Happy Thanksgiving from The Informed Traveler and Five Star Alliance! Wishing you a wonderful and warm holiday with friends and family. We'll be back next week with the best luxury travel offers and hot deals from the world's most exciting upscale hotels.
A sumptuous Thanksgiving feast, a Sugar Plum Facial or Peppermint Mocha Body Polish at the spa, Smores with Santa and Cookie Decorating for the kids, an unforgettable New Years Gala with a five course dinner and New Year's Day Caviar and Celebration Brunch. Estancia La Jolla is celebrating the holiday season with merrymaking and festive activities galore. Named to Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List 2006, Estancia La Jolla is a California Rancho-style coastal retreat surrounded by lush gardens, only minutes from San Diego and the beaches of La Jolla. Holiday packages include the excellent Estancia La Jolla Togethering, designed for the whole family to enjoy a fun three day stay. The package includes two nights accommodations (three deluxe rooms), Champagne and Cheese reception en suite for six people, daily American breakfast buffet, and six tickets to the venue of your choice: Sea World, Wild Animal Park, or the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Rate is $2006 plus taxes.
It's back. The elegant grande dame of New Orleans, the only Five Diamond hotel in Louisiana, is planning its comeback after a 15-month closure caused by serious damage from Hurricane Katrina. Resembling the beautiful antebellum mansions in the Garden District, Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is celebrated for its traditional Southern ambience and gracious hospitality. Located at the edge of the French Quarter on Canal Street, the hotel features luxurious accommodations (distinguished by European and American art and antiques), excellent cuisine (four venues!), and a 20,000 square-foot European style spa, including signature treatments that date back to the time of Napoleon, Marie Antoinette and the court of Louis XVI. Room enhancements were a major part of the hotel's recent $100 million renovation. All 527 rooms have been renovated with new 400 thread-count Egyptian Cotton Linens, new Bulgari White Tea Bath Amenities, and new Rainforest Showerheads. Flat panel televisions were added to all of the Suites and Club Level accommodations. The renovated hotel will also feature the new signature restaurant called Melange and enhanced meeting space measuring 35,000 square feet. Accepting reservations starting December 4, 2006.
Bangkok's newest member of Small Luxury Hotels is an extraordinary all-suite masterpiece in the heart of Bangkok. At lebua at State Tower, each suite boasts a wall of windows with dazzling views of the city skyline and Chao Phraya River. The spacious suites are luxurious and comfortable, stacked with contemporary conveniences (like two flat-screen TVs, DVD players, in-room broadband Internet connectivity, workstations, and fully-equipped kitchens). The Dome at State Tower features myriad dining options with glass balconies, sexy lighting, terraces, and city viewing galleries. Located on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State Tower, Sirocco is the world's highest al fresco restaurant stunning views of Bangkok. The dramatic deck appears to be suspended in the middle of the sky, frozen in space. Descending onto the deck is a beautifully lit stairway leading to one corner where the hip Sky Bar takes center-stage.
With the Sky Night @ Sky Bar package, enjoy the very best that Bangkok has to offer from high atop State Tower. The package includes daily full breakfast, complimentary local calls and high-speed internet access, complimentary use of the fitness center facilities and swimming pool, welcome amenity of flowers and handmade chocolates, one Sky Bar drink per person, and one bottle of wine in-room upon arrival. Starting at $140 per one bedroom suite through December 21, 2006. $150 per one bedroom suite until March 31, 2007. Two night minimum stay required.
The legendary Fasano Hotel of São Paulo-- site of one of the best Italian restaurants in the world-- is coming to Rio de Janeiro. Destined to wow both trendsetting locals and savvy travelers alike, the elegant new hotel will be situated in the heart of Ipanema Beach. Rogerio Fasano commissioned Philippe Starck in its design, which exudes understated sophistication, with decor from the 1950's and 60's. From the rooftop (guests only), the views are absolutely spectacular. In addition to the happening Lobby Lounge, Londra, the hotel features the Fasano Al Mare, Rogerio Fasano's gastronomic restaurant (serving traditional Italian seafood), beautiful pool, fitness center, sauna, massage and coffee shop for light meals.
Fairmont invites guests to enjoy Canada's winter wonderland with an excellent Experience Winter Package at participating hotels and resorts, starting from CAD139 a night. Hit the slopes at Whistler-- North America's top ski resort-- and stay slopeside at the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Whistler for direct ski-in, ski-out access. Or enjoy the snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rockies at the Fairmont Banff Springs, where your lift ticket gives you the opportunity to ski at any one of three awesome ski areas: Banff's Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village or Lake Louise Ski Area. Or experience a slew of wintry activities-- dog sledding, sleigh rides, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, spa-- at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Quebec. Choose from ten of Fairmont's exciting Canadian destinations. In addition, if you pay with your American Express Card and stay three consecutive nights, you'll get the fourth night for free, including breakfast for two. (Four consecutive nights required at Whistler.)
