The Ritz in London is commemorating its centenary in 2006 with lots of celebrations. Starting with an over-the-top Grand Gala Dinner Dance on New Year's, complete with seven course gourmet dinner, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne, fireworks and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force regimental marching band and a lone Scottish piper.
In honor of this special year, the Ritz has ordered a brand new 2006 Rolls Royce, "Ritz blue" in color with custom fitted interiors in smoke grey leather and walnut trimming. Equipped with the latest satellite navigation system, two DVD screens and crested door handles, the car will be driven by Rolls Royce trained chauffeurs and available as a guest service throughout the centennial celebrations.
Starting in January, guests can book the Centennial Celebration Package, from GBP 1,500. Includes two nights lux accommodation, airport transfers in that bad-ass Phantom, complimentary membership to The Ritz Club, theater tickets to a London production of the guests' choice, and dinner in the classic Ritz Restaurant.
Too bad the hotel couldn't go the extra mile with their new spa addition, a paltry treatment room on the hotel's seventh floor, with just one full-time therapist. Guests can choose a range of beauty treatments including massages and facials, but this isn't exactly a full-service spa.
The Ritz in London, Official Site
The Ritz in London, Five Star Alliance
Starting in July, flights leaving France will be taxed an additional EUR 40. Chirac's measure will raise an estimated EUR 200 million a year for developing countries, to fight AIDS and support health programs, mostly in Africa. Via IHT
The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is the site of some of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest. It is also the site of the 1,000 acre private nature preserve of the Lapa Rios resort. The rainforest resort is not only a model Ecotourism Project, it is also a fixture on CN Traveler's Gold List and winner of Andrew Harper's Hideaway Award. This isn't exactly roughing it. The main lodge and bungalows are built 350 feet above the sea, with breathtaking ocean vistas, the structures designed in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape. Enjoy rainforest wilderness adventures in Corcovado National Park, appreciate the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica, while indulging in gourmet dining, superb spa services, plush accommodations and a sparkling pool…
Check out this nifty new site. TripConnect is all about exchanging travel advice with your friends and their network of acquaintances. So you can get travel advice from people who understand what you like! Friendster cum TripAdvisor-- how cool. With TripConnect, folks are able to link to their friends and acquaintances, and see where their friends have traveled. Need a rec for Milan? Consult your network, read the reviews of destinations written by others in your network, or ask that friend of a friend who went 2 weeks ago. Genius.
Smack in the middle of London's fashionable Mayfair district, the Athenaeum is privately-owned and family-run, and it shows. The family atmosphere, reinforced by a long-standing staff, ensures impeccable service. Pleased guests are known to return time and time again, tickled pink by their luxurious experience at the Athenaeum (40% returning clients is pretty impressive). Easily one of the top hotels in London, featured on the CN Traveler Gold List, the Athenaeum launched a special promotional rate this past year, which has been wildly popular. The Pound for Dollar rate is a savings of more than 40% on the hotel's luxurious accommodations. The good news for us? The hotel has decided to continue this rate into the spring season and beyond.
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Official Site
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Five Star Alliance
T and L just released their eagerly-anticipated Top 500 list. Number one in the US is Jackson Hole's Rusty Parrot, while the top in Europe goes to the Château Les Crayères in France. The coolest web feature? You can idle away the hours checking out bird's eye views of the hotels on Google Earth. Via Gridskipper
Bring along your preferred pooch and favorite feline to the uber-pet-friendly Madison Hotel to experience the luxurious pampering of the capital's premiere address. The "Paw Paw" special, starting at $259 a night, includes a host of amenities along with luxurious accommodations for two: Pet Welcome Kit listing local dog-walking routes and pet-friendly restaurants, Welcome Basket with doggie treats and chew toy, doggie beds and in-room doggie dining menu available upon request. The "Purrfect" Washington Hotel Special Offer, starting at $259 a night, includes kitty treats, litter box, and a stuffed toy. How's that for VIP treatment.
The Madison, Official Site
The Madison, Five Star Alliance
Hot off the press! Travel Weekly reports today that Fairmont has signed a deal to manage a new luxury hotel developed by star tennis team Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. Agassi Graf Development has had their eye on the mountain village of Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho for quite some time. In the words of Mr. Agassi:
Tamarack is the perfect location for anyone interested in taking a little time out of their lives to get away or spend quality time with their family. Our vision is to create an exceptional lifestyle offering that complements the natural beauty and uniqueness of the resort. It's about bringing the highest standard of quality and luxury to the whole experience.
Nope, that's not the White House, folks. The stately architecture on display is the historic Greenbrier Resort, its estate set on 6,500 scenic acres in the Allegheny mountains of West Virginia. Habitual winner of the AAA five diamond award, named the "resort of the century" by the Andrew Harper Hideaway Report in '99, the Greenbrier is the essence of opulence. The all-inclusive resort offers over 50 recreational activities including three championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and a 40,000 square foot spa. And for this New Years, the Greenbrier is celebrating with an unforgettable party. (They've even planned a special dinner just for kids.) Evening concerts and live entertainment, a 50's buffet dinner dance, two New Year's Eve Galas featuring the Gene Donati Orchestra and The Gentlemen and Their Lady, noisemakers, hats, balloons, and of course the champagne toast at midnight. Followed the next day with an extraordinary New Year's Day champagne brunch. All this—including luxurious accommodations and daily meals-- is included with your New Years Package. Rates start at $329 per person, per night, double occupancy.
The Greenbrier, Official Site
The Greenbrier, Five Star Alliance