December 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Ice hotels, ice bars, ice spas, luxury igloos... The opulent Four Seasons Hotel George V has jumped on the fashionably-freezing bandwagon. The first ice bar in Paris was opened at the trendy Kube Hotel in the 18th arrondissement. Hipsters flock to this cutting-edge design boutique. Entrance to the Ice Kube GreyGoose vodka bar is EUR 38 for 30 minutes with a limited capacity of only 20 peeps; reservations required. Now the George V has followed suit. According to the NYT:
It's official, freezing is in fashion. Last month in Paris, the Four Seasons Hotel George V opened a luxury ice bar, bringing a Gallic twist to a Nordic novelty. The bar was built entirely of ice in a refrigerated cube in the hotel’s courtyard. Guests are given a black rabbit-fur Kaufman Franco poncho for their 30-minute session inside the boudoir-style interior, which is kept at a frosty 18 degrees. While the hors d'oeuvres won't cure frostbite (ice bars and sorbet), the flavored vodkas (ginger, cinnamon and vanilla among others) served at the glacial bar just might. The bar is open daily, 6 to 11 p.m. until Jan. 15, and the entrance fee of 55 includes drinks and amuse bouches. Reservations are required.
Foodies rejoice! From Sunday, January 7 through Friday, January 12, 2007, gourmands will delight in San Diego's third annual Restaurant Week, where over 125 restaurants will offer special fixed price, three course dinner menus for just $30 or $40 per person. This is a steal considering the participating restaurants are stars on the county's culinary scene. At award-winning A.R. Valentien, for example, guests can indulge in an exquisite menu including such items as the homemade Charcuterie Plate for starters, followed by the Roasted Vande Rose Pork Loin with Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Apple, Frisee and Toasted Hazelnuts, and the Boca Negra with Mocha Cream to finish. For this weeklong culinary celebration, reservations are highly recommended.
Happy New Loews! Escape to Vegas and ring in the New Year at the new resort we've been drooling over. Surrounded by the magnificent lake and desert landscapes, Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort has got it all-- just 17 miles from the Vegas Strip. Rates are a shockingly low $179 per night with the third night free when you stay three nights or more. For a real splurge, choose the Rockin' the Casbah package: an unforgettable Moroccan-style New Year's Eve celebration. $7,007 gets you:
*One night deluxe lakefront accommodations for four in a signature casbah
*Dinner for four at Marssa, where Master sushi chef Fuji’s unique approach to Asian fusion will certainly wow you
*Transportation to and from the Las Vegas strip in a Hummer limo
*VIP passes to TAO, Las Vegas' premier nightclub
*Hangover breakfast for four in the suite
*50-minute Moulay massage for four people at Spa Moulay
It's official. Ski season has begun on the fashionable slopes of Courcheval, where the hip and fabulous flock to the world's largest ski area, situated in the heart of Les Trois Vallées. Where to stay? The ski resort of Le Mélézin, operated by Amanresorts, is an elegant bastion of exclusivity set directly on the slopes overlooking the Alpine village of Courcheval. The 31 guest rooms and suites, finished in red cedar, offer views of the ski slopes and surrounding peaks. (23 rooms feature balconies.) The main salon, with its open fireplace and cozy ambience, is a popular après-ski gathering place for cocktails and conversation (not to mention the mountain vistas). The Turkish-style hammam, spa, Jacuzzis, gym, and pool offer the ultimate in après-ski. The winter season runs until April 10, 2007.
Overlooking a beautiful courtyard garden in the heart of Westminster, 51 Buckingham Gate oozes luxury. Three townhouses, 84 spacious suites and apartments, a team of Ivor Spencer-trained personal butlers: this is central London's perfect five-star address. The flagship property in the West for Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces, 51 Buckingham Gate is also the premier example of eco-friendly hotels raising the bar for the hospitality industry with impressive eco initiatives. The hotel embraces the corporate environmental policy-- Eco Taj-- which focuses on energy and water conservation, recycling projects, and the purchase of eco-products. The Spa at Fifty-One, included in Harpers and Queen's Worlds 100 Best Spas, is the only spa in England to offer pure and chemical-free Sodashi spa treatments. The courtyard garden is fully organic. And since 2005, the hotel has reduced energy consumption by more than 22 percent, cut natural gas consumption by more than 32 percent, and lowered water usage and costs by 25 percent. In 2004, 51 Buckingham Gate won two prestigious accolades for its continuing implementation of eco-friendly initiatives: The Considerate Hotel of the Year and the Environmentally Friendly Hotel of the Year for 2004.
