May 21, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
Enjoy the beautiful Irish summer with exclusive summer deals on rooms at Hayfield Manor. A stunning five star hotel in Cork, Ireland, Hayfield Manor charms guests with the beautiful surrounding countryside and multitude of activities in Cork itself. Guests who book rooms for May 23rd, 24th, and 25th are treated to a complimentary upgrade in room upon availability, and guests who book rooms during the June Bank Holiday receive a complimentary picnic basket with their room, and upgrade upon availability. Offer applies for May 31st and June 1st and 2nd.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: All guests of Hayfield Manor who make reservations with Five Star Alliance will receive complimentary afternoon tea for two - once during their stay valued at 25 Euro per person.
By: Madelyn Giblin
Paris may be the capital of haute cuisine, but at Les Ambassadeurs-- the fine dining restaurant at the Hotel de Crillon-- food is elevated to an art form. Master Chef Jean-François Piège was only 34 when he came to Les Ambassadeurs in February 2004 to take over the reins as Head Chef. Diners have been dazzled ever since. Hailing from the Drome region of Southeastern France, known for the quality of its fresh produce, Piège first yearned to be a gardener: "As a boy I used to look after the garden with my uncle. I was passionate about growing food; I loved being able to say: "I grew this myself and now I'm eating it." Armed with this knowledge of plants, Piège has enjoyed a glowing career in cuisine-- with stints at Chabichou in Courchevel, the French Riviera's Chateau Eza, and in the kitchens of the French presidential palace. He's worked under the tutelage of Bruno Cirino and Alain Ducasse, who chose Piège to take over for him at the Plaza Athenee in 2000. To quote Ducasse: "He embodies French savoir-faire and French savoir-vivre."
Now Piège has updated the Crillon's grand gastronomic restaurant with innovation and flair. Just check out that beauteous creation pictured at right, called "Bar tapioca d'huître" (have you ever seen oysters look so pretty?) And the desserts? Pinch me now. Though it's hard to believe, Les Ambassadeurs itself is just as gorgeous as the platters. Surrounded by marble and crystal chandeliers, you'll sink into your seat and be presented a unique menu designed by the chef himself with the rods used to hold newspapers for hotel guests. Piège's fans are thrilled about his new book Côté Crillon Côté Maison (Preface by Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller) which includes 41 dishes from the chef's Crillon kitchen, and 41 dishes from cooking at home.
Photo by Stéphane de Bourgies
Looking for a charming, intimate hotel in the heart of London, replete with grand interiors and a discreet, professional staff? The Draycott, situated between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, will satisfy your every whim. The 35 rooms are beautifully, individually appointed, each theatrically themed and filled with Victorian antiques. Enjoy the delights of summer with a stay at the award-winning Draycott Hotel with London's finest shopping and restaurants just minutes away. Allow the Draycott to spoil you with an indulgent Traditional Afternoon Tea on arrival and all the other luxurious trimmings you would expect from a 5-star townhouse. This "Summer Special" includes Traditional Afternoon Tea on the day of arrival, an early evening glass of Champagne, a mug of hot chocolate before bedtime, and daily English breakfast. Deluxe Double priced at GBP 255, valid from July 26 to September 7, 2008.
May 19, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Fans of "The Sound of Music"-- and there are many, as the flick is the third most successful of all time, bested only by "Gone With the Wind" and "Star Wars"-- will be happy to learn that the von Trapp family's house in Salzburg, Austria will open on July 25, 2008 as a 14-room hotel. As reported by Goldarths Review, "For 100 euros (or US$155) a night, visitors will have a chance to relive scenes from the movie. Sip coffee at the gazebo where Liesl, eldest daughter of the von Trapp family and her boyfriend Rolf had a secret rendezvous or dine at the von Trapp family table."
May 15, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We aren't the only ones who can't stop talking about Capella Hotels and Resorts, the six-star hospitality group launched by Horst Schulze, the guy behind Ritz-Carlton's success and "whose name is synonymous with visionary hotel-building" (to quote Travel + Leisure). Guest service is truly an art form at these new luxury hotels. Travel + Leisure loves 'em just as much as we do:
Before leaving New York for Schloss Velden, in southern Austria, and Capella Castlemartyr in County Cork, Ireland... Benjamin and Iona called, identifying themselves as my private assistants. Was there anything they could do for me or needed to know about me before my arrival-- dietary don'ts, transfers, reservations, specific things I wanted to see or do? Wow, I thought. Lots of hotels send "thank you for staying with us!" notes after you check-out, but such exhaustive pre-calls are rare.
At Castlemartyr, the 100-room, ultra-luxe hotel situated on 220 lush acres in County Cork, Capella's team of private assistants, "defined as proactive concierges" can handle any request. (Macrobiotic meals? No prob.) This summer, experience this already-legendary service with a fantastic "Dollars for Euro" promotion for stays booked through July 31, 2008. U.S. residents will be allowed to pay the room rate with dollars (even though it's listed in Euros). Considering the exchange rate is hovering around $1.55, this is a deal.
