Hotels

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BIGGER, BETTER BUDAPEST

The Hungarian capital has entered its most profound period of transformation since its imperial zenith.

If you want to understand Budapest, buy a subway ticket. The oldest electrified metro line in continental Europe lies below the Hungarian capital, running parallel to one of the youngest.

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Line 1 – Budapest Subway

When Line 1 opened in 1896, the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s second city was in its Belle Epoque glory days, complete with opulent cafes, immaculately shaved gentlemen, and parasol-totting young ladies given to hysteria. The new subway typified the prosperity of Europe’s fastest-growing city. Secession-style entrances of wrought iron led down to stations lined with glazed mosaic tiles. The electric-powered cars were clad in polished wood. “Exceedingly handsome,” wrote a correspondent for a London railroad review. “More like the saloon of a yacht than a tram car?’ The two-mile line and its 11 stations took only 20 months to construct. Christened as the Millennium Underground Railway, the system opened in time for a massive celebration announcing the city on the Danube as a hypermodern metropolis of fin de siecle Europe. The original trains were replaced in the 1970s with vaguely antiqued modern cars, but Line 1, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, remains fully functional, a nostalgic thread connecting many of the city’s most lavish imperial sights.

By contrast, Line 4, completed in 2014, was considered a failure before construction even began. The plan to link the medieval village of Buda to the chaotic commercial district Pest, across the Danube, was approved in the 1970s but languished in political deadlock for more than 30 years. After construction began, in 2006, it quickly became an emblem of the corruption and mismanagement that, while less common than in the days of ‘goulash Communism, still affected Hungary. Unexplained delays caused the budget to balloon to US$2 billion. Residents griped that the line connected parts of the city that didn’t need connecting, while doing nothing to solve the city’s chronic traffic jams.

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Hyatt Place Goa/Candolim Hotel – A Place as Cozy as Home

A place that moves on your time – is the best way to describe one of Hyatt Hotels newest venture in India’s Sunny State – Goa.

Hyatt Place Goa/Candolim is strategically located right in the center of Goa’s most happening spots. Just a 10 minute walk to the beach and minutes away from Goa’s best shopping, gastronomy and nightlife destinations; the hotel is an ideal abode for a North Goa holiday with family or friends.

Starting right from the driveway, every part of the hotel is adorned with unique and exquisite eye catching art pieces. After passing through security, you are welcomed to the heart of the hotel – The Gallery. Abuzz and vibrant, the space accommodates the check-in desk, a 24/7 Gallery Market, the Coffee to Cocktails Bar and a 24/7 restaurant called the Gallery Café.

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2 exotic cocktails at Coffee to Cocktail Bar

Cliveden – Taplow, Berkshire, England

Weekend Guests of the Astors

As surprisingly comfortable as it is overwhelmingly grand, this National Trust property is England’s most majestic country-house hotel. Even adjectives like “spectacular” and “magnificent” seem inadequate amid the aristocratic proportions of the Italianate villa, much of whose present-day character reflects three generations of Astors (preceded by one Prince of Wales, among others), who lived here until 1966. (In the 1960s Cliveden was also the setting of the infamous Profumo scandal that led to the collapse of the Conservative government in 1964.)

A dinner in the excellent restaurant Waldo’s is reason enough to drive from London, though as an overnight guest you’ll have the luxury of working it off on the hotel’s 376 acres of riding paths or jogging trails.

Overlooking the River Thames, 15-foot-high windows afford views of the hotel’s antique boats, including Nancy Astor’s silent electric canoe. Piloted by uniformed boatmen, these are available for predinner Champagne cruises or picnics with large hampers of food furnished by the hotel.

Take pleasure in the formal gardens, drawing room fires, tailcoated footmen, chandeliered dining rooms, and palpable air of exclusivity, but what you may enjoy most is the royal treatment extended even to titleless guests.

Cliveden was built in 1666 by the Second Duke of Buckingham.

What: hotel, restaurant.
Where: 10 miles/ 16 km northwest of Windsor.
Tel: 4411628-668-561, fax 44/1628-661-837 ; reservations@clivedenhouse.co.uk; www.clivedenhouse.co.uk
Cost: doubles from $320. Prix fixe dinner at Waldo’s $75.
When: dinner only daily.