October 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
What will you be doing this winter? Ditch the snow shovel and sniffly nose for the warmer climes out west. If you spend the holidays at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, the glamorous hotel that's earned the rare distinction of both the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards, they'll throw in a third night for free along with daily American breakfast and two signature holiday cocktails. ("Reindeer Games" sounds like our kind of a tipple.) The sun is shining over Beverly Hills all year round, and the boutiques of Rodeo Drive await... Get spoiled rotten at this legendary address which quite a few celebs have called home. "And to All a Free Night" is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other promotions. Valid until January 8, 2012.
So you're craving a little Miami flavor. Not just the South Beach glamour, but also some Latin beats, some Cuban cuisine, sparkling sand and sultry temps. Here's an offer you can't refuse: The Mandarin Oriental, a sublime sanctuary for relaxation after sampling the city's red-hot nightlife, is giving away a third night free with the "More in Miami" offer. Just imagine: From your balcony at the Mandarin, watch the sunset glittering on Biscayne Bay or the sparkling lights of the city skyline. Opulent rooms have spa-like marble bathrooms and enough luxurious amenities to get you recharged for another week at the office. The offer brings your nightly rate down to $266- which isn't exactly cheap- but this is Miami we're talking about. And the Mandarin Oriental offers the crème de la crème of hotel experiences, so what are you waiting for?
October 24, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
It’s a common misconception that traveling with kids means you cannot stay in 5-star, luxury hotels. While it is true that the industry standard is double occupancy, many luxury hotels are willing to make adjustments and modifications to best accommodate you and your travel companions. In order to choose the best room(s) at the best rate(s), we’ve come up with 5 tips to help you plan your next travel excursion, and ensure an enjoyable trip with kids.
#1: Provide the hotel with details including the number of kids traveling with you as well as their ages. This is to make sure the hotel is prepared for your arrival and has time to make the necessary adjustments to your room. Providing this information will also ensure that the appropriate adjustments are made, and that a crib is not added for the 13-year-old teenager traveling with you.
#2: Many hotels will be able to provide extra bedding for one child, but it is unlikely that they will be able to provide bedding for two or more children in one room. If you’re traveling with another adult and two or more kids, consider booking a suite, but be sure to double check with the hotel to find out how many people the suite sleeps, and make your travel plans from there.
#3: If you are traveling with children that are older, and the hotel of your choice does not have suites that suit your needs, consider reserving 2 rooms and requesting that they be adjacent, adjoining, or connecting rooms.
#4: If you are traveling with children that are younger and two adults, we advise that you book two rooms, request that they be adjacent, adjoining, or connecting rooms, and have one adult stay in each room.
#5: Be flexible, open, and willing to take advice and make adjustments as need be. Please be aware that all requests are simply requests only, and cannot be guaranteed until confirmed with the hotel.
We hope these tips ease the stress of planning your next trip with kids, and we wish you happy travels and a truly memorable experience!
By: Oksana Balytsky
October 24, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
London is buzzing with excitement this time of year, and almost impossibly festive when it comes time for Christmas. For those looking to experience the merriment, hop the pond for some holiday shopping, theatrical shows, and open-air ice skating on the huge rink outside the Natural History Museum (open from November 4, 2011- January 8, 2012). Shop til you drop, then tuck into a mountain of cakes, scones and pastries for Afternoon Tea. When you book a two-night stay at the Hotel 41-- a discreet five-star hotel directly opposite the Royal Mews and just behind Buckingham Palace-- you'll get an Afternoon Tea thrown in for free. The boutique hotel is known for its fine service; staff outnumber guests two-to-one, and the thoughtful touches really impress guests. At turndown, the staff puts floating candles in your bath and sprays lavender on your pillow, while the pet concierge makes sure that Fido is as pampered as you are.
The "Complimentary Afternoon Tea" offer is available on all room types and suites with a minimum two night stay. Available from now until December 23, 2011, and between January 2 and February 13, 2012. Black-out dates may apply.
Another tempting offer: Check into one of the Hotel 41's luxurious suites for two nights and stay a 3rd night free. Includes welcome drink on arrival, use of the Pantry and Butler service.
Leave it to the Hotel Hassler, recently voted the No. 1 hotel in Rome in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, to pull out all the stops to delight even its pint-size guests. A new "Family Escape Package," available from November 1, 2011- October 31, 2012, spoils the kids with homemade ice cream, milk and cookies before bedtime, and a special gift at check-in (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny). The Hassler's concierge can arrange all manner of family-friendly activities- like a private lunch in an ancient alley or Roman piazza, a trip to the Museo dei Bambini (Children's Museum of Rome), or a carriage or helicopter ride. Of course if you're in need of some alone time in the Eternal City, babysitters are on call to keep your kids happily entertained at the Hassler. Set atop the Spanish Steps in a postcard-perfect setting, the Hotel Hassler has dazzling views. These panoramas can also be gaped at from the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, Imàgo. Based on double occupancy for a family of four and priced from €614 - €934 per night (approximately US$845-US$1,285), the package includes:
* Three nights' accommodation in two Deluxe or Grand Deluxe rooms
* Private check-in for children with a special gift (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny)
* Daily buffet breakfast
* Milk and cookies before bedtime
* 'Ice Cream Pleasure' - a selection of the Hassler's home-made ice cream
* In-room movie for the entire family
* Optional babysitter for four hours per day
October 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles is the first Four Seasons to embrace ICE technology to digitally connect every room to all parts of the hotel. Before we dive into what that means for travelers, let’s explore what this Four Seasons has to offer. The Four Season Hotel L.A. has a tropically landscaped rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, and a pool grill, allowing you to indulge in seasonal specialties in full relaxation mode. Aside from rooftop fun, the Four Seasons L.A. also has a full-service spa where you can unwind in the steam sauna or pamper yourself with various spa treatments. After a day of exploring Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, enjoy a leisurely dinner at the award winning Gardens Restaurant.
With the launch of ICE Technology, all of the amenities available to guests remain the same, but the way you can access and utilize those amenities will change. All of the guestrooms and suites will have iPad2 devices, permitting guests to customize their stay with the push of a few buttons. Guests will be able to make restaurant reservations, order in-room dining, research nearby attractions, call valet parking, coordinate airport transportation, make beauty and spa appointments, make specific housekeeping requests, research transportation options, schedule wake up calls, check out of the hotel, and much more. Is this technology essentially eliminating the need for face-to-face customer service? Not necessarily. According to Mehdi Eftekari, the General Manger at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, “most of our guests travel with a smartphone, tablet, or both, so it made sense to provide access to the hotel’s services through the same intuitive touch interface.” How are guests reacting to this new technology? Mehdi Eftekari reports that “guests are very impressed. The interface is so intuitive and easy to use, they feel right at home.” What do you think about this new development? Check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles to experience it for yourself.
We encourage you to check out the article about ICE technology by Melanie Nayer here.
By: Oksana Balytsky
We're terribly excited about the Lebua New Delhi, the brand spanking new hotel from the folks behind the State Tower in Bangkok and the Lake Okareka Lodge in New Zealand. The Lebua blog explains that "Khun Deepak Ohri, CEO of Lebua Thailand aspires to bring the success of The Dome to the shores of India" with some six restaurants. Big expansion plans are in the works. After the property in New Delhi, the brand aims to set up shop in Mumbai and Punjab as well. From the official press release: "The first property by lebua in India will come with its patent luxury model offering the Indian market an array of restaurants and bars. A spectacular roof top restaurant and bar, a traditional Indian restaurant with a renowned Indian Michelin Star awarded chef, and an open terraced fine dining venue." The best news of all? A special introductory rate of $109 per night!
11/11/11 is fast approaching... Will we see a record number of weddings like we did on 8/8/2008? Apparently this date is the most auspicious date of the 21st century, and hotels like The Peninsula Shanghai are feting this once-in-a-lifetime occasion with special 11-themed offers. Not only that, but a number of hotels have chosen 11/11/11 as their opening date. Case in point: The Omni Hotel Dallas which opens its doors in Dallas, Texas on November 11. The Los Angeles Times notes that the "Definitely Dallas Package," with room rates of $111, translates to a 15% discount. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the hotel has 1,001 rooms, a heated pool, sauna, and spa. The offer is available through December 30, 2011, subject to availability and some black-out dates.
The "Snow Bar" is coming back to the City of Light! Every year the Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris-- designed in a nautical Art Deco style by architects Jacques Garcia and Alexandre Danan-- gets in the holiday spirit by transforming its outdoor Andalusian Patio into a wintry wonderland. Last year there were snow-covered fir trees, a chalet bar, and cocktail waitresses wearing Santa outfits. This year the hotel has teamed up with Taittinger Champagne to create a unique concept called "Bubble in Paris"-- an exclusive all-white lounge decked out in fur and frosted glass inside an actual bubble. From December 1, 2011- January 2, 2012, the hotel welcomes guests to the "Bubble in Paris" bar with a special "Festive Period" package. Starting from 280 euros per night, the package includes luxurious accommodation, a complimentary upgrade to next room category (subject to availability), a VIP gift in room and a glass of Champagne for two in the “Bubble in Paris” bar, English breakfast served in the Safran restaurant, and access to the beautiful Mosaïc Spa.
Autumn could be the best season to visit Tuscany. The sun is shining, the tourist crowds have dispersed, and truffle foraging is in full swing. Not to mention the brilliant hues of the fall foliage. Just outside of Florence, Il Salviatino invites guests for a "Taste of Tuscany" until November 30, 2011. You'll tour a vineyard, taste local wines, go hunting for truffles, and sample the region's best seasonal delights while staying in luxury at the hotel named "Hideaway of the Year" in the 2011 Andrew Harper Grand Award Winners. Nestled in the rolling Tuscan hills, Il Salviatino is housed in a 15th century villa with original frescoes and Italian gardens-- and offers spectacular views of Florence. Starting from 1,920 euros, the "Taste of Tuscany" package includes:
* Two nights accommodation in a Deluxe Room * Breakfast for two daily * A seasonal dinner at Le Serre with a bottle of Tuscan wine * Truffle foraging for half a day * A vineyard tour and wine tasting * A spa treatment each in the award-winning Thai Devarana spa * Service and tax