October 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle) has been a Los Angeles landmark since the day it opened in 1929. Elegant, posh, and perfectly located on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower Hotel has been the residence of countless famous actors, musicians, and even the gangster Bugsy Siegel, whose former apartment is now the setting for the Tower Bar, one of the hottest hang-outs in LA. Inspired by the glamour of early Hollywood, the chic Tower Bar was designed by internationally acclaimed decorator Paul Fortune, with walnut-paneled walls, discreet seating and a fireplace. While guests sip cocktails and listen to the playing of famed jazz pianist Paige Cavenaugh in the rose-colored light, they enjoy sweeping views of the city. It's no wonder Los Angeles magazine chose the Tower Bar as its Top City Pick, praising its handsome and rich appointments as a scene reminiscent of private men's clubs.
Rumor has it that the Grande Dame of Boston hotels, the oldest Ritz-Carlton in the United States, is on the market. Located on fashionable Newbury Street and the Public Garden, the 273-room luxury hotel celebrated its 75th anniversary with a major renovation in 2002. As reported by the Boston Herald:
India-based newspapers and at least one TV station reported yesterday that Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., owner of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, will buy the Ritz for $170 million. But New York-based Millennium Partners, which has owned the Boston hotel for seven years, said it has not reached a deal to sell it.
Apparently, since the last summer purchase of The Pierre in Manhattan, Taj Hotels has been on the prowl for similar properties in gateway US cities "to build a five-star hotel brand under The Pierre flag."
Say goodbye to nasty airline food. Executive Chef Gordon Maybury has designed delicious and healthy menus for First and Business Class menus of Lufthansa outbound flights from the US. Starting in November, passengers will indulge in selections inspired from the hotel's Fives restaurant, including pistachio dusted shrimp with sweet pea tarragon flan appetizer, vanilla thyme roasted halibut with baby bok choy and fondant potato, and wild berry charlotte in its own consommé with sweet cream, and a selection of international cheeses. This culinary partnership will continue throughout 2007, with Lufthansa featuring rotating menus from the chefs at the Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula Beverly Hills in addition to the Peninsula New York.
October 4, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May for the Conrad Chicago Just past the fifth-floor lobby of downtown Chicago's Conrad Hotel is a vintage south beach escape -- The Terrace at Conrad (pictured). It is a great place to unwind in a chic outdoor setting with fantastic cityscape views - and best of all, complimentary movies are shown on Sunday & Monday nights with Truffle popcorn and roasted chestnuts. (Check out the past shows to get an idea of their monthly options.) Sunday, 10/8/06 - Wolfman Monday, 10/9/06 - The Mummy Sunday, 10/15/06 - Christine Monday, 10/16/06 - Cujo Sunday, 10/22/06 - Amityville Horror Monday, 10/23/06 - Beetlejuice Sunday, 10/29/06 - Birds (a personal favorite) Monday, 10/30/06 - Dracula Tuesday, 10/31/06 - Frankenstein Reserve the Conrad Chicago Hotel
October 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
An exotic tropical island, beachfront villa on Martinique, private bungalow in the Greek Islands, the seclusion of the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee… Relais and Chateaux properties offer the perfect romantic escape, whether for a honeymoon, anniversary, or quick romantic getaway. When you use your American Express Card to book at select luxurious destinations around the world, you'll receive the fourth night for free, along with a special VIP welcome amenity, such as Champagne on arrival and an assortment of local regional delicacies. Available through December 31, 2006.
(Pictured: Capri's stunning Hotel Caesar Augustus, perched on the cliffs high above the sea.)
Look out, Four Seasons. Shangri-La, the largest operator in Asia of deluxe hotels (raking in revenue of about $1 billion a year) is coming to Europe. According to a recent IHT article, the Hong Kong-based company is "on a major expansion spree, with 44 new hotels to be developed over the next four years, and the company is still seeking more sites." Indeed, the chief executive, Giovanni Angelini, personally scouted the ideal spot in Paris for Shangri-La's first luxury hotel in Europe: the historic palace of Prince Roland Bonaparte near the Trocadero. The hotel group is also looking at major American cities and European capitals. Significantly, Shangri-La is the largest operator of luxury hotels in China and is planning to double its current 20 hotels by 2010. To quote Angelini:
"By the year 2020, it is expected there will be more than 100 million Chinese travelers," he said. "Can you imagine the impact? Japan has made a tremendous impact in the industry and it never reached more than 17 million travelers.
