LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Just 150 miles from Shanghai, you'll find a stylish sanctuary-- a modern day imperial compound-- that's hailed as China's leading resort. Nestled in the tea-covered hills of Fuyang village in Hangzhou province, the magical Fuchun Resort was inspired by a 700-year old painting. These lush surroundings were where Yuan dynasty painter Wang Gongwang went into exile, and it's easy to see why this storybook setting prompted his classic landscape painting, "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains." And with villas designed by Jean-Michel Gathy of Amanresort fame, it's no wonder Condé Nast described the Fuchun Resort as one of the World's Best New Hotels (2005)-- the only hotel in China to make the list. The accommodations are stunning, with Jacuzzis and oodles of technological gadgetry. From your private balcony, you'll contemplate incredible mountain views. Other facilities include a glamorous spa, golf course, two tennis courts, a mountaintop conference pavilion, and a ballroom.
London sparkles at Christmastime, so why not hit the shops, take in a Christmas show, go merry-making around town? Complete the experience with a stylish overnight stay at Claridge's (that glamorous establishment) or The Berkeley (the Knightsbridge home of Petrus restaurant and the hip Blue Bar), where you'll find some dazzling good deals available over the holidays. The "Christmas on Ice" package promises a welcome bottle of champagne, two tickets for ice-skating at the National History Museum with a basket filled with hot chocolate and stollen cake to sustain you, and traditional English breakfast next morning. Festive rates start at just GBP 289.
Hurry! The award-winning Chateau Elan, the wildly popular winery and resort situated just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, has announced a last-minute Spooky Weekend Special. Buy one night at the regular rate of $199 and get the second for free! Looks like it's all treats and no tricks for the folks that can snag this offer. (Only a limited number of rooms are available at this special rate.) Book for Friday and Saturday night (October 26 and 27, 2007) or check in on Saturday and enjoy your free night on Sunday, October 28.
The world's biggest jumbo jet landed in Sydney today. The first commercial flight for the A380, operated by Singapore Airlines, was a resounding success, as the tickets for the inaugural flight were sold as part of a charity auction. (Folks paid between $560 and $100,380 for seats.) Word from the lucky passengers who took part on the maiden voyage? The plane is an engineering marvel, with a cabin that's practically silent. The cabin products are dreamy. Case in point: the Singapore Airlines Suites (pictured)-- a class beyond first. Modeled on luxury yacht interiors, the suites feature real beds with Givenchy-designed bedding. It's like your very own personal cabin, where you dine off fine china and drink from crystal glasses. The plane will be introduced on long-haul routes to London, Tokyo, and San Francisco in early 2008.
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a... flying whale in the sky! In fact, this enormous whale will be an eco-hotel, an environmentally-sensitive air-ship that cruises the earth. The mastermind behind the Manned Cloud? Jean-Marie Massaud, the brilliant designer who used to work with Philippe Starck and who was named Designer of the Year at last year's Salon du Meuble in Paris. His dream-- a unique, helium-filled hotel from where you can appreciate the most marvelous views of Earth-- could be realized as soon as next year.
How to improve on perfection? Open a splendid, new spa called Fern Tree. The timelessly elegant Half Moon, a favorite Caribbean hideaway, has opened the doors to a new facility that will knock your socks off. Celebrated as "a destination within a destination," the spa is housed in the resort's signature Fern Tree House; the conversion retained the original colonial design of hardwood floors and white-washed verandahs situated in beautifully-landscaped gardens. Choose an individual spa treatment or experience a customized, step-by-step program developed by the Spa Elder, your experienced guide who is trained in the use of local indigenous ingredients. Upon arrival at this 68,000 square foot oasis, each guest enjoys a ceremonial foot bath. Treatments utilize premier skincare lines from Jamaica and Europe, highlighting the indigenous botanicals of Montego Bay (Pevonia, Thalgo, and pure essential oils from Jamaica's Blue Mountain Aromatics). Choose a luxury VIP suite and bask in the posh amenities: full bath, private patio and garden with hot tub and shower.
The coolest place to bunk down in Montreal is the Hotel Opus, the sleek contemporary boutique hotel that was formerly the Hotel Godin. A design mecca, Hotel Opus is a chic, minimalist space right smack in the middle of Montreal's most in-vogue neighborhood, at the corner of Sherbrooke and Boulevard Saint-Laurent. The building's exterior is split in two distinct halves: the historical "Édifice Godin" and the modern brick-concrete addition. Guest rooms blend a sleek aesthetic with luxurious comfort. You'll find custom-designed furnishings and cutting edge technology. The stylish hotel is also home to dramatic Suco Lounge, a hip night spot where stainless steel sculpture works by Scott Eunson are exhibited. The Hotel Opus was named to Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List in 2005 and it's still getting rave reviews. Pssst! The Hotel Opus is pet-friendly, so don't leave Fido at home!
It may not yet be ski season in North America's top ski destination, but Whistler Blackcomb offers a scenic mountain getaway all year-round. The future site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Whistler is surrounded by glaciers, alpine meadows, and awe-inspiring mountain peaks. Experience the pinnacle of luxury at one of Canada's most exclusive mountain resorts with a special promotion available for a limited time. Until November 21, 2007 (a day shy of opening day on the slopes), get a third night free when you book a two-night stay. Rates start as low as CAD 245 per night. At the Four Seasons, hit the well-equipped gym and take advantage of the complimentary Virtual Workouts downloaded to an iPod. After your work-out, relax in the eucalyptus steam room. Or discover the free-form outdoor pool and whirlpools, reminiscent of a glacier spring. Dine by the fireside at Fifty Two 80 Bistro and take in some impressive views of the local mountains. And during your stay, be sure to spend some time at the superb spa, where the luxurious treatments use only all-natural ingredients: seaweed, fresh fruits, wild flowers, pure essential oils and clay harvested from British Columbia's glacial lakes.
Step into a canoe, where you are transported to a private island in the middle of an azure lagoon. Candles flicker against the sand. Music plays. A dedicated butler brings champagne, and a message in a bottle-- your menu written on a scroll inside. Surrounded by lush tropical foliage, you taste a salad with hearts of palm, followed by yellow tomato gazpacho, before sinking your teeth into a magnificent plate of Mahi Mahi with garlic and chilli guajillo served with mashed potatoes and spinach. Between courses, vodka and lime sorbet cleanses the palate. For dessert? A warm chocolate volcano cake accompanied by macadamia ice cream. The Private Lagoon Dinner at the award-winning Tides Zihuatanejo is easily the most exclusive dining experience on Mexico's Pacific coast.
Experience paradise for a song. La Samanna, an Orient-Express hideaway in the French West Indies, is a chic, white-washed wonderland where restaurant provisions are flown in from France daily. And it recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, to boot. This beachfront spa resort has all-time low promotional rates of $395 per night during peak season. The catch? You must arrive on one of the following arrival dates: November 25 and 26, 2007, January 30, 2008, or February 26, 2008. As Travel + Leisure points out, this is a whopping 60 percent savings, as normal peak season rates start at around $1,000 a night. But hurry, this "Best Deal Days" promotion is bound to book fast.