June 15, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance
Five Star Alliance's sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor recently had the pleasure of touring the brand new Palace Hotel Tokyo. Travel Guru Joe Pike (you can read more from Joe here: http://www.thejoepikeblog.com/) offers the following details about his recent stay:
Demolishing an iconic hotel isn't always a smart decision for a tourism-entrenched city to make, but when you replace it with a new, luxurious, $1.2 billion, modern chic hotel bearing the same name, it quickly turns into one of the best business decisions a destination can make.
Luxury Travel Advisor toured Wednesday the new Palace Hotel Tokyo, which officially reopened on May 17. It replaced the previous Palace Hotel Tokyo, which opened in 1961, was located at the same site and knocked down in 2009.
Here's what you need to know to pitch one of Japan's hottest new hotels.
All of the rooms face one direction, meaning every VIP, no matter what category they are staying in, gets view of the city.
Luxury Travel Advisor stayed in room no. 2207, a Club Deluxe Room W/ Balcony. Note: not all of these rooms have balconies, so be sure to request a balcony. Without a balcony, the room simply lacks one of our favorite features. There is nothing like seeing the city lit up at night, while enjoying a beverage on the terrace.
The best room here is the Palace Suite, which is the hotel's version of a Presidential Suite. The room is roughly 2,200 square feet. It comes with one bedroom with double beds, but can also connect. There are a lot of powerful colors in this room, including a lot of black and gold throughout the bedroom. Note: This room is a traditional Japanese style room and it's typical for Japanese couples to sleep in separate beds. There is also a very large balcony, 60-inch televisions in both the bedroom and the living and a separate kitchen and dining area. Tip: The dining area can be used for private dinners, including wine and sake pairings.
Restaurants and Bars
All of the restaurants are open to locals, which is why it is very important for advisors to book reservations for VIPs at least two weeks in advance since there is a huge local contingent of businessmen who frequent the hotel's restaurants.
The Grand Kitchen is located on the first level and where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Nice Touch: There is a small garden area outside that seats roughly 25 guests while another outdoor terrace area can seat up to 40 guests. Tip: Both outdoor areas can be rented out for small groups. The Grand Kitchen serves a number of cuisines from pasta to pizza to paelle. We ordered the "Hirata Farm" Pork Loin with mash potatoes, mushrooms and sage.
The Palace Lounge is a great place to have a cocktail. It has a very living room type feel and feels very homey. The lounge also has a piano with live performances nighty. Afternoon tea is served here from 2 - 4p.m. with more than 45 different teas offered.
The Royal Bar, located on the first floor is a very sophisticated bar with an impressive piece of abstract art occupying an entire wall. Fun Fact: The piece of an abstract dragon is meant to be an ode to the year the hotel reopened.
Wadakura is the hotel's signature restaurant, serving such Japanese favorites as sushi and tempora. It seats up to 118 people but is so scattered that it doesn't feel so large. In fact, there is a separate Tempora bar, called Tatsumi, located within Wadakura. Nice Touch: The restaurant offers nine private rooms, serving anywhere from four to 10 people. Note: We were told these are usually the first rooms to be reserved so be sure to book this at least two weeks in advance as well. Also, located within Wasakura is a separately managed sushi bar as well as Go, an area dedicated to teppanyaki.
The Crown restaurant is the hotel's French dining option. This restaurant has a strong art deco feel with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an incredible view of the city.
Prive is another impressive lounge. It's very similar to the Palace Lounge except its a bit sexier, a bit more modern chic. Like the Palace Lounge, it also offers tea, but with a more French inspiration. The ambience of this lounge is designed to give VIPs a forest-like feel. Its basically a really chill, relaxed environment. Nice Touch: There is also a small outdoor lounge area with black leather seats and couches.
Amber Palace is the hotel's Chinese restaurant. There are a lot of amber hues throughout the restaurants, hence the name.
The hotel is home to the Evian Spa, which takes the name of the famous brand of bottled of water. In fact, Evian water is handed to VIPs along with a fresh towel as they workout in the fitness center, which is open 24 hours a day and offers city views from all of its treadmills. The spa is made up of just five treatment rooms and one spa suite. VIPs who pay for a treatment can use all of the spa's facilities. There is a modest fee to use the pool, however, if VIPs don't have a spa treatment. The fitness center is free for everyone. Note: Club Members, those staying on floors 18-23 and also in some select rooms on the 16th and 17th floors, have free access to the pool regardless of whether they have a spa treatment or not.
The hotel is home to a Western-style chapel, which can have up to 12 weddings a day. There is also a Japanese shrine for more traditional weddings, but we were told roughly 80-90 percent of the guests use the Western-style chapel.
Who to Book For
Roughy 60 percent of the VIPs here are business travelers while the remaining 40 percent are leisure travelers. There are roughly 15-20 percent Americans here. We would suggest the hotel for business travelers or couples and families looking for a hotel just 20 minutes away from the famous Ginza shopping district.
June 14, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance
Five Star Alliance's sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, recently wrote an article about the brand new spa at The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. Read more here:
The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans has wrapped up its plush $22 million renovation, revealing a fresh look and a new 4,500-square-foot spa, which has mother-of-pearl tiles and Swarovski crystals lining the ceiling.
