LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Flee the cold front and escape to The Sands at Grace Bay Beach Hotel, the all-suite luxury resort nestled on the world-famous Grace Bay Beach of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Indulge in a little piece of turquoise heaven, and get two free nights on a seven night stay until October 31st, 2008. This special offer translates to 30 percent off regular rates, with prices starting at $185. Non-motorized water sports and continental breakfast is included. The resort has pools, a beachfront restaurant, recreational activities, and nearby golf. Suites are equipped with oversized balconies and full kitchens. If you miss out on this special offer, you can still take advantage of the "Seventh Night Free" until December 20th, 2008.
And you thought our economic woes were bad. Iceland's economy has tanked. The Icelandic Krona has dropped dramatically against the US Dollar, making the country once known for its exorbitant prices a top bargain destination for travelers. Now is the time to grab an insanely priced ticket on Icelandair (try $399 per person roundtrip). We've raved about Reykjavik's CenterHotel Thingholt-- from where you can enjoy the capital's hot party scene, and take off to experience the famous landscapes of glaciers, hot springs, geysers, and volcanoes. But the Hotel 101 is just as popular. The New York Times points out that this luxurious hotel is almost half off. Caveat: Bring plenty of cash. It's rumored that the ATMs are on the fritz.
Starting October 24th, visitors can snag a room at the Guggenheim. The museum will even hook you up with towels, robes, slippers, and bath amenities. Just like the one-room hotel that opened for museum guests at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Guggenheim has opened its doors to paying overnight guests. The upcoming group show, entitled "theanyspacewhatever," allowed artists to really lay claim to the exhibition space. Lo and behold: Brussels-born Carsten Holler who's created the "Revolving Hotel Room" art installation. Rumor has it that fashionista Chloe Sevigny has already booked a night's stay. Here's the skinny from the New York Post:
For up to $799 a night, two guests can privately snuggle in the artwork itself - a luxury double bed with a wet bar mounted on one of four revolving glass discs that makes a complete rotation every two hours. Better yet, they can roam the museum alone all night in their jammies... It's partly funded by the Waldorf-Astoria, so for the slumber partiers there's room service. A breakfast of croissants and coffee will be served in bed - but before the 8:30 a.m. checkout time, because housekeeping needs to tidy up before the museum's doors open at 10 a.m. Bathrooms and showers are available, too.
Alas, it appears "Revolving Hotel Room" is already booked solid.
Why not travel to Virginia's The Homestead to celebrate the holiday season this year? The Allegheny Mountain luxury resort has been in business since 1766, so they are clearly doing something right. The Homestead is one of Virginia's pioneer ski resorts, offering guests the opportunity to ski, snowboard, and snow tube their way through mounds of fresh snow. The Holiday Escape Package offers overnight accommodations, a commemorative ornament, full breakfast buffet daily (first two children under 12 nosh for free), and 20 percent off any outdoor activities.
The Homestead has even taken care of the decorating. The Great Hall Christmas Tree will be a 21-foot-tall Fraser Fir that was planted 25 years ago especially for The Homestead. There will be 45 other festively decorated trees on the property, 700 poinsettias, 104 wreaths, 3,000 feet of evergreen garlands, 82,000 lights, and a tasty Gingerbread Village. Santa makes his arrival on Christmas Eve for a brief visit, then returns Christmas morning to share in the traditional holiday breakfast. Other activities include a holiday hayride or horseback ride, swimming in the naturally heated indoor pool, afternoon tea, holiday concert, art classes, a visit to the luxury spa, and a dance clinic.
By: K. Clare Johnson
What can happen in 100 minutes? You'll find out at the Conde Nast Award-winning Swiss hotel Villa Principe Leopoldo. For starters, you'll be on your way to Hawaii, via Switzerland. Villa Principe Leopoldo is offering a special package for those who want to visit their jewel of a beauty spa. You'll get two nights and three days in a peaceful, spacious Parco room at the residence of Villa Principe Leopoldo. You'll get the 100-minute KISO Facial "Hawaii." Exclusive products that are highly effective yet gentle and sweetly scented make for a natural, soothing, and harmonious facial. Couple that with the KISO Beauty massage, 60 minutes of a spiritual massage against a backdrop of heavenly music, and you really will think you are in paradise.
Prices start at CHF 1,980 / € 1,238 double occupancy.
