LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
April 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It only took Pastry Artist Stephen Day 110 hours to create a a 600-pound hotel replica from hundreds of pounds of sugar, flour, egg, chocolate, butter cream and royal icing. (Don't worry, he wasn't alone in his efforts. Day has a very capable patisserie team!) Check out the video to see the cake version of a La Quinta hotel take shape in time-lapse fashion. Why did the Boca Resort pastry team go to such lengths? La Quinta was celebrating a corporate milestone with a recent event at the Boca Resort. And what a way to celebrate. Looks like the Boca Raton Resort & Club may just take the cake in staging memorable corporate meetings.
You saw it on the TODAY Show, and now you're wondering: Where the heck is Scrub Island? The tropical island retreat has been open for a little over a year and it's garnering accolades left and right. And a quick peek at the photos helps you understand why. The first private resort built in the British Virgin Islands in over 15 years, Scrub Island is a seven-minute boat ride away from the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on Beef Island, which itself is a 35-minute flight from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico. You'll find three private beaches, an infinity edge pool, a world-class marina, and swank rooms with spectacular ocean views. The best part of all? This five-star luxury experience is affordable- with introductory rates starting from just $299/night. Pick up a copy of the May 2011 issue of Travel + Leisure magazine for more praise of this private island resort.
Sun, sand, golf, and tennis... St. Petersburg, Florida has got its bases covered as a resort destination. But with the opening of the Chihuly Collection in summer 2010 and the addition of the new Salvador Dalí Museum in January 2011, St. Petes has become something of a cultural destination, too. To encourage you to discover the art on offer, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club is inviting guests on an Art Retreat. Priced from $174 per night, the getaway package includes an upgrade to a newly renovated bay view guest room; dinner for two at Marchand’s Bar & Grill from the 1925 Classic Dining Menu; and a choice of two tickets (valued at up to $42) to the Salvador Dalí Museum or the Chihuly Collection and the Morean Arts Center Glass Studio & Hot Shop. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club is also a work of art, showcasing Mediterranean Revival architecture from the 1920's, and its very own Chihuly sculpture in the Grand Ballroom, comprised of 750 pieces of individually hand-blown glass.
New York-style nail salons are few and far between in the City of Light. So what's a gal to do when she needs a mani? Hotel Pavillon de la Reine to the rescue! The elegant hotel known for catering to celebs dodging the limelight has just opened a beauty bar in its library. So every Saturday you can get your nails buffed and lacquered (with OPI polish, of course) by the expert technicians from the hotel's Carita Spa. The beauty bar is open to the public, with no reservations required, with manicures priced at 25 euros.* Glass of Champagne included! Tucked away in a courtyard off the Place des Vosges, the oldest public square in Paris, Le Pavillon de la Reine is the only luxury hotel of its kind in the historic Marais quarter.
*Celeb sighting probable, though not guaranteed!
After the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, the world is looking to help. The Peninsula Hotels Group is proudly supporting "Hope for Japan," a fund-raising drive at each hotel in Asia and the U.S. to support the relief effort with donations going directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. From Shanghai to Chicago, Peninsula Hotels are contributing a donation for every guest stay. The renowned hotel brand has also launched a new Japanese Afternoon Tea, and for each tea ordered, The Peninsula will donate the entire retail price ($50) to the Red Cross. Before departing the hotel, make a donation and hang an origami crane on "The Tree of 1,000 Cranes" displayed in the Lobby of each Peninsula hotel. In Japanese culture, 1,000 cranes represent hope and healing in challenging times, and so guests are invited to help this worthwhile and meaningful initiative.
