January 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Come April 1, 2007, The Greenbrier will debut a sassy new makeover. For over two centuries this distinguished resort-- a National Historic Landmark-- has charmed discerning travelers with its stately architecture, scenic beauty, abundant recreational activities (50! including a world-class spa and golf), and impeccable service. But this symbol of ultra-luxury lost its Mobil five star rating in 2000 after 38 consecutive years ranked as one of the top resorts in North America. With this exciting $50 million renovation, The Greenbrier seeks to regain its superstar status. For the first time since World War II, The Greenbrier is closing from January 3 until April 1, 2007 to complete the makeover, which includes new restaurants and nightlife, and luscious, new beds and linens and flat-screen TVs for all 721 guest rooms. Hemisphere will debut in the former Old White Lounge area, featuring exciting global cuisine from Chef Michael Voltaggio. 38°80 will be The Greenbrier's new entertainment venue in what was formerly The Tavern Room, with handcrafted flights and world lounge music that will evolve as the evening progresses-- a sultry, sexy ambience. In addition, the full renovation of 63 guest rooms will add new marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers and executive-style desks. Be the first to discover the new Greenbrier in Spring 2007; reservations are now being accepted.
It's here. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston's first new art museum in nearly a century, opened on December 11, 2006 on Fan Pier. The architectural centerpiece of Boston's waterfront, this vibrant cultural institution integrates the city's HarborWalk into the museum's design and showcases harbor views throughout the interior. In honor of the new museum, Langham Hotel is offering a special getaway package. Situated less than a mile from the museum, the Langham boasts its own collection of art, including two restored murals by N.C. Wyeth, paintings by artist Kenneth Maryanski, and a collection of antique cartographic materials and maps of New England and Atlantic Canada. Once the Federal Reserve Bank, the Langham Hotel is an elegant national landmark, a fusion of historic charm and urban sophistication. The luxurious guest rooms overlook the gardens of Post Office Square and the Boston city skyline. The AAA four-diamond hotel is home to the award-winning brasserie-style restaurant, Cafe Fleuri, where delicious Mediterranean cuisine is served under a lofty glass atrium ceiling. The Langham's ICA Package includes overnight accommodations, two tickets to the Institute of Contemporary Art, continental or buffet breakfast for two in the sky-lit Cafe Fleuri, use of Langham Hotel's Health Club and indoor pool, and a welcome gift from the Institute of Contemporary Art. Priced from $215 per room per night. Valid through March 30, 2007.
Hot off the press. You can now own a piece of the Telluride icon, the Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa. The resort's about to undergo a $60 million transformation into a condominium-hotel with exclusive Colorado homes and vacation condos available to a privileged few. 174 guest rooms will be converted into studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, available for individual ownership, priced from $500,000 each. Ideally located in the center of Mountain Village with ski-in/ski-out access, The Peaks embraces the spectacular mountain landscape that surrounds it. Condo owners will receive all the benefits of the five star resort: the impeccable personalized service, privileges at the Telluride Ski and Golf Company championship golf course, ski-in/ski-out access, Ski Valet to heat and tune boots and assist with equipment storage, four restaurants and 24-hour in-room dining, daily housekeeping, garment care, tennis, VIP Concierge to coordinate travel, arrange dining reservations and provide detailed information on the area's vast array of activities, and access to the Golden Door Spa, now available exclusively to members, residents, and guests. The best of both worlds.
Enjoy the tranquility of this luxurious English Country House retreat, ranked as one of Britain's top twenty hotels by Tatler magazine. Set amidst beautifully manicured English country gardens in the picturesque village of Evershot in Dorset Downs, Summer Lodge offers its guests a range of country pursuits, from horseback riding to shooting. But perhaps the most splendid part of the hotel is the 3 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant, where Chef Steven Titman's extravagant cuisine is matched by the fine wines chosen by Eric Zwiebel, UK Sommelier of the Year. (Indeed, Wine Spectator bestowed its Best of Award of Excellence in 2006 for the outstanding wine list.) The famous Summer Lodge Wine Dinners, held on the first Tuesday of every month, are memorable evenings where guests are spoiled with a four course dinner and a selection of five fine wines from a specific wine region. Guest speakers showcase the wines. The program for 2007 begins on March 6, 2007 with an evening dedicated to the best small family-owned domains in the Rhone Valley, France. (The dinner is priced at GBP 65.)
Beirut's most luxurious hotel, Le Royal Beirut, has recently opened. Situated on a hill overlooking the city, just 15 km from the International Airport, the five-star hotel is blessed with beautiful views of the azure Mediterranean from its 231 guest rooms and rooftop restaurant. Guests can now enjoy the hotel's excellent restaurants and bars, state-of-the-art health club (with personal trainers), outdoor pool and terrace, and the exclusive Royal Spa, spread out over four floors with panoramic vistas. The Spa offers lavish treatments, including the famed Dead Sea Mud Baths. The Dead Sea Mud Bath Package includes one night's accommodation in a Deluxe Sea View room, breakfast at Le Jardin du Royal, Dead Sea Mud Bath (45 minutes), late check-out, and complimentary access to swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and fitness facilities. Priced at $250 for two persons.
