LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
March 9, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Tony McHale is the current General Manager at Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia - just outside Charlottesville. He took some time out of his busy schedule (you'd be busy too if you had an Arnold Palmer golf course at your office) to answer some of our questions.
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?
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?
Tony McHale: Keswick is like a country home. It is intimate and charming with gracious service and hospitality, in a breath taking setting, on a private 600 acre Estate.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Tony McHale: Private, yet just 15 minutes from downtown Charlottesville. Curl up with a book in front of one of the six fireplaces, or enjoy golf on our private Arnold Palmer Championship Golf course. Hot air ballooning, shooting, riding, fishing or biking are one of many pursuits.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed at Keswick Hall, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Tony McHale: Mic Jagger, James Brown, Michael J. Fox, Sissy Spacek, Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, and Paul Newman to name a few.
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?
Tony McHale: Balcony State Rooms 9 and 27: Both are corner rooms located on the 2nd floor. They have private balconies and exquisite views overlooking the Arnold Palmer Golf Course. They are requested time and time again by our regular guests.
Five Star Alliance: If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Tony McHale: A favorite Signature Room (standard) would be # 10. It has a full size balcony overlooking the Horizon Edge Pool and Arnold Palmer Golf Course.
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Tony McHale: Strongest markets are New York and Washington, though people travel from all over including Europe.
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?
Tony McHale: Check-in/out times, dining options (both on and off property), recreational activities, things to do in the area: shopping, wineries, etc, parking fee, and safety deposit box.
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?
March 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Experience the magic of a tropical forest. Trek below the leafy canopy as howler monkeys swing overhead. Spot hummingbirds from your treetop verandah. Explore two unspoiled beaches just steps from the resort. Drift off with a massage in the beautiful, indigenous spa. Soak up the mesmerizing views from the comfort of your generously-sized guest room, which blends luxurious indoor and outdoor living spaces. At the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, enjoy life as a pampered species. Get a complimentary fifth night when you pay for four consecutive nights. Rates begin at $470 per room, per night. Available from April 21- November 16, 2007.
Celebrate Easter traditions at Kiawah and treat your family to a memorable stay at the AAA Five Diamond-rated Sanctuary Hotel or in a spacious private home or villa. The weather is spectacular, the variety of activities is endless, not to mention the fantastic Easter Dining and fun holiday festivities. (Sand sculpting contest, fabulous food and wine bar, live music, Easter Egg Hunt, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!)
Take advantage of the Sanctuary Easter Package starting from just $639 per room, which includes one night accommodation in a garden view room, buffet breakfast for two, and the Grand Easter buffet for two adults. With the Villa Easter Package at Kiawah, enjoy buffet breakfast for two, and Easter Buffet at Osprey Point (for two), along with the luxurious accommodations in a one bedroom scenic view villa. Starting from $382 per night, seven-night minimum stay required.
Warm weather, sunny skies and great conditions on the mountains. What could be finer than spring skiing at Vail? Named "Number 1 Ski Resort Hotel in North America" by the readers of Departures magazine, The Lodge at Vail boasts an unbeatable location, in the heart of Vail Village and at the base of the mountain. World-class skiing and snowboarding are right outside the front door. Book the Four-night Ski Package at The Lodge at Vail and enjoy rates as low as $229 per room. The package includes four nights accommodations, a four-day lift ticket for two to Vail and Beaver Creek, and daily breakfast for two at Cucina Rustica.
PS. Rates are so low partly because renovations are currently underway at The Lodge, including the addition of the new Avanyu Spa. Opening in late 2007, the 7,725-square-foot, state-of-the-art spa will feature 11 treatment rooms and world-class facilities.
