April 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Possibly the most prestigious address in Beverly Hills, the Hotel Bel-Air is a 12-acre oasis of gardens and fountain courtyards. The Mobil five star award winner is the pinnacle of luxury, its elegant guestrooms and suites each featuring fireplaces, French doors, and tiled courtyards with private outdoor spas. But perhaps the best things about the Hotel Bel-Air are its culinary events and wine maker dinners. For five years, the hotel has been inviting wine connoisseurs to enjoy lavish multi-course meals paired with rare tastings of exquisite wines. The dinners are intimate affairs, with only 30 guests gathered to taste, learn about, and discuss the featured winery. The next dinner, with the Calera Wine Company and Winemaker Josh Jensen takes place on May 17 at 6:30 pm, $175 per person. What's on the menu? Seared Diver Scallops, Tomato Fondue and Northern Morel Mushrooms paired with 2003 Viognier "Mt. Harlan", Country Pate, Truffles and Cherry Chutney paired with 2002 and 1996 Pinot Noir "Reed", Lavender-Honey Lacquered Duck, Vegetable Bayaldi and Sweet Peas paired with 2002 and 1996 Pinot Noir "Jensen", Grilled California Peach Melba paired with 2005 Dessert Viognier "Mt. Harlan". Delish. Hotel Bel-Air, Five Star Alliance
April 26, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, London
In case you needed more reasons to visit the Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London other then the special £ for $ rate and guaranteed room upgrades we posted about last week, guests visiting this summer will be among the first to discover the Athenaeum's totally new look. The entire ground floor of the Athenaeum will be brilliantly transformed by Martin Hulbert, mastermind behind The Grove’s (the Athenaeum sister-property in Hertfordshire) award-winning "groovy grand" look. Other upgrades include:
- New Lobby, Reception, Bar, Restaurant and Lounge Interiors as of May 2006
- Digital television and entertainment systems by Bang & Olufsen in all guest-rooms
- Refurbished Classic British Collection apartments to include more sofa beds and plasma televisions as well as new soft furnishings.
- Three apartments within the Modern British Collection redesigned in a contemporary style - a family-style apartment, a traditional luxurious apartment and a modern high-tech apartment.
Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Five Star Alliance
Located on the sun-drenched Kohala Coast of Hawaii's Big Island, the Mauna Lani Resort is surrounded by some of the world's most breathtaking topography: five majestic peaks, volcanoes, lush rainforests and waterfalls. This is definitely one of the most romantic spots in Hawaii: a tranquil, natural paradise with endless beaches and the ideal Hawaiian haven for your honeymoon. The amenities at this award-winning resort include a Tennis Club, two championship golf courses, water sports, children's camp, Sport and Fitness Club, and five dining venues. The 25,000 sq ft spa offers almost as much outdoor treatment space as it does indoor space; of the 17 treatment areas, nine are unique outdoor thatched huts. The Spa is a unique and luxurious space, including a naturally heated lava rock sauna, Aquatic Body Therapy facility and a relaxation hut situated in the healing garden.
Mauna Lani Resort, Five Star Alliance
Zagat swoons. This sumptuous hotel oasis is professed a "culinary gift to the city by high-end foodies wowed by its "exquisite" Louisiana-influenced Contemporary American cuisine." And it's true: the New Orleans Grill has long been recognized as one of the country's finest restaurants. The elegant setting surpasses the expectations of even the most exacting of critics; the Windsor Court Hotel is a haven of Old World refinement and gracious Southern hospitality. The restaurant's walls have been transformed by beautiful murals by local artist Auseklis Ozals-- each detailing a different New Orleans scene. The menu is exceptional, with mouth-watering items like ravioli of jumbo lump crab, salad of roast quail and porcini with Boudin Noir, seared Hudson Valley foie gras, and tartare of scallops and cappaccio of tuna. Simply divine.
