October 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Now is the time to visit Hong Kong. The city is simply hopping with festivals and good times. From October 20-November 19, 2006, the New Vision Arts Festival-- highlighting the connections between East and West-- is a month-long cultural extravaganza of art, modern dance, Chinese opera, theater and ballet. And starting October 25, Hong Kong Winterfest will transform the city into a winter wonderland. A must-see is the newly-renovated Peak Tower. Hong Kong's iconic landmark has undergone a multi-million dollar makeover and is now welcoming visitors to take in the dramatic city views. The entire rooftop has been turned into a viewing platform, high-end restaurants have opened in addition to the fast food joints, and the rooftop Sky Gallery now showcases the work of local artists.
Be pampered in style at the legendary Peninsula Hong Kong, long hailed as one of the finest hotels in the world. Even if an overnight stay's not in the works, you can now enjoy a luxurious Weekday Spa Escape at the hotel. Escape from the hectic pace of city life for the ultimate in rejuvenation. The 'Weekday Spa Escape' includes full use of the Peninsula Spa facilities (including harbor view sauna and crystal steam room, relaxation areas, Asian Tea Lounge and the hotel's Greco-Roman-style swimming pool), an ESPA salt and oil full-body exfoliation (30 minutes), ESPA aromatherapy body massage (1hr 20 minutes), plus a light lunch by the pool, featuring 'Naturally Peninsula' light and healthy cuisine. All for just HK$1,800 per person.
Rest assured, it's got bulletproof windows and doors, along with the brilliant views of Lake Geneva. After all, the folks who stake out the famed Imperial Suite are heads of state, billionaires, and celebs looking to
squander their cash spend. The Imperial Suite takes up the entire floor of the art deco Hotel President Wilson, reached via private elevator. Overlooking the Lake, the bay windows and private terrace offer incredible vistas of Mont Blanc and the Alps. In addition to the four bedrooms, the suite features five bathrooms with mosaic marble floors, Jacuzzi and steam bath, living room with billiards table, and library. The cocktail lounge can accommodate 40 people, while the dining room seats 26, so no need to venture out on the town (when you can bring the party to you). Though the hotel does boast an excellent location in the heart of Geneva, with easy access to the sites, shops, restaurants, and businesses. All this for just $50,000 a night. Talk about bang for your buck.
That's right. The InterContinental Hotels Group has partnered with TurnHere to create a series of local video guides narrated by the concierges of Intercontinental Hotels across the United States. First up: the insider's guide to the nation's capital, brought to you by Robert Watson, the lovely concierge at the Willard InterContinental Washington DC, the grand historic landmark known as the "Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue." The free video is lively, informative, and a fun (and free) overview of the city's neighborhoods, sites, and restaurants. Plus you'll get the inside scoop on the locals' favorite haunts and stomping grounds. Check it out.
October 10, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May, Editorial Advisory Board There are 4 new additions to the Small Luxury Hotels collection, including the first members in the Middle East, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa at Zighy Bay, Oman Tucked away in a quiet fishing village on the northern tip of the Oman peninsula and backed by mountains which wrap around a secluded 1.6 kilometre sandy beach, the location of Evason Hideaway at Zighy Bay is nothing less than dramatic. When this hotel of uncompromising luxury opens in 2007 it will boast a private marina, as well as 85 pool villas and pool villa suites complete with personal butlers. The hotel will also offer its guests a rather unique mode of arrival – as a companion passenger of a professional paraglider. Definitely not for the faint-hearted! For something a little more sedate, guests will also have the option of a 10-minute speed boat transfer or a scenic drive from the top of the hill overlooking the bay. Desert Palm Retreat, Dubai When Desert Palm Retreat opens in October 2006 it will be Dubai’s first boutique resort and also SLH’s first hotel in the United Arab Emirates. Set in 150 acres of unexpectedly lush, green countryside on a private polo estate, the hotel will set a benchmark for hospitality in Dubai. Accommodation will comprise 13 beautifully appointed Polo Rooms with balcony views over the main polo fields, four one-bedroom pool villas, six three-bedroom Pool Residences and a Presidential Suite. Guests of Desert Palm Retreat will also have the opportunity to admire the owner’s collection of priceless art and antiques. The hotel will have a choice of three restaurants offering unsurpassed culinary delights, while an innovative Aquum Spa will complete the experience. Lanson Place, Hong Kong The doors of this discreet urban hotel first swung open in December 2005 to reveal beautifully executed contemporary décor throughout every one of the 194 guest rooms, which include six residences and 12 suites. Lanson Place is located on a discreet side street within easy walking distance of three of Hong Kong’s most lively neighbourhoods; Central, Wanchai and Causeway Bay providing a welcome and intimate haven away from the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city. First impressions are everything, a philosophy that resonates through the intricate wall sconces and chandeliers commissioned from glassmakers in Murano, Italy located in the lobby. An elegant collection of over 300 individual pieces of original artwork feature throughout this luxurious property. Discovery Shores, Boracay Island, the Philippines On the unspoilt shores of Boracay Island in the Philippines, Discovery Shores will be the island’s first true luxury resort of international standards when it opens in December 2006. Consistently rated within the top 20 beach destinations in the world, this pristine escape known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters is the ideal getaway for marine enthusiasts. Discovery Shores will showcase its breathtaking location with 67 metres of beach front and 88 units sloping upward from the beach to capture the spectacular ocean views. Guests at Discovery Shores will marvel at a 14 metre waterfall, several cascading pools, and a swim up pool bar, whilst having access to a fitness centre and world-class Mandala Spa. Small Luxury Hotels of the World Collection
The folks at Daily Candy uncovered this "worthwhile getaway" from Kor Hotels. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Kor Hotel Group will reflect this theme all month long with their Think Pink Campaign. Stay at any of the Kor Hotel Group's glam properties (like the Viceroy Santa Monica and the Tides South Beach), choose the "Think Pink" rate, and they'll donate 10 percent of your bill to the Revlon/UCLA Breast Cancer Center. For an additional price of $40, guests receive a special Think Pink gift bag (valued at $120) which includes a Glamour Pink Tee designed by Kelly Wearstler, gift certificate for a Pink Martini, Shaken not Stirred, Pink Martini CD, "Breast Cancer 101" (a handbook on cancer research, history and treatment), and a classic pink ribbon, to display prominently and show your solidarity to the cause.
