December 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Adrian Zecha's elegant beachfront masterpiece is certainly a South Beach hot spot, beloved by celebs. The Setai is located in the middle of it all on Collins Avenue, close to the area's best dining, shopping, and nightlife. Since its opening in 2005, the hotel has been heating things up in Miami with its intimate ambience, impeccable service, superb spa, and star-studded facilities. Set amidst tropical gardens and turquoise pools next to the ocean, The Setai boasts exquisite accommodations-- 75 guestrooms and 45 suites stacked with amenities: espresso machines, in-room bars, Bose surround-sound DVD/CD systems, deep soaking tubs and rain showers, luxurious bath products, and flat screen LCD and plasma TVs. But perhaps the most exquisite accommodations of all is the palatial Penthouse: 10,000 square feet of heaven with a rooftop pool and sweeping panoramas of the ocean, beach and Miami skyline. It's the ideal spot for receptions, parties and other special events. This regal four-bedroom penthouse goes for a mere $25,000 a night (and that doesn't include tax).
December 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Wishing you a joyful holiday season from all of us at The Informed Traveler and Five Star Alliance. We'll be back soon with the latest updates and special offers from the most exciting luxury destinations worldwide.
Hip, stylish, and of course the most glamorous rendezvous in town: Felix is Hong Kong's place to see and place to be seen. Created by celebrity designer Philippe Starck, Felix sits on the 28th floor of The Peninsula, long renowned as one of the best hotels in the world. The "Grande Dame of the Far East" is legendary for its opulent rooms, fleet of Rolls-Royce limousines, helicopter shuttle service, and celebrated Peninsula service. The dining experience at Felix is thrilling not only for the contemporary cuisine (try crispy Indonesian crab cakes, grilled Ahi steak, honey tempura King Prawns, and pan fried foie gras with marinated figs) but because of the setting: sexy interiors and lighting, plus sweeping views of the harbor and Hong Kong's skyline. (Did I mention the people watching?) Open daily for dinner from 6 pm to 11 pm; last drinks at 2 am. Dress is "smart casual." Needless to say, reservations are essential.
This winter, escape to Southern Florida's classic landmark for a truly luxurious experience. Situated directly on a private white sand beach, the Italian Renaissance style hotel was founded in 1896 and has been legendary ever since. (And with a Beach club, oceanfront spa, 36 holes of championship golf, 10 tennis courts, kids' programs, four oceanside pools, and excellent restaurants... what's not to love?) Here at The Breakers, L'Escalier offers one of the country's finest dining experiences and is the proud recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award and Wine Spectator's highest honor, the Grand Award. The restaurant now presents the specialty wine dinners of the 2007 Winter Wine Series. Master Sommelier Virginia Philip has invited celebrated winemakers from around the world to present three unforgettable evenings of food and wine pairings. A reception with tastings is followed by a five-course dinner prepared by the exceptional culinary team led by Chef Kevin Ives. Dinners are $300 inclusive of tax and service charge. (The March 5, 2007 dinner is priced at $575). Seating is limited so make your reservations soon.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Featuring Tom Shelton, President and CEO
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Featuring Tom Johnson, Vice President
Monday, March 5, 2007
Clos de Tart and Mommessin Wineries
Featuring Clos de Tart with Sylvain Pitiot, winemaker
Romance-starved? Nothing that champagne, chocolates, and private island fine dining can't fix. The four-diamond Cambridge Beaches, oft considered one of the world's most romantic resorts, is offering couples the opportunity to rekindle their relationship during the month of February, which has been dedicated to romance with a new Relationship Menu. Escape the grind of our daily lives and relax at one of the resort's five private beaches, relish a fine dining experience on the private Isle of TT, or rejuvenate at the resort's world-class two-level 10,000 sq. ft. Ocean Spa. Discover the fine art of preparing finger foods and sensual desserts as a couple. Uncover the island's most romantic spots (the Romance Concierge will give you the inside scoop). Enjoy turn down gifts. Watch romantic movies by candlelight. Try your hand at couples vs. couples golf tournaments. Experience a champagne horse n' buggy ride, 1001 Arabian Nights Themed Dinner, and romantic picnic basket excursion. And then there's the seminars, offered from February 11-23, 2007. Covering subjects like Venus and Mars Balance, Communication for Couples, Creating a Special Place for the Ultimate Romance, and Introduction to Tantra. Prices for the romance menu package start at $875 a night per couple in the new, lavishly appointed infinity plunge pool suite which overlooks the ocean.
Chic, discreet, and utterly fabulous, Hotel Andra is Seattle's premier address for urban luxury. Located on the edge of the trendy Belltown neighborhood, the hotel embraces the vibe of the area: progressive sophistication and style. This is a luxury boutique delight in the epicenter of downtown Seattle. Inspired by the surrounding artist studios and galleries, Hotel Andra is all about design: celebrating the strong elements of the Northwest-- water, woods and stone-- along with Scandinavian design influences. For the ultimate Girls Getaway Weekend, take advantage of the Syster Sjal package (Soul Sisters, don't you know!) Relax in your Andra Suite with two queen beds; refresh with two chilled "Sofias" (a sparkling Blanc de Blanc from the acclaimed Niebaum Coppola Winery); rejuvenate with $100 credit for each of you at Red Salon and Spa; and recharge with breakfast at Lola. Also includes $30 gift card. Priced at $490, available until the end of the year.
Hurry! For a limited time only, when you fly Eos between New York and London, you will receive a free roundtrip ticket anywhere JetBlue flies. Eos is the swanky, all-premium class airline that has everyone talkin.' Passengers are spoiled with a highly personalized level of service, enormous suites (with fully horizontal beds and the most personal space of any commercial airline), curbside escort service through "fast-track" check-in, and complimentary, premium car service upon arrival or departure at London Stansted. Book a roundtrip on Eos by December 22, 2006 (that's tomorrow, folks!) and complete travel by April 30, 2007 and you'll receive 100 JetBlue TrueBlue points-- enough for a free roundtrip anywhere JetBlue flies. (Have your TrueBlue number ready when you make the reservation.)
Ice hotels, ice bars, ice spas, luxury igloos... The opulent Four Seasons Hotel George V has jumped on the fashionably-freezing bandwagon. The first ice bar in Paris was opened at the trendy Kube Hotel in the 18th arrondissement. Hipsters flock to this cutting-edge design boutique. Entrance to the Ice Kube GreyGoose vodka bar is EUR 38 for 30 minutes with a limited capacity of only 20 peeps; reservations required. Now the George V has followed suit. According to the NYT:
It's official, freezing is in fashion. Last month in Paris, the Four Seasons Hotel George V opened a luxury ice bar, bringing a Gallic twist to a Nordic novelty. The bar was built entirely of ice in a refrigerated cube in the hotel’s courtyard. Guests are given a black rabbit-fur Kaufman Franco poncho for their 30-minute session inside the boudoir-style interior, which is kept at a frosty 18 degrees. While the hors d'oeuvres won't cure frostbite (ice bars and sorbet), the flavored vodkas (ginger, cinnamon and vanilla among others) served at the glacial bar just might. The bar is open daily, 6 to 11 p.m. until Jan. 15, and the entrance fee of 55 includes drinks and amuse bouches. Reservations are required.
Foodies rejoice! From Sunday, January 7 through Friday, January 12, 2007, gourmands will delight in San Diego's third annual Restaurant Week, where over 125 restaurants will offer special fixed price, three course dinner menus for just $30 or $40 per person. This is a steal considering the participating restaurants are stars on the county's culinary scene. At award-winning A.R. Valentien, for example, guests can indulge in an exquisite menu including such items as the homemade Charcuterie Plate for starters, followed by the Roasted Vande Rose Pork Loin with Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Apple, Frisee and Toasted Hazelnuts, and the Boca Negra with Mocha Cream to finish. For this weeklong culinary celebration, reservations are highly recommended.
Happy New Loews! Escape to Vegas and ring in the New Year at the new resort we've been drooling over. Surrounded by the magnificent lake and desert landscapes, Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort has got it all-- just 17 miles from the Vegas Strip. Rates are a shockingly low $179 per night with the third night free when you stay three nights or more. For a real splurge, choose the Rockin' the Casbah package: an unforgettable Moroccan-style New Year's Eve celebration. $7,007 gets you:
*One night deluxe lakefront accommodations for four in a signature casbah
*Dinner for four at Marssa, where Master sushi chef Fuji’s unique approach to Asian fusion will certainly wow you
*Transportation to and from the Las Vegas strip in a Hummer limo
*VIP passes to TAO, Las Vegas' premier nightclub
*Hangover breakfast for four in the suite
*50-minute Moulay massage for four people at Spa Moulay