Often described as the "Venice of the North" or "another Amsterdam," the magical city of Bruges is an untouristed delight. As recently featured in a NYT article about Affordable Europe/Second-Tier Cities, Bruges is a less-pricey alternative for a European holiday:
Bruges, a medieval city in the Flemish region of Belgium, has fairy-tale streets, gingerbread houses and winding canals that lead to old windmills.
The city itself is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its 50 picturesque canals and charming medieval buildings. The newly-refurbished Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo has put together a special package for visitors to enjoy both Bruges and the lively capital city of Brussels. Superbly located in the very heart of the capital, adjacent to the Grand Palace, Hotel Amigo now provides the best luxury digs in Brussels. The "Bruges Your Way" package, starting at EUR 511 for two nights, includes accommodations in a Classic room, full buffet breakfast at the Ristorante Bocconi, one first-class return train ticket (Brussels-Bruges) per person, guide and map of Bruges, map of Brussels, and a box of Pierre Marcolini chocolates in your room upon arrival.
Indulge in some guilt-free pampering-- safari-style-- at the Rift Valley's stunning Shompole lodge. Overlooking the sun-bleached savannah near the Tanzanian border, Shompole is a luxurious outpost surrounded by pristine wilderness. Tented rooms are composed of quartz floors and pale thatch roofs, blending perfectly into the surroundings. From your own private "cool-pool," gaze out across the valley while lounging in blissful seclusion. The resort is managed by both a private safari company and members of the local Masai tribes, and sets an example for its environmental and social programs: wildlife conservation projects, the use of solar power, and low-impact building practices. Shompole has lured savy travelers with its exquisite accommodations and services, but now that green travel has gone mainstream, this eco-friendly resort will no doubt shine in the media spotlight. Guests enjoy safaris to view the big game and incredible wildlife, along with trips to the Shompole village and Flamingo breeding habitats at the alkaline lakes Magadi and Natron.
April 23, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Claridge's in London enlisted the British furniture and design company LINLEY to create new interior schemes for eleven of its sixty-three suites. Each of the one- or two-bedroom suites will be individually appointed; guests will enjoy both 'traditional' and 'art deco' themed suites.
One-bedroom Linley suites are 105 square metres/1,130 square feet (approximately) with one King size bed. The entrance hall leads to a large sitting room and the marble bathrooms are bright and spacious. Some of the one-bedroom suites offer a large walk-in wardrobe and a guest bathroom. The Two-Bedroom Linley suites offer King size beds. The entrance hall leads to a large sitting-room and the marble bathroom-- accessed via a striking dressing-room-- is sumptuously spacious. Rates for the Linley suites start at £2,500 for one-bedroom and £3,250 for a two-bedroom.
You can view more images of the new LINLEY suite designs from Claridge's.
Sunshine seekers, botanists, landscape lovers: pay heed. The LA Times Daily Deal Blog has highlighted an excellent getaway for visitors to SoCal. Discover the rugged beauty of the spectacular Desert Garden at Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. Celebrating its 100th birthday, the Desert Garden showcases magnificent cacti and rare specimens, some of which are no longer found in the wild. Shack up at Pasadena's landmark hotel, the splendid turn-of-the-century Ritz-Carlton Huntington, and take advantage of the Ritz-Carlton Cultural Escape Package, starting at $305. Available through December 28, 2007, the package includes accommodations for one night, breakfast for two on the Terrace, complimentary valet parking, and tickets to either the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens or the Norton Simon Museum.
The Chinese capital's in the press a lot these-- mind-boggling economic growth, the new city-wide anti-spitting campaign, and all the buzz for the imminent Olympic games. After all, tickets have just gone on-sale! So once you've secured seats for your favorite sporting event, it's time to think lodging. The place to stay in Beijing is the new Raffles, awarded "Best New City Hotel" by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report (2007) and also listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2007 "Hot List." Dating from the 1900's, the distinguished hotel is an architectural icon in the city. The location is ideal, just minutes from the Forbidden City and historic Tiananmen Square. The 171 guest rooms are downright decadent.
As if you needed an excuse to plan an escape to Hawaii. Four Seasons Lodge at Koele has announced a spectacular special: Get a fourth night free when booking three consecutive nights until December 19, 2007. Luxuriate in style at this opulent outpost surrounded by gardens and reflecting pools, ancient pines bordering expansive greens, and a magical orchid greenhouse. Hidden within the central highlands on Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele is the place to be to savor Hawaii's natural beauty. In addition to the spectacular golf courses, pool, and in-room spa services, the resort offers a slew of activities-- from archery to horseback riding. Rooms start at $295 per night.
April 20, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: Desert & Lake Resort, What happens here - stays here, Loves Kids & Pets
GJE came close last week guessing the Miller's Residence in London, but the correct answer for Last Weeks Hotel:
La Dolce Vita, indeed. The largest suite in Europe can be found on Via Veneto in Rome-- sprawling over two full floors beneath the frescoed cupola of the Westin Excelsior. Here's the breakdown. After a $7 million renovation, the signature suite continues to outshine most hotel accommodations worldwide. Sumptuous furnishings? You betcha. Tapestries and magnificent artwork adorn the place. The suite boasts six bedrooms, a rich paneled dining room that seats ten, private fitness room, boardroom and private eight-seat theater, sauna, steam bath, and Jacuzzi. Relax on the sundeck with your choice of 160 imported wines and take in the fabulous views of the Eternal City. Price tag on this one? Rumor has it that it's close to $40,000 a night.
The designer behind the glorious interiors of the Hotel Victor in South Beach, Hotel Costes and Hotel Fouquet's Barrière, the fabulous new palace on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, has big plans for his personal château. Jacques Garcia, the world-renowned interior designer, has decided to open his home, the regal Château du Champ de Bataille, to visitors with the debut of a new restaurant and glamorous 18-room hotel. Surrounded by expansive private gardens and the beautiful countryside of Normandy, the 17th century château was built by one of the principle architects of Versailles. Garcia has begun an elaborate restoration. As opulent as Garcia's other masterpieces, the public rooms have been completely restored in period style and filled with objets d'art. Garcia will unveil the boutique hotel-- a luxurious oasis within his magnificent château-- in 2008.
Has the Grand Bar kept its cool? The Soho Grand opened in 1996 (the first hotel to go up in stylish Soho in over a century) and its glamorous lounge took off as the hip place to be. It appears that this joint still epitomizes all that is trendy in Manhattan's downtown. Amber-hued lighting, copper tables, plush chairs, creative bar drinks, and oversized windows overlooking West Broadway. And indeed, it seems the Grand Bar and Lounge is the hot spot where celebs are both getting it on, and breaking things off.