July 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Park Hyatt Washington has just announced a seasonal artisanal cheese menu available nightly from 5:30 to 11 pm in the new Lounge & Bar. Decked out with "Capitol Hill" glass-enclosed booths flanking the marble and glass bar, Park Hyatt's Lounge seats 60 people, who enjoy power breakfast, served from 6:30 a.m., full lunch, and evening fare, including oysters, Wagyu burgers and signature crab cakes. Priced at $4 per ounce, the tempting, handcrafted cheeses are presented as a selection of six on a handmade circular wooden cheese board, accompanied by quince paste, raisins on the vine from the Mojave desert, honey, dried fruits, flat bread and a mini-baguette. Sample a vintage from the extensive wine list, recommended by Paula Pereira, Park Hyatt Washington's cheese expert, who is quite knowledgeable about wine and cheese pairings. For summer 2007, the fine cheeses include Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar, which was awarded the 2007 Wyke Farms Trophy and the 2007 World Cheese Award for Best Nature Cheddar in the World, and Humboldt Fog, an elegant and soft surface-ripened goat's milk cheese, from Cypress Grove in Arcata, California.
Relax with an inspired cocktail at one of the best hotel bars around, Bemelmans at The Carlyle. Manhattan may be brimming with fashionable (and thumping) night spots, but The Carlyle has a very real glamour, augmented by its long and fashionable history. Sink into a plush chair in this timeless NY watering hole, frequented by the city's finest for over 50 years. The bar's namesake, Ludwig Bemelman, is best known as the creator of the classic Madeleine books for children, and the bar is fittingly adorned with his whimsical murals. The dapper and knowledgeable barmen will hook you up with some seriously snazzy libations.
Things are heating up in Scottsdale, and the FireSky Resort (formerly Caleo) is the place to be to cool off. Like other Kimpton Hotels, this place has an inspired, boutiquey feel, with lots of fun and whimsical amenities. When night falls, the pool is a happening hot spot, lit by torches. In fact, these elements of fire and water are infused throughout the property. FireSky is located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale (near Fashion Square), and the beautiful surrounding setting of the Sonoran Desert contrasts with the lush tropical grounds: an oasis with a sandy beach pool, Mediterranean inspired lagoon, and heated outdoor pool surrounded by cabanas and secluded fire pits. Don't miss the Jurlique Spa, the first of its kind for Kimpton, based on the Australian beauty brand. Within the 3,500 square feet of bliss, pamper yourself with a botanical detox bath in one of the deep soaking tubs.
Folks flock to The Pines Lodge for the full-service amenities and award-winning cuisine. (After all, Grouse Mountain Grill serves up the tastiest fish and fowl in the region.) Zagat swoons over the rustic elegance of the joint, while guests go gaga over the views from the resort's stance high above Beaver Creek Village. Accommodations are custom-appointed with rich pine wood, luxurious linens, and Avanyu Spa products. Summer specials abound, including the Hike by Day, Raft by Night package, the perfect combination for an unforgettable family getaway. The three night package, priced from $899, includes a guided day hike on the Royal Elk Trail, a picnic lunch, a nighttime float trip on the Colorado Vision (with special night vision glasses!), and a family fun pack amenity upon arrival. Available through September 30, 2007.
July 13, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: Convent of the Sisters, Medieval City, 20 rooms ...
There were both correct and incorrect guesses for Last Week's Hotel Contest:
The Hotel Lungarno, Florence, Italy
Dine on the banks of the celebrated Vltava River in one of the hottest spots in Prague. From the outdoor terrace at Allegro in the Four Seasons, soak in the views of the Prague Castle. Named the best restaurant in the Czech Republic for 2005 and 2006 by Zagat Europe, Allegro serves refined Italian cuisine with flair. Executive Chef Vito Mollica and his seven-member team create traditional dishes with a cutting-edge twist. Humble food items are mixed with premium products (think tripe and black truffle; poached eggs and white truffles). The unusual combinations are thrilling. An added plus: the restaurant buys local, from the excellent small producers in Bohemia, rather than relying on imports.
Be among the first guests to experience the spa at the premier resort on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Overlooking the Chesapeake Bay near the charming Victorian town of St. Michaels, The Inn at Perry Cabin-- managed by Orient-Express-- is a calm, luxurious refuge in a scenic setting. The new Linden Spa focuses on pampering, rejuvenation, and wellness. The full range of spa services includes signature treatments like a clay and flowers massage that moistures and balances the skin, and a bio peptide facial that draws on the healing benefits of plants and herbs. Lounge in the indoor or outdoor relaxation rooms, soak in the infinity edge pool, detox in the steam room, relax with a yoga class, or get fit with a personal trainer. Take advantage of the "Romance and Relaxation" package at The Inn at Perry Cabin which includes overnight accommodations and a $200 Spa credit ($100 per person). Starting from $470 in a Signature Room, double occupancy. Available weekdays from Sunday-Thursday only, until September 30, 2007.
