LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Berlin's newest boutique hotel is all about aesthetics. High-quality materials are utilized in the sleek, minimalist design of Ku' Damm 101. Located at Kurfürstendamm 101, the famous boulevard in the former West Berlin, this hip luxury hotel is the city's exciting address. The stylish rooms are outfitted with designer furniture and all the latest technology. Breakfast above the rooftops at the 7th floor restaurant, sip a cocktail in the happening lounge bar (check out the cool tunes on Fridays with Urban-Nights), relax with a massage in the on-site spa. This is pure Berlin.
Hot off the press. During its 14th annual international conference, Small Luxury Hotels of the World has announced its "Hotel of the Year": Les Sources de Caudalie, located near Bordeaux in the famed wine-producing region of southwest France. Set within the Château Smith-Haute-Lafitte vineyards at Martillac, this petite luxury hotel has embraced the concept of joie de vivre. It was here that the first vinotherapie spa was pioneered, combining grape extracts with the water from the naturally-occurring thermal hot springs found on site. The treatments are utterly unique. The charming 49-room hotel has mastered the art of haute cuisine; delightful meals are complemented by the impressive wine list featuring 15,000 bottles. With a magical setting and exceptional level of personal service, it's no wonder Les Sources de Caudalie won "Hotel of the Year."
The 26th annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival promises to be a rip-roaring good time. Wine-tasting seminars with Master Sommeliers, oodles of tastings, cooking classes with celebrity chefs (you can even partake in the cooking class with esteemed chef Michael Mina himself), golf tournaments, seafood fest, and perhaps the best part of all-- the setting at the AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui's premier resort. This culinary extravaganza will take place from June 29- July 1, so after four days of foodie bliss, why not stay on for a few more days to take in the fireworks on the 4th? Festival prices run $750 per person. The price for a four-day stay at the Ritz, including two four-day festival passes is about $3,660.
The setting is idyllic-- nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain at Scottsdale's destination resort, The Phoenician-- and the facilities are top-notch. So it's no wonder The Centre for Well-Being was recently awarded four Michelin stars. Town and Country magazine calls it "one of the most healing and nurturing spots on the planet." Indeed, The Phoenician's spa is a peaceful sanctuary and luxurious oasis surrounded by the colorful desert landscape of the Southwest. Facilities include whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas, Swiss showers, Meditation Atrium and Waters Bar featuring complimentary refreshments. Massage therapy, skin and body treatments draw from European and Eastern principles, utilizing plants and minerals indigenous to the region. The range of services is truly exhaustive. But here's a hint: reserve your treatment a month in advance. This place books fast!
As if the recreational options at Loews Coronado Bay Resort weren't enough. (There's tennis, three outdoor swimming pools, gondola rides on the canals, sailboat and motorboat rentals, cycling, the Sea Spa, and surfing lessons-- after all, this is San Diego we're talking about.) But now the Loews Coronado Bay Resort has added yet another activity for adventure-seeking guests. National Geographic Traveler recently discovered the men's Harley Package at Loews Coronado, where guests are encouraged to hit the open road with a 24-hour Harley-Davidson motorcycle rental. Starting at $699 per person, the Wild Hogs package includes two nights accommodations, burgers at a local biker bar, a private tasting of handcrafted beers by the Coronado Brewing Company, and access to the hotel's fitness center, pools, and Silver Strand State Beach. Rental options include Dyna Street Bobs, Soft Tails, Fat Boys, and full-service Touring Bikes complete with decked out sound systems.
On April 30, 2007 Fairmont welcomed a new hotel into its luxurious collection: Hamburg's stately landmark prominently situated on the Inner Alster Lake shore. Formerly the Raffles Vier Jahreszeiten, the award-winning hotel is celebrating its centennial this year. Consistently ranked as one of the best hotels in the world (named to Conde Nast Traveler's 2007 Gold List), Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten features four restaurants, two bars, the Amrita spa, fitness facility and 6,700 square feet of function space. The stunning public areas are chock full of 16th century Flemish Gobelin tapestries, baroque cupboards, Renaissance chests, chandeliers, and marble.
