May 2, 2008
By: Guest Writer
From Victoria Winters
This past April I attended my girlfriend's bachelorette party in Miami, and naturally we stayed in South Beach. I had been to South Beach once before (for a the World Adult Kickball Competition I was in ... I kid you not), but was looking forward to a more upscale and relaxing vacation this time around with just the girls. We booked 2 rooms (414 and 416 at around $500 total per room) at The Sagamore Hotel for 8 women, each room was equipped with two double beds and a pull out couch. We arrived on a Thursday and stayed through Sunday.
Known as "The Art Hotel" I have to begin with the hilarious art work in the lobby. My friend and I probably spent the first 30 minutes at The Sagamore looking at photos upon photos of naked people. Don't get me wrong this is tastefully done, but you would be amazed by how many people stripped down to their birthday suits for these photos….good way to avoid tan lines, I guess! Throughout the hotel (hallways, bathrooms, elevators…etc) you will constantly be engaging in new art mediums which makes for a really cool and interesting stay to say the least.
Besides staring at nudes... I also managed to experience the hotel restaurant, Social; lounge by the pool (and eat and drink poolside); go for a run at the gym; and take in some rays at the beach. The following is a list of pros and cons from my experience with the girls:
- Excellent location (close to Lincoln Ave and all the hot night spots)
Nice size suites (heard they are larger than the Delano)
Excellent beds and comfortable bedding
Pull out couch in each room
Large L-shaped couches in rooms great for large groups and entertaining
ipod docking station in each room with great speakers
Separate toilet from bathroom
Refrigerator with a good size freezer
Excellent kitchen space for entertaining
Excellent service all around
Relaxing pool environment, not a pool “scene”
Poolside bar & grill serves great drinks and food
Private/designated beach area for guests
Beach chairs (2 per room, additional chairs $15) and umbrella (1 per room)
Interesting artwork throughout the hotel
- Darks halls
Single and shallow pool
Odd layout of furniture in the rooms
Weak hairdryers, if traveling with 2 or more women bring an extra
Bad lighting in the bedroom near the mirrors which made getting ready with a group difficult
Small gym with little equipment
Good number of children at the pool (although if traveling with children this might be a pro)
Social – restaurant is very cool but over priced for the food they serve
Would I go back to the Sagamore Hotel with the girls? Definitely! We loved that it wasn't "the place to be seen" which was exactly what you want the morning after a bachelorette party.
By: Guest Writer
May 1, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
The Fullerton Hotel is offering 50 percent off selected suites for a two night stay in their spectacular hotel. Guests can choose from one of the two-story Loft Suites, Palladian Suite, or the deluxe Fullerton Suites with outdoor terrace. Guests taking advantage of this great offer may also enjoy breakfast for two at the Town Restaurant, an in-room light meal, and all the benefits of the top of the line Straits Club. The exclusive executive club offers guests daily champagne breakfast, cocktails, afternoon tea and full use of the lounge with Internet access.
Plus, guests at The Fullerton making reservations with Five Star Alliance will receive a platter of fresh fruit.
By: Madelyn Giblin
April 29, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
The next time you visit Victoria, BC, perhaps to the grand Fairmont Empress right above the Inner Harbor, you may want to compliment your city stay with a visit to The Aerie Resort and Spa. Named Best Hotel in the Continental US and Canada by Travel and Leisure Magazine as well as voted the Best North American Resort by the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, it is truly a word class escape. The Aerie is set 1500 feet above the Pacific Ocean allowing for views of Victoria, as well as the San Juan Islands and Washington State. Guests can enjoy days filled touring local organic farms and wineries, whale watching, hiking, sailing, or mountain biking. Of course, some may choose to luxuriate in the spa with one of The Aerie's signature body or facial treatments. No one, however, should miss out on the gourmet cuisine that their executive chef creates out of fresh local ingredients. Room rates start at 175 CAD in the winter months and 285 CAD during the summer.
April 29, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
Directly overlooking the Grand Canal, with an incomparable view of Venice, the Palace of the Doge Gritti is one of the most celebrated hotels in the world. The Hotel Gritti Palace continues to attract elite guests, with luxuriously appointed rooms, attentive service, and the savoury cuisine of the Restaurant Club del Doge. The attentive service is embodied by the hotel concierge staff - who answered our questions below.
What activity do you recommend the most often?
A walking tour of the city with private guide; A tour of the lagoon Islands by water taxi; visiting all the most important museums; countryside excursions by private limousine, and visits to the Palladian villas.
Which restaurant do you recommend the most often and why? Who is it best for?
The Hotel Gritti Palace restaurant "Club del Doge" mainly for fish and Venetian dishes but also for deliciuos pasta; Osteria "Santa Marina" (Venetian, fish); "Met" (creative Venetian), or "Da Ivo" for a change ( tuscan food meat & fish).
What are the scariest requests you've gotten from guests?
On 9-11, the high number of requests from Guests to go back home and the impossibility to solve all the Airline tickets due to congestion.
What is the funniest request you've gotten from a guest?
A big knife from the kitchen to open a bottle of Champagne.
