LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
July 1, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Looking for an opulent, exotic getaway? Though Morocco is very much a travel hot spot these days, L Mansion is off-the-beaten path: 15 minutes outside Marrakech nestled at the base of the Atlas Mountains in a gorgeous park of citrus and olive trees, fragrant with rose, jasmine and orange blossoms. With only seven suites and one 2-bedroom villa, L Mansion offers the utmost in privacy and attentive service. You'll find a hotel fit for a king; the country's best craftsmen created an exquisite palace modeled after the Alhambra in Andalusia, distinguished by zellige mosaics, hand-painted wainscoting, and intricate tile work. Travelers on TripAdvisor can't stop raving about the personal welcome and genuinely warm Moroccan hospitality at L Mansion.
The press has gone gaga over Regent's first property in the U.S. Though situated not far from South Beach, the beachfront Regent Bal Harbour brings a different kind of high-end luxury to South Florida. Think: $4 million art collection and the country's first Guerlain Spa. The Regent Bal Harbour landed a spot on Travel and Leisure's "It List 2008":
This is a place for adults—which is appropriate, given that the Regent is also the first major hotel to open in the old-line Bal Harbour Village in 52 years. Here, it's all about the signifiers of luxury: Anichini bedding, plasma television screens embedded in bathroom mirrors, and a dazzling crystal chandelier. ...the hotel is a welcome alternative for those in search of Miami's more grown-up side.
Good news: the Regent's special opening rates are available until September 30, 2008 so you can check out Miami's best new digs for a fraction of the price. Normal rack rates exceed $750 per night, but the opening rates start at $375, including breakfast.
June 30, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Located on the banks of the Yarra River and established as one of Melbourne's and Australia's finest hotels, The Langham Melbourne is offering overnight accommodations and a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight for 2 from now till the 30th of December. This special also includes a Champagne breakfast for 2 at Melba's, the Langham's award winning interactive restaurant. Here you can interact with the chefs at one of the Dynamic Cooking Stations and partake of the Inspirational Theme Stations including Tandori Oven, Turbo Woks, Rotisserie, Seafood Ice Blocks and Floating Desserts. All with unrivalled panoramic views of the City Skyline and Yarra River. Your stay includes accommodations in a River Room with views of the Yarra River and the Melbourne Skyline, access to the Health Club and Fitness Center, Pool, Jacuzzi, Saunas, signiture-scented color therapy steam rooms and therapeutic rain showers. Rates for this special start at $940 (Sunday to Friday) or $990 (Saturday). Weather permitting, your Hot Air Balloon ride is with the most experienced and professional company in Australia, www.hotairballooning.com.au.
Late check out is offered at 2 pm to fully allow you time to enjoy the offerings of this special experience.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more evocative spot on the Mediterranean. On a private beach on the most beautiful bay in all of Sicily, the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace is elegant, charming... downright dreamy. Here's what we love:
*Each guest room provides sigh-inducing views of the bay. If you choose a suite, you'll get treated to your very own private pool.
*You can also get your fix of those dazzling bay views when you dine at La Terraza.
*Unlike a lot of European hotels, the fitness center at the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace is actually a state-of-the-art facility.
*Frequent renovations over the years means the luxurious guest rooms-- outfitted with original art, wicker furniture, and wood or tile floors-- have all the latest amenities like Wifi.
*You can easily check out the lava at Mt. Etna, Europe's highest volcano. In fact, you can even play a game of golf at the 18-hole Il Picciolo course nearby on the slopes of Mt. Etna.
*Or just hang out at the resort, a self-contained oasis with surfing, sailing, water skiing and scuba diving.
Following the recent trend of turning prisons into stylish hotels (think: Boston's Liberty Hotel), the National Park Service has a plan to allow high-roller guests to sleep over on the Rock.
July 4th Specials: Room Upgrade, $100 Credit, and Spa Access at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, California
Smack dab in the middle of the idyllic wine-growing region in Sonoma Valley, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa boasts natural mineral hot springs-- one of the only luxury Spa resorts in the country with its own source of thermal mineral water. This award-winning oasis exudes the California Wine Country experience in every way-- from the signature Sante restaurant featuring delicious local produce to the breathtaking setting. There's even an 18-hole championship golf course on-site. From now through July 6, you can take advantage of discounted rates and lots of free extras. Priced from $299 per night (normal rates top $400 per night), this Fourth of July getaway includes a free room upgrade (based on availability), two complimentary drinks at the pool, and free spa access (read: the signature Bathing Ritual consists of an exfoliating shower, mineral water soaking pools, an herbal steam, a dry sauna and cooldown showers). And if you stay 3+ nights at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, you'll get a $100 resort credit thrown in.