This could be the best hotel in Europe. Dating from 1872, the lakeside pied a terre is adored by the world's royalty. The Hotel d'Angleterre offers only 39 rooms and 6 suites, so that each distinguished guest is provided the utmost in personal service. Balconies provide heart-stopping views over Lake Geneva, the Jet d'Eau and the towering peaks of Mont Blanc. Windows restaurant, recently recognized by the prestigious Gault and Millau guide as one of the top restaurants in Geneva, also looks out over the lake to Mont Blanc. Experience luxury on the lake at Hotel d'Angleterre with the Winter Fantasy Package, overflowing with goodies to see and do in Geneva. Take a cooking class with the Pastry Chef, discover Geneva's specialty designer shops on the world famous Rue du Rhone and the enchanting Christmas market with the help of a personal shopper, enjoy an excursion on a mountain train to a chalet to indulge in traditional cheese fondue overlooking the snow-capped Jura Mountains, sip cocktails by the fire, and delight in a gastronomic four-course dinner at Windows accompanied by Switzerland's finest wine. The Winter Fantasy Package includes all these activities, two nights in an elegant classic room, daily buffet breakfast, welcome gift of a handcrafted tree ornament and a basket of Biscome, CD of traditional Swiss Christmas Carols, "Mont Blanc 4807" cocktail for two in the Leopard Lounge, and for those staying on Christmas day-- a stocking stuffed with seasonal goodies on your doorknob. Available from December 10, 2006 to January 15, 2007. Minimum two-night stay required. Priced at CHF1,810.
This lakeside luxury resort grabbed top honors at the 13th annual World Travel Awards, held in Turks and Caicos this year. Named "Asia's Leading Resort," the Oberoi Udaivilas is romantic, glamorous, and utterly enchanting. Resembling one of the grand palaces for which Rajasthan is fabled, the resort boasts stunning views over Lake Pichola to the City Palace and the Aravalli Hills beyond. Set amidst landscaped gardens, courtyards, fountains, and reflection pools, the 87 guest rooms are royal-- featuring large private terraces, private swimming pools, marble bathrooms, walk-in closets, and butler service. In addition, the resort offers a gym, two large pools, fine dining, and a luxury spa offering a range of therapies.
Mirror Lake Inn may be one of the top three ski resorts in North America, but it's also recognized as one of the "best resorts for non-skiers" (MSNBC.com) because of the excellent facilities. Enjoy winter activities such as ice skating, skiing, snow-snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, followed by afternoon tea in front of a crackling fire or a hot stone massage at the spa. Situated on the shores of Lake Placid, this elegant Adirondack hideaway features an exquisite indoor pool and Jacuzzi with panoramic views of the lake and mountains beyond. This traditional inn, relaxed and gracious, is celebrated for its warmth and hospitality. Escape for a One Night Ski Package and get incredible savings. Starting from just $260 per room, the package includes overnight accommodations, a one day ski pass to Whiteface Mountain for each adult, and breakfast in The View for two. Not valid during December 22, 2006 to January 7, 2007.
November 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Kiawah Island Resort, outside Charleston, South Carolina, is oft considered the best golf and tennis resort in the United States. Kiawah debuted its luxury hotel, The Sanctuary, in recent years and the hotel has quickly gained a loyal following of distinguished guests. Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report named it "Best New Resort Hotel" for its personalized service, extraordinary accommodations, and luxurious facilities. The crown jewel of a special resort island, The Sanctuary is easily the finest oceanfront hotel to open on the East Coast in the past 20 years. Celebrate the holiday season at The Sanctuary with month-long festivities, beginning with the tree lighting ceremony and including special breakfasts with Santa and the elves, afternoon teas and storytelling with Mrs. Claus, cookies and hot chocolate, local chef Gingerbread House competition, and holiday music filling the lobby as carolers sing old favorites. It's truly a magical experience for the whole family. The Christmas Eve Package, priced at $485 per room, includes accommodations (Ocean View), full buffet breakfast for two, Christmas Eve Dinner for two at Jasmine Porch or Turtle Point, and a keepsake Sanctuary Christmas Ornament. The Christmas Feast Package, priced at $620 per room, includes a lavish Christmas Eve dinner for two at The Ocean Room, and a Christmas Day Buffet for two at Jasmine Porch.