LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
April 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
From the soft sandy beaches of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula to the paved boulevards of Washington D.C., luxury hotels are turning green. Who says luxury travel can't embrace the values of responsible tourism? ForbesTraveler has highlighted the world's best luxury eco-resorts, along with a separate list of America's greenest hotels. These luxury resorts include the Fairmont Washington D.C. and Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, as Fairmont has been an industry leader in transforming their hotels into eco-friendly ones.
Say hello to the newest five-star hotel in Tokyo, housed in the tallest skyscraper in the Japanese capital. Recently opened in the beginning of April 2007, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo occupies the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-storey Midtown Tower. The hotel is utterly dazzling. There are panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji, the magnificent sky lobby, sensational restaurants and bars, the 2,000 square meter Spa by ESPA, and a highly sought-after Wedding Chapel. As reported by the Washington Post, the international brands of five-star hotels are taking Tokyo by storm. The Ritz-Carlton is the fifth after the Mandarin Oriental, the Conrad, the Grand Hyatt and the Four Seasons. These hotels are upping the ante as Japan's own upscale hoteliers sometimes "fail to deliver" for Japan's "New Rich:"
The Ritz-Carlton will make an ice sculpture that holds an engagement ring for a man planning to propose to his girlfriend. It also places playful little cards under beds in hopes of wowing fussy and hypochondriac Japanese guests. The cards say: "We cleaned here too."
The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is even offering a Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini in partnership with Bulgari. Shell out $16,000 for the cocktail, and you'll find a one-carat Bulgari diamond at the bottom, which you can take it to any Bulgari store in Tokyo and have a ring fitted to the stone for free.
The list of accolades is exhaustive. (No small feat in a region where foodies flock to indulge at the top-notch restaurants.) Head to the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant to see what all the fuss is about. Nestled in the beautiful Russian River Valley of Sonoma County's famed wine country, Farmhouse wows its guests with its stunning scenery, sublime food, excellent service, and sense of family tradition. (After all, the owners' family has farmed in Sonoma for five generations.) The daily-changing menu is inspired by the incredible artisan bounty which surrounds the Farmhouse in Sonoma: local vineyards, handmade cheeses, free-range livestock, honey from the farm's bee hives, heirloom apples from nearby Bartolomei Ranch, figs and Meyer lemons from the kitchen garden... Bon Appetit raves:
Chef Steve Litke's cooking springs from whatever is fresh at the market that day: salt-roasted pear and parmesan ravioli or double-cut pork chops graced with a honey and bee pollen glaze. Like everything else here, the desserts are sublime.
This is what the good life is all about.
April 11, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
The Tides Inn has been a Chesapeake Bay tradition for 60 Years and is located just one hour east of Richmond in Irvington, Virginia. Throughout 2007, the AAA Four Diamond resort is observing its milestone anniversary with a celebration package guests can enjoy any day of the week for the whole year. Included in the "Sensation 60th Package" are waterview accommodations and your choice of a) 60 minute spa treatment per person or b) a round of golf at the Golden Eagle including lunch at Captain B's or dinner for 2 including a $50 wine credit. There is no minimum stay required and rates range from USD $159 to $330 per person, per night. For all guests, there are appealing extras to make any visit to the Tides Inn a little more special, such as the "Touch of Romance" - a wine basket with assorted food, goblets, corkscrew and vase of flowers; or the "Learn to Sail" add on for adults, families, or adults only.
Our room recommendation would be a Premium Guest Room which features either two queen size beds or one king bed and a sitting area with either two wicker reading chairs or a pull out sleeper sofa. These rooms feature private balconies overlooking the most highly sought-after views of the Carters Creek Cove.
By: Courtney W. May
How can you stay at one of the world's best hotels (i.e., a member of the T+L 500) when you're on a budget? By timing your visit appropriately. Case in point: the Wauwinet, a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod, has rates of $500 a night during the peak summer season.
Book the "Too Good To Be True" rates for a spring stay from May 6-May 31, 2007 (Sunday through Thursday) at The Wauwinet, and enjoy this magical world-class retreat for as little as $195 a night. Take in gorgeous sunsets from the 30 miles of private beach, dine at the fabulous Topper's Restaurant, and soak up the scenic setting of the most exclusive lodgings on Nantucket. Full breakfast is included in the room rate, along with complimentary evening port sherry and cheese.
The Taj Hotel empire is expanding. After the 2005 acquisition of The Pierre, the luxurious New York City landmark, and the recent buy-out of the former Ritz-Carlton on Arlington Street in Boston, Taj has its eye on a West Coast property. Up next? Campton Place, San Francisco's prized luxury boutique hotel with the picture-perfect location off Union Square. Kor Hotel Group is unloading this little gem for some $58 million. Soon, Campton Place will become Taj's third hotel in the United States.
Newly opened in November 2006, Angsana Resort and Spa Velavaru is a seductive paradise of golden beaches, turquoise lagoons, and plush, private villas, situated on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away. Here, guests delight to discover the beauty of the Dhaalu Atoll-- with untouched dive sites, reefs, and islands teeming with tropical life. From island hopping and dolphin watching to snorkeling safaris and night fishing, guests enjoy a wealth of experiences. Here on the southern shores of the Maldives-- the world's hottest destination and islands du jour-- Angsana Velavaru has unveiled a Marine Lab dedicated to marine conservation. The research facility aims to safeguard the biodiversity of the Maldivian reefs and ocean, while sharing with resort guests the importance of marine conservation. Guests are encouraged to participate in projects and the complimentary marine biology classes which are taught twice a week. Guided snorkeling safaris are conducted twice a week. The Marine Lab also focuses on protecting sea turtles, as Angsana Velavaru is a known turtle nesting site.
