April 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
From the soft sandy beaches of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula to the paved boulevards of Washington D.C., luxury hotels are turning green. Who says luxury travel can't embrace the values of responsible tourism? ForbesTraveler has highlighted the world's best luxury eco-resorts, along with a separate list of America's greenest hotels. These luxury resorts include the Fairmont Washington D.C. and Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, as Fairmont has been an industry leader in transforming their hotels into eco-friendly ones.
Say hello to the newest five-star hotel in Tokyo, housed in the tallest skyscraper in the Japanese capital. Recently opened in the beginning of April 2007, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo occupies the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-storey Midtown Tower. The hotel is utterly dazzling. There are panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji, the magnificent sky lobby, sensational restaurants and bars, the 2,000 square meter Spa by ESPA, and a highly sought-after Wedding Chapel. As reported by the Washington Post, the international brands of five-star hotels are taking Tokyo by storm. The Ritz-Carlton is the fifth after the Mandarin Oriental, the Conrad, the Grand Hyatt and the Four Seasons. These hotels are upping the ante as Japan's own upscale hoteliers sometimes "fail to deliver" for Japan's "New Rich:"
The Ritz-Carlton will make an ice sculpture that holds an engagement ring for a man planning to propose to his girlfriend. It also places playful little cards under beds in hopes of wowing fussy and hypochondriac Japanese guests. The cards say: "We cleaned here too."
The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is even offering a Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini in partnership with Bulgari. Shell out $16,000 for the cocktail, and you'll find a one-carat Bulgari diamond at the bottom, which you can take it to any Bulgari store in Tokyo and have a ring fitted to the stone for free.
The list of accolades is exhaustive. (No small feat in a region where foodies flock to indulge at the top-notch restaurants.) Head to the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant to see what all the fuss is about. Nestled in the beautiful Russian River Valley of Sonoma County's famed wine country, Farmhouse wows its guests with its stunning scenery, sublime food, excellent service, and sense of family tradition. (After all, the owners' family has farmed in Sonoma for five generations.) The daily-changing menu is inspired by the incredible artisan bounty which surrounds the Farmhouse in Sonoma: local vineyards, handmade cheeses, free-range livestock, honey from the farm's bee hives, heirloom apples from nearby Bartolomei Ranch, figs and Meyer lemons from the kitchen garden... Bon Appetit raves:
Chef Steve Litke's cooking springs from whatever is fresh at the market that day: salt-roasted pear and parmesan ravioli or double-cut pork chops graced with a honey and bee pollen glaze. Like everything else here, the desserts are sublime.
This is what the good life is all about.
April 11, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
The Tides Inn has been a Chesapeake Bay tradition for 60 Years and is located just one hour east of Richmond in Irvington, Virginia. Throughout 2007, the AAA Four Diamond resort is observing its milestone anniversary with a celebration package guests can enjoy any day of the week for the whole year. Included in the "Sensation 60th Package" are waterview accommodations and your choice of a) 60 minute spa treatment per person or b) a round of golf at the Golden Eagle including lunch at Captain B's or dinner for 2 including a $50 wine credit. There is no minimum stay required and rates range from USD $159 to $330 per person, per night. For all guests, there are appealing extras to make any visit to the Tides Inn a little more special, such as the "Touch of Romance" - a wine basket with assorted food, goblets, corkscrew and vase of flowers; or the "Learn to Sail" add on for adults, families, or adults only.
Our room recommendation would be a Premium Guest Room which features either two queen size beds or one king bed and a sitting area with either two wicker reading chairs or a pull out sleeper sofa. These rooms feature private balconies overlooking the most highly sought-after views of the Carters Creek Cove.
By: Courtney W. May
How can you stay at one of the world's best hotels (i.e., a member of the T+L 500) when you're on a budget? By timing your visit appropriately. Case in point: the Wauwinet, a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod, has rates of $500 a night during the peak summer season.
