LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The Cherry Blossom Festival is gearing up to start this Saturday and the trees in the Tidal Basin are already cooperating with lots of flowers. Daily Candy's got the scoop on all things cherry blossom, and the best-- by far-- is the hour-long spa treatment at the Willard InterContinental's luxurious I Spa, a massage which uses cherry massage oil mixed with organic orange oil, lavender, and rose geranium.
With a superb location in the historic Rocks district between the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel offers the city's largest accommodations along with stunning views. Here you can also chow down at some of Sydney's finest restaurants: the award-winning Altitude, and Blu Horizon Bar, both perched on the 36th floor with sweeping views over the harbor. Any stay here is a magical one, and special occasions can be made even more memorable with an indulgent five-star experience at the Shangri-La Sydney. Priced from AUD 398 per night, the Occasions offer includes overnight accommodation, breakfast for two at Café Mix, bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne, strawberries and hand-made chocolates on arrival, nightly turn-down service, late check-out at 4 p.m., complimentary use of the Health Club, and complimentary valet parking. Includes 10 percent goods and services tax. Valid until December 30, 2008.
How's this for some mind-blowing indulgence? Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts offers a $100,000 gift card, and as Forbes Traveler points out, why not give the gift of around-the-world travel? With some stays at seriously luxurious digs, no less. You can hit up the Four Seasons Miami for the rowdy South Beach nightlife, taking advantage of the newly-appointed nightlife concierge, before hopping across the Atlantic to the Provence property with its sexy new spa, and then heading over to Asia for some luxury camping in the Golden Triangle of Thailand. Or, as the company recommends, why not start the trip with three nights in the Beverly Wilshire penthouse, followed by two nights at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche, then 11 nights in Thailand? (Two at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, three in a one-bedroom residence at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, three in a luxury tent at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle, and three in a two-bedroom estate at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.) The grand finale? Three nights in the chairman's suite of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi.
Looking for an end-of-winter celebration? Think Caribbean. Your own private island in the Caribbean, where sugary sand beaches and turquoise waters await. Peter Island Resort seduces visitors with its unparalleled facilities and beautiful setting. Experience barefoot elegance in paradise with a slew of activities, water sports, and heavenly spa. Book the Paradise Now Package and you'll find the most economical rates plus lots of included amenities with a five-night stay. You'll enjoy epicurean delights from the award-winning culinary team with the Full American Plan (breakfast, lunch, Afternoon Tea, and dinner). Plus, you'll get unlimited resort launch to/from Tortola, private lunch on one of the secluded beaches, and unlimited use of waters-ports equipment, mountain bikes, library tennis courts, windsurfing, snorkeling, fitness center and swimming pool. Prices in April start from $3,190 in an Ocean View room (double). From May 1- October 31, 2008, the rates drop to $2,785. Availability is limited.
The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice occupies a position of absolute privilege, offering views which inspired the impressionist painter Claude Monet, and facing the beautiful Italian Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute.Situated on the final stretch of Venice's Grand Canal where it broadens to become the Bacino di San Marco,
Click on the link below to pop open a new window, and tour through the guest rooms, restaurants, outdoor areas, and more - to get a better view and feel for the Westin Europa & Regina - then plan your visit.
Don't forget: Guests making reservations for the Westin Europa and Regina through Five Star Alliance will receive a reserved table at the Bar Tiepolo with local Venetian aperitif (one per person) and plate of Venetian "cicchetti" once during stay. Guests will also receive a one category room upgrade at check-in, based on availability.
By: Courtney W. May
The opulent and gorgeous Faena Hotel + Universe in Buenos Aires is just one distinctive part of the Faena Art District in BA, Argentina. With lavish restaurants and bars, authentic theater spaces, an exceptional wine cellar, world-class spa, and top-tier accommodations, the hotel has topped itself once again. At the end of 2007, 3 over-the-top, extremely lavish suites were introduced to the property – F Suite, Tower Suite, and Imperial Suite (click on the images below for the bigger pictures).
The F Suite, the most exclusive suite in Latin America, is a wholly private and impeccably appointed 1,291 square foot residence located on the 6th floor of Faena Hotel + Universe featuring two bedrooms (1 pictured), three bathrooms, living (pictured) and dining rooms, a kitchen, a library and outstanding panoramic views of the Faena Art District, embankment and city center of Buenos Aires. Additional amenities include a marble bathroom with rain forest shower and Jacuzzi and a state of the art in-room entertainment center with three 42-inch plasma screens.
Atop Faena Hotel + Universe is the Tower Suite, a triplex suite with exceptional views of Rio de la Plata and the MicaelaBastidas Park. The centerpiece of the suite is a fiber optic teardrop crystal lamp that shifts from amber to blue to green to purple, located at the foot of the stairway and specially created for the suite. The two bedroom, two bathroom suite also includes living and dining rooms, marble bathroom with jacuzzi and relaxation area, an outdoor terrace and flat screen home theaters in the living room and bedroom.