Move over, Dubai. Europe's getting its very own seven-star hotel, the Town House Galleria, in Milan. The hotel's developers opened its doors on Friday, December 15 for the general public to view the premises before the March 2007 opening date. Overlooking Milan's Duomo Cathedral and La Scala opera house, Town House Galleria is located in the second and third floor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan's world-renowned historic shopping arcade. After a large renovation, the landmark building still showcases historic architectural features like the hand painted vaulted ceilings and large shuttered windows. The hotel will feature only 24 suites, and promises the highest level of personal service. Currently the world's only seven star hotel exists in-- where else?-- Dubai. (The sail-shaped Burj al Arab has been the scene of many ingenius photo ops: Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi practicing their game from the helipad, 692 feet above the Arabian Gulf.)
Old-school luxury hoteliers bemoan this latest marking gimmick of the seven-star hotel; after all, there is no standard worldwide hotel rating system, and European hotels officially can only earn five stars. But apparently this is just the beginning of a new flood of "seven star" hotels which will glut the luxury market as the super-rich elite strive to distinguish themselves among the top-tier echelons of high-rollers. Versace fashion house is scheming to open a dozen worldwide.
Dreamin' of ice cream? Indulge in a luxurious Ice Cream Bath Pedicure, now being offered by the Spa at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Create your own personal ice cream sundae formula from the selection of delicious flavors. Select a scoop of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry kiwi, Hawaiian lei, or papaya nectar for the bath bomb-- the flavors are tempting enough to want to eat! Next, enjoy the Sensual Sugar Sherbet Scrub exfoliating lather, available in ice cream flavors. Banish rough heels with a classic ice-cream sandwich and take the pumice stone home with you to guarantee feet look perfect in between pedicures. Then, treat your feet to the luxurious Recovery Wrap in flavors of chocolate, caramel, or marshmallow. Lastly, drench your feet in a selection of toppings infused with Shea Butter and Vitamins A, C, and E during the reflexology-enhanced foot massage. 60 minutes, $130.
Unparalleled luxury is coming to North Carolina's Triangle area. Located just fifteen minutes from downtown Raleigh (and only six minutes from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport), adjacent to the William B. Umstead State Park, the brand new Umstead Hotel is central to all the attractions in the Triangle. Embracing the natural beauty of the surrounding region, the 150-room hotel is nestled alongside a three-acre lake surrounded by 12 acres of gardens and woodland. The luxurious hotel also expresses a profound appreciation for the arts with its vast collection of original art and sculpture, commissioned by Ann Goodnight. The elegant guestrooms feature 42-inch plasma TVs, pillow-top beds, Rivolta Italian linens, writing desks, wired and wireless Internet access, stocked refrigerators, and marble bathrooms with separate shower and deep soaking tub.
Herons, the signature restaurant, will offer modern American cuisine with a Southern flair; the open kitchen and Chef's Table provide a unique culinary theater experience. Here, it's all about regional, organic ingredients from the agriculturally rich Triangle area. The finest local products are incorporated into time-honored Southern dishes. And the exquisite meals will be complemented by carefully selected wines from the 2,500-bottle wine cellar. The outdoor terrace, flanked by a fireplace, features beautiful views overlooking the butterfly and hummingbird gardens. In addition, there's a heated outdoor pool, 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, fitness studio, and a world-class Spa-- filled with natural light-- complete with 10 treatment rooms, meditation courtyard, sauna, steam room, whirl pools, and relaxation lounges. Get ready for sheer indulgence; the hotel is set to open on January 15, 2007 and is now accepting reservations. Special introductory rates are being offered between the dates of January 15 and March 31, 2007.
The 4th annual Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards winners were revealed at a black-tie gala dinner at the luxurious Pierre Hotel in Manhattan on December 14, 2006. Four Seasons rocked the luxury hotel chain category, with Travel Weekly readers awarding it both the best "luxury chain" and the best "upscale chain." Starwood Hotels and Resorts led the rankings for both Europe and South Pacific regional hotel brand of the year. And Mandarin Oriental grabbed top honors for Asia's top hotel chain. (Domestic chain? None other than Marriott managed to snag that award.) The top resort worldwide was awarded to St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora.
Coming March 4, 2007: The first major exhibition to explore the role of the American West in the development of modernism in the United States. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Modern West will be at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until June 3. View one hundred paintings, watercolors, and photographs from such influential artists as Frederic Remington, Georgia O'Keefe, Jackson Pollack and Ansel Adams. This extraordinary exhibition demonstrates the enormous impact of the Western landscape on American modernism-- a conceit which has long been underestimated.