LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Less than two hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is a stunning wilderness area known for its distinctive blue haze (created by the sun's rays merging with drops of eucalyptus oil from the millions of eucalyptus trees). Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa is the place to stay while exploring the region-- the luxurious gateway to the breathtaking surroundings. Set amidst two acres of manicured gardens, the resort is a European-style country house managed by Orient Express. Lilianfels is happy to arrange a number of unique customized experiences for its guests, whether you're craving a little extra indulgence (think Gourmet Picnic for two, Moet and Chandon and Strawberries in-room) or adrenaline-pumping activity in the Blue Mountains (like private rock climbing, four wheel drive eco-tours, and abseiling). The "Blue Mountains Escape" package includes accommodations, delicious Australian breakfast for two served in the Tre Sorelle restaurant, access to the Spa and Fitness Center with its beautiful indoor pool, complimentary daily newspaper, and undercover valet parking. Rates start from AUD 389 per night.
San Diego's red-hot Ivy Hotel, celebrated for its fabulous restaurant and nightlife venues, recently rolled out Ivy Enticements-- special daily events which allow guests to try a new activity each day of the week to help you "keep your Ivy on." All events are free and open to the public, but advance ressies are required. What's on the agenda?
Monday: Savor the Experience-- Chef demonstration in Damon Gordon's Quarter Kitchen. Roll up your sleeves and prepare one of the exceptional dishes from the executive chef himself. 6 pm.
Tuesday: Taste the Nectar-- The award-winning sommelier invites you for an intimate wine tasting experience in the wine cellar at the Quarter Kitchen. Learn some of the secrets to successful wine and food pairing. 6 pm.
Wednesday: House of Cards-- Learn when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em at the weekly card game on Eden Rooftop led by local poker aficionado, Bill Moniz. 6 pm. Fashionably Late Wednesdays: Sip signature martinis in the Ultra Lounge while checking out fashion shows from some of the hottest local boutiques. Two Wednesdays a month enjoy rooftop movie screenings.
Thursdays: Claim Your Pole-- Enjoy the health and fitness aspects of pole dancing with lessons on Eden Rooftop taught by local dance instructors From Mind to Body. 7 pm. Spin It Around: Learn techniques from Envy Nightclub's master spinner, resident DJ Este, with DJ lessons at the Ultra Lounge. 7 pm.
Friday: Mix It Up-- Cocktail mixing demos at Envy Nightclub presented by the head bartender, Antonio Gonzales. 7 pm.
Saturdays: Relax with Yoga-- Rejuvenate the body and mind with Yoga on the Eden Rooftop at noon.
Sundays: Group Fun-- Video game night on Eden Rooftop. New Sony PlayStation games are available before they hit the stores. 6 pm.
From now until the end of April 2008, Chateau Eza-- the magical hideaway on the French Côte d'Azur which was the former residence of the Swedish Royal Family-- is offering a fourth night free when you pay for three consecutive nights. Spring is the perfect time to visit the South of France, not yet overrun by summer crowds. Perched on a rock cliff in the 1,000-year-old village of Eze, the award-winning hotel offers 10 guest rooms which can be reached by stone passageways over ancient stone steps. Outfitted with all the contemporary comforts, the rooms feature fireplaces and private balconies with sweeping views over the Mediterranean. The Michelin-starred restaurant is just as romantic. Experience what Town and Country Travel described as "glamorous, but cozy... straight out of a Matisse painting." With this special offer, you'll also get a half-bottle of Champagne, one tapas per person at the bar or terrace, and a basket of fresh fruit daily in the room. Starting from $280 per night.
Now's your chance to get a free night at one of the best hotels in the Americas. The Four Seasons Punta Mita-- a bastion of luxury just 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's sun-kissed west coast-- is offering a fourth night for free when you pay for three consecutive nights. Picture-perfect sandy beaches, sunset dining, Jack Nicklaus golf, a lavish spa (with outdoor treatments overlooking the Pacific)... What more could you ask for? Rates start at $590 per night until April 30, 2008, and then drop during the summer months. Sunday or Monday arrivals only.
Be one of the first to experience The London West Hollywood, the new Hollywood hotspot that promises to be a fusion of its namesake cities, and score rates as low as $249 per night. Opening on April 1, 2008 after a $52 million makeover by a star design team, the all-suite hotel has glamorous facilities (rooftop pool and fitness center with sweeping views), Quintessentially concierge service, and dining by-- who else?-- Gordon Ramsay. Formerly known as the Bel Age Hotel, The London West Hollywood will surely shake things up on the Sunset Strip. Stay before May 31, 2008 and you'll get a complimentary Continental breakfast.
For some gorgeous pix, check out Goldarths Review...
Get your masters at London's chic, new bar, Artesian. Designed by David Collins Studio with leather seats, a lilac marble bar, and a mirrored ceiling, Artesian at the Langham has been drawing a hip crowd for its exciting drink menu, specializing in rum. So why not learn the secrets of Daiquiri-making with the experts during an hour-long class? The bar's rum collection includes more than 50 varieties, including its own private label. Eight students max per class; Priced at GBP 30.
P.S. The Langham's Landau restaurant is another top destination in London; don't miss Chef Andrew Turner's culinary creations.
