LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The hottest ticket in California right now is San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, where new hotels are opening a mile a minute. The long-awaited Ivy Hotel, about which we first reported last December, is finally ready to make its debut in August. Guests can expect 24-hour butler service, a fitness center, rooftop pool, and Cadillac Escalade courtesy cars. Fun, whimsical dishes will be the mainstay at The Quarter Kitchen, the hotel's on-site restaurant. Think caviar tacos and lobster pot pie. Hot on the heels of this sexy hotel's opening, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is scheduled to open in the fall. Book one of the rock star suites-- rumor has it that the Black Eyed Peas even designed one-- and enjoy LCD televisions, CD/DVD with iPod connections, and a martini bar.
It's no wonder this historic hood is attracting the eye of hoteliers. Experiencing a renaissance of sorts, the place is packed with boutiques, bistros, beautiful galleries, excellent restaurants, and happening nightlife spots. And of course as we sing the area's praises, we can't forget the signature old-fashioned gaslamps lining the sidewalks of the West's trendiest neighborhood.
Follow your bliss to the soft sands and roaring surf of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where Casa Velas provides a peaceful, secluded oasis. Tucked away on the beautiful Marina Vallarta golf course, Casa Velas is an adults-only boutique hotel. Relax in your private plunge pool or hit the sand at the beach club. Retreat to the spa for an indulgent massage overlooking the ocean. In the evening, enjoy live music and a fabulous meal at the gourmet restaurant, Emiliano. This is the ultimate romantic hideaway. With the One More Night promotion, stay for three nights and get the fourth for free! And since this hotel is all-inclusive, you get all your meals, premium beverages, and round-trip airport transfers for free. Rates are for a Master Suite, and start at $540 per couple per night. (Rate is pro-rated to reflect savings for the four-night stay.) Available until December 20, 2007.
June 22, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: 2,500-acres, Orvis-endorsed, 4 distinct seasons ...
All 4 contestants were correct in guessing Last Week's Hotel Contest:
The Hotel Le Meurice, Paris, France
Savvy gourmands flock to the InterContinental Hong Kong for the best dining options in the city. The STEAK HOUSE winebar + grill lures meat lovers with prime cuts of the world's finest steaks on Hong Kong's only charcoal grill; the new Nobu restaurant was named one of the world's Hot Tables by Conde Nast Traveler. And then there's SPOON by Alain Ducasse, the high concept restaurant designed by the world's most awarded chef. This innovative hot spot gives guests the freedom to mix and match food and cooking styles, and select different sauces and side dishes. The best ingredients from around the world-- think French foie gras, lobster, the freshest fish and vegetables-- are incorporated into exciting, contemporary dishes by SPOON Executive Chef Tjaco van Eijken who moved to Hong Kong in June 2005 (from Mr. Ducasse's Il Cortile (1-Michelin star) restaurant in Paris).
Tony Chi designed the interiors to showcase the panoramic views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong island. The leather and chrome bar area is complemented by modern French chairs with eel skin upholstery and sofas with mink cushions. 550 hand-blown Venetian Mercury glass spoons adorn the ceiling, reflecting the custom-designed open kitchen and harbor views. The huge international wine selection (4,800 bottles with 450 different vintages) is dramatically showcased within the restaurant.
SPOON offers one of the most sought-after dining experiences in the city. Hong Kong residents easily make up half of the restaurant's clientele. Open daily for dinner and Sundays for lunch. Located on the Lobby Level of the InterContinental.
Escape to Red Rock country for some serious relaxation (and inspiration). Surrounded by the majesty of towering rock formations and the pristine desert landscape, the Enchantment Resort is situated within an unbelievable setting. And at 4,600 feet, the resort experiences cooler, pleasant temperatures-- an oasis away from the hottest Arizona summers. For thousands of years, Native Americans considered this an area of sacred healing. It's no wonder that the resort’s Mii Amo spa, inspired by the magic of the setting and named after the Native American word for "Journey," was voted Number 1 Destination Spa in America by Travel and Leisure readers. The stunning adobe architecture seems to blend into the red rock cliffs of Boynton Canyon. Mii Amo offers a full menu of spa services like the High Desert Facial, Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment, Milk and Honey Bath, Sedona Clay Wrap, and massage. Other progressive spa services include Tarot card readings and Astrology.
