LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Now is the time to head south of the border and check out the sun-splashed beaches and Mayan ruins of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Room rates are dropping, but don't worry-- hurricane season won't kick in for a few months. South of Cancun on the gorgeous Riviera Maya, Tulum lures visitors to its serene beaches and magical Caribbean-facing ruins. Here, the new Azul Blue hotel offers luxurious privacy and stellar service (your own personal butler will attend to your every need, while pool and beach butlers provide towel service, refreshment deliveries, and cooling vaporizers for your lounging pleasure). Listed on Conde Nast Traveler's 2007 Hot List, Azul Blue features 96 oversized suites with lavish bedding, iPods and plasma screen TVs. Though you may not want to leave the comfort of the spa, there are plenty of recreational activities if you so choose-- from deep sea fishing to scuba diving.
Treat yourself to some serious spa relaxation while listening to the sounds of the sea from the tip of the picturesque island of Nantucket. The brand new Spa by the Sea-- located at the island's most luxurious hotel-- will open in May 2007. Rejuvenating spa treatments will be available exclusively to hotel guests. Specially-trained therapists will offer treatments that reflect Nantucket's native habitat such as the signature Cranberry Crush Body Treatment, the Garden Facial, and Atlantic Seaweed Wrap. Massages will feature seasonal wildflowers and herbs-- local rose, chamomile, rosemary, lavender, rhododendron, and hydrangea-- grown in The Wauwinet's spa garden. The surroundings are magical (how about a massage on the lawn?) and the spa menu has been specially designed by David Daniels, Executive Chef of TOPPER'S restaurant, with locally grown foods highly beneficial to the skin and body.
A luxury hotel, run by students, housed in a converted 19th century school building. The College Hotel is aptly named! Welcome to Amsterdam's chic and elegant boutique hotel, founded as a training hotel for the exceptional students of the Amsterdam Hotel Management School, Bakery and Tourism. (Never fear-- no wild keg parties for these students-- they are under the supervision of world-class professionals.) The College Hotel's 40 rooms and suites are each individually designed with luxurious details, beautiful bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology. Head to Amsterdam to check out the springtime tulips and enjoy spectacular savings. The Spring Special is an absolute steal at just EUR 235 a night in a Superior Double Room, breakfast included. Valid until June 30, 2007.
April 25, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
This July 4th set sail with the Willard InterContinental on the USS Sequoia Presidential Yacht for a Fireworks Cruise on the historic Potomac River in Washington, DC. The luxury Willard Hotel is offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the national fireworks with the "Presidential Extravaganza Fireworks Cruise package". Along with the USS Sequoia cruise (featuring excellent views of the fireworks display), guests enjoy a pre-cruise cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception in a luxury Willard Hotel suite; Red Carpet hotel departure, Transportation to and from the Sequoia Yacht; Onboard gourmet buffet, open bar and champagne, music and dancing, Valet parking, Overnight in deluxe accommodation at the Willard InterContinental Washington (or transferable certificate for a one night stay valid for one year) with breakfast and parking, plus a keepsake gift.
The cost? $1890 per couple. But don't wait too long to make your reservations, the 104-foot, 100-ton wooden, teak-paneled Sequoia only accommodates 50 guests total.
First: the good news. The prestigious Mobil Travel guide has unveiled its fourth annual ratings of North America's top hotel and resort spas and Montage tops the list, along with the Mandarin Oriental, New York, as the only Mobil Five-Star winners. After all, this super-luxury resort has a serious wow-factor. Perched on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific in South Laguna, Montage = oceanfront opulence. Surrounded by three pools, white sand beaches and lush landscaping, the spa is as elegant as they come. Now, the bad news. On Sunday, a couple was shot dead in their resort bungalow after a confrontation with the police. Details are still emerging.
Get ready, Jakarta. The city's getting another luxury addition. Ritz-Carlton has staked its claim to the city's newest and hottest development, Pacific Place, where the hotel company is planning to open a 62-room boutique hotel sometime this year. Located in the heart of Jakarta's central commercial district, adjacent to the Jakarta Stock Exchange, Pacific Place is described as "the nation's benchmark development." Ritz-Carlton is promising the largest suites in the city, a 44,000 square foot ballroom, and dedicated concierge service with complimentary food and beverage presentations throughout the day in the Club Level. Of course the biggest draw is access to Pacific Place's upscale shopping, dining, office tower, and entertainment.
High-end restaurants in SF abound. But Michael Mina's namesake restaurant, housed in the landmark Westin St. Francis on Union Square, genuinely dazzles serious SF diners with create-your-own prix fixe three-course dinners centered around fresh seasonal ingredients. Offerings are unique and extravagant. Plus, the wine list includes 2,200 wines from all over the world. Awarded two Michelin stars, Michael Mina continues to get lots of hype. Executive Chef Michael Mina was named Bon Appetit Chef of the Year 2005-2006, San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year 2005-2006, as well as Restaurateur of the Year 2005-2006 by the International Food and Beverage Forum.
Sexy and sophisticated, Hotel Urban boasts much more than a fantastic location (within walking distance to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, and the Puerta del Sol). The most stylish hotel in the city also showcases the coolest terrace in the city, where hipsters imbibe cocktails under the stars overlooking the urban center of Madrid. La Terraza del Urban is located at the highest point of the hotel and, like the hotel itself, is a wonder of modern design. The swimming pool and solarium are added draws. This place is simply hopping.
Plan a spring escape to the magical city of Savannah and experience the ultimate in Southern hospitality at The Mansion on Forsyth Park. Housed in a restored Victorian mansion in the heart of the historic district, the hotel is magnificent: onyx marble lobby, opulent furnishings, graced by the collection of over 400 pieces of original artwork. Rooms are likewise swoon-worthy, appointed with sumptuous fabrics and all of the technological conveniences expected by the 21st century traveler. Relax at the spa and indulge in the celebrated cuisine at the hotel's restaurant. Or try your hand at preparing your own tasty meals at the hotel's 700 Kitchen Cooking School, where hands-on classes are overseen by Chef Darin Sehnert, Culinary Director. (You can even arrange a private party or special event at the cooking school.) Hone your culinary skills and learn new flavorful recipes with the two-night Culinary Getaway Package at The Mansion on Forsyth Park. Sherman's Travel Magazine recommends the package as a real deal. Priced from $437 per night, the package has extras which are worth $300 alone. Includes two nights in a Premium King room, one culinary class per person at 700 Kitchen Cooking School, gourmet breakfast for two, three-course dinner for two at 700 Drayton restaurant, and complimentary 700 Kitchen aprons.
April 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Often described as the "Venice of the North" or "another Amsterdam," the magical city of Bruges is an untouristed delight. As recently featured in a NYT article about Affordable Europe/Second-Tier Cities, Bruges is a less-pricey alternative for a European holiday:
Bruges, a medieval city in the Flemish region of Belgium, has fairy-tale streets, gingerbread houses and winding canals that lead to old windmills.
The city itself is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its 50 picturesque canals and charming medieval buildings. The newly-refurbished Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo has put together a special package for visitors to enjoy both Bruges and the lively capital city of Brussels. Superbly located in the very heart of the capital, adjacent to the Grand Palace, Hotel Amigo now provides the best luxury digs in Brussels. The "Bruges Your Way" package, starting at EUR 511 for two nights, includes accommodations in a Classic room, full buffet breakfast at the Ristorante Bocconi, one first-class return train ticket (Brussels-Bruges) per person, guide and map of Bruges, map of Brussels, and a box of Pierre Marcolini chocolates in your room upon arrival.