LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
It's hard to imagine that the Sunset Marquis could actually be improved. The hotel of choice for the international jet-set and music industry clientele, this Hollywood haven-- a hidden sanctuary of lush gardens and heated pools just off Sunset-- was "boutique" before "boutique" even existed. Rich in history, host to myriad film, fashion, and music events, the Sunset Marquis is as famed for its fabulous service as it is for its on-site private recording studio. Since opening in 1963, the Sunset Marquis has provided personalized services to the likes of the Rolling Stones, U2, Brad Pitt, Gabriel Byrne, Jennifer Lopez and Al Pacino. Its state-of-the-art recording studio has been used by Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige and, most recently, Madonna and Josh Groban. Now the Sunset Marquis has finished a $20 million expansion. And it's dazzling.
There are 40 new villas. All 12 of the existing villas and 102 hotel suites have been upgraded. The crown jewel of the property? The magnificent Presidential Suite with 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3 fireplaces, private screening room, dining area for 10, executive office, accessibility by private elevator and 24 hour Villa Butler. Presidential Villa guests also have the option of a chauffeur or self-driven Bentley, or chauffeured limo or SUV. But that's not all. The Villa pool area has been revamped with new private cabanas, and the main pool-- with al fresco dining-- boasts a new outdoor bar.
The buzzing LA hotspot Whiskey Bar has been re-christened as Bar 1200. (Pictured. You can see the private collection of celebrity and rock icon photographs taken by renowned photographer Ross Halfin.) The famous recording studio is now called NightBird. And a new spa with Porsche furniture will soon debut. Coming soon: a dazzling new restaurant, where the Paris-trained Chef Guillaume Burlion is creating a French Fusion/Continental menu. Having worked at Michelin-starred establishments (and even cooked for Bill Clinton!), the new chef promises to wow his guests.
Talk about rock star amenities.
'Tis the season. We've seen a slew of exciting packages for Easter, and now's the time to take advantage of these special rates for a spring getaway. As the proverb goes: no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. And what could be a better way to defrost than with an indulgent stay at one of Europe's finest urban hotels? At the Gran Hotel La Florida, Barcelona's exclusive urban resort, you can abandon yourself with tantalizing spa treatments, incredible views from the swimming pool, and a unique gastronomic experience. The "Easter Escape" package is truly a pleasure for the senses. Priced at EUR 660, the package includes two nights accommodations, buffet breakfast in the restaurant for two, a complimentary Easter amenity, one half-hour massage per person, and complimentary access to Zen Zone Spa.
Or steal away for a city break in London at the Egerton House, the elegant, privately-owned hotel bang in the middle of Knightsbridge, or The Milestone, the No. 1 rated hotel in London according to Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, with stunning views over Kensington Gardens. Book the "Easter Extravaganza" at The Egerton House, valid until March 31, 2008, and you'll get a chilled bottle of Champagne, fresh fruit platter, and luxury basket of Easter Eggs upon arrival; complimentary British and international newspaper delivered each morning; a hearty, full English breakfast with freshly-baked Hot Cross Buns every day, and an Egerton Afternoon Tea for two with an Easter treat. Priced from GBP 265 per night. At The Milestone, escape for an "Easter Weekend" (available from March 21-30, 2008 only), and enjoy the best available rate (GBP 265 per night). Plus, if you stay three nights, you'll get a Milestone Chocolate Afternoon tea for two. Stay three nights in a Suite, and you'll receive a hand-decorated, personalized Easter Egg for each guest.
Or head to the Eternal City for a luxurious stay at the historic St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome, with its hand-painted frescoes and butler service. Experience the celebrated traditions and timeless splendor of Easter Sunday in Rome. You'll enjoy Easter Sunday lunch for two at the famed Vivendo Restaurant (listed as one of Europe's finest in the Zagat survey), a rich display of chocolates, daily buffet breakfast for two, and Double Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. Reserve by March 23 for stays through March 21-25, 2008. Two nights minimum required. From EUR 475 per room per night.
Leave it to the good folks at HotelChatter to point out this cool (and laudable) event at the Galileo Restaurant at Sydney's finest hotel. In support of Earth Hour-- a green movement where all participants turn off their lights for one hour (8 p.m. on March 29, 2008) to show their commitment to reducing global warming-- the Galileo Restaurant is offering a candlelit, seven-course "Dine in the Dark" degustation menu with matching wines. Priced at $155 per person including a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival.