The Silver Lake neighborhood is becoming hip. The up-and-coming district is getting a make-over (or shall we call it gentrification?) with the planned Silver Lake Hotel, a stylish boutique with trendy restaurant and spa, and price tag to match. The hotel will emerge from a decrepit, shuttered mess called the Sunset Pacific Hotel, a project of local entrepreneur Dana Hollister, who has an eye for old gems and has renovated quite a few in this neighborhood. As described by the LA Times,
[she's] made it her life's work to contribute to Silver Lake's face lift. She has two restaurants, two bars, a design boutique and a salon to her credit. She's renovated the Paramour Estate, Silver Lake's architectural crown jewel, and hopes to turn it one day soon into Silver Lake's first five-star lodging, the Bel-Air Hotel of Silver Lake, as she envisions it. A 5-acre spread that was built for oil heiress Daisy Canfield in the 1920s, the Paramour was later converted into a girls' school and was serving as a decrepit nunnery when Hollister discovered it 15 years ago.Though it's yet to be seen if Silver Lake's rejuvenation will come at the cost of its alternative, cool factor.
Good Morning America and Travel and Leisure think so, anyway. The Mayflower Inn is a grand Relais and Chateaux country house, less than two hours from New York City. Nestled in 58 acres of gardens and parkland, it's the ideal setting for hiking, kayaking, or playing tennis. The five-star accommodations are luxuriously romantic, 30 different rooms that are billed as the "antidote to urban stress." These finer details include feather topped mattresses, Tabriz rugs, enormous marble bathrooms wainscoted in mahogany, with brass and Limoges fittings, fireplaces, well-stocked mini-bars, flat screen televisions, down comforters, oversized pillows, linens by Frette, four-poster canopied antique beds, and all the modern conveniences including Wi-Fi and cable TV.
The rooms may be heavenly, but for the ultimate pampering experience, head to the destination spa. Newly opened on July 16, 2006, the 20,000 square foot facility includes treatment rooms, fully equipped exercise studios, pool and whirlpool, and moonflower scented Thermal Sanctuary. With its selection of Acitive Body and Mind-Spirit activities along with its full spa menu of restorative treatments, the Mayflower Spa is the ultimate relaxation resource. And Good Morning America isn't the only one to go gaga. Time Out New York calls it "Edenic." The New York Post calls it the "region's sexiest spa." And Vanity Fair gushes to its readers: "Imagine being transported to a kind of heaven on earth..."
July 26, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May
DailyCandy has done it again. Previously they sent out an Editorial Newsletter about Mr. Mohammed Bendraoua, a jet set masseuse for the masses which I loved - and now I've just gotten the message about Juan - "Juan in a Million".
Juan Carlos Marulanda of 'Tennis by Juan', is a "Colombian native (who has played professionally and taught for years)" and now "offers private lessons to any level of player on any type of court" in the Washington, DC area (Hint - that includes the DC area hotel tennis courts too ...).
According to DailyCandy, "Just arrange a public court to play on, and Marulanda will show up to help you learn the basics or ace your almost-perfect serve. Not to mention make sure you have fun while doing it."
Get in touch with Juan by calling 703-863-4740 or e-mailing him at TennisByJuan@Hotmail.com.
So what if its development recently changed hands? Chicago's in store for an humongous tower, a huge twisting mass of metal designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, that will sit right on the lake. Only the Burj Tower, under construction in Dubai, will be taller. Reaching 2,000 feet at its spire, the 124-storey building will house a five star hotel and 300 luxury condominiums, ranging in price from $600,000 to $5 million. It's scheduled for completion in 2010. Via NYT
Doggies are going to love this one. While their owners are away, pampered pooches enjoy the plushest of suites and the finest five star service at the PetSmart PetHotel in Bethesda, MD-- all for just 23 bucks a night. According to Yahoo! News:
The doggie hotel is nothing like kennels of yore: in this inn there is lactose-free ice cream, indoor recreation, and for 10 more dollars a night, pooch can stay in a roomier "suite" with a television set showing an "animal related movie all day," said Vince Malanaphy, who manages the Bethesda PetsHotel.
A lot of the lucky canine guests are day boarders; poodles and labradors can "socialize" at Doggie Day Camp here in Bethesda for only 20 bucks a day.
It's being called the "largest development in the hemisphere." The O Property Collection has announced its development of 2.24 sq-mile Dellis Cay, a breaktakingly beautiful island in the Turks and Caicos. With stunning tropical beaches and lagoons, the islands are also known for their spectacular diving and snorkeling, as the third largest coral reef system in the world is located just off-shore. This flagship project is located just 20 minutes from Providenciales. According to Travel Weekly:
Scheduled to open in 2008, the project is estimated to generate a billion dollars worth of sales within the next five years… The development will be divided into lifestyle zones, each designed by a different architect. OPC, which also has projects planned in the Mediterranean and Asia, will partner with hotel management companies to run the individual properties worldwide. Although each property development will be different, Kinay said that they will all "bear the marks of the OPC signature brand -- timeless architecture, sleek design, a fit with the natural surroundings and the finest in amenities and services."
