LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
November 27, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
What could be better than celebrating the beginning of 2008 at New York's hippest hotel? Ian Schrager's Gramercy Park Hotel-- described in rapturous superlatives by guests and magazines alike-- has been turning heads since its opening in 2006. For a limited time, the hotel is offering a Special New Year's Eve Offer. Enjoy unique luxury accommodations, dinner for two at Wakiya, champagne and truffles, and guaranteed access to The Rose Bar, one of the most happening hotspots in Manhattan. All for just $975.
The latest from Four Seasons is set to debut in the historic gateway to the west. Now accepting reservations for March 1, 2008, Four Seasons St. Louis is banking on attracting a business traveler clientele with its extensive business services. That's not to say that leisure travelers won't also be thrilled by the amenities on offer. In true Four Seasons fashion, the new hotel is brimming with thoughtful add-ons like hypo-allergenic bedding and iPod docking stations. (You can even get a PlayStation, laptop, or printer on request.) Rising from the downtown riverscape of the business hub of the Midwest, the new hotel is just steps from the Laclede's Landing entertainment district. Check out the city's museums, galleries, and dynamic nightlife, and then escape into Four Seasons tranquility. 200 spacious guest rooms and suites offer memorable city views, overlooking the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi. They are contemporary and comfortable, with well-defined work areas with multi-line cordless telephones and high-speed wired and wireless Internet access. Dine at Cielo, the signature restaurant, and check out the magnificent views from the eighth floor. There's also a well-equipped Fitness Center (all cardio equipment have individual LCD touch-screen TVs and headphones), large outdoor pool with views of the Mississippi, and luxurious spa.
Think ahead to a Caribbean getaway this spring. The place to be in April is the island of Antigua, when the most prestigious yacht regatta in the Caribbean (and one of the most famous in the world) lures racers and revelers to its tropical shores. The Stanford Antigua Sailing Week starts on the last Sunday of the month (April 27, 2008) and runs through Saturday, May 3. Sailors and spectators from all corners of the globe converge to watch the 200 yachts go head to head in five challenging days of racing in some of the best sailing conditions found on the globe. The island's best luxury lodgings are found at Carlisle Bay, that cool contemporary hideaway that exudes chic sophistication in every detail. The setting is stunning on the unspoiled beaches on the island's south coast, and the amenities even more so: state-of-the-art gym, exceptional spa, enormous ocean-facing suites, recreational facilities galore, the new Cool Kids Club, and the only private screening room in the Caribbean for nightly movie showings.
Now there's another reason to check out Whistler's gargantuan runs blanketed with ample inches of confectioner's sugar. Whistler Blackcomb boasts the best snow and sheer vertical drop for North America's skiers, and now you can enjoy it while soaking up the luxury at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. (Sublime spa, heated pool with underwater music, what's not to love?) The luxury resort is celebrating its 18th birthday with $18 room rates, so when you book the 18 Candles Package, you pay $180 for a double room the first night and get the second night for only 18 bucks. Two-night minimum stay required, valid through November 30, 2007.
Steal away to the Alps this winter for an epic skiing experience with Kristiania Lech, one of the most elegant resorts in Austria. Snow enthusiasts seek out Lech for the plethora of superb ski runs, unlimited winter activities, and impossibly picturesque scenery. Nestled above this charming village is a unique luxury hotel that fuses the best alpine traditions with modern technology and a contemporary perspective. The pride of Othmar Schneider, 1952 Olympic Slalom Champion, Kristiania Lech boasts designer guest rooms, a superb art collection, children's program, cooking school, health club, and excellent personalized service. The skiing is world-famous, and there's a ski butler on standby to help ensure that guests have the best skiing experience possible. And there's plenty of off-piste pleasure in Lech. Retire to the comfort of the hotel after a day on the slopes and sample the range of fine Schnapps, Austrian Malts and ports at the convivial bar before enjoying a delicious traditional meal paired with local wines.
Kristiania Lech has designed an irresistible package with a six-day ski pass to help beat the post-Christmas blues. Valid from January 12-February 1, 2008, the January Ski Escape includes accommodations for two with guaranteed room upgrade upon check-in, a complimentary bottle of Austrian white wine and fruit tray, a six-day ski pass, daily breakfast and five-course gourmet dinner, one 30-minute massage and private return airport transfer (Zürich, Innsbruck, Friedrichshafen). Priced at EUR 460 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, minimum 7 nights stay.
