LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The chic Parisian hotel on the avenue Montaigne is known for going the extra mile for guests. Even your kids get the star treatment at the Hotel Plaza Athénée, where coddled VIPs carry kid-sized umbrellas for strolls around Paris, and get comfy in slippers and bathrobes made specially for them. The luxurious hotel from the Dorchester Collection recently added a collectors-edition Cabriolet roadster (pictured) which will surely delight your little ones. What an indulgent gift for Christmas, polished in Plaza Red and emblazoned with the Plaza Athénée logo! It has classic chrome wheels and black leather seats. Inspired by BMW's 328 model created in 1936, the 6/10-scale replica is a BMC & De-la-Chapelle masterpiece with a 6.5HP gas engine, speedometer, headlights, horn, hydraulic brakes and maximum speed of 12 mph. Don't worry-- it's pedal powered.
Anguilla has been in the press a lot these days. The Caribbean island in the British West Indies has remained pristine because of regulated development, and only three resorts have graced its beaches: Cap Juluca, CuisinArt, and Malliouhana. But 2009 will see the debut of two spanking new hotels: the Viceroy, which we noted last year, and the Baccarat Resort and Residences at Temenos. As described by Travel + Leisure in the September 2008 issue, this uber-luxe resort is being developed by Barry Sternlicht, the "mastermind behind Starwood's W, St. Regis, and Luxury Collection chains." There will be a Greg Norman golf course, a David Bouley restaurant, and world-class spa and fitness center. Plus, guests and residences will enjoy "signature Baccarat aesthetics" from the premier luxury brand. Like lots of crystal chandeliers in the lobby.
Just minutes from Jefferson's Monticello and the University of Virginia, Keswick Hall is an impressive estate managed by Orient-Express. This gorgeous mansion has its own Arnold Palmer Signature 18-hole golf course and a luxurious spa. Surrounded by the spectacular landscapes of Virginia hunt country, Keswick Hall overlooks some of the most beautiful scenery on the East Coast. This region is also famous for its vineyards, and those who retreat to Keswick Hall for some pampering, relaxation, and fresh country air will also enjoy wine tasting at the award-winning wineries. When you book the "Wine Escape Package" at Keswick Hall, you can sample the best of the region. The two-night package includes Sommelier Richard Hewitt's welcome letter and wine amenity, a personal invitation to the 'For the Love of Wine' series, a local wine tour and personalized gift from the featured winery, a five course gourmet dinner once during the stay, and Continental breakfast daily. Valid Sunday-Thursday through November, with rates starting at $1175. Don't miss a wine-inspired indulgence at the Keswick Club Spa: the Vinotherapy Regimen, which uses elements from the grape's vine and seed to infuse the body with anti-oxidants and anti-aging polyphenois.
The hotel, a member of the Rocco Forte Collection, is as exciting and stylish as the Italian capital itself. Smack dab in the middle of it all in the bustling city, situated between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, the luxurious Hotel de Russie is celebrated for its picturesque terraced gardens, health club, and the exclusive Nijinsky Suite, arguably the most gorgeous Presidential digs in Rome, overlooking the hotel's butterfly garden from a sprawling private terrace. But there's another reason to love this five-star gem: The Stravinskij Bar. This fashionable establishment, known for martinis served with caviar, also offers lunch buffets and traditional afternoon tea. It was recently named by Virtuoso and VIRTUOSO LIFE as the Best of the Best (the 10 awards categories include "Best Bar"):
The Stravinskij Bar has earned a cult following for its unrivalled martinis, as well as having been made a full-fledged member of the James Bond Bar circuit for its elegance, impeccable class and cosmopolitan crowd.
Come October 2008, the historic Pier House will begin a new life after a $10 million renovation of all guest rooms. The one-of-kind property in free-spirited Key West has been a choice tropical destination since its renovation into a hotel in the 1960s. No two bedrooms are alike in this vibrant hideaway, now appointed with custom-designed furniture and flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms have been redesigned to offer more space and rain showerheads. Throughout the hotel's history, local conchs, including Jimmy Buffet, have frequented the restaurant and "flagship hotel of the Key West state of mind." The resort has a killer location at the foot of Old Town, steps from Duval Street. But the private pool and lush gardens create a quiet oasis away from the
crazy lively ambiance for which Key West, the southernmost point in the US, is famous.