The folks at Grace Bay Club do Mother's Day right. In fact, they make a month long celebration of it, honoring moms with a fantastic package that includes a custom-tailored portrait session. Just a short hop from Miami, Grace Bay Club offers some of the best accommodations in the Caribbean. The all-suite luxury resort-- comprised of 38 family-friendly suites at the Villas and the 21-suite-adults-only Hotel-- offers a slew of amenities and activities: swimming pools, Spa and fitness center, yoga on the beach, Kid's Town, tennis, snorkeling, sailing and fishing. Needless to say, the resort is consistently ranked at the top of all the "World's Best" lists. Just what doesn't the Picture Perfect Package include? This unbeatable Mother's Day Package is available until May 31, and includes: four nights oceanfront accommodations in a new Villa suite, chilled champagne and fruit basket in room on arrival, daily continental breakfast, daily three-course candlelit dinner at the Anacaona Restaurant, one hour massage at the Anani Spa, airport meet and greet, welcome rum punch, and a personalized one-hour photo session for the family or couple. Starting at $2,974 per couple. Grace Bay Club, Five Star Alliance
April 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The world-renowned architect's new landmark is stunning. Following in the footsteps of his extraordinary Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the new hotel incorporates the same materials in its exquisite design, comprised of layered ribbons of colored titanium. As described by the Guggenheim Organization, "his ebullient structure is a response to the unbroken landscape of lush vineyards surrounding the building, while the hues of the colored metal are inspired by the rich tones of the sky and vineyard." The hotel is located in the heart of the Rioja wine region in Basque country, and will debut on July 1. Each of the 43 suites are uniquely designed by the architect, and equipped with luxurious amenities and the latest in technology. Other features to anticipate: the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa (featuring "wine therapy"), rooftop bar and lounge with open fireplace, wine bar, swimming pool, and a large banquet hall converted from an ancient cellar. Starwood's Luxury Collection-- in joint management of the place with the leading wine company Vinos de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal-- touts its signature restaurant as "set to become one of Spain's leading centers for fine gastronomy, combining traditional Rioja cuisine with modern influences by the well-known Echaurren Restaurant (1 Michelin star)." Bring it on.
Tis the season. You just can't beat New York in the springtime. The Big Apple is brimming with film festivals (TriBeCa runs through May 7, followed in the summer by Bryant Park's free evening screenings), superb museum exhibits (if you haven't yet seen MOMA after its extraordinary renovation, now is the time), dining options galore, the world's best shopping, and of course the much talked about theatrical debut of Julia Roberts in "Three Days of Rain." Where to stay when you hit the Big City? The Hotel Plaza Athenee, of course, with its superb location within walking distance to Central Park, Madison Avenue shopping, museums and theater. After soaking up the buzz of the city that never sleeps, you'll appreciate the quiet retreat that's very much a part of the scene, but tucked away on a quiet tree-lined street. This European-style haven of calm is known for its stellar, personalized service, fantastic contemporary restaurant Arabelle, and famed (and very romantic and exotic) Bar Seine. Book a suite with a balcony and you'll be swooning (they're gorgeous).
Hotel Plaza Athenee, Five Star Alliance
So maybe there's no availability for the Cannes Film Festival. This baby's been booked for months. But after the film festival struts its stuff from May 17-28, the Hotel Martinez is yours for the taking. This is the French Riviera at its most chic, where you can take in the rays in style (after all, Cannes boasts 300 days of sunshine per year). The legendary Art Deco hotel commands a perch overlooking the largest private beach on the Croisette, though its octagonal pool-- surrounded by towering palm trees-- is an equally inviting spot. The finest accommodations in this award-winning establishment are on the 7th floor: terrace apartments and exceptional Junior suites that offer panoramic views of the sea from private teakwood decks with sunken Jacuzzis. Almost like a personal spa, the marble bathrooms are a heavenly space to relax and unwind. Enjoy the hotel's acclaimed Givenchy Spa--filled with natural light from its solarium-- with a specially designed Spa Package 2006. Starting at EUR 305 per night, the Spa Package includes luxurious accommodations, continental breakfast in room or restaurant buffet breakfast, one 50-minute massage per person, and free access to the fitness center and sauna.
Hotel Martinez, Five Star Alliance
For a world-renowned and fashionable joint such as the St. Regis Resort Aspen-- booked solid through the winter and summer months-- this spring special is unheard of. Your jaw will drop, your eyes will pop… surely this rate is too good to be true? For a limited time, from May 12 to June 13, rooms start at $195 a night, with a third night free. So you can enjoy the perfect springtime temperatures while the Rockies are abloom with color, and the town hot spots (without the crowds) are yours for the taking. With hiking right out the front door, luxurious rooms, restaurant and Spa that are consistently ranked among the top in the nation, what more could you ask for?
St. Regis Resort Aspen, Five Star Alliance
Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals
April 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Twist my arm. Fine. I'll let you in on a little secret. After a packed winter season with scarcely any availability, the Four Seasons Maui is welcoming the summer with plenty of rooms available-- and tons of value added packages, like Bed and Breakfast, Room and Car, and Romance For All Seasons. Why would this award-winning hotel-- considered one of the world's finest resorts--give us such a break? Well, most folks don't realize that June is an ideal time to visit Hawaii, with days in the mid 80s kissed by delicious ocean breezes and cool, pleasant evenings. But now you can enjoy all the services and amenities that have distinguished this pad as one of the best in the world-- with an even better value. Championship golf, white sand beaches, delicious cuisine, and the largest guest rooms on the island with beautiful views of this Pacific paradise. But shhhh! Mum's the word. Space is filling up fast.