LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle) has been a Los Angeles landmark since the day it opened in 1929. Elegant, posh, and perfectly located on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower Hotel has been the residence of countless famous actors, musicians, and even the gangster Bugsy Siegel, whose former apartment is now the setting for the Tower Bar, one of the hottest hang-outs in LA. Inspired by the glamour of early Hollywood, the chic Tower Bar was designed by internationally acclaimed decorator Paul Fortune, with walnut-paneled walls, discreet seating and a fireplace. While guests sip cocktails and listen to the playing of famed jazz pianist Paige Cavenaugh in the rose-colored light, they enjoy sweeping views of the city. It's no wonder Los Angeles magazine chose the Tower Bar as its Top City Pick, praising its handsome and rich appointments as a scene reminiscent of private men's clubs.
The uber-chic German capital has got it all: more than 170 excellent museums, happening nightlife, dreamy palaces, and exquisite fine dining (but don't rule out the beer halls and down-home sausage and sauerkraut specialties). Berlin boasts a rich cultural landscape. To quote Sherman's Travel:
If an outdated mental picture of Berlin as a once-divided city is keeping you from visiting the capital of Germany, you haven't heard that it is the hot, hip urban destination for jet-setters, beer-lovers, and culture-vultures alike. New life has been breathed into the city, and now is the time to go and experience it.
And perhaps the best part of all, Berlin's positively brimming with world-class hotels, from the elegant and utterly luxurious Regent to the world famous Kempinski Hotel Bristol, from the Schlosshotel Im Grunewald, the city's only historic castle hotel, to the Radisson SAS with its enormous lobby AquaDom (the world's largest cylindrical aquarium) stocked with 2,500 exotic fish.
Say goodbye to nasty airline food. Executive Chef Gordon Maybury has designed delicious and healthy menus for First and Business Class menus of Lufthansa outbound flights from the US. Starting in November, passengers will indulge in selections inspired from the hotel's Fives restaurant, including pistachio dusted shrimp with sweet pea tarragon flan appetizer, vanilla thyme roasted halibut with baby bok choy and fondant potato, and wild berry charlotte in its own consommé with sweet cream, and a selection of international cheeses. This culinary partnership will continue throughout 2007, with Lufthansa featuring rotating menus from the chefs at the Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula Beverly Hills in addition to the Peninsula New York.
Recently featured in an excellent Financial Times article about luxury travel, The Fasano in Sao Paulo is indeed one of the world's best hotels.
The rooms so chic, chocolate and cosseting, you will find yourself revising your low opinion of so-called design hotels. Bathrooms are simply vast, the location spot-on and service conspicuously good for capricious South America.
Most importantly, this is the spot of one of the best Italian restaurants in the world. The Fasano family name is well known in São Paulo: their signature restaurant has dignified the grand avenue (Rua Vittorio Fasano) since 1990, the recipes for its grand cuisine brought from Milan a century ago. The hotel's facilities are nothing short of decadent: rooftop health club with pool, baths, sauna (and stunning views), a fleet of limousines for airport pick-ups and transfers, hip jazz bar, and swank guest rooms. A truly glamorous address with exceptional service.
The star, the legend, the superstar, the crème de la crème of Chefs-- Alain Ducasse-- will open a new restaurant at the St. Regis in Manhattan. We're talking about the only guy in the world to own and operate three signature restaurants each honored with three Michelin stars. (Starwood is pleased as pie about this new arrangement.) The restaurant will open in March 2007 and will also feature a wine bar. The St. Regis Hotel, New York isn't exactly a shabby address: the majestic property was recently named the number one hotel in the world by the readers of Institutional Investor, the first New York hotel to win the top spot in the survey's 25-year history.
Congrats to Le Place d'Armes, the first ever Canadian hotel to pick up this coveted award. Each year the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences bestows the prestigious International Star Diamond Award to five star hotels deemed to represent the height of excellence and quality. This sophisticated boutique hotel combines the best of old and new Montreal after an elegant $29 expansion to its existing historic buildings. Le Place d'Armes offers exceptional service, accommodations, gastronomy and high-end amenities to pamper its guests. The 83 rooms and 52 suites are designed in marble, slate, leather and rich wood; luxurious options include jetted or therepeutic baths, exposed brick walls, terraces, electric fireplaces, and city views. Rainspa-- the 2,000 square foot urban day spa-- boasts the city's first hammam. In addition to the award-winning fine dining at Aix Cuisine Du Terroir, the hotel also houses the trendy bar/lounge Suite 701, where local hipsters and guests alike seek out the sophisticated ambiance and delicious martinis.