Now you can stay next door to Vladimir Putin's summer house on the Russian Riviera. When he's not hazing the new French president, Vlad hangs out here in Sochi, the historic seaside resort on the Black Sea. Stein Hotels opened Grand Hotel and Spa Rodina in May 2006 and the media's been abuzz ever since. Set within 15 hectares of gardens that lead down to a private beach club, the hotel has dramatic views of the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains, sandy beaches of the Black Sea, and Putin's official summer residence. Joseph Stalin originally created the resort in the 1950s as a retreat for the party elite. For over two centuries, the country's rich and powerful flocked to these shores, now also known for its annual film festival held in June. The subtropical climate-- the most northernmost like it in the world-- means lush terrain and lots of leafy palms. (You can swim from April through October, and hit the ski slopes from October into May.) Discover the magnificent botanical gardens, the only tea plantations in Russia, and the magnificent canyons and waterfalls of the nearby Caucasus mountains.
Grand Hotel Rodina is an exclusive property of only 42 rooms and suites, some with private terrace Jacuzzis. Soak in the oversized swimming pools (the best in the area), catch a flick at the private cinema, dine al fresco on the rooftop terrace, stake your claim to a piece of paradise at the exclusive Beach Club. The facilities are truly presidential, with tennis and basketball courts, a helicopter pad, boathouse, billiard room, and fully-equipped gym and spa. The best part of all? The cigar room located in the 50 year old bomb shelter.
Rooftop bars abound in Manhattan; outdoor boozing is a favorite urban pastime when the mercury rises (and that blanket of humidity shrouds our favorite city). For the best views in New York, head downtown to the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park to cool off on the Rise Bar & Terrace, located on the 14th floor. After all, this high-energy hot spot was chosen by Zagat as the Best Rooftop Bar in NYC. Sample a cocktail and the tasty small plates while gazing out at the Statue of Libery and New York Harbor. This extraordinary location means that the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park is the only luxury waterfront hotel in the city.
You can't beat this London location. Overlooking Hyde Park, within easy reach of Knightsbridge's famous stores, The Berkeley is mere moments from London's acclaimed museums and landmarks. For over a century, the storied hotel has retained its elegance, charm, and popularity with its distinguished clientele. The Blue Bar, the hotel's drinking spot, has made a name for itself in dozens of glossies around the globe. The rooftop pool is one of only two in London; it has a retracting roof and beautiful views over Hyde Park. Marcus Wareing's Michelin-starred Pétrus restaurant has secured The Berkeley as one of the world's leading gastronomic hotels. Stay Friday, Saturday or Sunday night between now and December 31, 2007 and enjoy a welcome bottle of chilled champagne, full English breakfast and late check-out at 4 p.m. the following day. Prices for Weekend Chic start from GBP 259 per night in a Superior King-bedded room.
PS. Don't miss the fashionista's favorite afternoon tea at The Berkeley, Prêt-à-Portea.
The legendary QE2, launched by Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 1967, has been sold to Dubai's Istithmar company for a mere $100 million. The longest serving vessel in Cunard's history, the ocean liner crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and carried more than 2.5 million passengers. Now the ship will become a must-see tourist attraction in Dubai (where else?)-- where it will be converted into a luxurious floating hotel at the Palm Jumeirah. After an extensive refurbishment program to recreate all the original interior décor, the QE2 will reopen in 2009 in its new permanent home: a pier at the Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island.
June 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Get lost in luxury at New Zealand's Matakauri Lodge, just a short distance from the alpine wonderland of Queenstown, the "Adventure Capital of the World." Nestled on the shores of Wakatipu Lake, this luxury lodge is a serene retreat with world-class facilities, including the Spa Pavilion with sauna, hot tub, and two therapy rooms, where guests indulge in an exclusive program of tailor made Holistic therapies with organic products. Adventure-seeking explorers can go bungy jumping, white-water rafting, heli-skiing in the Remarkables mountain range, or jet-boating. Exciting thrills abound. But for those pining for a more restful holiday, there's wine tasting at the local vineyards, strolls through historic Arrowtown, and shopping and dining in Queenstown.