LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The Best of Interlaken, Switzerland: Spa Cruise and More with the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa
A stay at Interlaken's finest hotel, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa, is itself an unforgettable experience. The panoramic views, over the lakes of Thun and Brienz to the Alps, are breathtaking. With an outstanding spa and wellness center and impeccable service, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel embodies Old World European grandeur and is beloved by connoisseurs who appreciate the finer things in life. The best hotel in Switzerland's beautiful resort town of Interlaken, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand is also a fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, which describes this first-class resort as follows:
Hardwood floors and bright colors create a loftlike feel in rooms, while stained glass windows in the reception area and satin-upholstered chairs pay homage to La Belle Epoque. "The old and new opulence are in great balance." The nineteenth-century lakefront property surveys a park and snowcapped mountains. Dining on Swiss food in the Jungfrau Brasserie is "like eating in an old-fashioned grand ballroom."
Over two weekends in September, the Victoria-Jungfrau partners with the Bernese Oberland Shipping Company to offer guests a luxurious spa cruise on the magnificent Lake Brienz (pictured). The MS Jungfrau is transformed into a "floating oasis of pleasure" so that guests can relax and take a deep breath in these majestic surroundings. Awaiting onboard: a variety of wellness and fitness activities, such as massages, masks, foot rituals, taiji, qigong and speeding bikes. Available Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st, and September 27th and 28th.
It's not just the breathtaking views over Central Park and the Manhattan skyline that have guests oohing and ahhing. It's the service, where no request is too small, no detail overlooked. The Jumeirah Essex House has been a Manhattan landmark since 1931, a model of elegance and sophistication with fabulous Art Deco touches. And you can score rates at this magnificent five-star hotel, a favorite of visiting world dignitaries and stars, for just $399 around Labor Day. As TravelZoo points out, these rooms usually go for $639, so this is a rare deal. This rate is accessible on select dates for the first week of September and includes a free continental breakfast for two.
August 15, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Just steps from the ocean and offering 15 beach front villas and ocean view residences and 15 pool suites and pool villas, Aleenta's "Luxury Villa Escape" is sure to capture your imagination for a truly great summer escape. This summer the 5 Days and 4 Nights package will include complementary private car round trip transfers to and from the Phuket International Airport, complimentary welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival, gourmet breakfast daily in your villa/residence or in the restaurant, afternoon canape each day at the Sunset Lounge from 5 to 6 pm, complimentary yoga, tai chi, or thai boxing led by a private instructor in the villa, beach or gym, 60 minute thai massage per person per stay in your room or spa and 20% of the regular rates for any additional selected treatment. With stunning views of the Andaman Sea and a reputation for luxurious style, comfort and personalized services, Aleenta "Luxury Villa Escape" is the escape you have been looking for this summer.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations for Aleenta with Five Star Alliance receive a 30 minute stress and tension relieving massage for 2 in Aleenta's KA Spa once during stay.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
We've got the scoop on a unique Labor Day special that doesn't come around that often. La Samanna Resort, a chic Orient-Express property in St. Maarten, French West Indies, is consistently named one of the world's best places to stay. This gorgeous gem is usually closed for the season over Labor Day weekend, but this year, La Samanna will stay open so you can celebrate the Dog Days of Summer in style. Finish off your summer with a three-night Labor Day weekend package starting at just $995 in an Ocean View Room. You'll also get buffet breakfast daily, a welcome bottle of champagne and a car rental for the day (tax, gas and insurance not included). Upgrade to a spacious One Bedroom Suite for just $100 more per night.
Soon you'll be able to have lunch on the equator aboard a 69-foot luxury yacht, an exclusive offering from the brand new Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa, the first luxury resort in the southern Maldives (on Addu Atoll). This equatorial dining experience is billed as a "first-of-its-kind seaborne adventure." Step aboard the boat at the resort, and you'll cruise 46 miles north to the point where the northern and southern hemispheres collide. Here you'll sip some wine and chow down on a gourmet lunch while lounging on a sun lounger on the spacious timber deck. No doubt you'll see a school of spinner dolphins. Afterwards, take a siesta, or snorkel and fish-- over the equator. You'll also be able to visit the country's third biggest island, Fuvahmulah, on a full-day cruise aboard the beautiful yacht. Opening later this year, Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa will feature 142 villas with views of the ocean or the island's natural lush vegetation.