In September, The Peninsula opened its doors on Harumi-dori and Naka-dori Avenues in Tokyo's business district of Marunouchi. A dose of high-octane glamour awaits. The facilities are extensive. There's a spa, fitness room, ballrooms, even a wedding chapel and Japanese ceremony room. And lucky guests are the first in the world to sample the exclusive new luxury skin care line, Davi, which will soon be rolled out in all Peninsula hotels. This collection of in-room bath amenities was designed by Robert Mondavi's grandson, and takes its cue from the vineyard.
What's on at Tokyo's hottest new hotel? The holiday season is full of tempting delights, including decadent set menus from December 21- December 25, 2006 at all three fine dining restaurants. At The Lobby, enjoy a four-course dinner featuring dishes like goose liver flan and braised morels with Madeira wine sauce and roast Japanese beef with chestnut and winter truffle. (10,500 yen per person.) Hei Fung Terrace is even more extravagant with a drool-worthy menu: lobster and mango salad, premier shark's fin and crabmeat served with a clear broth, braised whole Yoshihama abalone and foie gras with gold foil oyster sauce, steamed fish fillet with black mushrooms and Yuunan ham, steamed turnip rings filled with assorted fungus served with fired glutinous rice and double-boiled superior bird's nest in papaya. (16,800 - 48,800 yen per person) Or reserve a table at Peter and enjoy the city's bright lights from the 24th floor while savoring a seven-course dinner. Peter also promises a fabulous New Year's Eve celebration with a seven-course dinner paired with wine and a live band and DJ.
The opening of the The Umstead Hotel and Spa caused quite the stir last year. One of the finest hotels in the Mid-Atlantic region, The Umstead was recently awarded the prestigious AAA Five-Diamond award for 2008, one of only eight new hotels on the list. Pretty impressive for a hotel that's barely a year old. (The list of accolades isn't short; the hotel is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and was listed on the Hot List.) You can find sumptuous luxury just six minutes from RDU International Airport in N.C.'s Triangle area. The Umstead has become a destination in and of itself. Play golf at Prestonwood Country Club, indulge at the full-service spa, and chow down in style at the award-winning Herons restaurant, where you can catch live music nightly. Guests rave about the afternoon tea: Villeroy & Boch China and silver tea service featuring dainty tea sandwiches with southern flair (like Mini Buttermilk-Chive Biscuits with Johnston County Country Ham and Jalapeno-Strawberry Preserves).
Hurry! Now's your chance to score a lavish room at one of the poshest hotels in the world. Four Seasons George V, the Parisian palace hotel that exudes luxury in every detail, is available for as little as EUR 310 a night for select dates, including January 5- January 7, 2008; January 25-27, 2008; April 16-April 25, 2008. Browse dates and rates at Five Star Alliance, the leading site for luxury hotel reservations. This is a steal, as regular rates are more than double!
How about an over-the-top New Year's Eve, Vegas-style? This year Mandalay Bay will be going off. Celebrate the arrival of 2008 at Dreams, the ultimate New Year's Eve party. The New Year's Eve Dreams Weekend includes three nights in Mandalay Bay's fabulously remodeled rooms, tickets to Dreams, including a four-course meal, gift for the occasion, and a commemorative photo, and two FREE airline tickets for a future Mandalay Bay weekend. Available December 29-31, 2007; priced at $1,795.
Plus, Mandalay Bay is currently running a sweepstakes where you can actually win this decadent New Year's experience! Check it out.
Luxury in Truckee, CA? You bettcha. The Cedar House Sport Hotel fuses hip European style and high-adrenaline adventure. Right out the back door, there's backcountry skiing galore (or hit the slopes at Alpine Meadows just 15 minutes away). High-end accommodations means designer leather platform beds, luxurious European linens and pillow-top mattresses, spa bath amenities, flat screen TVs, and high speed Internet. The 42 rooms and suites have a contemporary design with an organic edge. Indeed, the hotel is devoted to environmentally friendly practices and a green design: sod roof, natural building materials, radiant floor heating. The Cedar House Sport Hotel partners up with local mountain guide companies to create the perfect outdoor adventures. After a day of snowshoeing, skiing, or dog sledding, chill out in the lobby bar by the roaring fire. Or relax in the outdoor hot tub. Within weeks of its opening last summer 2006, the hotel hosted teams of pro-cyclists and the Canadian Olympic Nordic ski team-- who easily sniffed out the area's hottest new hotel.
PS. Cedar House is dog-friendly. Fido is welcomed with special treats and a dog bed.