November 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The date has been set. France's Finance Minister has announced that Les Soldes d'hiver-- the Winter Sales-- will debut on January 9, 2008. Cure the winter blues in the world's fashion mecca when the chic boutiques and grands magasins slash their prices and the French run around in a maniacal frenzy. Why such madness? Because sales events are allowed by law only twice a year (also in July). The choice of digs in Paris is simple. Book a room at the glamorous Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the landmark palace which celebrates the pleasure of luxury. The quality of service is unrivaled, the dining room is world-renowned (Alain Ducasse is the boss here), and Le Bar is the city's contemporary and trendy meeting spot.
We're constantly scouring the earth for the best luxury hotels. When we stumble across hotels with views this breathtaking, this heartstoppingly beautiful, we can't help but get lyrical about them.
Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the ultra-luxurious Amangani is set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, offering panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park.
Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Soaring 350 meters above the sea, hugging the cliffside over the Mediterranean, the Hotel Caruso commands the ultimate location. White stucco houses draped with brilliant bougainvillea, this is sun-kissed Italy at its most charming. With views like this, the infinity pool is easily among the most beautiful in the world.
Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan, India
Sitting high above Udaipur's fabled lake, the Oberoi Udaivilas looks across to the floating City Palace, gleaming white in the sunshine, and Aravalli Hills beyond. Named the best hotel in the world in Travel and Leisure's 2007 reader's poll, the Oberoi Udavilas has rooms fit for a maharajah in India's romantic desert city.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Japan
Occupying the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-story Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo features 360-degree panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji. When it debuted in April 2007, the hotel dazzled Tokyo with its over-the-top service and amenities (like the $16,000 Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini with its very own Bulgari diamond).
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Along the stretch of mythic California Highway 1, Big Sur enchants visitors with its awe-inspiring landscapes. Smack dab in the middle of this dramatic coastline, the Post Ranch Inn offers rustic elegance and incredible views. Dine above the Pacific at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant, guaranteed to be one of the most romantic dining experiences of your life.
Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Located on the southwestern side of Hayman Island just beside the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island Resort boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by coral fringed beaches and the lapping waters of the Coral Sea. The resort has a style as special as its setting, and boasts the largest swimming pool in the southern hemisphere.
Jumeirah Essex House, New York
The Grande Dame of New York is uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, just across the street from 843 acres of parkland. An internationally renowned urban oasis, the Jumeirah Essex House has an excellent location right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.The 515 guest rooms and suites-- fresh from a $70 million renovation-- boast breathtaking views of Central Park. Plus, the hotel has a camera on the roof which scans the city and broadcasts live to a channel in the guest rooms.
Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa
Situated where earth, sea, and sky meet, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town.
Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro
Looming over the world-famous Copacabana beach, the Copacabana Palace is legendary, a glamorous piece of Rio's history. Like a sumptuous white wedding cake on the sand, the hotel has hosted royalty, film stars, and world leaders.
Cap Estel, Eze-Bord-de-Mer, French Riviera
Located between Nice and Monaco in the charming clifftop village of Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is situated on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean with a 180 degree view of the coastline. All the guest rooms at this renowned 19th century hotel have a balcony or terrace with a sea view.
Heralded as the "first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years," the sleek Four Seasons opened in September 2005. Easily the top location on Hong Kong Island, the hotel is located on the waterfront of the Central neighborhood, with the Star Ferry just steps away. Its 399 spacious guestrooms have wall-to-wall windows offering views of the Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak. From the outdoor infinity pools, heated in winter, guests enjoy sweeping Harbour views.
Hotel Hassler, Rome
The Eternal City's most luxurious and romantic hideaway, the Hotel Hassler is perched above the Spanish Steps in an unbeatable location. Hands down the best views over Rome (while working out at the health club, you can check out St Peter’s Cathedral!)
The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, one of the world's major heritage sites. Managed by Orient-Express, the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge can arrange visits to Machu Picchu with experienced guides.
Escape the family get-together (or take the fam with you) to the fabled city of Venice, where you'll lose yourself in its sparkling perfection. The uber-luxury palaces, Bauer Hotel and Bauer Il Palazzo, have put together an excellent package deal which includes one complimentary night, a five-course Thanksgiving feast, piano concert, and full buffet breakfast daily. Valid from November 22- November 25, 2007, the Venice Thanksgiving Getaway starts at EUR 1,740 per room for a four-night stay at the Bauer Il Palazzo. For a suite at the legendary Bauer Hotel, which has its own private dock on a small canal, the getaway is priced from EUR 2,160 per room.
PS. Check into the spellbinding Bauer Il Palazzo, one of the year's hottest new hotels located on the exclusive island of Giudecca, and buzz around to Venice's other islands in a solar-powered boat.
