we were checked in with our bags already in the room. Though our last minute trip meant we did not have a sea view room, it was still large, comfortable and very clean with a nice patio overlooking the garden. The decor was classy but not stuffy, and I loved the crispy white bed linens. We were welcomed with fresh bottles of water daily, chocolates and macarons and an array of fantastic toiletries. Even Peetie got his own kid size bathrobe and slippers!

Our first afternoon was spent by the pools which also overlook the bay of Saint Tropez and the village. We had a lovely lunch there and our dinner at their gourmet restaurant one evening was an absolute highlight of the trip and year (in my top three dining experiences of the year!). Exquisite dining, attentive staff and again – a million dollar view. 

The hotel has just about everything. Other amenities included an abundant and delicious breakfast on that million dollar view terrace, a gym, spa, free valet parking (unheard of in Saint Tropez!), an excellent concierge staff. Also worth mentioning is that this is an incredibly family friendly hotel. Even with its very justified 5 stars, there is no pretense or air of snobbery. In fact, it has some of the most friendly and helpful staff of any hotel I can remember and that’s saying a lot from one who travels A LOT!  It is only a 5 minute drive into town and located in a lovely neighborhood, so using the car really was not an issue. We left the Belrose with special memories and the longing to return soon, (and we almost did on our way back from Provence, but that’s for another blog!).

Luigi’s pick: Hotel De Russie, Rome, Italy

I loved staying at the De Russie in Rome. This 5* hotel is in the heart of my favorite city and its elegance is a mix of classic with a nice touch of modern that makes you feel like you really are in a unique hotel. The rooms are very spacious and bright, painted with soft and clean colors. They have a really nice courtyard which makes this hotel even more special, because is really difficult to have that nice courtyard in the heart of Rome. The courtyard and garden are covered by a terrace, and serve also as the restaurant option for the hotel, which is a chic place to taste some wonderful Italian specialties in a tranquil outdoor setting. It’s doesn’t even feel like you are in the middle of a busy city! 

The location is also spectacular. It’s located between two of Rome’s most picturesque squares, Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps. It’s always frequented by important and famous guests (including many of our clients), which gives it a special and exclusive allure without being pretentious. Also a really nice touch is that the whole property is refreshed yearly, sometimes even several times a year, which means that it almost always feels bright and new.

Kate’s pick: Riad Fes, Fes, Morocco

Fes is quintessential Morocco- colorful, noisy and chaotic. The streets of the souks are small and sights, sounds and smells of the city, along with the bustle of the vendors and locals, create a vibrant atmosphere that is exciting and fun. Your senses are stimulated at every turn, and you can’t help but feel a part of the action… but, after a bit, it can get a little overwhelming.

This is why it’s important to have a hotel that is a calm oasis where you can retreat, when needed, to recharge- and the Riad Fes is just that.

Walking into the Riad, you immediately feel like you’ve stepped into a castle from a fairytale. The splendid Moorish architecture, the lovely furniture, high ceilings and gorgeous light fixtures all contribute to the magical feel of the hotel. With the hotel’s quiet corners and lush patios, it’s hard to believe that you’re in the heart of the Medina, the city center. With only 26 rooms, each different from the other, and exceptional hospitality, this little gem of a hotel is the perfect escape from the Medina’s energetic atmosphere.

My room was a standard room, yet spacious and very well appointed. The decor was in classic moorish style, with lovely colorful cushions on the bed and traditional wooden carved furniture throughout the room. The bathroom was enormous and contained traditional Moroccan bathing amenities which I enjoyed using during my stay.

I also had a delicious meal of Moroccan dishes on one of the nights at the hotel and would have loved to have been able to take advantage of their spa or outdoor pool. Fes had so much to see and do though that I didn’t have the chance. I’ll just have to return in 2020 and spend some more time there!

Christine’s pick: Memmo Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s Alfama district is the oldest area in this enchanting city, a labyrinth of cobblestone streets weaving up and down hills that eventually lead a wanderer up to the Castelo de São Jorge. Alfama’s rich history and architecture are a wonderful contrast to the modern Memmo Alfama hotel, located nestled in a small street off one of these cobblestone detours.

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 10.05.28 AMThe location is wonderful, located right in Alfama just a short walk from fadò bars and traditional restaurants, an easy walk to the bus or a taxi (or by foot to other important sites in Lisbon), but still secluded enough to be private feeling, almost like your own home. It’s a small, 42-room boutique hotel and the first of it’s kind the historic area, just a few steps to the cathedral and a short walk (up, up and up – but Lisbon is hilly!) to the castle.

The hotel is bright and crisp with wonderfully fluffy pillows, a well stocked minibar and the rooms (though not overwhelmingly large) are comfortable and well appointed. Some, including ours, even have small terraces with a view over the river. The furniture is sleek and chic, and even breakfast is charmingly different – fresh squeezed juices are “self served” in cute bottled from a smog refrigerator, alongside Portuguese treats like the pastel de nata, an egg custard cake that is the queen of Portuguese breakfast (but come early, these went really fast!).

Another nice touch is that the hotel offers free walking tours of the Alfama district for guests, which was a special treat and a wonderful way to explore this area of the city with a local.

What makes Memmo even more special is it’s incredible river-view pool and terrace. It’s become one of Lisbon’s hottest spots for a drink at sunset, overlooking the sparkling river, the Alfama rooftops, and the hotel’s alluring and dramatic red-tiled pool. It’s a great choice accommodation for a couple (note: it’s an adults only property) looking for a youthful and modern alternative while still staying in the historic quarter of the city.

Lisa’s pick: Hotel Heureka, Venice, Italy

Hotel Heureka is a gem in Venice, tucked away from the busy streets but close enough to the best restaurants in town. It is located on the northern side of Venice on a quiet canal in the Canereggio district.

As a Venice local, I know that finding the perfect hotel can be a challenge. There are lots of choices in the city, and Hotel Heureka is a place that I happily recommend to visitors looking to explore what makes Venice so special – you can see that at the end of a busy day, when all of the day trippers leave, Venice is a serene and beautiful city (it’s not nicknamed “la sirenissima” – the most serene one – for nothing!)


This hotel is a paradise for tired feet and the garden is a peaceful oasis. This boutique hotel has ten rooms that find the perfect balance between traditional and modern design. I’ve seen and stayed in a few of the rooms and each was magnificent – spacious bathrooms and beautiful fabrics. Even more, the staff is what makes this Hotel Heureka top notch!

Sign up for the newsletter

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *