LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
No joke. Starwood has just announced an exclusive launch party for their aloft hotel brand with a "3-D computer generated property inside a virtual world." Preview the virtual aloft hotel in Second Life, the "virtual online world where trendsetters are flocking to exchange ideas, egos and virtual property using "avatars," or highly-customized 3D representations of themselves." Starwood's touting it as a "groundbreaking event," and Ben Folds will appear live at the virtual aloft to play brand new tracks from his upcoming release, supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp, due in stores October 24th. To attend the big bash, send an e-mail to frontdesk at virtualaloft.com and request a "VIP invitation." The launch party will take place on October 19th, from 7-9pm EDT. You can also check out the development and building progress for aloft on their blog.
Starting in January, Cathay Pacific will unveil some swanky cabin upgrades. First class-fliers will go gaga over the new seat that can be transformed from armchair, to chaise lounge, to bed (and an extra-long and wide one at that!) Business class passengers will appreciate the seats that recline to fully flat beds. And even the economy folks will enjoy a new seat, designed to let passengers recline without intruding on those seated behind them. (Plus economy fliers will get video and audio on-demand.) This is hot on the heels of Virgin Atlantic's announcement—reported by the folks at Mobissimo—of the airline's $25 million investment for newly-designed seats.
Talk about a Grand Slam. Kiawah Island Golf Resort has been racking up the awards lately. It's been selected as the Best Golf Resort in the US by Travel and Leisure Golf. Readers of Travel and Leisure Family recently rated Kiawah as the Top Family Resort in the East. Golf Digest awarded the Ocean Course a perfect 5 stars rating in the "Best Places to Play," and Golf Magazine ranked the Ocean Course as No. 3 in the "Top 100 You Can Play," ahead of Pinehurst and Torrey Pines. And Tennis Magazine ranked Kiawah as the number one resort. Wow.
After $177 million in renovations since 1997, including the addition of the gorgeous luxury hotel The Sanctuary, Kiawah has dazzled its guests with gracious hospitality and superb facilities. Families are attracted to the excellent recreational activities, including beach, biking, tennis, and fabulous children's programs. And golfers are lured to the five world-championship courses, including the famed Ocean Course, recently redesigned by Pete Dye with a $4 million overhaul (the 18th green is now right next to the ocean). There's a brand new, 24,000 sq-foot Club House in the works, with wrap-around porches overlooking the dunes, slated to open in May 2007 in time for the PGA Senior Open Championship. Kiawah has a number of excellent Fall Golf Packages, which include three nights accommodations, breakfast and dinner, and all greens fees for three rounds of golf. Starting from $313, per person, per night.
Be the first to experience the newly-renovated Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club after its $100 million face-lift. Located midway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the Fairmont Turnberry Isle is a Mediterranean-style resort renowned for its golf, tennis, spa, and ocean club. But after the six month renovation, the resort is about to add another meaning to the word "luxury" on its reopening on December 15, 2006. Ready for the ultra-luxurious details?
The 392 oversized, oceanfront rooms and suites have received millions in upgrades: furnishings, flooring, complete bathroom renovations, new flat screen televisions, and patio furniture. The two championship golf courses have been completely redesigned by golf Hall of Fame recipient Ray Floyd, with a $30 million investment for elevation changes and new contours amidst the lush tropical grounds. The Willow Stream Spa and fitness center has also been completely refurbished, along with the Golf Pro Shop. The tennis courts are now lit for night-play, and the private Ocean Club just got a little swankier with a complete make-over.
October 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The moment we've all been waiting for. Come October 14, 2006, the first in a series of exhibits from the Musee de Louvre in Paris opens at Atlanta's High Museum of Art. The unprecedented three-year partnership, dubbed simply Louvre Atlanta, will begin with the Royal Collections, a dazzling array of paintings, sculptures drawings from master artists, that once belonged to the kings of France. The opening day celebrations include art-making activities for children, live music in the Piazza, theater, the French Poodle Parade, classic French mime, and other special performances. The two area Ritz-Carlton hotels have organized a Louvre Atlanta package for visitors to enjoy the fantastic exhibit. The package includes one night's luxurious accommodations, full breakfast for two, valet parking, and a pair of tickets to the museum exhibit. Available through December 2006. Starting at $249 at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, an elegant address in the heart of downtown, and $299 at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, located uptown across the street from the acclaimed Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza shopping malls.
