LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, formerly the Grand Hotel Intercontinental Stockholm, opened for the first time in 1874 and has a long and fascinating history. The rooms and interiors are unique, as is the hotel's location in the centre of Stockholm. The luxury hotel just took the wraps off a big refresh of its most impressive suite: the Princess Lilian Suite, which is situated on the top floor of the property.
First inaugurated in 2006, the 330 square meter suite now has a completely new interior with a lounge area, two bedrooms, a private movie theater (!), a kitchen and two terraces - perfect for looking out over the waterfront or the Royal Palace. The project also added new exercise equipment to the suite's spa section (pictured).
Interior designer Sanna Nathanson, who has headed up previous room renovation projects at the Grand Hotel Stockholm, spearheaded the project. All of the suite's floors have been replaced with parquet flooring, except for the bedrooms, which got new, hand-woven wall-to-wall carpeting. The new color scheme aims for a light, subdued look, with tones of grey-blue, cream and gold. Several pieces of new furniture were specially designed for the suite, with a large portrait of Princess Lilian by the artist Fabian Edstam serving as a focal point.
All of the hotel's other rooms and suites in the Burmanska Palace have likewise received renovations, with a Scandinavian design in three color palettes: Royal, Sand and Blood (think marble, white- and black-stained wood, velvet-meets-silk curtains, and leather, wool, and linen elements, with brass details). Fine-art photography serves as accents.
Learn more about the hotel and then check rates and availability at the Grand Hotel Stockholm >>
Enjoy a five star stay with the Five Star Alliance Rate at the Armani Hotel Milano in the heart of Quadrilatero della Moda, Milan's world famous fashion district. The Armani style and philosophy defines every detail of the 95 guestrooms and suites, where even the smallest is 45 square meters.
The Five Star Alliance Rate offers the unique amenity of one cocktail per person (per room reservation) at the panoramic Armani/Bamboo Bar. Overlooking the skylines and terraces of the city, the Armani/Bamboo Bar has a double volume ceiling, louvered window wall and is the perfect place for a business lunch, informal get together, afternoon tea, pre-dinner apertivo, or Sunday brunch. Five Star Alliance guests can enjoy the complimentary cocktail while the rate is available from now until the end of the year.
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May 18, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
A string of pearl-like island atolls, the Maldives are a natural phenomenon that was once part of the mountainous landscape below the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Jumeirah Vittaveli is a short 20-minute ride on board a luxurious motorized catamaran from Male and the International Airport.
The amazing aerial image below is courtesy of Mohamed Irshad Iray on his Instagram account /the_iray/.
From up in the air, it is easy to appreciate the 89 villas and suites - each with their own swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. The private and spacious villas are available with one or two bedrooms making them the ideal accommodation for both families and couples.
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May 17, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
A magnificent mansion built in 1620 for the Fonseca family, The Grand Hotel de la Minerve offers 135 guest rooms and suites in the Rome historical city centre, the hotel overlooks the Pantheon and is just minutes from Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
The Melville Suite at the Grand Hotel de la Minerve:
"In the square there is an obelisk that rises above an elephant…", that's how the famous writer of Moby Dick, Herman Melville describes in his diaries the amazing view of Bernini's masterpiece from this suite.
Overlooking the Minerva Square, this 75 sqm suite is composed by a large living room with a sitting area, a bedroom with a four poster king size bed and a marble bathroom with Jacuzzi bathtub and shower. The coffered ceiling and the accurate design lend the Suite Melville its noble, elegant lines and the warmth of a comfortable, welcoming aristocratic "home".
Max occupancy is 2 adults and 1 child, with a crib available upon request.
Find out more about the Grand Hotel de la Minrve and book your room now >>
May 16, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
Centrally located a destination unlike any other, Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, with it's distinctive Mediterranean design, began an expansion project on October 27, 2014 and it is now ready for guests to enjoy. Features include a new two-story building of 32 incredible rooms and suites. Lush gardens and an outdoor venue were included in the expansion, all while preserving the Sedona red rock views.
Sit with a glass of wine on the patio, overlooking the Almeria Garden, or journal your day's activities inside with the warm glow of a fire feature that invites dim lighting and romantic conversation.
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May 13, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
Situated on the banks of the River Thames in the famed Sea Containers building, Mondrian London uniquely offers river view balcony suites directly on the Thames. The following article was originally posted in our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, and was written by Emily Goldfischer.
