September 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Oktoberfest in Munich is in full swing. And the beer-guzzling merriment of the world's biggest beer festival--16 days of revelry--will continue until October 3, 2006. The 14 beer tents collectively seat over 100,000 patrons and over the course of the festival, an estimated 6 million visitors will down 6 million liters of specialty brew, accompanied by the best kind of German grub (schnitzel, sauerkraut and sausage galore). But it's more than a keg fest. There's entertainment, theater and shows, and carnival rides a plenty. Munich is hopping with activity. If a last minute trip to Europe's biggest festival is in the works, stake your claim to a room at the Bayerischer Hof, the city's finest hotel-- its elegance a welcome respite from the frenzy of activity outside. Centrally located, the largest privately owned hotel in Germany boasts excellent restaurants, rooftop swimming pool, spa facilities with sauna, steambath, and solarium, and its own theater and night club. Or start planning for next year's merry-making, scheduled for September 22-October 7, 2007.
September 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The all-business class Maxjet Airways flies luxurious transatlantic service between London Stansted and New York and Washington. Maxjet planes (Boeing 767s) carry half their original capacity, so 102 passengers enjoy double the space per seat. The service is fantastic: gorgeous pre-departure lounges where beverages and canapes are served, multi-course gourmet meals, a Chef's pantry, premium liquor, on-demand entertainment, and deep-recline, all-leather seats onboard. Maxjet Airways features all-business class at affordable rates. To celebrate its first anniversary, Maxjet is offering an unbelievable fare sale of only $999 round trip from either New York JFK or Washington Dulles to London Stansted. Tickets must be booked between September 19 and October 1, 2006 for travel anytime between November 1, 2006 and February 28, 2007. The promotion code for the sale fare is ANNV06 and can be booked at Maxjet's Web site.
The myriad charms of Turin were revealed to the world during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. And it's no wonder the vibrant city now tops the list of holiday getaways for travelers this year. This winter, hit the slopes near Turin and stay at the chic Le Meridien Lingotto, formerly a Fiat automobile factory. It's a masterpiece of modern design and restoration: loft-style guest rooms still preserve the original Fiat glass walls (lots of natural light) and the rooftop track which was once used to test cars, is now used by guests for a morning run. From the rooftop, gaze out at Turin's beautiful cityscape of churches and castles: the rich culture of Italy at your feet. And be sure to explore the top floor art gallery, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli. The hotel is directly connected to the Lingotto Exhibition and Congress Center, designed by famed architect Renzo Piano— its first floor occupied by a one-kilometer long shopping small "8 Gallery" with excellent boutiques and cafes.
Berlin's newest five-star hotel will open its doors on October 12, 2006. Located in the heart of the city, the Hotel de Rome is housed in an historic building originally constructed in 1889 and retains much of the original architectural detail. The 146 guest rooms showcase a combination of classical design and contemporary "Berlin style" glass and steel, with all the latest cutting-edge technology, including Broadband Internet and interactive flat-screen television. Bathrooms feature mosaic marble detailing above double-ended baths, and separate walk-in showers. The 120 square meter Presidential Suite features a gorgeous full-length terrace overlooking Bebelplatz. The hotel also boasts six conference rooms and banquet hall, restaurant, bar, health and fitness center with swimming pool, and Spa with five treatment rooms, steam, sauna, and plunge pool.
To celebrate its opening, the Hotel de Rome is pleased to offer a special promotion: "Hotel de Rome Best Friends." When you make a reservation during the months of October and November 2006, you'll receive an automatic room upgrade, a welcome drink with canapés and a VIP special gift. Please quote "Hotel de Rome Best Friends" when booking. Offer subject to availability.
According to GaultMillau— the influential French guide to restaurants, hotels and wine-- that honor goes to the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, named "Hotel of the Year" for 2006. The iconic landmark has wowed its high-profile clientele with impeccable service since 1861. And Forbes.com recently rated the hotel's new Cinq Mondes Spa "one of the most luxurious spas in the world."
But according to Andrew Harper's Hideaway report, the best international resort for 2006 is the Four Seasons Punta Mita, the Mexican paradise getaway just 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta (gorgeous oceanfront rooms, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, heavenly spa, and all that jazz.)
What's your vote?
Nestled in the gentle sloping foothills of the Pyrenees, the elegant city of Pau is excellently situated for jaunts into the mountains, by foot or on skis. Along the grand blvd des Pyrenees, the rugged mountain peaks emerge majestically through mist and cloud. Indeed the palm-lined promenade, packed with cafes and trendy bars, seems more reminiscent of Nice than the quiet neighboring villages of France's Southwest. This vibrant university town, long favored by travelers and wintering Brits for its mild climate and sweeping vistas, has transformed into a modern and stylish urban center. The nearby Jurancon vineyards lure oenophiles, and Pau natives point out the convenience of the Atlantic coast, just an hour away. Where to stay? On the edge of the Parc Beaumont, the famous public garden in the heart of Pau, the new Parc Beaumont Hotel is a contemporary luxury hotel with elegant interior design. Excellent amenities include heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath in the spa, and exquisite gastronomic restaurant, Jeu de Paume. From the terrace in your suite, enjoy lovely views of the Pyrenees.
