August 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Tokyo's most exalted hotel, the setting for the acclaimed film Lost in Translation, is an elegant, peaceful refuge in the heart of the vibrant city. The Park Hyatt Tokyo offers spectacular views of Tokyo and the Kanto Plain all the way to Mount Fuji, from the top 14 floors of the 52-storey Shinjuku Park Tower. The 178 rooms and suites are the most spacious guest rooms in Tokyo, providing a serene retreat and an efficient private office with the latest amenities and high-tech communications. There's a slew of excellent restaurants (like the Zagat #1 rated New York Grill), superb business facilities, and the luxurious Club on the Park, with spa and a state-of-the-art gym with panoramic views of the city. But the best part of the hotel is the glass-encased pool in the sky, the 20-meter indoor pool that seems to float over Tokyo, on the 47th floor of the Park Hyatt.
Discover the paradise island of the North Atoll and the luxury of Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru, just 20 minutes by speedboat from the airport. On this slice of heaven, 48 villas are perched on the sand, surrounded by nothing but the vast expanse of turquoise ocean. Gaze out at the sea from your own personal sundeck, or step onto the powder soft beach to swim above the untouched coral reef with its vast array of colorful tropical fish. To enjoy these magnificent marine creatures of the Maldives, the Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru has put together an awesome Wonders of the Sea Adventure package, where certified divers, guided by PADI-certified instructors, discover the sting rays, green sea turtles, dolphins, and white tip sharks in the deep. Available from July 1 to December 19, 2006, the eight-day, seven-night package offers a series of six dives with villa rates starting from $740 per night per couple. Includes half board meals, exclusive accommodation at Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru and return speedboat transfers between the airport and the resort. At its five-star Gold Palm Resort Dive Center, the Banyan Tree offers the full range of PADI courses. Notably, Banyan Tree employs marine biologists who offer environmental dives and eco-safaris. The Marine Biology Laboratory, the first of its kind to be built by a private resort, works on important conservation and research projects, including Green Sea Turtle and Reef Shark Conservation.
Located in Tokyo Shiodome, the luxurious 37-storey Conrad Tokyo offers panoramic views over the Tokyo Bay skyline. Guests enjoy comfortable, contemporary guestrooms equipped with all the latest technology, the largest banquet facilities in Shiodome, and the Spa Mizuki, the largest hotel spa in Tokyo, with ten treatment rooms, gym, indoor pool, sauna and steam rooms. The hotel's highlight is Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Toyko, the first restaurant in Asia for London's legendary three-star Michelin chef. To celebrate its first anniversary, the Conrad Toyko has put together an excellent value-added "Business Plus" package, which includes daily breakfast either at the brasserie "Cerise by Gordon Ramsay" or via room service, high-speed Internet connection, complimentary access to the swimming pool, one complimentary Pay TV program per day, and two bottles of mineral water per stay. Rates start from JPY42,000 for single occupancy ($365), including tax and service. Two-night minimum stay required, valid until December 31, 2006.
August 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
"Top 50 Asia Hotels" and "Top 100 Best in the World," Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. "Top Favorite Business Hotel," TIME Reader's Choice Awards. "World's Best Places to Stay," Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. "The Greatest 500 Hotels in the World," Travel and Leisure. "Best Hotel Spa," SpaAsia Crystal Awards. Raffles The Plaza is draped with impressive accolades. Ideally situated at the crossroads of Singapore's business, cultural, entertainment and shopping districts, Raffles The Plaza is the most prestigious address in the city. World-renowned for its exemplary service, the hotel offers its guests the ultimate in luxury with 769 guest rooms and suites, a collection of 17 distinctive restaurants and bars, and 70,000 square feet of prime meeting space. RafflesAmrita Spa is one of the largest spa facilities in Asia. Hot off the press: Guests at Raffles The Plaza, Singapore, can now enjoy an unparalleled experience of comfort and luxury in two new BMW 730Li limousines. The limos are thoughtfully embellished with amenities such as the embedded 3G-access technology, iPod, and high-speed wireless connection.
July 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The World Cup may be over, but the celebrations continue at Banyan Tree Phuket, where guests can take advantage of the Halftime escapade until the end of July. The promotion started at the World Cup kick-off—with half price on rooms and spa treatments (for the first five bookings of each day)-- but is available until July 31, 2006.
Stay in a luxurious villa, recuperate from the excitement of the previous night's game with a rejuvenating spa treatment, and start the next day of Halftime pampering with breakfast - all at half the price. Even if your favorite team doesn't win the World Cup, you may still be a winner. In the first week of August, Banyan Tree Phuket will conduct the Halftime Draw and treat one lucky couple to a complimentary 3-night stay in a Tibetan Suite at Banyan Tree Ringha in Shangri-La (Diqing), the highlight of China's stunning Yunnan province.
The Halftime Promotion includes: 50 percent discount on villa rates (no minimum length of stay is required), 50 percent discount on one a-la-carte massage session at Banyan Tree Spa per person per stay, 50 percent discount on daily American buffet breakfast (inclusive of champagne). Rates start at $275 for a Deluxe Villa. This package is only applicable for the first 5 bookings per day.