Move over, Trump. The Miami Heat center recently announced the formation of The O'Neal Group, a real estate firm that's set to take on the Miami market with a $1 billion project that will feature a five star luxury hotel, 1,100 residential units, a Whole Foods Market, a 24-Hour Fitness franchise, office space, condominiums and restaurants. At 866 feet, this is the tallest tower south of the Big Apple. According to FoxSports:
Shaquille O'Neal now is dead serious about helping big skyscrapers in downtown Miami far bigger than himself and literally becoming South Florida's biggest real estate mogul…He realizes the positive impact he can make. Between making money for his family, he can also continue the revitalization of what was a horrendous downtown area into a renaissance trumping the problems of decades.
October 9, 2006
By: Guest Writer
From the Helium Report
Every week, the Helium Report-- the experts on fractional ownership-- receives several requests from readers for their "Cost-per-Night" model which they built in Excel. (Destination clubs are often described as a hybrid between luxury resort rentals and five-star hotels; the fee structure is closer to membership in your local country club: a large up-front deposit with annual dues.) The propietary tool helps prospective members compare the cost of destination clubs to other luxury travel alternatives such as five-star hotels or villa rentals. Helium Report has just announced their first "widget"-- an online version of the "Cost-per-night" calculator. Now you can enter your own assumptions directly in the tool here to determine the nightly rate for any club you're considering.
By: Guest Writer
For over a year, The Informed Traveler's been bringing you the latest luxury travel news and five-star specials. (That's almost 1,000 posts!) A big thanks goes out to our loyal readers and fantastic contributors. We always welcome submissions about upscale travel and luxury hotels. If you've got an article to share, send it in!
There's nothing finer than Fall in New York. (And if you choose to visit in November, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a must: with fabulous floats, giant balloons, and 2.5 million folks in attendance.) The place to stay in Manhattan is The Carlyle, of course, the elegant landmark on Madison Avenue and favorite haunt of world leaders and numerous celebs since its debut in 1930. A timeless classic, The Carlyle is like a stately private residence, welcoming its guests with the most exacting and refined service. Enjoy sweeping views of Central Park from your sumptuous suite, appointed with the finest fabrics, rugs, boudoir chairs, Frette linens, and original Audubon prints. The hotel's perfect location offers easy access to the Upper East Side galleries as well as the nearby Museum Mile. Celebrate Autumn in New York with special seasonal rates at The Carlyle. With this special, a decadent Deluxe Room can be booked for $750 (usual daily rates are $825).
October 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This could be heaven on earth. Surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is a sumptuous boutique hideaway boasting one of the world's most celebrated destination spas. The list of accolades is impressive: Travel and Leisure Top 500, Andrew Harper's Hideaway award winner, Top 10 US Spas (Celebrated Living), and Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List of the World's Best Places to Stay. The intimate Sanctuary Spa is renowned the world over for its Asian-inspired treatments and spectacular setting. The movement studio offers classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Belly Dancing, and the Fitness Center is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment. The 98 luxurious casitas feature outdoor balconies with breathtaking panoramic views, wood-burning fireplaces, and outdoor soaking tubs enclosed within private patios.
Until December 9, 2006, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is offering a fantastic Spa Harmony package, where guests pay for two nights, and receive the third for free. Package includes dazzling accommodations, full breakfast each morning in elements or in-room dining, two 60-minute spa treatments per person, per package from the Spa Menu, access to the Meditation Garden, Vitality Pools and Steam Baths, candlelight turndown service, and newspaper delivered daily. The price averages out to $578 per night in a Mountain View Casita.