LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
February 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A member of Starwood's prestigious Luxury Collection, the US Grant is an historical classic, built in 1910 by Ulysses S. Grant Jr. to honor his war-hero father. After a $52 million renovation, the legendary Edwardian hotel re-opened in November 2006. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the US Grant blends classic beaux arts architecture with exceptional contemporary design including $6.5 million in newly commissioned art. Walk through the grand entrance on Fourth Avenue, step into the opulent lobby, and experience the era of elegance.
The pinnacle of the 11-story hotel are the two bi-level Presidential suites. These suites offer multi-level residential comfort in the heart of the cosmopolitan city, just steps from the lively Gaslamp Quarter. These enormous suites are comprised of an upper floor private master bedroom and lower level living room and formal dining room, exquisitely furnished. Of course this posh Presidential Suite offers more than creature comforts: the Luxury Collection bed, Italian linens, plush robes, warm slippers, and the latest in audio and visual technology perfect the sumptuous experience.
February 13, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The picture-perfect setting in a fairytale city. The new Mandarin Oriental recently opened in the Mala Strana district, in the heart of Prague's historic center. Housed in a renovated 14th century monastery, this luxurious hotel embodies the allure of Prague. London-based architect Khuan Chew, famed for the swank interiors of the world's only seven-star hotel, Dubai's Burj al Arab, mixed contemporary amenities with the building's fine architectural details (parquet floors, vaulted ceilings, limestone bathrooms). From your guest room, gaze out over the cobble-stoned streets, ancient spires, and red rooftops. Indulge in the world-class spa, located on the site of a Renaissance church. Take advantage of a fantastic Opening Offer at the Mandarin Oriental Prague, and score a third night for free! Available until March 31, 2007, the Opening Offer Package includes daily American breakfast, late check-out at 6pm, complimentary extra bed for a child under 12, and a third night free when you book two. Rates start from EUR 219 for a Superior Room.
February 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Leave it to Hotel d'Angleterre, one of the finest hotels in Europe, to plan a scrumptious Easter getaway package sure to delight the whole family. Enjoy a spring jaunt to Geneva and set up shack at the lakeside boutique; from your guest room balcony, the views of Lake Geneva, the Jet d'Eau and Mont Blanc aren't too shabby. With only 39 rooms and 6 suites, the historic hotel provides impeccable personal service in pampering guests with true luxury on the lake. (And Windows restaurant, recognized by the Gault and Millau guide as one of the top city restaurants, isn't so bad either.) Celebrate Easter in Switzerland and indulge in the world's finest chocolates with the Easter Follies package at Hotel d'Angleterre. The package includes two nights accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, a chocolate-making lesson and trip to a traditional chocolate maker, and the cocktail of your choice at the fashionable Leopard Lounge, named Hotel Bar of the Year by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report. Easter Follies is available from April 5-April 15, 2007 and starts at CHF 530 per night.
January 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Each spring, visitors flock to the nation's capital for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. From March 31-April 15, 2007, the Willard Intercontinental will celebrate the awesome beauty of the cherry blossoms with stunning floral displays, overnight packages, spa treatments, and delicious Cherry Blossom Tea. Centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Washington, the Willard Intercontinental gracefully combines tradition with contemporary comfort and technology. Ranked among America's best historic hotels, the Beaux-Arts Willard has hosted almost every US president since Franklin Pierce in 1853. It was here that Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, where Abraham Lincoln lived for a month, where, in the grand lobby, President Ulysses S. Grant popularized the word "Lobbyist" and where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King finished his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. The Willard is a major force in the social and political life of Washington to this day.
