March 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Utterly unique, Claska is one of the coolest small hotels in the world. Hip Tokyo architects Intentionallies and British design gurus Tomato transformed an old business hotel into the city's cutting-edge boutique hotel. On the first floor: lobby, buzzing café-lounge (with DJ spinning), and DogMan dog salon, the city's coolest place to bring fashionable Fido. The second floor is an art gallery which showcases the newest groundbreaking trends. And on the third and fourth floors: the nine unique guest rooms which are all individually designed, stacked with designer amenities. (One even has an attached terrace, another with a view from your bathtub.) And then there's the rooftop lounge which offers stunning panoramic views of the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Note: You must reserve months in advance to get a room. (It's worth it.) The one setback: the hotel is located in the trendy Meguro neighborhood, not exactly centrally located.
Now's your chance to make like Julia Child and try your hand at cooking the French classics. Enroll alongside the best of 'em at the famous cooking school at the Hotel Ritz, named for Auguste Escoffier, the first Head Chef at this Parisian palace hotel. Auguste was hailed as a pioneer of modern cuisine, and it's no wonder: the dude created Peach Melba, for crying out loud. Learn pastry-making, knowledge of wines, flower-arranging, and the secrets to fine cocktails (along with the great plates of modern French cuisine), taught by the talented chefs at the Ritz. Lessons alternate theory with practice and are geared to the different levels and goals of its students. The setting couldn't be more perfect: opposite the great kitchen at the Ritz.
March 28, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Opening its doors on April 2, 2007, the Cafe du Parc - located in the former Chanel Boutique, next to the Willard InterContinental Hotel, Washington, DC - is overseen by one of Europe's top Michelin-starred chefs, Antoine Westermann, who supervises the menu to ensure that his vision of French cuisine is appropriately transposed in an American setting. Cafe du Parc will be led by Willard Executive Chef Daniel Kenney and Westermann's hand-picked brigade trained by the master in Paris. The restaurant embraces classic bistro cuisine with moderate pricing ranging from $6 to $19, serving dinner, lunch, afternoon "petit plats" (small plates), breakfast and casual takeaway items. An open kitchen highlights the upper level Cafe du Parc and seats 96 people - accessed by a grand staircase and an elevator. Menu items will include items such as "Le pâte en croûte façon Antoine Westermann" (Antoine Westermann's Pate in a crust), "Les paupiettes de veau" (stuffed veal fillet bundles) "Le confit de Canard" (Duck confit) and vegetarian options like "Les tomates farcies aux legumes" (vegetable-stuffed tomatoes.) PS - They are still accepting resumes for all positions as of today ...
At Deer Valley, 300 inches of snow annually and only 6,500 tickets sold each day means a noncrowded paradise for skiers. Add to that the excellent attention to service and cuisine, which have really distinguished the resort above and beyond the other greats. Outside Traveler magazine rated Deer Valley the Best Luxury Mountain 2007:
A swarm of uniformed employees (one for every four ski-resort guests) greet your car in the heated driveways and carry your skis to the slopes; the on-mountain cafeterias are appointed with silver service, marble cash-register stands, and brass-trimmed carving stations...
Where to stay? America's most celebrated ski-in, ski-out resort: The Stein Eriksen Lodge. There's a reason this place is AAA five-diamond and Mobil four-star rated. The legendary lodge is the ultimate year-round luxury destination, with a gorgeous outdoor pool and fitness facility, head-to-toe pampering at the spa, and ski attendants who provide warmed up boots and a hot drink upon your return from the slopes. And starting April 1, 2007, the resort's "Value Season" kicks in, which means rooms for a steal starting at $400.
Ahh, The Biltmore: the sprawling national historic landmark which showers guests in a good dose of nostalgic elegance right outside Miami. Step into the lobby and you'll catch my drift. Marble columns, massive arches, painted ceiling, colorful Oriental rugs, and of course, High Tea. Guest rooms are likewise luxurious (spruced up after the hotel's big renovation). Grandiose and majestic, The Biltmore is world-famous for its facilities: enormous health club, on-site golf course, and the largest hotel swimming pool in the continental U.S. As recently featured in Luxury Spa Finder magazine, The Biltmore is also the spot to find a spa experience that's "high luxe at half off:"
For $750 (taxes included) the Biltmore Spa Splendor package seems too good to be true: a junior suite for two nights and a $250 spa credit.
Located on the seventh floor, the Spa is an oasis of water cascades, flowing rivers, fountains, and bamboo floors. Treatments run the gamut-- from massages to rejuvenating body treatments, deep cleansing facials to Terme Spa baths.