Say hello to the newest and most innovative luxury hotel in the nation's capital. Following a $24 million renovation, Park Hyatt Washington opened its doors in Summer 2006 to much fanfare and celebration. This exclusive hotel is located just a few blocks from Georgetown and minutes from Embassy Row, National Monuments, and the Smithsonian. Renowned designer Tony Chi was the mastermind behind the makeover, which showcases a Tea Cellar (offering rare and vintage selections), spa-inspired bathrooms (gray limestone rain showers and deep soaking tubs), and a signature fragrance designed for the hotel by artisan perfumer Blaise Mautin. Dynamic and modern, the hotel's design pays homage to the city itself: the hotel entrance celebrates DC's famous cherry blossoms with impressive glass sculptures. The 215 guest rooms are contemporary and stylish; the Park Deluxe rooms are the largest in the city. And each room also highlights Classic American Heritage, with antique gameboards, a selection of books about American history and crafts, Windsor style chairs, and Modern American artwork. The hotel's new restaurant, the Blue Duck Tavern, features an open kitchen with a wood burning oven, welcoming patrons with a warm, friendly ambience. The menu focuses on simple and traditional cooking methods with the freshest ingredients: slow-roasting in wood embers, braising, preserving and smoking techniques brings the true flavors of America's great and simple foods to the table.
This winter, experience the city at its most pleasant, when it's blissfully empty of tourist crowds, and as described by the New York Times, "when the locals come out to play." With the Comfort and Joy Winter Package at the Park Hyatt, take pleasure in the warmth of a cozy night: savor a rare tea from the Tea Cellar, soak in a steaming tub, relax in your lavishly appointed guest room, and if you must go out in the cold, the heated seats of a brand new custom designed Audi A8 L can transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination. The package includes a complimentary upgrade to Park Deluxe room, a pot of tea from Park Hyatt Washington's unique Tea Cellar, your choice of Valet Parking for the length of stay OR full American breakfast for two each morning, welcome amenity for children, or complimentary custom designed Audi A8 L to transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination within Washington. Available until February 28, 2007.
And then there were three. The media went wild when Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas set sail: the 208 ft, 160,000 ton mega ship with a capacity for 4,000 passengers. The world's largest passenger ship featured all sorts of never-before-seen facilities like rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink with Willy Bietak's Ice Skating Musical Extravaganza, mini-golf, boxing ring, water park, and top-deck surfing simulator pool called "Flow Rider." Royal Caribbean's second Freedom-class ship, called Liberty of the Seas, will debut in May 2008. It will depart Miami on Saturdays for seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. (Ports of call include San Juan, St. Maarten, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.) And the cruise line recently announced that there is a third ship under construction in Finland, which will be dubbed Independence of the Seas. The sister ships will all share the same signature amenities, including the 1,215 sq ft Presidential Family Suite which sleeps up to 14.
December 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The DR has got it all: sun-soaked sandy beaches, excellent recreational activities, and oodles of outstanding resorts. Case in point: Paradisus Palma Real-- an all-inclusive, all-suite luxury resort with spectacular ocean views just minutes from the hot spot of Punta Cana. 554 suites feature private terraces, mahogany furniture, flat screen TV, DVD and CD player, and complimentary high speed Internet access. Six restaurants offer a culinary tour of delicious cuisine from around the world (from Mediterranean to Chinese). There are three outdoor pools set in magnificent tropical gardens, tennis courts, a full fitness program at the gym, the ultimate in spa treatments, the Cocotal Golf and Country Club, and a slew of water sports. What more could you ask for? (Did I mention there's unlimited Premium brand drinks at your choice of six bars?)
December 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
At the southernmost tip of China, off the mainland coast in the South China Sea, there exists a large tropical island called Hainan, covered in greenery and shrouded in a balmy climate. The waters are emerald-turquoise, the sandy beaches are long and white, and the vegetation is lush. Hainan Island is not yet heavily industrialized (even though it's a Special Economic Zone), and the island has become a popular tourist destination because of its bountiful natural beauty. In mid-2007, Mandarin Oriental is slated to open its newest property, a private beach resort nestled in the green valley of the Wuzhi Mountain range. The Mandarin Oriental Sanya will be a peaceful retreat, situated on a secluded sandy cove with a colorful coral reef just offshore, teeming with marine life. The resort will consist of low rise villas within landscaped gardens; its 295 rooms promise stunning views of the sunset over the sea. Other features include a spectacular spa, four large swimming pools, the only outdoor conference facilities in Sanya, four restaurants, tennis courts, high tech gym, and water sports center with snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and deep sea fishing equipment. All just five minutes from Sanya City, and 20 minutes from the international airport.
December 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Hip, stylish, and of course the most glamorous rendezvous in town: Felix is Hong Kong's place to see and place to be seen. Created by celebrity designer Philippe Starck, Felix sits on the 28th floor of The Peninsula, long renowned as one of the best hotels in the world. The "Grande Dame of the Far East" is legendary for its opulent rooms, fleet of Rolls-Royce limousines, helicopter shuttle service, and celebrated Peninsula service. The dining experience at Felix is thrilling not only for the contemporary cuisine (try crispy Indonesian crab cakes, grilled Ahi steak, honey tempura King Prawns, and pan fried foie gras with marinated figs) but because of the setting: sexy interiors and lighting, plus sweeping views of the harbor and Hong Kong's skyline. (Did I mention the people watching?) Open daily for dinner from 6 pm to 11 pm; last drinks at 2 am. Dress is "smart casual." Needless to say, reservations are essential.