Visitors to the world's most over-the-top destination can't go wrong by booking the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The award-winning hotel exalts the pleasures of the good life with every amenity imaginable. In fact, lucky guests will find 20 restaurants to choose from, 4 swimming pools, 7 tennis courts, golf and more. Designed as an enormous wave on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the hotel boasts uninterrupted panoramic views from all 600 guest rooms. From the private beach, you can enjoy endless watersports, including snorkeling over the purpose-built coral reef just 2 kilometers offshore. Just next door, the Wild Wadi Water Park lures with its exhilarating rides. Until September 30, 2008, you'll get a fourth night for free when you book a suite or villa for three consecutive nights. (Plus, you'll have access to your own private plunge pool when you book a villa.) As Halogen Guides points out, the rate at this luxurious property translates to only $264 per night.
Old World elegance + New World opulence= a swanky hotel on Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st streets in Midtown Manhattan. Overlooking St. Patrick's Cathedral, just a stone's throw from Rockefeller Center, the New York Palace has been recognized as one of the top places to stay not only in New York, but also in the world. Just check out the client reviews on Five Star Alliance. Foodies love the Michelin-starred Gilt Restaurant and guests are enchanted with the unrivaled views and the Spa and Fitness Center. And now, this preeminent NYC address, a Manhattan icon, is part of the Dorchester Collection, joining the ranks of legendary hotels like Le Meurice and Plaza Athenee in Paris, and the Dorchester in London. The Collection's plan is to refurbish the New York Palace over the next 3 years with a major redesign of the public areas and guest rooms. Until September 1, 2008, lucky NYC visitors can check out the waterfalls public art project in the city. Internationally-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson created four monumental, man-made waterfalls on the NYC waterfront, contributing to the legacy of New York's large scale public arts projects. Since the best way to view this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit is from the deck of a private tour boat, The New York Palace Hotel has created The Waterfalls Package, including accommodations in a Deluxe Room, American breakfast for two, and an official NYC Waterfalls boat tour for two guests.
"The precise location of heaven on earth has never been established but it may very well be right here." It's little wonder that the Villa d'Este, the lakeside villa celebrated for its high standard of service and adored by the world's celebrities, was recently featured in an article on "outrageous itineraries" and over-the-top vacations. These digs will impress any traveler looking for a serious wow factor. Dating from the 16th century, the princely residence is set in a picturesque 25-acre park overlooking the shimmering waters of Lake Como. (Pssst. George Clooney hangs out here.) Guests get a taste of the luxury and magnificence of a bygone era, and the gracious hospitality to match. Float in the unique pool floating on the lake, and soak in the built-in Jacuzzi. There is a Sporting Club for those feeling more ambitious.
Volunteer tourism, a.k.a "voluntourism," is a growing trend in travel, and more and more travelers are jumping on the bandwagon and planning to volunteer during their vacations. Forbes Traveler sums it up nicely:
There comes a point — generally when you're on your third margarita, sunburned over 60 percent of your body and the kids are screaming in the infinity pool — when you start to wonder if there is more to the whole vacation concept than lying on a beach getting toasted. A way of showing thanks for your own good fortunes, perhaps. You want a chance to contribute more to a local economy than buying overpriced trinkets that neither you nor your friends back home really need.
Ritz-Carlton has taken notice. They've created the Give Back Getaways program- to offer guests a chance to give back to the community with half-day local community experiences, working alongside Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen in a Community Footprints humanitarian or environmental project. All profits from the Give Back Getaways programs are donated to the partner organizations. An example is the Blue Iguana Recovery Program at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, led by naturalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, where guests assist with the breeding program to help a unique species on the brink of extinction.
August 20, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Kimpton's four-star boutique hotel, 70 Park Avenue, feels like a quiet, elegant pied à terre in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Located at 38th Street and Park Avenue, the hotel is just four blocks from Grand Central Station and there are a bunch of attractions within walking distance (including Fifth Avenue shopping, Union Square, Bryant Park, and Rockefeller Center). Guests love the special Kimpton touches at this urban hideaway: a complimentary wine reception every evening, the lobby community table to chat with the concierge, the signature pet services like a paw spa, hotel dog basket, and dog beds for your pampered pooch. For a limited time, you can enjoy rates of 20 percent off at 70 Park Avenue. But act now, this "Summer in the City" special is only available until September 7, 2008.