What is the strangest request you've gotten from a guest?
Request of parachute for a launch ...
Do you have any regular celebrity/famous guests?
We would upset many if we mention even a few of them.
What types of things have you been unable to do for guests?
Hard to remember... but only the illegal ones!!
What is your personal favorite part of the hotel?
The Terrace on the Grand Canal.
What are the things that you wish guests knew about the Concierge?
The Concierge is the best informed person in town, always aware of all events that are taking place in Venice; a miracle maker.
Because you are in a major international tourism destination, what kinds of language problems come up?
English and French are known by everybody. The upcoming market of China is raising interest in the oriental languages which until now have been quite unknown
How big is the Concierge staff at the hotel?
Twelve persons in total.
Are there any specialty concierges or all generalists for everyone?
Each one has to be able to fulfill the same specialist requests and general duties.
What is the average number of requests a day?
Depending on the season, on average 1 request per minute.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
To serve the most important people of the World.
April 28, 2008
By: Lucy LeTourneau
The legendary Le Meurice is a luxury hotel in the heart of Paris with a prestigious location between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre on the fashionable rue de Rivoli. Le Meurice has played host to international royalty, fashion designers and countless public figures, through the centuries. It's classic French style , but with modern flourishes recently unveiled in the reception area by designer Phillipe Starck. The hotel has your family in mind with a large number of connecting rooms upon request. Take advantage of the Le Meurice Family Package by booking two Superior or Deluxe rooms now through December 31, 2008 and receive:
* Accommodations and daily American breakfast
* Upgrade to a two Bedroom Suite upon availability (only available if Deluxe double rooms booked)
* Petits fours in the parents' room and Sweets in the children's room
* Meurice children bathrobe and slippers and a Kid's kit: Pistache "stuffed animal", cartoon DVD for use in room, puzzle, coloured pencil
* Free access to sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and fitness center for the parents
In addition to this package, Le Meurice has created a Passport given to the Children at their arrival taking their family on a (re)discovery of Paris' little-known delights. Their very own passport maps out a trail of city's most magical sights. There are also bicycles available for rent for the inviting paths in the Tuileries Gardens nearby.
No kids? Hotel Le Meurice is also pet-friendly... Plus, Book with Five Star Alliance and receive a complimentary bottle of champagne with any reservation.
By: Lucy LeTourneau
April 22, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
April is a "Suite" month at the Sunset Tower Hotel. The hotel has a special promotion for reservations in the month of April made through Five Star Alliance: all room reservations upgraded to a suite. The usual policy is an upgrade upon availability at check-in, but for the month of April any reservation booked through Five Star Alliance will be automatically upgraded to a suite at check-in. This is a guaranteed upgrade at check-in and all reservations in April will be honored with this special promotion. There are only 74 rooms and suites, so make sure you reserve now and stay in April 2008 to be guaranteed a Suite at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles, CA..
April 15, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
Experience elegance at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. with their Glamorous Girlfriend Getaway package. Enjoy a stay in one of the Willard's fabulous suites for you and up to three of your best girlfriends. The suite comes with complimentary delicious tea sandwiches and cocktails upon your arrival, and guests are also treated to an in-suite thirty minute aromatherapy massage, finished off with a dusting of 24-karat gold powder. The package includes a visit from a representative of Washington's The Tiny Jewel Box with a selection of real jewelry for you and your friends for your exciting night out. Guests also enjoy a nighttime limousine tour of the monuments and picnic dinner basket along with champagne. And finally, join the A-list at Washington's hottest night spot The Park at Fourteenth, with limousine drop off and pick up and VIP entrance into the club. Rates start at $1,244 for a two person suite.
By: Madelyn Giblin
April 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Situated between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, Hotel de Russie is a stylish retreat in the very heart of Rome. Celebs flock to de Russie for its picturesque terraced gardens-- a true rarity in a bustling city-- and fine health club with hydropool, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and Turkish steam bath. Don't miss the martinis served with caviar at the elegant Stravinskij Bar. For a truly unforgettable stay, book the Nijinsky Suite, the most exclusive Presidential Suite in the Eternal City. Sprawling over the sixth and top floor of the hotel, the Suite boasts a large terrace overlooking the butterfly garden and the rooftops of Rome. Lounge in the comfortable sitting area, surrounded by flowers. Too much sun? Adjust the electric movable canopy. Inside the Suite, you'll find a king bedroom, spacious dressing room, marble and mosaic bathroom with tub and separate shower, steam bath, living area with plasma TV, kitchen, and dining room with separate bar area.
Until April 30, 2008, take advantage of the "Living La Dolce Vita" offer-- a 2-night stay in the unparalleled Nijinsky Suite which also includes the following:
• Daily Buffet Breakfast
• Oysters and Louis Roederer Champagne in room upon arrival
• Transfer from and to the Airport by private sedan
• Early morning private tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums
• 2 hour ride around the glamorous shopping district of Rome with the De Russie Mobile (electric car)
• Romantic Dinner for two at Le Jardin de Russie Restaurant (beverage not included)
• 50 minute "Colour Massage" for two in the exclusive "Double Room" of the De Russie Wellness Zone
Priced at EUR 6,900.
