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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
In a city relatively new to tourism, the recently opened Antiq Palace sets an incredibly high standard of excellence for any existing and all future hotels. Ideally located on a quiet street just two blocks from the river at the heart of the historic city, this converted 16th century royal residence exudes refinement. From the moment you enter through the heavy black doors framed in gray stone against the white painted facade you will be embraced by a sense of luxury. Understated, yet sophisticated, varying tones of white dominate the decor, introduced in the paints, furnishings and quality fabrics. The white washed walls enjoy gray accents and dramatic flower arrangements stage splashes of color. A handsome reception desks sits just inside the entry and you will feel a privileged guest from the moment you are welcomed by the exceptionally gracious staff. They strive to meet their commitment of “intimacy as the main goal” for their guests. Just past the reception on the left is a lovely salon and hotel bar, and straight ahead is an expanse of glass paned doors that expose a central garden courtyard and provide an abundance of natural light. Continuing round from the side salon, a glassed in hallway is set with intimate tables and leads to a back salon where additional seating areas are arranged amongst the stone columns, under the vaulted arches and before a large open fireplace. Here guests settle afternoons for a glass of wine or mornings for the bountiful breakfast buffet. The hallway that wraps round the courtyard on the other side accommodates a spa, jacuzzi (can be reserved for complete privacy) and fitness room. A music academy occupies a neighboring building whose windows open up to the central courtyard and guests who settle at tables on the cobbled stones often benefit from the quiet serenade of their practice. Other public areas include a separate living room usually reserved for private meetings, a side room often chosen by a wedding party, a small room off the reception that is ideal as a private dining or conference room (available to guests at no extra charge) and the second floor hallway serves as a gentleman’s bar stocked with whiskeys, bourbons and cigars. In the basement under old wood beams is an incredible spa with eight separate treatment rooms. In terms of overnight accommodation, the thirteen guestrooms are justifiably described as residential suites including three apartments. Enormous rooms, high ceilings, beautiful herringbone floors, oriental carpets and uncluttered furnishings all contribute to the sense of elegance and spaciousness. Many of the rooms enjoy both a sitting room and a bedroom, all enjoy the most modern bathrooms and the 75 cm thick walls assure a quiet’s night rest. The unbelievable apartments, equipped with a master bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining area, laundry room and a spacious bathrooms would be ideal for a family or travelers settling in for an extended stay. This is an incredibly wonderful hotel. The level of comfort is superlative complimented by a wonderfully attentive staff who want your stay to fall “between the myth and the reality!” They even offer a 24 hour concierge service that is available to accommodate your every desire: from a private dinner cooked and served in the privacy of your apartment, to a helicopter arrival or perhaps a dinner in a neighboring forest-you will never feel more cared for or pampered!