June 7, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Ezio Attilio Indiani was appointed general manager of the Hotel Principe di Savoia Milan in July 2005. He is recognized worldwide as a leading figure in luxury hotel management and has worked at some of the most prestigious hotels in the world in the course of his 25-year career. In recognition of his management abilities, in 2002 he received the Hermes Prize as the "Best Hotel Director" in the world, the highest award given in the deluxe hotel category. He took some time to answer a few of our questions, which we can share with you below.
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: I was appointed after the Principe di Savoia become part of the Dorchester Group and later Dorchester Collection. I have spent 25 years in luxury hotel management, previously at Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, Hotel Des Bergues of Geneva, Hyde Park Hotel, Casa de Campo complex in the Dominican Republic, Hotel Eden of Rome and Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte of Fiuggi to name a few.
Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: For sure our Presidential Suite, 500 square meters with private spa in Pompeii style, an area of 100 square meters with frescoed walls and vaulted ceiling encompassing a swimming pool (20 square meters), whirlpool, sauna and Turkish bath. Table and bed linen, cutlery, crystals and china are all custom-made for the suite. Butler service and staff available 24 hours a day. Direct check-in in the suite. Limo service from and to the airport and to downtown.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Sharon Stone, H.R.H. Queen Rania of Jordan, President George H. W. Bush, Woody Allen, Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Donatella Versace, The Rolling Stones ... and more.
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: Our main customers are businessman coming from UK, USA, Japan, Russia, France, Germany and U.A.E. Also leisure travelers from these markets are increasing especially over the week end.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: The Hotel is located in a strategic position. Our customers can reach the city centre very easily without being in the main crowded streets of Milan and this is very important for our VIP guests who need privacy.
Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: In January 2006 we opened 48 new Deluxe Mosaic Rooms, all overlooking Piazza della Repubblica and they have been designed to appeal to all types of guests – business and leisure, men and women, locals and international. I think these kinds of rooms are very beautiful, especially the bathrooms. The design inspiration and key feature of every bathroom is the mosaic wall – a contemporary feature of classical Italian design.
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: One of our VIP guests, Sylvester Stallone, asked us to buy the beautiful chandelier of our Winter Garden Bar. Obviously we couldn’t sell it but we called our designer who made a copy of the chandelier for him.
Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?
Ezio Attilio Indiani: I would like to be informed about the high level services and amenities such as the free Limousine service or the Spa with swimming pool, sauna and Turkish bath. It's also very important to be told about the business centre and the high level of technology available in every room. Moreover, I would be glad to know that the Hotel offers the best concierge service in Italy, which can actually unlock the doors of Milan to every costumer, as well as one of the best restaurants, "Acanto", which is a matter of pride for all of us.
June 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This weekend, step back in time at the splendid Chateau Mcely, just an hour outside Prague in the beautiful St. George Forest. The five-star hotel has received a lot of press for the incredible renovation project of the 17th century castle. A former ruin, the newly transformed hotel has won awards for the genius reconstruction. Dolce Vita magazine describes Mcely as "a baroque chateau reconstructed into the most luxurious boutique in Bohemia." Enjoy the exciting Designer's Weekend-- Your Home is Your Castle-- from June 8-June 10, 2007 (now's the time for a little last-minute spontaneity!) and meet the talented artist behind the masterpiece, Oto Blaha, one of the top designers in the Czech Republic. The fun-filled weekend includes a tour of the castle with the designers, a brief course in interior design with Oto Blaha (through the chateau's partnership with Prague's Design School), and individual discussions and consultations with Oto Blaha.
PS. Check out the hotel's website to see Oto's marvelous sketches and designs.
June 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
St. Moritz's most sophisticated winter address is likewise fun in the summer sun, with oodles of seasonal activities, cultural events, and gourmet dining experiences. (Culinary events this year include August's Palace Chocolate Cult and the Soirée Bourguignonne celebrating Burgundian cuisine and wine.) Situated amidst the most breathtaking natural scenery, the hotel is a historic symbol of St. Moritz. Now is the time to book a stay at the legendary Badrutt's Palace Hotel and enjoy summer in the Swiss Alps at unbelievably low rates starting from just CHF 345 a night, a savings of up to 57 percent off rack rates. Check out the list of Special Summer Getaway Packages after the jump.
