LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
April 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
From the soft sandy beaches of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula to the paved boulevards of Washington D.C., luxury hotels are turning green. Who says luxury travel can't embrace the values of responsible tourism? ForbesTraveler has highlighted the world's best luxury eco-resorts, along with a separate list of America's greenest hotels. These luxury resorts include the Fairmont Washington D.C. and Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, as Fairmont has been an industry leader in transforming their hotels into eco-friendly ones.
The list of accolades is exhaustive. (No small feat in a region where foodies flock to indulge at the top-notch restaurants.) Head to the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant to see what all the fuss is about. Nestled in the beautiful Russian River Valley of Sonoma County's famed wine country, Farmhouse wows its guests with its stunning scenery, sublime food, excellent service, and sense of family tradition. (After all, the owners' family has farmed in Sonoma for five generations.) The daily-changing menu is inspired by the incredible artisan bounty which surrounds the Farmhouse in Sonoma: local vineyards, handmade cheeses, free-range livestock, honey from the farm's bee hives, heirloom apples from nearby Bartolomei Ranch, figs and Meyer lemons from the kitchen garden... Bon Appetit raves:
Chef Steve Litke's cooking springs from whatever is fresh at the market that day: salt-roasted pear and parmesan ravioli or double-cut pork chops graced with a honey and bee pollen glaze. Like everything else here, the desserts are sublime.
This is what the good life is all about.
April 11, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
The Tides Inn has been a Chesapeake Bay tradition for 60 Years and is located just one hour east of Richmond in Irvington, Virginia. Throughout 2007, the AAA Four Diamond resort is observing its milestone anniversary with a celebration package guests can enjoy any day of the week for the whole year. Included in the "Sensation 60th Package" are waterview accommodations and your choice of a) 60 minute spa treatment per person or b) a round of golf at the Golden Eagle including lunch at Captain B's or dinner for 2 including a $50 wine credit. There is no minimum stay required and rates range from USD $159 to $330 per person, per night. For all guests, there are appealing extras to make any visit to the Tides Inn a little more special, such as the "Touch of Romance" - a wine basket with assorted food, goblets, corkscrew and vase of flowers; or the "Learn to Sail" add on for adults, families, or adults only.
Our room recommendation would be a Premium Guest Room which features either two queen size beds or one king bed and a sitting area with either two wicker reading chairs or a pull out sleeper sofa. These rooms feature private balconies overlooking the most highly sought-after views of the Carters Creek Cove.
By: Courtney W. May
How can you stay at one of the world's best hotels (i.e., a member of the T+L 500) when you're on a budget? By timing your visit appropriately. Case in point: the Wauwinet, a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod, has rates of $500 a night during the peak summer season.
Book the "Too Good To Be True" rates for a spring stay from May 6-May 31, 2007 (Sunday through Thursday) at The Wauwinet, and enjoy this magical world-class retreat for as little as $195 a night. Take in gorgeous sunsets from the 30 miles of private beach, dine at the fabulous Topper's Restaurant, and soak up the scenic setting of the most exclusive lodgings on Nantucket. Full breakfast is included in the room rate, along with complimentary evening port sherry and cheese.
April 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Taj Hotel empire is expanding. After the 2005 acquisition of The Pierre, the luxurious New York City landmark, and the recent buy-out of the former Ritz-Carlton on Arlington Street in Boston, Taj has its eye on a West Coast property. Up next? Campton Place, San Francisco's prized luxury boutique hotel with the picture-perfect location off Union Square. Kor Hotel Group is unloading this little gem for some $58 million. Soon, Campton Place will become Taj's third hotel in the United States.
Stay three nights and get the fourth for free at one of the world's best hotels. Situated on the edge of the historic French Quarter, Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel, has certainly racked up the awards. Designed to replicate the interior of an English mansion, the opulent hotel features antiques from the 17th and 18th centuries and an impressive $8 million art collection. Dine at the New Orleans Grill (ranked as one of Zagat's top ten restaurants), unwind at the rooftop pool, or relax in the spa. Savor the best of the Big Easy with a complimentary extra night when you book a room on the new Club Floor at Windsor Court. The four top floors of the hotel are dedicated Club Floors, the pinnacle of luxury in this posh place-- with private keycard security access, the finest views of the city and Mississippi River, personal butler service, and exclusive access the swanky new Club Lounge. The Stay Another Day Offer is available from May through September 2007, starting from $289 a night in the Club Guest Rooms (Full Suites are priced from $329-$575 per night).
Savvy travelers are thrilled to discover the Mexican version of Relais & Châteaux. Mexico Boutique Hotels is a collection of almost 50 intimate, privately owned luxury hotels in idyllic settings across Mexico: from colonial hill towns to the Caribbean islands near the Maya Riviera. Some are renovated haciendas, some are charming inns, some are chic design hotels, but one thing unites them: these alluring properties are outstanding--the best Mexico has to offer-- and boast highly personalized service. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo south of the border and take advantage of an excellent promotional offer from Mexico Boutique Hotels. Stay four nights and get the fifth night for free during the month of May. Rates vary per property.
Introducing the beautiful new restaurant located at Santa Monica's beachfront Grande Dame, the storied Casa Del Mar Hotel. Billed as "an inspired seaside experience," Catch promises fresh, inventive cuisine in a gorgeous setting. Executive Chef Michael Reardon has devised a tantalizing menu of Land and Sea offerings like Kurobuto Pork Loin, Crispy Skate Wing, and of course signature sushi and crudo dishes. At the center of the lively scene at Catch is the mother of pearl sushi bar. Delight your palette while soaking in the sweeping views of sandy Pacific beaches and colorful sunsets. Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. Dinner: 6 p.m.- 10 p.m.
PS. Check out their fantastic Easter menu for the weekend. The $70 prix fixe menu offers appetizers like the sashimi platter, entrées like Duo of Colorado Lamb and Dungeness Crab Cakes "Benedict," and desserts like Strawberry Soup and Warm Valhrona Chocolate Cake.
The Greenbrier is back, and better than ever. The world-renowned resort has re-opened its doors after a $50 million renovation. How could this legendary spot-- the pinnacle of elegance in the Allegheny mountains-- get any more luxurious? Here's what's in store for lucky guests: 63 updated guest rooms with spa-like bathrooms and updated décor, sumptuous new bedding and linens for all guest rooms, and lots of new technology: large plasma-screen TV's , new electronic locks, improved cell phone and Internet service. Coming in summer 2007: an entirely new culinary experience with the opening of Hemisphere restaurant and 38°80, a unique cocktail lounge. The Greenbrier has long been a favorite hideaway for politicians and celebrities; the resort has a distinguished history (this is site of the famous Bunker, the former U.S. Government Relocation Facility where Congress was to be housed in the event of a nuclear attack in the '50s). The historic resort offers over 50 recreational activities to its guests, including indoor and outdoor tennis, golf on three championship courses, rock climbing, 40,000 square foot spa, and even the ancient sport of falconry.
April 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Head west for the season's last powder and ski for free at the newly-renovated Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Vail. After a $20 million makeover, the Park Hyatt is as luxe and indulgent as they get. Nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the resort offers ski in-ski out access and the village of Vail is right at your doorstep. At the redesigned Allegria Spa, enjoy stunning mountain views from your massage table. The world-class spa introduces guests to an innovative water-based spa experience; think Water Temple heated mineral pool and five outdoor whirlpools. (The spa suites are incredible lavish, some with fireplaces, others with granite tubs and steam-showers.) After a day on the slopes, relax by the firepit with a S'mores Kit and a hot drink. The Ski Free package is available until April 16, 2007, and combines deluxe accommodations with free lift tickets for Beaver Creek and Vail Mountain. Ski Free 5 night stay includes 4 day ski pass for 2 adults. Ski Free7 night stay includes 6 day ski pass for 2 adults.