With two outdoor terraces, offering double 180-degree views that face east and west, supplying idyllic panoramic views of city and river, sunrise and sunset is the Imperial Suite. Inside, a spacious living/dining room with sliding glass windows, kitchen, cloakroom and one super king-sized bedroom and bathroom make the Imperial Suite perfect for honeymooners or any other romantic escape. The marble-floored bathroom features a Philippe-Starck designed jacuzzi and separate shower, while the living room and bedroom each boast home theaters with flat screens and surround sound.
All suites include one of Faena Hotel + Universe's famous personal Experience Managers, high-speed wireless internet connections and automatic red velvet curtains with Venetian blinds.
Faena Hotel + Universe is known for ultimate luxury and the F Suite, Tower Suite and Imperial Suite continue the tradition of welcoming guests with exceptional service and luxe comforts.
By: Courtney W. May
Small Luxury Hotels of the World-- the exclusive brand of more than 440 independent properties in 70 countries-- recently launched its inaugural worldwide photography competition with some incredible prizes. The idea is for travelers to share their most inspired moments and experiences "caught on film" during their trips-- whether biking through the Tuscan hills or watching the sunset over a beach in the Indian Ocean. The possibilities are limitless! Running from March 17, 2008 through July 31, 2008, the contest will take place completely online via a dedicated competition website. You can register with the site and then upload up to 10 of your favorite photos that capture a sense of place and experience. All submitted photos will be viewable in an online gallery. Four overall winning photographs will be chosen by a panel of judges including celebrity photographer Andy Earl (who shot Madonna, Prince and Pink Floyd for their album covers). And get this: anybody who registers and submits at least one photo will be automatically entered into a prize draw for a five-night stay at any of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.
The top prize winners will all receive a brand new Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 Camera with an 18-135mm zoom lens, plus, choose one of four incredible prize getaways including two round-trip tickets on American Airlines. The available prize packages are:
* A four-night Mexican Escape at Esencia on the Riviera Maya
* A three night Big Apple Experience in New York City at The Iroquois New York
As the dollar continues to slide, the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires still offers bang for the buck for those looking to travel outside the U.S. Marvelous steak dinners can be had for a fraction of the price of a comparable meal in NYC, and luxury hotels continue to offer good value. An excellent choice is The Caesar Park Buenos Aires. Well-heeled guests are delighted by the elegant ambiance in the grand lobby: columns, marble staircase, the giant chandelier and mezzanine balcony. All works in the impressive art collection, displayed in the lobby and mezzanine, are for sale. Situated in the Recoleta district opposite from Patio Bullrich, the city's most exclusive shopping mall, The Caesar Park offers 175 tastefully-appointed guest rooms, including the top-floor Imperial Suite with amazing views over the city, the Rio de la Plata, and all the way to Montevideo, Uruguay. All rooms feature separate tubs and showers, and large entertainment systems.
Flying across the pond on business? The Metropolitan Hotel in London understands your red-eye pain. (Unless, of course, you're traveling with Eos Airlines, pampered in a private suite with lie-flat bed-- then we have less sympathy.) The chic, contemporary hotel, located on Park Lane, understands that "time is more valuable than money" and has designed the ultimate business package for road warriors seeking a sleek and efficient experience with more time to relax. A guaranteed early check-in at 10 a.m. means your room is ready with fresh seasonal fruit. So you can be up and running immediately, complimentary Wifi smooths the transition. At the end of the day, relax with a work-out in the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, and when you're ready to put your feet up, The Metropolitan will deliver a Nobu Bento Box and bottle of Isake Sake Premium to your room. In the morning, you'll get a nutritional 'Brekkie-to-Go'. Now that's service. Available from GBP 279 per night, based on singled occupancy.
The Delano has long symbolized South Beach cool. Sitting directly on the ocean, the urban resort is a trend-setting icon. It all started with that fabulous Indoor/Outdoor Lobby. Then Lenny Kravitz opened the Florida Room, the "modern-day piano lounge inspired by a classic period of South Floridian glamour." And now Morgans Hotel Group has just announced the expansion of the rooftop spa, Agua. With the renovation by Tim Andreas of BANJO Architects, the spa was expanded to 3,500 square feet and includes a 500 square foot solarium with tropical landscaping. The private terrace-- decked out in pristine white-- has infinite 360 degree views of the ocean. Custom-designed white terrazzo floors are complemented by a mosaic of hand-cut Brazilian glass tiles-- all in white. And white glass chandeliers from Murano are suspended above. There are 8 private treatment rooms, and cabana-inspired lounges for relaxing before and after the spa treatments. Try the signature Milk and Honey Treatment, which uses a blend of honey and organic sesame oil, or go for the medical-grade oxygen facial. New on the treatment menu: special facials and skin treatments designed just for men.