The hottest hotel opening of 2006, Hotel Marqués de Riscal is a masterpiece by Frank O. Gehry, nestled in the vineyards of Spain's Rioja wine region. We stopped by for a visit before its official opening, and noted how the architectural elements were similar to Gehry's landmark in nearby Bilbao: the Guggenheim Museum. This was Gehry's first hotel design, and it's pretty cool. A member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, the 43-room hotel offers a discreet locale for savoring the region's flavors. The setting is the best part of all, offering panoramic views over the lush vineyards from eight separate terraces. The on-site Caudalíe Vinothérapie Spa, specializing in "wine therapy" treatments, offers an indoor pool, steam room, fitness center, Jacuzzi, and 14 treatment rooms. Meetings can be arranged in an ancient wine cellar converted into a modern banqueting space. Book the "Summer Experience" package and you'll get daily breakfast included with your room rates, along with double Starpoints for SPG members. Rates from EUR 395 per night.
We liked the Hotel Andalucia when it opened in 2004, but now we like it even better as the Canary Hotel. Renovated and renamed by the folks behind its sister properties, Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, the Canary is fun, fashionable, and a touch exotic. (It's supposed to reflect the Spanish Islands and North Africa, hence its name.) The only full-service luxury boutique hotel in downtown Santa Barbara, the Canary boasts an outstanding rooftop pool and perch, plus a spa, and gym next door. You'll love the Spanish tiles, four-poster beds, and in-room binoculars. Travel + Leisure recently sang its praises in the August 08 issue, citing the hotel's "low-key glamour and easy access to both the city's bustling Old Town and beautiful beaches" as key reasons why the Canary will become "one of Southern California's favorite haunts."
August 13, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
When you propose to the one you love, you want an ultra romantic setting and Hayfield Manor in Cork, Ireland promises just that. Set in 20 acres of nature gardens and on the cusp of city centre, the Manor offers individually styled guest rooms filled with antique furnishings, exquisite fabrics and modern amenities you would expect in Cork's premier 5 star hotel. To help set the stage, Hayfield Manor now offers the "Will You Marry Me?" Package that includes you nights accommodations in a luxurious suite, candlelit gourmet dinner for 2 in the privacy of your suite, your own butler on hand to ensure your every wish becomes a reality, a bottle of chilled champagne to celebrate the moment, and a luxury breakfast for 2 in your suite. Hayfield Manor has even partnered with Keanes Jewellers, Ireland's most renowned jewellers located in the heart of Cork, to offer you a private engagement consultation. Keanes Jewellers is in return offering guests who purchase an engagement ring from them, a free Engagement Portrait Photograph Session with Pineapple Studios. This romantic and truly memorable experience at Hayfield Manor is guaranteed to ensure you get the positive answer you are hoping for!
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Wine Spectator recently released its 2008 Restaurant Awards and gave a shout out to more than 4,000 wine lists around the world. The top decoration is the Grand Award, honoring "restaurants that offer a comprehensive selection of the world's best wines, along with exemplary service and artful cuisine." There were three new Grand Awards this year, with Restaurant Guy Savoy being the only new award recipient in Vegas. These classy restos are recognized with a three-glass symbol in the dining guide. To quote Wine Spectator: "Earning a Grand Award is not easy. These lists typically offer more than 1,500 selections backed by an inventory that represents decades of collecting."
And paired with that wine, the food at Caesars Palace's finest restaurant is positively dreamy...
Lucky ducks. Thailand's Phuket Island will soon be getting an all-villa boutique resort at Kalim Bay. And check out that view from the pool, overlooking the Andaman Sea! The Langham portfolio has been expanding rapidly in Thailand, and the announcement of this boutique resort-- Langham Place Miora Resort + Spa, Kalim Bay-- means the luxury hotel operator is on track to operate five properties in Thailand within five years (including this eco-resort on Krabi). Langham has an outstanding collection of five-star hotels around the world, and this sexy new boutique resort promises to be all that and more. Slated to open in early 2010, this Langham Place will boast 78 designer villas including a penthouse set onto a hilltop. Apartment-style amenities will include private bars, contemporary entertainment centers, and private plunge pools with retractable floating dining tables as well as day beds and barbecue grills. And the best part of all? The cantilevered swimming pool that extends from the hill to create an infinity-style effect with a Chuan Spa located directly below.