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Ruth Asher

Roseland, New Jersey Travel Agent

Unpretentious Luxury

To me, there is no such thing as "the most fabulous" or "worst" travel destination. Every trip I plan is completely customized to match what my clients want. Overall, I always encourage travelers to go a little off the beaten path, away from the crowds to find the most authentic and charming—not stuffy or touristy—places. Some wonderful trips I have planned include:

SPAIN & FRANCE

One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Barcelona is romantic, artistic and unexpected, shaped by the vivid imaginations of its abstract sons, Miró, Gaudí, Piccaso and Dalí. If you do nothing else on your trip to Barcelona, put on your walking shoes, find your way to La Rambla and stroll through the heart of the city, down to the sea. Visit at the end of September for lovely weather and Barcelona’s annual five-day quirky street party, La Merce. It features parades of giants (Gigantes), human towers topped by children (Castellers) and fire runs (Correfocs). Really. While I always match the right client with the right property, some of my favorites are 

  • The Hotel Neri is nestled in the picturesque Gothic Quarter
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Arts is a chic luxurious retreat and Michelin dining destination 
  • Majestic Hotel & Spa has been an icon of exclusiveness in the heart of Passeig de Gràcia since 1918 and provides guests with an ideal location for site seeing

Andelucia, bordering Spain’s southern coast fits my "charming not stuffy" criteria. It's like the French Riviera, put without the pretense. It was under Moorish rule for seven centuries, which that shows in its architecture, including such landmarks as the Alcázar castle in Seville, the capital city, as well as Córdoba’s Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral and Granada’s Alhambra palace.

In France, I love sending clients with a guide and driver into the countryside to explore the chateaus and villages of Normandy and Provence. The Hotel Negresco in Nice, is absolutely gorgeous.

In London, I personally prefer smaller hotels with a more relaxed atmosphere, like the Savoy and Lanesborough. Although I usually avoid ultra-modern properties, I loved the views at the Mondrian.

Finally, one of my favorite island destinations is St Lucia, where I actually saw a "moonbow" with my own eyes! Ladera and Jade Mountain are both beautiful, laid-back resorts.

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