LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
August 29, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts makes it easy to go green. With eco-friendly programs and initiatives-- like the Adopt-A-Beluga Program-- Fairmont's been making waves in the hotel industry. Indeed, Fairmont has been championing luxury eco-tourism for awhile. When the Fairmont Mayakoba opened in early 2006 on the white sand of Mexico's Riviera Maya, it became the cornerstone of a unique eco-friendly resort community, surrounded by unspoiled tropical forest and beautiful waterways. Mayakoba is a luxury destination with golf, tennis, world-class diving and exquisite restaurants-- and it was also created to harmonize with the natural environment. Fairmont Mayakoba offers guests a unique and sustainable travel experience while providing all the luxury expected from an AAA five diamond award-winning resort.
In fact, Fairmont has launched a slew of Green Packages recently. Not only do these packages support eco-minded organizations, but they also provide guests with enriching experiences in unforgettable destinations. Look for them at Fairmont Hotels worldwide.
Gilded ceilings, crystal chandeliers, Louis XVI furniture... That's the sumptuous lobby of one of the top hotels in Vancouver, British Columbia's jewel of a city nestled at the foot of the snow-capped peaks. Le Soleil Hotel and Suites is a 119-room luxury hotel smack dab in the middle of Vancouver's financial, shopping and business districts. Whether visiting the city on business or pleasure, you may be in the mood to relax with a movie. Le Soleil has created a package to suite your mood. Want a night out? Try "Tapas and Movie Night," where you can start your evening with delicious tapas and beverages then stroll to catch the newest release at the new Cineplex/Famous Players theater. Can't stand the idea of leaving your supremely-comfortable guest room? Enjoy "Snuggle In Movie Night" at Le Soleil and snack on gourmet popcorn and treats from the mini bar (you get a mini bar credit with the package) while watching your choice of movies On Command. Both packages also include valet parking.
The end of summer doesn't have to mean "back to the grind." End the summer in style and rejuvenate completely before easing back into the routine. The ideal place to relax the mind and body, and achieve total wellness and a fresh perspective? The award-winning Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa, situated on stunning grounds in the Southwest's colorful desert outside Tucson. This destination spa has a few other franchises (Lenox, Massachusetts and Las Vegas), and is celebrated for its luxurious facilities and stress-free environment. The recreational activities are limitless- from fitness classes and personal training to tennis lessons and biking. And the meals are fantastic-- based on exemplary gourmet cooking and the highest nutritional standards. If you book a stay at Canyon Ranch before September 18, you'll benefit from reduced summer rates (at least 25 percent off the prices paid during the rest of the year). Canyon Ranch is all-inclusive, and a basic four-night plan including accommodations, meals, fitness classes, $600 allowance for spa treatments-- goes for $2,650 per person. (Price tag outside of the summer low season? $3,250 per person, double).
Can't shake Olympic fever? Head to China and check out the vibrant city of Shanghai, pulsing with business, entertainment, and stylish restaurants. In December there will be a striking new hotel on the scene, when the Conrad Shanghai makes its debut in the heart of the vibrant Xintiandi district. The building's ultra-contemporary design incorporates Chinese motifs and is said to be a "modern interpretation of the Han Dynasty." As the most prosperous era in China's history, the Han Dynasty is certainly a poignant inspiration during this time of rapid growth in Chinese urban centers. As reported by Hotel Online:
The 24-storey tower curves gently to create an elegant profile with the building distinguished by its window wall patterns in Chinese granite, based on traditional Chinese latticework from the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The result is very contemporary but unmistakably Chinese, reflecting the Conrad brand values of contemporary luxury and individuality whilst retaining a strong sense of place.
The 362-room hotel will house a chic, urban spa, meeting facilities, and restaurants.
The Loews Regency Hotel provides indulgent amenities and exceptional service in the heart of Manhattan. Certainly one of the best things about this refined Park Avenue address is Feinstein's, the quintessential "nightclub of New York." New York Magazine has named it to the "Best of New York," the New York Post has called it "an invaluable New York institution," and to quote Michael Feinstein: "Feinstein's at Loews Regency is the perfect place to hear the greatest and most exciting interpreters of American popular song. I'm proud to call it my home!" Nothing beats the total experience of an evening at Feinstein's- from the performance to the food to the ambiance to the service. You can sample the flavor of New York itself right inside the Loews Regency. After the summer closure, Feinstein's will reopen on September 2, 2008. Here's the schedule of upcoming shows:
Michael Feinstein: September 2-September 6
Ashford & Simpson: September 9- September 20
Nikki Blonsky: September 23- October 4
Check the website for Sunday and Monday night shows.
