Some hotels are appealing because of their convenient location, others because of staff who go above and beyond to create a memorable stay. And then there are the beautiful hotels that take your breath away the moment you see them.
The World’s Most Beautiful Hotels
The following list features the most beautiful hotels around the globe, from a restored 11th-century palace in Italy to a mountain lodge in New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps.
Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy
It’s not easy for a hotel to live up to the beauty of Italy’s glittering Amalfi Coast, but the Belmond Hotel Caruso pulls it off. The hotel’s piece de resistance is the infinity pool, dramatically perched on a cliff’s edge high above the sea. First built as a palace in the 11th century, the hotel is surrounded by terraced gardens fragrant with roses, lemon trees, and herbs. Rooms feature spacious marble bathrooms and balconies overlooking the gardens or sea.
It’s so expensive, in part, because it enables airlines to offer other tickets at a discount; it comes with coveted perks and pampering; and customers are willing to pay for it.
First class has come a long way since the days when extra leg room was considered luxurious.
From offering meals by Michelin-starred chefs to in-flight showers, today’s first-class experience offers so much more than it used to. One could call it a first-class hotel in the sky.
But all that jet-set glamour comes at a steep cost — as much as a 70% increase in farescompared with economy, possibly even more if you’re flying internationally.
Currently, an American Airlines economy flight from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City to Heathrow Airport in the UK in July 2018 is $915. If you’re flying first class on the same airline, that cost increases to $5,407.
As someone who hates being crammed like a sardine in a can for eight-plus hours but is far from being able to afford the ultimate upgrade — and has yet to master the art of nabbing a plane’s prime real estate for next to nothing— I can’t help questioning why first class has to be so out of reach.
And once passengers are fueled up on quality food, they’re able to slip into a food coma with a flat bed, bedding, and turn-down service. If that’s not enough to catch some Zzz’s, airlines also provide pajamas and eye masks.
Other possible perks include a private TV screen; in-flight WiFi; goodies, from expensive gift bags to knitted socks; and showers. The Emirates A380 has two shower spas, complete with heated floors.
First class provides exclusive access in the airport.
Special treatment isn’t confined to the airplane, though.
“Because I only travel like that a few times per year, and because $2,000 and $8,000 are both so close to zero as to be effectively the same, I choose to travel in first,” wrote the Quora user. “It changes the trip from something to dread into something to look forward to. I earn around $20,000 per week, so ya gotta put it in perspective.”
As travel blogger Ben Schlappig writes in his blog, One Mile At a Time, “The cost of airfare is incredibly dynamic and is all about what consumers are willing to pay, rather than how much they should pay to cover their ‘fair share.'”
Some are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of first class. A family with a toddler or a businessman who can get work done on the plane and land ready for a meeting are both better off leaving the plane refreshed and less stressed with minimal jet lag.
First-class prices allow airlines to discount tickets and offer promotions.
A major airline executive told Schlappig that airlines don’t expect anyone to pay full fare for first class; the fare is purposely set high so it can be discounted.
“Corporate contracts and incentives are at the heart of high first-class pricing,” writes Schlappig. “Some companies have big contracts that get them upgrades or discounted first-class fares, and that can still be very lucrative for airlines.”
But more airlines are beginning to extend the discounts beyond the corporate setting, he added. Swiss and Air France recently offered discounts to passengers willing to pay for first class if the deal is reasonable enough. The latter offered a round-trip first-class flight between London and Hong Kong via Paris for $4,600 — much lower than $20,000 first-class fares elsewhere.
Some airlines also have promotions that offer free upgrades to first class when paying for a full- fare business-class ticket.
People aren’t actually paying for first class.
Because larger companies have contracts or negotiated fares for first-class employee travel, many people aren’t paying for their tickets, whether they’re an employee or being sponsored.
“At my last job, VPs and above were authorized to fly first class on international routes,” writes a United million mile flyer who used frequent flier miles to buy a first-class ticket to Melbourne, Australia — yet another way people don’t actually pay for first class.
