LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Soon the Colorado mountains and valleys will be ablaze with fall's shimmering display of color. Head to Aspen, America's most famous mountain town, where the legendary Little Nell has put together a "Planes, Trains and Automobiles Package" so you can get out there and see the autumn leaves. Perched on the slopes, the only ski in-ski out property in Aspen is also a fashionable year-round destination. You can't beat a fall getaway for lower rates and excellent recreational options. And at The Little Nell, "stuffy" is not part of the vocabulary. The "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" package is a three-night getaway in a swanky suite; the deal includes train transportation and private car service to see the fall foliage, a return flight to Denver with limo transfer, a guided mountain hike, lunch for two, daily breakfast at Montagna Restaurant, and keys to a luxury Audi A8. Starting at $3,740, available until October 17, 2008.
"Could the grand hotel of yesteryear be dead?" So begins Sunday's article in the New York Times Travel magazine, describing the plethora of new hotel brands to hit the scene recently:
At a time when travelers are spoiled for choice, the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional big-hotel service is giving way to ever more tailored experiences. And hotel companies are adapting not by making themselves over but by introducing new brands: 40 in about as many months, including offshoots of major players like Hyatt, expansions from the likes of Gansevoort and the Fountainbleau, and fledgling chains like SLS and Missoni.
One of the highlights of the article? The Capella Schloss Velden-- where there is a "restaurant that will open for you in the middle of the night." Horst Schulze, visionary behind the new Capella brand, is quoted as describing the "little service processes" that represent the new paradigm of luxury hotels. Guests don't want stiff formality, but they want to be taken care of. An incredible innovation of the Capella Hotels? Doing away with check-in and check-out times, "a notion historically based on what's easy for the hotel." To quote Schulze: "Why do we force the customer to do something that's convenient for us? We should have seen this long ago."
Now's your chance to luxuriate in a splendid urban villa in the heart of Rome for a fraction of the normal price. Surrounded by the world-famous sites of the Eternal City, just minutes from the Trevi Fountain, the luxurious Villa Spalletti Trivelli is centrally located, yet secluded from the city's bustle. Connoisseurs of art are entranced by this historic residence and its Italian garden. The refined interior spaces are just as elegant, furnished with antiques and sumptuous fabrics. The Villa Spalletti Trivelli offers a unique and memorable hideaway in Rome.
Book the Last Minute Offer, valid from today until September 29, 2008, and you can get incredible savings! With a two-night minimum stay, this special offer is priced at EUR 350 per night in the "Romantic" room category, with continental breakfast included. The only catch: this offer must be prepaid and is non-refundable.
W Hotels has cemented its reputation as cutting-edge and cool. The Whatever/Whenever service means your wish is their command, and the hip Living Room Lounges-- the W Wonderland-- puts the wow factor in the guest experience. But now W is raising the bar once again, by commissioning Gwen Stefani to design uniforms for the female bar staff. Starting in December, staff will sport "L.A.M.B.'s wash-and-wear black jersey minidresses with diagonal stitch detailing and a fitted, '80s-chic vibe."
In business on Chicago? Road warriors adore the Conrad Chicago, not only for its prestigious address on the Magnificent Mile, but also because of the special business amenities. Overlooking Lake Michigan or the Chicago skyline, contemporary guest rooms have 500 thread-count Pratesi linens, 42-inch plasma televisions, Bose entertainment systems, iPod alarm clocks with charging/docking station, and complimentary wired and wireless internet access. When you book the "Business Retreat," you'll begin each morning with a thoughtful wake-up call and complimentary coffee. You'll also get dry cleaning for one suite, complimentary executive services, a pillow menu, and your choice of a NY Times Bestseller List book. Priced from $235. In the need for pampering? You can order Bath Butler Service or in-room manicure, pedicure, or facial.
