Discover the paradise island of the North Atoll and the luxury of Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru, just 20 minutes by speedboat from the airport. On this slice of heaven, 48 villas are perched on the sand, surrounded by nothing but the vast expanse of turquoise ocean. Gaze out at the sea from your own personal sundeck, or step onto the powder soft beach to swim above the untouched coral reef with its vast array of colorful tropical fish. To enjoy these magnificent marine creatures of the Maldives, the Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru has put together an awesome Wonders of the Sea Adventure package, where certified divers, guided by PADI-certified instructors, discover the sting rays, green sea turtles, dolphins, and white tip sharks in the deep. Available from July 1 to December 19, 2006, the eight-day, seven-night package offers a series of six dives with villa rates starting from $740 per night per couple. Includes half board meals, exclusive accommodation at Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru and return speedboat transfers between the airport and the resort. At its five-star Gold Palm Resort Dive Center, the Banyan Tree offers the full range of PADI courses. Notably, Banyan Tree employs marine biologists who offer environmental dives and eco-safaris. The Marine Biology Laboratory, the first of its kind to be built by a private resort, works on important conservation and research projects, including Green Sea Turtle and Reef Shark Conservation.
Where to find the best steakhouse in the Wild West? Vegas, baby, Vegas, where The Bellagio features Prime Steakhouse (among all of its many award-winning restaurants). Superstar Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten oversees a superb staff at this gorgeous lakeside establishment, packed with Baccarat chandeliers and plush furnishings. Resembling a 1930's style speakeasy, the restaurant evokes a bygone era. Enjoy a sumptuous meal accompanied by heavenly drink (the wine cellar is brimming with California reds and first growth Bordeaux), followed by a hand-crafted cigar. As always, Zagat says it best: "if the Rat Pack were still around, they'd congregate here" for "marvelous" meat, "martini-centric drinks", "theatrical decor" and "fantastic" fountain views."
Located in Tokyo Shiodome, the luxurious 37-storey Conrad Tokyo offers panoramic views over the Tokyo Bay skyline. Guests enjoy comfortable, contemporary guestrooms equipped with all the latest technology, the largest banquet facilities in Shiodome, and the Spa Mizuki, the largest hotel spa in Tokyo, with ten treatment rooms, gym, indoor pool, sauna and steam rooms. The hotel's highlight is Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Toyko, the first restaurant in Asia for London's legendary three-star Michelin chef. To celebrate its first anniversary, the Conrad Toyko has put together an excellent value-added "Business Plus" package, which includes daily breakfast either at the brasserie "Cerise by Gordon Ramsay" or via room service, high-speed Internet connection, complimentary access to the swimming pool, one complimentary Pay TV program per day, and two bottles of mineral water per stay. Rates start from JPY42,000 for single occupancy ($365), including tax and service. Two-night minimum stay required, valid until December 31, 2006.
We are all waiting with bated breath to learn the name of the winner of our fantastic Giveaway (a two-night stay in a lavish Junior Suite at the Hay-Adams.) Check back here on August 15th to see who won the contest! In the meantime, if you are jonesing for an unforgettable stay at the Hay-Adams, and are eager to check out all the sites in the nation's capital, don't pass up this stellar Summer Offer. Relax and rejuvenate for two nights in your opulent guestroom at this historic hotel, and receive your third night complimentary! Package rates for rooms are from $399 to $639 per night, based on availability and include daily breakfast for two and valet parking. Valid August 1-September 5, 2006.
Get away from it all, while also getting back to it all, enjoying time together with your family at Half Moon. Since 1954, this gorgeous Jamaica resort has played host to discerning travelers from around the world, who delight in the luxurious accommodations and limitless array of excellent activities. And now Half Moon—with its soft, sandy beaches and 50 freshwater pools—is offering an excellent Homecoming Offer for your family to enjoy some pampering and "together time" on Montego Bay, Jamaica. Available for the months of August, September and October, the Homecoming Offer starts at $289, a savings of up to 20 percent off rack rates. The package includes luxurious accommodations, sumptuous daily breakfast, round trip airport transfers, unlimited use of tennis courts and fitness center, Managers cocktail party, and all taxes and service charges. Children under 2 stay free, while children between 3 and 12 pay only $12.50 per child per night when sharing a room with two adults. (Children aged 13-18 pay $25 per child per night when sharing a room with two adults.)
"Top 50 Asia Hotels" and "Top 100 Best in the World," Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. "Top Favorite Business Hotel," TIME Reader's Choice Awards. "World's Best Places to Stay," Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. "The Greatest 500 Hotels in the World," Travel and Leisure. "Best Hotel Spa," SpaAsia Crystal Awards. Raffles The Plaza is draped with impressive accolades. Ideally situated at the crossroads of Singapore's business, cultural, entertainment and shopping districts, Raffles The Plaza is the most prestigious address in the city. World-renowned for its exemplary service, the hotel offers its guests the ultimate in luxury with 769 guest rooms and suites, a collection of 17 distinctive restaurants and bars, and 70,000 square feet of prime meeting space. RafflesAmrita Spa is one of the largest spa facilities in Asia. Hot off the press: Guests at Raffles The Plaza, Singapore, can now enjoy an unparalleled experience of comfort and luxury in two new BMW 730Li limousines. The limos are thoughtfully embellished with amenities such as the embedded 3G-access technology, iPod, and high-speed wireless connection.
