66 storeys of sleek, sophisticated luxury right smack in the center of Shanghai on People's Square. The new Le Royal Meridien Shanghai is a sight to behold, a new landmark on the city's quickly-changing skyline. This is the heart of the city, just a quick walk to the Bund, Huaihai Road, Xintiandi, the old town, and the numerous shops along the buzzing Nanjing Road. The 770-room hotel has a staff of 1,200 to ensure the highest level of service for its pampered clientele. Views from the guest rooms are exquisite, overlooking the Bund, Huang Pu River, and dramatic Shanghai skyline. Rooms are outfitted with 42" plasma TV, DVD/CD player, rain shower, wireless and High Speed Internet Access, and wall-to-wall windows. Not too shabby. And with 10 restaurants and bars, a luxury spa, and 2,000 square meters of meeting space, Le Royal Meridien Shanghai is the place to stay in the city. Now accepting reservations for September 25, 2006 arrivals.
Leave it to NYT Travel to hook us up with the latest scoop on the South Beach scene: the hot new hotels breaking ground (move over, Delano!), big name restauranteurs making waves (LA dude Govind Armstrong has big plans with a branch of his Table 8 and David Bouley's staking out a spot in the Ritz-Carlton), and over-the-top parties shaking things up (at new clubs like Mokai, SET, and Snatch).
The hottest hotel opening of the season? The Regent South Beach, a luxury 80-suite condominium hotel, located on 14th and Ocean, in the middle of it all in South Beach. Penthouse Suites are decked out with secluded rooftop gardens, roman hot tubs, and ocean views. There's a full-service European spa, trendy restaurant overlooking Ocean Drive, glass-bottom pool, and first-class amenities. At this new gem, concierge and valet service is 24 hours a day, of course. Renowned architectural firm Arquitectonica is behind the gorgeous building and landscaping.
September 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Here's good news from the incredible indoor ski and snowboard center at the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai: Ski Dubai will be hosting a Jam Session on Monday, September 18, 2006 with Olympic Snowboarder Gold Medalist Tanja Frieden. The event will be judged and the Best Overall Freestyler will be jetting off to snowy Switzerland, courtesy of Swiss International Airlines. A winner for "Best Trick of the Night" will also be awarded. Ski Dubai's Freestyle Nights, which take place every other Monday between 8 and 11 pm, are a riotous good time with DJs playing good tunes all evening (highlights on the runs include a volcano, barrel hump, four-meter table-top jump, and monster ramp at mid-station), and this Jam Session promises to be a blast. Register at Ski Dubai on the night.
August 30, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Good news for spa clients, bad news for spa media From our friends the SpaQuest spa professionals It is always interesting to us when magazines create ‘top’ lists for spas, because for us the perfect spa vacation cannot be defined by general criterion, but instead by whether or not an individual’s specific set of needs has been fulfilled. There is no cookie cutter mold that fits all spa experiences, or clients. A spa vacation that is rich in holistic immersion, for example, might be intentionally meager on luxe amenities in order to encourage guests to focus on achieving intrinsic goals without distractions. Likewise, pampering spas with endless arrays of treatment options and mega facilities tend to soft pedal a focus on goal attainment in favor of the delight of almost instant gratification. Of course both have their place in the spa industry because they cater to very different types of clients, or even the same clients seeking different experiences at different times. Luckily for die-hard spafanatics, in recent times the industry has been undergoing a form of upgrading of spa retreats. Destination spas, the holy grail of holistic experience, have been melding age-old philosophies of weight-loss, detoxification and stress management with modernized spa facilities and engaging outdoor activities. The latest destination spa to enter the category we fondly refer to as ‘holistic luxury’ is the Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. Founded in very strict dietetic/fitness philosophies – older clients will remember it as the National Institute of Fitness, a spa that would have fallen into the boot camp category years ago – the ages old spa is always in flux in order to meet the demands of the new, more discerning spa consumer. The holistic resort’s new Sage Stone spa is a haven of treatments that incorporate elements of the local minerals and flora. Spas such as Miraval located in Tucson, and the Canyon Ranches (Lennox, Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona) had the foresight to offer holistic luxury for years now. As industry leaders, both properties have not only become brands, but also usually top those lists we mentioned earlier. And each of these experiences is tailored to appeal to different types of clients with the Canyon programs fulfilling a Type A demand while Miraval cultivates a “balanced” vacation. Newer spas added to our roster, such as the Lakeview at Fontana, North Carolina and Sivory Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, were created with this amalgamation of mind, body, spirit and sensuality in mind. They are destination spas with a pleasing balance of philosophy and pampering. We embrace this evolving model of spa experience, one that is sure to throw a wrench in the cogs of print media machines and their fanciful ‘top’ lists, because it will prove increasingly difficult to determine which spa is ‘best’ when the delineations are less black and white. The lists may also prove irrelevant with the new and newly upgraded spas and also better educated and sophisticated spa clients that understand that spa experiences cannot be judged simply by star rating or celebrity sighting, that the intangible benefits are just as important as the physical ones, if not more so. Visit SpaQuest at http://spa-quest.com/
August 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The hottest, trendiest place on the So Cal coast, Tower 23 opened in July 2005 to much fanfare and celebration. Overlooking long stretches of golden sand, the three-storey all-glass hotel is a stylish, contemporary urban resort, taking its name from the Lifeguard Tower 23 positioned on Pacific Beach in front of the hotel. Billing itself as San Diego's "only luxury, lifestyle hotel on the beach," Tower 23 is a celebration of contemporary architecture and design. The 44 guestrooms reflect the oceanfront setting—the environment of sun, sand, surf, and sky—with minimalist design, private balconies and patios to contemplate the sea, and teak furnishings. (And with names to match; the rooms are divided into three types: Spirit, Sky and Surf Pads.) Of course the rooms are brimming with all the latest technology: LDC flat-screens, XBoxes, wifi Internet, and Tempur-Pedic beds. Hipsters flock to Jordan, the sleek restaurant and bar (pictured) where fresh California cuisine is served in a happening environment.
August 29, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
lebua at State Tower offers a wide range of of fine dining options, all of which are congregated under one roof - The Dome. The Dome at the State Tower is the award winning hotel in Bangkok, with titles such as 'Best Western Restaurant 2005,' three Thailand entries as the exclusive winner in the Condé Nast Traveler's 2005 Hot List, 'Best New Al Fresco Dining', and 'Best Lounge Bar' (amongst others). From November 28th to December 2nd, 2006, The Dome at State Tower will host a remarkable 1,000,000 baht (US $25,000 +) per head gala dinner. The dinners are an unprecedented extravagant grand finale for 'Epicurean Masters of the World' - a gourmet food and wine extravaganza. This will be the second event after the successful launch last November - and this year sees seven Chefs de cuisine of Michelin Three-Star restaurants (including the world’s first female to achieve the revered culinary distinction), congregate under one roof over the course of 5 days, to create a culinary extravaganza never before seen in Thailand and rarely experienced anywhere in the world. In addition to featuring remarkable food from the world’s finest chefs paired with equally remarkable wines, the 1,000,000 baht (US $25,000 +) per person price will include overnight suite accommodation at the lebua at State Tower hotel; a personalized designer jewelry gift; a collection of personalised Riedel sommelier glasses; and a signed commemorative Limoges plate from the event. Click here to read more about the event from eHotelier, or contact The Dome at State Tower for reservations by calling + 66 2624 9555, or e-mailing: email@example.com. You can also visit the following websites: www.epicureanmasters.com and www.thedomebkk.com.