That's right. The InterContinental Hotels Group has partnered with TurnHere to create a series of local video guides narrated by the concierges of Intercontinental Hotels across the United States. First up: the insider's guide to the nation's capital, brought to you by Robert Watson, the lovely concierge at the Willard InterContinental Washington DC, the grand historic landmark known as the "Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue." The free video is lively, informative, and a fun (and free) overview of the city's neighborhoods, sites, and restaurants. Plus you'll get the inside scoop on the locals' favorite haunts and stomping grounds. Check it out.
The folks at Daily Candy uncovered this "worthwhile getaway" from Kor Hotels. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Kor Hotel Group will reflect this theme all month long with their Think Pink Campaign. Stay at any of the Kor Hotel Group's glam properties (like the Viceroy Santa Monica and the Tides South Beach), choose the "Think Pink" rate, and they'll donate 10 percent of your bill to the Revlon/UCLA Breast Cancer Center. For an additional price of $40, guests receive a special Think Pink gift bag (valued at $120) which includes a Glamour Pink Tee designed by Kelly Wearstler, gift certificate for a Pink Martini, Shaken not Stirred, Pink Martini CD, "Breast Cancer 101" (a handbook on cancer research, history and treatment), and a classic pink ribbon, to display prominently and show your solidarity to the cause.
Move over, Trump. The Miami Heat center recently announced the formation of The O'Neal Group, a real estate firm that's set to take on the Miami market with a $1 billion project that will feature a five star luxury hotel, 1,100 residential units, a Whole Foods Market, a 24-Hour Fitness franchise, office space, condominiums and restaurants. At 866 feet, this is the tallest tower south of the Big Apple. According to FoxSports:
Shaquille O'Neal now is dead serious about helping big skyscrapers in downtown Miami far bigger than himself and literally becoming South Florida's biggest real estate mogul…He realizes the positive impact he can make. Between making money for his family, he can also continue the revitalization of what was a horrendous downtown area into a renaissance trumping the problems of decades.
There's nothing finer than Fall in New York. (And if you choose to visit in November, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a must: with fabulous floats, giant balloons, and 2.5 million folks in attendance.) The place to stay in Manhattan is The Carlyle, of course, the elegant landmark on Madison Avenue and favorite haunt of world leaders and numerous celebs since its debut in 1930. A timeless classic, The Carlyle is like a stately private residence, welcoming its guests with the most exacting and refined service. Enjoy sweeping views of Central Park from your sumptuous suite, appointed with the finest fabrics, rugs, boudoir chairs, Frette linens, and original Audubon prints. The hotel's perfect location offers easy access to the Upper East Side galleries as well as the nearby Museum Mile. Celebrate Autumn in New York with special seasonal rates at The Carlyle. With this special, a decadent Deluxe Room can be booked for $750 (usual daily rates are $825).
October 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This could be heaven on earth. Surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is a sumptuous boutique hideaway boasting one of the world's most celebrated destination spas. The list of accolades is impressive: Travel and Leisure Top 500, Andrew Harper's Hideaway award winner, Top 10 US Spas (Celebrated Living), and Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List of the World's Best Places to Stay. The intimate Sanctuary Spa is renowned the world over for its Asian-inspired treatments and spectacular setting. The movement studio offers classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Belly Dancing, and the Fitness Center is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment. The 98 luxurious casitas feature outdoor balconies with breathtaking panoramic views, wood-burning fireplaces, and outdoor soaking tubs enclosed within private patios.
Until December 9, 2006, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is offering a fantastic Spa Harmony package, where guests pay for two nights, and receive the third for free. Package includes dazzling accommodations, full breakfast each morning in elements or in-room dining, two 60-minute spa treatments per person, per package from the Spa Menu, access to the Meditation Garden, Vitality Pools and Steam Baths, candlelight turndown service, and newspaper delivered daily. The price averages out to $578 per night in a Mountain View Casita.