Alpine Summer Feeling: Two-night package for two in a Superior room including a free upgrade upon availability, welcome amenity and flowers in room upon arrival, daily buffet breakfast, two set dinners in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), and ticket for Corviglia mountain train. From CHF 960 for double occupancy.
Simply St. Moritz: Three-night package for two in a Superior room including daily buffet breakfast, three set dinners in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), horse-drawn carriage ride into Fex Valley including transfer to Sils and back, and ticket for Corviglia mountain train. From CHF 1,820 for double occupancy.
Family Summer Indulgence: Seven-night package for two in a Superior room including daily buffet breakfast, daily set dinner in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), Palace Picnic basket, one boat trip on Lake Sils including return transfer to Sils, horse drawn carriage trip into Fex Valley including return transfer to Sils, free use of Palace Tennis courts & Tennis lessons at a 30 percent discount, complimentary childcare services at the Kids’ Club "Palazzino," additional room at a 50 percent discount on standard daily rate (bed & breakfast). From CHF 4,250 for double occupancy.
Golf Delight: Three-night package for two in a Deluxe room including welcome amenity and flowers in room upon arrival, daily buffet breakfast, Palace Golf present, 2 set dinners in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), 2 Green fees at golf courses Zouz Madulain or Samedan, return transfer from hotel to golf course, 1 full body massage (55 minutes) at Daniela Steiner Beauty Spa, and ticket for Corviglia mountain train. From CHF 2,340 for double occupancy.
June 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Say bonjour to the newest thing to make waves in the south of France. Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche, the glamorous hilltop hideaway overlooking fragrant fields of lavender and wild thyme in Provence, has just announced the opening of its new spa. Framed by cypress and olive trees, the spa is an indulgent haven boasting beautiful panoramas: rolling Mediterranean valleys dotted with charming French villages. Here, guests can enjoy pampering treatments which utilize local ingredients such as Camargue sea salts, lavender buds, wild thyme and rich Provençal olive oil. (The unique treatments also use innovative products from ESPA, TERRAKÉ and LPG Solutions.) The two-level facility features 12 treatment rooms (four with private terraces), saunas, steam rooms, whirlpool baths, steam showers, and the dedicated spa café, Infusion.
June 1, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Numerically perfect, and truly rare, dates like July 7th (07/07/07) only occur 12 times a century. So best to live it up and celebrate-- especially when the digit is the lucky number seven. Red Carnation Hotels has put together two fun packages at Summer Lodge in Dorset and The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Take a Date with Destiny and enjoy a slew of "7" themed amenities: from a seven-course dinner to a seven minute helicopter ride to the beach... Get the deets after the jump.
At the award-winning Twelve Apostles, perched above the ocean at the foot of the dramatic Twelve Apostles mountain range, the "Three Lucky Sevens break" offers seven (you guessed it!) special amenities:
*7 scratch cards (so you can win back the price of your stay!)
*A tasting of 7 wines selected by Sommelier Luvo Ntezo
*A 7 course dinner in the Azure restaurant
*7 pm Movie screening of Casino Royale in the hotel's own cinema
*7 minute heli-flip to the V&A Waterfront
*7 hours free car hire
*75 minute Moya Crystal massage at the fabulous Sanctuary Spa, consistently ranked as one of the world's best
*Plus 70 minutes in the hydrotherapy pools, aroma sauna and floatation tank at the Sanctuary Spa
*Breakfast daily from 7 am
Before you check into your guest room (the number of which will end in a "7"), you'll be greeted with 007's favourite drink-- vodka martini, shaken not stirred. The price? A magical R7777 for two people sharing for two nights. You must arrive on Saturday, July 7th.
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, the charming boutique hotel in Evershot in Dorset, is likewise offering a weekly stay dedicated-- not to the "seven deadly sins" but to "septual healing." Book a visit for at least three nights including Saturday, July 7th, and you'll enjoy:
*A bouquet of 7 roses upon arrival
*7-item full English breakfast daily
*7-course dinner prepared by inspirational chef Steven Titman
*A tasting session of 7 wines selected by sommelier Eric Zwiebel, recently ranked fourth in World's Top Sommeliers category
*70 minutes of spa treatment
*DVD of your choice: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Se7en, or The Seven Samurai
*Seven Lucky 7 scratch cards per couple
*A room with a number seven in it, subject to availability
*A map outlining a comfortable 7 mile walk through the beautiful countryside
The price? GBP 777 per person for three nights.
