STOP 1: FRANKFURT
Sitting snug on Kennedyallee, a street renamed in honor of former President John F. Kennedy after his visit to Frankfurt in 1963, is Villa Kennedy (suites from $605). Originally known as Villa Speyer, this neo-Gothic masterpiece was formerly home to a wealthy banking family. The hotel seamlessly absorbed the main home, adding three wings and creating an inviting inner courtyard. The interior, as one might suspect, celebrates JFK and all things ’60s: Photographs of the popular president; his wife, Jackie; the Rat Pack; and Marilyn Monroe adorn the walls, transporting you to a more glamorous era. This five-star beauty is a tranquil garden oasis nestled in an urban setting.
The hotel’s JFK Bar is known for its extensive craft cocktail menu, with its signature Visit to Frankfurt drink served in a minibembel (traditional jar). The crowds flow out its doors and into Gusto, an authentic Italian restaurant with a Mediterranean flair. There, Fulvio Pierangelini’s modern italian cuisine shines, and Gusto’s specialty, ravioli grenne sosse (handmade ravioli stuffed with famous Frankfurt herb green sauce), is a delight—enjoyed alfresco, of course.
Much of the fanfare is in the suites, where plush king-size beds you’ll never want to leave are dressed in sumptuous linens. But it’s worth bidding adieu to the plush comfort—if only for a moment—to experience the heated floors in the elegantly designed marble and glass tile mosaic master bath, which includes a decadent soaking tub. The in-room bar is full of the usual suspects, but Rocco Forte Hotels offers a twist: You can request your room be stocked with its signature Nourish program, which offers alternative healthy options.
Off the south bank of the River Main, Villa Kennedy is beautifully situated to explore all Frankfurt has to offer—walk across one of the many bridges to dinner at Mainnizza, a traditional German restaurant on the water. Afterward, hail a quick cab to Bahnhofsviertel, the city’s Red Light District, where the cocktail scene is in full swing. For those a tad more sedate, the Städel Museum on the south side of the River Main is a treasure trove encompassing more than 700 years of art history from Rembrandt and Vermeer to Manet, Picasso and Renoir. The Old Opera House, bombed during World War II, was lovingly restored in 1981 and hosts more than 300 concerts annually.
After taking it all in, relax in the four-level Villa Spa and indulge in one of the many treatments and rituals offered, featuring Forte Organics—an exclusive line made for Rocco Forte Spas that utilizes fresh ingredients handpicked from Verdura Resort, a sister property in Sicily. The spa also has products from Sepai and Vinoble Cosmetics (a vegan brand). After enjoying one of the signature rituals, continue your experience sipping a specialty smoothie in the relaxation room overlooking the indoor pool.