LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
May 22, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We're big fans of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat, an extraordinary property located within the Cederberg Wilderness Area in a World Heritage Site about 270 kilometers from Cape Town. The setting is stunning (where else can you dine in a natural sandstone amphitheater of giant boulders overlooking ancient cliffs and deep ravines?) and the amenities are luxurious. A world-class eco-luxury retreat that's won countless awards, the resort offers a unique wilderness experience. Bushmans Kloof has just put together a fabulous Family Affair package that's bound to please every member of your family. Activities are tailor-made for kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years. (Older siblings are welcome, too, and there are babysitting services available, as well.) Children learn all about animals, plants, birds and the Bushmen -- their rock art, hunting techniques and animal tracking. Other child-friendly activities include canoeing, swimming in rock pools, fishing, creating 'rock art', as well as camping out with experienced guides. Early children's supper is served daily, after which guides entertain the kids with night walks, game drives or movies, while parents enjoy leisurely gourmet dinners served in glorious locations around the resort. Mom and Dad will have ample free time to enjoy the five-star facilities, swimming pools, and soothing spa treatments, or they may want to take off and explore the surrounding area-- a sanctuary for many indigenous plants, animals and birds, including the endangered Cape Mountain zebra.
The three-night / four-day Bushmans Kloof Family Affair packages are offered on the following dates:
June 29- July 2, 2008
July 4- July 7, 2008
July 10- July 13, 2008
December 7- December 10, 2008
December 11- December 14, 2008
Family Affair package prices (in South African Rands) are inclusive of three nights' luxury accommodation, all meals, evening nature drives, early morning guided rock-art excursions, lodge activities and children's activities. Adults R4800 (per person sharing); Children 6-12 years R3550; Children 3-5 years R1950; Children under 2 years of age stay free.
We have a winner. At long last, a name has been picked for the burgeoning development in the center of the Las Vegas Strip. The cornerstone casino-hotel of the $9 billion property known simply as Project CityCenter, the most expensive development in Vegas history, has been christened Aria. CityCenter, MGM Mirage and Dubai World just came up with the name for its enormous hotel located between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo. Scheduled to open in late 2009, this baby will have 4,004 guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. According to Travel Weekly, MGM Mirage said that Aria's tower "is uniquely designed to deliver corner-window views from every guest room." CityCenter will also include three non-casino hotels: the Mandarin Oriental; the Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences; and the Vdara Condo Hotel.
Rock Resorts Gears up for The Osprey at Beaver Creek, the Closest Hotel to a Chairlift in North America
Announcing the latest hotel opening from Rock Resorts, the first new one in Beaver Creek in over 10 years. The Osprey has a sweet location, described as the "closest hotel to a chairlift in North America." Scheduled to open during the winter season 2008/2009 after a $7 million transformation this summer, the Osprey was formerly called the Inn at Beaver Creek. The ski-in/ski-out hotel promises unparalleled personalized services, daily complimentary breakfast, an outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, ski valet, a brand-new tapas restaurant, and butler and concierge services. Book your stay for December 19, 2008. Rates vary from $245 to $925 depending on the time period.
Belfast has been getting a makeover, thanks in part to the opening of its first truly decadent, five-star hotel: The Merchant, housed in the Italianate-style, former headquarters of the Ulster Bank. Besides the swankiest of guest rooms, this place also happens to offer the world's priciest cocktail. As described by the New York Times:
Nothing symbolizes the recent transformation of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, better than the Merchant Hotel. Besides one-upping the old Europa-- once "Europe's most bombed hotel"-- the Merchant sells the world's most expensive cocktail, a mai tai made with hand-cut Fijian ice and rare Wray & Nephew rum, for GBP 750.
May 21, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
Enjoy the beautiful Irish summer with exclusive summer deals on rooms at Hayfield Manor. A stunning five star hotel in Cork, Ireland, Hayfield Manor charms guests with the beautiful surrounding countryside and multitude of activities in Cork itself. Guests who book rooms for May 23rd, 24th, and 25th are treated to a complimentary upgrade in room upon availability, and guests who book rooms during the June Bank Holiday receive a complimentary picnic basket with their room, and upgrade upon availability. Offer applies for May 31st and June 1st and 2nd.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: All guests of Hayfield Manor who make reservations with Five Star Alliance will receive complimentary afternoon tea for two - once during their stay valued at 25 Euro per person.
By: Madelyn Giblin
May 21, 2008
By: Lucy LeTourneau
Plunge into the legendary South Beach vida loca, where glamor meets upscale elegance at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. This summer the South Beach scene is about to get even hotter with Loews Miami Beach Hotel's SummerFest - the perfect getaway for the family. Enroll your youngsters in the SoBe Kids Camp, take part in activities like Beach Yoga, Scavenger Hunts and Face Painting, treat yourself to a spa treatment at Elemis Spa and Fitness Center, visit the Kids Concierge, or just enjoy some poolside pampering with Evian misting, frozen grapes and chilled towels.
