October 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The celebrity chef is moving in on the French, opening a signature restaurant at the opulent Trianon Palace & Spa in Versailles. Set to open in the spring, the restaurant will be bringing British ingredients (!!!) to the capital of haute cuisine. The ambitious chef just opened his fancy Dublin establishment at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, and has had his eye on Paris for quite some time. He's creating a global brand and the goal is to achieve three Michelin stars in NY, London, and Paris-- simultaneously. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Ramsay explained his "culinary patriotism:"
I've had a bellyful of the French coming over and telling us how s*** our food is. We should f****** shout from the rooftops, with our hand-dived scallops from the west coast of Scotland, and our venison from Balmoral, our wonderful Aberdeen Angus steak, and our f****** mussels and oysters from beds in South Ireland. Why not?
Leave it to Claridge's to think up a fabulous Halloween-themed offer. One of the trio of super-luxury London properties managed by the Maybourne Hotel Group, Claridge's is a glamorous art deco jewel situated within easy reach of Hyde Park, Park Lane, Bond Street and Oxford Street. For All Hallows Eve, luxuriate in hauntingly beautiful overnight accommodations (a Mayfair Suite), then linger over a full English breakfast for two, while your kids enjoy a Halloween sleepover at nearby Hamleys toy store. Available for up to 2 children (aged 6-12 years), the sleepover includes themed costumes, photographs, games, scrumptious party food, an overnight stay in the store's Tented Village with bedtime milk and cookies, and breakfast the following morning. Available the evening of October 27, 2007 only.
Visitors to the sexy Tides Riviera Maya, perched on the white sands of the Yucatan Peninsula, will be delighted by the new Tequila 101 Tastings at the Tequila Bar. This ain't Jose Cuervo. You'll taste at least three high-end tequilas including blancos, añejos and reposados, accompanied by different Sangritas, the elixir that serves to extinguish tequila's fire and complements the various tequila flavors. The charming Tequila Maestro, Eduardo Gonzalez, explains the origins of blue agave-- how it is grown and how it is processed into Mexico's world-famous spirit. Plus, he'll give you the skinny on the proper way to drink tequila. Priced at $50 per person, per tasting.
Bath butlers, in-room massages, and pillow menus... Piqued your interest? The Conrad Chicago, the contemporary urban oasis housed in the historic McGraw-Hill building on the Magnificent Mile, offers the perfect getaway for a weekend of indulgence. The SPA break includes a complimentary room upgrade, breakfast at The Restaurant at Conrad, and a relaxing hour-long Swedish or deep tissue massage for each guest that you can enjoy in the privacy of your room. Of course The Conrad also offers a host of complimentary amenities including the hotel's unique pillow menu, daily newspaper menu, WIFI and the well appointed fitness center with spectacular views of the city skyline from the 11th floor. Guest rooms at The Conrad are downright decadent: 42 inch flat screen HD plasma televisions, Pratesi linens, towels, bath robes, and premiere luxury amenities by Molton Brown abound. Enhance your stay with the bath butler service, and you may never want to leave the comfort of your room. The rate for the SPA break is $375 per room, per night and is available until December 31, 2007.
The Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver's most stylish address, was voted B.C.'s best hotel at the 2007 World Travel Awards in New York City. No surprise there. After all, this CNT Gold List favorite has the best five-star digs in the city. For 18 consecutive years, the Sutton Place Hotel has maintained the AAA Five Diamond certification-- no small feat. The hotel doesn't rest on its laurels, but constantly seeks to improve with multi-million dollar renovations, environmentally friendly policies, world-class amenities, and flawless service. Here you'll find European elegance in the spectacular setting of downtown Vancouver. The dedicated staff strive to make each guest stay a pampered, personalized experience-- and it shows.
