January 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Hot off the press. The Arkle, the elegant gourmet restaurant at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel, was awarded the coveted Michelin star for the 17th consecutive year. It is one of only five restaurants in England that currently hold a Michelin star for that long a period. Executive Chef Simon Radley has devised an exceptional menu that changes seasonally, with the emphasis on the very best, fresh local produce. In a beautiful setting, diners indulge in splendid French cuisine with a contemporary twist. Named after the famous steeplechaser owned by the late Anne, Duchess of Westminster, the restaurant boasts one of the most extensive wine cellars in England, with over 600 bins from all over the world. The Chester Grosvenor Hotel and Spa, owned by and named after the family of the Duke of Westminster, dates back to 1865. This luxurious hotel, with only 66 rooms and 14 suites, is one of only a handful outside London to be awarded five AA Red Stars. The Arkle is open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and the adjoining Library and Archive is ideal for pre-dinner drinks, morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon tea.
Located right in the center of Modernist Barcelona, the Hotel Majestic is a landmark historic hotel, affectionately known as "The Art Hotel" because of its impressive art collection displayed throughout every inch of the elegant interior. The newest member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels Group, the Hotel Majestic has played host to presidents and international celebrities, including the Dalai Lama. Situated on Passeig de Grácia, the hotel boasts an enviable location, within walking distance to Las Ramblas, the Plaza de Cataluña, and the Gothic Quarter. Sumptuous guest rooms are complemented by the luxurious on-site restaurant. One of Barcelona's most popular fine dining restaurants, The Drolma has consistently been awarded one star by the Michelin Guide since 2002. Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the Hotel Majestic is its gorgeous rooftop swimming pool and bar, located on the 10th floor. Sip a cocktail and take in the impressive panorama; this is one of the best spots in Barcelona to admire the architectural magnificence of the city. Take advantage of an excellent Winter Offer at the Hotel Majestic, Pay 2 and Stay 3. Book three or more nights in January and February, and enjoy the third night for free. (This offer is also available for nights in multiples of three.) With the Pay 2 and Stay 3 package, lucky guests can save up to 65 percent off the rack rates.
Situated in the heart of Mayfair, surrounded by beautiful boutiques and public gardens, The Connaught is one of the world's most distinguished addresses. Often described as "a country manor in the heart of London," The Connaught is beloved by its international clientele for its impeccable service and discreet charm. (And the famous winding mahogany staircase, of course!) The 67 rooms and 24 suites are luxurious hideaways, with open fireplaces and exquisite antiques. At this home-away-from-home, guests appreciate the 24-hour dedicated butler service, Fitness Studio, and MENU restaurant, its gorgeous interior designed by Nina Campbell and kitchen managed by super chef Gordon Ramsay. And now, the Maybourne Hotel Group, which manages the celebrated trio of super luxury London hotels, has announced a multi-million pound facelift for The Connaught. Starting April 1, 2007, The Connaught will undergo a restoration program which will ensure the hotel's position as one of the finest in the world for many years to come. What's in store? Loads of technological advancements, redesigned bedrooms, remodeled public space, and-- in the second phase of the renovation-- an additional 31 rooms, state-of-the-art spa with pool, and meeting facilities. The hotel will be closed for six months, during which time the staff with relocate to the hotel's sister properties, The Berkeley and Claridge's. Take advantage of a limited time special offer during the hotel's Au Revoir weekend. To give guests the final opportunity to stay at The Connaught prior to its restoration, the hotel is offering special rates starting at GBP 129 per night for a Superior Queen bedded room (single occupancy). Subject to availability, valid for arrivals February 2-4, 2007.
January 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Looking for the ultimate romantic escape? Overwhelmed by all your options? The good folks at Sherman's Travel have sorted through the vast number of travel promotions and compiled a list of sweet specials sure to entice even the most cynical Valentine's skeptic. They've even included a getaway deal for sassy singles. Their top five picks include a Parisian séjour, Valentine's in Venice, "Be My Valentine" package at Aspen's Hotel Jerome, Bermuda Beach Escape, and a rocking Singles Cruise in the Caribbean.
January 24, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Kudos to the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, which was named the Best Luxury Hotel in Europe by TripAdvisor's 2006 Traveler's Choice Awards. What makes it so special that outspoken TripAdvisor readers felt compelled to cast their votes? Situated right in the heart of Berlin on the prestigious Potsdamer Platz, the Ritz-Carlton Berlin is pretty posh. Guest rooms feature sumptuous marble bathrooms, with signature amenities and the unique service of a Bath Butler. The exclusive gourmet restaurant, Vitrum, is decked out in finery: inlaid Italian marble floors, mirror covered columns, antique Venetian cabinets, and Murano glass chandeliers. At the Curtain Club hotel bar, guests sip aperitifs next to an open fireplace while listening to live jazz. And the La Prairie Boutique Spa is utterly swoon-worthy, a luxurious oasis with health and wellness center and swimming pool set under a ceiling which sparkles with crystals. Signature treatments include Champagne and Caviar (prepare yourself for a gala evening), The Changing Room (the ideal buildup to a night out in Europe's most exciting city), and Jet Lag Recovery (banish the effects of a long-distance flight and stale airplane air). Of course it's the little details which really distinguish luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton Berlin. Case in point: the hotel's Joggers Station which supplies fresh towels, mineral water, fruit, and route maps to lucky guests.
