LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
June 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Caribbean coastline south of Cancun has become a favorite beachfront hideaway, brimming with luxury eco-resorts, fascinating Mayan ruins, and the happening nightlife in Playa del Carmen. The place to stay is Maroma resort, nestled in hundreds of acres of secluded jungle next to the soft sandy beaches and turquoise sea. In this luxurious haven, inclusive amenities are numerous-- like daily breakfast, welcome cocktail, and snorkeling trip to the extensive coral reefs just offshore. There's a beautiful spa, new restaurant, al fresco bar, pool and Jacuzzi. With the Stay Another Day in Paradise promotion, stay for four nights, but only pay for three. Rates start at $435 per night in a Garden Room. Valid until November 7, 2007.
Taking a cue from Fodor's Hot List, we're focusing our gaze across the pond at the London Langham Hotel's glamorous new bar, Artesian. Designed by David Collins Studio, this chic new hot spot is decked out in embossed leather seats, a lilac marble bar, timber chandeliers, and ornate, mirrored wall paneling. The cocktail menu is simply luxurious, with lots of delicious drinks specializing in rum. (Try the Hot Buttered Rum, a relaxing, buttery drink served with Myer's rum, clove-infused apricot brandy, hot water, cloves, and a spoonful of homemade cream.) Here, the creative mixologists craft timeless classics and Artesian signature cocktails, like the Good Night Chihuahua, a twist in the seminal Tommy's Margarita recipe, using Sotol Reposado, homemade chamomile syrup and fresh lime juice, served on the rocks. But as Fodor's points out, "if tongues are wagging over Artesian, it's not because of the décor or the celebrity guests, it's because of the "energized" ice cubes: they're denser and colder than most, so cocktails stay potent longer." Talk about indulgence.
Believe the hype. Travel sybarites go gaga over this cool designer hotel, located in the seaside port of Rimini in Italy's Emilia-Romagna coast (birthplace of Fellini, the film director). Internationally renowned designer Ron Arad, known for his metal furniture and for the cool design of the 6th floor of Madrid's Hotel Puerta America, went all out with his flashy, futuristic vision for the duoMo hotel. Unconventional to say the least. Walk past doors designed like pinball-machine flippers into the lobby, where the enormous front desk (pictured) looms like a stainless steel spaceship. As quoted in Travel and Leisure, Arad has said of his hotel: "I do not want to make people feel at home, because they’re not at home." The 43 guest rooms feature the latest in technology and design. Pod-shaped bathrooms have glass walls, custom-made designer toiletries, and LCD screens. A young, hip clientele flock to the lobby bar, NoMi, to taste tapas-style small plates and groove to cool tunes spun by live DJs from Miami, Ibiza, and NY.
Tee Dad off for Father's Day at Wynn Las Vegas. Treat him to a stay at Wynn with Resort Rooms starting from just $199. While soaking up the decadent luxury (this is the Wynn we're talking about), Dad can enjoy a $100 Resort Credit towards a round of golf, a hot shave at the Barbershop, tickets to see Monty Python's SPAMALOT, or a delightful dinner at one of the many fine restaurants. Two night minimum stay required. To book your Father's Day Getaway, call (888) 770-7968 and mention "promotions" code EMSM07.
There's been a lot of buzz about the new, green luxury hotel that's planned for Bryant Park in 2010. Billed as NYC's "first environmentally-friendly five-star hotel," "1" Hotel and Residences will open in a mixed-use building on West 40th Street across from the city's beloved Bryant Park. This will be the first for the luxury, eco-friendly brand, with other hotel properties to follow in Seattle, Scottsdale, Ft. Lauderdale, Mammoth Lakes, D.C., and Paris. It will be built to LEED standards (the nationally accepted benchmark designed by the U.S. Green Building Council) which means a focus on energy efficiency, extensive use of recycled-content, and renewable energy sources (at least 50 percent). In addition, "1" Hotel at Bryant Park will donate one percent of its profits to local environmental organizations.
Happy birthday to the storied Raffles Hotel, pride and joy of the island state of Singapore, celebrity mecca and worldwide icon. Named for Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore, the historic landmark hotel has been wowing well-heeled travelers since 1887. Though the hotel has been featured in books (Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham hung out here) and on the silver screen, Raffles doesn't rest on its laurels. Today, Raffles Hotel Singapore is a modern bastion of exclusivity and pampering, known for its unsurpassed service and colonial elegance. At a spot with such impressive history, it's no wonder the tourists flock. The lobby is open to tourists who want to gape at the molded ceilings, teak and marble floors, and period furnishings. But don't worry-- the hotel retains a private lobby for hotel guests only. Also on site: the Amrita spa and excellent culinary academy.