The Medieval walled city of Carcassonne, standing high on a hill above the River Aude overlooking the Minervois vineyards in Southwest France, appears to be out of a fairytale. Europe's largest fortified citadel is a amalgam of ramparts layered in history, beginning with the Gauls, Romans, Visigoths, and added to by the Moors, Franks, and Cathars. La Cite is breathtaking, the dramatic witches' hat turrets and ramparts illuminated dramatically by night. The crowds in the summer can be overwhelming; over two million tourists flock to see Carcassonne's fortified walls every year. Thus the Fall is the perfect time to visit this enchanting historic city.
Hotel de la Cite, the luxurious hideaway from Orient-Express Hotels, has designed a special Autumn Leaves fall promotion that is too good to pass up. Standing between two historic landmarks, the Roman Chateau Comtal and the Gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, in the heart of the old city, Hotel de la Cite is an exquisite structure of stone walls, wood paneling and stained glass windows set amidst gardens and terraces. Each of its 40 guestrooms and 21 Suites is individually furnished, with several boasting balconies and terraces with spectacular views of the medieval ramparts, the Castle, and the narrow cobble-stoned streets of the Citadel. In addition, the hotel's La Barbacane Restaurant offers a heavenly gastronomic experience in a fantastic setting with fireplaces, high ceilings and cathedral chairs. With the Autumn Leaves package, book three nights and get the fourth for free! Available from September 1 to October 31, 2006, the package also includes complimentary daily buffet breakfast at Brasserie Chez Saskia, and one special package dinner for two - The Chef's Choice - at La Barbacane Restaurant (excluding beverages). Savings of up to 40 percent off.
Overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, 41 is an exclusive boutique hotel celebrated for its attentive service, traditional comforts, and abundant luxury. Fashionable Sloane Street and Knightsbridge are just steps away, along with some of London's greatest attractions. This five-star haven, beloved by the most discriminating travelers, offers 20 deluxe rooms and 4 split-level suites hidden away in the wood and glass-lined corridors of the intimate building. Rooms are graced with traditional mahogany furniture, the finest mattresses, warm feather duvets, opulent marble bathrooms, and state-of-the-art interactive TV/IT technology. Guests enjoy all-new complimentary high speed wireless internet access throughout the hotel. The split-level suites are truly sumptuous; the Master Suite features a glass ceiling, with retractable blackout blinds, where you can view the stars from right in the heart of London.
Available from November 24, 2006 to January 7, 2007, the Hotel 41 is offering a fantastic Christmas celebration with the "It's A Wonderful Life" package. Starting at $1,256 for a two-night stay, the package includes welcome gift plus a DVD of the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life," full English breakfast each day, tea for two with Christmas cake on one day, a complimentary bottle of red and bottle of white wine, lunch or dinner for two on one day, including mince pies, and for those guests who stay at the hotel on Christmas Eve, a stocking filled with seasonal goodies on your doorknob overnight. If you stay in one of the suites, you will also enjoy a decorated Christmas tree in the lounge area. Minimum two-night stay required.
August 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Plaza Athenee's dazzling Eiffel Suite could be the best in Paris, with a 180 degree panorama of the city's skyline. Located on the 8th floor of the hotel, facing Avenue Montaigne, the suite boasts incredible views of Paris' most beloved landmark. The suite's 1,410 square feet are composed of a large bedroom, living room including enormous corner sofa, a bar and sitting room-- graced by two separate entrances. All rooms feature large picture windows with views of the Eiffel Tower—even the bathroom has a wall of glass to allow the magnificent view (though it can become opaque if desired, for complete privacy). By far the best part of the suite is the 301 square foot terrace, situated on the roof of the hotel just above the suite's living room. From here, lucky guests enjoy unsurpassed 360 degree views of the City of Light.
August 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The beautiful Basque city of San Sebastien—situated on two sweeping beaches bathed by Atlantic surf—is a glorious combination of natural landscapes and urban treasures. Green mountaintops (one crowned by an enormous statue of Jesus, reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro) look down upon an awesome crescent of boat-dotted harbors and grand boulevards with tall art nouveau architecture. The Parte Vieja, its narrow alleys lined by packed tapas bars and beautiful boutiques – promises the liveliest and most entertaining nightlife in Basque Country (and possibly, in all of Spain.) Where to stay? The Hotel Maria Cristina—part of Westin's Luxury Collection—is a five star masterpiece overlooking the Urma River just minutes from the beach. Guest rooms boast ocean views from balconies, fine furnishings, marble, and all the modern amenities you'd expect in a world-class luxury hotel. After all, the Maria Cristina is a prominent fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Reader's Choice Awards. The spa is superb.