This article in the Sydney Morning Herald is a fantastic read, and includes top travel picks from Tony Wheeler, of Lonely Planet (who picks the Balkans as the European hotspot of the moment, and Mali in Africa), Hilary Doling of Luxury Travel Magazine (Laos is it for 2006), and other experts.
DailyCandy gives us the scoop on the latest stylish travel trend: Alex Grant laptop carriers. The essence of chic, while entirely functional at the same time. InStyle Magazine (October 2005) also went gaga over these bags. The totes and messenger bags each come with their own matching agb signature case-- padded to protect your laptop and sized to fit inside the larger bag. Talk about cool design.
You heard that right, folks. The lovely Fairmont is to be acquired by Kingdom Hotels and Colony Capital. The combo with Singapore-based Raffles creates a new luxury hotel brand with 120 hotels in 24 countries. The dry deets are spelled out in the press release:
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc. ("Fairmont" or the "Company") (TSX/NYSE: FHR) today announced that it has entered into an Acquisition Agreement whereby a Canadian company owned by Kingdom Hotels International ("Kingdom") and Colony Capital ("Colony") will acquire all of Fairmont's outstanding common shares at a price of US$45.00 per share in cash. The total value of this transaction, including debt and the combination with Raffles, is expected to be approximately US$5.5 billion (or US$3.9 billion, without giving effect to the Raffles combination).
Even the classy and elegant Hotel Meurice has stooped to a new, commercial low. Maybe it's still reeling from the fines imposed by the French government for price-fixing, searching for new ways to lure American pocketbooks. But I'm simply amazed by the latest promotion offered by the classic Parisian hotel. Yes, the Da Vinci Code is a fun read, and the movie (with an all-star cast) promises to be even better. But tours of the best museum in the world catering to the fictional thriller?! It seems akin to the Parisians welcoming McDo to a spot in the Tulieries. If I can't thwart your enthusiasm, here are the dreadful details:
The "Da Vinci Package" includes accommodations, American breakfast (of course), Private guided tour of the Louvre Museum and the St Sulpice Church, and a special Da Vinci commemorative gift. Starting at EUR 702 a night, for a minimum stay of two nights, valid until December 28th, 2006.
Hotel Meurice, Official Site
Hotel Meurice, Five Star Alliance
On the next 20 hour flight to Asia, how about learning a little Cantonese, Japanese or Korean? Singapore Airlines now provides passengers with the opportunity to learn 22 languages provided by Berlitz Word Traveler on the inflight entertainment system. Via IHT
The best part of winter (besides hitting the slopes or lounges in Aspen, Jackson Hole or Zermatt, of course) are the special offers wheeled and dealed by luxury hotels in order to fight the vacancies of their shoulder seasons. Nothing like a free night at one of the best hotels in Europe to entice a winter-weary traveler for a luxurious long weekend. At the Hotel Majestic, guests are pampered in a destination hotel that is smack in the middle of all that's cool in Barcelona: Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, Gaudi's strange and marvelous architecture. The rule may even apply to the most glorious and fashionable penthouse in the city, with its whopping 3,230 sq ft of space. From now until the end of February, take advantage of the 3x2 Offer, where guests are awarded with a free night after paying for two. And the weather map in the International Herald Tribune this morning seems to suggest that guests could even marvel at the panoramic city-view from the rooftop pool and solarium right about now (Spain is blessed with some remarkably mild winter temps.)
Hotel Majestic, Official Site
Hotel Majestic, Five Star Alliance
Get yourself to the metropolis of music for the 2006 gala for Wolfgang Amadeus' 250th birthday. In Salzburg, the composer's birthplace, the entire city has become a stage, with 55 first performances, 36 operas, 260 concerts, and exhibitions galore. Soak up that culture-- just revel in it!-- while spoiling yourself at the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, located in the heart of the city on the banks of the Salzach River. The preferred hotel of statesmen and royal families, the turn-of-the-century Grand Hotel has a long tradition of luxury and style, usually booked solid during the annual Salzburg Festival. Of course, it's the place to stay during Mozart's birthday extravaganza.
Hotel Sacher Salzburg, Official Site
Hotel Sacher Salzburg, Five Star Alliance
January 27, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Hans Bruland, General Manager, The Hay-Adams Hotel A note from our friend at this historical hotel in Washington, DC:
Our four-month restoration in 2002 involved an expenditure totaling over $20 million, adding guestroom comforts, luxuries and advances in technology for a superb new presentation. Modern amenities such as high speed Internet access and component audio systems now complement the hotel's traditional luxury.And in case you missed the Commander-in-Chief with Geena Davis last fall:
As we continue in our quest to update the Hotel whilst maintaining the timeless elegance, the Hay-Adams has recently undergone a $1 million upgrade including a modern luxurious business center that meets the needs of the global traveler.
The Hay-Adams was mentioned twice in the second episode "First Choice" of the ABC drama about a female President in the Office.It pays to be the only hotel which overlooks The White House. The Hay-Adams, Official Site The Hay-Adams, Five Star Alliance
This year, Valentine's specials abound, but this is one of my favorites, found where else… but in the most romantic setting of them all, the City of Light. The very popular Pavillon de la Reine—located in the Marais district in the heart of Paris-- has created a special package this year that would make even a few days trip across the Pond worthwhile. Small and charming, yet offering all the luxurious amenities of a grand hotel, the Pavillon is like an elegant and warm Parisian home. The Valentine's special is a steal at EUR 385 per night in a Junior Suite (compared to the usual EUR 685), and EUR 495 per night in a Suite (how's that for savings from the usual EUR 775?) Includes accommodations, a bottle of Champagne Rosé, Fine Chocolates and Roses, a Continental or Buffet breakfast, and a surprise gift from Tiffany and Co. for your special Valentine. Offer valid from Feb 9th to February 20th, based upon availability.
Pavillon de la Reine, Official Site
Pavillon de la Reine, Five Star Alliance
At long last, the new, fabulously improved Getty Villa Malibu opens on Saturday. After extensive renovations—this was the original home of the Getty Museum—the Villa will reopen as an educational center and museum dedicated to ancient Greek and Roman art and culture. How to score tix? The process for free admission is the same as the stupendous Getty Center that we know and love (I admit it: I've lured friends and family to the top of that hill just to walk the grounds and gape at the architecture, gardens and view. Forget the art, this is the best vista in all of LA!) Advance, timed tickets are required for each individual and can be obtained online or by calling (310) 440-7300. Parking is 7 dollars a car. (Take note: the Villa is closed on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)