LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
June 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Buy two nights and get a third for free at The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, the beautiful, award-winning hotel situated on a mountain top in the Vail Valley, boasting sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. This Fourth of July, enjoy a luxurious escape to the Lodge and experience the acclaimed Avanyu Spa and six signature golf courses, designed by several of the greatest names in golf (Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Tom Fazio, Dave Pelz, and Greg Norman). Plus, Beaver Creek hosts a free July Fourth concert and fireworks show.
There's never a bad time to visit the French capital, but summertime brings a host of music concerts, the Paris Cinéma festival (showcasing a diversity of films in cinemas around the city from July 3-14), and the famous Paris Plages-- when urbanites flock to the sand along the Seine for serious sun-worshipping, replete with deckchairs, loungers, and umbrellas (July 19-August 20). Beach volleyball games take place on the sand court in front of the Hôtel de Ville.
Stop by the George Pompidou Centre, which celebrates its 30th anniversary with cutting-edge exhibitions. Stroll down Champs-Élysées and indulge in an ice cream break at the new international showcase for Häagen-Dazs. The three floor-establishment features a chic 200 seat terrace (the largest on this storied avenue), special tastings, cooking classes with the chefs, and the Ice Bäar on the top floor, where you can delight in ice-cream-based cocktails and take in panoramic views while listening to the DJ's sounds. Forget the Metro, the city now boasts a self-service bicycle lending program called Vélib', so you can navigate your way through Paris's magical streets, taking in the architecture and diverse districts-- all for free!
Let's not forget Les Soldes, when even the most bashful of Parisians hit the streets in a frenzied shopping spree. In July, the summer sales dazzle bargain hunters and fashionistas who can score impressive discounts of up to 70 percent off in the city's luxurious establishments. Treat yourself to a new chic French wardrobe (totally guilt-free!)
Make like Carrie Bradshaw and book a room at Hotel Plaza Athénée, the elegant landmark hotel which has become synonymous with Parisian style. Splurge on a meal at the hotel's award-winning restaurant, overseen by world-renowned Chef Alain Ducasse.
PS. Giorgio Armani's new luxury boutique-- a minimalist space with onyx walls, black Plexiglass ceiling, and grey silk wall murals-- is located right across the street on the avenue Montaigne.
Come January, the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong will stop operating. In its place, a high-rise commercial office building will loom over the city. Though not as fabled as The Peninsula, the Ritz-Carlton was known for its timeless elegance and outstanding amenities, like the complimentary Romantic Concierge, six restaurants, and extensive catering to female business travelers. But what we'll miss the most is the heated outdoor pool, the only one in the downtown area. Fans of Ritz-Carlton will be relieved to know that the company has two other properties under development in the region: a hotel-casino in Macau (of course) and another hotel in Kowloon's International Commerce Center. Scheduled for completion in 2010, the 116-storey Kowloon property will be the world's tallest hotel (1575 feet).
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.