The dream of connecting the two continents-- only nine miles a part at the narrowest point of the Straight of Gibraltar-- may at last become a reality. After years of terrain tests, engineers have come up with a blueprint plan for a high-speed rail tunnel connecting Europe and Africa. As reported by the Associated Press:
This tube for passengers, cars and freight would bore deep under the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow waterway where the Atlantic flows into the Mediterranean, and run from Tangier, Morocco, to the Spanish town of Tarifa at Europe's southernmost tip, possibly extending further both ways in the future. Big-name European engineering consultants brought in a few months ago are to complete a feasibility study this year.
This would be a true engineering marvel, the deepest underwater tunnel anywhere. There are plenty of challenges. At the proposed project site, the water is about 1,000 feet deep, six times deeper than the depth of the English Channel where the Eurostar tunnel is located. In addition, there are geologic complications, as the terrain is muddy and unstable with pockets of debris from tectonic slides. If the Straight of Gibraltar Project gets the green light in 2008, the cost would be over $13 billion and take about 20 years to construct.
You are invited to The Little Nell, Aspen's only five-star, five-diamond hotel, for an innovative cocktail hour and three-course lunch to save farms across the country. On Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 12:30 p.m., join Montagna's Executive Chef Ryan Hardy and BRAVO's Top Chef Ilan Hall, along with Montagna's Master Sommelier Richard Betts, for a special event at The Tavern. 50 percent of the proceeds will benefit Food & Wine's "Grow for Good" campaign, launched to raise $1 million for Farm to Table, a national initiative dedicated to supporting local farms and encouraging sustainable agriculture. Tickets are available for $125 per person, but hurry, space is limited. For reservations, call 970-920-6382.
What will $1 million get you? Million dollar memories with the over-the-top, $1 million hotel buy-out package at The Tides, South Beach. "The Diva of Ocean Drive" is yours for three days of all-inclusive luxury in Miami's most sought-after neighborhood. Managed by Kor Hotels, the chic boutique property draws well-heeled jetsetters from around the world who enjoy expansive Atlantic views, captivating art-deco design, and three penthouses with terraces. With The Tides's Million Dollar Buyout Package, treat your friends to these incredible amenities along with lots of activities and premium perks: $1,000 amenity in each guest room, an extravagant dinner for 90 guests at the Versace Mansion in South Beach, gift certificates for the finest upscale shopping at Bal Harbour, golf outing for the men, a poolside salsa dance party, pajama brunch, private butler service for each room, five private limos, and unlimited food and beverage service. This complete weekend rental of The Tides Hotel, South Beach is yours for $1,060,000.
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: 15 acre peninsula resort and spa; Sea World; Ocean, bay, marina, or pool views ...
Leigh and Lana Bian both correctly guessed Last Week's Hotel:
Just in time for the 2008 White Nights Festival, Starwood has announced the opening of a new W hotel in the Russian city on the Neva built by Peter the Great. Throughout the month of June, the sun never sets and St. Petersburg celebrates in style with music, festivals, and ballet performances at the Mariinsky Ballet and Opera Theater. Indulge in some caviar and ice-cold vodka and take in the city sites: the Hermitage (which rivals the Louvre), the Russian Museum, and the imperial estate of Peterhof. Scheduled to open in mid 2008, the new W hotel will be the first W in Eastern Europe. The hotel will showcase historic architecture complemented by exciting contemporary interiors (and plenty of signature W design elements, like the W Living Room). Located on Voznesensky Prospect, the hotel will feature spectacular views of the gold-domed St. Isaac's Cathedral from the guest rooms. The best part of all? A rooftop bar overlooking the historic city’s sparkling lights.
