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The Merrion Hotel,
It only opened in 1992, but there's
history: it was transformed from
four Georgian homes in the city's
exclusive literary district into the vestar
luxury of today's hotel. Even if
the décor does veer into chintzy, the
largely Irish art collection alone marks
the Merrion as the most impressive
property of its kind in Dublin. There
are works by Jack Yeats and John
Doherty, and a marvellous Sean Scully
oil taking pride of place in Restaurant
Best room: The Lord Monck Suite
with its restored rococo plasterwork,
original replace and garden views.
Signature cocktail: The Duke of
Wellington reportedly liked to add a
nip to his zz when homesick, so try
his namesake, comprising Irish whisky,
honey, spices and Champagne.
Chef: Guilbaud has the only twoMichelin-star
restaurant in Ireland.
Artful red king crab and cucumber
maki is a standout.
Guest list: Bono, John Rocha, Russell
Crowe and Alison Mosshart.
Double room B�B from £172. Merrion
Street Upper, Dublin 2, Ireland; +353 1
603 0600; merrionhotel.com
The Gritti Palace,
Architect Chuck Chewning's £36.5m
restoration of this landmark palazzo
is one of the most magical hotels in
Italy. Built in 1525 as the Gritti family
home, it was then the residence
of Vatican ambassadors before
becoming a hotel in 1948. Rooms
have black marble bathroom ttings,
antiques, vast beds and state-of-theart
Bang ¥ Olufsen technology.
Best room: The Hemingway
Presidential Suite, named after its
most famous gadabout resident,
has ¡ oor-to-ceiling French windows
opening out to the Grand Canal.
Signature cocktail: The Bar Longhi's
Champagne cocktail involves brandy,
Angostura and Grand Marnier.
Chef: Daniele Turco's kitchen is not
the most compelling aspect of the
Gritti, but breakfast on the Grand
Canal Terrace watching the gondolas
pass by is a beautiful experience.
Guest list: Peggy Guggenheim,
Elizabeth Taylor, and New York
couturier Zang Toi, who designed
his A/W Venice-inspired collection
this year while in residence.
Double room B�B from £497. Campo
Santa Maria del Giglio, 2467, 30124
Venezia, Italy; +39 041 794611;
Grand Hôtel, Stockholm
Opened in 1874 by visionary French chef Régis
Cadier, the rst grand hotel in Sweden sprawls along
the water's edge like a fairytale palace and is still one
of its most signi cant landmarks, despite scores of
cutting-edge boutique hotels nearby. Nobel Prize
laureates have traditionally stayed here since 1901.
Best room: The Princess Lilian Suite, with its own
private cinema and dining table for 12.
Signature cocktail: The Grand Old Lady mixes
punch, vodka, elder¡ ower and rose water. Vintage
Champagne includes a price-on-request 1914 Brut.
Chef: Mathias Dahlgren has three restaurants,
including Matbordet, where you dine at a counter
while one of his chefs prepares each dish in front of
you. Dahlgren's cooking is joyful and visionary.
Guest list: Bruce Springsteen, Martin Luther King,
Princess Grace, Frank Sinatra and Greta Garbo.
Double room B�B from £252.
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8, 103 27 Stockholm,
Sweden; +46 8 679 35 00; grandhotel.se