LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
May 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Marvel at an ancient architectural wonder while staying in a thrilling contemporary one. Nestled alongside the Badaling section of the Great Wall (40 miles from Beijing), the Commune is a complex of 12 houses designed by Asia's leading architects, including Japan's Shigeru Ban and China's Yung Ho Chang. Operated as a boutique hotel by the Kempinski luxury hotel group, the Commune is set amidst a breathtaking mountainous landscape. Each of the 12 architects was given a $1 million budget to design a contemporary luxury villa. Kengo Kuma's Bamboo Wall House features a tea room; Shigeru Ban's Furniture House features laminated plywood typical of modular furniture; Yung Ho Chang's Split House is literally split in two. After the additions in 2006, there are now 31 additional villas (replicas of the originals), a fitness center, outdoor pool, private screening room with DVD library, and spa. High-concept architecture is complemented by high-tech amenities and excellent service (private butlers to attend to every need). From the floor-to-ceiling windows, gaze out at the Wall, or simply step out the front door for your own walking adventure upon China's "ancient wonder of the world."
All eyes are on Cannes, the mythical jewel of the French Riviera, for the annual film festival (May 16-27, 2007) where the film stars strut their stuff on the red carpet and one lucky film will nab the prestigious Palme d'Or. The hotels may be booked solid during the film festival, but there is never a bad time to visit the Cote d'Azur, beloved by the Impressionist painters for its mild climate and glorious light. The beautiful Mediterranean coastline is a favorite for sun-seeking sybarites who indulge in exquisite cuisine and nightlife.
The place to stay is the Majestic Barrière, located on the Avenue La Croisette overlooking the sea. (80 percent of the rooms have views of the Med.) This legendary palace is one of the most distinguished addressed on the French Riviera, adored by celebrities for its high level of personalized service. The hotel features the Michelin two-star restaurant, La Villa des Lys, a flower-filled garden, a beautiful heated outdoor pool with solarium, private sandy beach with water sports facilities, and a health and beauty center. This summer, take advantage of the Barriere Preferred Package at the Majestic Barrière and enjoy rates from just EUR 259 per night including breakfast and free access to the beach with airbed, parasol, and beach towels included. If you stay four consecutive nights, the fifth night is free! Available until June 30, 2007.
May 14, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
The Jumirah Essex House is located at 160 Central Park West, just across the street from the 843 acres of Central Park. With 515 guest rooms undergoing a $70 million renovation, some of the top floors are also being converted into 35 brand new luxury condominium residences. Architect Costas Kondylis of Kondylis Designs is creating 1, 2, and 3 bedroom residences which range from 700 to 3,500 square feet and feature 9-foot coffered ceilings. Many feature Central Park views with floor to ceiling windows but all offer the 5-star service associated with Jumeirah.
Read more details and view floor plans at EssexHouseResidences.com.
By: Courtney W. May
Historic Old Quebec, a United Nations World Heritage Site, is distinguished by charming old buildings, cobblestone streets, walled ramparts, and a striking European character. Visitors are fascinated by the many historic sites, museums, and beautiful churches. Dining establishments run the gamut from renowned spots like Laurie Raphaël, Le Champlain, Panache, L'Initiale and Restaurant L'Utopie, to quick eats specializing in local dishes like Québécois poutine (French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and brown gravy). Why not stay in the very heart of Old Quebec-- in the chateau overlooking the St. Lawrence River? The award-winning Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is a stately heritage hotel located in the very center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Within the Chateau, Fairmont has introduced a boutique hotel, Fairmont Gold, a small deluxe hotel located within the larger resort. The newly renovated boutique is located in the top floors of the main tower, offering superb views of the city and river. Here, guests enjoy private check-in, personalized concierge service, private lounge with complimentary continental breakfast, canapés at cocktail time, and honor bar service. This summer enjoy excellent savings at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac with ''Only One Way Summer'' rates, starting from just CAD 229 per night, until September 3, 2007.
