Announcing the 1 Hotel and Residences, the brainchild of Barry Sternlicht, former big shot at Starwood. (As HotelChatter points out, this is the same mastermind behind the yet-to-be-seen Crillon lux hotel brand.) The new hotel brand aims to compete directly with the St. Regis (Starwood's lux label), Ritz-Carlton, and Four Seasons brands. And Sternlicht's setting his sights high: these hotels will have a "level of amenities and service lofty enough to earn a coveted five-star ranking from Mobil Travel Guide." Hotel launch locations will include Seattle, Scottsdale, Paris, Mammoth Mountain (Cali), and Fort Lauderdale. It's a crowded field. In South Florida, for example, the St. Regis Fort Lauderdale Hotel and Residences has been under construction since 2000 and is expected to open soon, and other luxury properties—including hotels by Trump and W—are in the works. (Not to mention the already existing five-star hotels.) How will 1 Hotels distinguish itself? It's being billed as the first ultra-luxurious, eco-friendly global hotel brand. 1 is planning to donate one percent of revenue from each hotel to local environmental groups, and the NRDC will serve as the environmental adviser.
Pictured: St. Regis, Fort Lauderdale
What could be better than a few days retreat at the exclusive Peter Island resort? Add to that a few nights onboard the luxurious 41' sailing yacht Silmaril. Peter Island has devised the picture-perfect way to experience the best the Caribbean has to offer. By boat, explore the crystal-clear waters of the British Virgin Islands, and on land, discover the 1,300 acres of lush tropical island, and get pampered in style at the sophisticated luxury resort considered one of the best hotels in the world. (Added bonus: the new, swanky $6 million Spa.) The Ashore/Afloat package includes accommodations, full American plan (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), private lunch on a nearby secluded beach, unlimited use of facilities/activies (tennis, hobie cats, windsurfing, fitness center) and airport transfers. From November 1, 2006 to December 19, 2006, the four night package starts from $4,659. (Seven nights start at $6,401). From January 4 to April 15, 2007, the package rates are $5,330 and $7,925 respectively. All rates are based on double occupancy.
October 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Set amidst swaying coconut palms overlooking the beaches of the Gulf of Thailand, Four Season's newest resort is a stunning hilltop oasis. The spacious Thai villas and residences are surrounded by tropical gardens and coconut groves, and each boast private infinity pools, sundecks, and al fresco living spaces with incredible panoramas of the white sand beaches and turquoise sea. The Spa—deeply rooted in Thailand's rich healing tradition-- is housed in five salas, each equipped with two indoor and two outdoor massage beds, two outdoor showers, an outdoor bathtub and either a steam sauna or an indoor rain shower. And there are tennis courts, a yoga pavilion, and an excellent fitness center. This is the ultimate tropical idyll. Now accepting reservations for arrivals starting February 1, 2007.
October 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Skip the stressful holiday get-togethers and create your own holiday vacation, chilling at four participating Omni Hotels. The unique "Run from the Relatives" package is available from November 18, 2006 to January 7, 2007 at the Omni San Diego, Omni Los Angeles, Omni Tucson, and Omni Interlocken (in Colorado). Soak up the sun or hit the slopes and enjoy 50 percent off rack rates, starting at just $199 per night. The package includes accommodations, breakfast for two in-room, a "whimsical pre-printed menu of excuses" to give relatives, and a $50 American Express gift card "to send to family members to apologize for not seeing them for the holiday."
October 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The secret's out about Itacaré. The favorite destination of Gisele and Sean Penn—a tropical paradise of white sand, lush palms, waterfalls, mangrove swamps and turquoise waters-- will witness the hottest luxury hotel opening in 2007, with the debut of the gorgeous eco-resort Warapuru. Wallpaper* hails it as a "Bond-style hideaway" that is "set to become the country's most exclusive retreat." And to quote the Fall issue of the New York Times Style Magazine:
While progressively more luxurious eco-resorts have been opening in early-adopting regions, the boom is currently spreading to more surprising destinations — like megapolluting Brazil. "Anyone with any feeling for the world is going green," says the cult interior designer Anouska Hempel, who is at work on Warapuru, a lavish eco-resort set to open next year on Brazil's north coast; made entirely of locally sourced materials, it will have customized spa treatments using native plants.
Anouska Hempel (who did Blakes in London and The Hempel in Amsterdam) has created a modern visual masterpiece, nestled within the rainforest canopy on a unique coastline. Warapuru will have 40 pavilions, beach club, restaurants, and exclusive spa. Opening set for early 2007.
Talk about a Grand Slam. Kiawah Island Golf Resort has been racking up the awards lately. It's been selected as the Best Golf Resort in the US by Travel and Leisure Golf. Readers of Travel and Leisure Family recently rated Kiawah as the Top Family Resort in the East. Golf Digest awarded the Ocean Course a perfect 5 stars rating in the "Best Places to Play," and Golf Magazine ranked the Ocean Course as No. 3 in the "Top 100 You Can Play," ahead of Pinehurst and Torrey Pines. And Tennis Magazine ranked Kiawah as the number one resort. Wow.