The luxurious hotel is transformed into a springtime wonderland for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Willard's lobby and Peacock Alley promenade is decorated with live Cherry Blossoms and a display including historic renderings of the first Japanese delegation to America. (Three ambassadors and their entourage of 74 stayed at the Willard in an historic visit to Washington to ratify the nations' new Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1860.) Conveniently located near the tree-lined Tidal Basin, the Cherry Blossom Parade route and other festival events, the Willard is the perfect choice for festival enthusiasts. Guests can enjoy seasonal cherry cocktails at the historic Round Robin Bar. Or sip cherry-infused teas and nibble on festive themed edibles such as Petite Cherry Custard Tarts, Dry Cherry and Vanilla Scones with Homemade Cherry Marmalade and Devonshire Cream, and Hand Made Cherry Candy, while listening to live music in Peacock Alley. Or prepare for the Cherry Blossom Festivities with a special facial and massages at the luxurious I Spa at the Willard. Take advantage of the Very Cherry Willard Package, starting at $329, which includes accommodations, a special cherry amenity, plus the choice of one of the following: American breakfast for two, a second room at half price for children under 18, upgrade to a Deluxe room, or parking. This package reflects savings of $250. Prices are per room, plus tax, based upon availability and are available from March 16 through April 15, 2007.
Hit the slopes at Ski Santa Fe, recently recognized by readers of Conde Nast Traveler as one of the top 20 ski resorts in North America. Soak up the splendor of New Mexico's mountains and enjoy the season's record snowfall, just a short drive from charming, downtown Santa Fe. Stay at the award-winning La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa and score a lift ticket-inclusive package for just $135 per person, per night! Nestled on six landscaped acres in the heart of Santa Fe, the resort offers adobe-style accommodations in a magical garden setting. La Posada de Santa Fe exudes Southwestern culture with its vibrant artwork, kiva fireplaces, signature cuisine at Fuego restaurant, and Southwest-inspired spa treatments at the luxurious Avanyu Spa. Ski and stay at Santa Fe's legendary resort with the special lift ticket-inclusive package. The package includes accommodations, full day lift tickets for two, and unlimited use of the Avanyu Spa steam and fitness rooms. (Priced at $135 per person during the week and $147 on weekends.) Or, for the ultimate winter escape, choose the Ski, Dine and Unwind Package, which includes two nights accommodation, two 50 minute Dancing Wind Massages or two Flowing Water Massages, two half-day lift tickets each day to Ski Santa Fe, and lunch for two at Fuego. This package is priced from $190 per person, per night. Available until April 14, 2007.
Cancun's most luxurious resort, the AAA five diamond Ritz-Carlton, has unveiled a brand, spanking new Culinary Center. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the $500,000 recreational kitchen facility features the world's finest equipment from Viking Range Corporation. Guests explore an exciting approach to food and wine with classes, demonstrations, and tastings. Rory Dunaway, the chef de cuisine, shares professional techniques and recipes through interactive, hands-on cooking experiences. Participants learn the secrets to authentic Mexican cuisine, and-- with Wine and Tequila tastings-- learn about beverage culture and how it is linked to culinary traditions. The Center utilizes the freshest, local ingredients for its two-hour classes, which feature three to five themed recipes. Guests can select from a menu of 12 different themed sessions a week: Monday's Cooking Without Heat class focuses on light, low-fat delicacies using marinades, lime and other ingredients (think ceviche and sushi), while Wednesday's Tuscan Dinner Party introduces classic Italian recipes using fresh ingredients and authentic techniques. Ritz-Carlton's Culinary Center is open six days a week. Wine and Tequila tastings are offered at 6:30 pm in the evenings.
This charming and sophisticated boutique hotel-- ranked among the Word's Best Hotels by both the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Travel and Leisure magazine-- is a favorite Manhattan hideaway for couples as well as families. Nestled among the residences of the fashionable East Side in an oasis of calm, the Hotel Plaza Athenee is just steps from Central Park and Madison Avenue shopping. This European-style hotel offers the ultimate in personalized service. Need restaurant reservations or tickets to a Broadway show? Simply ask the knowledgeable concierge. Decorated in elegant European furnishings, the 115 guestrooms and 35 suites (some with glass-enclosed indoor terraces and outdoor balconies) create the feeling of being a pampered guest in an upscale, private home. The hotel is home to one of the best restaurants in New York City: Arabelle.