Spring is in the air. Celebrate the season at Frankfurt's Villa Kennedy with the Spring Feeling Package. Get ready to indulge your senses with a VIP Spring Treatment in your room on arrival day, and "Inspirazione" menu for two at the Villa Spa, including a Surrender Massage. Rates from EUR 560 per night (Classic King double), includes delicious buffet breakfast, available until June 1, 2007. Centrally located on the southside of the River Main, the Villa Kennedy is a luxurious retreat in the heart of downtown with tranquil gardens and a beautiful central courtyard. The hotel's three newly constructed buildings are centered around the traditional 1904 Villa Speyer; a sense of historic tradition is complemented by contemporary innovation. The comfortable guest rooms are deigned in a minimalist style, with state-of-the-art technology and spa-like bathrooms with mosaic tiles. The three-level spa features an indoor pool, gym, sauna, steam bath, and eight treatment rooms.
May 11, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: Country Garden Estate, Coast & Forest Views, Land of Queens ...
Once again, both Martin Rusteberg and Lana Bian correctly guessed Last Week's Hotel:
The Maldives has become the most sought-after destination on the planet. The archipelago's desert atolls (white sandy beaches and turquoise waters) boast some of the finest luxury hotels in the world. In this paradise, The Rania Experience truly stands apart-- raising the luxury experience to another level. Ranked as one the hippest new places to stay on Conde Nast Traveler's 2007 Hot List, The Rania Experience is limited to just one exclusive booking at any one time (up to 15 people). Your own private island in paradise includes use of The Rania, an 86 foot luxury yacht with indoor and outdoor lounges, Jacuzzi, and a full entertainment center with home theater. In addition, guests are pampered with yoga on demand, personal dive instructor, three private butlers, personalized gourmet meals, and unlimited spa treatments at The Rania Spa. Opened in 2006, the six-room Rania Experience is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Announcing luxury doggie digs that are truly tail-wag worthy. On May 12, 2007, the Wag Hotel opens in San Francisco. (In fact, you and Fido are cordially invited to attend the grand opening celebration over the weekend, starting 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12.) Room and board aren't your standard kennel service; luxury suites feature plasma TVs, premium beds, sofas, rugs, and paintings, while meals are delivered to guests twice daily, tailored to fit their diet. (Of course organic food is available.) Rooms are cleaned daily, and staff members are available 24/7 to mind your precious pooch. Other perks include supervised play groups twice daily, classical music listening sessions, swims in the pool, massages... From check-in to check-out, Wag Hotel is "more fun than a day at the park."
Housed in the regal Hotel Grand, Cafe Roux is one of Amsterdam's trendy hotspots. The setting is exquisite; bordered by two canals, the historic hotel has been at the center of city life for over six centuries. (In the 15th century, it was a convent and more recently it served as Amsterdam's Town Hall and the wedding spot for Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.) One of Amsterdam's finest brasserie style restaurants, Cafe Roux has won multiple awards, including Wine Spectator's Restaurant Award for four consecutive years. Overlooking a picturesque canal, the restaurant is designed with oak floors and art deco details. The menu changes weekly, taking its inspiration from a specific culinary region of France. It's also possible to dine al fresco in the charming courtyard garden. Afternoon tea is a real treat. Served daily at 3 p.m., priced at EUR 22,50 per person, the tea features warm scones and clotted cream, assorted pastries, and dainty finger sandwiches.
May 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Explore the very best of New South Wales with a fabulous seven-night package put together by Sydney's fashionable Observatory Hotel. From Sydney's cosmopolitan charms, to the majestic Blue Mountains and beautiful Hunter Valley region, the package tour includes a personal guide who will highlight unparalleled vistas, secret, remote locations, and animals in their natural habitat-- all from the comfort of a luxury four-wheel drive vehicle. The "Best of New South Wales" package begins with three nights accommodation at The Observatory, the Sydney hot spot managed by the renowned Orient-Express Hotel group, perfectly located in the heart of the Rocks district.
The package also includes two nights accommodations at Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, one night at Tower Lodge in Hunter Valley, daily full breakfast for two, private tours and transfer service between hotels, a complimentary Tower Estate winery experience (private tasting and guided tour with one of the cellar door team), and one complimentary night at either The Observatory Hotel or Lilianfels. Starting from AUD $5,700 in the low season.