LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
December 22, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Smack in the middle of London's fashionable Mayfair district, the Athenaeum is privately-owned and family-run, and it shows. The family atmosphere, reinforced by a long-standing staff, ensures impeccable service. Pleased guests are known to return time and time again, tickled pink by their luxurious experience at the Athenaeum (40% returning clients is pretty impressive). Easily one of the top hotels in London, featured on the CN Traveler Gold List, the Athenaeum launched a special promotional rate this past year, which has been wildly popular. The Pound for Dollar rate is a savings of more than 40% on the hotel's luxurious accommodations. The good news for us? The hotel has decided to continue this rate into the spring season and beyond.
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Official Site
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Five Star Alliance
December 21, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Nope, that's not the White House, folks. The stately architecture on display is the historic Greenbrier Resort, its estate set on 6,500 scenic acres in the Allegheny mountains of West Virginia. Habitual winner of the AAA five diamond award, named the "resort of the century" by the Andrew Harper Hideaway Report in '99, the Greenbrier is the essence of opulence. The all-inclusive resort offers over 50 recreational activities including three championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and a 40,000 square foot spa. And for this New Years, the Greenbrier is celebrating with an unforgettable party. (They've even planned a special dinner just for kids.) Evening concerts and live entertainment, a 50's buffet dinner dance, two New Year's Eve Galas featuring the Gene Donati Orchestra and The Gentlemen and Their Lady, noisemakers, hats, balloons, and of course the champagne toast at midnight. Followed the next day with an extraordinary New Year's Day champagne brunch. All this—including luxurious accommodations and daily meals-- is included with your New Years Package. Rates start at $329 per person, per night, double occupancy.
The Greenbrier, Official Site
The Greenbrier, Five Star Alliance
December 20, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The legendary pink palace, once the playground for celebs like F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a self-contained wonderland of pampering and exceptional service. Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, the Don CeSar, a Loews hotel, embodies the grandeur of America's traditional beach resorts. More than seven miles of gorgeous beaches, oodles of watersports, including daily sailing and waverunning clinics, seaside massages, the stunning pool, and of course, blissful accommodations. And from now until January 5, take advantage of mind-blowing specials, and the magical holiday ambience at the Don. The "Treasured Holiday" Package includes one night's accommodation in a Partial Gulfview room, breakfast buffet for two in the Sea Porch Cafe, and a 2006 Don CeSar calendar. Starting at $228 per night.
The Don CeSar, Official Site
The Don CeSar, Five Star Alliance
Let the countdown begin. With Christmas a week away, a few-days escape may be the highest priority on your wishlist. Look no farther than The Setai, the eight-story art deco landmark in South Beach. Set amidst tropical gardens and exquisite pools, The Setai has a spa like no other, with luxury suites to match. Black granite baths, rainwater showers, espresso coffee-makers, and equipped with cutting-edge technology. Christmas rates start at $900, including breakfast.
The Setai, Official Site
The Setai, Five Star Alliance
The creme de la creme of ski resorts, Amangani was voted first for its spa programs by Conde Nast Traveler readers, and ranked as the top apres-ski destination in the recent December issue of Men’s Health. This place oozes luxury in every detail-- from the Pacific redwood paneling to suites with deep soaking tubs and panoramic views to the gorgeous outdoor swimming pool warm enough to be enjoyed year-round. The setting? The 40-suite resort is set on the cliff of a butte, with a cedar roof that blends in with the surrounding natural outcropping. Conveniently located just below the Teton village’s Bridger Gondola, at the base of Rendezvous Mountain, Amangani enjoys sweeping views of the Teton peaks and the Snake River range and provides easy access to some damn good skiing. Amangani’s Ski Lounge is staffed with a ski valet to assist with rentals and other details, and provides boot and glove warmers, ski racks, baskets for ski gloves, mittens and goggles to ensure that all equipment stays dry and comfortable. Of course warm and cold drinks are available all day, and a complimentary ski shuttle can whisk you back to Amangani’s award-winning facilities at the drop of a hat.
