February 15, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Plan a winter escape to the gorgeous Irish countryside and get pampered at the luxurious Heritage Golf & Spa Resort located in the picturesque village of Killenard, just an hour from Dublin. Experience the renowned 72-par Championship golf course and lavish accommodations for just EUR 190 per person (sharing) with the Winter Golfing Break. Available until April 30, 2008, this special includes one night bed & breakfast in a Deluxe guest room, a round of golf, and one evening meal in Greens or So Oriens Restaurant. Set in the beautiful rolling countryside of Co. Laois with the Slieve Bloom Mountains as a backdrop, the golf course was designed by Seve Ballesteros and Jeff Howes with five lakes and a stream meandering through the greens. Don't miss the luxury spa at The Heritage, featuring 20 treatment rooms and a selection of over 70 spa treatments with the Pevonia botanical skincare line.
February 14, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Bed down in five-star luxury at the most sought-after lodgings in the Alps. The exclusive ski resort of Courchevel caters to a glamorous crowd of international jet-setters who flock here for the snow and hopping après-ski scene. Escape to the recently-renovated Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, the hotel of choice for the International Olympic Committee during the 1992 Winter Games. The fabulous spa, touted as a "winter wonderland" with waterfalls, soundproof shower booths, and a unique snow cave, is out of this world. Cozy, elegant and charming, Les Airelles resembles the grand ski chalets of another era. And the setting is just as stunning, with ski runs right out the door. The Ski Valet is there to help with your equipment and boots and give you the best tips about the "3 Vallées", arguably the greatest ski area in the world. The new restaurant, "Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles"-- serving cuisine from the superstar chef-- already has quite the following.
Destination: St. Pete's, the Venice of the North, Russia's cultural capital, where internationally-praised opera, ballet and concert performances delight visitors, and the Hermitage Museum dazzles with its art collection. After decades of oblivion, the holy day of Easter has been revived in St. Petersburg with church services and processions, colorful Easter eggs, and art festivals. Perfectly located near St. Isaacs Cathedral in the heart of the city (just a block from the Hermitage), Rocco Forte's Hotel Astoria is one of the most sought-after hotels in St. Pete's. Scrupulously designed to reflect the noble history of the city, the Hotel Astoria has a spa, 24-hour gym, and Davidov restaurant serving authentic Russian cuisine. (Be sure to request a room with views over St. Isaac's Square.) Book the "Easter Dreams for Art Lovers" package to experience the festive atmosphere of Russian Easter and the city's abundant cultural treasures. Priced from RUB 64 050 (approx. EUR 1,830), the package includes three nights accommodation, buffet breakfast, champagne, fruit and flowers in-room, private tour of the Hermitage, private tour of the Imperial Palaces, Russian Table buffet at Davidov restaurant, Russian classical massage at the Spa (30 minutes), and airport transfers. Valid from March 20- 25, 2008.
In London, luxury hotels abound. The Draycott, occupying three red-brick Edwardian homes just round the corner from Sloane Square, stands out for its pedigree and personality. A stay here is like traveling back in time to when Number 22-26 Cadogan Gardens was a private home. Every detail combines to convince guests that they are at home, invited to enjoy the finest standards of hospitality in a grand yet friendly setting. Steeped in Edwardian splendor with high ceilings and real working fireplaces, the 35 suites are theatrically themed and adorned with Victorian antiques. Each room contains something of its theatrical namesake- be it Sheridan, Coward, Grenfell or Ashcroft.
Here's what to expect:
*24-hour concierge service to arrange your chauffeur transfers to the airport, the perfect choices for restaurants and entertainment, a tour of historic Chelsea, etc.
*Complimentary afternoon tea and biscuits served at 4 p.m. in the drawing room, followed by champagne at 6 p.m. and hot chocolate before bed.
*Complimentary wireless Internet in all areas of the hotel
*The finest Sea Island cotton sheets in a luxuriously large bed, especially made to Draycott Hotel's own specification and designed for perfect rest.
Choose The Draycott's Theatre Galore package and you'll enjoy a bottle of champagne in-room, a pair of tickets to the show of your choice each day, and a full English breakfast. Priced at just GBP 425 per person for the two-night package.
Just an hour from Prague, a 17th century chateau-turned-luxury-retreat could possibly be one of the most exclusive venues in Central Europe. The Chateau Mcely's been turning heads since its opening in May 2006 after a major renconstruction. The setting is simply magical: a lush parkland surrounded by the Czech Republic's beautiful St. George Forest. The manor is touted as the first five-star "green" and eco-chic hotel in the Czech Republic. Over the weekend of February 29- March 2, 2008, Chateau Mcely welcomes guests for its Chocolate Degustation, where generous tastings are accompanied by cooking demonstrations and stories. Learn how to prepare some of the tempting and unusual chocolates-- filled with pink peppercorns, curry, pistachio, and other unusual ingredients-- from the Chateau's own domestic recipes. (Note: The chocolate tasting is included in the price of accommodation.)