Since 1778, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia has defined East Coast luxury. Set amidst gorgeous scenery in the Allegheny Mountains, the historic-listed resort boasts 50 recreational activities (falconry, anyone?) and recently-renovated guest rooms—-- the essence of luxury. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a stay at The Greenbrier, when the fall foliage explodes with color and leaf-peeping enchants visitors. You can take advantage of the "Just One More Day" promotion until December 21, 2008, and get a fourth night on the house when you pay for three nights. Standard room rates start around $275. (There is also a resort fee of $25 per day.)
Fun trivia: The Greenbrier houses a massive underground bunker that was meant to serve as an emergency shelter for US Congress during the Cold War.
UPDATE: Insiders tell us that this pretty new hotel is now being managed by the Andean Experience.
Titilaka is the latest luxury lodge from Peruvian hotel group Inkaterra- the eco-friendly group behind the fabulous, carbon-neutral properties La Casona Inkaterra, situated in Cusco, and the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, nestled in the cloud forest in the heart of Machu Picchu's Historical Sanctuary. Perched on a private peninsula in a stunning location (the Andean altiplanos astride Peru and Bolivia), the Titilaka Hotel offers all-inclusive excursions by car, horseback, or by foot:
Visit the living cultures of the Quechuas and Aymaras, set off to Taquile, Amantani and the floating man-made reed islands of Uros; visit the splendid colonial churches of Juli, Pomata and Lampa; or bird watching from the hilltops of Perka and Inkanatavi.
Overlooking the lake, believed by the Inca to be the sacred origin of the universe, the hotel's suites have ultra-modern facilities like heated floors, i-Pods, portable oxygen tanks, plasma screen TVs, mini-bars, and separate soaking tubs and showers in the bathrooms. Coming soon: a spa, heated pool and sauna with views of the lake.
Here's a decadent deal. Stay just two blocks from the White House over Labor Day weekend at the magnificent St. Regis Washington D.C., and score rates as low as $208 per night- a whopping 60 percent off the regular rate. In January, the hotel emerged from a $53 million, 16-month renovation and now all 175 rooms and suites, distinguished by the original Palladian windows and Italian Renaissance Louis XVI chandeliers, have been transformed with custom-designed furnishings and modern amenities. The hotel was built in 1926, and President Coolidge cut the ceremonial grand opening ribbon. Since then, every American president has visited this top-notch D.C. establishment. Guests can expect excellent service through the legendary St. Regis butler. The prestigious hotel will launch the much-anticipated Adour Restaurant, sister resto to the New York property opened by Alain Ducasse, in September 2008. A designer spa will follow in early 2009.
Where else can you sail across the bay to Angel Island, hike in the Redwoods, bike across the Golden Gate bridge, eat like a king with celebrity guest chefs, and get pampered with luxurious spa treaments? Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate, opened on July 1 outside Sausalito to much buzz and excitement. The resort itself is nestled on 50 acres of Fort Baker in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, a former military base. We hear the restaurant's pretty good, too. As recently featured in the Washington Post:
The resort aims to offer something for everyone: stone massages and a basking pool for those who wish to be pampered; guided hikes and horseback and bike rides through the surrounding 75,000 acres of parkland; culinary and wine excursions into San Francisco and the nearby wine country; and fitness "boot camps" for those who need more of an adrenaline rush. Cavallo Point presents a curious mix of Outward Bound ambition with Canyon Ranch amenities.
Cavallo Point may be ambitious, but it's off to a great start.
That honor goes to hotels in Hawaii, Vegas, and Walt Disney World-- according to the Fodor's Forums. Hawaii may boast incredible beaches, but the pool attractions are just as jaw-dropping. Case in point: the five acres of meandering lagoons and pools at the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Resort and Spa, set within beautifully landscaped gardens. Kids go gaga over the water slides, waterfalls, whirlpools, and neat, 1-acre free-form pool. (They'll also love the koi fish feeding and hula lessons at Camp Hyatt.) You can even kayak in the salt-water lagoon. Nestled on the south side of Kaua'i, Hawaii's Garden Isle, the oceanfront resort also has a full tennis complex and Anara spa. You can play a round of gold at the Poipu Bay Golf Crouse, home of the PGA Grand Slam, right next door.