The luxurious Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, the grand French-style Chateau surrounded by 3,500 acres of vineyards just 40 minutes from Atlanta, is also home to their very own Irish Pub. Paddy's will be hosting their 9th Annual St Patrick's Day Celebration on March 17, 2007. Sponsored by Guinness, the event will feature food stations with all your favorite Irish-fare and live music within the Winery Pavilion and within the Pub til last call. Ticket booths will be setup so all food and beverages will be sold festival-style using tickets. Starting at 12 p.m. After the festivities, retire to your lavish guest room, and cure next day's hang-over with an indulgent spa treatment in the world-renowned 33,000 square foot spa.
Let your voice be heard! The luxury travel experts at Five Star Alliance are working hard, scouring the earth, to find the best hotels to add to the collection of over 1,500 luxury properties worldwide. Day in and day out, Five Star Alliance is charged with the daunting task of evaluating the world's finest luxury hotels and resorts. And now is the time for Five Star Alliance's lists of the World's Best Hotels & Resorts 2007. We need your help! Please submit your suggestions (and any related comments and complaints) for each category: Best Business Hotels of 2007 Best Spa Resorts of 2007 Best Honeymoon Resorts of 2007 Best Golf Resorts of 2007 Most Romantic Luxury Hotels of 2007 Best Ski Resorts of 2007 Best Luxury Hotels for Families of 2007 Best Beach Resorts of 2007 Click on the above links and pontificate away! As always, we appreciate your input.
The exquisite Villa San Michele, the picturesque Florentine estate managed by Orient Express Hotels, is renowned for its gourmet Cookery School. Located just a few minutes from Florence in the Fiesole Hills, the 15th century Franciscan monastery-turned-luxury hotel boasts a facade attributed to Michelangelo. In this peaceful oasis, enroll in a course at the cooking school where internationally celebrated chefs hold "Great Masters" classes along with the Classic Courses such as: exciting recipes for singles, the cuisine of the great noble houses of Florence and Tuscany, and the essentials of pasta, the star of Italian cuisine. Enjoy the perfect holiday in Italy and appreciate the country's gastronomic culture: take a day trip to Chianti for wine tastings, visit Florence, and cook alongside the talented chefs in the hands-on Cookery School classes.
Plan ahead for the perfect summer escape to Russia's cultural capital: the magnificent city of St. Petersburg. During the last 10 days of June, darkness never falls and the lively White Nights festival inspires a celebration of ballet, dance, art, and rich history. Where to stay? The Grand Hotel Europe, perfectly situated in the heart of St. Pete's, has completed a dramatic renovation including a complete refurbishment of 200 rooms and suites, upgrade of the hotel's main entrance, and a redesign for the Caviar Bar restaurant. French designer Michel Jouannet also transformed the Grand Hotel Europe's sister establishments, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and the Copacabana Palace in Rio. Choose a room on the historic first floor, and enjoy the services of your own personal butler.
Sir Richard Branson has scored another one. A gem of a Caribbean island, that is. The founder of the Virgin group of companies (including Virgin Atlantic airline and Virgin Galactic) purchased Mosquito Island in the British Virgin Islands for $13.2 million and plans to convert it into a luxurious, eco-friendly resort. Accessible by boat from Virgin Gorda, the 124-acre Mosquito Island sits in North Sound about a mile from Necker Island, Branson's other Caribbean paradise, a favorite celebrity hideaway. Plans are in the works for the resort to be environmentally-savvy: the resort will be powered by renewable energy sources (wind, wave, and solar power); the Balinese style guest buildings will be built from sustainable materials; electric buggies will serve as the transportation. Branson aims to make his resort island carbon-neutral, providing an example for other resort properties in the Caribbean.
Never fear: the island was named for the Indian tribe, and not the pesky insect.
Never say never. Disney and Four Seasons have just announced a partnership in Orlando. Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge golf courses (a mere 900 acres) will be converted into a luxury resort and golf community that will include a Four Seasons hotel. So side-by-side with the timeshare homes and a sprawling retail development, Four Seasons will entice guests to check into serious luxury. Slated to open in 2010, the new hotel will be situated in the northeast region of Walt Disney World. Apparently, this project will be comparable in size to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. Let the magic begin.