LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
November 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Le Royal Monceau knows luxury. The palace hotel reopened in October 2010 after a two-year, top-to-bottom makeover by design guru Philippe Starck, and every single aspect of it-- from the private cinema to the brand spanking new spa-- is fabulously opulent. So you know you're in good hands when you choose Le Royal Monceau for a lavish Parisian getaway. Better yet, for an over-the-top experience you'll never forget, book the hotel's new "Be Royal" offer. After getting whisked from the airport in a Mercedes Class S, you'll be ushered as a VIP into your Junior Suite, where you'll find a Clarins welcome gift along with Pierre Hermé macarons and a bottle of Champagne. Wake up to an extravagant American breakfast at La Cuisine restaurant, then have a private Art Tour of Le Royal Monceau with the Art Concierge. During your stay, you'll also enjoy a private appointment at a famous French fashion house, fine dining for two at La Cuisine (drinks excluded), a "Royal Indulgence" treatment at the dazzling new spa, a late check-out at 4 pm, and an upgrade upon availability. Priced at 1450 euros per night, available until December 30, 2011 with a three-night minimum stay required.
October 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
I bet your life (like most of ours) is lacking in kangaroos, surfing, and scuba diving. Take a trip down under and experience first-hand the laid back atmosphere and beauty Sydney, Australia has to offer. Not a big fan of the winter cold? Consider traveling anytime from December-February, Australia’s summer season, and enjoy a cocktail on the beach while your neighbors back home shovel snow.
For those wanting a truly Sydney experience, the newly renovated Sydney Harbour Marriott at Circular Quay is the perfect hotel. This downtown Sydney resort overlooks the beautiful Sydney Harbour and the renowned Opera House, providing you with cultural and outdoor activities a few steps away. At Sydney’s premier waterfront hotel, guests are welcomed to indulge in a variety of treatments offered in the day spa and take a dip in the luxurious indoor pool. If an outdoor adventure is more your calling, check out the boating, surfing, and sailing opportunities found in Sydney. After doing it all, retire to your room, complete with picturesque harbour views, and dare to do it all again the next day.
October 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family members and friends. This year, however, we bet you want something different, something special, something extravagant, something over the top. Did we just read your mind? For the luxury seekers, the best gift givers, and the folks who always go above and beyond what is expected, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue may be just for you.
For an intellectual and mind-opening gift, consider the custom library, with its shelves filled with 250 books for $125,000. This atypical gift comes from the publishing house Assouline, and the library can be added anywhere you’d like. From a house to a boat to an airplane, the sky is the limit. This gift includes a full redesign of the space of your choice by adding custom carpets, art objects, and exquisitely framed prints. After the space redesign, 250 contemporary and vintage volumes are added to the beautiful shelves in the genre of your choice. Line the bookshelves with masterpieces from renowned writers, artists, photographers, architects, designers, and culinary and fashion virtuosos. This is a gift that keeps on giving because aside from an incredible library, Neiman Marcus will also donate $2,500 to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides children in need access to new books. For details, call 1-877-9NM-GIFT, or visit neimanmarcus.com
The Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue is for the thoughtful gift-givers, and while it offers truly lavish gifts, about half are under $250, so whatever your price range, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue has something to offer you. Looking for something a little different? Consider booking a trip for your family and friends and spending the holidays somewhere exotic, snowy, sunny, or simply somewhere relaxing.
(Photo via Neiman Marcus)
October 13, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
Are you an avid exerciser who doesn’t like to give up working out when you’re traveling and away from home? We definitely understand the need to keep up with your routine while still enjoying the beautiful city you’re in, so we’d like to introduce you to hotels that offer you an opportunity to exercise that’s a bit different from your typical access to a treadmill, elliptical, and a few weights in a hotel gym.
Today’s featured luxury hotel is the NH Lingotto in Turin, Italy, and its exercise facility is sure to be unlike any other you’ve seen. The hotel is situated in the former Fiat automobile factory, and the redesign of the entire space has made the NH Lingotto a striking blend of the modern and historic. The hotel’s first floor connects to a shopping gallery, with various boutiques and cafes, while the top floor houses the incredible Pinacoteca Giovannie Marella Agnelli art gallery. Aside from these luxurious amenities, the NH Lingotto also has 240 beautiful rooms and suites and a 1,030 meter running track on the roof that was formerly a Fiat car-testing track. This track allows you to exercise outdoors while taking in the most magnificent views of Turin, Italy.
