October 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle) has been a Los Angeles landmark since the day it opened in 1929. Elegant, posh, and perfectly located on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower Hotel has been the residence of countless famous actors, musicians, and even the gangster Bugsy Siegel, whose former apartment is now the setting for the Tower Bar, one of the hottest hang-outs in LA. Inspired by the glamour of early Hollywood, the chic Tower Bar was designed by internationally acclaimed decorator Paul Fortune, with walnut-paneled walls, discreet seating and a fireplace. While guests sip cocktails and listen to the playing of famed jazz pianist Paige Cavenaugh in the rose-colored light, they enjoy sweeping views of the city. It's no wonder Los Angeles magazine chose the Tower Bar as its Top City Pick, praising its handsome and rich appointments as a scene reminiscent of private men's clubs.
The uber-chic German capital has got it all: more than 170 excellent museums, happening nightlife, dreamy palaces, and exquisite fine dining (but don't rule out the beer halls and down-home sausage and sauerkraut specialties). Berlin boasts a rich cultural landscape. To quote Sherman's Travel:
If an outdated mental picture of Berlin as a once-divided city is keeping you from visiting the capital of Germany, you haven't heard that it is the hot, hip urban destination for jet-setters, beer-lovers, and culture-vultures alike. New life has been breathed into the city, and now is the time to go and experience it.
And perhaps the best part of all, Berlin's positively brimming with world-class hotels, from the elegant and utterly luxurious Regent to the world famous Kempinski Hotel Bristol, from the Schlosshotel Im Grunewald, the city's only historic castle hotel, to the Radisson SAS with its enormous lobby AquaDom (the world's largest cylindrical aquarium) stocked with 2,500 exotic fish.
Situated in an ideal location in the heart of the city's business district with panoramic views of the harbor, the Intercontinental Dubai is the oldest, most established five-star hotel in Dubai. For three decades the hotel has racked up the awards, including Best Business Hotel in the Middle East as voted by the UK's Business Traveller and Business Asia magazines. This landmark hotel features 287 guest rooms with spectacular views from balconies, 13 restaurants and bars, the 24-hour, award-winning InterFitness health club, outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, and championship squash courts. Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, the first-class brand of Brussels-based Rezidor SAS Hospitality, has taken over the management of the InterContinental Hotel Dubai.
Rumor has it that the Grande Dame of Boston hotels, the oldest Ritz-Carlton in the United States, is on the market. Located on fashionable Newbury Street and the Public Garden, the 273-room luxury hotel celebrated its 75th anniversary with a major renovation in 2002. As reported by the Boston Herald:
India-based newspapers and at least one TV station reported yesterday that Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., owner of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, will buy the Ritz for $170 million. But New York-based Millennium Partners, which has owned the Boston hotel for seven years, said it has not reached a deal to sell it.
Apparently, since the last summer purchase of The Pierre in Manhattan, Taj Hotels has been on the prowl for similar properties in gateway US cities "to build a five-star hotel brand under The Pierre flag."
Say goodbye to nasty airline food. Executive Chef Gordon Maybury has designed delicious and healthy menus for First and Business Class menus of Lufthansa outbound flights from the US. Starting in November, passengers will indulge in selections inspired from the hotel's Fives restaurant, including pistachio dusted shrimp with sweet pea tarragon flan appetizer, vanilla thyme roasted halibut with baby bok choy and fondant potato, and wild berry charlotte in its own consommé with sweet cream, and a selection of international cheeses. This culinary partnership will continue throughout 2007, with Lufthansa featuring rotating menus from the chefs at the Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula Beverly Hills in addition to the Peninsula New York.
October 4, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May for the Conrad Chicago Just past the fifth-floor lobby of downtown Chicago's Conrad Hotel is a vintage south beach escape -- The Terrace at Conrad (pictured). It is a great place to unwind in a chic outdoor setting with fantastic cityscape views - and best of all, complimentary movies are shown on Sunday & Monday nights with Truffle popcorn and roasted chestnuts. (Check out the past shows to get an idea of their monthly options.) Sunday, 10/8/06 - Wolfman Monday, 10/9/06 - The Mummy Sunday, 10/15/06 - Christine Monday, 10/16/06 - Cujo Sunday, 10/22/06 - Amityville Horror Monday, 10/23/06 - Beetlejuice Sunday, 10/29/06 - Birds (a personal favorite) Monday, 10/30/06 - Dracula Tuesday, 10/31/06 - Frankenstein Reserve the Conrad Chicago Hotel
October 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
An exotic tropical island, beachfront villa on Martinique, private bungalow in the Greek Islands, the seclusion of the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee… Relais and Chateaux properties offer the perfect romantic escape, whether for a honeymoon, anniversary, or quick romantic getaway. When you use your American Express Card to book at select luxurious destinations around the world, you'll receive the fourth night for free, along with a special VIP welcome amenity, such as Champagne on arrival and an assortment of local regional delicacies. Available through December 31, 2006.
(Pictured: Capri's stunning Hotel Caesar Augustus, perched on the cliffs high above the sea.)
Look out, Four Seasons. Shangri-La, the largest operator in Asia of deluxe hotels (raking in revenue of about $1 billion a year) is coming to Europe. According to a recent IHT article, the Hong Kong-based company is "on a major expansion spree, with 44 new hotels to be developed over the next four years, and the company is still seeking more sites." Indeed, the chief executive, Giovanni Angelini, personally scouted the ideal spot in Paris for Shangri-La's first luxury hotel in Europe: the historic palace of Prince Roland Bonaparte near the Trocadero. The hotel group is also looking at major American cities and European capitals. Significantly, Shangri-La is the largest operator of luxury hotels in China and is planning to double its current 20 hotels by 2010. To quote Angelini:
"By the year 2020, it is expected there will be more than 100 million Chinese travelers," he said. "Can you imagine the impact? Japan has made a tremendous impact in the industry and it never reached more than 17 million travelers.
Recently featured in an excellent Financial Times article about luxury travel, The Fasano in Sao Paulo is indeed one of the world's best hotels.
The rooms so chic, chocolate and cosseting, you will find yourself revising your low opinion of so-called design hotels. Bathrooms are simply vast, the location spot-on and service conspicuously good for capricious South America.
Most importantly, this is the spot of one of the best Italian restaurants in the world. The Fasano family name is well known in São Paulo: their signature restaurant has dignified the grand avenue (Rua Vittorio Fasano) since 1990, the recipes for its grand cuisine brought from Milan a century ago. The hotel's facilities are nothing short of decadent: rooftop health club with pool, baths, sauna (and stunning views), a fleet of limousines for airport pick-ups and transfers, hip jazz bar, and swank guest rooms. A truly glamorous address with exceptional service.
The star, the legend, the superstar, the crème de la crème of Chefs-- Alain Ducasse-- will open a new restaurant at the St. Regis in Manhattan. We're talking about the only guy in the world to own and operate three signature restaurants each honored with three Michelin stars. (Starwood is pleased as pie about this new arrangement.) The restaurant will open in March 2007 and will also feature a wine bar. The St. Regis Hotel, New York isn't exactly a shabby address: the majestic property was recently named the number one hotel in the world by the readers of Institutional Investor, the first New York hotel to win the top spot in the survey's 25-year history.