March 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A stay at an Oberoi Hotel, so say devotees, is an ultra-luxurious experience to be remembered for years. Oberoi Hotels & Resorts is synonymous the world over with all-round excellence and unparalleled service. The Oberoi Mumbai, for example, boasts a swanky spa, heated outdoor pool, and a rich variety of dining experiences with sweeping views of the Arabian Sea. Located on Marine Drive, the famous boulevard along the coast in South Mumbai, The Oberoi has 73 suites and 214 rooms that are serene, elegant, and loaded with all the latest technology.
Hot deals: Staying in Mumbai before March 31, 2011? You'll want to snag one of these deals. The Oberoi is currently offering a second night at 50% when you say in a Premier Ocean View Room or a Suite. Or, stay for two nights in a Premier Ocean View Room or a Suite and get the third night on the house. Lastly, The Oberoi is also featuring an "Exclusive Suite Offer," spoiling suite guests with complimentary breakfast, an airport transfer in a BMW, Internet access and cocktails between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has already created a restaurant empire with some 25 eateries from the Bahamas to Budapest (pictured). And now the culinary maestro is expanding into the hotel sector, says the Los Angeles Times, with a new boutique hotel inside Caesars Palace. The announcement about the world's first Nobu-branded hotel was made on Monday. Chef Nobu is embarking on this new venture with his long-time restaurant partners, actor Robert De Niro and movie producer Meir Teper. To create the 180-room property, the interior of the Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace will undergo a dramatic transformation. The style? "Nobu's signature Japanese look" using all-natural materials. Of course guests will be able to order some classic Nobu dishes from the room service menu.
Paradise found. Spanning two islands enclosed by a coral reef, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a dream destination surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. There's diving and snorkeling, Pilates and yoga, yachting and fishing. Arrive in style in a seaplane over the lagoon, then bliss out at the resort adored by spa junkies. Unwind in the resort's two outstanding spas (as there are two, one on each island!) then dine in the world’s first all-glass, undersea restaurant.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has recently revamped their Spa Water Villas, custom-designed for spa aficionados with a private spa treatment room for two, open-air Jacuzzi on the sun deck, huge bath tub, and mini bar stocked with organic treats. And now they've unveiled the "Spa, Plane and Simple" package for spa lovers to relax with an indulgent experience at a great value. Here's the skinny on the package inclusions:
* Seven nights in a Spa Water Villa
* $1400 in spa credits ($200 credit per day to be used on spa treatments)
* Complimentary seaplane transfers to the resort to/from Male International Airport (valued at $420 per person)
* Daily Breakfast
Package rates start at $1100 per night (a total savings of over 20%). The offer begins in March and lasts through October 31, 2011.
Desperate for some r 'n' r? Spring break is right around the corner. Time to pamper yourself silly with a vacay. "Sleeping on a sandy beach is highly over-rated," says the Warwick Melrose Hotel Dallas, "when you compare it to one of our spacious, lavishly decorated rooms." A historic landmark located in the Uptown Oak Lawn and Turtle Creek area, the AAA Four-Diamond hotel is enticing guests to splurge on a sophisticated urban getaway with a limited time offer. Take advantage of the Spring Break Sale, available until April 11, 2011, and you'll get 30% off the Best Available Rate when you stay two nights or more. (Offer is subject to availability and black-out dates may apply.) During your stay, dine at the award-winning Landmark Restaurant, one of the top 10 restaurants in the city. No small feat, as Dallas boasts the highest number of restos per capita in the country.
Talk about arriving in style! It's fashion week in Paris so when we
attempted to strut our stuff walked across the Place Vendome last night, easily one of the most prestigious addresses in town, a crew of paparazzi was stationed outside the Ritz Paris preparing to snap shots of the celebs coming and going from the palace hotel. At the invitation of Travel Onion-- a new web site that curates the best blogs on worldwide travel-- we toured the Ritz Paris, ogling the gilded Suite Impériale (and wouldn't you? just check out the photo), Madonna's rumored Parisian haunt with a price tag to match its opulence. Most recent resident? The Russian President. We also got a good look at the restaurant and Hemingway bar, helmed by Colin Field, recently named the best bartender in the world by Forbes.
