LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
It's hard to imagine that the Sunset Marquis could actually be improved. The hotel of choice for the international jet-set and music industry clientele, this Hollywood haven-- a hidden sanctuary of lush gardens and heated pools just off Sunset-- was "boutique" before "boutique" even existed. Rich in history, host to myriad film, fashion, and music events, the Sunset Marquis is as famed for its fabulous service as it is for its on-site private recording studio. Since opening in 1963, the Sunset Marquis has provided personalized services to the likes of the Rolling Stones, U2, Brad Pitt, Gabriel Byrne, Jennifer Lopez and Al Pacino. Its state-of-the-art recording studio has been used by Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige and, most recently, Madonna and Josh Groban. Now the Sunset Marquis has finished a $20 million expansion. And it's dazzling.
There are 40 new villas. All 12 of the existing villas and 102 hotel suites have been upgraded. The crown jewel of the property? The magnificent Presidential Suite with 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3 fireplaces, private screening room, dining area for 10, executive office, accessibility by private elevator and 24 hour Villa Butler. Presidential Villa guests also have the option of a chauffeur or self-driven Bentley, or chauffeured limo or SUV. But that's not all. The Villa pool area has been revamped with new private cabanas, and the main pool-- with al fresco dining-- boasts a new outdoor bar.
The buzzing LA hotspot Whiskey Bar has been re-christened as Bar 1200. (Pictured. You can see the private collection of celebrity and rock icon photographs taken by renowned photographer Ross Halfin.) The famous recording studio is now called NightBird. And a new spa with Porsche furniture will soon debut. Coming soon: a dazzling new restaurant, where the Paris-trained Chef Guillaume Burlion is creating a French Fusion/Continental menu. Having worked at Michelin-starred establishments (and even cooked for Bill Clinton!), the new chef promises to wow his guests.
Talk about rock star amenities.
'Tis the season. We've seen a slew of exciting packages for Easter, and now's the time to take advantage of these special rates for a spring getaway. As the proverb goes: no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. And what could be a better way to defrost than with an indulgent stay at one of Europe's finest urban hotels? At the Gran Hotel La Florida, Barcelona's exclusive urban resort, you can abandon yourself with tantalizing spa treatments, incredible views from the swimming pool, and a unique gastronomic experience. The "Easter Escape" package is truly a pleasure for the senses. Priced at EUR 660, the package includes two nights accommodations, buffet breakfast in the restaurant for two, a complimentary Easter amenity, one half-hour massage per person, and complimentary access to Zen Zone Spa.
Or steal away for a city break in London at the Egerton House, the elegant, privately-owned hotel bang in the middle of Knightsbridge, or The Milestone, the No. 1 rated hotel in London according to Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, with stunning views over Kensington Gardens. Book the "Easter Extravaganza" at The Egerton House, valid until March 31, 2008, and you'll get a chilled bottle of Champagne, fresh fruit platter, and luxury basket of Easter Eggs upon arrival; complimentary British and international newspaper delivered each morning; a hearty, full English breakfast with freshly-baked Hot Cross Buns every day, and an Egerton Afternoon Tea for two with an Easter treat. Priced from GBP 265 per night. At The Milestone, escape for an "Easter Weekend" (available from March 21-30, 2008 only), and enjoy the best available rate (GBP 265 per night). Plus, if you stay three nights, you'll get a Milestone Chocolate Afternoon tea for two. Stay three nights in a Suite, and you'll receive a hand-decorated, personalized Easter Egg for each guest.
Or head to the Eternal City for a luxurious stay at the historic St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome, with its hand-painted frescoes and butler service. Experience the celebrated traditions and timeless splendor of Easter Sunday in Rome. You'll enjoy Easter Sunday lunch for two at the famed Vivendo Restaurant (listed as one of Europe's finest in the Zagat survey), a rich display of chocolates, daily buffet breakfast for two, and Double Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. Reserve by March 23 for stays through March 21-25, 2008. Two nights minimum required. From EUR 475 per room per night.
