January 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
There's been a lot of hype about the launch of Nicky Hilton's first boutique hotel, the Nicky O in South Beach. The New York Times hailed it a Hotel of the Year, listed alongside such exciting properties as The Peninsula Tokyo, Amanresort's newest boutique in New Delhi, and the Brazilian jet-setter's paradise of Warapuru.
Want a big name in hotels, but not a megachain like Hilton? Then check into Nicky O South Beach, a 95-unit condo hotel in Miami from Nicky Hilton, who is branching out beyond her handbag and jewelry businesses. Expected to open next spring, the hotel promises ''fashion, glamour, celebrity and an unparalleled social environment,'' at least according to its Web site, which carries as much information about Ms. Hilton as it does about the hotel.
Nicky's promised a hip, celebrity-packed hot spot. The hotel will feature E! News Tickers in prominent places, photos of all of her buddy celebs, cupcakes at turndown, and designer suites, including a 5,000-square-foot penthouse designed by Roberto Cavalli. But there's a hitch. (Or maybe a few.) The hotel has been dogged with woes aplenty: ongoing delays, a lawsuit, and a premature reputation of notoriety inspired by HotelChatter's savvy sleuthwork. We're yet to see whether this dabbling in the family business will actually pay off.
What could possibly be more luxurious than the Ritz-Carlton Spas? A ritzy spa experience with Prada Beauty skin care products. Select Ritz-Carlton Spas have partnered with Prada to bring lucky guests the ultimate in blissful pampering and relaxation. There are four indulgent beauty treatments available: the Prada Exfoliant Visage (a gentle peel that eliminates dull surface cells while re-texturing and re-vitalizing skin), the Prada Radiance Visage (Prada's highly advanced Lightening Concentrate/Face contains a freshly mixed Ascorbic Acid that works to lighten dark spots and correct irregular pigmentation, thus restoring luminosity), the Prada Reviving Visage (an intensive, non-surgical treatment that dramatically lifts and firms facial contours, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and restores natural beauty to mature skin), and the Prada Replenishing Body Facial (a soothing re-mineralizing treatment that uses a combination of specialized massage techniques and Prada's signature scent).
Participating Ritz-Carlton Spas include Georgetown, Huntington, Laguna Niguel, Naples, Reynolds Plantation, Half Moon Bay, Key Biscayne, Lake Las Vegas, Orlando Grande Lakes, Sarasota, and South Beach-- the award-winning La Maison de Beauté Carita, the only location of this signature spa outside of Paris. All Prada Beauty treatments include eight single-use Prada beauty products to continue the luxury at home. Talk about indulgence.
The tiny island of St. John-- accessible only by boat or ferry-- is the least developed of the US Virgin Islands: a paradise of tropical forests, white sandy beaches, and turquoise waters teeming with tropical life. Nestled within the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, the exclusive resort of Caneel Bay has been celebrated as one of the finest in the world since it was founded by Laurance Rockefeller. Caneel's accommodations have been artfully constructed to blend into the landscape-- the seven secluded beaches and 170 lush acres surrounding the property. Here, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts will host the newest chapter of its exclusive Hot Type Author Series with world-renowned writer Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and The King in the Window. From January 27-31, 2007, Gopnik will host a series of private dinners where guests will have the exclusive opportunity to discuss his past works, his adventures in Paris as well as his most recent book, Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York. The Hot Type Author Series Program debuted at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, with Michael Gross, and has been praised by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report as the "most unique hotel amenity" of 2005.
January 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Renowned French architect Gilles Saint-Gilles has transformed his bold vision into sublime reality with the beautiful Villa Camilla, which opened on Panama's idyllic Pacific coast in December 2005. "I want to live a refined lifestyle that doesn't compromise my childrens' future,” so says the architect, who has created a luxurious, exclusive retreat in harmony with the spectacular natural surroundings of lush green hills and sparkling Pacific. With a team of European craftsmen, Gilles built on-site workshops to train local artisans who have designed virtually every component of the guesthouse and private homes on-site: teak doors and shutters, bamboo ceilings, terra cotta brick floors, Chiriqui stone walls, and parquet floors patterned from purpleheart wood mixed with French oak wine caskets-- the ultimate mix of the Old World and New. This attention to detail has also been focused on the natural environment, as Gilles' team has restored the Tropical Dry Forest eco-system that originally existed in the province, providing wildlife habitat for the future. Villa Camilla (and its aesthetically magnificent guest rooms) is just one aspect of this elegant oceanside community; it is possible to purchase one of 71 lots and Saint-Gilles will custom-design the home to build on it.
