LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The annual CNT Reader's Travel Awards have been released, so now we can ogle these gorgeous properties to our hearts' content. Perusing the list, you may wonder: Just why did the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah get top honors, scoring the number one position on the chart? Conde Nast Traveller readers voted this the top hotel in the world, with a score of 96.45 percent out of 100 (the magazine's index of satisfaction). So what makes this spot so special?
Blissful spa? Check. A truly dreamy tropical setting? Check. Decadent cuisine? Check. Sleek over-water villas from where you can go for a dip in the crystal clear sea? But of course. But more than the standard fare at luxury hotels, the One&Only Maldives offers a level of privacy and exclusivity which is truly unprecedented. In other words, this resort is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.
You've seen the ads. Impossibly good-looking couple disembarks from a private plane, while the grinning One&Only staff greet them, gracefully balancing designer luggage and trays of chilled cocktails. Enough said.
30,000 will buy you the Valentine's Day indulgence of a lifetime. (But we're not talking dollars. Nope. British pounds! which means a paltry 60,000 dollars.) Red Carnation Hotels-- the stellar global collection of boutique luxury hotels-- has recently announced the ultimate Valentine's Day experience available for the month of February 2008. And it seems that diamonds trump hearts. You'll get a chauffeur-driven Bentley, a bath filled with pink Champagne, twelve dozen red roses, and a box of handmade chocolates. *Yawn, how humdrum.* But did we mention the makeup and hair session in a top salon for the lady and a haircut at one of London's most celebrated barbers for the gentleman? Plus a bespoke tailored suit for him and a designer evening dress for her? Followed by a 7-course tasting meal with butler service in your suite, with a different wine to complement each dish, served as a harpist plays melodious tunes in the corner? And to top it all off: ten grand's worth of diamonds from De Beer's! Now, that's more like it. The Diamonds Package may be extravagant, but of all the days in the year, this evening is surely worth the splurge. Red Carnation Hotels is offering this package at all six of their London properties: "41" opposite Buckingham Palace, The Milestone by Kensington Gardens, The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, The Montague in Bloomsbury, The Chesterfield Mayfair and The Rubens next door to "41."
What better way to celebrate New Year's Eve than on the banks of the Chao Praya River at one of the world's best hotels? The Shangri-La Bangkok ushers in 2008 with a poolside gala dinner party on New Year's Eve with special dance shows, entertainment, and a splendid array of delicious dishes. Not to mention the grand fireworks display! Book the New Year's Eve Package and enjoy a two-night stay in a luxurious Executive Suite with complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two, full Horizon Club access, a complimentary one-way transfer from airport to hotel, and the big countdown party! This New Year's Eve Package is priced from $609 per night, based on a two-night minimum stay, and is available from December 30, 2007- January 1, 2008.
PS. The Horizon Club (Krungthep Wing) provides lucky guests with a slew of benefits including access to a private lounge, all-day tea and coffee, juices and soft drinks, afternoon high tea, early evening cocktails and a range of business amenities.
The brand new Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Ireland's first, is tucked in the gentle green hills of Country Wicklow, located just 16 miles outside of Dublin on the east coast. The Palladian estate is destined to become a magnificent destination hotel. Here you can enjoy both the tranquility of country living and the city chic of cosmopolitan Dublin. Set in the beautiful formal gardens of the famous Powerscourt Estate, the hotel is the ideal retreat in County Wicklow (aka "The Garden of Ireland"). As to be expected at a Ritz-Carlton, the surroundings are sumptuous: dignified accommodations, an outstanding spa, 36 holes of championship golf, and three exceptional restaurants including Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, a signature restaurant from the esteemed chef. Plus, with 10,000 square feet of meeting space, this place is bound to be a meeting planner's dream.
We're thrilled to break the news on the D.C. hotel scene with an inside scoop. Washingtonians will bliss out over this one. Starwood's Luxury Collection-- that otherworldly mélange of exceptional hotels-- will welcome its first D.C. hotel into its fold come February 2008. Currently dubbed the Westin Embassy Row (and a Ritz-Carlton in a previous incarnation), this historic hotel sits on some prime real estate near Dupont Circle-- with sweeping views of Embassy Row, the Washington Cathedral skyline, and the twinkling lights of Georgetown. The hotel is currently undergoing a dramatic historic renovation until January 31, 2008 and will emerge as an elegant destination on par with the other swanky Luxury Collection properties that cater to an elite clientele in the world's most sought-after destinations. The first choice for Washington society for generations, the stately hotel first opened in 1927. This D.C. landmark will open as The Fairfax on February 1, 2008.
