The Taj Hotel empire is expanding. After the 2005 acquisition of The Pierre, the luxurious New York City landmark, and the recent buy-out of the former Ritz-Carlton on Arlington Street in Boston, Taj has its eye on a West Coast property. Up next? Campton Place, San Francisco's prized luxury boutique hotel with the picture-perfect location off Union Square. Kor Hotel Group is unloading this little gem for some $58 million. Soon, Campton Place will become Taj's third hotel in the United States.
Newly opened in November 2006, Angsana Resort and Spa Velavaru is a seductive paradise of golden beaches, turquoise lagoons, and plush, private villas, situated on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away. Here, guests delight to discover the beauty of the Dhaalu Atoll-- with untouched dive sites, reefs, and islands teeming with tropical life. From island hopping and dolphin watching to snorkeling safaris and night fishing, guests enjoy a wealth of experiences. Here on the southern shores of the Maldives-- the world's hottest destination and islands du jour-- Angsana Velavaru has unveiled a Marine Lab dedicated to marine conservation. The research facility aims to safeguard the biodiversity of the Maldivian reefs and ocean, while sharing with resort guests the importance of marine conservation. Guests are encouraged to participate in projects and the complimentary marine biology classes which are taught twice a week. Guided snorkeling safaris are conducted twice a week. The Marine Lab also focuses on protecting sea turtles, as Angsana Velavaru is a known turtle nesting site.
Fans of the designer are thrilled to learn about the latest from Stella McCartney: a limited-edition collection for the LeSportsac label. The collection of 30-40 styles will be all about travel: luggage, lightweight bags, baby accessories, and bags for moms with infants. Prices will range from $200 to $250. Get the goodies in spring 2008 in upmarket boutiques and department stores worldwide. Of course, given the designer's vegetarian ethics, all the goods will be non-leather.
Stay three nights and get the fourth for free at one of the world's best hotels. Situated on the edge of the historic French Quarter, Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel, has certainly racked up the awards. Designed to replicate the interior of an English mansion, the opulent hotel features antiques from the 17th and 18th centuries and an impressive $8 million art collection. Dine at the New Orleans Grill (ranked as one of Zagat's top ten restaurants), unwind at the rooftop pool, or relax in the spa. Savor the best of the Big Easy with a complimentary extra night when you book a room on the new Club Floor at Windsor Court. The four top floors of the hotel are dedicated Club Floors, the pinnacle of luxury in this posh place-- with private keycard security access, the finest views of the city and Mississippi River, personal butler service, and exclusive access the swanky new Club Lounge. The Stay Another Day Offer is available from May through September 2007, starting from $289 a night in the Club Guest Rooms (Full Suites are priced from $329-$575 per night).
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the Egerton House Hotel London?
Sandra Anido: I have worked for the Egerton in London for many years. Over two years ago, I and followed in the footsteps of our previous General Manager and took over the management position.
Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?
Sandra Anido: The Hotel is Unique in it's sense of style, décor, comfort and approach to guests.
Being greeted and welcomed back by a friendly team each and every stay, a smiling face as you walk through the door, the team always and ever trying to have your room ready upon your arrival, 24 hours Reception Team available for any assistance with queries or any concierge requests. A Butler to unpack your luggage on arrival, a personal shopper to assist you and to help you buy the best items. A butler to pour your tea or serve a scrumptious Afternoon Tea. The Housekeeping team to press your shirt before each important meeting.
Not one room is the same; furniture was hand picked, fabrics hand woven. Comfortable armchairs and sofa's, antiques, stunning fabrics and wall papers, soft furnishings, full length mirrors, marble bathrooms, power showers and the best in luxury amenities.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Sandra Anido: Our Hotel has been visited by certain members of European Royal Families. Unfortunately we can not disclose any further information as Privacy is afforded to all our guests including the famous!
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Sandra Anido: Our guests are mostly regular guests who have enjoyed staying at the Egerton for years. A lot of clientele are from the States and the UK.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Sandra Anido: We are literally just a 5 minute stroll away from Harrods & Harvey Nichols. My favourite pass time is of course shopping at Harrods!
Knightsbridge is a Destination; The Egerton House Hotel is located in the heart of Knightsbridge, one of London's most exclusive addresses. Brompton Cross a minute's walk away with some of London’s most wonderful and exclusive boutiques, galleries and shops and restaurants.
Knightsbridge also houses London's most famous landmarks such as The Victoria & Albert Museum and the National History Museum.
Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Sandra Anido: The Egerton House Hotel really offers "a room with a view". Rooms at the front of the hotel offer views over Egerton Gardens, glimpses of the stunning architecture of the Brompton Oratory and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Rooms located on the side of the hotel are overlooking Egerton Garden Mews, the old Stables, offering a feel of the old traditional London, a century ago. The beautifully maintained private gardens at the back of the hotel is an oasis of tranquillity and all rooms on the back of the hotel overlook these.
It is very hard to pick a favorite, as I truly love them all.
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history?
Sandra Anido: When Egerton House opened on a residential Knightsbridge street in 1990, it spearheaded London's "boutique hotel" explosion and was one of the first Hotels in London to open as a Luxury Townhouse Hotel.
Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?
Sandra Anido: The Hotel does not, unfortunately, have any spa facilities in-house, but we offer day passes at a Platinum Health club nearby.
Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?
Sandra Anido: I have worked in the hotel for so many years and it has grown to be my second home and we have a fantastic Team, I would not want to change anything for the world. We experience challenges from time to time but this is all part of the job.
Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?
Sandra Anido: One of London's Top Hotels is Claridge's with its history and stunning Art Deco surroundings.
Bushman's Kloof, also part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection is located in the heart of an African nature reserve. A stunning and fabulous small intimate Hotel.
Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?
Sandra Anido: The hotel holds an extravanganza of stunning art - original prints from Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec. Original old prints from the Illustrated London News, engravings and lithographs of Picasso, Matisse and Braque alongside masterful paintings such as the Parrots by Kim Brooks. Our small intimidate Bar is packed with caricatures by JAK and Sems.
The Egerton Bar is a small intimate discrete little hideaway. Packed with caricatures by JAK and Sems, its the perfect place to have a quiet drink, light snack or entertain friends. Antonio is one of London's most beloved bartenders and Antonio's Martinis are known to be the best in London!
About Sandra Anido: After graduating from The Hague Hotel School, I worked for several boutique properties in the Benelux countries before moving to London which I now consider home. London is a marvelous city and has much to offer and Knightsbridge is the city's most exclusive address. Its an absolute joy for me to share my knowledge of London with our guests and to make sure The Egerton House becomes their home away from home and a truly great experience.
Two South African Icons - the Blue Train and Twelve Apostles Hotel- have come together to create the perfect opportunity for those seeking an indulgent romantic escape. Board the luxurious Blue Train in Pretoria and travel through some of South Africa's most awesome landscapes while being pampered with exceptional personal service. Upon arrival in Cape Town, the Twelve Apostles Hotel will collect guests from the station and transfer them directly to their award winning destination. A Classic or Mountain Facing room awaits - stylishly decorated in contemporary furniture and fabrics. Spend time at the hotel's renowned Sanctuary Spa and indulge in a 60-minute head, neck and shoulder massage included in the package and enjoy the complimentary use of the relaxing hydrotherapy pools.
Packages are availble during the 2007 South African winter and the routes available are Pretoria to Cape Town or Cape Town to Pretoria. Call Twelve Apostles at +27 (0) 21 437 9000 to reserve your dram package.
Savvy travelers are thrilled to discover the Mexican version of Relais & Châteaux. Mexico Boutique Hotels is a collection of almost 50 intimate, privately owned luxury hotels in idyllic settings across Mexico: from colonial hill towns to the Caribbean islands near the Maya Riviera. Some are renovated haciendas, some are charming inns, some are chic design hotels, but one thing unites them: these alluring properties are outstanding--the best Mexico has to offer-- and boast highly personalized service. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo south of the border and take advantage of an excellent promotional offer from Mexico Boutique Hotels. Stay four nights and get the fifth night for free during the month of May. Rates vary per property.
April 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Introducing the beautiful new restaurant located at Santa Monica's beachfront Grande Dame, the storied Casa Del Mar Hotel. Billed as "an inspired seaside experience," Catch promises fresh, inventive cuisine in a gorgeous setting. Executive Chef Michael Reardon has devised a tantalizing menu of Land and Sea offerings like Kurobuto Pork Loin, Crispy Skate Wing, and of course signature sushi and crudo dishes. At the center of the lively scene at Catch is the mother of pearl sushi bar. Delight your palette while soaking in the sweeping views of sandy Pacific beaches and colorful sunsets. Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. Dinner: 6 p.m.- 10 p.m.
PS. Check out their fantastic Easter menu for the weekend. The $70 prix fixe menu offers appetizers like the sashimi platter, entrées like Duo of Colorado Lamb and Dungeness Crab Cakes "Benedict," and desserts like Strawberry Soup and Warm Valhrona Chocolate Cake.
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.
Hint: Sea-view Hotel & Spa, A Dozen Followers, In One of 3 Captial Cities...
And Last Week's answer, which was guessed correctly this time around by selma weisbein, is ...
Scheduled to launch at the end of April, The Stafford Mews (part of The Stafford) will offer a choice of 26 luxury junior and master suites plus The Penthouse Suite - a rooftop apartment with private outdoor terrace overlooking the London skyline. The Penthouse Suite will be located on the 6th floor, and cover over 100 sq metres (1076 square feet). The decor of the new 26 suites will try to create the home-from-home appeal that The Stafford is renowned for. In addition to the new rooms, The Stafford Mews will also offer a Fitness Suite with the latest Cybex cardiovascular equipment and multi-gym system, which will be available for all Stafford guests to use. Rates and availability for rooms in the Mews can be found for May 2007 dates here >>
(The image is an artist's rendering of a Junior Suite.)