January 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Amanresorts is synonymous with luxury, its worldwide collection of boutique resorts spoiling guests with indulgence and idyllic surroundings. Indeed, the 2006 Zagat Survey named Amanresorts the world's leading international hotel group. Aman's flagship, Amanpuri, is located on the island of Phuket overlooking the turquoise Andaman Sea. Interspersed throughout coconut groves, the guest pavilions boast outdoor terraces and private pools. The Spa is simply sublime, its individual treatment rooms complete with steam showers and outdoor lounge areas. So what better place for supermodel Kate Moss and her long-time rocker boyfriend to tie the knot? The Daily Telegraph has all the rumored deets on the New Years Day ceremony:
At 1:30pm Thai time the Babyshambles singer and Moss exchanged vows in the picturesque private gardens of their five-bedroomed GBP 4,500-per-night villa at the Amanpuri hotel. Wearing a white Galliano shift dress and her blonde hair loose, Moss reportedly looked on adoringly at her groom, who was dressed in an all-black linen suit and his trademark pork pie hat. For the ceremony, the gardens and villa were decorated with flower petals, fragrant jasmine, orchids and a floral archway. White and pale pink lotus flowers decorated the pool. With security at a maximum, staff guarded the perimeter of the villa, preventing any uninvited guests from wandering in.
December 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
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.
These days (and it's about time), it's become trendy for hotels to go green. But Fairmont's been at it since 1990. With its award-winning Green Partnership program, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have led the pack in their dedication to protecting the environment and minimizing the impact of hotel operations. Each of Fairmont's luxury hotels focuses on waste management, water and energy conservation, habitat protection, and community outreach. Fairmont is all about developing sustainable practices for the hospitality industry.
In 2005 Fairmont introduced Eco-Innovations, hotel-based environmental initiatives that encourage partnerships, learning, and guest experiences while addressing a universal environmental issue in a way that hits close to home. For example, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu-- located within a World Biosphere Reserve-- has created the Adopt-A-Beluga Program, to help the threatened St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population.
Recently, Fairmont created a partnership with the World Heritage Alliance, a joint initiative of the United Nations Foundation and Expedia, to promote conservation, sustainable tourism, and economic development for communities located in and around World Heritage sites. This is really good news for threatened sites like Cambodia's Angkor Wat temples. Leading the new partnership will be the Fairmont Mayakoba, a luxurious, eco-friendly resort located on Mexico's Mayan Riviera, which will work with an award-winning local tourism network from the nearby Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. This reserve comprises 1.3 million acres of tropical ecosystems and is home to 23 different archaeological sites of pre-Columbian Mayan culture. Guests of Fairmont Mayakoba will experience this marvelous World Heritage Site with tours that guarantee minimal environmental impact. Sustainable tourism is the way to ensure that sites are protected for the enjoyment of all travelers now and in the future.
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?)
The secret's out about the charming city of Tallinn, long adored by touring Finns and visitors from other Baltic countries (just a quick 50 mile hop across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki). Because easyJet started flying to Tallinn in 2004, "the Estonian capital has become the Las Vegas of the Baltics," so says The New York Times, which urges getting there fast. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town is a picturesque and well-preserved historical masterpiece full of turreted castles, Gothic spires, and winding cobblestone alleyways. The place to stay is Hotel Telegraaf, the city's only member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Located in the heart of Old Town, the hotel is housed in a 19th century building which used to be the city's telephone exchange station. The facade is elegant; the interiors are luxurious. The Hotel Telegraaf joins the Three Sisters Hotel as the finest in the city (both hotels have the same owners). After an extensive refurbishment, the Hotel Telegraaf opened in November 2006 with 86 rooms, the indulgent Elemis Spa, and the Tchaikovsky restaurant, serving fine Russian cuisine. A word of caution: avoid the booming tourist trap during sultry summer weekends. It's best to travel to Tallinn in the late spring, early summer, or early fall, when the days are still warm, but the tourist droves have vanished.
Noteworthy: This beautiful city has become a tech capital for the region, so you won't have a hard time finding a WiFi spot.
December 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Adrian Zecha's elegant beachfront masterpiece is certainly a South Beach hot spot, beloved by celebs. The Setai is located in the middle of it all on Collins Avenue, close to the area's best dining, shopping, and nightlife. Since its opening in 2005, the hotel has been heating things up in Miami with its intimate ambience, impeccable service, superb spa, and star-studded facilities. Set amidst tropical gardens and turquoise pools next to the ocean, The Setai boasts exquisite accommodations-- 75 guestrooms and 45 suites stacked with amenities: espresso machines, in-room bars, Bose surround-sound DVD/CD systems, deep soaking tubs and rain showers, luxurious bath products, and flat screen LCD and plasma TVs. But perhaps the most exquisite accommodations of all is the palatial Penthouse: 10,000 square feet of heaven with a rooftop pool and sweeping panoramas of the ocean, beach and Miami skyline. It's the ideal spot for receptions, parties and other special events. This regal four-bedroom penthouse goes for a mere $25,000 a night (and that doesn't include tax).