LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Most folks think of InterContinental Hotels as the first truly international hotel brand in the world. So it's no wonder that InterContinental-- as it continues to define glamorous global travel-- goes the extra mile to provide guests with unique experiences to enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. Case in point: the "In the Know" program that provides online destination videos and Internet communication with the hotel concierges. Today's savvy, worldly guests are pickier about what they expect from hotels, and InterContinental is on hand to point the way to authentic and local destination experiences.
At the InterContinental Grand Stafford in Hong Kong, for example, you'll find maps created by the concierge with suggestions for the best shopping and dining spots in the area. (The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus service to the Star Ferry area, to boot.) And at the Athenaeum InterContinental, the best hotel in Athens, the multi-lingual concierge can do a lot more than arrange tours of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Local insider tips include favorite neighborhoods, new exhibits, and what's new on the city scene. Even suggestions for the best Greek gifts to take home with you. Check out this video from the concierge.
Billed as the world's sexiest hotel, the trendy Adam and Eve Hotel-- located along the Belek coastline near Antalya in southern Turkey-- also boasts the world's largest swimming pool. (It's got a fancy design award to back up its claims.) Floor-to-ceiling windows provide endless views of the Mediterranean. Guest rooms boast state-of-the-art lighting systems and walls of mirrors. The sleek restaurant promises the finest cuisine from cultures around the globe. There are bars aplenty. Plus, there's a cute little promotional ditty, to boot:
a room in paradise
for every adam and eve
a heaven on earth
you'll never want to leave...
Enjoy a very special Thanksgiving, Breakers style. From November 21- 25, 2007, The Breakers Palm Beach will offer a bountiful harvest of good eats and fun-filled activities the whole family will enjoy. Think late-night laser tag, catamaran cruises and snorkeling trips, cooking demos, children's bedtime stories, and drive-in movies. After the Thanksgiving Day parade, savor a sumptuous feast in one of three locations-- the Ballroom, Flagler Steakhouse, or L'Escalier Restaurant—followed by Bingo & Bonfire on the beach. (There will be s'mores and prizes aplenty.) The revelry doesn't stop there; the weekend will be jam-packed with entertaining amusements. Standard Superior Rooms start at $399 per night.
How about a free night on the Grand Canal in Venice? In the sumptuous surroundings of a magnificently restored historic building just steps from Piazza San Marco? With the End of Summer Sale at the Westin Europa & Regina, your third night is free when you book a three night stay between now and December 28, 2007. Plus, you can arrive any day of the week. Housed in five buildings which date from the 17th to 19th centuries, the award-winning hotel offers the perfect combination of traditional beauty and contemporary conveniences-- like the signature Heavenly Bed and Westin WORKOUT room. (Rates start from EUR 330 per night. Book online before October 31, 2007. Promotion code is Z3R.)
PS. Get a bird's eye view of this magical city with a helicopter tour arranged by the hotel.
Falling temperatures in this hemisphere means sweet sunshine in South Africa, and what better time to take a jaunt to Cape Town? Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa offers insane luxury-- "where earth, sea, and sky meet," poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town. Camp out in the pool gardens overlooking the ocean and soak up some rays. Hit the Sanctuary Spa and gape at the endlessly seductive sea views from the Outdoor Gazebo. (Sublime treatment packages make use of the world-class facilities: Cape Town's only Rasul Chamber, brine pool and hot and cold plunge pools, both dry and wet treatment rooms, along with sauna, vichy shower and hydrotherapy bath.) Enjoy a picnic-- packed to your liking from a selection of gourmet treats-- on Cape Town's incredible beaches. After a day exploring the area, return to the award-winning hotel to catch the sunset over the sea, cocktail in hand. After dinner, watch a classic movie in the hotel's 16-seater theater. Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa continues their wildly popular promotion, Four Nights for the Price of Three, until December 18, 2007.
