March 14, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Visit the Maroma Resort & Spa within 20 miles south of Cancun's international airport and 45 minutes from Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean, at the Riviera Maya and enjoy the 25 acres of jungle preserve this secluded, luxurious hideaway sits on.
Included in all Maroma room rates are:
- Full daily a la carte breakfast in the resort Restaurants or Room Service
- Welcome Margarita cocktail upon arrival (the famous Maroma Margarita)
- High-speed internet access in all the rooms
- One snorkeling trip per guest, per stay, to the world's second largest barrier reef
- Round-trip airport transfers for two (private transportation can be arranged at additional cost)
- Use of fitness center
Keep in mind (whether you have children or avoid them), that no children under 12 are allowed at the property year round, and between January 1 to April 30 and December 22 to 31, no children under 16 are allowed on property.
If you make reservations with Five Star Alliance, in addition to the amenities above, you will also receive a welcome fruit basket upon arrival and a surprise departure gift.
The Octagon Bar has been a favorite Dublin watering hole throughout the hotel's 15 year history. After all, this joint belongs to Bono and The Edge of U2. (They purchased the hotel in 1992 and restored it into the city's premier boutique hotel. The Clarence is now on Conde Nast's Gold List. It's got the U2 stamp all over it.) The hotel's chic bar, which features an octagon-shaped dome, is adored by both locals and visitors. The award-winning cocktails are flavorful and fun, and run the gamut from Bubbly to Clarence Cocktails. (Highly-recommended: the apple strudel martini.) Of course there are plenty of tasty nibbles to accompany the libations.
As featured in Vogue magazine, the twelfth century Castello di Vicarello is a hidden gem nestled within olive groves, lavender fields, and vineyards in Maremma, the heart of Tuscany. Travel like royalty and discover this magical retreat. For the ultimate in privacy, there are only five suites, distinguished by thick stone walls and wood beams, and furnished with antiques and art from the owner's extensive travels. The property features two infinity edge pools, orchards cultivated since Roman times, and beautiful gardens from where vegetables are picked for exquisite meals. (Most of the food is grown on the grounds, following strict organic guidelines.) At Castello di Vicarello, enjoy traditional Tuscan fare with only the best and freshest ingredients.
Charleston Place, the stunning Orient-Express property located at 205 Meeting Street in historic Charleston, is easily one of the world's finest hotels. Elegant guest rooms and warm Southern hospitality evoke the ambience of a private residence straight out of the Old World. Consistently ranked in the "Top 10 Hotels in North America" by Conde Nast Traveler, Charleston Place offers the sumptuous European-style Spa, clay tennis court, heated horizon edged swimming pool, and the Charleston Grill, one of the best restaurants in the country. And now Charleston Place has devised a special value-added package for business travelers. Amenities include complimentary Continental breakfast in the Palmetto Cafe or through in-room dining, local phone calls and long-distance access, valet parking, shoe shine, daily newspaper, and business center services including faxing, copying, and use of on-site personal computers and clerical support. The package, with deluxe accommodations for Sunday through Thursday night stays, is available for $378 per night. Subject to availability.
Going to Seoul? Without a doubt, the place to stay is the W Hotel Seoul-Walkerhill. Located on the slope of Mount Acha overlooking the Han river, W Seoul is only 15 minutes from the bustling financial and business district, yet a world away in a natural paradise of 180 acres of parkland. Listed on the Conde Nast Hot List in 2005, the W Seoul-Walkerhill is a sight to behold. In addition to the chic accommodations (with bathrooms guaranteed to wow), the hotel features truly world-class facilities. Gorgeous indoor pool (with sweeping city views), a Turkish Hammam and legendary spa treatments at Away Spa, the first of its kind in Seoul. Golf driving range. Two kilometer jogging course, located on the hotel grounds, which winds through the mountain forest. Two outdoor asphalt tennis courts equipped for nighttime play. Full-service fitness facility. And the best part of all? Airport pick-up in the exclusive Red Jaguar XJ, specially made for W Seoul-Walkerhill.
