LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 27, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Announcing a cool, new guest loyalty program from the folks who brought you some of the most innovative travel programs out there (we're big fans of Loews Loves Kids and Loews Loves Pets). Loews Hotels, whose distinguished portfolio comprises 18 hotels in major city centers and resort destinations coast to coast, has just launched the "You First" guest loyalty program, so that business travelers can receive rewards for stays booked through meeting planners and corporate travel agents. ("You First" replaces Loews' current "Loews First" rewards program.) This program promises to be one of the most exclusive in the industry, offering perks like free Internet, late checkout, guaranteed rooms and upgrades to guests who visit a minimum of two times in a given year. Guests are rewarded based on the number of stays (and guests can begin receiving rewards after just one stay). All "You First" members are eligible for Loews Hotels exclusive partner discounts including 20 percent off Fisher Price online orders of $75 or more, 30 percent off Fiji water home delivery, and 30 percent off Kuerig home coffee brewers.
Pictured: The lovely Loews Don CeSar Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach.
These days, deals abound at five-star lodgings. Occupancy rates are down and luxury hotels are slashing their rates. Case in point: The big Seven Day Sale at Fairmont Hotels, where you can get 20 percent savings plus a free night when you book by October 27th for stays between November 3 and April 15, 2009. Bed down at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, the world's largest log cabin, hit up the Windy City with $155 rates at the Fairmont Chicago, bask in Bermuda for $189 at the Fairmont Southampton, or secure $119 rates in Silicon Valley at the Fairmont San Jose. An added perk: You can earn double airline miles on Fairmont's partner airlines (Air Canada, United and American) when you book the Only One Way rates.
Take a break between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and get treated to a real holiday gift: a five-star bargain at the celebrated Stein Eriksen Lodge. You can snag a Deluxe room for $350 per room, per night with bountiful buffet breakfast included. (Minimum two-night stay required; available December 9-25th). Plus, if you book four nights, you'll get a fifth night for free. One of the country's only Mobil five star resorts, the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge is set in the mountain wonderland of Deer Valley Resort. Named for the Olympic Gold Medalist from Norway, the Lodge emanates European elegance. Discriminating travelers stake out a stay here for the impeccable, almost unimaginable service. You'll experience some of the best year-round recreation and cultural activities in the world, and idyllic facilities including a world-class spa.
On November 4, the highly-anticipated InterContinental Montelucia Resort will open its doors in Paradise Valley nestled at the foot of picturesque Camelback Mountain, adjacent to Scottsdale and Phoenix. Evoking the soul of southern Spain with architecture reminiscent of the Alhambra, the $300 million resort is the first InterContinental property in this area. The whole resort was designed as a whitewashed village so that the arrival plaza is similar to a town square, the guest rooms are like homes and villas, and the fountains and walkways are like cobblestoned streets. What's more: The signature restaurant was inspired by Michelangelo's Villa San Michele in Tuscany and the wedding chapel representative of the ballroom at Hotel Cipriani in Venice. The hotel also boasts residences, so guests can own a little piece of paradise if they can't get enough of the resort. There are beautiful pools, a luxurious 31,000 square foot spa, contemporary art gallery, fine dining, a destination bar, and nearby golf. You'll even find hammocks throughout the gorgeous gardens. For the Grand Opening, the resort has slashed their rates. You can grab a room for $199 a night on November 4th, and Nov. 9-29th, and December 10-30th. Rooms are $295 on January 1-13th, 30th and 31st. After that, rooms will cost a pretty penny ($495 per night). If you book for opening night, you'll also get a $50 resort credit and a room upgrade.
Some hotel companies may be feeling the pinch of a down economy, but not Jumeirah. The Dubai-based hotel group, famous for its seven-star Burj Al Arab (pictured), has just announced they have 19 hotels under development. They're bringing their signature brand of hospitality to Asia and South America, and expect to have 60 properties, or about 25,000 rooms, either in operation or under development by 2012. Our friends at the Luxury Insider highlight the five new hotels and resorts-- Jumeirah Bali Resort in Indonesia, Jumeirah Maldives Resort in the South Malé Atoll, Jumeirah Al Salam Resort in Bahrain, Jumeirah Al Salam Yiti Resort in Oman, and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel in Kuwait-- all scheduled to open within the next three years.
We've gone on and on about the fashionista's afternoon tea (called Pret-a-Portea) at The Berkeley Hotel in London. But we can't neglect the mouth-watering cocktails and mellow beats at Madonna's favorite, The Blue Bar, also housed in this fine establishment. Or the award-winning fine dining at one of London's best restaurants, Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley. In fact, it was named "Best restaurant in London 2008" by Harden's London Restaurants, and The Times praises the food as "the haute you can get in London." Fodor's just listed it on the Hot List praising the "standouts" like "roast quail with hispi cabbage; a fine chunk of Scottish halibut with charred leeks and English watercress; Anjou pigeon with cob nuts and amaretti." The design is almost as gorgeous as the food, appointed with rich colors by celebrated designer David Collins.
Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, Mexico has just announced a special package designed to bring out the romance in any couple. Now through December 19, 2008, couples can enjoy "Romance in Mexico." The deal includes a chauffeur-driven ride to the Mayan resort, champagne and strawberries, joint spa treatments, and a a private dinner in a luxury outdoor style Palapa overlooking the lagoon with the sights and sounds of the Mayan Jungle.
A four night stay is required, and you'll also get a full daily breakfast, room upgrade, and the one-hour Temazcal Ceremony, designed to blend the ancient Mayan ritual with beautiful natural surroundings. Rates for this getaway begin at $4,980.
By: K. Clare Johnson
Feast on some spooktacular chocolate treats on Saturday, November 1 at The Langham Hotel, Boston. Once the Federal Reserve Bank, this elegant property-- a national architectural landmark-- boasts an ideal downtown location near Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, the Freedom Trail, the Theater District and the waterfront. The hotel's Cafe Fleuri is famous for its Saturday Chocolate Bar, and this Halloween it will get seriously creepy and crawly. Enjoy spooky decorations and sample special chocolate delights such as Frankenstein Surprise, Dirty Worms, Bloody Hearts, and Pile of Bones. Come dressed in your favorite costume, ready to gobble up the more than 125 chocolate desserts. The winner of the "Best Costume" contest receives a Chocolate Bar gift certificate for four.
Be treated like royalty at pauper-like prices. King George Palace in Athens is offering special Autumn room rates from 260€ from now until 11/30/08. The rates apply to classical or double rooms. All 78 ultra-luxurious guestrooms are individually decorated and offer state-of-the-art amenities while maintaining the hotel's historic charm and status. Some rooms have views of the Acropolis, and all rooms have free Wi-Fi internet access, laptops are available on request, and the rooms are fully soundproofed.
By: K. Clare Johnson
October 22, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Gourmands who make pilgrimages to Le Meurice in Paris for a taste of Yannick Alléno's celebrated cuisine will be pleased to learn that the Michelin three-starred chef is designing the menu for the Cheval Blanc, the luxury four-star hotel located in the ski resort of Courchevel. Alléno will bring his creative, contemporary approach to haute cuisine when reinventing the classic alpine dishes.