P.S. For a delightful take on why to visit Prague in the off-season, check out this NYT piece.
Ahhh, Venice, the "open-air museum" of architectural treasures, grand palazzos with frescoes and romantic canals. From La Galleria dell'Accademia to the Peggy Guggenheim collection, the city is simply brimming with artistic masterpieces. And fine restaurants and shopping means Venice could be the perfect European destination. The hotel of choice is the exquisite Hotel Gritti Palace situated directly on the Grand Canal with incomparable views. Built in 1525 as the residence of Andrea Gritti, the Doge of Venice, the award-winning hotel is part of Starwood's Luxury Collection. And with gold-trimmed ceilings, marble tiles, and the finest Venetian antiques, it's really no wonder the Hotel Gritti Palace is considered one of the world's best hotels. Dine at the Club del Doge restaurant and fall in love with the views while getting spoiled like royalty. Choose the Room with a View Special and get great rates for a mid-week stay, including a bountiful buffet breakfast. Valid from Sundays- Thursdays until March 31, 2008, the offer is priced at EUR 459 per night. And if you reserve three consecutive nights at Hotel Gritti Palace (during the months of March, April, July and August 2008), you'll receive the best available rate plus your fourth night for free!
February 7, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
Porto Zante is a luxurious Villa-Hotel located on a private beach west of the Greek mainland. Private villas offer gorgeous poolside views overlooking spectacular sandy beaches and the open ocean. Located only 8 kilometers from the international airport, Porto Zante is both a remote get-away and accessible vacation scene.
Porto Zante De Luxe offers four different options for villas, accommodating anywhere from two to twelve people. Villas include bathrooms complete with Jacuzzi bathtubs and hydro jet showers. Each villa comes with living rooms and is fully air conditioned with a private parking area. Many of the villas also come with fireplaces and verandas. Enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area, providing a relaxing environment to kick back and enjoy the many delights this culturally rich area has to offer.
Rates start at 500 Euros ...
By: Madelyn Giblin
Share a magical time with your family in the heart of the European capital. One step away from Grand Place, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and close to the city's key historic sites and attractions, the stylish Hotel Amigo is a newly-refurbished gem in the Rocco Forte Collection. Renowned for its five-star accommodations and impeccable personal service, the hotel is the ideal base for you and your family to discover Brussels. The Hotel Amigo has put together a VI'Kids program (how clever!) with all sorts of special amenities. After a generous buffet breakfast at the Ristorante Bocconi (or in your room), spend the day with your kids at the Natural Science Museum, checking out the impressive collection of dinosaurs. The VI'Kids program includes 2 Classic Rooms connecting or adjoining (for 2 adults and 2 children) with 50 percent reduction on your kids' room, full buffet breakfast, tickets to the Museum of Natural Science, a welcome basket filled with goodies and children's amenities, a "Bvlgari" present for kids, daily newspaper and access to the fitness center. Total price for 2 Classic Rooms is EUR 405. Available every weekend until April 30, 2008.
PS. The Hotel Amigo offers a Family Lunch with a special 3-course Children's menu, along with Babysitting service.
What could be more romantic than Florence for Valentine's Day? Savor the dolce vita at an enchanting Renaissance villa nestled on six hectares of beautifully-landscaped gardens. Just outside the gates of Florence, the Villa Olmi entices guests with its original murals, refined antiques, and contemporary amenities galore. (Marble bathrooms with jacuzzis, plasma TV screens, Wifi, the works...) The Italians certainly do things right for Valentine's Day. Escape to Florence and enjoy splendid accommodations with an essential oils Jacuzzi bath, fresh fruit and Italian "Spumante" in-room upon arrival, and a complimentary buffet breakfast. On February 14, there will be a sumptuous, candle-lit feast with live music (EUR 65 per person). Rates for the "Luxury Valentine Escape" start from EUR 295 for the Classic Room. Plus, if you stay for three-nights, you'll enjoy a wine-tasting session in the villa's impressive wine cellar. Available from February 11- February 17, 2008.
February 1, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
There's nothing like Europe in the off-season, when great deals at luxury hotels abound. But the best thing about this 3 X 2 Special Offer at Barcelona's landmark Hotel Majestic-- it's actually available for select dates throughout the year. Go ahead and splurge at this sumptuous hideaway that's played host to a number of presidents and globe-trotting celebs. When you pay for two nights, you can enjoy the third for free! Available February 1- 7; March 14- 20; July 13- 31, August 1- 29; December 1- 28, 2008. The Hotel Majestic has a killer location on Paseo de Gracia, within walking distance to Las Ramblas, the Plaza de Cataluña, Gaudi monuments, and the Gothic Quarter. Behind the neoclassical façade, you'll find 303 luxurious guest rooms and suites, the Michelin-starred restaurant, and magnificent rooftop swimming pool and bar.