Leave it to the good folks at HotelChatter to point out this cool (and laudable) event at the Galileo Restaurant at Sydney's finest hotel. In support of Earth Hour-- a green movement where all participants turn off their lights for one hour (8 p.m. on March 29, 2008) to show their commitment to reducing global warming-- the Galileo Restaurant is offering a candlelit, seven-course "Dine in the Dark" degustation menu with matching wines. Priced at $155 per person including a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival.
The moment we've all been waiting for... After undergoing a $400 million, two-year renovation, The Plaza is back for business. And New York's icon is better than ever. At the crossroads between Fifth Avenue and fabled Central Park, The Plaza commands a celebrated and storied address. With new gracious décor and the same uncompromising service, The Plaza returns with new 21st century amenities. There's a world-class retail collection, Caudalie Spa and Fitness Center by Radu, the Oak Room and Oak Bar (for quintessential New York experiences), the opulent Plaza Grand Ballroom (site of the city's premier events), and the new Champagne Bar and Rose Club. Managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, The Plaza offers 282 guest rooms and suites with white-glove butler service for every guest. Notably, The Plaza is the only hotel in the world to feature 24-karat gold-plated Sherle Wagner sinks and fixtures in every bathroom. For the official grand opening celebration in May, The Plaza is holding a big bash with celebrities from all the world-over.
P.S. The Plaza will debut a sister property in Las Vegas in 2011.
E-Scape to South Africa with Twelve Apostles Hotel and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat
Now is the time to get a dose of some African sunshine. The award-winning Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Cape Town's finest, has partnered with the legendary Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve to create the perfect South African adventure of a lifetime. Enjoy the gorgeous sea-scape of Cape Town, the wine-scapes of the Bouchard Finlayson vineyard, and the remote land-scapes surrounding the luxurious wilderness retreat of Bushmans Kloof. The five-star journey begins at the very tip of South Africa with three nights of indulgence at The Twelve Apostles. In addition to the lavish accommodations and renowned service, you'll experience a special chef's tasting Fynbos menu at Azure Restaurant, a specialized spa treatment using indigenous healing aromatherapy, a trip to the top of Cape Town's famed Table Mountain, a visit to District 6, one of the most famous segregated areas under apartheid and now a museum, and a visit to a local arts and crafts village market managed by underprivileged women.
Before heading to the magical wilderness area at Bushmans Kloof, you'll take a day-trip by chauffeur-driven car to the Bouchard Finlayson Vineyard for a tour and tasting of the complete range of wines. When you stop for lunch at one of the town's best seafood restaurants, you'll enjoy a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson white wine.
Next stop: the luxurious eco-resort at Bushmans Kloof, a member of Relais & Chateaux, situated 270 kilometers from Cape Town in an extraordinary Natural Heritage Site. Surrounded by the grandeur of this dramatic landscape, you'll enjoy 3 nights in a deluxe room, 4 meals a day, including High Tea, dinner in a unique location each night (even outdoors under the stars in a natural sandstone amphitheater), early morning Rock Art excursions, evening nature drive with drinks and snacks at sundown, and 1 specialized spa treatment per person. Also includes all lodge activities, like canoeing and archery. The E-Scape package is valid until December 19, 2008.
What could be more blissful than an Easter getaway to Singapore at the city's landmark hotel, The Fullerton? The accolades are impressive: The Fullerton was chosen as the Best Hotel in Singapore in Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List 2007, voted the Best Hotel in Asia in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards 2006, and named One of the World's Top 100 Hotels in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards 2007. The "Easter Delight" package, available from March 20-24, 2008, includes luxurious accommodations, a classic Afternoon Tea for two in The Courtyard, buffet breakfast at Town Restaurant, complimentary Easter goodies, and late check-out until 3 p.m. Priced at S$368 per night.
Don't miss a meal at Jade, where contemporary Chinese specialties are served in an elegant setting.
