November 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
When W planted its flag in Indonesia earlier this year, the W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak (pictured) immediately became *the* place to see and be seen. (The resort manages to be both a tranquil hideaway and a happening hot spot at the same time.) Now the brand is looking to make a splash in the buzzing capital city of Jakarta, with the opening of a brand new hotel in 2015. Located in Jakarta's Central Business District, the 300-room property will import W's signature Whatever/Whenever service philosophy along with the W Living Room experience. To quote the official press release: "W Jakarta will offer escape, extravaganza and innovative design in the heart of one of the city's most vibrant districts, redefining the contemporary lifestyle and bringing a completely new and distinctive experience to the hotel market in Jakarta." The W Jakarta will be the brand's twelfth property in the Asia Pacific region, following the 2014 openings of W Beijing and W Shanghai.
November 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We've seen our fair share of over-the-top spa treatments (diamond, rubies, oh my!), but this one might just take the cake. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita has just announced a lavish spa treatment for the festive season: the new UMO 24 Karat Gold Facial. Apparently gold has natural youth-enhancing properties (who knew?) that helps beautify the skin and defy the natural ageing process. The facial uses 100% natural ingredients to give you a golden glow while you're hanging out in paradise. (Just check out the photos of the island resort.) Here's the skinny on the facial:
Derived from an ancient Japanese soybean health food, the Gamma PGA ingredient used by the UMO facial is ten times more hydrating than the skin’s own natural acids, while also having far more elasticity than collagen. The Gamma PGA absorbs the gold and when applied to the face using UMO’s ultrasonic nano mist technology – several times smaller than water droplets – both the Gamma PGA and the gold are able to pass through the surface of the skin to restore youthful benefits to the deepest layers.
Needless to say, the UMO 24 Karat Gold Facial doesn't come cheap; it costs 250 euros a pop. Available from December 15, 2011.
November 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Looking for a warm-weather respite with a generous helping of luxury? Make a b-line for Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach, located just north of Miami in Sunny Isles. It's not just the postcard-perfect beach that'll sooth your winter-weary soul. The hotel was recently singled out as one of the Top 20 Beach and Family Resorts winners in the 2011 Reader Survey of Andrew Harper’s exclusive Hideaway Report. (Andrew Harper and his editors travel incognito to find the best accommodations on the planet.) Also the recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award, the hotel has a 20,000 square foot spa by ESPA, two oceanfront restaurants (including the famous Il Mulino New York), three swimming pools overlooking the Atlantic, and a marine biology-based AcquaMarine children’s program.
Word on the street is that one of our fave hotels in the U.S., the Elysian in Chicago, will become part of the esteemed Waldorf-Astoria brand. Hilton's uber-luxury chain is rapidly expanding in all four corners of the globe, and now has properties in Rome, Shanghai, Orlando, and Park City. Sources have told Crain's Chicago and The USA Today Hotel Check-In that the swank Elysian will most likely become part of Waldorf Astoria because "billionaire financier Sam Zell is buying the hotel for about $95 million." If this is true, says Hotel Check-In, "the per-room price for the 188-room hotel would be $505,000 - the highest, Crain's says, for a Chicago hotel. Zell apparently expects to lift the hotel's value by bringing in Hilton to manage it and market it to its millions of customers." The Elysian has won acclaim for its extreme level of luxury: to-die-for rooms, a dazzling spa, an on-site Marc Jacobs store, and a restaurant adored by the blogging cognoscenti. (Psst. Gwyneth loves these digs.)
For his first eponymous hotel, Giorgio Armani didn't exactly go about it quietly. He chose the tallest building in the world-- the towering Burj Khalifa-- as the setting for the sleek Armani Hotel Dubai, which embodies the fashion mogul's sophisticated style even in the tiniest of details. Now Armani has done it again-- this time with a brand new "palazzo" hotel in his home town of Milan. Situated on via Manzoni in the city's designer shopping district, the Armani Hotel Milan recently held a star-studded opening gala where celebs like Jessica Alba donned their finest Armani apparel.
Conde Nast Traveller says: "Giorgio Armani has created a home from home, or casa della casa, for suitably stylish guests in Milan. Interiors are perfectly in keeping with Armani/Casa's sleek style and his clothing line; a continuation of his ocean-inspired Spring/Summer 2012 ready-to-wear collection - think silver and sophisticated gold." Luxury Travel Advisor is smitten with the suites that come with private gyms and personal kitchens. "Each guest is assigned his or her personal "lifestyle manager," (think 24/7 butler). There is a rooftop spa with Japanese onsen-style Jacuzzi and gym overlooking the Duomo and La Scala (posh indeed!)."
