A Closer Look at Klosters: Luxury and Adventure for Christmas

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Chalet L'Ours

Klosters, Switzerland: A stylish alpine ski village for royalty. Literally. A dreamy experience in Klosters can be yours, with a deal that can save you all the headaches of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Scouring stores to find gifts for family and friends may work out sometimes, but the new gift-giving trend is the gift of experience. Christmas week is still available at fabulous Chalet l’Ours, a luxury chalet minutes from the center of Klosters village, and it’s a perfect gift for everyone, including yourself!

About the Chalet
Klosters is utmost luxury, and Chalet l’Ours contributes to that luxury experience. A sturdy, dark-paned exterior and bursting red shutters standing in contrast to white, powdery snow, Chalet l’Ours is reminiscent of a colorful illustration in classic fairytales. It is one of the last log cabins left in Klosters, retaining an authenticity of a mature and quiet Swiss village. Upon entrance of the chalet, a striking luxury shows through in each corner of the home. Completely refurbished, the four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and common rooms have such intricately pleasant details that it is hard not to marvel at the aesthetics.

The chalet is a short few minute walk to the nearest ski lift, resort center, and restaurant, while only five minutes from the Gotschna cable-car, giving access to all the mountains serviced in Davos Klosters. The full range of luxurious services and delicious food offerings, however, may be enough to persuade spending many nights in comfort at home. A truly wonderful Alpine chalet, a stay at Chalet l’Ours is everything you dreamt of for this year’s holiday.

About Klosters
Klosters Ski Resort

There’s something for everyone in the scenic ski village of Klosters – from world-class skiing in the Swiss Alps to in-room breakfast service and top-notch spas.

Snow activities
Offering some of the most exciting skiing in Europe, Klosters shares its skiing network with the nearby ski resort of Davos, providing over 190 miles (307km) of downhill slopes, 97 individual pistes, served by 52 lifts. For seasoned skiers, the challenges are endless with its extensive off-piste possibilities and excellent local ski guides. However, Klosters offers something that suits every level – from beginners to experts. There are miles of cross-country ski trails, 2 terrain parks and a half pipe available for snowboarders, snow shoeing provides a slower paced thrill to take in the incredible scenery, tobogganing, and almost every snow activity you can imagine.

Plan a romantic ride or delight the kids with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the magical winter landscape of Klosters. Bundle up under a heavy blanket and enjoy the magical silence of the glistening landscape while listening only to the sounds of hooves galloping.

Many winter events occur in Davos Klosters, an earmark of the superb surroundings and active community. Top cross country skiers compete at the FIS Cross Country World Cup in early December, while the ice hockey Spengler Cup tournament falls during Christmas Week until New Year’s Eve. In the peak of the winter season, other events include performances of music featuring figure skating champions, as well as the famous downhill ski race, the Parsenn Derby, highlighting team and individual high standard competitions.

Other activities
If you’re looking to relax, Klosters is known for many luxurious spas, including the magnificent Vereina Spa, set to open right in time for a Christmas stay. The spa is a Roman-inspired theme complete with herbal baths, an elegant pool area, steam baths, salt grotto, ice fountain, relaxation room, and of course offered massages.

Pampering yourself always includes appetizing food. Klosters does not lack delicious food, from charming eateries to Michelin-star restaurants, as well as a village of abundant shops and art galleries to stroll through after a full meal. One of the best indulgences you can partake in, however, is a meal in the comfort of home at Chalet l’Ours. With a roaring log fire and beautifully decorated dining area setting the mood, the chef at Chalet l’Ours creates a meal not to be missed. Start with a sparkling glass of Champagne and delight the senses with savory contemporary fusion like Thai Prawns or creme of cauliflower and truffles. Providing ultimate luxury and comfort brings many guests back to Chalet l’Ours year after year. Make it your year for the exceptional winter vacation you imagined.

 


Magnificence in Provence, Countryside and Culture in Southern France

Provence Lavender FieldProvence is one of the most sought after parts of Europe for visiting, and living. An important colony for the Romans, it remains an important attraction today for the French and foreigners. The Roman colony of Provincia (hence “Provence”) was established in 120BC at Aix-en-Provence. The Romans left their mark in countless monuments, including such notable edifices as the Arena and the “Maison Carré” Temple at Nîmes, the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, the Theatre at Orange, and the Amphitheatre at Arles.

The Pont du Gard: a structure that may, at first glance, look like merely a bridge, has instead such historical importance and the construction of incredible skill that it is one of the top attractions in France, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Through the centuries of changing empires, this ancient Roman aqueduct has transformed from its original purpose, built by the Romans to carry water from a spring in Uzès to Nîmes, but remained largely intact and historically preserved.