March 12, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
The Hay-Adams is almost exactly a mile from the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin and on the walk over you'd get to pass 1) The White House, 2) Old Executive Office Building, 3) Washington Monument and 4) The National World War II Memorial. This year, the predicted peak bloom will be April 4th (although they start to bloom around March 30th). The Hay-Adams "Cherry Blossom Package" includes a minimum of 2 nights, Cherry Blossom Fesitval information, a special amenity, and complimentary parking (normally $35.84 per night with the valet). Rates start at $369 for the package and will sell out quickly (check real-time availability here). Other packages available to welcome back spring to the area include "Spring Break" (low rates, breakfast and accommodations) and the "Sake Dinner Package" (five-course Asian influenced dinner, 5 different Japanese sake, breakfast, free parking, and of course the room). If you live in the area or are visiting and not staying at the Hay-Adams (shame on you) but want to partake in the "Sake Dinner" the night before the Cherry Blossom Parade and Festival, the cost for two is $150 plus tax and gratuity. Call the Lafayette Room at 202-220-4853 to make reservations - 6:30 pm Reception, 7:30 pm Dinner.
See the nation's capital at its best, when the famous cherry trees are abloom. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, the annual citywide event featuring daily cultural performances and special events, celebrates the 95th anniversary of the Japanese gift of the cherry blossom trees and the ongoing friendship between the citizens of the United States and Japan. This year the festival will be held from March 31-April 15, 2007, with a parade on April 14, 2007. The Madison, A Loews Hotel, celebrates the spring season with a special Cherry Blossom Package, from just $229 per night, based on double occupancy (excluding taxes). The package includes overnight accommodations for two in a Deluxe guest room, complimentary parking, and a special turn-down amenity.
Exciting news from the exclusive private island-resort of Peter Island. The newest addition to Peter Island's luxury private villa collection, Falcon's Nest, will open in May 2007. And there is still availability for the Year-End Holidays! The Villa Estates provide the ultimate, self-indulgent get-away at one of the world's finest resorts. Nestled on the hillside in an idyllic location overlooking White Bay Beach, the six-bedroom Falcon's Nest boasts breathtaking views (you can even see Norman Island and St. Croix!) and unparalleled luxury. Features include wrap-around verandah, Media room, outside bar, cabana, infinity-edge pool, dipping pool, and large outdoor whirlpool. Consisting of three separate residences connected by winding stone paths, Falcon's Nest is designed with indigenous stone, massive wooden beams, and hand-trawled stucco walls. A stay at Falcon's Nest means the best possible service; the personal staff includes a valet, chef, housekeeper, and grounds-man.
Say hello to the latest additions to the prestigious hotel collection of SLH. We've raved before about Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel in Peru, the luxury boutique gem actually located within Machu Picchu's Historical Sanctuary. Surrounded by stunning waterfalls and lush cloud forest, this mountainside refuge features whitewashed cottages, a glass-walled restaurant, and terraces boasting impressive views. This is the perfect location from which to explore the historic trails of the Incas. (Rates start at $350 per night.) Correntoso Lake and River Hotel in Patagonia, Argentina is likewise surrounded by incredible natural beauty, set over the mouth of the Correntoso river where it meets the Nahuel Huapi lake in Patagonia. Within this unparalleled scenic setting at the foot of the Andes, the 27-room hotel provides a haven for adventure enthusiasts and luxury travelers. (Rates start at $290 a night.)
March 9, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Tony McHale is the current General Manager at Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia - just outside Charlottesville. He took some time out of his busy schedule (you'd be busy too if you had an Arnold Palmer golf course at your office) to answer some of our questions.
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?
Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?
Tony McHale: Keswick is like a country home. It is intimate and charming with gracious service and hospitality, in a breath taking setting, on a private 600 acre Estate.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Tony McHale: Private, yet just 15 minutes from downtown Charlottesville. Curl up with a book in front of one of the six fireplaces, or enjoy golf on our private Arnold Palmer Championship Golf course. Hot air ballooning, shooting, riding, fishing or biking are one of many pursuits.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed at Keswick Hall, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Tony McHale: Mic Jagger, James Brown, Michael J. Fox, Sissy Spacek, Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, and Paul Newman to name a few.
Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages?
Tony McHale: Balcony State Rooms 9 and 27: Both are corner rooms located on the 2nd floor. They have private balconies and exquisite views overlooking the Arnold Palmer Golf Course. They are requested time and time again by our regular guests.
Five Star Alliance: If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Tony McHale: A favorite Signature Room (standard) would be # 10. It has a full size balcony overlooking the Horizon Edge Pool and Arnold Palmer Golf Course.
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Tony McHale: Strongest markets are New York and Washington, though people travel from all over including Europe.
Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?
Tony McHale: Check-in/out times, dining options (both on and off property), recreational activities, things to do in the area: shopping, wineries, etc, parking fee, and safety deposit box.
Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?