July 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Voted to the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List of the World's Best Places to Stay, Banyan Tree Bangkok is located in the heart of the bustling commercial center of the city. With easy access to the shopping and entertainment access of Silom road, the all-suite Banyan Tree Bangkok is a rejuvenating sanctuary away from it all. Dining is a treat, both for the tasty gourmet meals and the superb views over the city. These fine dining establishments are the highest in the city (Vertigo Grill is on the 61st flooor!) The Spa--a heavenly oasis with the service and quality of treatments to be expected at Banyan Tree--is likewise situated high above the city: a whopping 54 floors above Bangkok. For the ultimate luxury, reserve the Presidential Suite (the preferred choice of presidents and business leaders), which consists of a two-storey glass dome with spectacular city views, and a loft style bedroom. The Spa Suites are similarly lavish, with their own private treatment rooms, and your choice of bath salts, scrubs, essential oils, and incense.
Splurge on a romantic getaway to Bangkok: immerse the senses with the incredible cultural stimuli of the city, and then retreat to your private urban oasis at the Banyan Tree where you can indulge in sumptuous spa treatments. The Romance in Bangkok Package includes: daily continental breakfast for two persons, one romantic dinner per stay at Bai Yun or Saffron restaurant, choice of one 2-hour 'Rejuvenation' or 'Renewal' spa treatment per person per stay, one 'Intimate Moments' suite decoration including one bottle of wine per stay, Banyan Tree Gallery gift, 10 percent discount at Bai Yun, Saffron and Rom Sai restaurant, and return transfer by Mercedes Benz limousine from the airport to the hotel. Starting at $305 per night. Valid until December 31, 2006. Minimum three night stay.
After a $34 million renovation, The Peninsula Palace Beijing is the premier address in the city. Perfectly located in the center of Beijing, just a short walk from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the hotel combines traditional Chinese style with all the modern amenities expected in a five-star hotel. The 525 guest rooms are beautifully appointed, the restaurants are exquisite, and the fitness facilities are world-class (including a fully-equipped fitness center, swimming pool, steam room, saunas, and massage treatment rooms). Notably, the Peninsula Palace Beijing is the first hotel in the city to provide guests with completely free wireless and broadband Internet access in every guest room. Business and leisure travelers appreciate the hotel's sophisticated technology, inluding 42-inch plasma screen TVs, LCD TVs in the bathrooms, silent fax machines, and bedside electronic panels that control all lighting and audio-visual equipment in-room. Luxurious rooms start at an unbelievably low CNY 1,265 ($158) per night.
SMINTAIR offers every passenger refuge from daily stress and restriction, an island of tranquillity, a World of it's own in the skies... Although innovative, SMINTAIR will treat it's passengers like the guest of an international Grand Hotel. It is an obligation to SMINTAIR to bring back the exclusivity in flying encountered in the 1960s and dearly missed by so many. The classic ambience pared [sic] with today's technology will make flying SMINTAIR a unique experience.So states Smintair on its website. A German entrepreneur has announced plans for a luxury airline that allows its passengers to smoke. Smintair (no, the name doesn't come from the little box of post-cigarette mints; it's an acronym for Smoker's International Airways) is slated to launch in March with flights from Dusseldorf to Tokyo's Narita International on two Boeing 747 aircraft. The flights will offer 30 first class and 108 business class seats, with abundant leg room.
Allowing our guests to smoke is one of the freedoms we are happily prepared to grant. Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests... As the World's first smoker's airline, SMINTAIR is entering many uncovered niches in aviation, designed to give the traveller maximum pleasure out of their flight experience. SMINTAIR spends more than three times the amount usually invested on passenger's nourishment. Signature recipes created by internationally renowned chefs will make each meal a feast. Charming and beautiful flight attendants in uniforms designed by famous couturiers are there to take the very best care of you. Every two years, a new designer will be elected to keep the uniform design a la mode.Marketwatch is skeptical; Smintair needs to raise at least 40 million euros for an operating license from the German federal aviation authority. Time will tell if this baby will actually get off the ground. Related Articles: BBC News, German Plans Airline for Smokers Gridskipper, "Smokes on a Plane"
Forget the full moon party. 2006 in Thailand is one year-long celebration, in honor of the King's 60th year on the throne. In early June, throngs took to the streets in parades and revelers enjoyed a week of work holidays, to commemorate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne on June 9, 1946. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest-reigning living monarch, and commands sincere loyalty and respect across the country, especially for his fight for the underprivileged classes. Now is the time to visit Thailand. Where to stay in Bangkok? Stake a suite at the riverside Peninsula Bangkok, and soak up the hotel's unparalleled luxury and panoramic views of the city and Chao Phraya River. At the hotel voted "World's Best Hotel" by Travel and Leisure readers, the service is legendary and the facilities-- three-tiered swimming pool, a Fitness Center with gymnasium, sauna, and steam rooms, tennis courts, and chic dining options-- are excellent. Related Articles, IHT, "Update: Royal Festivities Offset Seasonal Tourist Drop-Off"
Located in the center of Kowloon's lively Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, just a hop from the Star Ferry terminal, the Langham Hotel is an elegant oasis in a popular location. The recent $35 million renovation has transformed the hotel into a stylish delight, with lavish, contemporary guestrooms oozing state-of-the-art amenities (including the signature "blissful bed") and distinguished as one of the World's Top 10 Hi Tech Hotel rooms by the Sunday Times. As to be expected, facilities are top-notch: a gorgeous rooftop swimming pool and sundeck, excellent business center, a spacious Health Club, and excellent fine dining and hip bar scene. This summer, through September 10, this five-star sanctuary is cutting their prices and promoting a Summer Value Rate that you just can't beat. Starting at just $200 a night, which is 35 percent less than rack rates, including breakfast at Sun's Cafe, complimentary local phone calls, access to the pool and gym, and discounts on all the hotel's enticing restaurants.