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Close your eyes and imagine Empress Dowager Cixi roaming the century old dwellings of the Summer Palace in Beijing, Wurthering Hights style. If you don’t fancy Chinese concubines, then stay anyway at the magical Aman at Summer Palace, one of the most charismatic hotels in Beijing. This 51 rooms hotel occupies the former dwellings of the Summer Palace and offers a secrets door to access this famous World Heritage Site when “normal” (read: ten thousands of gymnastic, eating, singing and partying Chinese) visitors are not allowed to enter the park. Read more »

North West ArgentinaNorth West ArgentinaNorthwest Argentina is South-America in a glass. Lush, green valleys, arid plains, snowcapped vulcano’s, saltlakes,… When visiting this area there are two must-stays in the Salta Province: Bodega Colome near the town of Molinos and the House of Jasmines near Salta city. Colome is a wine estate owned by the excentric Swiss businessman Donald Hess who bought this estancia a couple of years ago and turned it very fast into a drinkable example of how ambitious new world wines can be.  Read more »

Valparaiso, ChileWhat we sometimes miss in Antwerp is that special harbour-city feel. You know that the harbour is there, but it’s far away from the citycenter and the hussle and bussle of the coming and going of the ships is missing. Here in Valparaiso, you look out of the window and you see the city below and a bit further the sea and it’s busy harbour. Read more »

Clos Apalta Winery ChileClos Apalta Winery ChileOne of the most attractive things about Chile is it’s diversity in landscapes, climate, atmosphere and overall feeling. We went from chilly and wet Patagonia to dry and hot Atacama and now it’s the Colchagua Valley near Santiago de Chile that is getting under our skin. Why? Surely the place, the Clos Apalta vineyard and it’s guesthouse or rather villa style hotel, which is the main reason why we like this area so much.
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Sizzling hot during the day, freezing cold at night. Not to forget one of the dryest places on earth. Handy for people like me who are used to the rain for almost 8 months a year. A new wave of hotels opened their doors here near or in San Pedro de Atacama. Read more »