LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
February 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Dinner and a... bath? Yep, that's right. Rosewood's world-renowned Las Ventanas al Paraiso, the only Five-Diamond property in Los Cabos, is once again leading the pack with
peculiar innovative amenities. From the ultra-luxury resort that brought you pre-loaded poolside iPods, Mini Cooper S Convertibles and Porsche Boxsters on property, in-room telescopes for star-gazing and whale-watching, pool-side services like sunglass-cleaning, sewing kits personalized to each guest's wardrobe, and the Hot Type author program (whew!), comes another cutting-edge service. When guests sit down to dine at the upscale dining room for an unforgettable meal at The Restaurant, they are presented with the dinner menu and the after-dinner bath menu, which offers a choice of a "Stress Relieving," "Rejuvenating" or "Sensual & Romantic" bath experiences. Choose from the lists of Champagnes, premium tequilas and Cuban cigars, to enjoy in the bath. So while you gobble down your Baja-Mediterranean cuisine, overlooking the pool and the Sea of Cortez, your bath will be prepared for a luxurious experience en-suite.
Perched on top of Nob Hill, the glorious Fairmont, where Tony Bennett premiered "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," is celebrating its centennial come April 18. The landmark hotel is beloved by visitors and locals alike for its views (you'll gasp at the panorama of the city and bay), spacious guestrooms (that epitomize elegance), and the wonderfully kitschy bar, The Tonga Room. As recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle:
The United Nations charter was written there. Mick Jagger partied in the penthouse there... It's all in 100 years' work for the Fairmont Hotel... Although the Fairmont's birthday isn't until April 18, the hotel isn't waiting for formalities. It's rolling out a yearlong series of events: public tours, special teas and centennial cocktails, and a penthouse centennial package that goes for a mere $100,000 to mark the hotel's first century in business.
The world-renowned hotel first opened on April 18, 1907, exactly a year after the earthquake and fire ravaged the city. Standing proud on top of the city, the Fairmont became "a symbol of the city's rebirth," the favored haven for "the rich, the royal, and roaming heads of state."
In the fast-paced City that Never Sleeps, Loews Regency provides an enclave of quiet elegance and indulgence. Here, it's the exceptional service, luxurious amenities, and attention-to-detail which distinguish this refined Park Avenue address among the plethora of NYC hotels. (Though the devoted regulars, head-over-heels for their preferred hotel in Manhattan, would rather keep it a closely guarded secret getaway). Leave it to the award-winning Loews Regency to devise the perfect night out on the town. You are invited to a "Wicked” night out to hit Broadway and take in the fabulous musical, "Wicked," winner of fifteen major awards, including a Grammy, three Tonys, and six Drama Desk Awards. Available until March 31, 2007, the "Wicked" package at Loews Regency includes luxurious accommodations in a magnificent one bedroom-suite (you'll swoon at the Park Avenue views from your balcony), two tickets to "Wicked," a welcome amenity of an autographed Charles Palmer cookbook and "Wicked" CD, car service to/from the Gershwin Theater, and three course pre-theater dinner at Charlie Palmer's Aureole. Total package cost is $1,399. To book, call 1-800-233-2356, and press 2.
What will $1,000 buy you? A pretty fantastic deal at New Orleans' most luxurious boutique hotel. Situated in the heart of the romantic Old Quarter, Soniat House exudes Old World elegance. Here, there are honor bars stocked with premium liquors, and daily breakfast is a favorite tradition: Creole café au lait and hot southern biscuits slathered with homemade strawberry preserves. The historical hotel, comprised of three large and gracious townhouses, is filled with striking antiques and the warm hospitality of an excellent staff. Imagine: spiral stairs, balconies, patios, and lush courtyards filled with olive, magnolia, guava, and ginger. Not just one of the best hotels in New Orleans, the award-winning Soniat House is considered one of the best in the world. After all, this spot is listed in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, which describes the hotel as quintessential New Orleans, the most beautiful hotel in town. The Thousand Dollar Escape package at Soniat House includes three nights accommodation in a premier room, complimentary breakfast each day, dinner for two at a famous New Orleans restaurant and champagne on arrival. Minimum three nights stay required; the $1,000 rate does not include tax.
Slackers rejoice. It's not too late to plan a special something to celebrate Saint Valentine. Omni Hotels to the rescue, with the excellent Sparkling Encounters package designed for couples to indulge in romance for Valentine's Day. Escape to any of Omni's 40 hotels in February-- like Houston's high-tech, AAA Five-Diamond hotel or San Francisco's perfectly-located hotel-- and enjoy a bottle of Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne, delectable champagne truffles from Teuscher Chocolates from Switzerland, and luxurious champagne-scented Bubbling Bath Salts, Massage and Body Oil and Body Cream from Bath Bloomers. As an added perk, guests will also have the option of upgrading their room for as little as $20. Available from February 1-25, 2007.