The majestic red canyons and rock formations of Sedona lure millions of visitors a year seeking desert solitude and inspiration. Framed by the towering outcroppings of Red Rock Country, the Enchantment Resort combines luxury with the rugged grandeur of the surrounding landscape. And because of the resort's high elevation (4,600 feet), even the hottest of Arizona weather is do-able. Situated on 70 pristine acres, the resort offers adobe casita-style accommodations packed with luxurious amenities. Mii amo, the resort's spa, offers a full menu of heavenly spa services (High Desert Facial, Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment, Milk and Honey Bath, Sedona Clay Wrap, massage) in an unbelievable setting. From now until mid-September, take advantage of a special summer special: book three nights and you'll get a fourth for free!
Recently featured in House and Garden magazine, the Gran Hotel Son Julia in Mallorca is a small luxury hotel housed in an exquisite 15th century mansion. Not far from Palma de Mallorca and the Mediterranean coast, the hotel offers 24 stunning rooms and suites, including the Imperial Suite, which overlooks the spectacular countryside and groves of almond trees from its perch on the top floor of the hotel. The hotel balances historical details-- high beamed ceilings and original archways—with all the modern conveniences, including spacious all-marble bathrooms, jacuzzis, internet, and plasma screen TVs. Walk the beautiful grounds, relax by the pool, play a game of tennis, hit the gym, or relax in the spa. Two 18-hole golf courses are within 2 minutes of the property. The dining experience at Las Bovedas Restaurant is first-rate; delicious dishes are served in a beautiful environment. Enjoy an unforgettable break on the island of Mallorca with special summer rates starting at EUR 240 a night for two people (in a Superior Room).
Just outside the charming historical city of Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a secluded haven of unspoiled beaches, championship golf (five courses! including the world-famous Ocean Course), and nature trails through lush semi-tropical wetlands where alligators, egrets and other natural residents seek refuge. This oceanside resort is likewise paradise for the guests who flock here-- to experience the luxurious accommodations and abundant recreational facilities which provide fun for the whole family to enjoy. Ranked as a top travel destination in North America by Conde Nast Traveler, Kiawah Island offers a slew of lavish accommodations from the fine rooms at The Sanctuary to condos, from private oceanfront homes with private docks to the well-appointed villas with breezy balconies overlooking the sea. And for a limited time, when you reserve a three night stay in the villas, receive an additional night for free! Or stay two nights in a villa, and receive a 50 percent discount on your third night. Both offers includes breakfast for two each day. Valid through December 30, 2006; reserve by September 15, 2006.
August 8, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Jonathan Critchard is the General Manager of the five-star deluxe Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London. He has held the position since 1993 and has over 21 years experience heading some of the most prestigious hotels and residences in the United Kingdom and worldwide. He has left his professional imprint on Blakes Hotel, The Hempel, The Dorchester and 3A Palace Green (the world's most luxurious apartment complex located in Kensington Palace Gardens in London); Amberley Castle in West Sussex and The Regent in Hong Kong.
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?
Mr. Critchard: By good fortune
Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?
Mr. Critchard: We are family owned and have a warm, friendly and intimate persona.
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Mr. Critchard: Our market is predominantly from the USA. We have a repeat guest factor of 45% which is split between corporate and leisure business.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Mr. Critchard: The best thing about our location is that it is incredibly central and situated right opposite Green Park. My favorite thing to do in the surrounding area is to enjoy the open spaces of London’s parks.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Mr. Critchard: Unfortunately not, we are renowned for our discretion in the entertainment industry.
Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages?
Mr. Critchard: All our apartments are individual and unique, offering both contemporary and traditional styles of decor. 30% of our hotel rooms have stunning views overlooking Green Park.
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?
Mr. Critchard: AA Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh used to live in our apartments. During the war Winston Churchill spent a lot of time in the Down Street underground station, opposite the side of the hotel, and rumor has it, that we kept him supplied with his favorite drink of Pol Roger.
Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?
Mr. Critchard: What is their service ethic, how warm is the welcome, and I focus on the quest for both comfort and service.
Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager?
Mr. Critchard: To juggle a myriad of priorities and key issues to help determine what is best for the business, people and guest.
Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?
Mr. Critchard: The Peninsula in Hong Kong which is the epitome of quality service. Gravetye Manor in Sussex which is a classic country house hotel in stunning surroundings, which offers a wonderful old world charm, hospitality and service.
Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?
Mr. Critchard: We have recently completed a major refurbishment of our ground floor public areas and dining facilities. This is part of an ongoing project desire to maintain our property to a high standard.
More info on the Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments.