September 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The dynamic, vibrant city of Shanghai is a city of superlatives: it has the fastest train on the planet (the Maglev train linking its two airports) and is also home to the highest hotel in the world, The Grand Hyatt. Situated in the 53rd to 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower in the heart of Pudong, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai is easily the best hotel in the city. Nota Bene, the exclusive destination review, raves about the Grand Hyatt in its latest issue on Shanghai, recommending it over most of the city's other luxury hotels (which are mostly big Western chains, like Four Seasons, Westin, JW Marriott):
The Grand Hyatt's height, its floor-to-ceiling windows, its 87th-floor bar, the swiftness of its lifts, its views of the Bund; all are largely unbeatable.
Hipsters flock to Cloud 9, the hotel's sexy bar/lounge located on the 87th floor, the highest point of the hotel. The 360 degree city views are sensational. The spacious guest rooms and suites epitomize luxury, with modern amenities guaranteed to mesmerize even the most discerning travelers.
The mountains of Vermont offer some of the best fall foliage in the country: a gorgeous pastoral of slopes dotted with yellow aspens, orange oaks, and firey red maples. And according to the Peak Foliage Report, the autumn leaves will be at their best starting at the end of September for a three-week period. Escape to The Equinox Resort and Spa in Manchester Village for the best kind of Fall getaway. Situated on 2,300 acres between the Green and Taconic Mountains, the award-winning hotel dates back more than 200 years. Enjoy deluxe accommodations, a recently renovated Avanyu Spa, a wide variety of dining options, and world-class golf at Gleneagles Golf Course. Take advantage of the extraordinary Orvis Inn Extravaganza Package and get lots of goodies with your luxurious accommodations. The Charles Orvis Inn is the elegantly restored 19th-century residence of the Orvis Company Founder which features nine one and two-bedroom suites with marble baths and cherry-paneled kitchens. The two-night package includes accommodations, daily breakfast, a picnic lunch at Hildene, a tour of the Hildene Mansion, chef-prepared dinner for two in Marsh Tavern, a horse-drawn carriage ride, a Falconry lesson, an off-road driving lesson, one 55-minute Avanyu Spa massage per person, picnic lunch at Equinox Pond, and a trip to the Orvis Flagship Store, including transportation and a personal shopper. The package is $810 per person, per night (excluding taxes); available until December 22, 2006.
Can't get enough of that white tea scent of Westin? Wish you could bottle it and take it with you? Recreate that soothing space in the comfort of your own home? Well, now you can. Lucky guests no longer have to wait until their next travel getaway to get their fix of Westin's signature scent. White Tea by Westin features a luxurious 100 percent soy candle, gentle room oil diffuser and all-natural potpourri in its fragrance collection. According to the folks at Westin:
White Tea by Westin is a custom-designed scent that evokes the personality of the brand, elevates the senses and transforms any space. Highlighted with notes of geranium and freesia, the ingredients were carefully chosen because of their relaxing properties and are the result of almost a year of research and testing. The scent made its debut in the Westin brand's recent "This is How it Should Feel" print ad campaign that features a White Tea fragrance strip - the first time a hotel company used this type of execution in an ad campaign. It was then introduced in Westin Hotel lobbies around the world as part of the brand's new Welcome program which is currently rolling out across all hotels worldwide.(The smell evokes the personality of the brand? Ed. Insert joke here.) The Westin retail line also includes the Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath products, available through an in-room catalogue, website, and at Nordstrom's.
Oktoberfest in Munich is in full swing. And the beer-guzzling merriment of the world's biggest beer festival--16 days of revelry--will continue until October 3, 2006. The 14 beer tents collectively seat over 100,000 patrons and over the course of the festival, an estimated 6 million visitors will down 6 million liters of specialty brew, accompanied by the best kind of German grub (schnitzel, sauerkraut and sausage galore). But it's more than a keg fest. There's entertainment, theater and shows, and carnival rides a plenty. Munich is hopping with activity. If a last minute trip to Europe's biggest festival is in the works, stake your claim to a room at the Bayerischer Hof, the city's finest hotel-- its elegance a welcome respite from the frenzy of activity outside. Centrally located, the largest privately owned hotel in Germany boasts excellent restaurants, rooftop swimming pool, spa facilities with sauna, steambath, and solarium, and its own theater and night club. Or start planning for next year's merry-making, scheduled for September 22-October 7, 2007.
La Mer is Hawaii's only Five-Diamond Restaurant. Located in the landmark Halekulani hotel-- its proud global reputation sustained by its long tradition of gracious hospitality and royal service-- La Mer features Neoclassical French cuisine crafted with indigenous island ingredients. Chef Yves Garnier's internationally-acclaimed creations are served amidst breathtaking ocean views, a setting deemed No. 1 for Decor in a Zagat study of the best hotel restaurants. Expect to pay a pretty penny for this divine gourmet experience; La Grande Assiette Gourmande (an appetizer for two people which includes a chef's sampler of Hamachi and Ahi Tartare on a Taro Chip, Lobster Medallions, Fresh Hearts of Palm and Red Beet, Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Marinated Anchovies on Potato, Small Mussel Soup and Sauteed Foie Gras) is $72. Jacket required for gentlemen.
Take in the spectacular display of fall color, high in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia at The Homestead-- the National Historic Landmark which has played host to Princes and heads of state since 1776. Ranked among the world's top Spa and Golf resorts, The Homestead is surrounded by gorgeous scenery, enhanced by nature's display of autumn foliage. Enjoy this splendor by foot, bike, horse, carriage or porch rocker. Or, take in the scenery while playing a round of golf on one of three championship courses. At the end of the day, "take the waters" at the world-class spa and historic Jefferson pools, where travelers since the 1700s have bathed in the bubbling hot springs. For select dates this Fall, The Homestead is offering rates as low as $135 a night with the "Hot Dates, Hot Rates" package, which includes luxurious accommodations, breakfast daily, traditional afternoon tea, nightly movies in the historic theater, use of pool and fitness center. Children 6-18 years of age stay free when sharing a room with a parent. (Children 5 and under may also eat free.)
The all-business class Maxjet Airways flies luxurious transatlantic service between London Stansted and New York and Washington. Maxjet planes (Boeing 767s) carry half their original capacity, so 102 passengers enjoy double the space per seat. The service is fantastic: gorgeous pre-departure lounges where beverages and canapes are served, multi-course gourmet meals, a Chef's pantry, premium liquor, on-demand entertainment, and deep-recline, all-leather seats onboard. Maxjet Airways features all-business class at affordable rates. To celebrate its first anniversary, Maxjet is offering an unbelievable fare sale of only $999 round trip from either New York JFK or Washington Dulles to London Stansted. Tickets must be booked between September 19 and October 1, 2006 for travel anytime between November 1, 2006 and February 28, 2007. The promotion code for the sale fare is ANNV06 and can be booked at Maxjet's Web site.
66 storeys of sleek, sophisticated luxury right smack in the center of Shanghai on People's Square. The new Le Royal Meridien Shanghai is a sight to behold, a new landmark on the city's quickly-changing skyline. This is the heart of the city, just a quick walk to the Bund, Huaihai Road, Xintiandi, the old town, and the numerous shops along the buzzing Nanjing Road. The 770-room hotel has a staff of 1,200 to ensure the highest level of service for its pampered clientele. Views from the guest rooms are exquisite, overlooking the Bund, Huang Pu River, and dramatic Shanghai skyline. Rooms are outfitted with 42" plasma TV, DVD/CD player, rain shower, wireless and High Speed Internet Access, and wall-to-wall windows. Not too shabby. And with 10 restaurants and bars, a luxury spa, and 2,000 square meters of meeting space, Le Royal Meridien Shanghai is the place to stay in the city. Now accepting reservations for September 25, 2006 arrivals.
Leave it to NYT Travel to hook us up with the latest scoop on the South Beach scene: the hot new hotels breaking ground (move over, Delano!), big name restauranteurs making waves (LA dude Govind Armstrong has big plans with a branch of his Table 8 and David Bouley's staking out a spot in the Ritz-Carlton), and over-the-top parties shaking things up (at new clubs like Mokai, SET, and Snatch).
The hottest hotel opening of the season? The Regent South Beach, a luxury 80-suite condominium hotel, located on 14th and Ocean, in the middle of it all in South Beach. Penthouse Suites are decked out with secluded rooftop gardens, roman hot tubs, and ocean views. There's a full-service European spa, trendy restaurant overlooking Ocean Drive, glass-bottom pool, and first-class amenities. At this new gem, concierge and valet service is 24 hours a day, of course. Renowned architectural firm Arquitectonica is behind the gorgeous building and landscaping.
Thailand's swanky new Suvarnabhumi International Airport-- that's NBK in airport code-- opened on Friday... a soft launch with a few domestic and international flights. By September 28, this flashy new airport is expected to handle most of the flights from the nearby, aging Don Muang airport (BKK). The new airport, expected to accommodate up to 45 million passengers a year, is set to become a regional aviation hub, competing with Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The best part of all is the new high-speed rail link and five alternative routes to the city center (bye bye, nasty Bangkok gridlock).