What's so special about the Grand Hyatt Atlanta? The largest guest rooms in Atlanta's fashionable neighborhood of Buckhead, for one. A convenient location near many of Atlanta's top attractions (try the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, and Atlanta History museum). A tranquil Japanese Garden setting. The top meeting facilities in the city, awarded the Best of the South Award and named "Georgia's Leading Business Hotel" by the World Travel Awards. (There's a whopping 30,000 square feet of function space, including 17 meeting rooms and three outdoor terraces). A successful kosher kitchen (the city's best). And, drum roll please... HY Tea every Saturday from 2 to 6pm. Here, guests can indulge in the memorable Atlanta tradition, replete with dainty finger sandwiches, scrumptious tarts, tea, and signature Grantinis. The menu includes such delights as pomegranate-blueberry cream on date nut bread, smoked duck prosciutto wrapped caramelized green apple, warm molten chocolate cake, and caramel-raspberry crème brulee. Served in the elegant Onyx Bar overlooking the garden waterfall, priced at $29.95 per person. Now that's a hotel.
Tucked away on the 2nd floor of the Willard InterContinental, Washington's historic luxury hotel, the I Spa offers guests a rejuvenating and luxurious spa experience. The full spa menu features 25 treatments, including both traditional and specialized massage (try the Willard Chardonnay Massage or Hot Stone Massage) and body treatments using products designed by Jurlique, Algotherm and June Jacobs. But this isn't just the preferred pampering place for bridal parties and couples on lingering weekend afternoons. Thanks to the Express Menu, lucky guests can enjoy a quick revitalizing treatment when they need it most: midweek, between the stress of meetings and a long commute.
As recently featured on Daily Candy, the Express Menu offers the best kind of pick-me-up for those with limited time to spare:
...thanks to The I Spa, which now offers an express menu. In just 30 minutes you can rejuvenate with an exfoliating microdermabrasion facial, firm up with a collagen and elastin eye mask, or loosen tight muscles with a good old Swedish massage. You'll even get to squeeze in a quick spa lunch in the VIP suite before rushing off.
What a relief.
That's right. Palm Springs' happening boutique resort, the very cool Viceroy, is launching some Sunday pool parties for sun-lovers to bask, sip the signature libations from Citron Bar, and enjoy the DJ's chilled electronica mixes. Nestled around three courtyards with pools and beautiful gardens, Viceroy Palm Springs offers luxurious private villas, a sensational full-service spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Escape the winter temperatures and get thee to the Mojave Desert, where this distinctive boutique resort is throwing a Sunday Series of indulgent poolside soirees all year long. The fun begins on February 4, 2007 at 2pm with poolside DJs, drinks and dancing. A signature cocktail will debut each week. First up: the Viceroy Desert Breeze, a blend of vodka, pomegranate and grapefruit juices, with a splash of ginger ale. Along with the cooling cocktails from the lounge, nibble on gourmet treats by Citron Executive Chef Stephen Belie: a feast of poolside barbequed delights. Be prepared for the party's red-hot vibe. Viceroy is expecting that these "Sunday leisure-lifestyle fêtes will radiate through every corner of the resort."
Exploring the lush vineyards of Napa Valley, by bike or by chauffeured car. Sipping select vintages from America's premier wine growing region. Savoring luxurious accommodations at a fine country estate, known as much for its gracious hospitality as for its traditional pastimes (championship croquet lawns, seven tennis courts, golf...) Indulging in the Cabernet Crush or Vineyard Polish body treatments at the excellent spa. What could be more romantic than this? Meadowood offers a sublime natural setting for a Valentine's Day escape. The Art of Romance, a three-night seasonal offer, is the perfect way to experience the allure of Napa Valley. The package includes three nights' lodging, breakfast daily for two (served in the privacy of your guest room or in The Grill), a Couple's Pure Relaxation Massage in The Health Spa, a four-course dinner one evening in The Restaurant at Meadowood (with wine pairings), a welcome bottle of Napa Valley sparkling wine (with a note written by the purchaser), and a box of Woodhouse specialty chocolates. Available all days of the week.
January 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Celebrated architect Frank Gehry continues to lend a hand with the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles. Plans are in the works for a new 275-room luxury hotel which will be part of a new development on Grand Avenue. Scheduled to open in 2010, the new Mandarin Oriental will be housed in the first 20 floors of a 48-floor tower, across the street from the other Gehry-designed phenomenon, the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Billed as "LA's newest and most exciting place to live," Gehry's new addition will include luxury residences, along with the world class hotel. The four-acre site will be transformed into a lively city block with retail stores and restaurants. (Now let's just see if they can lure the residents...)