November 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Talk about a room with a view. This could be the best hotel room in Paris. Perched high atop the Palais de Tokyo-- that wonderfully quirky space for contemporary art-- the Hotel Everland is a transportable capsule hotel created by two Swiss artists, Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann. It already spent 18 months at the Gallery for Contemporary Art in Leipzig, and will stay in Paris until the end of 2008. This one-room hotel is also an art installation, so overnight guests actually become a part of the artwork. The luxurious suite includes a marvelous bathroom and 24-hour room service. Prices vary from around $560 per night on the weekdays to $700 per night on the weekends. Note: Guests book online and stay only for the night after the museum's closing. Museum visitors can check out the one-room hotel during the day.
November 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Sir Rocco Forte will unveil a splendid new resort in 2009. Lapped by Mediterranean waters, Sicily is a land of ancient history, a cultural crossroads of temples and fortresses, overshadowed by the volcano Mt. Etna. Here, in a small village called Verdura (near Sciacca on the southern coast), the Rocco Forte Collection is building a EUR 129 million hotel and golf resort. Centered around the restoration of several historical buildings, the hotel will no doubt reflect the history and character of the region. Overlooking the sea, the 200-room Verdura Golf and Spa Resort will boast two championship golf courses, a hydrotherapy spa, and recreational facilities.
November 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Enjoy Thanksgiving in discerning style with gourmet cuisine and the last of the season's sun on the Mediterranean isle of Mallorca. Just 15 minutes from the sun-baked ochre buildings of Palma, the Gran Hotel Son Net occupies a commanding perch overlooking olive groves, palm-lined lanes, and an ancient village. David Stein, founder of the Stein Group of luxury hotels, renovated this breathtaking 17th century hacienda, and it now welcomes guests as if it were a wonderful private house. Amidst the splendor of the Tramuntana Mountains, the luxurious hotel features just 24 rooms and suites. Autumn is mild on Mallorca, the perfect time for an off-season getaway. The Thanksgiving package at Gran Hotel Son Net includes two nights accommodation, two Son Net breakfasts, and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner buffet on Thursday, November 22, 2007 in the Oleum Restaurant, the point of reference for fine dining in Mallorca. Rates start at EUR 545.
Berlin's illustrious hotel just got even nicer. The Hotel Adlon Kempinski, celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year, has unveiled its new Adlon Day Spa. Soak in the whirlpools, sauna or steambath; book an appointment with a personal trainer in the Fitness Room; relax in the pool; indulge in luxurious massage and body treatments. The choice is yours in this peaceful and rejuvenating environment. Located in the basement of the hotel, the 9,687 square-foot spa is easily accessible by a special lift located on every floor of the hotel. Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Even in November, Vienna is quite the European hot spot. Catch a performance at the opera house. Hit the museums. Waltz til you drop at the Viennese ball. Come mid-November, discover seasonal cheer and gifts galore at the Christmas markets, while sampling hot punch and mouthwatering treats. And whatever you do, don't miss the Vienna Boys' Choir sing Sunday morning mass. Where to stay? The Grand Hotel Wien, the very hub of Viennese social life since the turn of the century, recalls the majesty of the past epoch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Besides the royal accommodations, the hotel boasts an excellent location: only a stroll away from the Vienna State Opera, the famous Karntner Strabe and the magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral.
October 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A vibrant mix of flamenco, tapas, guitarists and bullfights, Seville is the pearl of Southern Europe, the cradle of Andalusian spirit. In this exuberant cultural capital, taste some delicate tapas, indulge in siestas, explore the city's historical riches, and discover one of the finest hotels in the world. The Hotel Alfonso XIII, a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, was designed to be Europe's most luxurious hotel by mandate of his majesty King Alfonso XIII (the hotel's namesake). Built in 1929, the posh royal palace is strategically situated in the heart of the historic city center and a few minutes away from the Reales Alcázares and the Plaza de España. The hotel is an emblem of true Spanish beauty, with its intricate carvings, genuine crystal chandeliers, astounding arches and arabesques. It's easy to see why the Hotel Alfonso XIII is a fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. Spend Christmas in Seville and score an unbelievable package at the Hotel Alfonso XIII. Including accommodations, buffet breakfast, and a fabulous Christmas lunch for two people on December 25, 2007, the getaway is priced from just EUR 343.
October 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Ducasse's arrival in London is causing quite the stir. The new restaurant will open at The Dorchester, the landmark Mayfair hotel of great repute, on November 13, 2007. For over 75 years, The Dorchester has represented the pinnacle of London luxury, and now, in addition to the glorious dining at China Tang, the hotel will offer an extraordinary restaurant experience at Alain Ducasse. The celebrity chef already has a restaurant at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, part of the Dorchester Collection. The new restaurant will seat 82 guests, including the intimate private dining areas. The chef-entrepreneur is working on an entirely new and original menu which will no doubt catapult the restaurant into prime position as a quintessential London hot spot.