LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Forget the gloomy economic forecast surrounding the U.S. credit crunch. The global hotel industry will be A-OK, according to Horst Schulze, the former president and CEO of Ritz-Carlton, and founder of the new Capella brand of ultra-luxury hotels. As profiled in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Schulze believes that the boom in luxury hotels will continue worldwide. Proof? He plans to open seven more Capella hotels in the next 10 months. And from the successful booking rates of his Düsseldorf hotel, the Breidenbacher Hof, it looks like all's right in the luxury hotel business.
Pictured at right: the Capella Castlemartyr, the glorious country manor house-hotel in Cork County that sits adjacent to the ruins of a 1000-year-old-castle.
Wherever you are on your Summer vacay-- hitting up a beach paradise, checking out ancient Roman ruins, sampling Spanish tapas, climbing Kilimanjaro-- you're snapping some spontaneous, quality shots. Share the top moments of your vacation experience with Fodor's, and you could win the grand prize: a complete digital camera photography suite including a Sony α (alpha) DSLR-A350 camera and an Ultra II 16GB memory card from SanDisk. Simply submit your fave snapshots to Fodor's, along with a description of the good time captured.
The place to stay in Johannesburg is The Westcliff, situated in the city's most exclusive residential suburb on a hilltop with cascading, sculpted gardens. Part of the Orient-Express collection of worldwide travel experiences, The Westcliff recently opened some new Botanica Spa Suites, for guests to experience the ultimate in pampering and relaxation-- like the Jet-lag Energizer massage. With the "Be Our Guest" package, you can get three nights for the price of two, including a full English breakfast served in La Belle Terrasse restaurant. Priced from R6,850 in a Luxury Room. Plus, as part of the hotel's 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, The Westcliff will be hosting a Classical Garden Tea Concert at the Summer Terrace on September 14, 2008, where string quartet as well as a flautist and harpist will play classical chamber music, from Bach to The Beatles, while guests chow down on a traditional Afternoon Tea with a sumptuous spread of scones, chocolate éclairs, cakes and tasty fruit tarts, filled croissants and delicate finger sandwiches.
Surround yourself in a cocoon of luxury at Hayfield Manor, where guest rooms are designed with beautiful antiques, sumptuous fabrics and all the modern amenities to ensure your greatest comfort. The hotel is an oasis of calm in the middle of the city, nestled in two acres of mature gardens with winding paths. The premier five-star hotel in Cork, Hayfield Manor promises exceptional service and indulgent facilities. For a limited time in August, when you stay three nights, you'll get the fourth night for free-- compliments of Hayfield Manor-- an offer priced from just EUR 220 per night in a Manor Room. Includes a bountiful Irish breakfast each morning, and access to The Beautique Health and Treatment Rooms. Plus, when you make reservations with Five Star Alliance, you'll receive complimentary tea for two, valued at EUR 25 per person.
InterContinental is celebrating the big 6-0. 2009 marks the 60th birthday of the inaugural opening of the first InterContinental hotel, and in honor of the occasion, the folks at InterContinental have published a beautiful coffee-table cookbook, The InterContinental Kitchen, which reveals the secrets of some of the best dishes served up at InterContinental hotels across the world. The book celebrates international cuisine and the authentic food that's a reflection of local culture and a delicious way to experience a destination. Combining travel vignettes with recipes and tales, the book is a delicious (and pretty) treat for all those who enjoy the excitement of an InterContinental life. Simply click here for a chance to win a copy.
Jet south of the border and check out the hottest new resort to hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is situated on 36 acres of beaches and tropical forests in one of the prettiest settings on earth. Since its opening, the resort has been getting rave reviews, and scored a spot on the Travel and Leisure "It List":
If ever you had any doubt about the arrival of the Riviera Maya, a once-sleepy stretch of sand 40 miles south of Cancún, then try booking a room at the new Mandarin Oriental, one of the most anticipated hotel openings this year (we had to put our name on two waiting lists to get in). Hassle aside, it’s easy to see why the property is red-hot. The winning Mandarin formula—exemplary service, forward-reaching design, a first-rate spa—has taken root in a pristine Mexican coastal environment. Acres of mangrove forest, including an on-site cenote, surround a lovely—albeit small—stretch of powdery sand. The 128 boxy white villas give beach chic new meaning, with polished stone floors, rough limestone walls, spare four-poster beds, and sculptures by prominent Mexican artists.
For a limited time, you can enjoy summer rates at the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya from just $459 per night, including breakfast. (Available until September 30, 2008). The "Seasonal Choices" rate also offers late check-out until 6 pm, and a complimentary extra bed for children under 12 sharing the room. Plus, until October 31, 2008, you can get a complimentary fourth night when reserving three consecutive nights!
Snag a room at Florida's landmark luxury hotel, Don CeSar Beach Resort, for just $159 per night! Proudly poised over St. Pete Beach, the legendary Pink Palace has been luring well-heeled travelers since it opened in 1928 (including the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lou Gehrig and Al Capone). And with such fabulous facilities, it's little wonder why. The sprawling new spa is a big draw, in addition to the sugar-white beaches, award-winning dining, pools with under-water sound systems, and excellent Beach Club and kids' program. Rooms usually go for over $300 a night at this opulent property, but until September 30, 20008, you can stay in luxury for a song. Weekdays are on sale for $159 per night, and weekends can be had for just $30 more per night.
The views alone are worth a stay at this extraordinary SOMA hotel in San Francisco. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame unobstructed vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. Cutting-edge and sophisticated, the St. Regis San Francisco has been the talk of the town since its 2005 debut. Impeccable service (St. Regis butlers) and unrivaled facilities (spa-like bathrooms) make it easy to love. As befits a hotel situated next to the Museum of Modern Art, the ultra-luxurious St. Regis has put together an art package so guests can come see how this "West Coast gem blends a historic building and the Museum of the African Diaspora into a modern day interpretation of the St. Regis legacy." The Society Package includes overnight accommodations, complimentary upgrade on arrival subject to availability, daily continental breakfast for two and two tickets to SFMoMA. From $479 per night.
Dispatch from France: The Demolition Party (and Renovation) of the Royal Monceau, Soon to Be a Raffles Hotel
Quelle soirée! The media is still abuzz about the spectacular demolition party of Le Royal Monceau, the legendary Parisian palace hotel just minutes from the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees. The historic hotel is getting a big makeover from French designer Philippe Starck, and to prep the pad for Starck's handiwork, special celebrity guests were invited to attend the Demolition Party (smashing everything in sight as DJ spun some tunes). This followed an auction, of course, of all the precious antiques, silver, porcelain and Frette linen, coveted by aficionados of style. Scheduled for a 10-month transformation which began this summer, the hotel will re-open in the Fall of 2009 as Le Royal Monceau- A Raffles Hotel. As Le Nouvel Observateur points out, the luxury hotel market in Paris is booming, regardless of the state of the global economy, as Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental are also slated to open in the next year.
The pristine wilderness and spectacular scenery of New Zealand's South Island lures savvy visitors (and film-directors, like Peter Jackson of the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Nestled in this cinematic setting, Blanket Bay is a luxurious lodge that offers five rooms and seven suites constructed in timber and stone with bay-facing windows. (The suites have private terraces with mind-blowing views).) Of all the activities on offer, the heli-fishing school at Blanket Bay is a unique way to get outside and hook some brown and rainbow trout in untouched waters in truly empty wilderness. In four different river settings, private guides give personalized instruction for all levels of fishermen. The school has lots of casting insights for experienced anglers, to boot. Helicopter fishing trips allow you to fish stretches of water possibly not fished this season by any other anglers- inaccessible by vehicles.