November 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Tis the season. Jet to Chicago to shop in style along the Magnificent Mile. Don't miss Macy's on State Street, the second largest department store in the world-- connected to the Fairmont Chicago via pedway. Winter awaits you in the Windy City with a slew of fun-filled activities: sip hot chocolate while ice skating at the McCormick Ice Rink, listen to the carolers at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, and hit up the Christkindlmarket at Daly Plaza, home to Chicago's sparkling Christmas tree. This marketplace is like a piece of old Europe in the middle of the city. Book the "Only One Way Winter Rate" at the Fairmont Chicago, and you'll get luxurious overnight accommodations for two for just $199 a night. Plus, if you book by December 31, 2007 (for stays between now and April 15, 2008), you'll get your second night for free!
The newly-remodeled, impossibly glamorous Tides South Beach is open for business. The first and most significant phase of the $14 million restoration project has been completed and as of November 15, guests were dazzled by the makeover. Acclaimed interior designer Kelly Wearstler has worked her magic on this historic gem and now the "Diva of Ocean Drive" embodies a new grandeur. Check out the lobby (pictured). Stone, gold-leaf and leather accent the central lounge area, adjacent to the Martini Bar. There's been a lot of buzz about the trendy new restaurant, La Marea, where Chef Pietro Rota (from Il Sole in West Hollywood) dishes up fabulous Italian-Mediterranean seafood. The best part of all? Three signature penthouse suites with one-of-a-kind vintage elements and original artwork. The exclusive Coral Bar, offering twilight cocktails and seasonal culinary selections, is scheduled to be completed in early winter 2008. Likewise, the pool terrace with signature cabanas and a state-of-the-art fitness facility will be available in January.
Christian Lacroix's at it again. After creating dazzling interiors at the Petit Moulin, the fashion designer has created another high-profile boutique hotel with an exuberant style. Not far from the Musée d'Orsay in Faubourg St.-Germain, the 34-room Bellechasse reopened in July 2007 after a year of renovations. Rooms are utterly whimsical, inspired by old engravings from the surrounding museums and cultural institutions. The furnishings and fabrics are sumptuous, creating the sensory journey of "travel within travel" which was the designer's goal. Complimentary wifi Internet access and breakfast buffet (quite the spread).
PS. The rooms may be stylish, but in true Paris fashion, they are small.
November 27, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
This winter, The Peninsula Hotels invites you to a luxurious retreat with special offers to make your stay even more pleasurable. Winter Escapes helps guests to personalize their stays with a customized selection of benefits at each hotel. From 15 December 2007 through 31 March 2008 inclusive, each Peninsula hotel offers a menu of three enticing options. Guests booking rooms or suites can select one to tailor their stay to their personal taste and preferences, making a stay at any of the Peninsula hotels worldwide even more memorable. Highlights include:
• Set dinner for two at The Lobby at The Peninsula Hong Kong
• Champagne and canapes at The Peninsula New York
• Afternoon Tea for two in The Lobby or Pierrot Gourmet at The Peninsula Chicago
• One-hour Swedish massage for one at The Peninsula Beverly Hills
• Dining credit of ¥10,000 at The Peninsula Tokyo
• Naturally Peninsula Culinary Journey for two at The Peninsula Bangkok
• Buffet dinner for two at Jing restaurant at The Peninsula Beijing
• Two luxuriously indulgent Spa Treatments of choice at The Peninsula Manila
What could be better than celebrating the beginning of 2008 at New York's hippest hotel? Ian Schrager's Gramercy Park Hotel-- described in rapturous superlatives by guests and magazines alike-- has been turning heads since its opening in 2006. For a limited time, the hotel is offering a Special New Year's Eve Offer. Enjoy unique luxury accommodations, dinner for two at Wakiya, champagne and truffles, and guaranteed access to The Rose Bar, one of the most happening hotspots in Manhattan. All for just $975.
