LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The first ski chalet from Virgin Limited Edition will be-- to quote the official lit-- "the most luxurious of its size in the Alps available to rent." Sir Richard Branson has a knack for choosing the most dramatic settings on earth for his hideaways: the Caribbean's Necker Island, the soaring foothills of Morocco's Atlas Mountains, and now, the iconic Swiss ski resort of Verbier, celebrated as much for its world-class terrain as for its legendary après-ski. This mountain retreat opens its doors for the first time in January 2008 and will be open year-round. Just minutes from the ski lifts, The Lodge, Verbier features nine rooms and suites (plus a kids bunk room that sleeps up to 6), private pool, mini ice rink, and indoor and outdoor spa areas. The ultimate alpine escape doesn't come cheap. Rates for exclusive use in winter range from GBP 35,250-59,000 per week for up to 18 guests. Rates in summer start from GBP 555 per person for a three night stay. You also get most meals, all drinks (Champagne too), and 24-hour driver service from Verbier.
The holidays are fast approaching: the perfect excuse for a family getaway! Jumby Bay has put together the ultimate holiday package of scrumptious eats, ultra-luxurious accommodations, and family-friendly festivities for a most memorable Thanksgiving. Recently honored as the Best Caribbean Resort by the readers of Travel + Leisure, Jumby Bay is set on a 300-acre island paradise off the coast of Antigua in the West Indies. The resort's lavish facilities-- 40 suites and 12 villas, private pools, complimentary Caloi bicycles for every guest, tennis courts, and recreational facilities galore-- are accessible only by boat. The "Island of Thanks" getaway means five days of fun: pumpkin carving for the kids, rum tasting for the parents, holiday cookie decorating, family bingo, and a phenomenal Thanksgiving feast prepared by new Executive Chef, Erik Gremmer. Rates start at $875 per night.
It's not often that you see discounts at an AAA Five Diamond resort, where both the spa and championship golf courses are considered among the best in North America. Starting November 1, 2007, you'll find a special seasonal value offered by the Southwest's premier resort, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. With their "Only One Way Winter Rates," you can treat your family and friends to a winter getaway that feels more like summer-- with the warm sunny days and refreshingly cool nights of the Sonoran Desert. Just leave your coats at home. Rates start at just $379 per night, plus you can earn double airline miles with Fairmont's participating airline partners. Valid until April 15, 2008.
The celebrity chef is moving in on the French, opening a signature restaurant at the opulent Trianon Palace & Spa in Versailles. Set to open in the spring, the restaurant will be bringing British ingredients (!!!) to the capital of haute cuisine. The ambitious chef just opened his fancy Dublin establishment at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, and has had his eye on Paris for quite some time. He's creating a global brand and the goal is to achieve three Michelin stars in NY, London, and Paris-- simultaneously. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Ramsay explained his "culinary patriotism:"
I've had a bellyful of the French coming over and telling us how s*** our food is. We should f****** shout from the rooftops, with our hand-dived scallops from the west coast of Scotland, and our venison from Balmoral, our wonderful Aberdeen Angus steak, and our f****** mussels and oysters from beds in South Ireland. Why not?
Leave it to Claridge's to think up a fabulous Halloween-themed offer. One of the trio of super-luxury London properties managed by the Maybourne Hotel Group, Claridge's is a glamorous art deco jewel situated within easy reach of Hyde Park, Park Lane, Bond Street and Oxford Street. For All Hallows Eve, luxuriate in hauntingly beautiful overnight accommodations (a Mayfair Suite), then linger over a full English breakfast for two, while your kids enjoy a Halloween sleepover at nearby Hamleys toy store. Available for up to 2 children (aged 6-12 years), the sleepover includes themed costumes, photographs, games, scrumptious party food, an overnight stay in the store's Tented Village with bedtime milk and cookies, and breakfast the following morning. Available the evening of October 27, 2007 only.
Visitors to the sexy Tides Riviera Maya, perched on the white sands of the Yucatan Peninsula, will be delighted by the new Tequila 101 Tastings at the Tequila Bar. This ain't Jose Cuervo. You'll taste at least three high-end tequilas including blancos, añejos and reposados, accompanied by different Sangritas, the elixir that serves to extinguish tequila's fire and complements the various tequila flavors. The charming Tequila Maestro, Eduardo Gonzalez, explains the origins of blue agave-- how it is grown and how it is processed into Mexico's world-famous spirit. Plus, he'll give you the skinny on the proper way to drink tequila. Priced at $50 per person, per tasting.
Bath butlers, in-room massages, and pillow menus... Piqued your interest? The Conrad Chicago, the contemporary urban oasis housed in the historic McGraw-Hill building on the Magnificent Mile, offers the perfect getaway for a weekend of indulgence. The SPA break includes a complimentary room upgrade, breakfast at The Restaurant at Conrad, and a relaxing hour-long Swedish or deep tissue massage for each guest that you can enjoy in the privacy of your room. Of course The Conrad also offers a host of complimentary amenities including the hotel's unique pillow menu, daily newspaper menu, WIFI and the well appointed fitness center with spectacular views of the city skyline from the 11th floor. Guest rooms at The Conrad are downright decadent: 42 inch flat screen HD plasma televisions, Pratesi linens, towels, bath robes, and premiere luxury amenities by Molton Brown abound. Enhance your stay with the bath butler service, and you may never want to leave the comfort of your room. The rate for the SPA break is $375 per room, per night and is available until December 31, 2007.
The Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver's most stylish address, was voted B.C.'s best hotel at the 2007 World Travel Awards in New York City. No surprise there. After all, this CNT Gold List favorite has the best five-star digs in the city. For 18 consecutive years, the Sutton Place Hotel has maintained the AAA Five Diamond certification-- no small feat. The hotel doesn't rest on its laurels, but constantly seeks to improve with multi-million dollar renovations, environmentally friendly policies, world-class amenities, and flawless service. Here you'll find European elegance in the spectacular setting of downtown Vancouver. The dedicated staff strive to make each guest stay a pampered, personalized experience-- and it shows.
Now's the time to head to Colorado and discover the charms of Vail's award-winning alpine resort, Sonnenalp. For a limited time, you can score rates as low as $195 per night which also includes a coupon for your choice of golf, a spa treatment, a Sonnenalp Guided Adventure, or dinner in one of the resort's fine restaurants. This Adventure Package is only available until November 20, 2007. For four generations, this all-suites hotel has epitomized the friendliness and hospitality of its Bavarian namesake. The pristine slopes of Vail are only steps away in the heart of Vail Village.
The annual CNT Reader's Travel Awards have been released, so now we can ogle these gorgeous properties to our hearts' content. Perusing the list, you may wonder: Just why did the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah get top honors, scoring the number one position on the chart? Conde Nast Traveller readers voted this the top hotel in the world, with a score of 96.45 percent out of 100 (the magazine's index of satisfaction). So what makes this spot so special?
Blissful spa? Check. A truly dreamy tropical setting? Check. Decadent cuisine? Check. Sleek over-water villas from where you can go for a dip in the crystal clear sea? But of course. But more than the standard fare at luxury hotels, the One&Only Maldives offers a level of privacy and exclusivity which is truly unprecedented. In other words, this resort is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.
You've seen the ads. Impossibly good-looking couple disembarks from a private plane, while the grinning One&Only staff greet them, gracefully balancing designer luggage and trays of chilled cocktails. Enough said.