Luxury Hotels


ForteVillage Resort has a magnificent spa with full thermae waters. Everything is planned so well. Have a treatment and your room feels as though it is part of the lush undergrowth, above. Honestly, every minute of time is so precious during Amour that it is essential to be momentarily sybaritic and r-e-l-a-x. That’s where the spa is so valuable (Girlahead never had time for the gym, she had to rely, instead, on eschewing the elevator to use the stairs every time she went up to her third floor room or, like the Grand Old Duke of York,  down again.

Girlahead, like all the top travel advisors there at Amour, learned so much. The Valverde Group, owned by Pedro Mendes Leal, has a new winery resort within reach of Lisbon, the 20-room Santar Valverde, set in gorgeous gardens designed by  Fernando Caruncho, Previously known as Casa das Fidalgas, the now-hotel was built in the 17th century by Domingos de Sampaio do Amaral on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter to João de Almeida Castelo Branco. Today it’s a sister property to the Valverde in Lisbon and another sibling is expected as Mendes has now announced the acquisition of the sumptuous Palácio de Seteais in Sintra, bringing the growing collection to three.

Marugal, led by former banker Pablo Carrington, manages a portfolio of 15 which includes Christian Louboutin’s Vermelho, in Melides, and also a former fortress, the 30-room Cap Rochat.  Su Gologne Experience Hotel, by contrast, is a single entity. What started out in 1971 as a small restaurant in central Sardinia is still today, expanded to a 72-room hotel, owned by the original cook and her daughter, the designer, and her single grand-daughter, Camilla Crisponi, who handles distribution – the 22 ‘experiences’ range from learning origami to lunching with shepherds, a rare honeymoon opportunity.

Ellie Faghir-Zadeh, a highly popular buyer who started London-based LuxePrivé with her sister 15 years ago, was up on stage on the final, dress as chic as you can, gala, for The Love Travel Awards. Ellie was among those honoured, as were Bawah Resort in Indonesia and Iniala’s Kyle Pace Cumbo. Some of those presenting the many awards had been previous winners. Paul Dhadda, in a pink jacket – seen below standing by one of the evening’s dancers – and Arun Bablani in white made that cut. ForteVillage shareholder and CEO Lorenzo Giannuzzi was also on stage, beaming widely (well, his team had done such a great job).  The frocks, by the way, were worthy of the aforementioned Dolce&Gabbana. There was a black dress with a two-METRE train, and another gown that similarly needed its own travel suitcase.

The final morning of meetings summed it all up. Well worthwhile. Met up with old friends and made new ones, said buyers and, importantly, exhibitors. There’s no business like wedding business.