The highlight of our Champagne-infused soirée-- besides meeting some fabulous local Paris bloggers-- was the cooking class at the École Ritz Escoffier, the hotel's culinary school named for Auguste Escoffier, the legendary chef who invented Peach Melba and other classic French dishes. The setting alone is enough to excite the foodies of the world-- opposite the sprawling kitchen that churns out masterpieces for the Ritz restaurant. The school has a number of different courses on offer to appeal to both professionals and amateurs, so those of us who are challenged in the kitchen could even find joy in the food prep. And the very capable Chef Didier Steudler smoothed things over (the minor issue of a sauté pan of veal medallions going up in flames) so that the final products on the dinner table were beyond delicious."You must feed the meat!" Steudler had told us when adding--Mon Dieu!-- a good pound of butter to the sauce pan.
For the first course, we tucked into a confit tomato tart smothered in grated parmesan, smoked ham, and baby arugula. The main course consisted of the afore-mentioned veal served with a potato and celery gratin, and the dessert was bright orange passionfruit macarons with a warm chocolate fondant with passionfruit ice cream and diced fresh fruit. All paired with perfect wines, of course.
It's possible to take a private class during an afternoon, or a multi-day course. The first-level unit, which touches on the basics of French cuisine, is priced from 1100 euros for the two-day (14 hour) class. The entire course (seven units over three weeks, or 98 hours) is priced at 7000 euros. Courses are organized by theme: molecular gastronomy, traditional French cuisine, vegetables, meats and poultry, foie gras, fish and crustaceans, deluxe sandwiches, organic flavors, and more. There are also special programs like Ritz Kids-- a two and a half hour cooking class for "les marmitons"-- and "The Art of the Cocktail" with Colin Field.
When you shack up in a suite at The Rome Cavalieri, the super-swank hotel that's a member of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, you'll get the five-star treatment all the way-- from truly opulent surroundings (a dazzling art collection and a private balcony) to special VIP services. Case in point: The Rome Cavalieri has recently announced that guests of the four super suites get VIP access to the Chiostro del Bramante’s latest photography exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld: Working Path.” This new offering is fitting for the hotel who has a strong affinity for Lagerfeld. After all, the Penthouse and Planetarium Suites are appointed with sofas designed by the acclaimed fashion designer, photographer and artist, bought at auction through Sotheby’s in Monte Carlo. The hotel itself is decked out with a talked-about art collection of masterpieces. The Rome Cavalieri is also home to the Michelin three-starred restaurant, La Pergola.
Available until April 10, 2011, the offer also includes complimentary transportation to/from Chiostro del Bramante and two complimentary cocktails from Rome Cavalieri’s Art Cocktail Menu. Rates for the super suites, which include breakfast, VAT and access to the Imperial Lounge and Grand Spa Club, start at 4,920 euros for the Napoleon suite. (The Penthouse is just a wee bit more, at 9,920 euros.)
From the Sapphire Afternoon Tea at London Hilton Park Lane to the Langham's Giveaway Contest (honoring the "most romantic" proposal story), Royal Wedding mania is sweeping the nation. Keen to jet to London for the big day? *The* place to stay is The Ritz London, the sumptuous West End pad that's considered the "home away from home" for British and international Royalty. (The Duke of Windsor dined and danced in The Palm Court, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 80th birthday and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales honored the hotel's banqueting services with a Royal Warrant.) Leave it to The Ritz to go all out to commemorate the historic occasion of the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton. Here's what's in store:
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz - View the wedding on screens streaming live coverage while you taste pastries, scones and finger sandwiches amongst swathes of pastel hues and 24 carat gold leaf. Prices from GBP 50 per person (approximately US$ 81, including a commemorative souvenir Menu and an exclusive limited edition chocolate heart bearing the initials of the Royal couple.