Say hello to the first luxury eco-retreat in Mozambique. Built and operated in partnership with the local community, Azura is situated on an unspoiled island within a National Park-- fringed by deserted beaches, sparkling seas, and swaying palms. The 15 villas, each with their own infinity pool, are just steps from the beach. Showcasing traditional artwork beneath a local thatched jekka roof, the villas are stacked with luxurious contemporary amenities. But Azura boasts more than just creature comforts; here you can enjoy the service of your own private butler. If you can tear yourself away from your private deck and beachside Sala, you'll find a sumptuous spa, superb wining and dining (fine vintages are flown direct from the owner's Loire Valley chateau), and a vast range of activities (fishing, sailing, scuba diving, swimming with the dolphins...) Take advantage of a special introductory offer, from now until November 14, 2007, of $300 per person in a Luxury Beach Villa. The Infinity Beach Villa is $375 per person, while the Presidential Villa is yours for just $550 per person.
Craving some tropical sun? Escape to one of the most indulgent resorts in the Caribbean, and treat yourself to some super savings in the off-season. As the dollar continues to slide to an all-time low against the euro, the chic Hotel Guanahani has guaranteed a dollar-to-euro match so lucky guests can avoid the frightful exchange rate. Nestled within coconut groves and tropical gardens, the colorful cottages at this award-winning resort offer a sophisticated hideaway in a blissful setting. There's nothing like soaking up 180 degree views of the turquoise sea (while getting pampered at the spa) to cure the post-summer blues. The three-night Blissful Guanahani package, identified by Sherman's Travel Magazine as a top luxury value deal for the fall, is a seriously smart splurge. Available until October 31, 2007, the package includes a host of add-ons: daily breakfast, two lunches and dinners per person, one-day car rental, four spa treatments for person, and even a cooking class-- all for $2,025 per person.
September 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Shangri-La is celebrating the holidays big time with festive packages at 13 city and resort hotels from Muscat to Manila. Guests can indulge in all sorts of exclusive add-ons, like daily breakfast for two, CHI massage treatments, dining credits, and late check-out. Book a room at the newly renovated Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, for example, and score rates as low as $250 per night (based on a three-night stay). The offer includes complimentary buffet breakfast at Spice Market Café and a complimentary one-way airport transfer. Nestled beside the crystal clear waters of world-famous Batu Feringgi beach, this resort is home to a beautiful, shore-side restaurant, a happening bar, and luxuriously appointed spa. After a $30 million renovation in 2006, this resort offers accommodations that are downright decadent.
September 27, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A mere $14,500 will buy you a tasty, fruit-infused treat served with an 80 carat aquamarine stone. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, this artistic masterpiece includes a gold leaf Italian cassata flavored with Irish cream, mango and pomegranate compote-- along with a handmade chocolate carving in the shape of a local stilt fisherman (pictured). The inspiration behind the "Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence" is the resort's logo itself; stilt fishing is a centuries old tradition along the beautiful Sri Lankan coastline. Apparently no-one's yet forked over the cash to try this concoction. If you are so tempted, head to the resort's Wine³, a modern glass cave which showcases a breathtaking array of 2,000 Old and New World wines. Your indulgent dining experience is enhanced by the use of handmade glass cutlery, created exclusively for The Fortress by Glass Studio.
September 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Only 36 guests will be allowed to attend this exclusive event at Bermuda's finest resort, Cambridge Beaches. Over the weekend of November 15-18, 2007 the resort proudly welcomes actress and author Mariel Hemingway for a very special event. Inspired by her book Healthy Living from the Inside Out, Every Woman's Guide to Real Beauty, Renewed Energy and a Radiant Life, the weekend will be filled with enriching activities in a stunning seaside setting-- where attendees will also enjoy all the distinctive pleasures of the resort. Hemingway will share her passion for healthy living and spotlight the four cornerstones of her book: food, exercise, home and silence. Highlights include:
* a book signing and cocktail/mocktail party to begin the weekend
* an inspirational beachside yoga session
* a Hemingway-inspired lunch
* a personal Q & A on the benefits of great nutrition and how to choose "foods that boost"
* a delicious sampling of Hemingway's signature menu items throughout the weekend
* a personal conversation with Mariel about stress and the benefits of meditation
This exclusive event package includes premium deluxe accommodations, all meals prepared by the renowned Cambridge Beaches culinary team, additional yoga classes and a spa treatment at the fabulous Ocean Spa. All guests for the event will also receive Rare, a special gift from Lili Bermuda, the island's on-site perfumery. The four day/three night event is priced at $2,825 per person based on double occupancy.