LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Ian Schrager's newest masterpiece has been the talk of the town since its 2006 opening. "Dazzling," "showstopping," "searingly hot"... Gramercy Park has established itself as one of NY's most happening hotspots. The eclectic, candle-lit Rose Bar was voted "Best Hotel Bar in New York City" by Citysearch 2007, and the Jade Bar is likewise an original and exciting public space, filled with custom-designed furniture by Julian Schnabel. And now the eagerly-anticipated new restaurant, Wakiya Gramercy Park Hotel, is dazzling diners with an innovative take on Chinese cooking, inspired by the traditional food of Shanghai, Szechuan, Canton and Beijing done from a Japanese culinary perspective. (Read: it's both healthy AND delicious!) Chef Yuji Wakiya is the man behind this new genre of Chinese cuisine; he was introduced to Ian Schrager by Nobu Matsuhisa. Don't miss the incredible Dim Sum Brunch. For reservations, call 212-995-1330.
No plans for Valentine's Day? Richmond's historic jewel, simply brimming with Old World charm, has saved the day with a perfect Valentine's Day package. The Jefferson is one of the finest hotels in America and its romantic setting-- grand public rooms, sumptuous guest rooms and gracious service-- makes it easy to feel the love. Book the "Romance Package" and you'll get champagne and strawberries upon your arrival, one dozen red roses, a full American breakfast (via room service) and valet parking. All for just $350 a night in a Deluxe Room. For a Studio Suite, the package is priced at $450 per night.
January 25, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
With 70 properties worldwide, Starwood's Luxury Collection is a group of unique hotels and resorts offering exceptional service to an ultra elite clientèle. Located in over 25 countries (even Ethiopia), the collection offers resorts, city-center high-rises, centuries old buildings, modern boutique properties, over water bungalows, and more. A current favorite of mine is the Hotel Danieli in Venice. Made up of 3 interconnecting palaces - Dandolo Palace, Casa Nuova, and Danielino - the Danieli is steps away from Piazza San Marco, Doge's Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. A great choice for special occasions and first visits to Venice are the Lagoon view rooms (pictured), some of which have a balcony - all are beautifully decorated in Empire or Venetian style and offer romantic views of the Venice lagoon.
NOTE: Guests making reservations at Hotel Danieli through Five Star Alliance will receive a traditional English high tea once during stay and, based on availability, a one category room upgrade at check-in. Pretty snazzy.
By: Courtney W. May
The legendary après-ski scene at The Little Nell in Aspen is about to hit the road. Rumor has it that the five-star Little Nell is expanding as a brand, with other hotels slated for Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Snowmass. This is great news for Little Nell devotees, who have come to see the luxurious accommodations and impeccable service at The Little Nell as a benchmark for ski resorts worldwide.
TripAdvisor and Budget Travel have partnered together to create the first-ever Budget Travel Best Values awards. These are the world's best luxury hotels with an average nightly rate of $250 or less. Winners were selected based on TripAdvisor's Popularity Index, and the average nightly rates were calculated with four different weeks throughout the year, during peak and off-peak periods.
It's not surprising to see the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur on the top 10 list. In a lower priced city like Kuala Lumpur, you'll find a real luxury value at the Mandarin Oriental, where rooms are extravagant, the spa is plush, and the infinity pool has views overlooking the lush 50-acre Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) Park. Plus, this award-winning hotel boasts two outdoor tennis courts and fine dining options galore. And the location is truly unbeatable: at the base of Petronas Towers and linked to the KLCC.
Voted No. 1 hotel in Rome on Travel+Leisure's list of the 500 best luxury hotels in the world, the Hotel Hassler has been wowing visitors for over a century. Perched atop the Spanish Steps, the Hotel Hassler promises an unforgettable stay in an enviable location. Take advantage of some unbeatable special offers available in the Eternal City. When you book the Magic Roma package, you can score rates as low as EUR 410 per night in a Classic Room. Stay over Valentine's Day and you'll luck out with an extraordinary dinner. The menu's got tantalizing tasters like pan-friend scallops with seasoned Cinta Senese bacon and white asparagus, black cabbage ravioli and ginger burrata cheese with hazelnut foie gras, and saffron pasta veils with crab. (EUR 155 per person)
At the end of the month, the Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Inn at Little Washington will celebrate its 30th anniversary. As I've gushed before, this place is-- quite possibly-- America's most celebrated restaurant. Last summer, we checked out the Inn's latest addition: Claiborne House, "a 3,200-square-foot cottage just a stone's throw from the Inn's main building, overlooking a newly-created herb and cutting garden. With two bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, living room, dining room, media room, and library, this "cottage" is quite the hideaway. Above the private garden out back, there's a lovely two-story veranda. Patrick O'Connell, the proprietor and chef, has long championed local, organic growing, and The Inn is now working on becoming a self-sufficient farmstead with a cherry orchard (used for jellies and clafouti desserts in the restaurant), bee colony, and vegetable gardens. O'Connell has developed a network of local farmers who custom-grow vegetables for his kitchen.
January 24, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Finding a room in New York is often difficult if you're traveling with three people-- whether with a small child, a girls night out, or with adult children. Often times (more often then not) rooms only accommodate two, or hotels charge quite a bit extra for a rollaway bed. Fortunately for luxury travelers, Mandarin Oriental can add a rollaway bed free of charge to any of their room categories, making it extremely easy for friends and family to travel together. Plus, by staying at the Mandarin Oriental, you get the benefit of being on Columbus Circle-- at the corner of Central Park.
We just checked out the new renovations at the Hyatt Key West, the "Oasis Off Duval," and liked its stylish new design and eco-friendly focus. After an $11 million makeover, this waterfront resort welcomed a hip new watering hole, Blue Mojito, and the fashionable Jala Spa featuring Payot Paris products. Officially the island's first "Green Certified" resort, the Hyatt has an exclusive partnership with the Reef Relief Organization; each time you book the signature "Jala Blue" spa treatment, the resort makes a contribution to Reef Relief. Sip a cocktail at the new bar (the "Blue Mojito" is the signature drink, of course) and watch the pool change colors with ambient lighting. (Notably, the new pool deck was designed with eco-friendly decking and pathways.) Perhaps most appealing is the resort's location facing the Gulf of Mexico, just a short stroll from all the action on Duvall Street.
Montage Laguna Beach is as about as swanky as they come. High on the bluffs gazing out over the Pacific in Laguna Beach, this super-luxury resort has racked up the accolades: one of the "World's Best Hotels," one of the "100 Best Places to Stay," one of the "World's Sexiest Hotels." Steal away for a weekend with your girlfriends to relax and reconnect against a glorious backdrop, and experience the resort's outstanding service and opulent facilities. Relax at the spa (a Mobil Five-Star award-winner!), indulge with some culinary delights, soak up the sun on the white sand beaches. The Montage Memories package is perfect for any bridal shower or girls' weekend, and includes one night accommodation in a two-bedroom suite, breakfast, and a day at Spa Montage with a relaxing spa manicure and pedicure and a one-hour massage with an expert therapist. Priced at $3,300 for three people, valid until December 31, 2008. Each additional person is $565.