So whether you’re a serious runner or simply enjoy going for a walk, consider checking into the NH Lingotto and checking out the outdoor track for some fresh air and a unique exercise opportunity that’s quite outside the norm.
October 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The holidays are right around the corner, and the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is getting in the mood with a holiday shopping spree and some festive cocktails. To the delight of guests, the luxury hotel in downtown San Francisco has partnered with Bloomingdale's to create a luxe holiday shopping package. Guests can indulge in some retail therapy with discounts, personal shopping services, and an après-shopping spa treatment. Bloomingdale’s flagship West Coast store is just two blocks from Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, a five-level shopping mecca of 300,000 square feet. Shop 'til you drop, then unwind with a complimentary Spiked Hot Chocolate at Seasons Bar and Lounge and a post-shopping massage at The Spa at the Sports Club/LA, located within the Hotel. (The enormous Sports Club/LA is a great place to burn off those pre-holiday calories.)
The Bloomingdale’s Luxe Holiday Package is available from November 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012 and includes:
* Luxurious accommodations
* $100 Bloomingdale’s gift card
* 15 percent all-day savings certificate (see in-store certificate for details)
* Signature Bloomingdale’s gift upon arrival at Visitor Center
* Hotel delivery service for purchases
* One-on-one makeup consultation and deluxe sample with Dior
* Beauty Imaging System skin analysis and Facial Treatment Mask with SK-II
* Appointment with a Bloomingdale's “At Your Service” personal shopper
* Two specialty cocktails at Seasons Bar and Lounge
* A 25-minute head, neck and shoulder massage at the Spa at Sports Club/LA
October 3, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
The Westin Paris – Vendôme has an enviable location in the heart of Paris just off the Place Vendôme, next to the Place de la Concorde and immediately opposite the spectacular Tuileries Gardens. Just a stone's throw from the Louvre, the hotel is surrounded by famous landmarks and is minutes away from the city's best shopping on the elegant Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré. This is the capital's busiest and most fashionable neighborhood.
When the hotel was first opened in 1878 it was celebrated as the most exclusive property of its kind and was regarded as a national treasure of France's Second Empire. Over the years, it has been renovated and restored many times, most recently in 2008. But important historic details remain: a courtyard fountain with a white marble water nymph, and a spectacular glass roof from 1878. This is where Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, took up residence during her husband’s exile from 1898 to 1919, as commemorated by an inscription near the front entrance. This is also where Victor Hugo held three large banquets celebrating his 79th, 81st and 83rd birthdays in the lavish Imperial Salon on the ground floor. The most celebrated fashion houses such as Yves Saint-Laurent, Hanae Mori, Nina Ricci, Torrente, and Ungaro regularly hold their shows in the hotel’s historic salons.
With 440 rooms, The Westin Paris - Vendôme has the largest number of suites of all the traditional Parisian luxury hotels in its category. From their Second Empire classicism, the majority of the suites at the hotel offer exceptional views of the capital- truly one of the best panoramas of the Paris skyline. The famous designer Sybille de Margerie refurbished the rooms in a sophisticated contemporary style. Taking inspiration from the history of the hotel, Sybille de Margerie created an ambience of renewal and relaxation with muted color schemes of plum–mauve to taupe, with splashes of light green and Bordeaux reds. Of course all the rooms at The Westin Paris - Vendôme are equipped with the sleep-inducing Westin Heavenly Bed, one of the great innovations developed by Westin. The bed has proved so popular with guests that the Westin Heavenly Bed is now for sale at the Westin online store.
September 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is a historic city with tiny, winding, bustling streets and a rich culture symbolized by Moorish influence. If you’re in search of an energetic nightlife or a cultural excursion to discover some of the most renowned monuments in all of Europe, consider visiting the heart of Southern Spain.
In the center of Seville lies Hotel Alfonso XIII, named after the king who commissioned it 83 years ago. This luxurious hotel offers rooms with varying themes and styles including Isabelline Baroque, Moorish, and Castillian. Hotel Alfonso XIII is situated downtown, just minutes from the Royal Alcazar Palace and the Plaza de España, making this hotel the perfect, centrally located destination.
