LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
September 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Surfing in the Maldives? Who knew?! One of the premier luxury travel destinations in the world, the Maldives is known for its spectacular diving. But now guests of the Anantara Resort, the five-star hideaway spread across five acres of tropical terrain on Dhigufinolhu (island) on the South Male Atoll, can hit the waves as well. As of August 2007, the resort has partnered with award-winning Australian company Tropicsurf-- to offer an exciting range of surfing options including a 4-day coached course. Offshore from the perfect white sandy beaches and tropical lagoons, the aquamarine ocean gives way to perfectly groomed waves, sweeping over curved coral reefs. Both novices and serious thrill-seekers will enjoy the surf breaks of the Maldives. Video analysis is even on hand at the resort to improve each surfer's technique. The Four Day Surfing Course is priced at $695.
The Grand Dame of Boston, formerly a Ritz-Carlton, boasts a killer location at the corner of fashionable Arlington and Newbury Streets overlooking the Public Garden. After an impressive renovation in 2002, the hotel was acquired by Taj Hotels and after 75 years of legendary hospitality, kicks it up a notch with guest-pampering the Taj way. (You'll even find a Fireplace Butler on call). Enjoy award-winning culinary classics in the heart of Boston at The Dining Room, adorned with cobalt blue and crystal chandeliers. From your exquisitely designed guest room, relax by your very own wood-burning fireplace and take in the views of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and the Public Garden.
Seeking style in the Thai capital? The Metropolitan Bangkok serves up high-octane glamour and a cool, contemporary east-west aesthetic. Here you'll find both a calming holistic spa and chic lounge bar that's the center of the action in Bangkok's urban hubbub. In fact, The Metropolitan Bangkok first established its partying reputation with one of the hottest New Year's Eve events the city has ever seen in 2003-- with headline DJs from all over the world. Sip a made-to-measure martini from the hotel's expert mixologists at the Met Bar, then relax on the pool terrace.
Helicopter tour of the city? A two-hour "Symphony of Lights" harbour cruise? Plus dinner for two at T'ang Court, rated one of the world's "top ten" hotel restaurants? Bring it on! The stylish Langham Hotel, fabulously high-tech after a lavish renovation, is offering the Decennial Celebration Package to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the mainland. To mark ten years after the historic transfer of sovereignty, the package features ten unique experiences and amenities to showcase the very best Hong Kong has to offer. Available until September 30, 2007 and fittingly priced at $1,997, the package includes: suite accommodation for two nights, airport transfers, a 15-minute helicopter tour, harbour cruise, daily breakfast, dinner for two at T'ang Court, daily HK $600 allowance for laundry, complimentary Internet, and complimentary use of the Langham Club lounge, featuring evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
Back in May, Hotel La Tremoille opened a new restaurant, bar and lounge which has been quite the hit among Americans. Dubbed Le Louis², the restaurant was billed as "the new insider address for those in search of a certain Parisian chic." The menu, created by Chef Frédéric Duca, includes items like lobster brandade, sophisticated salads, and "finger" desserts. Service is available from 12 noon to 11 p.m. (a convenience rarely found in the land of rigid meal times!) Though named for Louis II, grand chevalier of the Renaissance and ambassador of the hotel, the restaurant is designed with splashes of modern chic: embroidered fabrics and luxuriously thick carpets against a backdrop of graphic lines and geometric patterns. While lounging in the comfy sofas or by the fireplace, guests enjoy live music from the piano bar. There's also a sun lounge.
Teach a tutorial on using a new iPhone? Find a cold lettuce bra for a newly breast-feeding mother? It gets better. The folks at Forbes have compiled a list of over-the-top requests that concierges encounter on the job. There's a reason these luxury hotels are noted for their impeccable service.
Steal away to Virginia's hunt country to celebrate summer's end in style at Keswick Hall, the gorgeous luxury hotel managed by Orient-Express Hotels. With the "Ultimate Breaks" special you can score room rates as low as $295 a night this fall. Enjoy some of the country's finest fall foliage and leaf-peeping in the Blue Ridge foothills near Charlottesville and Jefferson's historic Monticello estate. From the horizon edge infinity pool, gaze out over the Arnold Palmer designed golf course and rolling green hills of the Piedmont.
What could be better than this? Experience the very best of England with a five day break for two in both cosmopolitan London and the gorgeous English countryside around Dorset. You can have it all with this new package from Red Carnation Hotels, which combines three nights at the five-star Milestone Hotel overlooking Kensington Palace in London with two nights at the beautifully restored Summer Lodge, an enchanting haven surrounded by a village of thatched cottages in the heart of Thomas Hardy country. Enjoy gracious hospitality and a wealth of attractions and activities. Also included: a full English breakfast and three-course feast at Cheneston's restaurant while staying at The Milestone Hotel and Apartments, a car transfer to London's Waterloo train station for first-class rail travel to Dorset, and a cozy English pub lunch for two at the historic Acorn Inn in the heart of Evershot village. Package cost is GBP 2,119 for two people. Valid until April 30, 2008.
At the foot of Mount Rigi and the beautiful Swiss Alps, the turrets of Park Hotel Weggis rise magically from the shores of Lake Lucerne. The enchanting setting of the lakeside resort town of Weggis is paradise for vacationers who discover the delights of the Park Hotel, the pinnacle of Swiss luxury. The sophisticated rooms showcase fabrics from the Designers Guild, lighting designed by Philippe Starck, widescreen TVs with Bose sound systems, and designer furniture. (Free-standing tubs in the Adara suites are a nice touch, too). Overall, there's a meticulous attention to detail that will have you swooning. The Restaurant Annex, awarded 15 GaultMillau points, serves market-fresh seasonal cuisine paired with marvelous wines from an impressive cellar. The newly enhanced spa boasts wellness facilities for cosmetic treatments, fitness, massages, and other therapeutic treatments. Also on-site at Sparkling Wellness & Cosmetics: six spa cottages, an outdoor pool set in black natural stone, relaxation lounge and Tibetan room.
Here's some good news to cure the post-summer blues. Starwood recently announced that it will open a new W Retreat & Spa in Bali in 2009. This will be the fourth such Retreat for the brand, after the successful launch of the Maldives property which opened in September 2006. The atoll had never before seen such pampering and indulgence-- a luxury playground like no other. (The W Retreat will also open in Vieques next year, followed by the Koh Samui retreat in 2009.) Bali is one of the top-rated resort destinations in the world, and the new W Retreat will no doubt make a splash for honeymooners seeking something unique. Situated in the Seminyak area of the island, the 152-room resort will be surrounded by rustic villages, rice terraces, and beaches. 80 villas will be designed with traditional Balinese courtyards and private pools. Of course the W Retreat experience wouldn't be complete without a poolside destination bar and the signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service.