Hot Spot: Bucharest's Carol Parc Hotel

Carol Parc Hotel
The Romanian capital's hotel scene got a lot more posh with the opening of this sumptuous five-star boutique hotel, walking distance from downtown and with magnificent views of the Palace of the People.

Atmosphere: Located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, the hotel was the former palace of a German architect friend of Romania's King Carol I. During communist days, the?building served as secret police headquarters. After ?6 million in renovations, it has reaffirmed its palatial roots with gorgeous marble floors and a stunning 2,000-crystal Murano chandelier.

Rooms: Each of the 19 rooms is individually decorated with handmade rugs, plush pillows and embroidered chairs. The huge bathrooms feature tubs good for soaking, and ornate brass faucets. The beds are orthopedic and the linens made of soft damask.

Services: The hotel offers in-room massages and manicures by therapists from one of Bucharest's most exclusive salons. And the hotel can arrange for chauffeur-driven trips to the country or bespoke historical city tours.

Food: The Poem restaurant offers a vast menu with exceptional service. Indulge in the baked Camembert with forest-fruit sauce as a starter, followed by pork fillet with fresh mushrooms in cream sauce. For dessert, the chocolate mousse with bananas, almonds and eggnog is heavenly.