LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
December 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Kiss goodbye the era of lousy overnights at airport hotels. The latest trend, as detailed in Forbes Traveler, is a spectacular array of posh properties at airports around the world. In 2007, the industry pumped millions into capital investment for luxury airport hotels. Case in point: the swanky Radisson SAS which opened at London Stansted Airport, home to the business class-only airlines Eos and MaxJet. Road warriors will find four restaurants, excellently-appointed guest rooms, and full meeting and fitness facilities. The best part of all? "The 13-meter-high wine tower which holds 4,000 bottles of wine obtained each evening by 'wine angels' who fly on cables to retrieve your choice." For the full list of exciting airport hotels, check out ForbesTraveler's slide show.
Fashionable and discreet, the Windsor Arms Hotel is a perfect blend of Old World charm and modern decadence. Voted the #1 hotel in Toronto by Conde Nast Traveler (2007), the Windsor Arms is the preferred choice of a faithful clientele who gush about the 24-hour butler service and the hotel's ideal location just steps from the city's most exciting shopping and entertainment. New-millennium amenities include jazuzzi tubs and separate showers, state-of-the-art gadgetry, and the most sumptuous Frette linens. There's a spa, swimming pool, fine dining restaurants and a Kosher Kitchen. (Rumor has it that there are 450 bottles of Cristal Champagne on hand in the cellar.) And with a staff to guest ratio of 6:1 (the highest in Canada), no wonder the hotel's guests keep coming back for more. Until December 30, 2007, the Windsor Arms Hotel is offering special rates starting from just CAD 200 for a Standard Room. The Premier Two-Bedroom and Corner Suites are only $500 per night. Children 10 and under stay for free.
The city's mood is on a celebratory high note, and the InterContinental Grand Stanford is the place to be during this festive season. With breathtaking views of the sparkling lights of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong's internationally-renowned hotel (located in Kowloon) offers the highest levels of service and elegant five-star facilities. During the holiday season, the InterContinental Grand Stanford proudly presents glittering Gold and Black Christmas Celebrations along with a champagne-infused New Year's Eve party that promises to dazzle. Enjoy a traditional Christmas Eve lunch or dinner in The Mistral with a sensational eight-course Italian dinner prepared by Chef Claudio. Or head to Café Rendezvous for the harbour-view buffet featuring all your perennial favorites with all the finest trimmings. There's live music and a Santa visit, to boot.
200-room property with "exceptional location next to the Papal Palace" overlooking the river Rhône. 10,280 square meters of living space, including cells and "women's detention area." Must be turned into luxury hotel. Interested? Submit your bid by January 23, 2008. And we thought Boston's Liberty Hotel was unique. The French government has decided to sell off this dilapidated state-owned property to a hotel group willing to convert it into an 110-room luxury hotel. If Sarkozy's plan works, Sainte-Anne's prison will be the first of eight unused jails to go on the market.
We've been waiting with bated breath, and now the opening date is just around the corner. Come May 2008, you can get your Spring Break groove on at the Mondrian South Beach, the first project by Morgans Hotel Group to include residences. We've gushed about the nearby Delano, and the Mondrian promises to be just as cool:
Around the pools, gardens and bay, Mondrian South Beach makes playful use of space with multiple outdoor living areas. A large swimming pool is adorned with an oversized custom lamp by plunge pools, a pool bar and cabanas for private rental, and surrounded by lush gardens hung with hammocks and landscaped into a labyrinthine trail with lounge areas, secret pathways and "kissing corners."
Located on the west side of Miami Beach, the hotel will offer jet skis and water sports on Biscayne Bay. As to be expected from a top-notch interior designer (Marcel Wanders was named "Designer of the Year" by Elle), the lobby will showcase an "exuberant style with oversized furniture and motifs inspired by fairy tales." From the second level terrace, guests can take in some incredible sunset views. There will be a five-star restaurant, fully-equipped gym, and spa. For more pics, check out Hotelchatter's exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage.
Looking for a quick getaway? Escape the busy holiday season for a last-minute retreat at Georgia's exclusive Sea Islands, where championship golf, elegant dining, and charming Southern hospitality will restore your body and mind. Act fast! This last-minute offer is available until December 16, 2007. Starting from just $395 per night, enjoy luxury accommodations at The Cloister or The Lodge plus one round of green fees, cart, forecaddie, and range balls per person, per night. (Based on availability during these dates only. Play on Seaside incurs a $50 surcharge. Forecaddie gratuity is additional.)
Fans of Langham Hotels will be thrilled to learn about a new boutique in the works: The Langham Yangtze Boutique, Shanghai. The hotel group currently has eight properties in six gateway cities-- London, Boston, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Auckland and Toronto-- and now they're adding Shanghai to the mix. And if this hotel is anything like the others, we're in luck. The goal? Recreate the history and romance of Old Shanghai in a historic landmark in the central business district. Designed by architect Li Pan in the 1930s, the building is an iconic masterpiece of art deco and neoclassical architecture. After undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, the 101-room hotel will re-open in mid-2008 as a five-star boutique hotel.
Forget St. Barts. Head to Anguilla, the jewel of the British West Indies, where laid-back luxury and a "magnificent island lifestyle" will be celebrated at the brand new Viceroy Anguilla. The Caribbean island was recently picked by the NYT as one of "53 places to go in 2008" and the latest offering from the Kor Hotel Group's Viceroy brand is a major reason why. Nestled on 35 acres of exclusive beachfront, the resort promises every possible pleasure with incomparable amenities: a world-class spa village, fine dining, elite concierge services, and a wealth of recreational amenities including tennis courts, infinity-edge pools, resort boats service, and Kids Club. This Spring 2008, discover "where the sublime meets the sea."
Tis the season. The Strasbourg Christmas Market draws thousands of visitors each year for the biggest holiday market in France. Sprawling across the picturesque alleyways of half-timbered houses in front of the Cathedral, festive with lights and decorations, the market is straight out of a fairy tale. In its 431st year, this market is as about as merry as it gets. The scent of mulled wine and warm gingerbread fills the streets. Stalls brim with handcrafted ornaments and delightful gifts. And with the new high-speed train connecting Paris and Strasbourg, this border city in Alsace has become like a Paris suburb. In fact, the TGV has added extra trains just for the holiday season and now folks can check out the Strasbourg Christmas Market on a simple day trip from Paris.
High-rollers will get a kick out of this. Caesars Palace, the world's best known resort-casino, has just raised the betting limits to appease the biggest gamblers in the world. Starting this week, players can bet up to $50,000 per hand at blackjack and also on line bets at craps. These are the highest betting limits in Las Vegas.