April 13, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
We admit it. We're suckers for a good Top 10 List. (And who isn't?) So when the Toronto Sun recently published their list of the "World's Top Beachfront Hotels," we ate it up. They single out the following:
- Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California;
- Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
- Anastasis Apartments in Santorini, Greece;
- Baboona Beachfront Living in Pattaya, Thailand;
- Half Moon in Rose Hall, Jamaica;
- Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy;
- The Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico;
- Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C;
- Gansevoort Miami Beach in Florida;
- and Halekulani in Honolulu, Hawaii (pictured at left).
April 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It's back. A little girl's fantasy come true: a pink bedroom decked out with Barbie furniture, heart-patterned curtains, accessories, and all kinds of fun wall art. Last summer the Hôtel Plaza Athénée got dolled up for their pint-sized guests, and this year they're rolling out the limited-time fantasy rooms again for the month of August. And this time there's a Hot Wheels-themed room, too, equipped with a car-shaped bed, flame-motif mirrors, and a Hot Wheels race track with all kinds of surprises. Little princesses can choose between two Barbie styles: "Modern Princess" or "Fashion Icon" (for the slighter older crowd). Start planning your summer vacation and get a special offer for a room or suite of your own connecting with the Barbie Room or Hot Wheels Room at Hôtel Plaza Athénée: Deluxe Parental Room from €1700; Deluxe Parental Suite from €2800, with continental breakfast for children and parents included. Offer valid August 2-30, 2011. Barbie and Hot Wheels Rooms not suitable for children under 3 or teenagers over 16.
April 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
New York-style nail salons are few and far between in the City of Light. So what's a gal to do when she needs a mani? Hotel Pavillon de la Reine to the rescue! The elegant hotel known for catering to celebs dodging the limelight has just opened a beauty bar in its library. So every Saturday you can get your nails buffed and lacquered (with OPI polish, of course) by the expert technicians from the hotel's Carita Spa. The beauty bar is open to the public, with no reservations required, with manicures priced at 25 euros.* Glass of Champagne included! Tucked away in a courtyard off the Place des Vosges, the oldest public square in Paris, Le Pavillon de la Reine is the only luxury hotel of its kind in the historic Marais quarter.
*Celeb sighting probable, though not guaranteed!
It feels like summer in Paris this week. Actually, the weather's even better than summer: sunny and 70 degrees! The sidewalk cafes are packed with sun-bathers and people-watchers. Needless to say, work productivity may suffer this April... Take advantage of these glorious days in Paris with a special offer from the Radisson Blu Le Dokhan's and the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan. The two luxury hotels have launched a 3=2 offer for new bookings only. Stay three nights and pay for only two from April 15- April 25, 2011. Based on contracted mid-week rates in Deluxe rooms, subject to availability. Located between the Trocadero and the Arc de Triomphe, the neo-classical style Le Dokhan's is home to a beautiful Champagne bar. Near the Eiffel Tower, the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan features sleek contemporary interiors by designer François Champsaur (pictured at right).
A bar drink served in a real hip flask? You heard that right. A new bar in London's Theatre Land is serving up a delicious array of Champagne cocktails and creative libations, including the Astor Hip Flask, a bourbon-based cocktail mixed with secret ingredients and aged in an oak barrel for at least one month. The Waldorf Hilton has just opened Good Godfrey's bar & lounge, named for Howard Godfrey, the celebrity bandleader of the ‘Waldorfians’, the Waldorf house band in the 1920’s. Back in the day Godfrey was known across the country for his hit records, and The Waldorf drew quite the crowd for its famous Tango Teas. Nelson Bernardes, the award-winning head mixologist at Good Godfrey’s, has outdone himself with the drinks list. Order up a Waldorf-tini and you'll taste edible gold (in the garnish, anyway!). Made with either Tanqueray No 10 and grapefruit bitters or Grey Goose Vodka with ginger bitters and Noilly Prat, the cocktail is stirred in a golden shaker and garnished with gold. We also like the sound of the Hot Gin Punch for two which is served in a large teapot. Good Godfrey’s at The Waldorf Hilton is open all day serving morning drinks, light bites, afternoon tea and small plates meant to be shared.