Celebrate the 2007 grand opening of the Terrace at Conrad on Friday, May 25th five stories above pedestrian life at the Conrad Hotel Chicago. As the hotel describes: "The lofty ambiance of Conrad Chicago's stylish new seasonal outdoor gather spot is perfect for unwinding with a TerraceTini or sampling the globally inspired tapas menu." In addition, terrace guests can enjoy "Movies on The Terrace," which presents movies produced in Chicago along with new releases, every Sunday and Monday evening at sunset (as we've talked about before). After May 25th, the Terrace will be open for dinner with a 1950's South Beach inspired ambiance. The outdoor area features a spectacular bar, and modern furniture such as oversized chairs, sofas, daybeds and umbrellas providing a relaxed, yet elegant setting. Be prepared for the Terrace at Conrad to become a contendor for the perfect weekday or weekend hot spot. Prepare your own "TerraceTini" in preparation for the opening with the following ingredients: 1.5 oz Malibu Passion Fruit 1 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice Splash of Lavender essence ½ of lime pressed Cassis Liqueur thinly layered
The historic seaport of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts a marvelous mélange of European and Southeast Asian architectural traditions. (The famous Galle fort, first built by the Portuguese, was then modified by the Dutch in the 17th century.) For centuries, the ancient city of Galle was at the crossroads of major worldwide trade routes, the strategic port en route from Arabia to the Orient. After the devastation caused by 2004's tsunami, the fortified city is back on its feet and is home to some of the finest luxury hotels in the region. One of these fine establishments is The Fortress Hotel, fashioned to resemble a powerful fortress rising from the sea. Perched on the beach, the new resort offers exquisite, perfumed gardens, a renowed spa with Ayurvedic treatments, free flow swimming pool, Sri Lankan tea room, wine cellar and restaurants. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Fortress features beautiful rooms with designer amenities, designed in a style which forges Dutch and Portuguese styles with Sri Lankan motifs.
Talk about a room with a view. Vienna's Do & Co offers a heavenly hotel experience in the very center of the action off the pedestrian-only Stephansplatz. From your floor-to-ceiling windows, gaze out at the 12th-century St. Stephen's Cathedral. Owned by Istanbul-born entrepreneur Attila Dogudan, the hotel is a magnificent contemporary structure of glass and steel. The 43 guest rooms are extravagant, with dark teak wood details and heavenly bathrooms (two-square-meter showers, with flat screen TVs). Conveniently located in the middle of it all in the imperial city, Do & Co also offers an excellent restaurant and Vienna hot spot, the Onyx Bar.
Spend a holiday weekend at one of the hottest hotel properties in Boston and save up to 40 percent off this summer. Nine Zero has announced a great deal for folks celebrating Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends in the city. Rates start from just $159 per night. (Plus, any other summer weekend will cost you just $10 more per night!) The stylish boutique hotel combines Boston's traditional elegance with a hip, young vibe. Listed on both the Gold List and Travel and Leisure's Top 500, Nine Zero is located just one block from Boston Common in the thick of things in downtown Boston. Guest rooms are ultra-comfy: custom-designed beds, billowy down comforters, thoughtful amenities, complimentary wireless Internet. Plus, there's an evening wine reception, the trendy bar, and award-winning Boston restaurant named one of the "Top 50 Hotel Restaurants" by Food and Wine magazine.
Dads will love the oenology package designed by the Relais and Chateaux hotel collection for true connoisseurs. Why not treat Dad to a trip to the Villa Florentine in Lyon, France where he can indulge in the region's celebrated cuisine and fine wines? (The Oenology Package includes a candle-lit dinner and entrance tickets to the Beaujolais museum in Romanèche-Thorins.) Or send Dad to discover the Chablis Vineyards with a swanky chef's dinner at La Côte Saint Jacques. The Menu Gourmand is positively decadent: four courses, cheeses, and dessert accompanied by the greatest Chablis wines from the Domaine LarOche. The guided tour presents vineyards that are a millennium old. Here on our side of the pond, Dad'll love the Indulge: Virginia Wine Package at the beautiful Clifton Inn located outside Charlottesville, surrounded by small, local vineyards. For the adventure of a lifetime, treat Dad to a splurge in South Africa with the First Wines and First Whales package at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Cape Town. The first red wines from the Constantia Wine Route are released just as the first migratory whales are spotted from land at Hermanus. Wow.