The star, the legend, the superstar, the crème de la crème of Chefs-- Alain Ducasse-- will open a new restaurant at the St. Regis in Manhattan. We're talking about the only guy in the world to own and operate three signature restaurants each honored with three Michelin stars. (Starwood is pleased as pie about this new arrangement.) The restaurant will open in March 2007 and will also feature a wine bar. The St. Regis Hotel, New York isn't exactly a shabby address: the majestic property was recently named the number one hotel in the world by the readers of Institutional Investor, the first New York hotel to win the top spot in the survey's 25-year history.
Congrats to Le Place d'Armes, the first ever Canadian hotel to pick up this coveted award. Each year the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences bestows the prestigious International Star Diamond Award to five star hotels deemed to represent the height of excellence and quality. This sophisticated boutique hotel combines the best of old and new Montreal after an elegant $29 expansion to its existing historic buildings. Le Place d'Armes offers exceptional service, accommodations, gastronomy and high-end amenities to pamper its guests. The 83 rooms and 52 suites are designed in marble, slate, leather and rich wood; luxurious options include jetted or therepeutic baths, exposed brick walls, terraces, electric fireplaces, and city views. Rainspa-- the 2,000 square foot urban day spa-- boasts the city's first hammam. In addition to the award-winning fine dining at Aix Cuisine Du Terroir, the hotel also houses the trendy bar/lounge Suite 701, where local hipsters and guests alike seek out the sophisticated ambiance and delicious martinis.
Start making plans now for the coming ski season. The ultra-luxurious Amangani is the place to be, ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, Amangani offers panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park. This is one of America's last true wilderness refuges, and guests can view the magnificent wildlife—elk, bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer and the occasional moose seek the sanctuary of the National Elk Refuge when snow blankets the higher altitudes—by cross-country skis or snowshoes. Jackson Hole's Rendezvous and Apres Vous mountains offer a host of excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Amangani's private Ski Lounge is conveniently located below Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Bridger Gondola at the base of Rendezvous mountain, a quick 20-minute complimentary transfer from the resort. The Ski Lounge is staffed with a ski valet to assist with rentals and other details, and provides boot and glove warmers, ski racks, baskets for ski gloves, mittens and goggles to ensure that all equipment stays dry and comfortable. Soak up the warm après-ski ambience back at Amangani, sipping a hot toddy, mulled wine or ginger tea by the large fireplaces while gazing out the two-storey window wall at the Snake River range. And of course the award-winning spa is a welcome retreat after a day on the slopes, featuring slate-lined steam rooms, luxurious spa treatments, and the stunning 35-meter open-air pool, warm enough to be enjoyed all year round.
September 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
These days more and more women are taking an interest in golf, and resorts have picked up on the trend, courting women to the green with special spa-golf combo packages, and gender-specific classes and programs to introduce ladies to the fun challenges of golf. Traditionally, golf has been a men's game, with women comprising only 18 percent of the "core golf" market. But the times they are a-changing. As pinpointed in a recent CNN article, the upward trend in women's interest in golf has spawned a slew of new packages at resorts across the nation:
At Pinehurst, a sprawling 144-hole golf resort in central North Carolina, instructors created a daylong course called Discover Golf that aims to get beginners -- both men and women -- whacking balls before they learn the ins and outs of the game…Though designed for either sex, the classes have attracted far more women than men so far… all but two of this year's 40 students were women.
The women attendees have raved about the program as great fun, and an excellent opportunity for networking. And you can't beat Pinehurst Resort for the place to learn and perfect your game: the resort is legendary, with eight pristine championship golf courses where the best players in history have all gone before. This is the site of more championships than any other golf course in the country. (With fine luxury spa facilities to boot.)