April 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We've been keeping tabs on the latest Vegas growth spurt for awhile now, and it's just not slowing down. It seemed that the spotlight had shifted east to the new gambling mecca of Macau (which has surpassed Vegas in casino revenues and has opened countless Vegas-style mega-hotels). But things are only just starting to heat up in Sin City. As reported by USAToday's Hotel HotSheet, MGM Mirage just announced plans for the $700 million M Resort (MGM Mirage is only financing a paltry $160 million) to open in 2009. The outrageous building boom in Vegas has not yet reached its limit. To quote the NY Times:
Americans — and an increasing number of foreigners — can’t seem to get enough of Las Vegas. The current construction craze is driven by a 95 percent weekend occupancy rate — and rates that approach 100 percent at the city's newer properties. Last year, even the weekday rate fell just shy of 90 percent, partly because of the city’s success in positioning itself as an attractive convention destination.
Here's a taste of what's to come. The Venetian is opening a 3,200 suite tower, which will bring its room count to more than 7,000; $4.4 billion Echelon Place will open on the site of the old Stardust; the mammoth Project CityCenter will cost MGM Mirage $7 billion, the most expensive development in Vegas history.
This is truly a hotel experience like no other. At Winvian, 15 architects created 18 whimsical cottages which the LA Times equates to a plush, Seuss-like playground for adults. Spend the night in a restored 1968 Sikorsky Sea King helicopter where you can "mix a drink in the plush fuselage." (And to quote the NYT: this baby's "so tricked out that Austin Powers might have piloted it.") Or go Flintstones style and choose the Stone Cottage, "a no comfort spared cave" decked out with leather curtains, boulders, slate roof, and two fireplaces. Or wake up in The Treehouse, perched 35 feet off the ground. The setting is bucolic, the quintessential New England landscape: 113 acres of meadows, forests, lakes, and farm pastures not far from the historic town of Litchfield. But an experience like this will cost you. The nightly rate ranges from $1,450 to $1,950.
Just a few hours drive from Shanghai, the historic city of Suzhou is world-famous for its Classical Chinese gardens, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These nine garden masterpieces recreate natural landscapes in miniature:
Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.
Part of China's coastal economic development area, the city itself is a key tourist destination with its tile-roofed houses, canals linked by small bridges, and tranquil gardens. Here, visitors can discover 487 historical sites! Shangri-La has just opened its newest luxury hotel in the Metropolitan Tower in Suzhou. Located between the 28th and 51st floors, the hotel features 390 spacious rooms and suites, six restaurants and bars, meeting and banquet facilities, tennis courts, and a Health Club with indoor pool, steam sauna, and Jacuzzi.
April 27, 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: Country Estate, 600 acres, DC Getaway ...
Toni Powell and ROBERT S. RISBERG both correctly guessed Last Weeks Hotel:
The award-winning Caribbean resort Hotel Guanahani and Spa has announced special values in the off-season of 50 percent off the winter rates. (During the winter months, exclusive St. Bart's properties like this one start at $1,000 a night.) Off-season packages are a real steal because the resort has promised a Dollars for Euros deal, whereby all rates will appear in dollars, instead of the usual pricing in euros. (The island is part of the French West Indies, after all.) Three-night stays are going for $2,025 (double) for a three night stay, and that includes daily breakfast, two lunches and two dinners, a rental car for a day, a cooking class, and four spa treatments per person in the new Clarins spa, an indulgent hideaway surrounded by palms and pools. Wow.
The scenery doesn't get any more spectacular than this. Surrounded by the majestic peaks, roaring rivers, and vast alpine pastures of Lord of the Rings country, the five-star Millbrook resort is only 20 minutes outside Queenstown, but a world away in the tranquil majesty of the setting. Recently named as one of the highest ranking hotels for value within New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific by Travel and Leisure magazine, Millbrook resort is a year-round recreational paradise which embodies the relaxed New Zealand country lifestyle. Enjoy the resort's renowned golf course, enjoyed by enthusiasts from around the world, relax in the world-class spa facility, dine at the award-winning restaurants, or venture out to the surrounding countryside for wine-tasting, shopping, and adrenalin adventures like jet boating and helicopter sightseeing. Book the Autumn Colors package and enjoy accommodation in a luxurious Village Inn room, full buffet breakfast, and a bottle of Central Otago wine and handmade Belgian chocolates. All for just $180 per person/per night (based on double occupancy)-- and that price is quoted in NZ dollars. Available until June 30, 2007.
Now is the time to head south of the border and check out the sun-splashed beaches and Mayan ruins of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Room rates are dropping, but don't worry-- hurricane season won't kick in for a few months. South of Cancun on the gorgeous Riviera Maya, Tulum lures visitors to its serene beaches and magical Caribbean-facing ruins. Here, the new Azul Blue hotel offers luxurious privacy and stellar service (your own personal butler will attend to your every need, while pool and beach butlers provide towel service, refreshment deliveries, and cooling vaporizers for your lounging pleasure). Listed on Conde Nast Traveler's 2007 Hot List, Azul Blue features 96 oversized suites with lavish bedding, iPods and plasma screen TVs. Though you may not want to leave the comfort of the spa, there are plenty of recreational activities if you so choose-- from deep sea fishing to scuba diving.
Treat yourself to some serious spa relaxation while listening to the sounds of the sea from the tip of the picturesque island of Nantucket. The brand new Spa by the Sea-- located at the island's most luxurious hotel-- will open in May 2007. Rejuvenating spa treatments will be available exclusively to hotel guests. Specially-trained therapists will offer treatments that reflect Nantucket's native habitat such as the signature Cranberry Crush Body Treatment, the Garden Facial, and Atlantic Seaweed Wrap. Massages will feature seasonal wildflowers and herbs-- local rose, chamomile, rosemary, lavender, rhododendron, and hydrangea-- grown in The Wauwinet's spa garden. The surroundings are magical (how about a massage on the lawn?) and the spa menu has been specially designed by David Daniels, Executive Chef of TOPPER'S restaurant, with locally grown foods highly beneficial to the skin and body.
April 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A luxury hotel, run by students, housed in a converted 19th century school building. The College Hotel is aptly named! Welcome to Amsterdam's chic and elegant boutique hotel, founded as a training hotel for the exceptional students of the Amsterdam Hotel Management School, Bakery and Tourism. (Never fear-- no wild keg parties for these students-- they are under the supervision of world-class professionals.) The College Hotel's 40 rooms and suites are each individually designed with luxurious details, beautiful bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology. Head to Amsterdam to check out the springtime tulips and enjoy spectacular savings. The Spring Special is an absolute steal at just EUR 235 a night in a Superior Double Room, breakfast included. Valid until June 30, 2007.
April 25, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
This July 4th set sail with the Willard InterContinental on the USS Sequoia Presidential Yacht for a Fireworks Cruise on the historic Potomac River in Washington, DC. The luxury Willard Hotel is offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the national fireworks with the "Presidential Extravaganza Fireworks Cruise package". Along with the USS Sequoia cruise (featuring excellent views of the fireworks display), guests enjoy a pre-cruise cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception in a luxury Willard Hotel suite; Red Carpet hotel departure, Transportation to and from the Sequoia Yacht; Onboard gourmet buffet, open bar and champagne, music and dancing, Valet parking, Overnight in deluxe accommodation at the Willard InterContinental Washington (or transferable certificate for a one night stay valid for one year) with breakfast and parking, plus a keepsake gift.
The cost? $1890 per couple. But don't wait too long to make your reservations, the 104-foot, 100-ton wooden, teak-paneled Sequoia only accommodates 50 guests total.