January 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Savor an enchanting Valentine's Day package at some of the world's most romantic hotels and resorts. From the French Riviera to the East Coast of North America, Relais and Chateaux properties are luxurious hideaways that provide the best kind of pampering for you and a loved one. Packages include luxury accommodations and some delicious treats... like Champagne on ice in your guestroom, a romantic dinner for two, chocolate-dipped strawberries, pampering spa treatments, and more. At the Chateau de Noirieux in the Loire Valley, for example, enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day package that is also a gourmand's fantasy. The sumptuous hotel, truly fit for a king, features lavish accommodations and a superb restaurant in a grand architectural setting dating from the 12th century. The Valentine's Day package includes accommodations for two, continental breakfast, lunch or dinner with a special Valentine's menu, and a half bottle of Champagne in-room upon arrival. Priced at EUR 370, available from February 9-14, 2007. And North Carolina's elegant country inn, The Fearrington House, is offering a one-night Romance Package which includes overnight accommodations, traditional English Afternoon Tea, full breakfast, a bottle of chilled champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, gourmet dinner for two, a red rose at turndown, and luxurious robes and slippers. Starting at $560, available from February 14- 28, 2007. The full list of participating Relais and Chateaux properties can be found here.
Come April 1, 2007, The Greenbrier will debut a sassy new makeover. For over two centuries this distinguished resort-- a National Historic Landmark-- has charmed discerning travelers with its stately architecture, scenic beauty, abundant recreational activities (50! including a world-class spa and golf), and impeccable service. But this symbol of ultra-luxury lost its Mobil five star rating in 2000 after 38 consecutive years ranked as one of the top resorts in North America. With this exciting $50 million renovation, The Greenbrier seeks to regain its superstar status. For the first time since World War II, The Greenbrier is closing from January 3 until April 1, 2007 to complete the makeover, which includes new restaurants and nightlife, and luscious, new beds and linens and flat-screen TVs for all 721 guest rooms. Hemisphere will debut in the former Old White Lounge area, featuring exciting global cuisine from Chef Michael Voltaggio. 38°80 will be The Greenbrier's new entertainment venue in what was formerly The Tavern Room, with handcrafted flights and world lounge music that will evolve as the evening progresses-- a sultry, sexy ambience. In addition, the full renovation of 63 guest rooms will add new marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers and executive-style desks. Be the first to discover the new Greenbrier in Spring 2007; reservations are now being accepted.
What could possibly be more luxurious than the Ritz-Carlton Spas? A ritzy spa experience with Prada Beauty skin care products. Select Ritz-Carlton Spas have partnered with Prada to bring lucky guests the ultimate in blissful pampering and relaxation. There are four indulgent beauty treatments available: the Prada Exfoliant Visage (a gentle peel that eliminates dull surface cells while re-texturing and re-vitalizing skin), the Prada Radiance Visage (Prada's highly advanced Lightening Concentrate/Face contains a freshly mixed Ascorbic Acid that works to lighten dark spots and correct irregular pigmentation, thus restoring luminosity), the Prada Reviving Visage (an intensive, non-surgical treatment that dramatically lifts and firms facial contours, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and restores natural beauty to mature skin), and the Prada Replenishing Body Facial (a soothing re-mineralizing treatment that uses a combination of specialized massage techniques and Prada's signature scent).
Participating Ritz-Carlton Spas include Georgetown, Huntington, Laguna Niguel, Naples, Reynolds Plantation, Half Moon Bay, Key Biscayne, Lake Las Vegas, Orlando Grande Lakes, Sarasota, and South Beach-- the award-winning La Maison de Beauté Carita, the only location of this signature spa outside of Paris. All Prada Beauty treatments include eight single-use Prada beauty products to continue the luxury at home. Talk about indulgence.