May 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Book a Deluxe Room at the elegant Rocco Forte Brown's Hotel and receive another Deluxe Room for your kids absolutely free. Prices start from GBP 480 for two children and two adults per night in interconnecting rooms. The rate also includes Continental breakfast for two. Situated in the heart of London's Mayfair, Brown's is minutes from must-see attractions, museums, galleries, theaters, and Bond Street shopping. Composed of 11 Georgian town houses, the charming historic hotel features fine dining at The Grill, the renowned English Tea Room, three spa treatment rooms, a dedicated five-star kid's program, and a fully-equipped gym. Book the "It's a Family Affair" Package, and all junior guests will receive a complimentary gift. Available for stays on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and Bank Holiday Mondays.
May 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Billed as the largest wine and spirits store in Europe, Lavinia opened in a premier Paris location to much positive press in 2002. (There are other branches in Madrid and Barcelona.) The place is visually stunning-- 16,100 square feet and three sleek floors of wine paradise. It's no wonder the oenophiles flock here to the restaurant. At the wine bar, you can choose from over 6,000 different wines-- served at the right temperature and the same price as the shop itself-- paired with delicious dishes to bring out the nuances of the chosen glass. And it's not just the French vintages; Lavinia boasts a selection from wine regions all over the world. Plus, the sommeliers are gracious, knowledgeable and attentive. 3-5, blvd de la Madeleine; Closed Sunday.
...brought to you by the good folks at Travel and Leisure, who just published their "It List" of hot new hotel properties. Of the 25 chosen elite, the luxurious newbies include Trailblazers like Frank Gehry's architectural masterpiece, a sparkling mass of twisting metal in the midst of the Rioja's celebrated vineyards, Beachcombers like Vietnam's gorgeous Nam Hai hotel, New Urbanists like the dazzling Mandarin Oriental in Prague, and Healers, like the swanky Bauer Il Palladio Hotel & Spa in Venice and our favorite Four Seasons Westlake Village, created in partnership with the California WellBeing Institute.
Jet to Iceland to enjoy light-filled June days (try 20 hours of daylight!), Reykjavik's hot party scene, and exquisite natural landscapes: glaciers, hot springs, geysers, and volcanoes. The place to stay is CenterHotel Thingholt, one of the best hotels in the capital. Newly opened in December 2006, the boutique hotel is a model for contemporary Icelandic design. Inspired by the country's extraordinary natural bounty, the Icelandic architect Gulla Jónsdóttir incorporated materials like salmon fish skin tiles, leather flooring, and lava-like black stone in a minimalist Nordic style. There's even a waterfall in the lobby. Chic guest rooms offer toiletries crafted with the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal springs. Housed in a renovated printing factory, the hotel demonstrates a strong focus on quality modern design. Located next to Laugavegur, Reykjavik's main shopping street, in the trendy Oceanside 101 neighborhood, the hotel is close to everything the vibrant city center has to offer.
P.S. TripAdvisor's Traveler Reviews are stellar.
May 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Visiting the Greek Isles this summer? Stop through Europe's oldest capital to contemplate the Parthenon's majesty and a plethora of Classical monuments dating from the 5th century BC. A trip to Athens isn't complete without a stay at the Grande Bretagne, the grande dame of Athens luxury hotels, standing proud at Constitution Square for more than 130 years. A member of Starwood's prestigious Luxury Collection, the Grande Bretagne has hosted scores of dignitaries, business tycoons, and stars, who enjoy pure luxury in service and living. Take a dip in the rooftop pool, relax in the stunning new GB Spa, watch the sun set behind the Acropolis from the GB Rooftop Garden Bar-Restaurant (pictured at right). Recently renovated, the magnificent restaurant serves savory Mediterranean cuisine from Chef Emilio Bracciale. The views are absolutely breathtaking.