So we're a little obsessed with the GBP 60 million renovation of The Connaught, the world-famous London hotel situated in Mayfair. We're not the only ones. Check out what the Travel and Leisure "It List 2008" says about The Connaught's redo:
In the newly hip Mayfair district, this landmark brick Victorian has reclaimed the glory of its golden era thanks to a $140 million renovation, creating a sophisticated throwback that no soulless Modernist hotel could ever hope to emulate. Classicist designer Guy Oliver supervised the preservation of burnished mahogany paneling, gilded scrollwork, and formal Adams fireplaces; fortunately, a welcome infusion of 21st-century fun saves the 123-room Connaught from being too somber. Witness the cartoonish Julian Opie cameos in the aubergine-and-slate Coburg Bar (created by India Mahdavi), film-noir nights with buttered popcorn, and chinoiserie cocktail cabinets filled with DIY martini fixings.
Yes, the Coburg Bar is turning heads. It was just voted "Best Bar in London" in Time Out Magazine (May 2008). Parisian-based designer, India Mahdavi, created a masterpiece with this one. Bar aficionados appreciate the trendy décor and distinctive Connaught cocktails- sipped from the old Connaught wingback chairs (re-upholstered in velvet with black fringing) and the caramel Heppelwhite 'loveseats.'
In the rolling foothills of north Georgia, there is a unique destination resort with sumptuous cottages and tree-lined walkways modeled after a 19th century village. Each of the inviting cottages is furnished with antiques, heart-of-pine flooring, a four-poster bed, and a ball-and-claw cast iron soaking tub in a period-inspired bathroom. Barnsley Gardens Resort is a luxurious estate nestled on 1,300 acres which boasts oodles of recreational activities: from the Jim Fazio-designed Championship Golf Course to fly fishing, from lawn games to shooting sporting clays. The award-winning resort also features a full-service spa, pool, and tennis courts. This is the ideal getaway spot for the Fourth of July long weekend. Barnsley Gardens Resort is throwing an old-fashioned Independence Day Lawn Party with picnics and a Fairy Godmother's Independence Day Parade through the village that the whole family will enjoy. Festivities start at 11 am on Friday, July 4th. Choose the "Three's A Charm!" offer and you'll get a third night free, through July 31, 2008.
It's easy to speak in superlatives about lebua at State Tower, Bangkok's all-suite luxury hotel and member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Here at the State Tower, you can dine at the world's highest al fresco restaurant and sip drinks at the hip Sky Bar. (Check out the photo with the incredible views of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya river from the dramatically-lit deck.) Each of the hotel's suites has a balcony with striking views over the cityscape, plus they are wired with all the latest technology. Take advantage of the "Sizzling Deal" at lebua at State Tower, available until July 30, 2008, and you can score a fourth night free with three paid nights in a two-bedroom suite or three-bedroom suite. The package also includes daily breakfast at Café Mozu and free in-suite Internet access. You must book by July 15, 2008.
June 26, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
After a few delays, the W Hotel is ready to make its debut in the desert oasis of Scottsdale. The construction project has lasted 2.5 years, the Scottsdale Insider tells us, and now the long-awaited W Hotel will open its doors for real on August 1, 2008. Scottsdale graced the pages of the New York Times "31 Places to Go This Summer," because-- as the venerable paper points out-- "Downtown Scottsdale is turning into a desert version of Miami's South Beach. No ocean of course, but plenty of late-night partying and a buzzing hotel scene." The W promises to be both a hot spot and cool retreat-- with lots of natural water elements incorporated into the design. What else is in store? A Bliss Spa, 1,100 square foot fitness center, humongous pool area with private cabanas and a Sushi Roku restaurant. Here's how they're touting the rooms:
It's no mirage-- our 224 rooms are a perfect balance of luxury and comfort, featuring stunning views of the desert landscape, the signature W bed, fully wired technology, delightful Munchie Box, Bliss Spa sinkside six and fabulous entertainment.