You've been swept away by Royal Wedding fever, but aren't too keen on navigating London town with the throngs of royal watchers. The Pierre on New York's Central Park has the answer. Book the Rajput Suite, the jewel in the crown of the hotel’s collection of 11 Grand Suites, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience complete with every regal comfort (and a personal butler on call). If you stay April 28-29, you'll be able to gape at the televised royal festivities from the privacy of your very own palace. (The sprawling Rajput Suite is decked out with TVs, so take your pick from the living room, bedroom, even bath tub.) Or stay May 2-4 and you’ll have the privilege of private shopping at the hotel’s pop-up souk featuring artisanal jewelry, fashions and more hand-selected by the lifestyle curators at Indagare.com. Here are the details on what the Pierre Rajput Suite Celebration Romance Menu includes:
* Two nights in the royally exotic Rajput Suite
* Your own private Romance Butler
* In-room Couples Massage
* Special floral arrangement by L’Olivier
* Dine at London’s famed Le Caprice, the first US outpost of this British brasserie
* Julien Farel exclusive salon menu
* Picnic in Central Park
* Carriage Ride
* Romance Turndown: with Kama Sutra touches that include body oil, incense, candles; a bubble bath drawn nightly with candles and rose petals, and a late night aphrodisiac menu with selections that include oysters, chocolate and champagne
The price tag for this all-inclusive stay is $14,500, subject to availability, valid through July 1, 2011.
Sunshine, here we come. Give yourself a spring cleaning with a trip to the beach. Just a hop from the East Coast, Puerto Rico's got enough sand and sea to soften even the hardest of hearts. (Any lingering winter blues will dissolve with the first fruity rum drink and salsa dance.) Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza is making a spring break trip easy on the wallet with a special offer that translates to 20% off your stay. In addition, you can get up to $100 in resort credit,* a 50% discount on Children's tours, and a $25 casino match bet coupon. Priced from $151 per night; minimum two-night stay required. With three pools, a casino, vibrant nightlife, and dazzling sunsets at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza... what are you waiting for?
It feels like summer in Paris this week. Actually, the weather's even better than summer: sunny and 70 degrees! The sidewalk cafes are packed with sun-bathers and people-watchers. Needless to say, work productivity may suffer this April... Take advantage of these glorious days in Paris with a special offer from the Radisson Blu Le Dokhan's and the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan. The two luxury hotels have launched a 3=2 offer for new bookings only. Stay three nights and pay for only two from April 15- April 25, 2011. Based on contracted mid-week rates in Deluxe rooms, subject to availability. Located between the Trocadero and the Arc de Triomphe, the neo-classical style Le Dokhan's is home to a beautiful Champagne bar. Near the Eiffel Tower, the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan features sleek contemporary interiors by designer François Champsaur (pictured at right).
A bar drink served in a real hip flask? You heard that right. A new bar in London's Theatre Land is serving up a delicious array of Champagne cocktails and creative libations, including the Astor Hip Flask, a bourbon-based cocktail mixed with secret ingredients and aged in an oak barrel for at least one month. The Waldorf Hilton has just opened Good Godfrey's bar & lounge, named for Howard Godfrey, the celebrity bandleader of the ‘Waldorfians’, the Waldorf house band in the 1920’s. Back in the day Godfrey was known across the country for his hit records, and The Waldorf drew quite the crowd for its famous Tango Teas. Nelson Bernardes, the award-winning head mixologist at Good Godfrey’s, has outdone himself with the drinks list. Order up a Waldorf-tini and you'll taste edible gold (in the garnish, anyway!). Made with either Tanqueray No 10 and grapefruit bitters or Grey Goose Vodka with ginger bitters and Noilly Prat, the cocktail is stirred in a golden shaker and garnished with gold. We also like the sound of the Hot Gin Punch for two which is served in a large teapot. Good Godfrey’s at The Waldorf Hilton is open all day serving morning drinks, light bites, afternoon tea and small plates meant to be shared.
So you didn't get your act together for an Easter trip to Prague. No biggie. You'll miss the dyed Easter eggs and willow whips at the festive markets, but you can still head to the capital for the ever-popular Czech Beer Festival in May, taking place in three enormous tents with a seating capacity of 10,000. Taste more than 70 brands of beer (served in glass pitchers straight from the tap), and when you're looking for a nibble, you'll find a selection of tasty bites from local chefs. All served by ladies and gents sporting the Czech national costume, of course. The festival runs from May 12- May 28, 2011. Looking for a place to hit the hay? Check out our fabulous collection of Four-Star and Five-Star Hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski, and The Augustine (pictured at right).