LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Celebrated worldwide for its opulent palaces (and luxurious palace hotels), India's desert state of Rajasthan is a mythical place, rich with cultural history. Indeed, it seems Liz Hurley has been scoping the region for her upcoming wedding to businessman Arun Nayar, and has her eye on the breathtaking Devi Garh Fort Palace. And who can blame her? This palace is the real deal, a magnificently restored royal fort dating from the 18th century. Perched high on a bluff in the Aravali hills outside Udaipur, the Devi Garh Fort Palace commands an impressive position overlooking the valley. The all-suite luxury hotel (39 suites) is a masterpiece of design, embellished with marble and semi-precious stones. (There is even a black marble water maze in one of the magnificent outdoor courtyards.) The premium Devi Gardh suite boasts a swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Guests may be irked by her rigid dress code requirements (saris for all!) but they'll surely swoon at the sight of the heavenly spa.
January 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Tis the season. The fourth annual Winterlicious culinary extravaganza will take Toronto by storm, starting January 26, 2007. For two delicious weeks, Toronto's superb restaurants dazzle diners with mouthwatering culinary events and the ever-popular prix fixe promotion at 130 top dining establishments. This incredible value is also available at Courtyard Cafe, the elegant dining room located at Toronto's most luxurious hotel, the Windsor Arms. A landmark since 1927, the fashionable boutique hotel is a favorite hideaway for celebrities visiting the city, who enjoy sophisticated service, lavish suites, luxurious spa, and fine dining. Courtyard Cafe is beautiful and romantic, and offers a brilliant dining experience with impeccable wait staff. For the 2007 Winterlicious, Windsor Arms Hotel will offer ever-popular prix fixe menus of $20 lunch and $35 dinner. (Beverages, tax, and gratuity are not included.) The lunch menu features starters like roast celeriac and leek puree (with crab claw tempura and coriander essence) and bonito crusted corn and salmon cakes (with red pepper-chile sauce and pickled mushroom fennel slaw), followed by main plates like sole "maki" roulade with prawn mousse, smoked paprika beurre blanc, fingerling confit and haricot vert. The dinner menu is equally as extravagant, with appetizer choices like roasted beets, balsamic poached strawberries, tender greens, mascarpone bavarois and cashew pumpkinseed vinaigrette, followed by braised beef short-ribs with black bean-sherry reduction, white bean ragout and maple roasted brussel sprouts. Created in house, the heavenly desserts are designed to seduce the eyes and delight the palate. Choose from chocolate terrine with pistachio creme anglaise and candied mandarin zest, chocolate walnut roulade with dolce leche mousse and late-harvest wine poached kumquat, or almond-apricot joconde cake with cassis sauce.
January 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Get this. Loews has launched an awesome contest where you can win a luxurious weekend escape at any Loews Hotel of your choice, including the hot new Lake Las Vegas Resort. Submission is easy. Tune in to The Apprentice on January 21, 2007 on NBC. Log on here. Answer a question about the show, and receive a compilation CD of ten number 1 songs, and you'll also be automatically entered to win one of five long weekend stays at any Loews Hotel of your choice.
With the exchange rate hovering at a dismal low, Americans traveling to Britain often experience serious sticker shock come check-out time. But not so if American travelers book a London stay at one of Red Carnation's outstanding luxury hotels and take advantage of an exceptional special offer: the Deluxe Dollar Deal. At three stunning five-star hotels-- "41" (overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace), the completely refurbished Egerton House (in the heart of fashionable Knightsbridge), and Milestone Hotel and Apartments (opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens)-- guests are guaranteed an affordably fixed US Dollar rate. Available until April 15, 2007, the Deluxe Dollar Deal also includes added extras such as car transfers to/from Heathrow, a hearty English breakfast for two each day, one traditional afternoon tea for two, a complimentary bottle of Champagne, and free wireless internet access. Rates are $1,399 for three nights at "41" or The Egerton House, and $1,499 at The Milestone Hotel. Minimum three night stay required.
When Cunard unveils its newest ship, Queen Victoria in December 2007, three ships will sail together under the Cunard banner for the first time ever. The ships-- Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2, and the Queen Victoria-- are part of a legacy of ocean-crossing that symbolizes the refinement and elegance of a bygone era, when trans-Atlantic journeys were civilized events for the privileged few. These glorious voyages continue today with ocean liners that are "floating palaces of art deco splendor and Edwardian excess." Cunard pampers guest with every comfort and elegance in the ultimate luxury travel experience. The maiden voyage of the Queen Victoria is scheduled for December 11, 2007. Amenities include the dramatic three-tier Grand Lobby, Winter Garden (with glass roof), Royal Court Theater, a two-story library, and a Todd English Mediterranean style restaurant. Sweeping staircases, soaring ceilings, and elaborate chandeliers will dazzle the passengers. 86 percent of the 1,007 guest staterooms will be outside, and 71 percent will have a private balcony.