Amangani, Official Site
Amangani, Five Star Alliance
We've got the skinny on new Vegas hotel openings. There's the hotly-anticipated Las Ramblas, positively aglow with star power, which I've been prone to drool over. The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino will squeeze onto the Strip right next door to the Bellagio, its condos and hotel ready in 2008. Steve Wynn's ambitions get more grandiose with the construction of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, the 2,000-suite second tower which will be ready for 2008. And what a big year for Sin City! Loews is planning to open its first resort in Nevada; Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort will have 400 rooms, two outdoor pools with cabanas, restaurants galore, and a destination spa. Not to be outdone, the lovely Venetian will be dolled up with the addition of the Palazzo Casino Hotel, a new hotel and retail tower connecting to the classic Vegas hotel. Look out Wynn: Mr. Trump is developing a hotel sin casino right next door, scheduled to open next year. Lastly, W is joining the fray, opening its first hotel with casino in the Harmon Corridor in 2008. Just how big can the sprawling neon funland get?
Cupid's (or Hallmark's?) big day can't get better than this. The Library Hotel in New York—possibly the single coolest themed hotel on the planet—is organized by the Dewey Decimal System (the archaic library classification system that has boggled more than a few student brains), thus the collection of 6,000 volumes is spread out in uniquely decorated guestrooms by topic. Social Sciences, Literature, Language, The Arts, Technology, you get the idea. The best Valentine's guestroom in the nation? Why room 800.01! Wholly devoted to Erotic Literature, it's packed with intriguing, erotic classics and furnishings. And now for the icing on the cake: The Library Hotel is offering a unique Erotica Package for $650 per night, based upon availability. Special gifts include: champagne on arrival, one dozen red roses, strawberries and whipped cream, Kama Sutra Love Essentials Package, Kama Sutra Massage Therapy Kit, Erotic Dice, a box of Godiva chocolates, Tantric Massage Video, two plush Library Hotel robes (for keeps!), and of course a volume of Erotica to take home with you.
Sitting gloriously above the Spanish steps, the Hotel Hassler reigns supreme over the Eternal City. Hands down the best views over Rome (while working out at the health club, you can check out St Peter's Cathedral!) And in a city that breathes antiquity, the hotel swims in it: walls decorated with original paintings by Titian and Tintoretto Schools, antiques in every room, large bathrooms finished in precious Italian marble and 23-carat gold plated faucets, walls covered in frescoes. One of the finest hotels in the world, in one of the most romantic cities in the world: the ideal honeymoon destination. The Special Honeymoon Package includes room with a view, breakfast buffet (served at restaurant or in the room), airport transfer in private car, wine in room upon arrival, daily fresh fruit in room, special gift from management, and upgrade based upon availability. EUR 726 per room, per night.
Hotel Hassler, Official Site
Hotel Hassler, Five Star Alliance
The marvelous Galapagos Islands, the inspiration for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, are home to the greatest diversity of creatures on the planet. What better way to experience this rich biodiversity than by private yacht tour? Blue Parallel is the specialist for private luxury travel to the wondrous natural wonders of South America, including customizable yacht packages to the equatorial islands of the Galapagos. Boats range in size from small (one to four passengers) to larger cruise ships for up to 40 peeps. The price range? From between $6,000 to $7,000 per person for an 11 day trip. Amenities include a superb staff (onboard personal chefs, expert naturalists, dive instructors, masseuse, and butler) and five-star accommodations.
December 13, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Record lows (prices, that is) at the Boulders Resort, with winter specials from $249 a night. Discover one of America's top golf and spa resorts, located on 1,300 acres of pristine Sonoran desert. Book one of 160 unique adobe casitas, overlooking red-rock boulders, enormous cacti and the wildlife of the Southwestern desert. Or choose one of 55 Pueblo Villas, with one to three bedrooms, and private patios. The 32,000 sq. foot Golden Door Spa offers 24 treatment rooms, Movement Studio (Pilates, etc.), private locker rooms with saunas, steam rooms and Japanese baths. The full spa menu includes Native American wraps and therapies.
Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa, Official Site
Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa, Five Star Alliance