Adored by Madonna, the super-stylish Blue Bar-- located by the lobby of the Berkeley hotel-- is oft considered one of London's best bars. Designed by David Collins, the 50-seat bar is distinguished by the black crocodile print leather floor, white onyx bar, sunken seat area, and, most of all, by the gorgeous color of the room, which the designer has dubbed "Lutyens Blue." The drinks list includes a wide selection of Champagnes, original and contemporary cocktails, wine by the glass, and over 50 different whiskies. (There's even a Grape and Smoke menu for guests to pair cigars with carefully chosen wines.) In addition to the olives, caramelized nuts, and tasty nibbles which accompany each drink order, guests also enjoy the Asian-inspired tapas menu, which includes delicate and delicious dishes like queenie scallops with wasabi and lime vinaigrette, char smoked salmon with basil and yogurt, lime leaf and chicken on coconut crisp and citrus coulis rice paper, and nori wrapped vegetable rolls.
September 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The star chef has accumulated quite a loyal following from his renowned restaurants in Paris, Toyko, and Las Vegas, and now the legend arrives in Manhattan at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, newly opened at Four Seasons Hotel New York. The design is innovative: the heart of the restaurant is an open kitchen, dissolving the traditional boundaries between the dining room and kitchen. From the 20 individual seats at the U-shaped pearwood bar, diners can gape at the culinary team at work. The restaurant itself is elegant (details in wood and lacquered black and red) and very intimate: in addition to the pearwood counter, there are only 26 more seats in the whole joint. The cuisine is nothing short of spectacular, prepared with the highest quality ingredients. Famed dishes include the Pommes Purée Truffée (truffled mashed potatoes) and the popular La Caille Farcie de Foie Gras et Caramélisée (free-range quail stuffed with foie gras). With the nightly tasting menu, lucky guests can create their own multi-course Robuchon experience.
September 29, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May for the Conrad Chicago These days all of the luxury hotels have packages or gimic to help attract new guests and market their property. In this case the Conrad Chicago (which just finished a major renovation) has 4 ongoing deals that aren't just gimics, but great add-ons to a Chicago visit.Halloween Package (through 10/31/06) this package includes orange cotton candy, gummy worms and spiders upon check-in for the children, 2 tickets to attend Navy FEAR at Navy Pier, and truffle pumpkin cookies for the entire family to enjoy.Business Retreat (through 12/31/06) includes complimentary coffee delivered to room following wake-up call , dry cleaning for 1 suite, executive services, a selection from our NY Times bestseller booklist, personal shopper to find a gift for your loved ones back home.Holidays on Magnificent Mile (through 12/31/06) includes shipping of shopping items within us up to $30.00, a $50.00 gift card, and a VIP savings passport for Westfield North Bridge, holiday Martini, gift wrapping, turndown, late check-out, and parking for 1 night.Tut at Twilight (through 12/31/06) includes 2 adult tickets to the King Tut exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum. Extra tickets available for purchase.Reserve the Conrad Chicago
September 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
LA's most prestigious address, the Mobil Five-Star award winning Hotel Bel-Air, is beloved for its special wine maker dinners and gourmet celebrations offered throughout the year. Don't miss the upcoming Italian Weekend with Anthony Dias Blue, one of the most influential wine, food and lifestyle personalities in the US (his work in various media is circulated to more than 50 million global customers each month). The weekend of October 13-15th, 2006 will be an Italian extravaganza at this elegant Beverly Hills hideaway, including two multi-course Italian dinners with wine pairings and an incredible Sunday brunch. Additionally, the Saturday program includes a morning trip to the farmer's market followed by lunch and cooking class with Chef Bruno. The entire weekend, inclusive of luxurious accommodations and tickets to all events, is $1,500 for two.