It's here. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston's first new art museum in nearly a century, opened on December 11, 2006 on Fan Pier. The architectural centerpiece of Boston's waterfront, this vibrant cultural institution integrates the city's HarborWalk into the museum's design and showcases harbor views throughout the interior. In honor of the new museum, Langham Hotel is offering a special getaway package. Situated less than a mile from the museum, the Langham boasts its own collection of art, including two restored murals by N.C. Wyeth, paintings by artist Kenneth Maryanski, and a collection of antique cartographic materials and maps of New England and Atlantic Canada. Once the Federal Reserve Bank, the Langham Hotel is an elegant national landmark, a fusion of historic charm and urban sophistication. The luxurious guest rooms overlook the gardens of Post Office Square and the Boston city skyline. The AAA four-diamond hotel is home to the award-winning brasserie-style restaurant, Cafe Fleuri, where delicious Mediterranean cuisine is served under a lofty glass atrium ceiling. The Langham's ICA Package includes overnight accommodations, two tickets to the Institute of Contemporary Art, continental or buffet breakfast for two in the sky-lit Cafe Fleuri, use of Langham Hotel's Health Club and indoor pool, and a welcome gift from the Institute of Contemporary Art. Priced from $215 per room per night. Valid through March 30, 2007.
Hot off the press. You can now own a piece of the Telluride icon, the Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa. The resort's about to undergo a $60 million transformation into a condominium-hotel with exclusive Colorado homes and vacation condos available to a privileged few. 174 guest rooms will be converted into studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, available for individual ownership, priced from $500,000 each. Ideally located in the center of Mountain Village with ski-in/ski-out access, The Peaks embraces the spectacular mountain landscape that surrounds it. Condo owners will receive all the benefits of the five star resort: the impeccable personalized service, privileges at the Telluride Ski and Golf Company championship golf course, ski-in/ski-out access, Ski Valet to heat and tune boots and assist with equipment storage, four restaurants and 24-hour in-room dining, daily housekeeping, garment care, tennis, VIP Concierge to coordinate travel, arrange dining reservations and provide detailed information on the area's vast array of activities, and access to the Golden Door Spa, now available exclusively to members, residents, and guests. The best of both worlds.
January 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
January 1 means new diets, dreams and well-intentioned goals aplenty. Leave it to Omni Hotels to help their guests uphold their New Years resolutions, with a slew of new services for the new year. Aiming to drop those extra lbs packed on during the holiday season? Omni's gotten in gear to help guests with their physical health with state of the art fitness facilities, running maps (and complimentary iced bottled water and towels offered for a cool-down), Get Fit Kits (two-pound dumbbells, a floor mat, stretch cords, and a mini radio headset for the ultimate in-room work-out) and Get Fit Guest Rooms, which come with their own treadmills, Get Fit Kits, and mini bars stocked with healthy snacks and drinks. Not only that. Omni's chefs are busy crafting menus that will be trans fat-free by the end of the first quarter. (Special dietary concerns? Just ask the chef. Omni's chefs are willing to accommodate any special dietary need.) And Omni hasn't forgotten about their guests' mental health. The music and scents in the hotel lobbies are designed to ensure a positive frame of mind, and Omni's signature in-room Sensation Bars include items such as CDs, pillow sprays, mini zen gardens, and eucalyptus bath salts to sooth the mind and body.
Say hello to the newest and most innovative luxury hotel in the nation's capital. Following a $24 million renovation, Park Hyatt Washington opened its doors in Summer 2006 to much fanfare and celebration. This exclusive hotel is located just a few blocks from Georgetown and minutes from Embassy Row, National Monuments, and the Smithsonian. Renowned designer Tony Chi was the mastermind behind the makeover, which showcases a Tea Cellar (offering rare and vintage selections), spa-inspired bathrooms (gray limestone rain showers and deep soaking tubs), and a signature fragrance designed for the hotel by artisan perfumer Blaise Mautin. Dynamic and modern, the hotel's design pays homage to the city itself: the hotel entrance celebrates DC's famous cherry blossoms with impressive glass sculptures. The 215 guest rooms are contemporary and stylish; the Park Deluxe rooms are the largest in the city. And each room also highlights Classic American Heritage, with antique gameboards, a selection of books about American history and crafts, Windsor style chairs, and Modern American artwork. The hotel's new restaurant, the Blue Duck Tavern, features an open kitchen with a wood burning oven, welcoming patrons with a warm, friendly ambience. The menu focuses on simple and traditional cooking methods with the freshest ingredients: slow-roasting in wood embers, braising, preserving and smoking techniques brings the true flavors of America's great and simple foods to the table.
