November 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This could be the best hotel in Europe. Dating from 1872, the lakeside pied a terre is adored by the world's royalty. The Hotel d'Angleterre offers only 39 rooms and 6 suites, so that each distinguished guest is provided the utmost in personal service. Balconies provide heart-stopping views over Lake Geneva, the Jet d'Eau and the towering peaks of Mont Blanc. Windows restaurant, recently recognized by the prestigious Gault and Millau guide as one of the top restaurants in Geneva, also looks out over the lake to Mont Blanc. Experience luxury on the lake at Hotel d'Angleterre with the Winter Fantasy Package, overflowing with goodies to see and do in Geneva. Take a cooking class with the Pastry Chef, discover Geneva's specialty designer shops on the world famous Rue du Rhone and the enchanting Christmas market with the help of a personal shopper, enjoy an excursion on a mountain train to a chalet to indulge in traditional cheese fondue overlooking the snow-capped Jura Mountains, sip cocktails by the fire, and delight in a gastronomic four-course dinner at Windows accompanied by Switzerland's finest wine. The Winter Fantasy Package includes all these activities, two nights in an elegant classic room, daily buffet breakfast, welcome gift of a handcrafted tree ornament and a basket of Biscome, CD of traditional Swiss Christmas Carols, "Mont Blanc 4807" cocktail for two in the Leopard Lounge, and for those staying on Christmas day-- a stocking stuffed with seasonal goodies on your doorknob. Available from December 10, 2006 to January 15, 2007. Minimum two-night stay required. Priced at CHF1,810.
Kiawah Island Resort, outside Charleston, South Carolina, is oft considered the best golf and tennis resort in the United States. Kiawah debuted its luxury hotel, The Sanctuary, in recent years and the hotel has quickly gained a loyal following of distinguished guests. Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report named it "Best New Resort Hotel" for its personalized service, extraordinary accommodations, and luxurious facilities. The crown jewel of a special resort island, The Sanctuary is easily the finest oceanfront hotel to open on the East Coast in the past 20 years. Celebrate the holiday season at The Sanctuary with month-long festivities, beginning with the tree lighting ceremony and including special breakfasts with Santa and the elves, afternoon teas and storytelling with Mrs. Claus, cookies and hot chocolate, local chef Gingerbread House competition, and holiday music filling the lobby as carolers sing old favorites. It's truly a magical experience for the whole family. The Christmas Eve Package, priced at $485 per room, includes accommodations (Ocean View), full buffet breakfast for two, Christmas Eve Dinner for two at Jasmine Porch or Turtle Point, and a keepsake Sanctuary Christmas Ornament. The Christmas Feast Package, priced at $620 per room, includes a lavish Christmas Eve dinner for two at The Ocean Room, and a Christmas Day Buffet for two at Jasmine Porch.
As of November 20, 2006, downtown Orlando's landmark luxury hotel, the Grand Bohemian, will no longer be a Westin, after deciding not to renew the franchise agreement with Starwood. The award-winning hotel is gorgeous and plush; the lobby is distinguished by red and gold flecked Italian mosaic tiles and guest accommodations are appointed with rich fabrics and dark wood. Located in a premier spot across from Orlando's City Hall, the Grand Bohemian houses an incredible collection of rare and original works of art from regional as well as internationally renowned artists. Take a dip in the heated rooftop swimming pool, work out in the 24-hour fitness center, pamper yourself with an in-room spa treatment, and enjoy world-class dining at the AAA four-diamond awarded Boheme restaurant.
November 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Rated North America's only AAA five diamond bed and breakfast, the Simpson House Inn is a luxurious and serene hideaway, only a five-minute walk from Santa Barbara's restaurants, theaters, museums and shops. Located in a lovely and historic neighborhood of Santa Barbara, the Simpson House is private and secluded, set behind tall hedges in an acre of English gardens. The landmark Victorian estate, considered one of the most distinguished homes of its era in SoCal, features 15 rooms, suites, and cottages each individually appointed with antiques, exquisite decor, and generous amenities. Guests enjoy European spa services in the comfort of their own room.
The Simpson House Inn has created some whimsical Celebration of Romance Packages, which include Flirt (the romantic getaway), Love Story (the anniversary plan), Enchanting Proposal (for popping the question), Fantasy Elopement (for getting hitched), and Passion (the honeymoon package). Passion is priced at $3,500 for five nights, and promises "all the romance of the American Riviera." Choose a Garden Cottage or Historic Barn room with wood burning fireplace. Guests are pampered with champagne, chocolate cheesecake hearts and a dozen roses on arrival. During the stay, guests enjoy two massages, complimentary bathrobes, and a framed photo taken at the Inn. The package also includes a day in the Santa Barbara Wine Country with car, driver and picnic lunch, and a custom itinerary with scenic hikes, shopping and dining suggestions, beach walks, and theater picks.
Created by Robert Redford, Sundance Resort is an intimate preserve that balances art, nature, and community. Situated at the base of 12,000 foot Mount Timpanogos, the resort consists of 95 luxurious guest cottages and 6,000 acres of pristine mountain wilderness to explore. Though rooms may be all booked for the celebrated Sundance Film Festival (January 18-28, 2007), superb winter packages entice guests to indulge in a luxurious hideaway at Sundance. Dine in the highest Zagat-rated fine restaurant in the state of Utah, the Tree Room. Pamper yourself at the Native American-inspired spa, which utilizes all organic products in its sumptuous treatments. Take a class at the artisan center: jewelry making, photography, painting, pottery, and recycled glass blowing demonstrations. And explore Utah's beautiful terrain with a vast array of mountain activities including biking, hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing. For a limited time, enjoy a one-night escape at an amazing value, starting at $160.25 (based on double occupancy). Package includes a luxurious night in one of the mountain cottages and a full American breakfast for two in the Foundry Grill. Available until December 7, 2006. Sundance Resort offers another excellent package: Stay 3 Ski Free. If you book three or more nights in a cottage suite, enjoy two all day lift passes per day. Also includes breakfast for two. Package starts at $927 based on double occupancy.