It's hard to imagine a more perfect honeymoon locale than Bora Bora. With breathtaking lagoons and coral reefs, this Polynesian island is as inspiring a backdrop for a romantic escape as they come. The luxurious Bora Bora Lagoon Resort has regal accommodations in overwater bungalows, where you can see colorful fish through the illuminated glass coffee-table, and go swimming directly from your own private deck. Here's what's in store if you choose a 5-night honeymoon experience:
Upon arrival, sip a refreshing beverage before checking out your bungalow where a bottle of chilled Champagne awaits you, along with a Tahitian-style "Bed of Flowers" decorating bed. You'll start off each picture-perfect day with daily American buffet breakfast for two in Otemanu Restaurant. On one morning, breakfast will be delivered via canoe. Luxuriate with a 50 minute Traditional Polynesian massage (though this can't be applied to couples massage). One evening, you'll enjoy a romantic 3-course dinner for two in Otemanu Restaurant, including appetizer or salad, entrée and dessert, Mouton Cadet Rothschild wine and a bottle of Evian. The package also includes motorboat shuttle service between the Resort and Vaitape, Bora Bora, and the use of tennis courts, fitness center and all non-motorized watersports. This honeymoon is priced from EUR 2628 for all 5 nights and the above-listed amenities.
Check into the Sunset Tower Hotel and experience some real "Hollywood Glamour." As befits a hotel that's been an L.A. landmark on the Sunset Strip since 1929, the posh Sunset Tower has dreamed up a "Hollywood Glamour" package where lucky guests can get savings of over 20 percent. You'll get two nights in a Queen suite, and two tix to the Cinefamily (a silent movie theater) for 700 bucks. You can grab this offer until December 31, 2008 and live it up at the hot Tower Bar, the former digs of gangster Bugsy Siegel, who crashed at the hotel along with dozens of famous actors and musicians.
After the buzzed-about opening of Alain Ducasse's Adour Restaurant at the St. Regis New York, the nation's capital got its very own Adour Restaurant- which recently opened in the St. Regis Washington D.C. The local blogs went nuts about the opening. The Washingtonian even conducted its "First-Ever Real-Time Restaurant Review" for its Best Bites blog. The St. Regis recently completed a 16-month renovation and the stylish Adour Restaurant was its crowning achievement. Named after the river in southwest France where Ducasse was born, the restaurant champions fresh, seasonal ingredients in its contemporary French cuisine.
After all the talk about converting old jails into luxury hotels, this trend seems rather ho-hum. From the drop-dead gorgeous Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru to the new Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, there are a whole bunch of monastery-hotels cropping up in phenomenal locations worldwide. Here's what Forbes Traveler says about Villa San Michele:
But it's doubtful there could be a view more serene than that of Florence from the Villa San Michele, a former century monastery that clings to a lush hillside in Fiesole. The monastery portion was built in the 16th century, the façade was designed by Michelangelo and the entire property is run with smooth, contemporary efficiency by General Manager Luca Finardi, an affable Florentine if ever there was one. "The Michelangelo Suite, the monastery's former library, was where Napoleon once stayed," Finardi says.
Perhaps most exciting of these hotel openings is The Augustine, slated to open in January 2009. Housed in five historic buildings around the St. Thomas Monastery in Prague, the new hotel promises abundant style and sophistication- like all the Rocco Forte Collection hotels.
The 29-room Uma Paro, operated by COMO Hotels and Resorts, offers more than the usual five-star hotel experience in Bhutan; Uma Paro welcomes visitors on an holistic, cultural adventure- where you can discover one of the last pristine mountain cultures on earth, surrounded by towering peaks. Uma Paro arranges the entry permission required to visit the Kingdom, along with visas and Druk Airline tickets. Because the core of the COMO Shambhala experience is yoga and Asian-inspired therapies devoted to physical and spiritual wellbeing, it's only fitting that Uma Paro is offering a 6-night yoga retreat led by Australian teacher Judy Krupp. Suitable for all levels, the retreat will take place from January 4-10, 2009 and is priced from $3,968 (single occupancy). The program includes six nights accommodation, breakfast and lunch daily, five hours of daily group instruction, a traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath and Massage, exploration of the local scenery and monasteries with an English-speaking guide, a pilgrimage to Bhutan's most sacred site Taktsang monastery (Tiger's Nest), a lunch at a Traditional Bhutanese Farmhouse, and a picnic at a ruined fortress at the end of Paro Valley with views of Bhutan's highest mountain, Mt Jomolhari (7,314 meters).