When the temperatures dip this autumn, get cozy at Munich's finest hotel, Bayerischer Hof, and enjoy an unforgettable holiday in Bavaria. Jazz enthusiasts will flock to the hotel's Night Club for the New York Concert Series, where famous artists perform musical highlights from soul to jazz. Sunday mornings mean an indulgent Jazz Brunch Buffet at the Palais Keller with savory starters, seasonal salads, and delicacies from the sea. Book the Winter Package at this world-class luxury hotel and enjoy excellent rates and a bunch of extras: Warm up with a hot winter cocktail at the crackling fireplace in the Blue Spa winter garden. Indulge in champagne breakfast in the roof garden. Savor a four-course menu at the Garden Restaurant. Plus two nights of luxurious accommodations, all for EUR 308 per night (double room). Available from October 26, 2007- March 13, 2008.
When the new Regent Bal Harbour opens its doors in January, it will be the first hotel in a half-century to be built in glamorous Bal Harbour, the shopping and people-watching mecca in North Miami Beach. As upscale and chic as its surroundings, the exclusive hotel promises to up the lux factor with its vibrant modern design and stunning museum quality art collection. Located on a pristine white sand beach, the hotel affords inspiring views of the Atlantic, Intracoastal Waterway, and Miami's bright lights. Expect to find sublime guest rooms, accessible via private elevators to ensure privacy, with terraces, 52-inch plasma screen TVs, Anichini linens, and free-standing bathtubs set before 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. Other perks at the Regent Bal Harbour: the expansive infinity-edge pool, poolside cabanas with private Roman hot tubs, fully-equipped fitness center, water sports, and private cars to whisk you away for a day of shopping. While you relax on the 750-foot private beach, attendants will provide sunscreen, portable DVD players and iPods, iced towels and beverages. But perhaps what we are most excited about is the Guerlain Spa, the first of its kind in the U.S. South Florida's new ultra-chic destination is now accepting reservations for its January 2, 2008 opening. Special opening rates for Superior Bay View Rooms start at $475 a night from January 2 -April 30, 2008.
The best kept secret in Vegas is actually off the strip. Red Rock Canyon is a wonderland of ancient sandstone and limestone formations, with hiking and biking galore. The best way to enjoy both the hedonistic delights of Vegas and the breathtaking beauty of Red Rock Canyon is a stay at the fabulous Red Rock Casino Resort Spa. You can relax in the expansive pool backyard (three acres of fun), play your hand at Poker, savor a first-class meal, and now-- get ready, thrill-seekers!-- experience the ultimate cycling adventure. Discover one of the most beautiful spots on earth while experiencing the strongest and lightest wheel set in the world. The billion-dollar resort has partnered with Lew Racing and Cannondale Bikes to create adventure packages for cycling enthusiasts. During your stay at Red Rock you will have access to Lew Racing's revolutionary 880 gram PRO VT-1 wheel set which you will test ride on Cannondale's System Six or Synapse Carbon SL1. There are a variety of Adventure Spa packages on offer, ranging from basic room and bike rental to high-end custom packages where you will stay in a luxury suite, dine at some of Las Vegas' finest restaurants, and indulge in Spa treatments designed to target the muscle groups you'll use while taking guided road bike tours in the back-country.
Indian Summer reigns supreme in Provence. Why not steal away to the south of France and discover the lovely historic city of Avignon, the former papal stronghold surrounded by vineyards, medieval villages, and Roman ruins? Book a room at the charming Hostellerie Les Frênes, one of the newest members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Located just five minutes outside the city, the hotel is a lovely Napoleon-style villa with 200-year old gardens dotted with Greco-Roman statues. There are only 20 guest rooms, decorated with period family heirloom furniture, and outfitted with luxurious modern amenities like private Jacuzzis, satellite TV and wireless Internet.
The hotel has put together the perfect package to experience the magical region of Provence. Enjoy a full day's wine tasting with a sommelier from Provence. Take a jaunt to the picturesque village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone Valley, origin of some of France's greatest wines. Explore the vineyards, taste the wines, and lunch on a delicious picnic prepared by the hotel's chef. You'll also enjoy full breakfast daily plus one dinner at Le Jardin des Frenes, the hotel's excellent restaurant offering contemporary interpretations of traditional Provencal cuisine. Available until November 3, 2007, the Explore Provence package is priced from EUR 900 for two people for three nights.
October 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The most fashionable address in Boston awaits you. Overlooking the Public Garden at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets, the legendary hotel, spruced up after a nifty renovation and new management by the illustrious Taj Hotels, is now spoiling guests with impressive amenities and service. With the Taj Bed and Breakfast Offer, enjoy accommodations for two in a deluxe room plus full American breakfast for two in The Café, where you can look out over Newbury street while savoring mouthwatering temptations like the Crab and Pancetta Omelette, Rock Shrimp Hash, or Brioche Raisin French Toast. Starting from $325. Or choose the Executive Suite with a wood-burning fireplace including the services of a fireplace butler for $625. Available until March 31, 2008.