Now's the time to head to Colorado and discover the charms of Vail's award-winning alpine resort, Sonnenalp. For a limited time, you can score rates as low as $195 per night which also includes a coupon for your choice of golf, a spa treatment, a Sonnenalp Guided Adventure, or dinner in one of the resort's fine restaurants. This Adventure Package is only available until November 20, 2007. For four generations, this all-suites hotel has epitomized the friendliness and hospitality of its Bavarian namesake. The pristine slopes of Vail are only steps away in the heart of Vail Village.
The annual CNT Reader's Travel Awards have been released, so now we can ogle these gorgeous properties to our hearts' content. Perusing the list, you may wonder: Just why did the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah get top honors, scoring the number one position on the chart? Conde Nast Traveller readers voted this the top hotel in the world, with a score of 96.45 percent out of 100 (the magazine's index of satisfaction). So what makes this spot so special?
Blissful spa? Check. A truly dreamy tropical setting? Check. Decadent cuisine? Check. Sleek over-water villas from where you can go for a dip in the crystal clear sea? But of course. But more than the standard fare at luxury hotels, the One&Only Maldives offers a level of privacy and exclusivity which is truly unprecedented. In other words, this resort is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.
You've seen the ads. Impossibly good-looking couple disembarks from a private plane, while the grinning One&Only staff greet them, gracefully balancing designer luggage and trays of chilled cocktails. Enough said.
30,000 will buy you the Valentine's Day indulgence of a lifetime. (But we're not talking dollars. Nope. British pounds! which means a paltry 60,000 dollars.) Red Carnation Hotels-- the stellar global collection of boutique luxury hotels-- has recently announced the ultimate Valentine's Day experience available for the month of February 2008. And it seems that diamonds trump hearts. You'll get a chauffeur-driven Bentley, a bath filled with pink Champagne, twelve dozen red roses, and a box of handmade chocolates. *Yawn, how humdrum.* But did we mention the makeup and hair session in a top salon for the lady and a haircut at one of London's most celebrated barbers for the gentleman? Plus a bespoke tailored suit for him and a designer evening dress for her? Followed by a 7-course tasting meal with butler service in your suite, with a different wine to complement each dish, served as a harpist plays melodious tunes in the corner? And to top it all off: ten grand's worth of diamonds from De Beer's! Now, that's more like it. The Diamonds Package may be extravagant, but of all the days in the year, this evening is surely worth the splurge. Red Carnation Hotels is offering this package at all six of their London properties: "41" opposite Buckingham Palace, The Milestone by Kensington Gardens, The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, The Montague in Bloomsbury, The Chesterfield Mayfair and The Rubens next door to "41."
What better way to celebrate New Year's Eve than on the banks of the Chao Praya River at one of the world's best hotels? The Shangri-La Bangkok ushers in 2008 with a poolside gala dinner party on New Year's Eve with special dance shows, entertainment, and a splendid array of delicious dishes. Not to mention the grand fireworks display! Book the New Year's Eve Package and enjoy a two-night stay in a luxurious Executive Suite with complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two, full Horizon Club access, a complimentary one-way transfer from airport to hotel, and the big countdown party! This New Year's Eve Package is priced from $609 per night, based on a two-night minimum stay, and is available from December 30, 2007- January 1, 2008.
PS. The Horizon Club (Krungthep Wing) provides lucky guests with a slew of benefits including access to a private lounge, all-day tea and coffee, juices and soft drinks, afternoon high tea, early evening cocktails and a range of business amenities.
The brand new Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Ireland's first, is tucked in the gentle green hills of Country Wicklow, located just 16 miles outside of Dublin on the east coast. The Palladian estate is destined to become a magnificent destination hotel. Here you can enjoy both the tranquility of country living and the city chic of cosmopolitan Dublin. Set in the beautiful formal gardens of the famous Powerscourt Estate, the hotel is the ideal retreat in County Wicklow (aka "The Garden of Ireland"). As to be expected at a Ritz-Carlton, the surroundings are sumptuous: dignified accommodations, an outstanding spa, 36 holes of championship golf, and three exceptional restaurants including Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, a signature restaurant from the esteemed chef. Plus, with 10,000 square feet of meeting space, this place is bound to be a meeting planner's dream.