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Art Deco Hotel Montana is-- you guessed it-- a celebration of everything Art Deco. Since its opening in 1910, the stylish hotel has dazzled guests with its vistas and fun bravura design. Originally built as a palace hotel, the Art Deco Hotel Montana is within walking distance to the picturesque city center of Lucerne. The 62 guest rooms and suites are individually designed with flair: salmon, turquoise, and sienna yellow bathrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors, original art deco bars and spiral staircases in the Tower Suites, bold and modern touches throughout. From your balcony, enjoy fantastic views across Lake Lucerne to the Swiss Alps. (There's even a cable car from the lobby to the lake promenade.) This New Year's, escape to Switzerland for a fun end-of-year bash, and welcome in 2007 in style. The Art Deco Hotel Montana is hosting a celebration with a Hula Hoop theme, so grab a hula hoop and hit the dance floor. Package includes three nights accommodations, breakfast, and five-course gala dinner plus entertainment on New Year's Eve. Rates starting from CHF 1,386 per room inclusive of tax and service charge. Minimum three nights stay, available from December 30, 2006 to January 5, 2007.
November 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It’s really no wonder The Belvedere is so good. It's located in the only hotel in So Cal to earn the distinction of an AAA Five-Diamond and Mobil Five-Star rating for 13 consecutive years. Its sophisticated ambience, impeccable service, and outstanding American cuisine have distinguished The Belvedere as one of the finest restaurants in LA. In fact, readers of Travel and Leisure recently voted it the "Best Hotel Restaurant in the Continental US and Canada." Star chef Sean Hardy has created a beautiful menu which includes signature items like the famed "Macaroni and Cheese", Elbow Pasta with Taleggio Cheese, Shaved Truffles, and a Parmesan Tuile, or Potato-Crusted California Sturgeon. Guests can dine on the patio and soak up the California rays while indulging in the exemplary cuisine. One can even get their food to go (*gasp*) with the Pen-Air menu, originally designed to accommodate guests on their flights home. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The Sunday brunch is especially popular.
November 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Wine Dinners at The Milestone Hotel, compiled by famed Cellar Master, Nicolas Clerc, are sumptuous affairs, tailored for connoisseurs of fine food and wine. Each wine dinner begins at 7 pm with aperitifs, followed by a four-course dinner paired with different wines. Upcoming events are on Wednesday, November 22, with David Powell from Torbreck Estate, Australia (GBP 75), and Wednesday, December 13, with London's foremost Burgundy importers who seek out small, family owned domaines (GBP 90). Take advantage of the Wine and Dine Package at The Milestone Hotel and Apartments and enjoy a luxurious guest room, full English breakfast, personal wine tasting with the Sommelier, and an elaborate four-course gourmet dinner.
The Merrion-- Dublin's finest five-star hotel-- is the place to be this winter season. A crackling fire lights the Drawing Room, and the bar and restaurant buzz with action. The luxurious Georgian surroundings of the Merrion-- comprised of four restored townhouses-- are filled with warmth and good cheer. At the vibrant Cellar Bar, fashionable patrons sip the ultimate Irish Coffee, or choose from one of fifty select wine vintages, now served by the glass. On the evening of November 14, 2006, The Cellar Restaurant will be showcasing an indulgent truffle menu guaranteed to dazzle even the most serious of gourmands. The experience will start with an introduction to truffles before the exceptional six course menu created by Executive Chef Ed Cooney in conjunction with the world renowned Urbani family.
During the winter months, curl up with a good book and unwind in style at The Merrion. The hotel has created a Literary Inspirations Experience for guests to soak up Ireland's literary heritage while being pampered in luxury; the package includes overnight stay, full Irish breakfast, and the rare opportunity to see the collected works of WB Yeats in the nearby National Library with a private curator tour.
And of course, there are myriad festivities and events to celebrate the holiday season: feasts, family entertainment, traditional menus, and a trip to Dublin's premiere race: Leopardstown Christmas Race Festival. After all that merry-making, detox at the luxurious Tethra Spa, a favorite of Dubliners and guests from around the world, which offers a variety of sumptuous treatments, an infinity pool, and fitness center.
"The best splurge in Orlando," claims Zagat, and most diners who experience this elite eatery will agree. Adored by the nation's top food critics, this formal American restaurant offers an excellent six-course prix fixe menu paired with exceptional wines. The Victorian ambience may seem a bit contrived (harpist? long-stemmed rose for the ladies? maid and butler duo to attend to your every whim?), but this is the Magic Kingdom we're talking about. The doting service and sheer opulence of the establishment will certainly make you feel like royalty. The menu is customized daily with fresh seasonal produce; diners indulge in a culinary experience akin to a "one-of-a-kind pampering of the palate." Though there's a six-month wait to sit at the Chef's Table located right in the kitchen, it's worth it. Evening attire required (jackets for men). Located in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.