January 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Only the finest five star hotels can become members of The Leading Hotels of the World, the world-renowned collection of 430 of the world's best hotels. These small luxury hotels, resorts, and famous stately hotels offer unparalleled luxury and first-class service for a discriminating few. So when LHW announces its annual award winners, travelers (and, indeed, the whole world of luxury hospitality) pays attention. The 2006 International Convention was held in Barcelona, where LHW announced its new Commitment to Excellence Awards, acknowledging hotels like Uppal's Orchid in New Delhi and One Aldwych in London for their exceptional community service programs. And (...drum roll please) taking the Gold for the Leaders Club Awards was the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington DC, the historic landmark which offers guests the most prestigious address in the nation's capital. Overlooking the White House, Lafayette Square, and St. John's Church, the Hay-Adams has long been the choice of Presidents and international dignitaries who enjoy the hotel's famous personalized service, plush accommodations, and one-of-a-kind amenities.
With the exchange rate hovering at a dismal low, Americans traveling to Britain often experience serious sticker shock come check-out time. But not so if American travelers book a London stay at one of Red Carnation's outstanding luxury hotels and take advantage of an exceptional special offer: the Deluxe Dollar Deal. At three stunning five-star hotels-- "41" (overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace), the completely refurbished Egerton House (in the heart of fashionable Knightsbridge), and Milestone Hotel and Apartments (opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens)-- guests are guaranteed an affordably fixed US Dollar rate. Available until April 15, 2007, the Deluxe Dollar Deal also includes added extras such as car transfers to/from Heathrow, a hearty English breakfast for two each day, one traditional afternoon tea for two, a complimentary bottle of Champagne, and free wireless internet access. Rates are $1,399 for three nights at "41" or The Egerton House, and $1,499 at The Milestone Hotel. Minimum three night stay required.
When Cunard unveils its newest ship, Queen Victoria in December 2007, three ships will sail together under the Cunard banner for the first time ever. The ships-- Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2, and the Queen Victoria-- are part of a legacy of ocean-crossing that symbolizes the refinement and elegance of a bygone era, when trans-Atlantic journeys were civilized events for the privileged few. These glorious voyages continue today with ocean liners that are "floating palaces of art deco splendor and Edwardian excess." Cunard pampers guest with every comfort and elegance in the ultimate luxury travel experience. The maiden voyage of the Queen Victoria is scheduled for December 11, 2007. Amenities include the dramatic three-tier Grand Lobby, Winter Garden (with glass roof), Royal Court Theater, a two-story library, and a Todd English Mediterranean style restaurant. Sweeping staircases, soaring ceilings, and elaborate chandeliers will dazzle the passengers. 86 percent of the 1,007 guest staterooms will be outside, and 71 percent will have a private balcony.
In the 100 years since its inauguration, the legendary Hotel Adlon Kempinski has become a symbol of luxury in Berlin. Now celebrating its centennial, the Adlon Kempinski invites guests to enjoy its jubilee year with special events, historic exhibits, and the October birthday bash. And with the debut of the Presidential Suite--unveiled last year in the hotel's new Security Wing-- the Adlon Kempinski continues to make history with one of the most opulent suites in the world. (Not to mention safe. This suite has an independent telecommunications system, dedicated security hub with video monitoring, bullet-proof walls and windows, and an independent power supply.) The seven-room suite is as elegant as befits the royalty and heads-of-state who frequently stay there. With a beautiful view over Potsdamer Platz, the Suite features a spacious living room, office and conference room, bedroom with separate dressing room, as well as a 30 sq meter bathroom with Jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, and massage area. Of course the suite's loaded with state-of-the-art technology (and includes 24-hour butler service). The impressive 240 sq meter suite is available for about EUR 20,000 a night.
Hot on the trail of Guggenheim, which last year announced ambitious plans for a new museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry. As reported by the New York Times, the French government recently confirmed that it will rent the Louvre name and art treasures to a new museum in Abu Dhabi, for a sum rumored to be between $800 million to $1 billion. The new Louvre will be one of five museums slated for the tourist development on Saadiyat Island, opening in 2012. The new museum will be managed by a new International Agency of French Museums, which will also manage the Musée d'Orsay, the new Musée du Quai Branly, the Château de Versailles, and the Pompidou Center. This is a monumental decision, and signifies a serious directional change in the marketing of the oldest and most famous art museum in the world. Is Chirac selling out?
Photo via Wikipedia