Last fall, the historic Hotel Reina Victoria opened its doors again as the first incarnation of a new breed of contemporary personality hotels, launched by Spanish hotel group Sol Meliá. What's so seductive about this new line of properties? Latin flair, contemporary style, and a whole lotta cool bars designed by Rande Gerber. Located in the Plaza de Santa Ana in Madrid, the ME Madrid Reina Victoria is home to one of the coolest nightspots in Madrid: The Penthouse. This rooftop bar offers the most spectacular views of the city. Sip a cocktail while reclining on a decadent cushioned bed, gazing out over the city's sparkling panorama.
PS. Rande Gerber's After Midnight Company also designed the glamorous ground-floor restaurant and lounge, Midnight Rose, a fashionista hot spot.
March 27, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Name: Conservatory Suites at The Halkin, London Location: 3rd and 4th floors, Size: 64 m2 Room description: The Halkin's Conservatory Suites (64 sq metres) are located on the third and fourth floors with separate sitting and dining areas (table space for six people) as well as a large work desk and some of the largest bathrooms in London. The conservatory-style windows soak rooms in an abundance of natural light. Interior Designer: Milanese Studio Laboratorio Associati Note Bene: The Conservatory Suites are the hotel's 'headline suites' and feature Touch-screen console for lighting, room temperature, doorbell, electronic 'do not disturb' sign, butler call and Guest Services. Rates: 1 bedroom: £ 750++, 2 bedroom: £ 1250++
March 27, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
Recently the New York Post did a feature on Jonathan Newbury and his "Dream Job". "Work is a Luxury for Hotel Inspector" is an interview with Mr. Newbury, the vice president of global development for Small Luxury Hotels of the World, in which he discusses how SLH chooses its' members and what they look for when inspecting properties. From the article:
NY Post: What are you looking for when you inspect a hotel?
Newbury: We don't have a check box saying each room has to be this many square meters or that the music must change in the restaurant every 30 minutes. We're more concerned with the totality of the experience: how the guests feel the moment they arrive at the door, and how they feel when they leave. It's the little touches we're looking for. To be luxury these days, you have to be really special.
Back when Five Star Alliance was launched, Mary wrote an article titled "Defining Luxury: Articulating the Intangible" which helped describe the process we use here at Five Star Alliance.
And as Cal Simmons, Founder of Five Star Alliance, likes to say - "Luxury can be different to everyone, some people might like the small country inn with 5 rooms, others might want the classic Four Seasons downtown, but we want to find all of those luxury properties out there with great service and the overall experience."
By: Courtney W. May
Stay 4 nights, play 4 free! Enjoy all the fun of Orlando's action-packed theme parks and relax at the AAA four-diamond award-winning Loews hotels onsite at Universal Orlando. Book four or more nights at Loews and receive two free tickets for unlimited admission to Orlando's top attractions. Book a stay at Portofino Bay Hotel and enjoy the Mandara Spa, three themed pools, Campo Portofino children's activity center, and the festive harbor piazza filled with Italian sports cars and Vespas. Or choose the Hard Rock Hotel and check out the 12,000 square foot pool with sand beach, massive slide, and underwater stereo. Or escape to the Royal Pacific Resort and enjoy its Polynesian themed pools, restaurants, and entertainment.
4 nights= 2 free tickets to both Universal Orlando theme parks.
5 nights= 2 free tickets to the Universal theme parks, plus 1 free ticket to Wet 'n Wild.
6 nights= 2 free tickets to both Universal Orlando theme parks, Wet 'n Wild, and SeaWorld Orlando. Available April 15-June 6, 2006.
As recently featured in the New York Times, Mont Tremblant offers mountain chic just 80 miles from Montreal. Second-home owners are attracted to this beautiful ski resort, fashionable but not overly glamorous; the NYT raves:
Tucked into the Laurentian Mountains less than 80 miles north of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is a stunning Quebec ski town perched at the southern tip of Lake Tremblant. It somehow manages to blend the kitsch of a Disney-like ski resort, the elegance of a small cosmopolitan city and the serenity of fir-and-pine-covered mountains.
The place to stay is the Fairmont Tremblant, situated in the heart of the picturesque village at the base of the majestic Laurentian peaks. Here, you can climb aboard a high-speed chair lift directly at your doorstep. The facilities at this award-winning hotel are state-of-the-art: heated outdoor and indoor pools, spa and health club, golf, excellent culinary options, and beautiful guest rooms.