LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Adventure thrill-seekers, spa enthusiasts, and nature lovers know that the Swiss Alps aren't limited to a winter sojourn. The fragrant Alpine meadows and majestic mountains allow for oodles of leisure activities in the summertime as well. Rock climbing, bike rides, hikes- the sky's the limit. And the best place to appreciate those gorgeous panoramas is the Grand Hotel Bellevue, the luxurious design hotel located in charming, traffic-free Gstaad on the language border of the German and French speaking part of Switzerland. Built in 1912, the deluxe 57-room hotel is situated in a park surrounded by centenary trees. Celebrated for its world-class spa, gourmet cuisine (and glass-enclosed wine cellar), exciting nightlife at the Porsche Club, and private hotel cinema, the resort dazzles its guests. Just check out the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor. Rooms come equipped with a laptop with wireless Internet connection and Bang & Olufsen TVs with DVD and CD-stereo system. Book the Etoiles Suite and you'll enjoy a Jacuzzi underneath a beautiful glass dome.
The legendary "Pink Palace of the Pacific" has temporarily closed its doors through December 31, 2008 for a complete makeover. The 528-room resort is getting $110 million in enhancements. Come January 1, 2009, the Royal Hawaiian will usher in a new era of luxury. After all, this is the spot where the Shirley Temple drink was invented for the visiting star, and served as the playground for Hollywood A-listers and the world's elite for many decades. The Royal Hawaiian has remained an icon of luxury, romance, and the glory and grandeur of Waikiki since its opening in 1927, and after this renovation, the Royal Hawaiian will be at the top of its game. To quote the Mercury News:
The hotel's distinctive rosy exterior and eye-catching Spanish-Moorish architecture won't change. But the interior is slated for a major facelift and—gasp—will become less pink. Gone will be the pink tablecloths, pink napkins, pink towels, pink bed sheets and even the trademark pink-and-white umbrellas at the Mai Tai Bar will become history.
But don't worry. They're not getting rid of all the pink, just "accentuating the pink they have"-- while also upgrading the hotel's service, and adding hip, contemporary touches to all the rooms.
With the sky-rocketing price of gas (read: impossibly-high airfares to Europe) and the falling U.S. dollar, many travelers are looking closer to home for a summer vacation. Kiawah Island, the award-winning resort just outside Charleston, South Carolina, is an ideal East Coast destination with a slew of activities the whole family can enjoy- from tennis to kayaking. The resort's on-site five-star hideaway, The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, offers sophisticated accommodations and a fabulous spa. If you book a two-night stay in June, July or August at The Sanctuary or The Villas at Kiawah Island, you'll receive a one category upgrade at time of booking.
Now's your chance to make your very own Hollywood movie. The only AAA Five-Diamond and Mobil Five-Star hotel in Southern California for 15 consecutive years, The Peninsula Beverly Hills has launched some very special guest experiences as part of its Peninsula Acadamy-- everything from surfing to playing film star. These Academy programs reflect the Beverly Hills lifestyle, and are available within a few days' notice. (Of course, you may just want to relax and enjoy the newly-renovated Rooftop Garden Pool, Restaurant and Bar at this iconic luxury hotel.) Choose to create your own Hollywood movie and an Emmy-nominated producer and crew will film guests and their families sightseeing, shopping, surfing, relaxing by the pool-- or whatever suits your fancy while in Tinsel Town. The footage will be edited into a professional-quality movie that they can watch on DVD at home. Prices start at $2,500 per day. You can also "Discover Your Inner Surfer Dude," and learn to surf with Rod Samper, the surfer dude who taught Tom Cruise, Cindy Crawford and Harrison Ford and their families to surf. The hotel will transport guests by town car to Malibu for their private lesson, which will be followed by a picnic prepared by The Peninsula Beverly Hills' team of chefs. Prices start at $225 per person per hour.
Or learn to "Sound like a Star," and work with Bob Corff, the voice coach who taught Cate Blanchett to sound like Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator," and Jake Gyllenhaal to sound like a cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain." Bob Corff also coaches top executives for Oscar-winning performances in the boardroom. Prices start from $185 for a one-hour session at The Corff Studio. The Peninsula Beverly Hills also offers the "West Coast Wellness Workout" so that you can get in shape with SHAPE magazine's "Best New Trainer of 2008"-- Alonzo Cannon, who has shaped up celebs including Colin Farrell. She will create customized fitness regimes for guests, and then lead them through it on the beach, on a trail in the Santa Monica Mountains or in the hotel's fitness center. Prices from $200 an hour.