But the company's website is remarkably vague about a project of this magnitude:
The Project involves building infrastructure and about 70,000 square meters of construction within the next three to five years. On the island, which will be divided into "lifestyle areas" designed by the world's foremost architects, the focus will be on creating an upscale, exclusive private island serving the needs of affluent travelers.
Another reason why Abu Dhabi is shaking things up: the Guggenheim Foundation has recently announced plans to open a museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The new museum will be the biggest and most ambitious yet: 300,000 square feet designed by super-star Frank Gehry, 25 percent bigger than the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.
The museum, to be called the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, would house Modern and contemporary art and serve as the linchpin of a sprawling development in a new cultural district of Saadiyat (Arabic for "isle of happiness"), a 10-square-mile natural island just off Abu Dhabi.
The new museum is slated to open in 2011.
New York Times, "Guggenheim Foundation and Abu Dhabi Plan Museum There"
The Informed Traveler, "Move Over Dubai: the Marvelous Makeover of Abu Dhabi"
July 13, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
from Rob Wilder, Food & Wine Editor and Member of the Five Star Alliance Editorial Advisory Board In the US, great views usually are accompanied by mediocre food. Fortunately in Athens a different rule applies. Three of the better restaurants in town treat you to spectacular views. The menu at Pil Pil is only marginally Greek, but the location reminds you why you came to Athens. The dramatically lit Acropolis literally soars above this romantic patio, atop a small townhouse by the ancient agora. It is an "only in the movies" kind of setting! While somewhat pricey, Pil Pil delivers with fine Greco-Mediterranean dishes and excellent service. For an equally dramatic but very different panorama, ride the funicular to the top of Mount Lycavetus to Orizondes, a highly respected modern Greek restaurant perched atop this 1,000 foot cliff. With the chaotic jumble of Athens way below you, Orizondes produces wonderful food and service. Both restaurants have good selections of high quality Greek wines... look for any by Gerovasiliou or Kyr-Yianni. Finally, for a Michelin one-star experience with an almost equal view, head to the rooftop at Varoulko. Creative interpretations of every kind of Greek seafood are excellent. Perhaps the best overall dining experience in Athens? During our meal a summer lightning storm crashed around us, and our Greek friends coolly told us not to worry, the storm would miss us. Even when a few drops started falling, not a single diner budged from their open air seats- too enthralled with their dinners. The storm miraculously passed us by - Another magical evening in Athens! On the hotel front, we have had two good experiences at the St. George Lycabetus, perched on a hill over the upscale shopping area of Kolonaki. Fine rooms, great views (and rooftop pool), and an excellent location. Friends have also loved the Grand Bretagne, but it is both more expensive and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Syntagma Square. The shops and restaurants of Kolonaki are big draw - our favorite is Papadakis, a youthful and modern take on the Greek Taverna with wonderful food and service. 9 Luxury Hotels in Athens from Five Star Alliance
July 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The temperatures may be hot and steamy, but the prices are record-low. Head on down to Miami during Hurricane Season and seize the deal at South Beach hot spots like The Setai. Right now, the deals are unbelievable at Adrian Zecha's elegant beachfront masterpiece. Summer rates are starting at just $495, through September 2006. (The celeb-favorite Setai usually charges an arm and a leg.) Set amidst tropical gardens and turquoise pools next to the Atlantic, the Art Deco landmark has been beloved for its intimate ambience, impeccable service, and awesome facilities since its opening in 2005. No detail is overlooked in the 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. Enjoy a deep therapeutic massage at the luxurious spa overlooking the sand and sea, and then savor the excellent cuisine at the Crustacean restaurant. And The Setai is located in the middle of it all on Collins Avenue, close to the hottest dining, shopping and nightlife in South Beach.
July 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The much-anticipated World's Best Awards has just been released by Travel and Leisure. In these 11th annual reader polls, the chic Singita Private Game Reserve scores at the top of the hotel list, after debuting as number 1 in the world in 2004. What makes the Singita such a hot property? Lions, tigers, and…elephants galore, and on top of that, some of the finest accommodations on the planet, consisting of 18 suites spread out within five lodges. The Sabi Sands is a wildlife mecca, and situated in the middle of this dramatic landscape, the lodges at Singita are internationally recognized as among the most exclusive in the world. After a daily expedition into the African bush, continue the wildlife viewing from the privacy of your own private deck. Or appreciate the gorgeous surroundings while indulging in a massage or beauty treatment at the excellent spa. Enjoy exceptional cuisine complemented by impressive wine cellars: each Singita lodge has a unique and comprehensive wine cellar, totalling approximately 35,000 bottles of the finest South African wines.
Gridskipper on the World's Best Awards, "This Just In: Tourists Love Touristy City"