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).
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.
Smack dab in the middle of things in the nation's capital, The Madison is perfectly located on M Street, just a short walk from the White House, Mall, Dupont Circle boutiques, and countless museums. A blend of sophisticated, urban luxury and historic tradition, this landmark hotel has hosted every president since John F. Kennedy. The 353 recently-renovated guest rooms and 42 suites pamper guests with plush furnishings and amenities, and the service—as to be expected of a place that has hosted heads of state, international business leaders, and Washington's most notable figures—is fine-tuned, personalized, and genuinely warm. Until February 28, 2007, The Madison is offering guests an upgrade to a luxurious suite for $60 during weekend stays. (Standard room rates start at $159 per night.) Furthermore, if you book your reservation with Five Star Alliance, you'll receive a welcome amenity and possible one category room upgrade based upon availability at check-in.
The Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle) has been a Los Angeles landmark since the day it opened in 1929. Elegant, posh, and perfectly located on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower Hotel has been the residence of countless famous actors, musicians, and even the gangster Bugsy Siegel, whose former apartment is now the setting for the Tower Bar, one of the hottest hang-outs in LA. Inspired by the glamour of early Hollywood, the chic Tower Bar was designed by internationally acclaimed decorator Paul Fortune, with walnut-paneled walls, discreet seating and a fireplace. While guests sip cocktails and listen to the playing of famed jazz pianist Paige Cavenaugh in the rose-colored light, they enjoy sweeping views of the city. It's no wonder Los Angeles magazine chose the Tower Bar as its Top City Pick, praising its handsome and rich appointments as a scene reminiscent of private men's clubs.
The uber-chic German capital has got it all: more than 170 excellent museums, happening nightlife, dreamy palaces, and exquisite fine dining (but don't rule out the beer halls and down-home sausage and sauerkraut specialties). Berlin boasts a rich cultural landscape. To quote Sherman's Travel:
If an outdated mental picture of Berlin as a once-divided city is keeping you from visiting the capital of Germany, you haven't heard that it is the hot, hip urban destination for jet-setters, beer-lovers, and culture-vultures alike. New life has been breathed into the city, and now is the time to go and experience it.
And perhaps the best part of all, Berlin's positively brimming with world-class hotels, from the elegant and utterly luxurious Regent to the world famous Kempinski Hotel Bristol, from the Schlosshotel Im Grunewald, the city's only historic castle hotel, to the Radisson SAS with its enormous lobby AquaDom (the world's largest cylindrical aquarium) stocked with 2,500 exotic fish.
Situated in an ideal location in the heart of the city's business district with panoramic views of the harbor, the Intercontinental Dubai is the oldest, most established five-star hotel in Dubai. For three decades the hotel has racked up the awards, including Best Business Hotel in the Middle East as voted by the UK's Business Traveller and Business Asia magazines. This landmark hotel features 287 guest rooms with spectacular views from balconies, 13 restaurants and bars, the 24-hour, award-winning InterFitness health club, outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, and championship squash courts. Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, the first-class brand of Brussels-based Rezidor SAS Hospitality, has taken over the management of the InterContinental Hotel Dubai.
Rumor has it that the Grande Dame of Boston hotels, the oldest Ritz-Carlton in the United States, is on the market. Located on fashionable Newbury Street and the Public Garden, the 273-room luxury hotel celebrated its 75th anniversary with a major renovation in 2002. As reported by the Boston Herald:
India-based newspapers and at least one TV station reported yesterday that Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., owner of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, will buy the Ritz for $170 million. But New York-based Millennium Partners, which has owned the Boston hotel for seven years, said it has not reached a deal to sell it.
Apparently, since the last summer purchase of The Pierre in Manhattan, Taj Hotels has been on the prowl for similar properties in gateway US cities "to build a five-star hotel brand under The Pierre flag."
Say goodbye to nasty airline food. Executive Chef Gordon Maybury has designed delicious and healthy menus for First and Business Class menus of Lufthansa outbound flights from the US. Starting in November, passengers will indulge in selections inspired from the hotel's Fives restaurant, including pistachio dusted shrimp with sweet pea tarragon flan appetizer, vanilla thyme roasted halibut with baby bok choy and fondant potato, and wild berry charlotte in its own consommé with sweet cream, and a selection of international cheeses. This culinary partnership will continue throughout 2007, with Lufthansa featuring rotating menus from the chefs at the Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula Beverly Hills in addition to the Peninsula New York.