It's no wonder that one of the oldest and most exclusive luxury hotels in the world also boasts one of the best restaurants. Like the opulent hotel it occupies, Les Ambassadeurs Restaurant reflects total decadence: from the crystal chandeliers to the lavish marble interior, from the first extraordinary course to the last artfully-prepared dessert. A meal at this two-star Michelin restaurant is not just memorable; it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. This Christmas, Les Ambassadeurs features a special four-course Christmas menu at EUR 415 (exclusive of drinks).
No joke. Starwood has just announced an exclusive launch party for their aloft hotel brand with a "3-D computer generated property inside a virtual world." Preview the virtual aloft hotel in Second Life, the "virtual online world where trendsetters are flocking to exchange ideas, egos and virtual property using "avatars," or highly-customized 3D representations of themselves." Starwood's touting it as a "groundbreaking event," and Ben Folds will appear live at the virtual aloft to play brand new tracks from his upcoming release, supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp, due in stores October 24th. To attend the big bash, send an e-mail to frontdesk at virtualaloft.com and request a "VIP invitation." The launch party will take place on October 19th, from 7-9pm EDT. You can also check out the development and building progress for aloft on their blog.
October 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Talk about a Grand Slam. Kiawah Island Golf Resort has been racking up the awards lately. It's been selected as the Best Golf Resort in the US by Travel and Leisure Golf. Readers of Travel and Leisure Family recently rated Kiawah as the Top Family Resort in the East. Golf Digest awarded the Ocean Course a perfect 5 stars rating in the "Best Places to Play," and Golf Magazine ranked the Ocean Course as No. 3 in the "Top 100 You Can Play," ahead of Pinehurst and Torrey Pines. And Tennis Magazine ranked Kiawah as the number one resort. Wow.
After $177 million in renovations since 1997, including the addition of the gorgeous luxury hotel The Sanctuary, Kiawah has dazzled its guests with gracious hospitality and superb facilities. Families are attracted to the excellent recreational activities, including beach, biking, tennis, and fabulous children's programs. And golfers are lured to the five world-championship courses, including the famed Ocean Course, recently redesigned by Pete Dye with a $4 million overhaul (the 18th green is now right next to the ocean). There's a brand new, 24,000 sq-foot Club House in the works, with wrap-around porches overlooking the dunes, slated to open in May 2007 in time for the PGA Senior Open Championship. Kiawah has a number of excellent Fall Golf Packages, which include three nights accommodations, breakfast and dinner, and all greens fees for three rounds of golf. Starting from $313, per person, per night.
The moment we've all been waiting for. Come October 14, 2006, the first in a series of exhibits from the Musee de Louvre in Paris opens at Atlanta's High Museum of Art. The unprecedented three-year partnership, dubbed simply Louvre Atlanta, will begin with the Royal Collections, a dazzling array of paintings, sculptures drawings from master artists, that once belonged to the kings of France. The opening day celebrations include art-making activities for children, live music in the Piazza, theater, the French Poodle Parade, classic French mime, and other special performances. The two area Ritz-Carlton hotels have organized a Louvre Atlanta package for visitors to enjoy the fantastic exhibit. The package includes one night's luxurious accommodations, full breakfast for two, valet parking, and a pair of tickets to the museum exhibit. Available through December 2006. Starting at $249 at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, an elegant address in the heart of downtown, and $299 at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, located uptown across the street from the acclaimed Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza shopping malls.
The capital of the UAE is glamming it up. These days, Abu Dhabi is experiencing a fashionable revitalization, mirroring the prosperous growth of nearby Dubai. A booming real estate market means a new city convention center, lots of hip restaurants... and five-star hotels are opening their doors. In fact, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts recently announced the February 2007 opening of the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi-- a joint project with the Al Jaber Establishment and Tourism Development and Investment Company. Situated on a 21 acre property facing a 1,000 meter-long private beach, the 214-room luxury hotel will feature CHI (the signature spa), myriad dining options (including poolside bar and a lively souk), health club, five outdoor pools and water sports, and luxurious sea-facing accommodations.
Now is the time to visit Hong Kong. The city is simply hopping with festivals and good times. From October 20-November 19, 2006, the New Vision Arts Festival-- highlighting the connections between East and West-- is a month-long cultural extravaganza of art, modern dance, Chinese opera, theater and ballet. And starting October 25, Hong Kong Winterfest will transform the city into a winter wonderland. A must-see is the newly-renovated Peak Tower. Hong Kong's iconic landmark has undergone a multi-million dollar makeover and is now welcoming visitors to take in the dramatic city views. The entire rooftop has been turned into a viewing platform, high-end restaurants have opened in addition to the fast food joints, and the rooftop Sky Gallery now showcases the work of local artists.
Be pampered in style at the legendary Peninsula Hong Kong, long hailed as one of the finest hotels in the world. Even if an overnight stay's not in the works, you can now enjoy a luxurious Weekday Spa Escape at the hotel. Escape from the hectic pace of city life for the ultimate in rejuvenation. The 'Weekday Spa Escape' includes full use of the Peninsula Spa facilities (including harbor view sauna and crystal steam room, relaxation areas, Asian Tea Lounge and the hotel's Greco-Roman-style swimming pool), an ESPA salt and oil full-body exfoliation (30 minutes), ESPA aromatherapy body massage (1hr 20 minutes), plus a light lunch by the pool, featuring 'Naturally Peninsula' light and healthy cuisine. All for just HK$1,800 per person.
Rest assured, it's got bulletproof windows and doors, along with the brilliant views of Lake Geneva. After all, the folks who stake out the famed Imperial Suite are heads of state, billionaires, and celebs looking to
squander their cash spend. The Imperial Suite takes up the entire floor of the art deco Hotel President Wilson, reached via private elevator. Overlooking the Lake, the bay windows and private terrace offer incredible vistas of Mont Blanc and the Alps. In addition to the four bedrooms, the suite features five bathrooms with mosaic marble floors, Jacuzzi and steam bath, living room with billiards table, and library. The cocktail lounge can accommodate 40 people, while the dining room seats 26, so no need to venture out on the town (when you can bring the party to you). Though the hotel does boast an excellent location in the heart of Geneva, with easy access to the sites, shops, restaurants, and businesses. All this for just $50,000 a night. Talk about bang for your buck.
That's right. The InterContinental Hotels Group has partnered with TurnHere to create a series of local video guides narrated by the concierges of Intercontinental Hotels across the United States. First up: the insider's guide to the nation's capital, brought to you by Robert Watson, the lovely concierge at the Willard InterContinental Washington DC, the grand historic landmark known as the "Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue." The free video is lively, informative, and a fun (and free) overview of the city's neighborhoods, sites, and restaurants. Plus you'll get the inside scoop on the locals' favorite haunts and stomping grounds. Check it out.
October 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Move over, Trump. The Miami Heat center recently announced the formation of The O'Neal Group, a real estate firm that's set to take on the Miami market with a $1 billion project that will feature a five star luxury hotel, 1,100 residential units, a Whole Foods Market, a 24-Hour Fitness franchise, office space, condominiums and restaurants. At 866 feet, this is the tallest tower south of the Big Apple. According to FoxSports:
Shaquille O'Neal now is dead serious about helping big skyscrapers in downtown Miami far bigger than himself and literally becoming South Florida's biggest real estate mogul…He realizes the positive impact he can make. Between making money for his family, he can also continue the revitalization of what was a horrendous downtown area into a renaissance trumping the problems of decades.
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.