Take your family to Manhattan and enjoy a special children's package at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. Pillows and Penguins, available for children 14 and under, features special amenities sure to delight the kids: children's gift bag including a New York taxi, New York coloring book, crayons, Yankee's baseball cap, and plush penguin, four tickets to Central Park Zoo (just one block from the hotel), VIP passes for Jekyll and Hyde themed restaurant, 10 percent off Lunch or Dinner at Mars 2112 Restaurant, and milk and cookies at turndown. The package includes accommodations for two adults and up to two children in two connecting rooms and continental breakfast daily with special children's menu for the kids. Pillows and Penguins is priced at $990, per night for two connecting King bedded rooms, from January through April 1, 2007, and July 1-September 3, 2007. (From April 2 - June 30, 2007, the package is $1,140, per night for two connecting King bedded rooms.) Subject to availability.
Winter blues? Escape to Arizona's sunshine and wrap yourself in luxury with warm winter rates at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Situated on 93 acres in the ancient Catalina Mountains, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort offers guests a sanctuary inside and out. Golf buffs, spa addicts, and sun worshippers marvel at the excellent recreational facilities and luxurious guestrooms (each with private terrace, and some feature fireplaces and Jacuzzis). Tee off at one of two Tom Fazio-designed PGA golf courses. Perfect your backhand at one of eight lighted tennis courts at the Tennis Center. Enjoy a rejuvenating body treatment at the 7,000 square foot, full-service spa. Relax by the gorgeous swimming pools. There's also hiking, bicycle rentals, croquet court, ping-pong, and basketball. And for a real splurge, book the Presidential Suite and enjoy its two-tiered patio with spectacular views (of either the 80-foot waterfall or the Canyon Golf Course) from your own private Jacuzzi. Wonderful Winter Rates for Loews Ventana Canyon Resort start at just $329, available until April 8, 2007.
January 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This could be heaven on earth. Situated on the sun-kissed Kohala Coast of Hawaii's Big Island, the AAA five-diamond Mauna Lani Resort is surrounded by a stunning landscape of volcanoes, lush rainforests, endless beaches, and waterfalls. There's tennis, water sports, a children's camp, two championship golf courses, an epic Spa (with a naturally heated lava rock sauna and Aquatic Body Therapy facility), Sport and Fitness Club, and five exquisite dining venues. Because the choices are endless-- a round of golf on the challenging North Course (built on a lava bed older than the Kaniku flow?) or a massage at Hawaii's premier Mauna Lani Spa?-- the good folks at Mauna Lani have made the decision a bit easier for their guests with the "Pick Your Passion" Package. With a full array of exciting options, this package may be the perfect way to discover your favorite activity at the most romantic spot in Hawaii. The "Pick Your Passion" Package includes lodging and one certificate per person (per room night) valid for one of the following: breakfast, lunch or dinner, day of unlimited golf, Golf Academy Session, Spa treatment, personal fitness training, snorkel or sunset cruise, scuba dive, and a volcano helicopter tour. Starting at $595, available until December 19, 2007. So stay five days and discover five new passions.
January 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The conditions are epic. Skiers and snowboarders are dazzled. Since November 1, 2006, North America's number 1 ski resort has been blanketed with over 26 feet (8 meters) of snow. The locals are claiming this is Whistler's best season ever. So what are you waiting for? Escape to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for a magical ski holiday and enjoy Only One Way Winter Rates, starting from just CAD $299 CAD per night (approximately $269 USD). Experience the luxury of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler's sublime accommodations, with adventure right at your doorstep: 8,100 acres of prime ski and snowboard terrain out the front door. (Nestled at the foot of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the resort boasts excellent ski-in/ski-out facilities.) Relax in the rejuvenating Vida Wellness Spa, enjoy the heated swimming pool with its underwater music, or hit the health club and Eucalyptus steam rooms. The dining experience at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is likewise unforgettable; a talented culinary team crafts exquisite Pacific Northwest cuisine.