Seville has an incredible charm emanating from the streets, and the people have a very relaxed attitude about life. I encourage you to fully embrace the culture and see a flamenco show, or try the pairing of green olives with beer, or sip on a Tinto de Verano, which is a light, refreshing blend of red wine and lemon soda.
Be sure to get your shopping done in the morning or evening, as many store owners close down their shops for a few hours in the afternoons for a siesta. My recommended hotel is currently closed for renovations, but it’ll reopen in March 2012, just in time for the beautiful spring months and Semana Santa, which is one of the most significant, traditional events in Seville. Can’t wait that long? Consider some of the other incredible resorts located all over Spain, and get ready for a fiesta!
September 27, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
Ukraine (or Ykraina, as it is pronounced in the majority of the world), is a country that has some of the most incredible, lush hills rolling throughout its countryside and beautiful cobblestone roads throughout its cities. Granted, being Ukrainian myself, I’ll admit that I’m slightly biased, but I guarantee you’ll be awestruck by all Ukraine has to offer. Still don’t believe me? I challenge you to visit the Breadbasket of Europe and see for yourself!
Kiev, Ukraine’s capital offers everything and anything from fascinating museums, theaters, and ancient ruins, to contemporary buildings and breathtaking cathedrals. A wonderful hotel to consider for your stay in Ukraine is the Hyatt Regency Kiev. This luxurious hotel is located in the heart of the capital and is surrounded by the culture and history of Kiev’s Old Town. Consider exploring Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery and one of Kiev’s most recognized landmarks, Saint-Sophia’s Cathedral. Both attractions are walking distance from the Hyatt Regency Kiev. After a day of exploring the most beautiful monasteries and cathedrals in the world, consider perusing the diverse boutiques and shops on Kreshchatyk Street, where you’ll find gifts and articles of clothing unique to Ukraine. Hoping to bring your kid(s) on your travels? The Hyatt Regency Kiev offers a phenomenal brunch on Sundays, complete with a children’s playground, paint lessons, magicians, clowns, puzzles, and toys. Speaking of food, be sure to order pierogies (cheese and potato dumplings), and olivye (salad) during your visit, two of Ukraine’s typical dishes that will complete your stay in the best country in the world!
September 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Paint the town red in Vancouver; the Opus Hotel is inviting you to treat yourself to a deluxe evening out with a bevy of free add-ons with the "Lights Out" package. We're talking $170 worth of inclusions! Kick off the good times with free martinis in your stylish OPUS Suite as you primp for an evening out with priority access to Vancouver’s most desirable restaurant, One Hundred Nights. They're open until 3am so of course you'll get late 2pm check out the next morning and breakfast for two. Priced from $279, the package includes these complimentary perks:
* Martinis for 2 | mix or drink it straight up
* OPUS Perks Card | Exclusive offers at 14 Yaletown Retailers
* 15% off Deluxe and Executive Suite room rates
* VIP access to OPUS Bar/One Hundred Nights | flash your room key
* Breakfast for two in One Hundred Nights
PS. The Opus Hotel Vancouver is part of Five Star Alliance's four-star hotel collection. For other four-star hotels, browse the Five Star Alliance site...
August 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
You've heard about Marina Bay Sands and it's sky-high infinity pool and plant-filled Sky Park... Now here's your chance to see it with your very own eyes, and tell all your friends back home about one of the sexiest new hotels on the planet. Located along the Marina Bay waterfront, Marina Bay Sands opened in 2010 and has already become a premier entertainment destination in Singapore. It has a lotus-inspired Museum, countless retail stores, trendy restaurants by celebrity chefs, theaters and happening night clubs, and a Las Vegas-style casino. Stay anytime til September 30, 2011 and you can take advantage of the "Sandsational Summer" package which includes:
* Two complimentary drinks from Ku De Ta—in the iconic Sands SkyPark.
* A S$50 nett destination credit per day. (Simply charge to your room and they'll waive the first S$50nett daily.)
* A 10% discount off Disney's musical "The Lion King" for all categories except Platinum
* A 23% discount off admission for two at ArtScience Museum.
Book now to enjoy this package from $339 per night on weekdays, and $399 on weekends. Does not include daily breakfast nor the 10% service charge and 7% GST.