LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
February 1, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
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.
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...)
Experience Montana's magical wilderness in style at The Resort at Paws Up. The 37,000 acres of Blackfoot Valley surrounding the resort are blanketed in snow: a truly marvelous winter wonderland. Partake in cross-country skiing, high adventure snowmobiling, unrivaled downhill skiing, sleigh riding, ice skating, and even dog sledding amidst the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. At this luxurious ranch resort, guests enjoy the western vacation of a lifetime. After a day soaking up the grandeur of the Montana wilderness, head to the hotel's tented Spa Town for a sumptuous body treatment or massage. Then enjoy a delicious feast at the restaurant, crafted from the freshest produce. Surround yourself in rustic elegance in your luxurious guestroom (with five star amenities, of course) and gaze out at the fairytale wintry scenery.
January 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Zagat raves ("a culinary gift to the city!") Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report glows (one of the world's best hotels). Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure have piled on the awards. Welcome to one of the world's finest hotels. Located on the edge of the French Quarter in the heart of New Orleans, the Windsor Court Hotel is a sumptuous haven of Old World refinement and gracious Southern hospitality. And as the city of New Orleans has made its post-Katrina comeback, this elegant hotel has been at the forefront in helping rebuild the city and encourage tourism to the Big Easy. The Windsor Court Hotel offers the best kind of romantic hideaway in New Orleans, and so they've has put together an excellent Valentine's Day Package. I'm In The Mood For Love Valentine's Package features luxurious suite accommodations for one night, a welcome bottle of Champagne, truffles and flowers, and three-course dinner for two in the award-winning New Orleans Grill (excluding beverages). The exceptional menu for this meal includes three artfully presented courses to stir the soul and palate, ending with a sinful dessert to set the mood. Valid from February 9-15, 2007, subject to availability, priced from $379 per night (double occupancy).
Looking for the ultimate romantic escape? Overwhelmed by all your options? The good folks at Sherman's Travel have sorted through the vast number of travel promotions and compiled a list of sweet specials sure to entice even the most cynical Valentine's skeptic. They've even included a getaway deal for sassy singles. Their top five picks include a Parisian séjour, Valentine's in Venice, "Be My Valentine" package at Aspen's Hotel Jerome, Bermuda Beach Escape, and a rocking Singles Cruise in the Caribbean.
A boutique luxury hotel that reflects Montreal's rich French heritage, Loews Hotel Vogue is an enclave of sumptuous sophistication located in the very heart of the city. Guests fall in love with the imaginative restaurant menu, the beautiful L'Opera bar, and plush, comfortable guest rooms. The 126 guestrooms and 16 suites feature down duvets and pillows, a whirlpool bath and separate glassed-in shower, and a workstation with a two-line cordless phone and high-speed internet access. But what really sets the hotel a part is its exemplary personal service; the attentive, multilingual staff cater to guests' every need and desire. Indeed, Loews Hotel Vogue has even introduced on staff the world's first Syrup Sommelier, to teach guests about Canada's fine maple syrups. Guests can now take advantage of the experiential Sugar Season learning vacation package, available until April 30, 2007. Priced at $595, the one night package includes accommodations in a premium guest room, private limousine transportation to and from one of Quebec's traditional "sugar shacks" for an educational tour, and a maple-infused breakfast created specially by the hotel's Syrup Sommelier, Executive Chef Omar Fathallah.
PS. Warm winter rates at Loews Hotel Vogue are a steal, starting at just CAD $149 a night.
Each spring, visitors flock to the nation's capital for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. From March 31-April 15, 2007, the Willard Intercontinental will celebrate the awesome beauty of the cherry blossoms with stunning floral displays, overnight packages, spa treatments, and delicious Cherry Blossom Tea. Centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Washington, the Willard Intercontinental gracefully combines tradition with contemporary comfort and technology. Ranked among America's best historic hotels, the Beaux-Arts Willard has hosted almost every US president since Franklin Pierce in 1853. It was here that Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, where Abraham Lincoln lived for a month, where, in the grand lobby, President Ulysses S. Grant popularized the word "Lobbyist" and where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King finished his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. The Willard is a major force in the social and political life of Washington to this day.
