London, Dolomites, and Riviera

I recently returned from a whirlwind week in Europe visiting cosmopolitan London, the Dolomite region of Italy, and San Remo on the Italian Riviera. I traveled with a group of colleagues and our trip was focused on learning more about the destinations, the hotels we visited, and the enriching experiences we could offer our clients.

London, England

London was the first stop. Music and London go hand in hand – think rock bands, symphony, theatre, opera – the list goes on. This visit definitely had a focus on music.

The Royal Garden Hotel, located in fashionable Kensington adjacent to Hyde Park, has hosted many in the music industry, including celebrities such as Sonny & Cher, Michael Jackson, Abba, The Monkees, and Justin Bieber. It’s just a few minutes’ walk to Kensington Palace and and the Royal Albert Hall. We were there during PROMS (music festival) and watched a rehearsal for hip hop music with break dancers strutting their stuff.

We stopped at a lovely neighborhood pub, The Queens Arms, for a drink before heading to see the musical, Come From Away (how Gander, Newfoundland came together on 9/11 to house and feed the airplane passengers diverted to their city). There was not a dry eye in the house during this amazing performance.

The next day, we took the Kensington Rock Tour, taking us to the homes of rock-n-roll legends and the opportunity to have our own photo op crossing Abbey Road.

The Dolomites – Corvara, Italy

The family owned La Perla hotel in Corvara, Italy snuggled in Dolomite Mountains was the next stop. If you’ve never been to this region, you might think that the Sound of Music was filmed here!

This is the perfect destination for hikers, skiers and serious cyclists. During winter in Alta Badia, skiers can enjoy 130 kilometers of slopes with 53 lifts. When the snow is gone, it’s a paradise for hikers and especially for serious mountain cyclists. The July bike marathon receives over 30,000 applicants and can accept only 9,000 riders. If you’re a serious cyclist, this should be on your list.

We hiked in the mountains in the crisp mountain air to a family farm to see how they live simply yet create delicious “Ladin” (local style of food) cuisine in their small “hut” (restaurant/home).

I’m so delighted that I was able to visit this lesser known area of Italy and meet our gracious hosts, the Costa Family at La Perla. This lovely property offers a tremendous value to its guests with its five-star accommodations, Michelin star restaurant with focus on farm to table cuisine, and a proud history in this beautiful town.

Italian Riviera – San Remo, Italy

The last stop was the Royal Hotel San Remo which has hosted a marquee of royalty and celebrity guests since the late 1800’s. This 5-star resort is a relaxing beach retreat and wonderful base for exploring the Italian and French Rivieras.

I loved this city’s serenity. We explored the pedestrian streets with lovely shops, including Princess Grace’s favorite, and spent time in the Medieval section where locals have lived their entire life. San Remo is great value and authentic and relaxing way to see the Riviera.

If you’ve been to England and Italy before and want to return, I recommend you see them in new ways and visit less traveled regions and tap into new and enriching experiences.

Helen Jordan is the owner of Jordan Luxury Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a member of Virtuoso. She can be reached at