The latest from Four Seasons is set to debut in the historic gateway to the west. Now accepting reservations for March 1, 2008, Four Seasons St. Louis is banking on attracting a business traveler clientele with its extensive business services. That's not to say that leisure travelers won't also be thrilled by the amenities on offer. In true Four Seasons fashion, the new hotel is brimming with thoughtful add-ons like hypo-allergenic bedding and iPod docking stations. (You can even get a PlayStation, laptop, or printer on request.) Rising from the downtown riverscape of the business hub of the Midwest, the new hotel is just steps from the Laclede's Landing entertainment district. Check out the city's museums, galleries, and dynamic nightlife, and then escape into Four Seasons tranquility. 200 spacious guest rooms and suites offer memorable city views, overlooking the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi. They are contemporary and comfortable, with well-defined work areas with multi-line cordless telephones and high-speed wired and wireless Internet access. Dine at Cielo, the signature restaurant, and check out the magnificent views from the eighth floor. There's also a well-equipped Fitness Center (all cardio equipment have individual LCD touch-screen TVs and headphones), large outdoor pool with views of the Mississippi, and luxurious spa.
Think ahead to a Caribbean getaway this spring. The place to be in April is the island of Antigua, when the most prestigious yacht regatta in the Caribbean (and one of the most famous in the world) lures racers and revelers to its tropical shores. The Stanford Antigua Sailing Week starts on the last Sunday of the month (April 27, 2008) and runs through Saturday, May 3. Sailors and spectators from all corners of the globe converge to watch the 200 yachts go head to head in five challenging days of racing in some of the best sailing conditions found on the globe. The island's best luxury lodgings are found at Carlisle Bay, that cool contemporary hideaway that exudes chic sophistication in every detail. The setting is stunning on the unspoiled beaches on the island's south coast, and the amenities even more so: state-of-the-art gym, exceptional spa, enormous ocean-facing suites, recreational facilities galore, the new Cool Kids Club, and the only private screening room in the Caribbean for nightly movie showings.
Now there's another reason to check out Whistler's gargantuan runs blanketed with ample inches of confectioner's sugar. Whistler Blackcomb boasts the best snow and sheer vertical drop for North America's skiers, and now you can enjoy it while soaking up the luxury at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. (Sublime spa, heated pool with underwater music, what's not to love?) The luxury resort is celebrating its 18th birthday with $18 room rates, so when you book the 18 Candles Package, you pay $180 for a double room the first night and get the second night for only 18 bucks. Two-night minimum stay required, valid through November 30, 2007.
Wishing you and your family a fantastic Thanksgiving from all of us at The Informed Traveler and Five Star Alliance. We'll be back soon with exclusive luxury travel news and special offers. In the meantime, we thought we'd leave you with some food for thought, courtesy of celebrity chef Thomas Keller. (His French Laundry restaurant is closed for Thanksgiving, and the other Michelin three-star restaurants* in the U.S.-- Le Bernardin, Per Se, Jean-Georges, and Joel Robuchon-- have been booked for months.)
Sunchoke soup with Virginia ham croquettes
Breast of Four Corners Farm's turkey "cuit sous vide" and roasted leg "en ballotine" with giblet gravy
Green-bean casserole-- oven-baked haricots verts with cream of California cèpe mushrooms and crispy shallots
Garnet sweet-potato mille-feuille with white-truffle royale and shaved truffles from Alba
Pecan pie with whipped cream
*Note: This is the first year ever that Michelin came out with restaurant and hotel selections for Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The 2008 prize goes to Tokyo for the most Michelin three-star restaurants in one city.
Steal away to the Alps this winter for an epic skiing experience with Kristiania Lech, one of the most elegant resorts in Austria. Snow enthusiasts seek out Lech for the plethora of superb ski runs, unlimited winter activities, and impossibly picturesque scenery. Nestled above this charming village is a unique luxury hotel that fuses the best alpine traditions with modern technology and a contemporary perspective. The pride of Othmar Schneider, 1952 Olympic Slalom Champion, Kristiania Lech boasts designer guest rooms, a superb art collection, children's program, cooking school, health club, and excellent personalized service. The skiing is world-famous, and there's a ski butler on standby to help ensure that guests have the best skiing experience possible. And there's plenty of off-piste pleasure in Lech. Retire to the comfort of the hotel after a day on the slopes and sample the range of fine Schnapps, Austrian Malts and ports at the convivial bar before enjoying a delicious traditional meal paired with local wines.
Kristiania Lech has designed an irresistible package with a six-day ski pass to help beat the post-Christmas blues. Valid from January 12-February 1, 2008, the January Ski Escape includes accommodations for two with guaranteed room upgrade upon check-in, a complimentary bottle of Austrian white wine and fruit tray, a six-day ski pass, daily breakfast and five-course gourmet dinner, one 30-minute massage and private return airport transfer (Zürich, Innsbruck, Friedrichshafen). Priced at EUR 460 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, minimum 7 nights stay.