LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Start your summer in style with a stay at the W French Quarter, the sleek hotel situated next to historic Jackson Square. Here you'll find all the trademark amenities that make the W Hotels so desirable-- 350-thread count linens, featherbeds, and the happening Living Room-- but you'll also find distinct New Orleans touches: fountains, the gothic cast-iron gate surrounding the illuminated outdoor pool, carriage houses turned into guest rooms, the Ralph Brennan-owned restaurant Bacco. Plus, this summer you can catch feature flicks under the stars. In partnership with the New Orleans Film Society, the hotel will be offering poolside screenings so you can sip summer cocktails and nibble on popcorn for a fabulous summer evening. The W French Quarter also lets you brunch in your bathing suit with its Bikini Brunch. You can imbibe a Bottomless Bellini, taste some brunch menu bites, and listen to tunes from members of the Thelonius Monk Institute Band. For a limited time, the hotel is offering rooms for $99 per night to kick off the summer. Available for stays through the 4th of July.
From its hilltop location, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz-- long considered the city's finest hotel-- offers vistas of Eduardo VII Park, St. George's Moorish castle, the Old Town and the Tagus River. Now operated by Four Seasons, this Lisbon landmark is seriously swanky. The rooms are plush with gorgeous furnishings, rich fabrics, and marble bathrooms with tub/shower combos. Some guest rooms even have terraces to take advantage of those killer views. There's a fitness center on the hotel's rooftop, spacious spa with indoor pool, and beloved seafood restaurant. Check into luxury this summer and discover Lisbon's rich history and exciting seaside location, while also getting a complimentary night at this exemplary establishment. The "Stay Longer" package includes luxurious accommodations, daily American buffet breakfast for two in Varanda restaurant (or in-room dining), and a complimentary night with every three or five consecutive paid nights. Translation: Stay three nights, you'll get the fourth night free; stay five nights, and get the sixth and seventh nights free. Rates start from EUR 285 per night. Available from June 26- August 31, 2008, and from November 1- December 31, 2008.
July 1, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
For the perfect balance of luxury, privacy and location- poised between London's fashionable Chelsea and Knightsbridge, summer at the Draycott Hotel should not be missed. From July 26th to September 7th, 2008, you can select either a Deluxe Double with views of a private garden square or a Suite with a sitting area. Whichever you choose will having you enjoying traditional Afternoon Tea, a pre-dinner champagne, hot chocolate before bed and a full english breakfast. With 35 rooms, luxuriously furnished with typical Edwardian features of high ceilings and fireplaces, 24 hour room service, and a private garden, the Draycott Hotel makes for a lovely way to enjoy summer in London.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations at the Draycott Hotel through Five Star Alliance will receive a bottle of wine in their room upon arrival.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Looking for an opulent, exotic getaway? Though Morocco is very much a travel hot spot these days, L Mansion is off-the-beaten path: 15 minutes outside Marrakech nestled at the base of the Atlas Mountains in a gorgeous park of citrus and olive trees, fragrant with rose, jasmine and orange blossoms. With only seven suites and one 2-bedroom villa, L Mansion offers the utmost in privacy and attentive service. You'll find a hotel fit for a king; the country's best craftsmen created an exquisite palace modeled after the Alhambra in Andalusia, distinguished by zellige mosaics, hand-painted wainscoting, and intricate tile work. Travelers on TripAdvisor can't stop raving about the personal welcome and genuinely warm Moroccan hospitality at L Mansion.
The press has gone gaga over Regent's first property in the U.S. Though situated not far from South Beach, the beachfront Regent Bal Harbour brings a different kind of high-end luxury to South Florida. Think: $4 million art collection and the country's first Guerlain Spa. The Regent Bal Harbour landed a spot on Travel and Leisure's "It List 2008":
This is a place for adults—which is appropriate, given that the Regent is also the first major hotel to open in the old-line Bal Harbour Village in 52 years. Here, it's all about the signifiers of luxury: Anichini bedding, plasma television screens embedded in bathroom mirrors, and a dazzling crystal chandelier. ...the hotel is a welcome alternative for those in search of Miami's more grown-up side.
Good news: the Regent's special opening rates are available until September 30, 2008 so you can check out Miami's best new digs for a fraction of the price. Normal rack rates exceed $750 per night, but the opening rates start at $375, including breakfast.