So you didn't get your act together for an Easter trip to Prague. No biggie. You'll miss the dyed Easter eggs and willow whips at the festive markets, but you can still head to the capital for the ever-popular Czech Beer Festival in May, taking place in three enormous tents with a seating capacity of 10,000. Taste more than 70 brands of beer (served in glass pitchers straight from the tap), and when you're looking for a nibble, you'll find a selection of tasty bites from local chefs. All served by ladies and gents sporting the Czech national costume, of course. The festival runs from May 12- May 28, 2011. Looking for a place to hit the hay? Check out our fabulous collection of Four-Star and Five-Star Hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski, and The Augustine (pictured at right).
April 5, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Who needs a giant Easter Bunny in a costume when you can have the real thing? For the entire month of April, the Ritz Paris will be transformed into a flower-filled wonderland. Florist Djordje Varda is decorating the halls with yellow butterflies made from Oncidium orchids. The Grand Jardin-- the leafy terraced oasis at the heart of the hotel-- has morphed into a secret garden where real bunnies can be found in the vegetation. Accompanied by their parents, kids can seek out the rabbits and other fun surprises. A lavish Easter brunch will be served on Sunday, April 24 from 11 am to 3 pm, and during this time, there will be three Easter Egg Hunts in the Grand Jardin. The hotel's on-site chocolaterie will also be entertaining pint-sized guests with chocolate-making demos (chocolate Easter eggs galore!) The brunch is priced from 155 euros for adults, including a glass of Champagne, and 80 euros for children under 12. Kids under 5 eat free.
Related Article: An Inside Look at the Escoffier Cooking School at the Ritz Paris
April 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Not too shabby a gift! Built in the 1920s, the Hotel Napoleon was bought by a Russian businessman as a wedding present for the French girl he had fallen for. Over the years the hotel hosted famous guests from the era's high society. (Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway, and Dali all stayed here.) In the 1930's, the hotel was immortalized by one of France's most famous actors, Jean Gabin, in a couple of his films. Today the boutique hotel is appreciated for its location in the heart of the Triangle d'Or, just a stone's throw from the Arc de Triomphe and the world-famous Champs Elysées.
Adorned with Napoleonic artwork and elegant Directoire furniture, the Hotel Napoleon has retained an intimate ambience. The 102 guest rooms are decorated in the Empire style and have views over the Paris rooftops and the Eiffel Tower. What could be better than starting the day with breakfast on your terrace, with all of Paris at your feet?
From themed Afternoon Teas to commemorative tea bags and postage stamps, London is getting in the mood for the upcoming Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Visit London-- the official tourism organization for the capital-- recently unveiled a giant 4-foot wedding cake, a lovely replica of the famous St. Bride's Church on Fleet Street-- the actual, real-life inspiration for the traditional tiered wedding cake enjoyed around the world today! Visit London describes their recent feat:
Back in the 18th century, London-based baker’s apprentice Thomas Rich wanted to create something special for his wedding day so, taking the tall spire and steeple of St Bride’s Church as a model, he came up with the idea for a tiered cake. This cake was provided by Sophisticake (who made the wedding cake for HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall). It was created using a medieval recipe which required a whopping 200 eggs, 120lb (54kg) of dried fruit and 18lb (8kg) of butter! The cake will be donated to St Bride’s Church to share with its parish and support their charitable causes.
Pssst! Starwood is having a ginormous sale to herald spring's arrival. So if you're looking for a spring fling, why not take a jaunt to one of Starwood's 800 hotels and resorts worldwide? Or even just spend a night away from home in your own 'hood? The "Our World, for a Limited Time" package doles out savings of up to 30% at properties available across all nine of Starwood's brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element. (We say the W Retreat on Koh Samui looks mighty nice... And closer to home: spend the night in the "drunk tank" at Boston's "liberated landmark," The Liberty Hotel.) Available for stays until May 30, 2011, must book by April 4, 2011.
Pictured: A heavenly slice of the Mediterranean at Le Meridien Limassol Spa and Resort on Cyprus.