April 7, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
During my recent stay in New York, the Gramercy Park Hotel on 21st Street and Lexington Avenue, right on Gramercy Park was one of the properties that I got the chance to experience. I stayed on the 12th floor in room 1201, which is a Deluxe Loft with a view of the inner courtyard. The colors and design were in keeping with the hotel's claim of featuring a "vivid Renaissance color palette inspired by Raphael". The room featured a large bathroom, seating area, and King size, overstuffed bed. During my stay I ....
- - ate appetizers and had drinks at Wakiya Gramercy Park Hotel - and thanks to the recommendation of the bartender - the soup dumplings on the Dim Sum menu were absolutely wonderful,
- had reservations for a girlfriend and I at the Rose Bar (I got in!) on a Saturday night where we sat next to the fire and drank martinis,
- enjoyed a continental breakfast on the Private Roof Club and Garden (where J.Lo had her baby shower the previous evening)
- and exercised in the Aerospace Fitness Centre.
Rates for the Deluxe Loft are usually around $725 (I received a 50% discount). I of course took photos during my stay - and you can see them all HERE or a few individual ones below ...
The Roof Club and Garden on the 16th floor uses "artist Julian Schnabel's vivid color palette of dazzling Renaissance colors" where "custom furniture and fittings weave through the space in a breathtaking series of seamless indoor and outdoor areas." The space also features a room which "includes a ceiling light installation that evokes the notion of a chandelier in the movie Blade Runner."
I especially enjoyed the Garden portion of the Rooftop space, with a retractable roof 16 stories above the city. For the continental breakfast, hotel guests were seated in sofas and chairs around coffee tables, and the food spread included fruits, pastries, cereals, yogurts, and breads. The waiters made sure to clear the tables and refilled orange juice and coffee.
View more photos or plan your visit to the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City >>
April 3, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
I recently traveled to New York City on business, and of course in my line of work, I stayed in three hotels over the course of five nights. One of those properties was The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, located on Madison Avenue at 76th Street. The hotel strives for a "private residential atmosphere" and they more than succeed. The dedication to creating that feeling is demonstrated by the Managing Director choosing to live on the property with his family.
I was spoiled like a princess at The Carlyle in the hotel's "Royal Suite" - room 2209. The Royal Suite is located on the 22nd floor along with three other suites and is a short ride with the white-gloved elevator operator from the lobby. The Carlyle's Royal Suite floor-plan (click on the image at right) doesn't do justice to how spacious the Royal Suite actually feels. After stepping inside, I thought I had entered into someone's Park Avenue apartment with gorgeous hardwood floors, area rugs, and fabric wall coverings.
According to The Carlyle -
- With just 187 rooms and suites distributed among the hotel's 60 residential apartments, The Carlyle offers the exclusive ambience of an Upper East Side pied-a-terre. The Royal Suite is an elaborate two-bedroom suite offers 1,700 square feet of living space and features both a king-bedded and twin-bedded bedroom. There is a full kitchen, dining room for six, two marble bathrooms, a double-high ceiling in the raised living room, grand piano and mantle fireplace. This suite is located on the 22nd floor and features views sweeping skyline and East River views. Tastefully appointed and individually decorated by Alexandra Champalimaud, the Royal Suite features original hardwood floors, area rugs, luxurious fabrics and linens, and unique artwork adorning its walls.
The hotel's description fails to mention that from the kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom you can see views of New York's Central Park - and that these impressive views are from windows which open all the way ... without screens or safety nets. I loved it, but I can imagine it would be terrifying for others.
After wandering through the suite for a half hour, I called friends of mine who live in New York and invited them to share the second bedroom of the suite. I thought they might enjoy the extra space! The suite easily fits four adults or two adults and two children. The sofas are not pull-out for sleeping, but I can admit that I did take a small nap in one accidentally.
I honestly have nothing but wonderful things to say about The Carlyle's Royal Suite and amenities. The suite has a very regal feel with rich colors, black marble and deep woods – but the large open windows, mirrored walls, and high ceilings keep it from being oppressive. The standard published rack rate for the Royal Suite is $6000 USD per night for 2 adults (I personally did not pay that much!). The most standard, basic rooms at The Carlyle start at $755 USD per night for two adults. Just for comparison sake, the hotel's most spectacular suite is the 2600 square foot duplex on floors 28 and 29 which features three bedrooms, full park views in the tower and is $15000 USD per night.
My picture of the living room area from the top of the stairs - looking towards the fireplace to the right, piano straight ahead, desk and television to the left. (I wish I had a better camera or lighting for this one).
The main bedroom with king bed, door to the right, standing in the bathroom doorway. There was an iPod docking station, multiple closets, television, great views, and of course slippers and robes for two.
The 2 stock photos provided by the hotel ...
Don't forget - Guests who make their reservations through Five Star Alliance for The Carlyle will receive a special welcome gift upon check-in, a $50.00 food and beverage credit as well as a complimentary in-room continental breakfast daily for up to two guests.
Learn More about The Carlyle Hotel in New York City >>