November 11, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
Situated along the exclusive beach of Baie Longue, La Samanna is a boutique resort bathed in St. Martin’s lush mangroves, tropical flora and simple Caribbean luxury. Over the past four decades, the privacy, tranquility and panoramic views of Baie Longue have enticed guests from around the world to visit La Samanna – one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts. Since purchasing the hotel from its original owners in 1997, Orient-Express has made continuous enhancements to maintain the resort’s position as a legendary getaway while preserving the property’s connection to St. Martin’s history and culture.
When guests arrive this fall, they will discover La Samanna has embarked on an extensive renovation project of guest rooms and suites. Inspired by the hotel’s original guest rooms from 1972, which were influenced by Mediterranean architecture, the new design is graceful, light and clean. There is generous use of the color white, in the flooring, countertops, walls and furnishings, and accents of color introduced with accessories, decorative pillows and lamps.
Guests will find original etchings from Sir Roland Richardson, depicting scenes or locations of old St. Martin. Often referred to as the “Father of Caribbean Impressionism,” Richardson has been the resident artist at La Samanna for the past decade. Rooms will also feature watercolor prints from Antoine Chapon, a French painter who settled on St. Martin in 1981. Chapon’s work is a serene reflection of the Caribbean atmosphere and culture.
This fall, La Samanna invites you to see their newly renovated suites with the Suite Dreams Package. For a limited time only, you can experience the luxury of the one-bedroom suites at a 30% discount. The "Suite Dreams Package" includes accommodation, daily buffet breakfast, access to the state-of-the-art fitness center, and unlimited usage of non motorized water sports. Rates are from $555 per suite, per night. Please Note: five night minimum stay required. Offer applicable to one-bedroom suites only. All taxes and gratuities are not included. This package is valid now through December 21, 2011, is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offers or packages
November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Looking to get inspired for your next getaway? The savvy editors at Fodor's have just released their first-ever list of the world's best hotels. After careful deliberation, the team of Fodor's editors and writers curated the "Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011" spanning eight hotel categories. Here's a sampling of some of our favorites that made the cut.
Fairmont has declared November 12, 2011 an official "tea day"-- celebrating all things tea-- and being tea fans ourselves, we're thrilled about the "tea-rrific" events they have planned at hotels and resorts around the world. From tastings with a tea sommelier at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria to tours of a neighboring tea estate at Kenya's historic Fairmont The Norfolk, the festive events celebrate Fairmont's historic connection to the traditional afternoon ritual. Other fun, noteworthy celebrations: get discounts for wearing fancy hats at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; imbibe signature "Tea-quila" cocktails at The Fairmont Dallas; try Swiss-style tea at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace featuring finger sandwiches made with local Gruyère cheese; partake in a multi-cultural tea celebration at The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. For the full run-down of activities, check out the official website. And if you're in need of a little Tea Etiquette, the experts at The Fairmont Empress have some top tips.
Pssst. You can also try some tea-infused cocktails from the hotel brand's top mixologists.
Image via Fairmont Hotels/ Everyone's an Original
The legendary address on Central Park is now part of Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that recognizes hotels for preserving and maintaining their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance. The Plaza Hotel-- the fictional setting for Kay Thompson's Eloise character-- isn't just a NYC landmark; the storied hotel looms large in the imaginations of folks across the United States. It's the only hotel in New York City listed as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. After a $450 million, three-year renovation completed in 2008, The Plaza Hotel continues its tradition of luxury with a Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, one-of-a-kind suites, and high-profile restaurants.
November 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
To the disappointment of the Hollywood celebs and business tycoons who bunk down at The Gritti Palace while staying in Venice, the iconic luxury hotel has shuttered its palatial doors for a 15-month restoration. When it reopens in 2013, this Starwood Luxury Collection hotel is guaranteed to still have its magnificent historic features and design elements (original Rubelli Venetian textiles and unique furniture custom designed by Donghia and inspired by Venetian Rococo couches and pozzetti). But it will also flaunt up-to-the-minute technology and all the latest contemporary conveniences. The finest craftsmen have been enlisted for this meticulous renovation project. Located on the Grand Canal and housed inside a 16th century palazzo, The Gritti Palace is a fixture on Travel + Leisure magazine's "T+L 500" list of top-rated hotels around the globe.
For other accommodations options in Venice, check out our recommended hotels.