June 30, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Located on the banks of the Yarra River and established as one of Melbourne's and Australia's finest hotels, The Langham Melbourne is offering overnight accommodations and a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight for 2 from now till the 30th of December. This special also includes a Champagne breakfast for 2 at Melba's, the Langham's award winning interactive restaurant. Here you can interact with the chefs at one of the Dynamic Cooking Stations and partake of the Inspirational Theme Stations including Tandori Oven, Turbo Woks, Rotisserie, Seafood Ice Blocks and Floating Desserts. All with unrivalled panoramic views of the City Skyline and Yarra River. Your stay includes accommodations in a River Room with views of the Yarra River and the Melbourne Skyline, access to the Health Club and Fitness Center, Pool, Jacuzzi, Saunas, signiture-scented color therapy steam rooms and therapeutic rain showers. Rates for this special start at $940 (Sunday to Friday) or $990 (Saturday). Weather permitting, your Hot Air Balloon ride is with the most experienced and professional company in Australia, www.hotairballooning.com.au.
Late check out is offered at 2 pm to fully allow you time to enjoy the offerings of this special experience.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more evocative spot on the Mediterranean. On a private beach on the most beautiful bay in all of Sicily, the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace is elegant, charming... downright dreamy. Here's what we love:
*Each guest room provides sigh-inducing views of the bay. If you choose a suite, you'll get treated to your very own private pool.
*You can also get your fix of those dazzling bay views when you dine at La Terraza.
*Unlike a lot of European hotels, the fitness center at the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace is actually a state-of-the-art facility.
*Frequent renovations over the years means the luxurious guest rooms-- outfitted with original art, wicker furniture, and wood or tile floors-- have all the latest amenities like Wifi.
*You can easily check out the lava at Mt. Etna, Europe's highest volcano. In fact, you can even play a game of golf at the 18-hole Il Picciolo course nearby on the slopes of Mt. Etna.
*Or just hang out at the resort, a self-contained oasis with surfing, sailing, water skiing and scuba diving.
Following the recent trend of turning prisons into stylish hotels (think: Boston's Liberty Hotel), the National Park Service has a plan to allow high-roller guests to sleep over on the Rock.
July 4th Specials: Room Upgrade, $100 Credit, and Spa Access at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, California
Smack dab in the middle of the idyllic wine-growing region in Sonoma Valley, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa boasts natural mineral hot springs-- one of the only luxury Spa resorts in the country with its own source of thermal mineral water. This award-winning oasis exudes the California Wine Country experience in every way-- from the signature Sante restaurant featuring delicious local produce to the breathtaking setting. There's even an 18-hole championship golf course on-site. From now through July 6, you can take advantage of discounted rates and lots of free extras. Priced from $299 per night (normal rates top $400 per night), this Fourth of July getaway includes a free room upgrade (based on availability), two complimentary drinks at the pool, and free spa access (read: the signature Bathing Ritual consists of an exfoliating shower, mineral water soaking pools, an herbal steam, a dry sauna and cooldown showers). And if you stay 3+ nights at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, you'll get a $100 resort credit thrown in.
June 27, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
So we're a little obsessed with the GBP 60 million renovation of The Connaught, the world-famous London hotel situated in Mayfair. We're not the only ones. Check out what the Travel and Leisure "It List 2008" says about The Connaught's redo:
In the newly hip Mayfair district, this landmark brick Victorian has reclaimed the glory of its golden era thanks to a $140 million renovation, creating a sophisticated throwback that no soulless Modernist hotel could ever hope to emulate. Classicist designer Guy Oliver supervised the preservation of burnished mahogany paneling, gilded scrollwork, and formal Adams fireplaces; fortunately, a welcome infusion of 21st-century fun saves the 123-room Connaught from being too somber. Witness the cartoonish Julian Opie cameos in the aubergine-and-slate Coburg Bar (created by India Mahdavi), film-noir nights with buttered popcorn, and chinoiserie cocktail cabinets filled with DIY martini fixings.
Yes, the Coburg Bar is turning heads. It was just voted "Best Bar in London" in Time Out Magazine (May 2008). Parisian-based designer, India Mahdavi, created a masterpiece with this one. Bar aficionados appreciate the trendy décor and distinctive Connaught cocktails- sipped from the old Connaught wingback chairs (re-upholstered in velvet with black fringing) and the caramel Heppelwhite 'loveseats.'