That's right. In response to the escalating price of gas, Tennessee's only five-star hotel, The Hermitage, is handing out free $25 and $50 gas cards this summer. Book the Luxury Road Trip Getaway and you'll enjoy luxurious accommodations plus a $25 gasoline card for each night that you stay at The Hermitage. And in the spirit of protecting the planet and saving you money, guests who travel in Hybrid vehicles will receive the first night's valet parking at no charge, an additional $24 savings. Luxury Road Trip Getaway rates start at $239 per night, and are available until September 1, 2008.
It's hard to beat this setting: crystal lakes and the snow-capped Andean mountains in Patagonia, Argentina. Llao Llao is one of the most spectacular resorts in South America, and this luxurious mountain lodge offers the ultimate romantic venue in Nahuel Huapi National Park. You'll gasp at the sight of the panoramic views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the new Deluxe Studio Moreno. And as if the views aren't dazzling enough, you'll be wowed by the facilities on offer: a heated swimming pool, a superb 18-hole golf course, a state-of-the-art spa, and indoor and outdoor recreational activities. Right now you can find rates for as low as $230 per night with a bunch of added extras thrown in. Book the Special Promotion and you'll get accommodations in a standard room, a bottle of champagne and cake upon arrival, breakfast daily, a romantic dinner for two at Los Cesares Restaurant, and roundtrip airport transfers. Valid until July 4, 2008, and between July 26-December 26, 2008. Three-night minimum stay required.
In an extraordinary location at the southernmost tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez at the legendary Finisterre (Land's End), a resort of unprecedented luxury will make its debut this Fall. Called Capella Pedregal, the resort is the latest from the Diaz Rivera family, one of Mexico's foremost developers. Encompassing 24 oceanfront acres at the foot of the dramatic mountainscape, the 66-room Capella Resort and Spa will be the flagship beach resort for the new Capella brand of luxury hotels we've been raving about. (This new, elite concept in resort accommodations was launched by Horst Schulze, the "celebrated founder of the modern-day incarnation of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.") Capella Pedregal will be complemented by 31 shared-ownership Capella Residences and 20 private, full-ownership Capella Casonas-- in close proximity to the Cabo Marina. The entrance to this exclusive gated community is dramatic: via the only privately-owned tunnel in Mexico, carved through the mountains and separating the town of Cabo from the Pacific. Buzz: At the world-class spa, the menu of treatments was designed by the acclaimed Sylvia Sepielli, who draws upon indigenous cultures for therapies, treatments, and rituals.
Get a dose of Hollywood glamour at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the five-star hideaway nestled on 12 lush acres just off Sunset Boulevard. This is one of the top hotels in the world for celeb sightings, notes HotelChatter, as the fabulous Polo Lounge lures the best of them for cool cocktails and the scene. In its recent Top 10 list, Travel + Leisure confirms you can easily catch a glimpse of your favorite star at lavish hotels like the Pink Palace- aka the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Singing the blues about climbing airfares and gas prices? Loews Hotels to the rescue. After the announcement by American Airlines about new luggage fees, Loews decided to offset the fees with a "baggage buy back rebate." When you check into any of Loews 18 properties in the U.S. and Canada-- including the fabulous Regency in New York and Loews Hotel Vogue in Montreal-- you can get a hotel credit for any bags you had to check. Just present your airline bag fee receipt at the front desk, and Loews will give you back the $15 per bag. (Loews will offer credit for up to two bags for a max of $30 per stay.) Available through Labor Day.
June 6, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Just minutes from the historic city of Charleston in the charming village of Summerville, South Carolina, the Woodlands Resort and Inn combines Southern hospitality and Old World charm in a beautiful setting: surrounded by palmettos, moss-draped oak, and towering magnolias. Set amidst 42 acres of parkland, the immaculately restored 1906 classic revival mansion features 18 luxurious guest rooms. Here guests delight in the outdoor swimming pool, red-clay tennis courts, croquet lawn and day spa. Plus, guests enjoy golf privileges at nearby courses. A member of Relais & Chateaux, Woodlands-- awarded the Mobil Five-Star award for both dining and lodging-- is renowned for its sophisticated cuisine, epitomizing the good life. It's no surprise that a resort of this caliber recently snagged the No. 1 ranking in the Continental U.S. and Canada (and No. 3 worldwide) in the 2008 Best Service Awards by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. (Notably, Woodlands is the only U.S. property to make the worldwide Top 10 List.) Woodlands offers the highest caliber of personalized service in a destination that's recognized as the nation's most mannerly and gracious.