Stressed out by your wedding planning? Before the honeymoon--even before the wedding--why not try a Minimoon, the quick getaway for the future bride and groom to remind each other, amidst all the wedding stress, why they agreed to tie the knot... Indulge in a little pre-wedding relaxation, and celebrate your future marriage at Peter Island, the idyllic Caribbean Classic. The legendary resort, consistently awarded one of the world's best places to stay, combines the sophistication and exclusivity of a private island retreat with the understated elegance of the BVI. Accessibly only by boat or helicopter, Peter Island is 1,800 acres of lush, tropical beauty, and features five beaches, a private yacht, tennis courts, scuba diving, and an incredible staff. Here's the skinny on Peter Island's De-stressor for the Stressed-out Bride and Groom Minimoon: The package includes a welcoming bottle of champagne and an invitation to a gourmet vintner dinner, choice of a day trip to St. Thomas (Tuesday and Saturday) or to Virgin Gorda (Thursday), a trip to the Peter Island Loop to watch the sunset including wine, fruit, and cheese, a private spa experience for two at one of the the Spa at Peter Island's private, seaside bohios, a private dinner on the beach (tiki lights and all!), and a special departing gift to help prepare for marital bliss. Package includes four nights accommodations in an Ocean View Room, all meals and most activities. Rates start at $4,490 per couple, from January 4 through April 15, 2007. From April 16 through November 16, 2007, rates start at $3,205 per couple.
In the 100 years since its inauguration, the legendary Hotel Adlon Kempinski has become a symbol of luxury in Berlin. Now celebrating its centennial, the Adlon Kempinski invites guests to enjoy its jubilee year with special events, historic exhibits, and the October birthday bash. And with the debut of the Presidential Suite--unveiled last year in the hotel's new Security Wing-- the Adlon Kempinski continues to make history with one of the most opulent suites in the world. (Not to mention safe. This suite has an independent telecommunications system, dedicated security hub with video monitoring, bullet-proof walls and windows, and an independent power supply.) The seven-room suite is as elegant as befits the royalty and heads-of-state who frequently stay there. With a beautiful view over Potsdamer Platz, the Suite features a spacious living room, office and conference room, bedroom with separate dressing room, as well as a 30 sq meter bathroom with Jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, and massage area. Of course the suite's loaded with state-of-the-art technology (and includes 24-hour butler service). The impressive 240 sq meter suite is available for about EUR 20,000 a night.
Hot on the trail of Guggenheim, which last year announced ambitious plans for a new museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry. As reported by the New York Times, the French government recently confirmed that it will rent the Louvre name and art treasures to a new museum in Abu Dhabi, for a sum rumored to be between $800 million to $1 billion. The new Louvre will be one of five museums slated for the tourist development on Saadiyat Island, opening in 2012. The new museum will be managed by a new International Agency of French Museums, which will also manage the Musée d'Orsay, the new Musée du Quai Branly, the Château de Versailles, and the Pompidou Center. This is a monumental decision, and signifies a serious directional change in the marketing of the oldest and most famous art museum in the world. Is Chirac selling out?
Photo via Wikipedia
January 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
No longer a backpacker's tropical paradise, the island of Koh Samui is getting a luxe makeover with a plethora of new hotel openings. First up, the W Retreat and Residences-Koh Samui, the third such luxury resort in the world for the stylish lifestyle brand, following the debut of the fabulous W Maldives in September 2006 and the W Vieques, scheduled for 2007. The Koh Samui retreat, slated for late 2008, will be an upscale, 70 villa property which will include 20 residential units for purchase. Situated on the secluded Maenam beach on the north shore of the island, the new W will have a prime position to enjoy Koh Samui's best windsurfing and snorkeling sites. Of course guests can enjoy all the stylish services and amenities they've come to expect at W Hotels and Retreats: the signature Living Room and lounge, trendy restaurant, 24-hour concierge, and Whatever/Whenever service.
Likewise scheduled for late 2008, the new Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa is to be located on the exact opposite of the island, overlooking Aow Thai Beach on Koh Samui's southwest tip. (It doesn't get any better than this for contemplating the dazzling sunsets.) From its perch on a hill, the 118-villa resort will feature panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand and outlying islands. Surrounded by lush coconut plantations, the resort will offer a variety of fine dining restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, and meeting and business center facilities. The luxurious villas will be enormous, with plenty of outdoor space for private plunge pools and sundecks.
January 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It's good to go. As reported by Reuters, the Chinese government has given the thumbs up to Las Vegas Sands for its $9-$12 billion resort project slated for the small island of Hengqin, located near the world's gambling capital of Macau. Las Vegas Sands has already set up its first casino in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. The Sands Macau opened in 2004 and the Venetian Macau (the $800 million dollar sister hotel to Las Vegas's Venetian) is just months away from launch. The company's plan for Hengqin covers about 80 million square feet of space, with the resort initially opening its doors in the summer of 2008. Las Vegas Sands is hoping to break ground before the Chinese New Year in February. With the new Venetian Hengqin International Convention and Resort, Las Vegas Sands will solidify its role as one of the top resort developers in Asia.