By: K. Clare Johnson
It comes as no surprise that Franka Holtmann, General Manager of the opulent Hotel Le Meurice in Paris, was awarded "Hotelier of the Year" at Virtuoso's annual Travel Mart Conference at the Vegas Bellagio hotel in August. Holtmann was selected by Virtuoso's 6,000 member travel advisors as well as the editors of Virtuoso Life for the top spot. She beat out an impressive roster of hoteliers who had been nominated: Rainy Chan, The Peninsula Hong Kong; Geoffrey Gelardi, The Lanesborough, London; Anthony Lee, The Connaught, London. Holtmann's experience in Paris' legendary luxury hotel sector extends far beyond her tenure at Le Meurice, where she has overseen the fantastic renovations by design legend Philippe Starck. She was the second-in-command at Hotel Plaza Athénée in 2000, and then became the first woman general manager of a palace hotel in France at Hotel de Crillon. She has rightfully been called the "First Lady of Fine Hospitality."
October 17, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Capella Telluride fills the niche of an ultra luxury mountain ski hotel with meticulous and exceptional personalized service that is the foundation of the Capella concept. The Capella experience begins from the moment of your booking with a Capella Personal Assistant. With your tastes and preferences in mind, they work with you to set the stage for relaxation and adventure with a customized itinerary that offers a list of things to do, sites to explore, and restaurants to experience. Your adventures may range from ice skating, skiing, and snowmobiling in the winter to golf and rock climbing in the summer and cultural events that are offered year around to enjoy. With 86 luxurious rooms and 14 suites that are spacious, sophisticated and supremely comfortable and all incorporating the finest woods, stones, marble, and textiles, Capella Telluride offers the perfect setting for your guest experience. Each accommodation offers LCD TVs, iPod Docking Stations, wireless LAN, bedside touch panel for lighting and drapes to set the stage and mode, private refreshment centers stocked with complimentary mineral waters and soft drinks, picture windows, and balconies to invite the outdoors in, and unforgettable views that stretch from rugged peaks to the vibrant village below. Enjoy a sensational dinner at The Onyx, an invigorating swim in the indoor/outdoor pool, soak in the hot tub, or renew yourself at the intimate spa, all while enjoying the inspirational mountain views and experience the pampering that is the distinctive style that has become the Capella Signature.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
After a $56 million renovation completed in 2006, the US Grant was returned to its original splendor. Situated in the heart of downtown San Diego, the landmark property dates from 1910. Ranked as one of the Top 128 Hotels in the World by Conde Naste Traveler, the US Grant gets rave reviews for its two-level Presidential suites and thoughtfully designed rooms with six-head rain showers in the bathrooms. There are even Event Planner suites in this swanky urban resort. Rumor has it that ghostly apparitions roam the elegant hallways of this historic hotel, so it's only fitting that the US Grant embrace Halloween and offer the "Ghosts of the Grant" package to guests. On October 31st, you can enjoy a haunted journey back to 1910 with a guided historical tour of the hotel with rarely revealed ghost folklore. Tours-- with limited availability-- will be offered at the following times: 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. The package also includes a $50 dining credit and a Halloween welcome amenity. Available October 30-November 1, 2008; priced from $259 per night.
Hot off the press. The best hotel in the U.S.? A real symbol of hospitality excellence? The honor goes to The Peninsula Chicago in the 2008 Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards (published in the magazine's November issue). That's the verdict by the readers of the prestigious glossy, who esteem the hotel for its luxurious accommodations, unrivaled dining at Avenues Restaurant, and dedicated staff. Since its opening in 2001, The Peninsula Chicago has racked up the awards-- including the Mobil Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond awards for the last seven consecutive years.
Election fever has prompted hotels to get patriotic with special packages, as we noted with the Fairmont Copley Plaza's "Making of a President Package." But the trend doesn't stop there. As Travel + Leisure reports, these presidential promotions are available not just in red and blue states, but in hotels around the globe-- like the Hotel Concorde La Fayette in Paris where you can chow down on a "Hawaiian-themed O-Burger" or the "Southwestern-flavored Elephant Burger for the senator from Arizona." Back in the States, W Hotels is inspiring guests to "gear up and show their colors" with the Declare Yourself Package. If you declare yourself red at W Hotels in New York, you'll get an Elephant t-shirt, a Republican Vote Tote made of 80 percent recycled cotton canvas and 20 percent recycled plastic soda bottles to help you support your party and contribute to save the planet, the "Declare Yourself" book in which celebrated Americans - from Adrian Grenier to Amber Tamblyn to Alice Walker to Hayden Panettiere - share personal reasons and motivations for voting, plus two 10 Cain Rum cocktails. Or rock your Democrat colors and you'll get donkey gear plus two Obama Pama cocktails.