This winter, experience the city at its most pleasant, when it's blissfully empty of tourist crowds, and as described by the New York Times, "when the locals come out to play." With the Comfort and Joy Winter Package at the Park Hyatt, take pleasure in the warmth of a cozy night: savor a rare tea from the Tea Cellar, soak in a steaming tub, relax in your lavishly appointed guest room, and if you must go out in the cold, the heated seats of a brand new custom designed Audi A8 L can transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination. The package includes a complimentary upgrade to Park Deluxe room, a pot of tea from Park Hyatt Washington's unique Tea Cellar, your choice of Valet Parking for the length of stay OR full American breakfast for two each morning, welcome amenity for children, or complimentary custom designed Audi A8 L to transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination within Washington. Available until February 28, 2007.
Since its gala opening in 1912, the Fairmont Copley Plaza has symbolized Boston's elegance, culture, and history. Steps away from Beacon Hill, Copley Place, and Newbury Street shopping, the Fairmont Copley Plaza boasts superlative service-- even providing the services of resident Canine Ambassador, Catie Copley, an adorable three year old black lab whom guests can walk or run (this doggie's even got her own email address!) The hotel is also the home to one of the hottest tables in Boston, the Oak Room. Fairmont Copley Plaza has put together a fun and fabulous Fashionista Package to celebrate the new exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts: "Fashion Show: Paris Collections 2006." The exhibit features runway garments from the spring collections of ten influential designers (including Valentino, Larcroix, Dior and Chanel) and explores the ideas and inspirations motivating Paris fashion today. The Fashionista Package includes accommodations in a newly renovated guest room and two tickets to the special exhibit at the MFA. Available until March 18, 2007, priced at $269 per night. Choose the "Ultimate Fashion Weekend" package and get a consultation with the hotel's shopping concierge, a private appointment with the hotel's Designer-in-Residence, Denice Hajjar, and a $500 clothing certificate at her boutique of couture and ready-to-wear fashion, while staying in the Museum of Fine Arts Suite. Starting from $1,089 per night.
December 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
These days (and it's about time), it's become trendy for hotels to go green. But Fairmont's been at it since 1990. With its award-winning Green Partnership program, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have led the pack in their dedication to protecting the environment and minimizing the impact of hotel operations. Each of Fairmont's luxury hotels focuses on waste management, water and energy conservation, habitat protection, and community outreach. Fairmont is all about developing sustainable practices for the hospitality industry.
In 2005 Fairmont introduced Eco-Innovations, hotel-based environmental initiatives that encourage partnerships, learning, and guest experiences while addressing a universal environmental issue in a way that hits close to home. For example, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu-- located within a World Biosphere Reserve-- has created the Adopt-A-Beluga Program, to help the threatened St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population.
Recently, Fairmont created a partnership with the World Heritage Alliance, a joint initiative of the United Nations Foundation and Expedia, to promote conservation, sustainable tourism, and economic development for communities located in and around World Heritage sites. This is really good news for threatened sites like Cambodia's Angkor Wat temples. Leading the new partnership will be the Fairmont Mayakoba, a luxurious, eco-friendly resort located on Mexico's Mayan Riviera, which will work with an award-winning local tourism network from the nearby Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. This reserve comprises 1.3 million acres of tropical ecosystems and is home to 23 different archaeological sites of pre-Columbian Mayan culture. Guests of Fairmont Mayakoba will experience this marvelous World Heritage Site with tours that guarantee minimal environmental impact. Sustainable tourism is the way to ensure that sites are protected for the enjoyment of all travelers now and in the future.
December 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Adrian Zecha's elegant beachfront masterpiece is certainly a South Beach hot spot, beloved by celebs. The Setai is located in the middle of it all on Collins Avenue, close to the area's best dining, shopping, and nightlife. Since its opening in 2005, the hotel has been heating things up in Miami with its intimate ambience, impeccable service, superb spa, and star-studded facilities. Set amidst tropical gardens and turquoise pools next to the ocean, The Setai boasts exquisite accommodations-- 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. But perhaps the most exquisite accommodations of all is the palatial Penthouse: 10,000 square feet of heaven with a rooftop pool and sweeping panoramas of the ocean, beach and Miami skyline. It's the ideal spot for receptions, parties and other special events. This regal four-bedroom penthouse goes for a mere $25,000 a night (and that doesn't include tax).