Book the "Too Good To Be True" rates for a spring stay from May 6-May 31, 2007 (Sunday through Thursday) at The Wauwinet, and enjoy this magical world-class retreat for as little as $195 a night. Take in gorgeous sunsets from the 30 miles of private beach, dine at the fabulous Topper's Restaurant, and soak up the scenic setting of the most exclusive lodgings on Nantucket. Full breakfast is included in the room rate, along with complimentary evening port sherry and cheese.
The Taj Hotel empire is expanding. After the 2005 acquisition of The Pierre, the luxurious New York City landmark, and the recent buy-out of the former Ritz-Carlton on Arlington Street in Boston, Taj has its eye on a West Coast property. Up next? Campton Place, San Francisco's prized luxury boutique hotel with the picture-perfect location off Union Square. Kor Hotel Group is unloading this little gem for some $58 million. Soon, Campton Place will become Taj's third hotel in the United States.
Newly opened in November 2006, Angsana Resort and Spa Velavaru is a seductive paradise of golden beaches, turquoise lagoons, and plush, private villas, situated on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away. Here, guests delight to discover the beauty of the Dhaalu Atoll-- with untouched dive sites, reefs, and islands teeming with tropical life. From island hopping and dolphin watching to snorkeling safaris and night fishing, guests enjoy a wealth of experiences. Here on the southern shores of the Maldives-- the world's hottest destination and islands du jour-- Angsana Velavaru has unveiled a Marine Lab dedicated to marine conservation. The research facility aims to safeguard the biodiversity of the Maldivian reefs and ocean, while sharing with resort guests the importance of marine conservation. Guests are encouraged to participate in projects and the complimentary marine biology classes which are taught twice a week. Guided snorkeling safaris are conducted twice a week. The Marine Lab also focuses on protecting sea turtles, as Angsana Velavaru is a known turtle nesting site.
Stay three nights and get the fourth for free at one of the world's best hotels. Situated on the edge of the historic French Quarter, Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel, has certainly racked up the awards. Designed to replicate the interior of an English mansion, the opulent hotel features antiques from the 17th and 18th centuries and an impressive $8 million art collection. Dine at the New Orleans Grill (ranked as one of Zagat's top ten restaurants), unwind at the rooftop pool, or relax in the spa. Savor the best of the Big Easy with a complimentary extra night when you book a room on the new Club Floor at Windsor Court. The four top floors of the hotel are dedicated Club Floors, the pinnacle of luxury in this posh place-- with private keycard security access, the finest views of the city and Mississippi River, personal butler service, and exclusive access the swanky new Club Lounge. The Stay Another Day Offer is available from May through September 2007, starting from $289 a night in the Club Guest Rooms (Full Suites are priced from $329-$575 per night).
April 9, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Two South African Icons - the Blue Train and Twelve Apostles Hotel- have come together to create the perfect opportunity for those seeking an indulgent romantic escape. Board the luxurious Blue Train in Pretoria and travel through some of South Africa's most awesome landscapes while being pampered with exceptional personal service. Upon arrival in Cape Town, the Twelve Apostles Hotel will collect guests from the station and transfer them directly to their award winning destination. A Classic or Mountain Facing room awaits - stylishly decorated in contemporary furniture and fabrics. Spend time at the hotel's renowned Sanctuary Spa and indulge in a 60-minute head, neck and shoulder massage included in the package and enjoy the complimentary use of the relaxing hydrotherapy pools.
Packages are availble during the 2007 South African winter and the routes available are Pretoria to Cape Town or Cape Town to Pretoria. Call Twelve Apostles at +27 (0) 21 437 9000 to reserve your dram package.
Savvy travelers are thrilled to discover the Mexican version of Relais & Châteaux. Mexico Boutique Hotels is a collection of almost 50 intimate, privately owned luxury hotels in idyllic settings across Mexico: from colonial hill towns to the Caribbean islands near the Maya Riviera. Some are renovated haciendas, some are charming inns, some are chic design hotels, but one thing unites them: these alluring properties are outstanding--the best Mexico has to offer-- and boast highly personalized service. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo south of the border and take advantage of an excellent promotional offer from Mexico Boutique Hotels. Stay four nights and get the fifth night for free during the month of May. Rates vary per property.