A wildly-popular spot for East Coasters, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is situated on 3,000 scenic acres outside Pittsburgh. The Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond resort has a plethora of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Really, there's nothing the resort doesn't offer. Equestrian Center, Kids Club, Shooting Academy, you name it. An integral part of the Nemacolin experience is the game of golf, as the resort boasts 36 holes on its championship course against the backdrop of some of the most breathtaking scenery Pennsylvania has to offer. Due to guest demand, the Stay and Play Golf Package is back exclusively for the month of July. Play the PGA-tested Mystic Rock course for the lowest rates of the season when you book an overnight stay at Nemacolin: choose between the luxury-defining, AAA Five-Diamond Falling Rock or The Lodge, the resort's classic English country inn.
July 12, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Laurence Bloch is the Director of Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris and holds a master's degree in Hotel Management from the Parisian Hotel College Maxims, as well as a solid hotel management background. Her previous hotel experiences include the Mas d'Artigny on the French Riviera, Prince de Galles in Paris, Park Avenue Hotel, Hotel du Parc and others.
In her previous position as Rooms Division Manager at Plaza Athenee, she actively participated in the relaunch of the five star property and helped to undertake the redecoration of the hotels' bedrooms and major investment projects.
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?
Laurence Bloch: Via quite a classic route; 20 years of varied experience in the business after Hotel School, I became Rooms Division Manager at the Plaza Athenee and was then promoted to Deputy General Manager.
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? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Laurence Bloch: I would choose the top floor of the building, the 8th floor, for its Art Deco style and its natural light and its airy atmosphere. You are woken by birds singing on the top floor which is quite a unique experience in a city centre hotel!
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Any special events that have taken place on property?
Laurence Bloch: Filming of the final episodes of the epic American TV series "Sex and the City" was quite an excitement for everyone, guests and staff included!
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Laurence Bloch: We are lucky to have a very equal nationality market mix: 1/3 Americas, 1/3 europe, 1/3 Asia and Middle east.
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?
Laurence Bloch: I feel that the Plaza Athenee is quite simply the most Parisian of the city's 5 star luxury hotels. As a Parisian myself, I have always believed that the Plaza Athenee has been emblematic of a chic Parisian way of life. The hotel’s distinctive and unique location on the very fashionable avenue Montaigne has definitely added to the essence of this Parisian atmosphere. Privileged with a separate street entrance to the hotel’s Brasserie, the Relais Plaza has been witness to celebrity visits from all ranks of the fashion, cinema and political world. The famous English Bar that existed on the lower ground floor since the opening of the hotel, was always a popular meeting place both for hotel guests and Parisians alike. This tradition continues with our innovative Le Bar which mixes a traditional and modern decor. This is the main ingredient of the Plaza Athenee's personality today: the ability to combine and respect tradition with innovation. For example, the symbolic red geraniums of our façade are now offered as spring gifts as mini plants or as jams or candies. Another very important and distinctive exclusive feature of the Plaza Athenee today is the excellency of our cuisine with the privileged, Michelin star partnership with Alain Ducasse.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Laurence Bloch: As previously mentioned the greatest attribute to the hotel’s location is the local luxury shopping on offer; on the avenue alone there are 50 haute couture and fashion houses. Added to this wealth of choice are fabulous restaurants and bars in neighboring streets. The area is duly known as the "Golden Triangle" for a reason!
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Laurence Bloch: Sorry, this information is confidential!
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?
Laurence Bloch: I'd definitely want to know what the hotel had to offer in terms of F&B, in a gastronomic city such as Paris, why go further a-field, when the hotel has 5 different outlets under 1 roof. Also I would want to know which specialties were on offer; for example our Pastry Chef won the title of World Champion Pastry Chef, again it would be a huge shame to have missed sampling his fare.
Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?
Laurence Bloch: The risks involved are one of the hardest things of being the major decision taker; being an innovative leader in one's field of expertise, can be a lonely road.
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?
Laurence Bloch: The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the greatest hotels in the world, it is truly the champion for first class service and attention to detail; when once I left a book open at the page I was reading, a thoughtful book marker was placed inside inscribed with "to save your page..." The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi is another unique property. The essence of comfort and history is omnipresent but yet astonishing touches of modernism bring you back to reality, combined with perfect discreet service.
Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?
Laurence Bloch: I feel it important that readers should know how important our staff are. To be a true 5 star Luxury “Palace” hotel the personal touch is essential and this is achieved thanks to our 550 dedicated staff members for 188 rooms. We are proud of their loyalty and experience, often a lifetime’s dedication - 49 years in the case of our Head Concierge. Also, it is important that our guests are aware that we take seriously the privileged, exclusive title of being a Luxury “Palace” hotel which bears the responsibility of regular financial investments, an engagement we proudly maintain. Finally, I believe it important to underline to our guests and readers that we are where we are today thanks to the Plaza Athenee's rich and glorious past, based on much experience and effort, a total team effort.
Learn more about the Hotel Plaza Athenee >>>"/>
July 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A regular size TV will no longer cut it. The digital revolution during the age of TiVo means business travelers are used to home entertainment systems far superior than the technology found on the road. But now the tide has turned. Luxury hotels are upgrading rooms with high definition TVs, iPod docking stations and a wide selection of programming, personal entertainment systems with movies, music, and games, and more. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, in the hotel industry, the technology race is on. There's been a "paradigm shift more toward the lifestyle traveler." The good news for this new breed of road warriors: with on-demand programming, you'll never miss another episode of Entourage again.