Beside the Thames and next to the Tate Modern on the Southbank is another relative newcomer, The Mondrian. We wrote about it when it opened at the end of 2014. The hotel has 25 River View Suites, worthy of mention with the Tate's highly anticipated expansion of 60 percent more gallery space on June 17, sure to draw art enthusiast to London. In the former Sea Containers headquarters with nautically inspired bespoke interiors by Brit-it-designer-of-the-moment Tom Dixon (think porthole curves, ship models and a dramatic lobby evoking the side of an ocean liner), suites at The Mondrian offer fabulous views of the Thames and City skyscrapers.
Top two options are the 1,200-square-foot River View Apartments (Nos. 445 and 545), which have a 12-seat dining area, a lounge and a separate king bedroom. Most-requested rooms are the 700-square-foot River View Balcony Suites. These open-plan L-shaped spaces have a dining area, pull-out sofa and a king bed. The best part? There is a private balcony with views of St. Paul's. Slightly smaller 635-square-foot River View Loft Suites have sleeping areas that can be closed off for more privacy but no balcony.
The hotel has really hit its stride; no matter when we visit, there is a palpable energy to the space. The riverside Sea Containers restaurant dishes up some of London's most delicious farm-to-table fare; the cocktail lounge, Dandelyan, hums with an arts-and-media crowd sipping herbally inspired drinks; and the spa is often cited as one of London’s best.
Learn more about Mondrian London at Sea Containers >>
Pictured: The Mondrian London's 1,200-square-foot River View Apartments Suites have a 12-seat dining area, a lounge and a separate king bedroom.
This article about having the perfect destination wedding or honeymoon at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Puerto Rico was originally posted in our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, and was written by Nanci McArdle.
Once a plantation, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, located in Puerto Rico, gives couples an option to celebrate their big day a quick plane-ride away. The private estate resort offers a variety of venues to exchange vows, including the Surf Room, a 4,558-square-foot luxury ballroom streaming with natural daylight provided by floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto an outside terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; Su Casa, an 8,000-square-foot private waterfront Spanish-Colonial hacienda; and several outdoor venues that highlight the lush grounds and ocean views. (Note: Su Casa, referred to as "the crown jewel of Dorado Beach," is a historic seaside home that was once owned by Clara Livingston and comes with five bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, vast outdoor space, wraparound verandas with oceanfront views and its own private pool, perfect for families and friends looking to share accommodations.)
After the last toast is given and the final dance takes place, honeymooners can retreat to the popular Tranquility Suite, which has a rooftop lounge area with a private plunge pool. Each room is designed to cater to the bride and groom's individual wishes, so they can choose which accommodation suits them best.
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This article about Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach, where couples can celebrate their special day with a perfect destination wedding, was originally posted by our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, and was written by Nanci McArdle.
Always a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, Hawaii offers myriad options. Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach near Kauai's southernmost point is one of the many options for couples to spend their honeymoon. Although wedding ceremonies and receptions are not currently available at Ko'a Kea, discounted accommodations are on offer for groups celebrating elsewhere on the island.
Among the most popular retreats for honeymooners is Room No. 376, an oceanfront suite closest to the water on Kauai. The 624-square-foot room has a separate living room, wooden-beamed ceiling and large soaking tub (one of just 12 on property). A patio with chaise lounges is ideal for taking in 180-degree views of Poipu Beach.
For family or friends traveling together to celebrate their loved ones' special day, the resort presents 29 sets of connecting rooms located in various areas of the property. They range from two Partial Ocean View Rooms (Nos. 269 and 271) to an Oceanfront Deluxe Room and Oceanfront Suite (Nos. 378 and 376). And good news for those traveling with their furry friends: the hotel permits dogs 25 lbs. or less. The pet fee is a non-refundable $100 per day, and a bed, food, water bowl and toys are supplied. (Note: Due to limited availability of oceanfront and suite rooms, it is advisable to book at least two months in advance. During high demand periods such as summer and winter holidays, booking three, or more, months before is recommended.)
Romantic dining can be found in the resort's upscale seafood restaurant, Red Salt, where they can enjoy the Red Coral Martini, Ko'a Kea's signature cocktail made with Stolichnaya vanilla and raspberry vodka with a splash of pomegranate juice. Tables 22 or 27, next to the windows overlooking the property and ocean, are the most romantic seats in the house. Reservations are recommended one week in advance.