The City by the Bay just got a new luxury addition. Joining sister property InterContinental Mark Hopkins, the 550-room InterContinental San Francisco is located in SF's South of Market area (SOMA) on the corner of Howard and Fifth streets right next to the Moscone West Convention Center. You can't miss the translucent glass high-rise of 32 storeys towering over the city skyline. Choose a suite on the top floor of the hotel and gape at the breathtaking views. Though you'll find incredible views from any room in the house-- as they're all outfitted with floor to ceiling windows. Guest rooms are appointed with comfortable contemporary décor and cutting edge technology including iPod clock radios, multiple phone lines, and 42 inch Plasma TVs. The signature restaurant, Luce, serves Italian cuisine with a California twist. Created in partnership with Michael Mondavi, son of local viticulture pioneer Robert Mondavi, the restaurant is a wine-lover's dream. The 8,000 square-foot spa and health club, I-Spa, offers an indoor lap pool, spacious terraces, and 24-hour fitness center with free weights, cardio, and resistance equipment. Plus, the InterContinental San Francisco boasts 43,000 square feet of dedicated meeting and function space. The debut of InterContinental's new San Francisco hotel is indicative of the enormous growth of the luxury hotel brand. By the end of 2008, there will be five more InterContinental Hotels and Resorts in the American West-- from Monterey Bay, CA to Paradise Valley, AZ.
Since the resort's opening this winter, there's been lots of buzz about The Arrabelle at Vail Square. Just steps from Vail's Eagle Bahn gondola, the luxury resort ups the ante for the region's luxury resorts. The 36 guest rooms are lavish, averaging 500 square feet each, and come with in-room martini bars, fireplaces and five-piece baths. Designed to reflect the ambiance of the European Alps, the resort has an après ski scene to match: with a grand lobby with bar and fireplace, rooftop pools, and an après ski deck. Guests are pampered with their very own personal concierge services (plus ski and book valet and storage). Take advantage of a special offer, "Buy One, Get One," from now until March 13, 2008. When you stay Sunday-Thursday at The Arrabelle at Vail Square, you'll get a complimentary second night stay when you buy one night. Rates starting from $425.
Note: The RockResorts Spa, fitness center, pool and hot tubs at The Arrabelle at Vail Square should open this weekend.
Intercontinental The Grand Mumbai offers an exotic stay in culturally-rich India. Located close to the international airport and a few minutes drive from Mumbai, the area offers plenty of activities to do during your vacation. Some activities include visits to the Elephant Caves, shopping, and the fairgrounds close by. The Grand Mumbai offers seven floors of luxurious guest rooms complete with kitchenette, mini bar and complimentary buffet breakfast. The hotel also offers amenities such as an outdoor pool, sauna, and whirlpool. There is also a babysitting service if you need to get away and take some personal time. The Grand Mumbai is also an excellent place for your next business conference with several exquisitely decorated conference rooms and a fantastic ballroom for business receptions or other formal events. Intercontinental The Grand Mumbai is the perfect place for your next vacation or next business trip.
By: Madelyn Giblin
For a fully enlightening and personal experience in Rome, enjoy the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's "Relaxation and Culture Discovering Rome" package. This special offers a three-night stay in one of the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's luxurious Deluxe Double Rooms complete with a welcome gift, fruit and cheese gift awaiting you in your room upon arrival and daily newspaper. The package also includes a three-hour guided personalized tour of Rome designed to your interests in a chauffeur-driven car throughout the city.
In addition, guests are treated to a one-hour personal spa treatment of their choice, and are provided with two admission tickets into a museum in Rome, as well as the "Tea for Two" in the Sala de Camino. The Villa Spalletti Trivelli also offers full complimentary access to Hammam/Engery Bar, Turkish Baths, Tepidarium, and Gym and Relax Room. Enjoy this personal comprehensive experience of the Eternal City, rates start at € 2.800,00.
By: Madelyn Giblin