Overlooking the sparkling bay of Portofino, the Italian Riviera's glamorous coastal town, Hotel Splendido is an exclusive hideaway for the international jetset. The guest book is filled with VIPs (like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor) who have long sought out the superb accommodations at this 16th century monastery-turned-luxury hotel. The sea views are absolutely stunning, and the hotel can even arrange a chartered yacht or sailboat for you to discover small fishing villages along the coast and the prime beaches only accessible by sea. The Splendido Mare, the recent extension of the Hotel Splendido, is situated in the heart of Portofino overlooking the famous Piazzetta and the waterfront. (It's only a five-minute walk from the main hotel.) There you'll want to sit on the terrace at Chuflay Bar Restaurant for some excellent cocktails and people-watching.
The Hotel Splendido can arrange a wonderful excursion to the Cinque Terre, the five postcard-perfect fishing villages that hug the cliffs of Liguria. The two-day, two-night journey starts with a gourmet dinner in either the Splendido Mare's Chuflay restaurant or in the Splendido's La Terrazza restaurant. The next day, guests will be taken by chauffeur-driven car from the hotel to the railway station at Santa Margherita, where they will board the train for the Cinque Terre (tickets available from the concierge). Upon their return, scheduled for late afternoon, guests will find a car waiting to take them back to the hotel. Prices for two persons in a double room with sea view include flowers, a bottle of spumante in-room, full American-style breakfast and all the activities in the program. Until June 5, 2008 (and from September 15-November 9, 2008), the prices are EUR 1670 at Hotel Splendido and EUR 1315 at Splendido Mare. During high-season (June 6-September 14, 2008), prices start at EUR 1585 at Splendido Mare.
Now guests at Starwood's Luxury Collection hotels can enjoy signature travel services: Luggage Free Travel and access to news publications with NewspaperDirect. The Luxury Collection includes 65 properties in 26 countries worldwide, including San Diego's U.S. Grant, The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Mystique in Santorini, and the Grande Bretagne in Athens, and its sophisticated clientele is used to an exceptional level of service. In a new partnership with Luggage Forward, the Luxury Collection is launching Luggage Liaison, which will allow guests to travel without luggage to any of the brand's destinations, and find their belongings safely in their room upon arrival. Guests can even arrange to have bags unpacked for them. Another new perk: guests at Luxury Collection properties can now choose from a range of over 600 newspapers and magazines from 77 countries through services provide by NewspaperDirect-- delivered to their guest room throughout their stay.
May 12, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Discreet and glamorous, The Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments on London's Piccadilly is one of the top addresses in the British capital. Many rooms have stunning views of Green Park towards Buckingham Palace! World-renowned for its professional service and sumptuous décor, the family-owned luxury hotel offers a haven of tranquility in the heart of Central London. Good news for American travelers: The Athenaeum has just introduced year-round US$ rates. Starting from just US$350 plus taxes, or US$700 plus taxes for an apartment, these $ rates offer exceptional value for money at the hotel voted "One of the 500 Top Hotels in the World 2008" by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Additional benefits include: priority check in, late check out at 2pm, Athenaeum family amenity program, and complimentary sofa bed in the apartments.
On June 10, 2008, lucky Langham guests can sit down for a luxurious afternoon tea for exactly 1 shilling 6 pence. (That's 15 US cents, 7 English pence and just over 1 Hong Kong dollar.) Langham hotels around the world will pay homage to that lovely ritual of Afternoon Tea, that quintessentially British institution, by turning back the clocks to 1865, when the Langham London, Europe's first grand hotel, was opened by the leading royal of the day, the Prince of Wales. Legend has it that the indulgent tea ritual was created in 1840 by Anna Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who created this afternoon snack to ward off the hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. Soon she began to share tea with her friends, and the ritual took off. Back in 1865, The Langham London served up the world's first afternoon tea in a luxury European hotel-- consisting of simple but dainty items including cakes, sweets, bread and butter and, of course, tea. Nowadays guests can still experience this stately ritual, a truly luxurious affair. Don't miss out on the celebratory 1 shilling tea on June 10, 2008 at Langham Hotels in Auckland, Boston, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne and now Pasadena.
Now's your chance to snag a free night at the most prestigious hotel in Athens. Long considered the city's most exclusive place to stay, the Grand Bretagne occupies a prime block of the city center, just across from Constitution Square, the House of Parliament and the National Gardens. The hotel of choice for heads of state and celebrity royalty, the Grand Bretagne has a stunning rooftop pool, renovated Spa, and a Rooftop Garden Bar restaurant with sigh-inducing views. Travelers will be thrilled to find out that Starwood's Luxury Collection is offering a fourth night free with three paid nights for its European hotels, including the Grand Bretagne. The booking deadline is May 30, 2008, and the special applies for the months of May, October, November and December.