Couples or groups can enjoy some down time at The Spa at Ko'a Kea, which has five treatment rooms, plus a seaside cabana. Why not live like the natives and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage before taking a walk along the seaside path that runs in front of the hotel or directly on the sand. More vigorous oceanfront hiking is located nearby on the bluffs of Mahaulepu. Bicycle rentals are available at Outfitters Kauai, about four minutes from the hotel.
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May 9, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara is one of our World's Best Destination Wedding Resorts for 2016. Find out why ...
Couples can celebrate their special day at the seaside sanctuary - Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara - that offers both romance and relaxation for newlyweds and their friends and families.
Bacara Resort & Spa is an ideal destination for couples that are California dreaming. The resort can accommodate wedding requests ranging from a private ceremony in one of the Mediterranean-style guestrooms to a ballroom wedding, hosting up to 1,250 guests and many options in-between.
The 11,300-square-foot Bacara Ballroom features 23-foot-high ceilings and six balconies and can be divided into three separate areas, each accommodating up to 350 wedding guests. The ballroom also has 8,700 square feet of additional event space, including a vaulted foyer with fireplace, an adjacent ocean-view terrace and an expansive lawn, where guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prior to the ceremony.
Pictured: The Ocean Lawn at Bacara Resort & Spa affords panoramic ocean views for a wedding ceremony and is surrounded by the resort's lush landscaping.
Other options include the Rotunda and Rotunda Terrace, a 1,734-square-foot circular area atop Bacara's main lobby offering views of the ocean, along with an outdoor area perfect for an al fresco celebration. For a more intimate wedding, Bacara's wine cellar features a display of 12,000 wines from around the world, along with a private dining room that can seat up to 40. Those looking to take in the natural beauty of the resort can choose from The Bluff, an expansive lawn area with ocean views that can accommodate up to 300 guests for a seaside wedding ceremony or reception; the Ocean Lawn, which affords panoramic ocean views; or the Residence Lawn, a more intimate, oceanside venue that can be reserved in conjunction with The Residence, Bacara's 3,700-square-foot retreat. This option can accommodate up to 120 guests for outdoor wedding receptions and includes a two-night stay in The Residence. Finally, the Oval Lawn offers couples a private and enclosed garden area, accommodating up to 300 guests.
After the tying the knot, newlyweds can retire to one of the rooms right on property. The Residence, which is the closest accommodation to the ocean on the bluff and includes ocean views, three wood-burning fireplaces, a patio for private dinners and its own workout area, is one of the top two options for honeymooners. The other is The Terrace Suite, which features ocean views, a master bedroom area with a fireplace, a wrap-around terrace overlooking the ocean and a relaxing soaking bathtub.
When the new couple is ready to venture out, many options are right at their fingertips, including a visit to the 4,200-square-foot, 36-room spa that offers private treatments, or they can reserve the roof deck area, where they can host a group get-together with their wedding guests, enjoying treatments such as a private mud bar and private massages, overlooking the ocean. While it is recommended to make reservations as far in advance as possible, the spa will do its best to make last minute arrangements.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Bacara offers a variety of ocean sports, including surfing, body boarding, ocean kayaking and sailing. Also available is horseback riding, cycling, mountain biking and hiking. Those looking to hit the links are in luck. There are three nearby 18-hole championship golf courses: Sandpiper Golf Club, Glen Annie and Rancho San Marcos.
For those with kids, Monarch Kids' Club offers fun activities and exploration options for children ages five through 12. The program was designed especially to reflect Bacara's surroundings and rich Chumash history.
Click here to learn more and check availability at Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA >>
May 5, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
On the banks of the Vilcanota River and at the foot of Macchu Picchu, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers travelers 60 guest rooms: 3 Sumaq Suites, 11 Junior Suites and 46 Superior category rooms.
As of May 2016, new Deluxe Junior Suites are available. Sleep deeply with hypoallergenic pillows, goose feather comforters, spring mattresses, and modern thermal heating. The rooms measure approximately 29 to 34 square meters. Services and amenities include a King Bed, 47 inch LED tv, mini-fridge, coffee maker, cradle, small living room, DVD player, radio with MP3 player.
All guest rooms at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel feature the following:
- 100% goose-feather blankets
- 100% cotton sheets
- Cable television
- National/International Direct Dialing
- Thermal Heating
- Electronic Safe
- 110V/220V power
- Bathrooms with tub and shower
- Black-out curtains
- Fire alarm
- Soundproof windows
- 2 bottles of water complimentary per night
- Turndown service
Click here to learn more and check rates at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel >>