CRAIG'S FAVES. A Sampling of Craig's Recommended Travel Favorites

Hotel Vernet (vair-nay) Paris (5-stars)

There are so many boutique hotels in Paris these days, but what sets the Vernet apart is the subdued, 100-year old Haussman-style building with a surprise inside-brand new contemporary interiors by designer François Champsaur. Understated and elegant. Friendly staff, very comfy rooms with Hermès bath products. A gorgeous stained-glass canopy (by Gustave Eiffel) covers the entire Le V (vay) restaurant. Hotel is situated on a civilized side-street (making it all the more appealing!) 

Located in Paris' 8th Arrondissement, just off the Champs Elysées.

Picture: The stylish Le V Restaurant at Hotel Vernet, Paris.

Queen Mary 2, transatlantic-crossings

It's the greatest week of uninterrupted "pampering" you'd find anywhere, whilst crossing the Atlantic in the most elegant, legendary ocean liner afloat, between New York City and Southampton, England (London.) I've crossed several times. The QM2 is one of the last venues left on earth where you will look forward to dressing for dinner (remember that custom?!) 

QM2, regular year-round transatlantic-crossings between New York City and Southampton

Picture: The Queen Mary 2 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, New York.

SAS Business Class on Scandinavian Airlines

It might have been the beautiful Danish head purser who skillfully balanced a filled-to-the-brim, long-stemmed (Orrefors) crystal martini glass as she walked it back to my seat during air turbulence that first caught my attention to the superior in-flight service in SAS Business! At dinner, flight attendants change into chef's uniforms (very classy by the way) and serve hearty, delicious New Scandinavian fare on Royal Copenhagen porcelain with Georg Jensen cutlery. 

Available on Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A-340 flights from the U.S, to/from their hubs in Stockholm and Copenhagen, and to/from Asia.

Picture: The after-dinner Scandinavian cheese course in SAS Business Class

The Hotel Okura Tokyo (5-stars)

Here, mid-century design meets the Japanese aesthetic, from the serenity of the hotel lobby to the stylish guestrooms with expansive views (many with steam sauna,) everything very tastefully done. Order a nutritionally balanced-room service-Japanese-style breakfast to complete the picture! No comfort is overlooked at Hotel Okura! (Warning: you'll need to cover-up your tattoos, or they won't let you check-in!-tats carry a negative stigma throughout Japan!)  

Located in Tokyo's central Toranomon District, close to the Metro Station of the same name.

Picture: Hotel Okura Tokyo, Heritage Wing room with steam-sauna.

The S.S. Catherine, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises (5-stars)

What distinguishes Uniworld from other river cruise liners is the "old-world" ambience one feels from the moment you step aboard the vessel. The S.S. Catherine (christened by her namesake, French actress Catherine Deneuve) is the ne plus ultra of river liners, from hand-crafted Savoir® Beds of England, to the "all-inclusive" amenities, to fine artwork that adorns the walls of the ship.  

The S.S. Catherine sails regularly between Lyon and Avignon in France's Burgundy and Provence region.

Picture: Le Bar du Léopard on the S.S. Catherine.

The Grand Hotel Stockholm (5-stars) 

It's the hotel that houses laureates during Nobel week in Stockholm, as is the custom, even portrayed as such in the 1963 cold-war thriller The Prize. The Grand Hotel sits on Stockholm's waterfront overlooking the Royal Palace and cool, funky Gamla Stan (old-town,) and is the fusion of elegant 19th-Century style and 21st-Century amenities. The hotel's classic Swedish restaurant The Verandah is renowned for its traditional, authentic smörgåsbord with all the trimmings, from herring dishes and gravlax to meatballs with lingonberry jam! 

Located in Central Stockholm, overlooking the Strommen, across from the Royal Palace.

Picture: (background,) the Grand Hotel Stockholm entrance.

Parker New York Hotel, New York City (4-stars)

(Formerly Le Parker Meridien,) I especially like the hotel's double entrances from both 57th (and its ensuing Knave cocktail bar) and 56th Streets, just off Sixth Avenue. Sweeping views of Manhattan all-around, and a rooftop pool! It's a perfect midtown locale. Not too big, nor too small, and best of all, is Norma's "knock-out" breakfast room (just off the lobby)  where I've been a devotee since 1997! 

Located in midtown Manhattan on both 56th and 57th Streets, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

Picture: The Parker New York hotel lobby, and entrance to Norma's.

Silversea Cruises (5-star luxury) Deluxe Verandah Suites

Silversea's small luxury ships can get in and out of places that the huge ocean liners cannot! All-suites, all ocean-view (most with private verandah,) butler service, and all-inclusive to boot! Their Deluxe Verandah Suites are like having your own cozy apartment at sea! Don't always feel like dining in the ship's restaurants? The room-service menu is extraoridinary, and so is the set-up when they deliver it to your suite! 

Silversea Cruises serves 900-destinations on all seven continents, always in smaller luxury vessels.

Picture: Silversea Cruises Deluxe Verandah Suite