The luxurious hotel is transformed into a springtime wonderland for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Willard's lobby and Peacock Alley promenade is decorated with live Cherry Blossoms and a display including historic renderings of the first Japanese delegation to America. (Three ambassadors and their entourage of 74 stayed at the Willard in an historic visit to Washington to ratify the nations' new Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1860.) Conveniently located near the tree-lined Tidal Basin, the Cherry Blossom Parade route and other festival events, the Willard is the perfect choice for festival enthusiasts. Guests can enjoy seasonal cherry cocktails at the historic Round Robin Bar. Or sip cherry-infused teas and nibble on festive themed edibles such as Petite Cherry Custard Tarts, Dry Cherry and Vanilla Scones with Homemade Cherry Marmalade and Devonshire Cream, and Hand Made Cherry Candy, while listening to live music in Peacock Alley. Or prepare for the Cherry Blossom Festivities with a special facial and massages at the luxurious I Spa at the Willard. Take advantage of the Very Cherry Willard Package, starting at $329, which includes accommodations, a special cherry amenity, plus the choice of one of the following: American breakfast for two, a second room at half price for children under 18, upgrade to a Deluxe room, or parking. This package reflects savings of $250. Prices are per room, plus tax, based upon availability and are available from March 16 through April 15, 2007.
What a better way to spend Valentine's Day than at one of the finest, most romantic hotels in the world? For the past 60 years, the Mobil five star award-winning Hotel Bel-Air has welcomed generations of lovers on this special day. The embodiment of LA glamour and luxury, this could be the city's most prestigious address. For this year's special Valentine's event, the Hotel Bel-Air has partnered with Laurent-Perrier Champagne to premiere their most delicious and rare vintages, paired with five courses from the master chefs. Following an elegant reception with hors d'oeuvres, the dinner will start at 7 pm. The menu includes a Terrine of Foie Gras and Date Chutney paired with Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut, Citrus Butter Braised Maine Lobster with Spring Vegetable Essence paired with Laurent-Perrier Brut Vintage 1995 in Magnum, a Seared Filet of Beef with Truffle Twice Baked Potato and Sauce Périgueux paired with a Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rose 1997, in Magnum, and for dessert-- a sinful Fig Soufflé with Passion Fruit Anglaise and Kissing Swans, paired with Laurent-Perrier Demi Sec. At 8:30 pm, John Brown and his four-piece band will kick off the dancing festivities. Priced at $225 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
Sexy and sophisticated, the new Keating Hotel is set to become a San Diego hotspot. Recently featured in both Urban Zeitgeist and Sherman's Travel Magazine, this chic design hotel is the first hotel creation by Pininfarina, of Ferrari fame. Billed as an "urban lifestyle hotel," The Keating oozes sexiness in the details: sinful bedding (down duvets and pillows, Italian linens), LavAzza espresso machines by Pininfarina, personalized sip and crave bars in-room, and the subterranean lounge: the exclusive high-tech bar and focal point of the hotel, destined to emerge as the place to see and be seen in San Diego. The hotel is bringing a winning combination of Europe and Soho to Southern California. To quote Sherman's Travel Magazine:
This fall The Keating hotel unveiled its overhaul of a century-old Romanesque Revival gem in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. Pininfarina, best known for their design work with Ferrari, turned the historic building modern with sleek, minimal interiors.
Each of the hotel's 35 luxurious suites (called "Stanzas," Italian for guestroom) are decked out with custom designed furnishings, vaulted ceilings, Bang and Olufsen's Beo Vision electronics, Dornbracht fixtures, and all the latest, cutting-edge technology. For a limited time, take advantage of excellent Grand Opening special rates, starting at $269 a night in a Stanza room. Valid until January 31, 2007.
Hit the slopes at Ski Santa Fe, recently recognized by readers of Conde Nast Traveler as one of the top 20 ski resorts in North America. Soak up the splendor of New Mexico's mountains and enjoy the season's record snowfall, just a short drive from charming, downtown Santa Fe. Stay at the award-winning La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa and score a lift ticket-inclusive package for just $135 per person, per night! Nestled on six landscaped acres in the heart of Santa Fe, the resort offers adobe-style accommodations in a magical garden setting. La Posada de Santa Fe exudes Southwestern culture with its vibrant artwork, kiva fireplaces, signature cuisine at Fuego restaurant, and Southwest-inspired spa treatments at the luxurious Avanyu Spa. Ski and stay at Santa Fe's legendary resort with the special lift ticket-inclusive package. The package includes accommodations, full day lift tickets for two, and unlimited use of the Avanyu Spa steam and fitness rooms. (Priced at $135 per person during the week and $147 on weekends.) Or, for the ultimate winter escape, choose the Ski, Dine and Unwind Package, which includes two nights accommodation, two 50 minute Dancing Wind Massages or two Flowing Water Massages, two half-day lift tickets each day to Ski Santa Fe, and lunch for two at Fuego. This package is priced from $190 per person, per night. Available until April 14, 2007.