August 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot in Barcelona. Situated high on Mount Tibidabo, 25 minutes from the city center, the Gran Hotel La Florida features spectacular views overlooking Barcelona and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea. The resort's 74 rooms include eight designer suites with jacuzzis, gardens, and large terraces, designed by world-renowned decorators and architects. The Sky Terrace Suite, for example, sits on the hotel's top floor, with an enormous 80 sq meter terrace with unsurpassed views of Barcelona and the Pyrenees. Designed by Rebecca Horn, the spacious suite consists of a large bedroom and living area, with dining table, sun beds, and awesome bathroom with Philippe Starck bathtub perfectly situated to contemplate the sweeping city views. Other hotel perks: it's decked out with an exquisite art collection; the outdoor scene at Miramar Bar, complete with swimming pool and summertime DJ; and the ZenZone Spa, with Hammam, sauna, caldarium, and fitness center. The Spa's infinity pool is extraordinary, seeming to flow from the side of the mountain down into the city beneath. The Gran Hotel La Florida is the best kind of urban oasis.
Ken Oringer is the superstar chef who is not afraid to take risks in the kitchen at the James Beard award-winning Clio Restaurant. He is established in Boston as a force to be reckoned with. To quote Zagat: "With "a genius" and "madman" like Ken Oringer in the kitchen, this Back Bay "showstopper" "continues to reign supreme", converting most critics of "la-di-da dining" via "wonderfully strange" New French "masterpieces" showcased against an "understated" backdrop." (How's that for a review?) The innovative Asian-influenced French cuisine features dishes like the runchy sauteed halibut with citrus-ginger broth, served with the signature tomato-water martini. The sashimi bar, Uni, is located in the restaurant's lounge, and foodies claim it serves the freshest fish in Boston. Clio is housed in the Eliot Suite Hotel, voted "best boutique hotel" by Boston Magazine and "one of the world's best places to stay" by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure. Located in fashionable Back Bay, steps away from the boutiques and restaurants of Newbury Street, the luxurious hotel is the essence of hospitality and refinement.
Highlighted on Travel and Leisure's "It List" of the world's hottest new hotels, the Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt is the gorgeous new sensation in the fashionable capital. And this summer, as the mag pointed out, "all of Buenos Aires eagerly anticipated the grand opening." Located in the exclusive Recoleta shopping and residential district on Avenida Alvear, the hotel much resembles the fascinating city of Buenos Aires itself, with its integration of history and innovative modern design. The luxurious hotel is appointed with ultra-modern comforts—flat screen LCD TV and CD-DVD player, high speed Internet and wi-fi access, bathrooms with separate bath and walk-in rain shower, 24-hour concierge, butler and clothes pressing service.
For the ultimate in luxury, the Duhau Suite—located on the top floor of the Palacio—features stunning views of the city from its wrap-around private terrace. The suite includes a dining area for eight people, a living area, fireplaces, a private pantry, master bedroom, and luxurious marble bathrooms with separate baths and walk-in showers, double sinks with vanity, Jacuzzi and a spacious walk-in closet. (And bulletproof windows, of course, for the max security for high profile guests.) The Spa has an indoor heated swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and five exquisite treatment suites for holistic and beauty treatments. But the real highlight at the city's most exclusive hotel is the magnificent garden, designed by Carlos Thays (who plotted the city's botanical gardens).
August 16, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
lebua at State Tower, Bangkok, Thailand Between August 1st and October 31, 2007 - lebua at State Tower in Bangkok is offering the "Sky Night @ Sky Bar" package for two. Benefits include: * Daily full breakfast * Complimentary local calls * Early check in 1200 hrs (subject to availability) * Late check out 1800 hrs (subject to availability) * Complimentary minibar softdrinks only * Complimentary high speed internet access * Complimentary usage of Fitness center facilities and swimming pool * Welcome fruits and flowers * Daily newspaper * One Sky Bar drink for two persons at Sky Bar (once per stay) And all it takes is a minimum 2 consecutive night stay between now and the end of October next year - 2007. Nightly rates for 2006 start at around US $105 (subject to 10% service charge and applicable government tax) for a one-bedroom suite.