Take advantage of the Welcome to Hamburg package and receive a complimentary third night when staying two consecutive nights. The package also includes complimentary daily breakfast and an evening cocktail at Bar Indochine, complimentary HSIA, access to the health center and welcome amenities. Package rates start from EUR 570 in a Fairmont Room, available until December 28, 2007.
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There's no bad time to visit Rio. So what if it's autumn; you can always heat things up in Brazil! And the off-season means cheaper airfares and deals aplenty. Head to Copacabana beach to experience the unrivaled beauty of Rio's world-famous sand and surf. Here, the Copacabana Palace looms over the beach in all its splendor (and not just any part of the beach-- we're talking prime Rio real estate). The Copacabana Palace is so legendary, so famous, it's secured its own listing in the book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. Indeed the Copacabana Palace embodies the glamour of Rio. Throughout the hotel's distinguished history, royalty, film stars, politicians, and business leaders have flocked to the sophisticated meeting place for Rio's high society. The hotel's dining establishments-- The Hotel Cipriani Restaurant and The Pergula Restaurant-- are two of the city's finest. Other facilities include semi-Olympic size swimming pool, tennis court, Fitness Centre, Beauty Salon, and Beach Service. The 6th floor Penthouse suites feature works of art, oriental carpets and French fabrics and an exclusive swimming pool.
We've been keeping tabs on the latest Vegas growth spurt for awhile now, and it's just not slowing down. It seemed that the spotlight had shifted east to the new gambling mecca of Macau (which has surpassed Vegas in casino revenues and has opened countless Vegas-style mega-hotels). But things are only just starting to heat up in Sin City. As reported by USAToday's Hotel HotSheet, MGM Mirage just announced plans for the $700 million M Resort (MGM Mirage is only financing a paltry $160 million) to open in 2009. The outrageous building boom in Vegas has not yet reached its limit. To quote the NY Times:
Americans — and an increasing number of foreigners — can’t seem to get enough of Las Vegas. The current construction craze is driven by a 95 percent weekend occupancy rate — and rates that approach 100 percent at the city's newer properties. Last year, even the weekday rate fell just shy of 90 percent, partly because of the city’s success in positioning itself as an attractive convention destination.
Here's a taste of what's to come. The Venetian is opening a 3,200 suite tower, which will bring its room count to more than 7,000; $4.4 billion Echelon Place will open on the site of the old Stardust; the mammoth Project CityCenter will cost MGM Mirage $7 billion, the most expensive development in Vegas history.
This is truly a hotel experience like no other. At Winvian, 15 architects created 18 whimsical cottages which the LA Times equates to a plush, Seuss-like playground for adults. Spend the night in a restored 1968 Sikorsky Sea King helicopter where you can "mix a drink in the plush fuselage." (And to quote the NYT: this baby's "so tricked out that Austin Powers might have piloted it.") Or go Flintstones style and choose the Stone Cottage, "a no comfort spared cave" decked out with leather curtains, boulders, slate roof, and two fireplaces. Or wake up in The Treehouse, perched 35 feet off the ground. The setting is bucolic, the quintessential New England landscape: 113 acres of meadows, forests, lakes, and farm pastures not far from the historic town of Litchfield. But an experience like this will cost you. The nightly rate ranges from $1,450 to $1,950.
Just a few hours drive from Shanghai, the historic city of Suzhou is world-famous for its Classical Chinese gardens, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These nine garden masterpieces recreate natural landscapes in miniature:
Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.
Part of China's coastal economic development area, the city itself is a key tourist destination with its tile-roofed houses, canals linked by small bridges, and tranquil gardens. Here, visitors can discover 487 historical sites! Shangri-La has just opened its newest luxury hotel in the Metropolitan Tower in Suzhou. Located between the 28th and 51st floors, the hotel features 390 spacious rooms and suites, six restaurants and bars, meeting and banquet facilities, tennis courts, and a Health Club with indoor pool, steam sauna, and Jacuzzi.