Pont du GardTruly a magnificent feature in Provence, the renowned southeastern region of France, the 18th century writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote upon visiting the famous site:

“I had been told to go and see the Pont du Gard; I did not fail to do so. It was the first work of the Romans that I had seen. I expected to see a monument worthy of the hands which had constructed it. This time the object surpassed my expectation, for the only time in my life. Only the Romans could have produced such an effect. The sight of this simple and noble work struck me all the more since it is in the middle of a wilderness where silence and solitude render the object more striking and the admiration more lively; for this so-called bridge was only an aqueduct. One asks oneself what force has transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry, and what brought together the arms of so many thousands of men in a place where none of them live. I wandered about the three storeys of this superb edifice although my respect for it almost kept me from daring to trample it underfoot. The echo of my footsteps under these immense vaults made me imagine that I heard the strong voices of those who had built them. I felt myself lost like an insect in that immensity. While making myself small, I felt an indefinable something that raised up my soul, and I said to myself with a sigh, “Why was I not born a Roman!”

Extraordinary architecture in Romanesque and Gothic styles can be found all over the region. One of the notable features are the hilltop medieval towns and villages, vestiges of the violent period of more than a thousand years following the end of Roman rule.

Uzes Village in Provence
The Village of Uzes

At the original source of the water which supplied the town of Nîmes via the Pont du Gard, is the town of Uzès. Uzès is a small town with a large reputation. Its wonderful buildings and architecture, along with its thriving cultural activities, and renowned weekly markets (Wednesdays and Saturdays) have contributed to its fame. In 2014, the Guardian newspaper in England designated it as the second best place in the world to visit (the first was Cape Town, another of our favorites), a remarkable endorsement for such a small town. The town has attracted many artists and artisans, as well as up-and-coming chefs, as the numerous excellent restaurants attests. There are many attractive villages in the surroundings of Uzès, and walks, bike rides, or drives through the many vineyards to these ancient villages are very appealing, and a great introduction to the region of Provence.

Among the countless sights of Provence, you cannot go wrong putting the Pont du Gard at the top of your list. In addition, settling into the charming town of Uzès will have you feeling “Chez Vous”.

Uzes stroll
A stroll through Uzes
Uzes chic apartment
A glimpse of one of our Uzes apartments

See more places to stay in Provence


An Embrace with Culture From a Vacation Rental

Rome keyholeWhen you search for places to stay in Rome, Paris, or wherever your desired travel plans take you, a slew of choices appear: from hotels, hostels, convents (believe it or not), apartments, B&B’s, free couches, and of course, vacation rentals. Surely, personal preferences will rule out many options quickly, but the choices can be overwhelming,  What begins as an eager attempt to plan a fun vacation, can quickly become a daunting and tiresome task- making your eyes blur and your head ache. Talk about information overload! Going with the safe choice for fear of exploring new options can make you miss out on a magical experience. I’m happy to share with you my first experience in a vacation rental and how I saw my future vacation choices changed forever.

Before I became a member of the Commendable Rentals Team, my introduction into the world of vacation rentals came when planning my first trip to Rome.  Beginning with my usual routine to search for a place to stay, something caught my eye as I scrolled the pages for Rome lodging. Renting an apartment instead of a hotel both intrigued and inspired me. I had always wanted to stay in a foreign country as more than just a tourist in a hotel. I wanted to embrace the culture of the Eternal City, not just seeing the sights, but living the culture, like a local. I wanted to hear the locals speaking (ah, lovely Italian!) and interacting in their daily lives, not only through commercial transactions. The idea that I could rent a house or apartment from a local and pretend it was my home was immensely appealing. And actually, it did become my home- at least for the extent of my stay, and always in my fond memories.

Living Room

The beauty of staying in a vacation rental is that it already has the feel of home. Here at Commendable Rentals, we pride ourselves on selecting homes with character, just like the one I rented. From the unique decorative details to the charming authenticity of the buildings, each special vacation home brings the comfort and familiarity of “home” while resonating the local vibe of each destination. For those historically-inclined, especially in Rome, you can often discover interesting stories about the history of the residence. A building’s architecture can be aesthetically pleasing, but the architect, design, and background of a home (and its owners) might bring new life to your stay. Like in a good story, immersing yourself in the setting and gaining a sense of living the adventure elevates the experience.

Vacation Rental KitchenA unique memory I acquired while staying in a vacation home can be attributed the full kitchen. While I did my fair share of eating out, I loved browsing the local Roman fruit and vegetable markets. The large Testaccio Market (where our partnered Expert Roman Food Guide takes her market tours) has such an expanse of regional delectables, I couldn’t resist buying fresh market items to bring home. Even something so simple as washing a snack of fresh tomatoes (so delicious in Rome. Pairing them with the fresh mozzarella, even better!) or creating Italian-inspired meals, the convenience of the kitchen’s refrigerator, appliances, dishes, and real utensils made me feel like I was in my own kitchen.

moka-potI was also able to learn something new in my vacation rental kitchen that gave me the feeling of being Italian, and very proud of myself! When I wasn’t indulging in a coffee break and people-watching at the quaint sidewalk cafes, I was able to privately experiment with different freshly ground coffee beans that I picked up from an Italian specialty store. I attempted making “perfect” cup of espresso using an Italian coffee percolator stocked in the home. As I had been told, though the process is simple enough, the grounds, packing, timing, and pour all contribute to a good espresso.  Coffee aficionados or those that frequent Europe may not see this as a novel experience, but it was something that this budding traveler appreciated doing in coffee-cultured Italy. Among memories of the Colosseum, the vast halls of art at the Vatican museum, the rustic cobblestoned alleys, I still remember quietly enjoying the espresso I poured fresh from the percolator into the cutest blue espresso cup, and sipping it on my balcony overlooking the Roman streets.