Guests can plug in their iPods while enjoying a range of treatments, from facials and massage therapy to salon services, including hair, nails and waxing. The sauna and steam room, along with a brand-new outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and adjacent fitness center, are available for use before or after treatments.
Impressive Touch: The Spa's signature facials feature professional products combined with exclusive Oxygen therapy, LED light and microdermabrasion techniques. For a glowing finish, the "Rarefied Heir Oxygen Facial-O2" uses compressed oxygen to calm the skin and reduce redness. The "Reigning Light Facial-LED" provides an antiaging boost with ultimate deep pore cleansing, super strength exfoliation, thorough extractions, skin specific mask and full-face LED treatment. For guests seeking the total package, "The Royal Facial-Microdermabrasion+LED+O2" combines all three techniques to provide antiaging, cleansing and hydrating results.
For a continued glow, guests can purchase product lines from the spa boutique, including brands such as Phytomer, Cellx-C, Molton Brown, Clarisonic, Moroccanoil and Soulstice.
Hint: The recently debuted Cocktail Bar is a great spot for further relaxation—where guests can enjoy live jazz while sipping one of mixologist Christine Nielson's craft cocktails.
The entire Windsor Court Hotel has a new look, with updated décor and added amenities to all rooms and suites, as well as public spaces including Le Salon, The Grill Room and Polo Club Lounge.
View rates, details and more photos for The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans >>
June 7, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
The courtyard at the Greenwich Hotel is now open and exclusively available for use by guests of the hotel. It is quietly tucked away from the chaos of New York City and features stone benches, hanging lanterns, and beautiful brick walls. Come down to enjoy some fresh air while reading the paper and sipping a cup of coffee and take in the relaxing atmosphere. Greenwich Hotel is located at the corner of Greenwich St. and North Moore St. in the Tribeca neighborhood. It is a beautiful luxury hotel that has a traditional, unique feel offering 88 rooms of which no two are alike. Enjoy lunch in the Drawing Room with 12-foot ceilings, bookshelves, and a wood burning fire place, and then enjoy dinner on the courtyard beneath latticed vines. Consider the Greenwich Hotel for your next visit to New York City for a truly exceptional and unique hotel experience unlike any other!
June 6, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
We at Five Star Alliance know that our travelers are in search of luxurious accommodations at the best prices available, so we go above and beyond to find the best promotional packages and specials to ensure you get the most from your hotel experience. We’re thrilled to introduce our newest blog series where we’ll be featuring luxury hotels that offer you more than just room-only rates. Whether you’re traveling on business or pleasure, we certainly have something for you. Be sure to check in with us often to get the inside scoop on the best deals and packages available at luxury hotels all over the world!
Today’s feature is La Samanna in St. Martin, French West Indies. This stunning boutique resort is located along the exclusive Baie Longue in the Caribbean. La Samanna is consistently ranked among the region’s top 10 retreats, and it features 83 stunning oceanfront guest rooms perfect for a honeymoon, romantic getaway, or a family vacation. Facilities include the Caribbean’s most celebrated wine cellar, phenomenal dining options, an indoor/outdoor spa, and a stunning infinity pool. Still not sold? Then check out a few of the following deals which are certainly too good to pass up!
From May 1st – December 21st, this package allows guests to enjoy a luxurious suite at a discounted rate of 25% off the regular rate. This package includes luxurious accommodations in a 1 bedroom suite, daily buffet breakfast, and access to all of the facilities of La Samanna Resort including the state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis courts, business center, and unlimited use of all non-motorized water sports. Please note that a minimum of five nights stay is required, the offer is applicable to one bedroom suites only, rates are exclusive of tax, resort fee and gratuities, subject to availability, and cannot be combined with any other offers or packages.
This package is perfect for folks looking for an adventure and an opportunity to really get to know the island. This package includes a mid-size car rental for four days, one round-trip airport transfer, daily buffet breakfast, and access to all of the facilities of La Samanna Resort including the state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis courts, business center, and unlimited use of all non-motorized water sports. Please note that rates are exclusive of tax, resort fee and gratuities, subject to availability, and cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. The guest will be responsible for gas, tax, insurance and any damages (if any occur). La Samanna must make the car rental booking and provide clients credit card information for incidentals. Car rental rates for the additional days of stay will be given at prevailing rates, and there's a maximum four guests per vehicle.
Take your family on a once in a lifetime ultimately relaxing escape this summer. This package is available from May 1st – December 21st and it includes accommodations in a luxurious 2 bedroom suite which has a comfortable living room and a full kitchen. Also, enjoy daily buffet breakfast and access to all of the facilities of La Samanna Resort including the state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis courts, business center, and unlimited use of all non-motorized water sports. Please note that rates are exclusive of tax, resort fee and gratuities, subject to availability, and cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. This offer is applicable to two bedroom suites only.