“I can’t speak on behalf of all airlines, but I’ve had a few friends at some airlines show me numbers, and you’d be surprised by how few people are actually booked on full-fare tickets (or maybe you wouldn’t be surprised),” writes Schlappig. “So those $25,000 tickets? Very, very few people are actually paying those kinds of fares.”
First class is perceived as a luxury good.
First class creates a sense of exclusivity and high prices are necessary to maintain luxurious standards.
“When someone does sit in first class, they feel like they’re getting outsized value, whether in the form of an upgrade, award, or discounted first-class ticket,” writes Schlappig.
Other associated costs have increased for first class.
Ticket prices today for both first class and economy are higher than they were 20 years ago because other associated costs have increased.
In 1996, airline fuel cost 55 cents per gallon. As of April 2018, it cost $2.02 per gallon.
“Airlines can’t absorb all of that increase, so they pass some of that on to the consumer, leading to higher fares,” writes travel blogger Nomadic Matt, who added that airline taxes and security fees have also increased, hiking up the base fare.
First class takes up a lot of real estate.
Seats are up to 32 inches wide with a max pitch of 92 inches in first class, according to travel site Momondo. This helps give the passenger more privacy and comfort.
As one Quora user explains: On long-haul planes, a first-class seat takes up as much real estate as four to six economy seats, so it should be sold at least four to six times the price or more, considering the competition for economy. The perks are there to help justify the price difference to the customer.
And that’s not to mention first-class suites — yes, they exist.
Etihad’s A380 has the option of three different first-class suites, including a three-room suite with a living room, double-bed bedroom, and private bathroom with a shower. It’s all yours for a $32,000 one-way ticket between New York and Abu Dhabi, reports Momondo.
The location of first class is also the most convenient for boarding and deplaning.
Being with someone for a long time changes the way you see the world. It also changes you. Everything from how you act to the way you think shifts in ever so slight ways.
And according to Joshua Wolf Shenk, the author of “Powers of Two,” these tiny shifts are also the catalyst for a different kind of thought process — a shared mind, so to speak — that allows couples (romantic or not) to come up with more creative solutions to problems than they’d ever think up on their own.
A photographer edits out mobile devices from everyday life images to show a lonely new world, quickly becoming reality, to illustrate how “Disconnected” we have become in such a technology rich society.
OUT OF HAND
Are you reading this on a handheld device? There’s a good chance you are. Now imagine how’d you look if that device suddenly disappeared. Lonely? Slightly crazy? Perhaps next to a person being ignored? As we are sucked in ever more by the screens we carry around, even in the company of friends and family, the hunched pose of the phone-absorbed seems increasingly normal.
Image shows a truck driving along a road that has been washed out as Hurricane Michael comes ashore. (Alligator Point, FL, U.S., October 10, 2018)
Hurricane Michael just made landfall in Florida as the strongest hurricane to hit the US in 50 years, and the third strongest ever.
That’s according to measurements of the storm’s central pressure, which is a key indicator of the intensity of a storm. Michael’s pressure was 919 millibars when the storm’s eye reached the coast, making it more powerful than Hurricanes Katrina or Hurricane Andrew.
The storm’s wind speed puts it very close to a Category 5 hurricane.
Hurricane Michael has made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida.
A newer, now becoming mainstream, method of re-balancing energy flows by use of suction might sound like an unlikely healing technique, but it’s been used in Asia and northern Africa for thousands of years. Known as cupping, this form of therapy uses small cups made out of glass, ceramic, or even bamboo to increase blood flow in specific parts of the body. This is thought to change the way energy moves throughout the patient’s entire being, treating or even curing a wide range of conditions.
Floyd Mayweather is considered one of the hardest-working, most tactically brilliant and all-around great boxers of all time. However, quite possibly at the top of it all, at least according to his easy going, charismatic nature, he’s the highest-paid athlete in the world! And… He acts like it.