March 28, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is a beachfront resort with 3 connecting mid-rise buildings: the Napili Tower (8 Floors), Lahaina Tower (7 Floors) and the Atrium Tower (9 Floors). All rooms have a balcony with a garden, golf course, mountain or ocean views. Landscaped with tropical gardens, a Japanese strolling garden, exotic birds, streams and waterfalls, the Hotel also houses a collection of fine art from Asia and the South Pacific. Click on the link below to see videos, tour the rooms and public areas, and to decide if the Hyatt Regency Maui is the resort in Hawaii for you.
By: Courtney W. May
What could be better than a weekend spent luxuriating at Richmond's grandest hotel? The award-winning Jefferson offers an unmatched hotel experience in the heart of Virginia's capital. Known for its impeccable service and breathtaking architecture, the gracious hotel has put together a "No Luggage Required" package, so that you can spend your visit at The Jefferson just lounging in your very own Jefferson bathrobe and enjoying room service (if you want!) Don't pack a thing! Available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights only, the package includes deluxe guest accommodations, two luxurious Jefferson signature bathrobes for your enjoyment during your stay and to take home, his and hers toiletry kits, full American breakfast, valet parking, and a late check-out at 2:00 pm.
Note: The Jefferson is also offering a Garden Week Package for the 75th Historic Garden Week in Virginia. Starting at $235 in a Superior Room, this is a great value. Includes full American buffet breakfast in Lemaire Restaurant, Garden Week guidebook and a signature spring floral arrangement from Blooms at The Jefferson. Available April 19 - 27, 2008.
March 27, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Escape to Hawaii's Big Island for some serious fun in the sun. The Kohala Coast boasts the most sunshine, gorgeous white sand beaches and impressive resorts on the island. Swim with sea turtles, discover incredible marine life on deep-water dives, play a round of golf on the world-renowned greens, and check out the posh digs at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The recipient of multiple accolades from top travel magazines, this oceanfront resort is nestled into the bluffs above the silky-soft sands of Hapuna Beach, and offers much better rates than some of its neighbors. The "Spring into Summer" promotion means rooms starting at just $265 per night, with a daily resort credit of $50 thrown in for good measure. Or choose the "2 for 1" promotion, and get two rooms for the price of one, starting at $500 per night in a Partial Oceanview Room. (Valid April 1, 2008 until September 30, 2008.) Frequent shuttle service is provided to the Mauna Kea, the sister resort.
March 27, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Mr. Luca Virgilio has been the General Manager of the Hotel Baglioni London since October of 2004. Prior to his work in London, most recently Mr. Virgilio was the General Manager of the Hotel Carlton Baglioni in Milan, and the Resident Manager of the Hotel Eden in Rome.
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?
Luca Virgilio: The décor plays a very important role in determining the personality of the Hotel. So I would say décor is a unique feature that distinguish us from other Hotels in the City. It has a very glamorous and decadent feel, and a definite Italian chic appeal. It is n hotel with energy a great soul and spirit. This is given by the staff who are always there to help but the feel is relaxed and without an "attitude"… people that frequent us make the Hotel Baglioni London what it is.
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?
Luca Virgilio: We have many A-listers in the entertainment business that are known world wide, however they one of our most treasured secrets and we do not like to divulge…..
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?
Luca Virgilio: Definitely room 505. It is on the top floor has beautiful views over the park and in indeed a standard room. This said all our rooms are particularly spacious where the smallest is 300 square foot. My favorite rooms in the hotel are the '04 types. These are junior suites facing the park with beautiful contemporary 4 poster beds and working gas fireplaces.
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel?
Luca Virgilio: Hotel Baglioni London is very well embedded in the London social scene. We have become a destination for the Londoners to meet for drinks or dinner. The restaurant and bar are very busy especially in the evening - lots of beautiful people around. We have held some of the most glamorous events and parties such as the Vanity Fair, Tatler, EMI after the Brits award party, Fashion Rocks, where many celebrities attended.
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?
Luca Virgilio: If the style and décor would suit my desires.
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Luca Virgilio: Hotel Baglioni London is in a residential area facing Hyde Park. We are in the heart of the cultural part of London with the Victoria &Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Hall. We are at the cross roads between the touristy part of London and the London for the locals with bars, cafes, boutiques, art galleries. We can be in any of these 2 parts in 5 minutes and Kensington itself is a beautiful area where I just enjoy walking the streets window shopping or a little walk in the park.
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?
Luca Virgilio: The Carlyle in New York, The Eden in Rome, The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. They all have a very strong individuality, soul and charisma. This is invaluable in the days where many go for one rule fits all.
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Luca Virgilio: Age group is from 35 to 55 more or less and come from different geographic regions and background. From CEO of major international corporations, to the movie or rock star to a couple enjoying a romantic weekend, or a family traveling to enjoy quality time together. The main group of our guests come from the US, followed by England, Italy, France, Russia and Middle East.
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?
Luca Virgilio: Is a fascinating job and I would not change it for anything in the world… indeed can be challenging, probably the hardest is to make sure you please every single guest as an individual, there is not one rule for all... change nothing add yes... a swimming pool.
Mr. Luca Virgilio is fluent in Italian, English and French, and has a fair knowledge of Spanish. He attended Cornell University, the University of Rome, Istituto Kennedy in Rome and Hotel Management School in Switzerland.