June 4, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
Wine cellars are so last year, and cheese caves are becoming the new and hip necessity for luxury hotels. The Ritz Carlton Toronto has a glass-enclosed cheese cave inside its Toca restaurant, and it features over 200 delectable cheeses for guests to sample! A sampling of three or four cheeses is offered nightly at the dining tables, and the true cheese connoisseurs can take it up a notch by tasting their way through more than 50 varieties made available to guests. Savor a phenomenal goat cheese or a five-year aged cheddar that the chefs at Toca infuse with whiskey and maple syrup.
The Ritz-Carlton Toronto welcomes its guests to the heart of the financial district with a 23,000 square foot spa, exquisite dining options, amazing service, 267 guest rooms and suites, and of course, its cheese cave of wonder. Be sure to make a reservation at this hotel to experience its impeccable service, amenities, and its cheese!
June 1, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
The Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas is a private, Mediterranean-style, all-suite luxury hotel located in West Hollywood. It provides guests with luxurious accommodations and an opportunity to escape the craziness of LA and enjoy its five acres of lush gardens, ponds, waterfalls, brick paths, and tropical foliage. Accommodations range from 100 junior and 1 bedroom suites to 52 detached, private villas with private patios. Along with its bar, restaurant, spa, 2 pool areas, and private cabanas, the Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas also goes above and beyond for its young travelers. Upon arrival, kids receive a black or pink backpack with a nametag attached. Inside it there’s a ‘Kids Rock’ pink or black t-shirt, crayons, a Sunset Marquis passport for coloring, a Hollywood themed mad lib, and a scavenger hunt on the property. Whether you’re a rock star looking for an escape or a family looking for an adventurous vacation, the Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas certainly has something to offer you!
May 31, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
The Shangri-La Hotel Singapore is set in the lush tropical gardens near the renowned Orchard Road business and shopping district of Singapore, and its newly renovated garden wing is perfect for leisure and business travelers looking for a peaceful retreat. Each room features a large balcony and an interior design inspired by nature. Take advantage of the 15 acres of gardens at this consistently top ranked luxury hotel while staying in luxurious accommodations located in one of three distinctive wings. A few of the superb amenities available to guests at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore include 2 ballrooms, 23 smaller function rooms perfect for meetings, 3 fine dining restaurants on site, an exotic free-form pool, a children’s pool, and a luxurious spa offering post-flight therapy and other treatments. Whatever your travel purpose, consider staying at this idyllic luxury hotel for a truly relaxing and unforgettable experience.
May 24, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
Swimming, fishing, hiking, sun bathing, and kayaking are just a few of the various activities to partake in during the incoming summer months. We’ve combine luxury hotels with exciting activities to give you the ultimate summer luxury travel guide perfect for folks looking for an adventure, a weekend away, or just an opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful weather! Check in with us often for a few ideas on where the summer should take you!
Memorial Day Weekend starts tomorrow, and with that comes the opening and beginning of pool season! Certain luxury hotels have absolutely stunning pools perfect for catching some rays and relaxation, and a few of our favorites include the Setai in Miami Beach, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. The Setai is an intimate oceanfront resort in the heart of South Beach, Florida, and it has not 1, not 2, but 3 beautiful pools each set at a different temperature to accommodate the wide range of guests’ needs. The Bellagio in Las Vegas has 5 beautiful pools with massages available along the poolside, a pool bar, and beautiful statues and flowers surrounding the area. The Marina Bay Sands Singapore infinity pool is located in the Sands SkyPark, and it offers simply stunning views of the city that’s absolutely unparalleled. Be sure to check out these incredible pool options for a phenomenal and relaxing holiday!
Image of the Setai
May 22, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore.
If there is such a thing as an icon for boutique hotels, a type that prides itself on diversity and individuality, the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa could be regarded as it. It may tend towards a little bit larger and a little bit more standard in its service and amenities than some of the more outlandish design hotels, but in its solidity lies its strength. Sedona Rouge does everything that a boutique hotel should, and it does it very well. The specialty of the hotel is, of course, its spa, which is a destination in and of itself. Customizable treatment and ample facilities mean you can always find what you're looking for, and a few things that you weren't. Enjoy the outdoor seating at Reds Restaurant in their cozy bamboo garden, and when you're done, you can soak in their heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. Sedona Rouge brings the Mediterranean to the Southwest, transplanting the European hotel spa culture to the breathtaking landscape of Arizona's mountainous desert regions.
May 22, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
A big congratulations goes out to the Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia for receiving the ‘Most Popular Overseas Hotel’ in the 7th annual China Tourism 2012 Gold List Awards. This luxury hotel is situated on an elevated plateau that meets with limestone cliffs that sweep down to the ocean. It is the perfect place to re-discover the joy of pure relaxation in a spacious and comfortable environment with a personal butler to assist you with whatever it is you may need. Indulge all of your senses in the traditional fine dining restaurants, the clifftop pool and bar, or in the spa. Frederic Simon, CEO of Alila Hotels and Resorts says, "we are honoured to be recognized for our distinction in the hospitality industry for the first designed & built EarthCheck certified luxury resort in Bali. It is the ultimate achievement to be awarded such an accolade, especially as it is voted by our guests and travel partners." We certainly agree and feel that the Alila Villas Uluwatu deserves to be added to every luxury traveler’s bucket list!