*Book a three-night minimum stay from June 1 – September 30, 2008 at Loews Best Rate and receive a $75.00 hotel credit. Rates based on availability and valid for stays between June 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008. Taxes and gratuities not included.
By: Lucy LeTourneau
Paris may be the capital of haute cuisine, but at Les Ambassadeurs-- the fine dining restaurant at the Hotel de Crillon-- food is elevated to an art form. Master Chef Jean-François Piège was only 34 when he came to Les Ambassadeurs in February 2004 to take over the reins as Head Chef. Diners have been dazzled ever since. Hailing from the Drome region of Southeastern France, known for the quality of its fresh produce, Piège first yearned to be a gardener: "As a boy I used to look after the garden with my uncle. I was passionate about growing food; I loved being able to say: "I grew this myself and now I'm eating it." Armed with this knowledge of plants, Piège has enjoyed a glowing career in cuisine-- with stints at Chabichou in Courchevel, the French Riviera's Chateau Eza, and in the kitchens of the French presidential palace. He's worked under the tutelage of Bruno Cirino and Alain Ducasse, who chose Piège to take over for him at the Plaza Athenee in 2000. To quote Ducasse: "He embodies French savoir-faire and French savoir-vivre."
Now Piège has updated the Crillon's grand gastronomic restaurant with innovation and flair. Just check out that beauteous creation pictured at right, called "Bar tapioca d'huître" (have you ever seen oysters look so pretty?) And the desserts? Pinch me now. Though it's hard to believe, Les Ambassadeurs itself is just as gorgeous as the platters. Surrounded by marble and crystal chandeliers, you'll sink into your seat and be presented a unique menu designed by the chef himself with the rods used to hold newspapers for hotel guests. Piège's fans are thrilled about his new book Côté Crillon Côté Maison (Preface by Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller) which includes 41 dishes from the chef's Crillon kitchen, and 41 dishes from cooking at home.
Photo by Stéphane de Bourgies
The glamorous "Diva of Ocean Drive," recently revamped by acclaimed interior designer Kelly Wearstler, is one of the hippest spots in South Beach. And The Tides, one of Kor Hotel Group's luxury hotel brands, is also doing its part to protect the environment with its exclusive partnership with Oceana, an international ocean-conservancy nonprofit. In honor of World Ocean Day on June 8, 2008, The Tides South Beach will be offering a three-night package where 3 percent of the bookings will go to Oceana. The World Ocean Day package includes three nights in an Oceanfront Studio Suite, a welcome VeeV cocktail upon arrival (VeeV donates $1 per bottle to the Amazonian rain forests), and a three-course sustainable seafood Dinner at La Marea restaurant. Priced at $1,256 (double occupancy, including tax and gratuities) and available from June 1- June 30, 2008, for Sunday through Thursday night stays only.
May 20, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
This June, help The Lodge at Woodloch celebrate their second anniversary with an exclusive offer for luxury accommodations at this world renowned spa resort. Within June 2008 guests can book a two-night stay at The Lodge and receive a third night's stay for only $20.08. All guests who stay during the month of June will be entered into a Grand Drawing for a complimentary two night stay for four. The Lodge offers incredible cuisine, plenty of activities and the award-winning spa. The spa features a cardio and weight studio, hydromassage pools, and 27 full service treatment rooms. Come join The Lodge at Woodloch celebrate their two year anniversary and enjoy the spa retreat of a lifetime. Rooms start at $450 per night per person.
Additional Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: All Five Star Alliance guests visiting The Lodge at Woodloch will receive a complimentary upgrade upon arrival based on availability and one complimentary personal training session per guest valued at $115.
By: Madelyn Giblin
Looking for a charming, intimate hotel in the heart of London, replete with grand interiors and a discreet, professional staff? The Draycott, situated between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, will satisfy your every whim. The 35 rooms are beautifully, individually appointed, each theatrically themed and filled with Victorian antiques. Enjoy the delights of summer with a stay at the award-winning Draycott Hotel with London's finest shopping and restaurants just minutes away. Allow the Draycott to spoil you with an indulgent Traditional Afternoon Tea on arrival and all the other luxurious trimmings you would expect from a 5-star townhouse. This "Summer Special" includes Traditional Afternoon Tea on the day of arrival, an early evening glass of Champagne, a mug of hot chocolate before bedtime, and daily English breakfast. Deluxe Double priced at GBP 255, valid from July 26 to September 7, 2008.