LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
A regular size TV will no longer cut it. The digital revolution during the age of TiVo means business travelers are used to home entertainment systems far superior than the technology found on the road. But now the tide has turned. Luxury hotels are upgrading rooms with high definition TVs, iPod docking stations and a wide selection of programming, personal entertainment systems with movies, music, and games, and more. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, in the hotel industry, the technology race is on. There's been a "paradigm shift more toward the lifestyle traveler." The good news for this new breed of road warriors: with on-demand programming, you'll never miss another episode of Entourage again.
It's been named one of the top 11 luxurious places to lose weight. Spa Finder, Travel and Leisure, and Conde Nast Traveler agree that it's one of the top spas in the world. Green Valley Spa and Resort offers pure, unadulterated luxury in the midst of rugged red rock country. Adventure abounds (mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing), while stress-melting spa treatments promise to restore the body and mind after a long, fun-filled day. This summer, indulge in some girlfriend therapy and spoil yourself with a getaway at Green Valley. The Luxury Adventure Package is a three night/four day stay with three delicious spa cuisine meals per day, decadent spa treatments daily, and sumptuous four-diamond accommodations. Enjoy guided hikes, fitness classes and lectures, and Green Valley's full signature skin care set. The girlfriend package also includes robe, slippers, spa outfit, and flowers, fruit, and bottled water in-room. Book during July or August and get a $300 discount. Rates start at $2,700, double occupancy.
Any day now, Paris will welcome its latest luxury boutique: Hotel Lumen. Behind a Haussmanian façade (like Hotel Fouquet's Barrière), the hotel will combine contemporary and baroque styles. Created by architect Alain Daronian and designer Claudio Colucci, the hotel's central design concept is the importance of light (from which it derives its name). What could be more appropriate in the City of Light! Situated smack dab in the center of Paris, the Hotel Lumen will be a stone's throw from the Louvre, the Place Vendôme, and all the mythological treasures of the 1st arrondissement. Of the 33 guest rooms, choose from the St. Roch single rooms (with views of the stained glass windows of the beautiful St. Roch church), the Pyramides double or twin rooms, the Lumen rooms (with lots of light), and the beautiful, luminous suites on the 5th and 6th floors. The on-site Parisian brasserie will serve delightful neo-classical cuisine inspired by Frédérick Grasser-Hermé, the acclaimed cookbook writer.
San Francisco's been abuzz with the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, and other North American cities have followed suit. Montreal's grandest and most gracious hotel, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, reached international fame when John Lennon and Yoko staged their Bed-In during May 1969 and composed the song "Give Peace a Chance" in Suite 1742. The commemorate the anniversary, the award-winning hotel is offering the "Give Peace a Chance" package, so lucky guests can stay in the legendary suite and bring a piece of history home with them. Enjoy one night's accommodation, souvenir Bed-In pajamas similar to John and Yoko's, a bouquet of White Flowers and souvenir white flower petals, a signature tea box with English jam, personalized souvenir menus, full breakfast and dinner as ordered by John and Yoko, a bottle of wine, calligraphied keepsake lyrics to ''Give Peace A Chance'', two souvenir CDs of the Bed-In, framed souvenir picture of the Bed-In, and a limousine transfer from the airport. Available until December 31, 2007. Rates start from CAD 1,969 (how clever).
At long last, Boeing introduced its newest commercial jetliner on July 8 (fittingly, that's 7/8/07) before a packed house of 15,000 folks at the assembly factory in Everett, Washington. The first test flight won't take place until late August or September, but that doesn't mean the orders have stopped streaming in. Boeing's counted orders from 47 customers for a whopping 677 of the aircraft. Built from composite materials, the planes will be a lot lighter and thus use 20 percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized aircraft. It also means quieter takeoffs and landings.
Now is the time to visit the magical kingdom of Bhutan. For centuries closed to outsiders, the country has slowly opened its doors to visitors in recent years. Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Himalaya, Bhutan is a wonderland of pristine landscapes, colorful architecture, and beautiful, enduring cultural traditions. A year of celebration is coming up for Bhutan: the new King will be crowned in Spring 2008 and the coronation of the fifth Dragon King promises to be a grand, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Join in the revelry while staying at Uma Paro, the 29-room five-star boutique opened by COMO Hotels and Resorts in fall 2004. Surrounded by a wild and dramatic topography-- terraced hills, towering, snow-capped peaks, orchard-lined rivers-- Uma Paro is a retreat rich in luxurious comforts, where guests find themselves inspired by the cultural riches of Bhutan.
