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Jeffrey Olinghouse

Chicago, Illinois Travel Agent

Luxury Romantic Europe

Imagine dining in a romantic medieval restaurant, walking barefoot along an Aegean beach or cruising the Danube by moonlight. Europe is where the history we studied in school comes to life--the art, the Old-World style, the culture. This year, I’ve been expanding my Europe travel portfolio by personally traveling through Europe, meeting vendors, connecting with tour companies, inspecting upscale properties and sampling various types of transfers and transportation, all with an eye towards bringing back the most reliable information and resources for my clients.  I particularly love to book clients at Dorchester Collection properties because my clients are always VIP’d. I particularly love the suites at The Dorchester London. They’re very posh and have a real feeling of history. In fact, you can actually stay in the very room where General Eisenhower planned the Normandy Invasion. And The Stafford London, one of the most prestigious and oldest hotels near Buckingham Palace, takes great care of my clients. 

In Italy, I love Belmond properties such as the Belmond Villa San Michele, an elegant hillside Tuscan villa overlooking Florence. It was converted from a 15th century monastery and it is believed that its facade was designed by Michelangelo. And for those on a more modest budget, the four star Hotel Londra Florence (SLH) hotel, a great choice. 

I also book a lot of private villas throughout Europe, especially for multi-generational groups. I always include a nanny and cook so mom and dad can go out and the grandparents aren’t stuck babysitting (unless they want to!) Using Italian Journeys as my on-site partner, I know my clients will be well taken care of. 

The further east you go in Europe, the more remote and unique the experiences. I especially enjoy arranging luxury journeys for those who have already “done Europe” and been to London, Paris and Italy multiple times. I often suggest combining Vienna and Prague with Budapest, which while a bit off the beaten path, is still very luxurious. Budapest feels very exotic and has natural thermal springs that are a must to experience. The Neoclassical  TSzéchenyi Baths and sauna complex, popular with locals and visitors, are an unforgettable experience. And my favorite Budapest hotel, Aria Hotel Budapest, has its own heated pool, steam, sauna and spa, which is a nice way to end each day’s explorations. The boutique hotel sits right next to St. Stephen’s Basilica and offers stunning views from its rooftop garden. The boutique hotel is themed around music, from the artwork to its furnishings and its glass-enclosed music garden in the center of the hotel, is a popular spot for weddings. Poland is another less-visited treasure. Warsaw, its largest city, is the best place to start. Its restored Old Town is a colorful maze of alleys that open onto gorgeous squares, where outdoor cafes beckon. My favorite hotel, The Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw, is located on the renowned Royal Route next to the Presidential Palace and a short walk from Old Town. Built in 1902, the Hotel Bristol was built in the Art Nouveau style and in addition to sumptuous suites and an iconic restaurant, it has an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and spa.

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