After $177 million in renovations since 1997, including the addition of the gorgeous luxury hotel The Sanctuary, Kiawah has dazzled its guests with gracious hospitality and superb facilities. Families are attracted to the excellent recreational activities, including beach, biking, tennis, and fabulous children's programs. And golfers are lured to the five world-championship courses, including the famed Ocean Course, recently redesigned by Pete Dye with a $4 million overhaul (the 18th green is now right next to the ocean). There's a brand new, 24,000 sq-foot Club House in the works, with wrap-around porches overlooking the dunes, slated to open in May 2007 in time for the PGA Senior Open Championship. Kiawah has a number of excellent Fall Golf Packages, which include three nights accommodations, breakfast and dinner, and all greens fees for three rounds of golf. Starting from $313, per person, per night.
Be the first to experience the newly-renovated Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club after its $100 million face-lift. Located midway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the Fairmont Turnberry Isle is a Mediterranean-style resort renowned for its golf, tennis, spa, and ocean club. But after the six month renovation, the resort is about to add another meaning to the word "luxury" on its reopening on December 15, 2006. Ready for the ultra-luxurious details?
The 392 oversized, oceanfront rooms and suites have received millions in upgrades: furnishings, flooring, complete bathroom renovations, new flat screen televisions, and patio furniture. The two championship golf courses have been completely redesigned by golf Hall of Fame recipient Ray Floyd, with a $30 million investment for elevation changes and new contours amidst the lush tropical grounds. The Willow Stream Spa and fitness center has also been completely refurbished, along with the Golf Pro Shop. The tennis courts are now lit for night-play, and the private Ocean Club just got a little swankier with a complete make-over.
October 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The capital of the UAE is glamming it up. These days, Abu Dhabi is experiencing a fashionable revitalization, mirroring the prosperous growth of nearby Dubai. A booming real estate market means a new city convention center, lots of hip restaurants... and five-star hotels are opening their doors. In fact, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts recently announced the February 2007 opening of the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi-- a joint project with the Al Jaber Establishment and Tourism Development and Investment Company. Situated on a 21 acre property facing a 1,000 meter-long private beach, the 214-room luxury hotel will feature CHI (the signature spa), myriad dining options (including poolside bar and a lively souk), health club, five outdoor pools and water sports, and luxurious sea-facing accommodations.
October 10, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May, Editorial Advisory Board There are 4 new additions to the Small Luxury Hotels collection, including the first members in the Middle East, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa at Zighy Bay, Oman Tucked away in a quiet fishing village on the northern tip of the Oman peninsula and backed by mountains which wrap around a secluded 1.6 kilometre sandy beach, the location of Evason Hideaway at Zighy Bay is nothing less than dramatic. When this hotel of uncompromising luxury opens in 2007 it will boast a private marina, as well as 85 pool villas and pool villa suites complete with personal butlers. The hotel will also offer its guests a rather unique mode of arrival – as a companion passenger of a professional paraglider. Definitely not for the faint-hearted! For something a little more sedate, guests will also have the option of a 10-minute speed boat transfer or a scenic drive from the top of the hill overlooking the bay. Desert Palm Retreat, Dubai When Desert Palm Retreat opens in October 2006 it will be Dubai’s first boutique resort and also SLH’s first hotel in the United Arab Emirates. Set in 150 acres of unexpectedly lush, green countryside on a private polo estate, the hotel will set a benchmark for hospitality in Dubai. Accommodation will comprise 13 beautifully appointed Polo Rooms with balcony views over the main polo fields, four one-bedroom pool villas, six three-bedroom Pool Residences and a Presidential Suite. Guests of Desert Palm Retreat will also have the opportunity to admire the owner’s collection of priceless art and antiques. The hotel will have a choice of three restaurants offering unsurpassed culinary delights, while an innovative Aquum Spa will complete the experience. Lanson Place, Hong Kong The doors of this discreet urban hotel first swung open in December 2005 to reveal beautifully executed contemporary décor throughout every one of the 194 guest rooms, which include six residences and 12 suites. Lanson Place is located on a discreet side street within easy walking distance of three of Hong Kong’s most lively neighbourhoods; Central, Wanchai and Causeway Bay providing a welcome and intimate haven away from the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city. First impressions are everything, a philosophy that resonates through the intricate wall sconces and chandeliers commissioned from glassmakers in Murano, Italy located in the lobby. An elegant collection of over 300 individual pieces of original artwork feature throughout this luxurious property. Discovery Shores, Boracay Island, the Philippines On the unspoilt shores of Boracay Island in the Philippines, Discovery Shores will be the island’s first true luxury resort of international standards when it opens in December 2006. Consistently rated within the top 20 beach destinations in the world, this pristine escape known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters is the ideal getaway for marine enthusiasts. Discovery Shores will showcase its breathtaking location with 67 metres of beach front and 88 units sloping upward from the beach to capture the spectacular ocean views. Guests at Discovery Shores will marvel at a 14 metre waterfall, several cascading pools, and a swim up pool bar, whilst having access to a fitness centre and world-class Mandala Spa. Small Luxury Hotels of the World Collection
October 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
An exotic tropical island, beachfront villa on Martinique, private bungalow in the Greek Islands, the seclusion of the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee… Relais and Chateaux properties offer the perfect romantic escape, whether for a honeymoon, anniversary, or quick romantic getaway. When you use your American Express Card to book at select luxurious destinations around the world, you'll receive the fourth night for free, along with a special VIP welcome amenity, such as Champagne on arrival and an assortment of local regional delicacies. Available through December 31, 2006.
(Pictured: Capri's stunning Hotel Caesar Augustus, perched on the cliffs high above the sea.)