Romantic Royal Dining

State Dining Room at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons, courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

State Dining Room at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons, courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

Admire the exquisite interiors of Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of members of the British Royal Family in Northern Ireland, and dine under the glittering chandelier in the State Dining Room. Guests on this extraordinary trip will also lunch at Castle Leslie, where Paul McCartney was married in 2002, and enjoy dinner at romantic Crom Castle.

Houses & Gardens of Northern Ireland
April 30 to May 9, 2016
With author and horticulturist Patrick Bowe
Please click to view brochure

Returning to 82nd & Fifth

Bhutan photo from Jim FriedlanderThis past winter, we blogged about The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new web series, 82nd & Fifth. In that post, we promised to keep you updated on other curators who would be Traveling with the Met, so we were excited to see more familiar faces on 82nd & 5th. Morrison Heckscher was the lecturer for our September “Houses of the Irish Aristocracy” program, and Kurt Behrendt traveled to Nepal & Bhutan with us in October.

Photo of Danielle Kisluk-GrosheideThe web series also showcases talented lecturers who will be leading some of the upcoming “Travel with the Met” programs. In early May, Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide will be the Met’s lecturer on “Enchanting Douro River,” a cruise aboard the luxury riverboat M.S. AmaVida. A curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, she discusses an elegant table in her web episode, “Identity.”  You can also listen to Daniëlle muse on her relationship with trees in her Connections episode, “Trees.”

Assistant curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints Freya Spira will join us in Berlin and Leipzig from May 30 to June 7. Her episode, “Exposure,” examines the details of German artist Albrecht Dürer’s 1504 print “Adam and Eve.”

Image of Denise LeidyDuring the summer, Denise Leidy, curator in the Department of Asian Art, will join Met travelers to explore fascinating Mongolia in summer 2014. Her 82nd & Fifth episode, “Divinity,” examines a Liao dynasty arhat (luohan) statue.

Deniz Beyazit, assistant curator in the Department of Islamic Art, will explore Turkey with Met travelers in September 2014.  Deniz’s episode, “Getting Lost,” is about the tughra (official signature) of Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent.

Barbara Drake Boehm, who will sail with Met travelers on our Catania to Valletta cruise in October 2014, is curator in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. She has also been on past trips with Academic Arrangements Abroad and the Met to destinations including Sicily. Her web episode, “Predestined,”  looks at an intricate copper plaque with angels.

Image of Mike HearnLater in the fall, Maxwell K. (Mike) Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of the Department of Asian Art, travels with us to Vietnam and Cambodia in fall 2014.  His episode, “Eternity,” focuses on a Chinese scroll that depicts a cloudy mountain. An expert in Asian art, Mike’s reflections are certain to enhance our Southeast Asian adventure.

At the end of 2014, Alice Cooney Frelinhuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, will join us for a New Year’s trip to Russia. Her web episode looks at a hair ornament created by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Troika rideWe hope you’ll join other Met travelers for one of these exciting journeys in 2014. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at past trips through the Travel with the Met blog   or find out more about upcoming trips on the museum’s website.

Five Hotels with Spectacular Gardens

Chelsea Flower ShowAfter a long winter, spring has finally arrived and flowers are blossoming in the park near our New York offices.  We’re excited to see the change of season, but as travel specialists we’re also aware that hitting the road lets you enjoy fabulous flora all year round.

Throughout the year, many of our travel programs, such as “Dutch & Flemish Landscapes” and “History & Gardens of the Caribbean,” visit the world’s top gardens.

Some of Academic Arrangements Abroad’s programs have featured events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, and during journeys our travelers often stay at hotels with amazing gardens, such as La Mamounia in Morocco, the Oberoi Udaivilas in India and the Merrion Hotel in Ireland.

Here are a few of the world’s best hotels for garden lovers:

Gardens at Cliveden HouseCliveden, Buckinghamshire, England

Built by James Barry for the Duke of Sutherland, this great Thames-side mansion is known for its stunning gardens.  Owned, managed and maintained by the National Trust, the grounds include 376 acres of formal gardens and woodlands. You can also get lost in a maze, which opened in 2011. Our upcoming “Noble Dukes & Victorian Masterpieces” program features an optional Clivenden Postlude.