Fans of the designer are thrilled to learn about the latest from Stella McCartney: a limited-edition collection for the LeSportsac label. The collection of 30-40 styles will be all about travel: luggage, lightweight bags, baby accessories, and bags for moms with infants. Prices will range from $200 to $250. Get the goodies in spring 2008 in upmarket boutiques and department stores worldwide. Of course, given the designer's vegetarian ethics, all the goods will be non-leather.
April 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Stay three nights and get the fourth for free at one of the world's best hotels. Situated on the edge of the historic French Quarter, Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel, has certainly racked up the awards. Designed to replicate the interior of an English mansion, the opulent hotel features antiques from the 17th and 18th centuries and an impressive $8 million art collection. Dine at the New Orleans Grill (ranked as one of Zagat's top ten restaurants), unwind at the rooftop pool, or relax in the spa. Savor the best of the Big Easy with a complimentary extra night when you book a room on the new Club Floor at Windsor Court. The four top floors of the hotel are dedicated Club Floors, the pinnacle of luxury in this posh place-- with private keycard security access, the finest views of the city and Mississippi River, personal butler service, and exclusive access the swanky new Club Lounge. The Stay Another Day Offer is available from May through September 2007, starting from $289 a night in the Club Guest Rooms (Full Suites are priced from $329-$575 per night).
April 9, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the Egerton House Hotel London?
Sandra Anido: I have worked for the Egerton in London for many years. Over two years ago, I and followed in the footsteps of our previous General Manager and took over the management position.
Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?
Sandra Anido: The Hotel is Unique in it's sense of style, décor, comfort and approach to guests.
Being greeted and welcomed back by a friendly team each and every stay, a smiling face as you walk through the door, the team always and ever trying to have your room ready upon your arrival, 24 hours Reception Team available for any assistance with queries or any concierge requests. A Butler to unpack your luggage on arrival, a personal shopper to assist you and to help you buy the best items. A butler to pour your tea or serve a scrumptious Afternoon Tea. The Housekeeping team to press your shirt before each important meeting.
Not one room is the same; furniture was hand picked, fabrics hand woven. Comfortable armchairs and sofa's, antiques, stunning fabrics and wall papers, soft furnishings, full length mirrors, marble bathrooms, power showers and the best in luxury amenities.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Sandra Anido: Our Hotel has been visited by certain members of European Royal Families. Unfortunately we can not disclose any further information as Privacy is afforded to all our guests including the famous!
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Sandra Anido: Our guests are mostly regular guests who have enjoyed staying at the Egerton for years. A lot of clientele are from the States and the UK.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Sandra Anido: We are literally just a 5 minute stroll away from Harrods & Harvey Nichols. My favourite pass time is of course shopping at Harrods!
Knightsbridge is a Destination; The Egerton House Hotel is located in the heart of Knightsbridge, one of London's most exclusive addresses. Brompton Cross a minute's walk away with some of London’s most wonderful and exclusive boutiques, galleries and shops and restaurants.
Knightsbridge also houses London's most famous landmarks such as The Victoria & Albert Museum and the National History Museum.
Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Sandra Anido: The Egerton House Hotel really offers "a room with a view". Rooms at the front of the hotel offer views over Egerton Gardens, glimpses of the stunning architecture of the Brompton Oratory and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Rooms located on the side of the hotel are overlooking Egerton Garden Mews, the old Stables, offering a feel of the old traditional London, a century ago. The beautifully maintained private gardens at the back of the hotel is an oasis of tranquillity and all rooms on the back of the hotel overlook these.
It is very hard to pick a favorite, as I truly love them all.
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history?
Sandra Anido: When Egerton House opened on a residential Knightsbridge street in 1990, it spearheaded London's "boutique hotel" explosion and was one of the first Hotels in London to open as a Luxury Townhouse Hotel.
Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?
Sandra Anido: The Hotel does not, unfortunately, have any spa facilities in-house, but we offer day passes at a Platinum Health club nearby.
Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?
Sandra Anido: I have worked in the hotel for so many years and it has grown to be my second home and we have a fantastic Team, I would not want to change anything for the world. We experience challenges from time to time but this is all part of the job.
Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?
Sandra Anido: One of London's Top Hotels is Claridge's with its history and stunning Art Deco surroundings.
Bushman's Kloof, also part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection is located in the heart of an African nature reserve. A stunning and fabulous small intimate Hotel.
Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?
Sandra Anido: The hotel holds an extravanganza of stunning art - original prints from Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec. Original old prints from the Illustrated London News, engravings and lithographs of Picasso, Matisse and Braque alongside masterful paintings such as the Parrots by Kim Brooks. Our small intimidate Bar is packed with caricatures by JAK and Sems.
The Egerton Bar is a small intimate discrete little hideaway. Packed with caricatures by JAK and Sems, its the perfect place to have a quiet drink, light snack or entertain friends. Antonio is one of London's most beloved bartenders and Antonio's Martinis are known to be the best in London!
About Sandra Anido: After graduating from The Hague Hotel School, I worked for several boutique properties in the Benelux countries before moving to London which I now consider home. London is a marvelous city and has much to offer and Knightsbridge is the city's most exclusive address. Its an absolute joy for me to share my knowledge of London with our guests and to make sure The Egerton House becomes their home away from home and a truly great experience.