LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Just across from the isle of Nevis in the lower Caribbean, St. Kitts hasn't defined its own tourism niche the way neighboring Nevis has lured well-heeled travelers. Until now, anyway. There's a new high-end development in store, and it promises to dazzle. Christophe Harbour, the 2,500-acre development, will boast luxury hotels from Mandarin Oriental and Auberge Resorts. And if Auberge's new Sandy Bank Bay is any bit as exceptional as its other properties (Auberge du Soleil, Esperanza, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff), we're in for a treat. Situated on a peninsula, the resort site features seven miles of sandy coastline facing both the turquoise Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. There will also be a spa and a Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Auberge's resort is slated for 2009, with the Mandarin Oriental following in 2010.
If the Burj Al Arab is the icon for modern luxury hotel design, then the Burj Dubai, like a phoenix rising from the construction chaos of Dubai, should most definitely be a contender for the next round of "The New 7 Wonders of the World." It is now the tallest building in the world, and it keeps getting taller. Every three days, another floor goes up and no-one really knows how high it is going. Officially, the projected final height of Burj Dubai is being kept a secret-- due to intense competition. In fact, the good folks at Wikipedia can't keep the entry updated fast enough. Rising from the center of the Emaar development, the Burj Dubai claims to be "the most exclusive address in the world." As described by the Washington Post:
From its heights, the super wealthy who have bought one of the project's luxury condominiums will survey the boomtown of boomtowns, a city-state so rich and ambitious that it is remaking its geography, building man-made islands and peninsulas, and a 46-mile, $11 billion canal (to give waterfront access to new real estate developments).
So you've committed some ugly etiquette atrocities. Elbows on the table isn't the worst of it. You've written Miss Manners hoping for her unfailing wisdom on correct behavior. But really, what you need is a dose of the South: a weekend of elegance and etiquette at one of the top resorts in the U.S. After all, Charleston-- only a short drive from the island-- is considered the most mannerly city in America, where etiquette is considered an important part of everyday life. And the resort's AAA Five-Diamond Sanctuary Hotel prides itself on having class, composure, and elegance. To help you and your family learn the etiquette of the south, The Sanctuary has designed a special Elegance and Etiquette Weekend to be held on November 9-11, 2007. The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette will help you refine your social skills: both in the business environment and social arena (the art of dining, and host/guest etiquette). Meanwhile, your kids will learn all sorts of useful tips: setting the table, dining in style, writing thank-you notes and invitations. The two-night event package includes accommodations, welcome tea reception, Etiquette Program sessions, one lunch and dinner, one brunch, and a thank-you cards amenity. Priced from $2,169 for one adult and one child at The Sanctuary (oceanview accommodations).
Fashion divas, heed this one. Now you can hit San Francisco's best, most exclusive addresses for Fall Fashion with the help of Campton Place, the celebrated luxury boutique hotel located right on the edge of Union Square. Find the season's top designs in ultimate comfort with the "Shop Til You Drop" package. Enjoy four nights at the intimate Campton Place Hotel and get spoiled with gracious personalized service (more akin to a stay at an elegant residential apartment). You'll get airport transfers, welcome cocktails, daily breakfasts for two, plus 12-hours in a limo to shop the designer boutiques on Union Square, the chic shops in the Marina and Pacific Heights, galleries across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, the upscale malls in Napa, and even all the charming boutiques of Palo Alto. Available until November 21, 2007, the package is priced from $3,750 and includes all gratuities.
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.