La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

This luxurious hotel has a park, which it describes as “more than a green oasis in the heart of the city.” It includes seasonal flowers, fruit trees and hundred-year-old olive trees. There’s also an organic vegetable garden where the hotel’s chefs harvest herbs, tomatoes, turnips, lettuce, radishes, rhubarb and “lesser-known plants.”

Merrion gardensMerrion Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

This five-star hotel has two landscaped period gardens, which were designed by Irish landscape artist Jim Reynolds. The smaller one, “Lady Mornington’s Garden,” links The Main House to the Garden Wing, where many guest rooms have garden views. Both of the gardens “re-create the feel of an 18th-century garden with box hedges, water features, pathways, statuary and obelisks.” During our 2013 “Houses of the Irish Aristocracy” program, travelers will stay at this historic hotel.

Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel, Udaipur, India 

Located on the shores of Lake Pichola, the Oberoi Udaivilas is surrounded by contemporary terraced gardens. In the April 2010 issue of Garden Design , Emily Young wrote, “Landscape architect Bill Bensley of Bensley Design Studios in Thailand researched traditional Mewari gardens to give visitors the royal treatment from the moment they arrive and are greeted by two stone elephants and pink-blooming Bauhinia trees.” You can escape the winter chill and stay at the Oberoi Udaivilas during our 2014 Rajasthan program.

Villa D'Este by Joe ShlabotnikVilla d’Este, Lake Como, Italy 

Hailed by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure as one of the best hotels in the world, the opulent Villa d’Este overlooks Lake Como. The resort is also known for its gardens, which attract admirers from around the globe. Landmarks in the garden include a 500-year-old plane tree. A recent addition is a Chef’s Garden, where fresh vegetables, berries and herbs are grown.

What are some of your favorite gardens at hotels around the world?

Hotels for Art Lovers

By Ingrid Ahlgren

Lotte Hotel GalleryThis coming spring, travelers on our Korea and Japan program will spend a night at Seoul’s Lotte Hotel, which has its own art gallery. Located on the site of Bando Gallery, the country’s first commercial art gallery, which opened in 1956, The Lotte Hotel Gallery aims to promote Korean culture and history with exhibits of sculpture, photography and other art by upcoming and famous artists.

The Lotte Hotel is just one of a growing number of hotels that have notable collections of art. For example, Dublin’s historic Merrion Hotel houses “a spectacular collection of 19th– and 20th-century art which is widely considered to be one of the most important private collections in Ireland.” Artists whose works hang on the hotel’s walls include Martin Mooney, Jack B. Yeats and Pauline Bewick.  The Merrion can even arrange for guests to tour the hotel’s art collection with a guide from the National Gallery, which is located nearby.

In Paris, the Hôtel Atmospheres claims to be “the first art-gallery hotel in Paris” and describes itself as “mid-way between a boutique design hotel and a contemporary photography gallery.”  Located in St. Germain, an area known for art galleries and antique shops, the hotel is decorated with prints by photographer Thierry des Ouches.

In the United States, travelers can also enjoy fine art at hotels large and small. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas is currently showcasing paintings by Impressionist Claude Monet. New York City’s Gramercy Park Hotel has a collection of art, including works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In Los Angeles’ Sunset Marquis, an upscale boutique hotel, guests can visit the Maximillian Gallery, which connects collectors to creations by emerging street artists.

Hotel GaudiSome hotels, designed by famous architects, are works of art in and of themselves. These include the Hotel Marqués de Riscal by Frank Gehry in Elciego, Spain; the Le Meridien Lingotto by Renzo Piano in Turin, Italy; the Hotel Gaudí by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Spain; and the Four Seasons by I.M. Pei in New York City.

Do you have a favorite hotel that has great art or amazing architecture? Please share your experiences and suggestions.