Whether a short or long term stay, a vacation rental can offer originality to your vacation that other places cannot. I loved the apprehension and courage greeting Italian neighbours in the elevators with ‘Buongiorno’, and learning informal ways to say good evening. I was able to learn where people buy their newspapers, what they buy at the grocery store, and how they throw their trash (Rome has quite an emphasis on recycling); the things that seem insignificant but are part of the local culture someone would not experience in a place that caters to tourist traditions.

The vacation rental experience is not for everyone, however, it should be a consideration for anyone. For travelers like me looking to experience something beyond a typical hotel stay, the vacation rental option provided an extra layer of intrigue to my travels. On top of that, for someone that is just curious about how people in different places live, this also gave me a chance to peek inside the world of a local’s life…and for that short while, I lived that life, and loved it.

Alley


5 Reasons for a Rome November Getaway (with an added bonus!)

Rome Colosseum

What do you want to see when you visit Rome? Does the Colosseum come to mind, in all its gory, yet fascinating, history? Or perhaps joining the jovial crowd around the enchanting Trevi Fountain while devouring a melting gelato. On the topic of tasty treats, what about the assortment of decadent food Rome has to offer – so much more than pizza and pasta (although, those aren’t bad choices either!).

Rome is a mecca of sights, sounds, and tastes for both the new and frequent visitor. The summer months are brimming with travelers visiting this exciting city, but November brings a different flavor. The city is a little quieter, the locals are back from their own summer vacations, and a lighter, festive air arises. Whether you have visited Rome before, or are looking to experience the Eternal City for the first time, November can be the perfect month for you.

Close your eyes, hear and smell the chestnuts roasting at the end of cobblestoned alleys, and drift off to your Rome adventure. For inspiration, we’ve come up with five reasons that will get your senses stimulated for Rome in November:

NUMBER 5 – CRISP, COOL WEATHER.

Rome Old Marketplace#5 – The weather may be cooler, but you can still find beautiful sunny days when visiting Rome in November. Many of Rome’s greatest sights are outdoors, and strolling through the ancient city is a fruitful journey in itself. Pack a jacket and be glad it’s not blistering hot like it was this recent summer. Plan to walk through the ancient roads of Rome – like the sprawling Roman Forum, where Julius Caesar and great Roman minds once strolled along, where remnants of important government buildings and temples played a pivotal part of the city’s development.

NUMBER 4 – FEWER CROWDS.

Rome cobblestone street#4 – By November, the peak season crowds have dispersed, giving a little breathing room while meandering through the city. While Rome’s great attractions are always in demand, the city gains a little elbow room. You can feel more at ease getting the right angle and taking the perfect photo of the Pantheon’s oculus, take your time with a glass (or two) of Italian wine, and gain a calmer, yet still energetic, appreciation of the city.

NUMBER 3 – WINE, OLIVES, AND TRUFFLES.

Tuscany Vineyard#3 – Late Autumn/Early Winter is the season for many tasty offerings. You may see an abundance of the season’s regional fare in Rome’s flourishing markets, or plan a day trip to catch the magic of the grape and olive harvest (on the downswing of the season), or catch aromatic truffle fairs full swing in November.

NUMBER 2 – “CULTURE” TRAVEL.

Theater#2 – Beyond the commonly known sights of Rome, November is an excellent time to catch the new culture season for Theatre and Opera. Also throughout November, two much anticipated events occur – Romaeuropa, a variety of artistic performances found throughout the city at different venues, as well as a week-long jazz festival. What better way to immerse yourself in the city that has inspired so many people than through artistic performance.

NUMBER 1 – ITALIAN FOOD!

Rome Carciofo Artichoke#1 –  What can we say, Italian food is timeless despite season. November brings savory artichokes, delightful porcini mushrooms, floral broccoletti, hearty pumpkin, and divinely produced parmigiano-reggiano cheese – all especially tasty Fall foods in Rome. Many restaurants will serve excellent seasonal fare, though shopping through Rome’s local markets – an entertaining excursion in itself – and planing an Italian-inspired culinary adventure in a fully equipped home kitchen is a satisfying and unparalleled activity. Do as the Romans do, and end your meal with a warm espresso and lively conversation.

**BONUS**

Welcome Rome
If you’re planning a visit to Rome, and are looking for that perfect place to hang your coat in a professionally managed, yet true Roman flat, we have some special November deals for you! Enjoy your slice of the Roman life!

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