PS. A stay at Raffles isn't complete without a cocktail at Long Bar, where the Singapore Sling was invented in 1910.
This weekend, step back in time at the splendid Chateau Mcely, just an hour outside Prague in the beautiful St. George Forest. The five-star hotel has received a lot of press for the incredible renovation project of the 17th century castle. A former ruin, the newly transformed hotel has won awards for the genius reconstruction. Dolce Vita magazine describes Mcely as "a baroque chateau reconstructed into the most luxurious boutique in Bohemia." Enjoy the exciting Designer's Weekend-- Your Home is Your Castle-- from June 8-June 10, 2007 (now's the time for a little last-minute spontaneity!) and meet the talented artist behind the masterpiece, Oto Blaha, one of the top designers in the Czech Republic. The fun-filled weekend includes a tour of the castle with the designers, a brief course in interior design with Oto Blaha (through the chateau's partnership with Prague's Design School), and individual discussions and consultations with Oto Blaha.
PS. Check out the hotel's website to see Oto's marvelous sketches and designs.
Hot off the press. Morgans Hotel Group-- which owns and manages fabulously hip properties like Delano and Shore Club in Miami, Clift in San Francisco, and Mondrian in LA and Scottsdale,-- has just released a statement about plans for an all-new Mondrian in Chitown. Expected to open in 2010, the Mondrian Chicago will be located on the existing site of the Cedar Hotel in the Gold Coast region. What's in store? 200 guest rooms (some with views of Lake Michigan), luxury amenities, restaurant, bar, cutting edge design, and a hip, energetic vibe. No doubt the hotel will be the sexiest thing around. This will bring the grand total to five Mondrian hotels (there are other properties currently in development in Vegas and Miami).
When in sunny Palm Springs, do like the pleasure-seeking LA-crowd and head to the plush Parker Palm Springs, transformed by New York designer Jonathan Adler into a fabulous and funky hot spot with lots of contemporary flair. (Despite the colorful interiors and zebra-print rugs, the Parker's exterior building still seems to date from the Rat Pack-era.) The glamorous resort du jour-- what the NYT called "a kind of dandy Betty Ford clinic for those who overdosed on the W Hotel's much-copied sleek and minimalist vibe"-- is clearly the steamiest spot in the desert, attracting the young, hip, and fashionable for weekend getaways. Formerly the Givenchy Resort and Spa (and before that era, California's first Holiday Inn!), the Parker Palm Springs features lush desert gardens, the chic Mister Parker's restaurant, fire pit, 16,500-square-foot spa, four pools, clay tennis courts, and two petanque courts.
St. Moritz's most sophisticated winter address is likewise fun in the summer sun, with oodles of seasonal activities, cultural events, and gourmet dining experiences. (Culinary events this year include August's Palace Chocolate Cult and the Soirée Bourguignonne celebrating Burgundian cuisine and wine.) Situated amidst the most breathtaking natural scenery, the hotel is a historic symbol of St. Moritz. Now is the time to book a stay at the legendary Badrutt's Palace Hotel and enjoy summer in the Swiss Alps at unbelievably low rates starting from just CHF 345 a night, a savings of up to 57 percent off rack rates. Check out the list of Special Summer Getaway Packages after the jump.
Alpine Summer Feeling: Two-night package for two in a Superior room including a free upgrade upon availability, welcome amenity and flowers in room upon arrival, daily buffet breakfast, two set dinners in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), and ticket for Corviglia mountain train. From CHF 960 for double occupancy.
Simply St. Moritz: Three-night package for two in a Superior room including daily buffet breakfast, three set dinners in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), horse-drawn carriage ride into Fex Valley including transfer to Sils and back, and ticket for Corviglia mountain train. From CHF 1,820 for double occupancy.
Family Summer Indulgence: Seven-night package for two in a Superior room including daily buffet breakfast, daily set dinner in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), Palace Picnic basket, one boat trip on Lake Sils including return transfer to Sils, horse drawn carriage trip into Fex Valley including return transfer to Sils, free use of Palace Tennis courts & Tennis lessons at a 30 percent discount, complimentary childcare services at the Kids’ Club "Palazzino," additional room at a 50 percent discount on standard daily rate (bed & breakfast). From CHF 4,250 for double occupancy.
Golf Delight: Three-night package for two in a Deluxe room including welcome amenity and flowers in room upon arrival, daily buffet breakfast, Palace Golf present, 2 set dinners in Chesa Veglia or Le Restaurant (excluding drinks), 2 Green fees at golf courses Zouz Madulain or Samedan, return transfer from hotel to golf course, 1 full body massage (55 minutes) at Daniela Steiner Beauty Spa, and ticket for Corviglia mountain train. From CHF 2,340 for double occupancy.