Royal Wedding Brunch at The Ritz Restaurant
Recently awarded 3 Rosettes by the AA for Culinary Excellence, The Ritz Restaurant will host an extravagant Royal Wedding Brunch between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm with themed food stations, an outdoor grill, and TV screens streaming live coverage of the event. Priced from GBP 150 per person (approximately US $244), the Royal Wedding Brunch includes a glass of Champagne to toast the happy couple, a commemorative souvenir Menu, and an exclusive limited edition decorative keepsake embroidered with the initials of the Royal couple and their wedding date.
Stay at The Ritz London with the Monarchy & Matrimony accommodation package. Priced from GBP 1,460 (approximately US $2375 excluding VAT), the Monarchy & Matrimony program is available exclusively to guests who check in on Thursday the 28th or Friday, April 29th, 2011 and includes:
* Two nights sumptuous accommodation in a Louis XVI inspired room
* Flowers, fresh fruit and a bottle of Champagne in-room on arrival
* Royal Wedding Brunch in The Ritz Restaurant
* A unique and exclusive limited edition commemorative gift
* English breakfast each morning
There's been a lot of buzz about the Waikiki Edition, Ian Schrager's new hotel on the beach. Outdoor movie theater, food by Iron Chef champ Masaharu Morimoto, a happening bar scene, Yoga classes, bikini boot camp... This hot spot has it all. (We can hardly wait for other Edition brand hotels to pop up in Istanbul, Mexico City, Barcelona and Bangkok.) Hot deals: TravelZoo is reporting that the Waikiki Edition has lowered rates from $445 to $295 per night through August 2. Plus you'll get a $50 resort credit with your plush oceanview accommodations. (Not available from April 9-15; May 14-18). Hurry, you must book by March 11, 2011!
Conrad Hotels & Resorts-- described as "the most global contemporary luxury brand of the Hilton Family"-- has been around for a quarter century. To celebrate this milestone, Conrad is giving you a night on the house. Available for stays booked between March 1 and June 12, 2011 and completed by June 30, 2011, this offer is available at choice locations around the globe-- from Bali to Brussels, Singapore to San Juan. A minimum night stay requirement applies and varies by each individual hotel. For example, stay three nights at Conrad Chicago, a prime Windy City address, and get your fourth night for free. (Rates from $195.) Soak up the sun in Miami and get your fourth night free- with rates starting from $299. Check out the art, culture and design in the European Capital and get a third night free at Conrad Brussels- with rates starting from €199 per night. Offer is subject to availability and black-out dates may apply.
March 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We've seen our fair share of creative afternoon teas (eye's on you, Sanderson Hotel, with your Alice in Wonderland-inspired Mad Hatter’s tea!) But this one might just take the cake. Podium Restaurant at the London Hilton on Park Lane has announced a limited edition Afternoon Tea inspired by Kate Middleton's sapphire engagement ring. As featured on ABC News, the Tea is a celebration of the cool blue of this precious gemstone with color accents galore: white chocolate cupcakes with 'bouquet' icing and blueberry jam cupcakes with 'K' and 'W' iced decorations... That's not all. When you arrive for tea, you'll be treated to a complimentary "Loveberry" cocktail-- mixed with fresh raspberries, strawberries, blue curaçao, lime and soda water over crushed ice-- followed by tasty sandwiches (egg & cress, Foreman’s smoked salmon & horseradish...) and warm scones with clotted cream. Then all manner of miniature fancies. Available from April 26 to May 1, 2011 inclusive, priced at £32/person (£40 with a glass of Champagne) from 2-6pm daily.
PS. Podium has been honored as one of the newest members of The Tea Guild. Founded in 1985, The Tea Guild recognises establishments that serve tea to a high standard.