Opulent, splendid, jam-packed with luxurious amenities, of course. This is Vegas we're talking about. But Caesars Palace has something else to add to its impressive list of world-class facilities: a Tea Sommelier. That's right. As guests unwind at the incredible, new Qua Baths and Spa and enjoy specialty treatments found nowhere else in the world (bath liqueur, Roman Rituals, anyone?), the Tea Sommelier will serve delightful teas from an inspired menu in the Tea Lounge. Teas are created specifically for each gender, so men can sample the Gunpowder, a wok-fired Chinese green tea rolled into tablets resembling gunpowder, while the ladies sip Summer Rain, a cantaloupe and lychee flavored white tea.
P.S. For the royal treatment, try a cup of Silver Needle, a white tea so delicate it was once handpicked by virgins in white gloves and served only to Emperors.
Like its sister hotel in Riyadh, the new Rosewood Corniche hotel will provide unrivaled luxury in Saudi Arabia. The third Rosewood property in the Kingdom, the Corniche is located in the heart of this bustling urban center by the Red Sea. (The city is the second largest in Saudi Arabia, a major business capital, and a principle gateway to Mecca.) But Jeddah is also touted as Saudi Arabia's own St. Tropez, a resort town for sun-seekers. In the middle of all the action, the new luxury hotel will attract both business and leisure travelers. Business women will appreciate the dedicated Ladies' Floor, created exclusively for female travelers, a "first" in the Kingdom. Here, female butlers will unpack luggage, provide travel information, and assist with special requests 24 hours a day. In fact, all guests enjoy the benefits of 24-hour butler service, along with the latest in technology in their luxurious guest rooms. Doting hotel staff will be decked out in uniforms designed by international fashion icon, Yahya Al Bishri, whose couture collection has been worn by Saudi Royals and the Prince of Wales. For a truly regal experience, book the Royal Suite located on the top two floors of the hotel, complete with private cinema, magnificent bathrooms overlooking the sea, two personal butlers, and opulent master bedroom and relaxation lounges.
Discover what Thomas Jefferson called Utopia, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Just minutes from Jefferson's historic Monticello in the heart of Virginia hunt country, Keswick Hall is an intimate luxury hotel that recreates the grace and style of the Old World. Overlooking the Arnold Palmer designed golf course, rolling green hills of the Piedmont, and the spectacular mountain ridges in the distance, Keswick Hall's 48 guest rooms are the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, designed with overstuffed ottomans, antique club chairs, beautiful armoires, and beds piled high with comforters and feather pillows. Unwind by the horizon infinity pool and enjoy decadent poolside service. Improve your game on the resort's clay and hard tennis courts, or with private and group instruction. Play a round on the world-class golf course, its lush grounds dotted with beautiful old growth trees. And of course the delights of Charlottesville-- vineyards, elegant antique stores, Jefferson's University of Virginia, and Monticello itself-- abound. Dine at Fossett's Restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase a magnificent panorama, and sample the sumptuous afternoon tea in the Villa Crawford. (In the evenings, relax with a single malt scotch and a fine cigar in this after-dinner gathering place.) With the Summer Escape package, enjoy a welcoming seasonal beverage and cookies upon arrival at Keswick Hall, delight in an award-winning three-course dinner for two, and then wake up with a continental breakfast. Rates start at $415 per night in a Signature Room.
As featured in the July issue of Conde Nast Traveler, the "happening white-on-white rooftop bar, Dome" is the place to be in India's commercial, cultural and movie capital. In the midst of all this glamour, the 58-room InterContinental Marine Drive commands a sweeping view of the Arabian Sea. There are a number of fine dining options at the elegent hotel, but the al fresco rooftop venue stands out for its dreamy ambience. Voted Mumbai's most Romantic Restaurant in the year 2005-2006, Dome serves grilled delights from the open kitchen on the terrace. From this open-air cocktail lounge, guests can take in spectacular sunsets and views of the Marine Drive promenade. An international selection of cigars and wines is found at the bar, lit by soft light sreaming through the domed glass.