November 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Here's some good news for smart luxury travelers: the launch of the new site 14Trips.com, which brings you the best five-star travel deals out there. Their motto: Luxury Travel at Smart Prices. 14Trips seeks out exceptional offers from respected online travel resources and brings them together in one place-- over 1,000 deals on luxury hotels and resorts, upscale cruises, and full service tours.
There's a nifty Thursday email alert, so you can get their hand-picked deals delivered straight to your inbox. And the best news of all: 14Trips launched a new blog on November 1. You'll find the Deal of the Day, interviews with industry insiders, and daily explorations in the world of luxury travel.
Announcing British Columbia's hottest new mountain resort. Leave it to Outside Magazine to get the skinny on Revelstoke, where world-class skiing and fresh powder can be found everyday-- whether by lift (there's a high-speed quad traveling 2,073 vertical feet in 6.3 minutes), snowcat (for the impressive off-piste slopes), or helicopter (where guides take avid skiers to secluded spots in the Selkirk and Monashee mountains). Situated on Mount Mackenzie, Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers 500,000 acres of skiable terrain. The place to stay will be the swanky Nelsen Lodge, located just steps from the lifts and heli-center. There's a heated pool and four-bedroom penthouse, to boot. (Opening date for the hotel not yet announced.) The lifts open on December 22, 2007.
Pretty soon you'll be able to book a posh room at the New York Public Library. Orient-Express, that esteemed hospitality group of luxury trains, cruises, and hotels, has purchased the Donnell Branch in Midtown for $59 million. This means big-time renovations for the building, which desperately needs them. The five-storey building on W. 53rd Street will be razed. In its place will sprout the 150-room luxury hotel with a new, state-of-the-art library on the first floor. The spa-hotel will connect to the existing '21' Club, the famed restaurant/bar (the most celebrated of speakeasies during the Prohibition Era), already owned by Orient-Express. Orient-Express plans to market the new hotel with the '21' brand name. In 2001, let the luxury begin.
The Nordic-style Indigo Patagonia is easily one of the most exciting new hotels of the year. Overlooking the Fjord of Last Hope in the maritime passage of Puerto Natales at the entrance to the Torres del Paine National Park, the hotel opens out on one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world: the sweeping sea and sky, mountains and glaciers, that come together to create the grandness of Patagonia. The Indigo Patagonia is a triumph of contemporary design, an exemplar of architectural sophistication with natural materials and a neutral color palette. The 23 rooms and 6 suites are outfitted with luxurious details: delicate sheets, blankets of pure hand-heaved wool, wireless Internet. And there are windows, windows, everywhere so that guests can always contemplate the surrounding grandeur. Unwind in one of the thermal pools in the blissful rooftop spa and just try to tear yourself away from the views.
The historic Alexis Hotel just emerged from a big renovation and guests can't stop singing its praises. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the century-old hotel has been a fixture on Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List for six years. But as if that weren't enough, Kimpton Hotels decided to inject $10 million for the hotel's makeover. The recently unveiled masterpiece is praised as "a work of art in itself." Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, the hotel has become an arts mecca; guest rooms and public spaces are decorated with original pieces that showcase the city's thriving arts community. The new rooms constitute a marvelous variety-- each of the 121 guest rooms is individually decorated with classic furniture and antiques. Some suites have wood-burning fireplaces and two-person jetted tubs. Guests enjoy complimentary wireless Internet access, the legendary hosted wine reception each evening, complimentary on-site fitness center, steam room, and 24-hour business center. Plus, the Alexis Hotel is entirely smoke-free.
Celebrate the holiday season in the magical surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Get cozy by the roaring fireplaces with a cup of hot cider or homemade hot chocolate, soak up the views, and enjoy spectacular seasonal decorations. Keswick Hall is the ideal home away from home during the festive season. The resort has arranged an abundance of traditions for your friends and family to enjoy during the month of December. First up: The Lighting of the Holiday Tree on December 1, 2007 with holiday carolers and an appearance by Santa in his sleigh. Throughout the month, enjoy the Sunday Champagne Holiday brunch, Holiday Family Photo Sessions, and Traditional Afternoon Tea for the Generations in the beautiful setting of the Hall's Villa Crawford (think delectable tea sandwiches, clotted cream, and scones with homemade marmalades and lemon curd). And of course there will be Christmas Eve carols and a magnificent Christmas lunch. From December 2- December 27, 2007, book the Home for the Holidays Escape and enjoy rates as low as $265 per night (Sundays-Thursday).
PS. Look out for the mistletoe!
Talk about a room with a view. This could be the best hotel room in Paris. Perched high atop the Palais de Tokyo-- that wonderfully quirky space for contemporary art-- the Hotel Everland is a transportable capsule hotel created by two Swiss artists, Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann. It already spent 18 months at the Gallery for Contemporary Art in Leipzig, and will stay in Paris until the end of 2008. This one-room hotel is also an art installation, so overnight guests actually become a part of the artwork. The luxurious suite includes a marvelous bathroom and 24-hour room service. Prices vary from around $560 per night on the weekdays to $700 per night on the weekends. Note: Guests book online and stay only for the night after the museum's closing. Museum visitors can check out the one-room hotel during the day.
The Sunset Marquis is the place to stay in L.A. Get pampered like a rock star at the Hollywood hot spot that's the hotel of choice for the international jet set and music industry clientele. It may be located right off Sunset, but this elegant spot-- surrounded by lush landscaped terraces and heated pools--is the ultimate hideaway in the heart of the action. The new villas are impossibly swanky and come with "a Butler trained to serve the Queen of England, and people a lot more demanding." When you book one of the villas now through December 31, 2007, your stay will include complimentary airport transfers and a Mercedes Benz to tool around town in style. One-bedroom villas start at $1,200 per night (regularly $1,500). Two-bedroom villas start at $2,400 per night (regularly $3,000).
In October, Oberoi launched another vessel which brings a new level of luxury to Nile River cruising. Joining the Oberoi Philae, the Oberoi Zahra boasts the largest suites on the River and-- (how's this for bragging rights)-- a five-star spa onboard. The four massage suites have private showers and a steam room, with uninterrupted views of the Nile. Voyage between Aswan and Luxor in style with eight-day itineraries which highlight the extraordinary antiquities of Egypt. The Zahra has its own private moorings at Luxor, Edfu, Aswan and Qena-- which means none of that hectic dock frenzy that other cruisers contend with. After a day of discovering the sites, return to the ship's 21st century conveniences such as plasma TVs and wireless internet in all suites, a swimming pool, and gym.
November 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Sir Rocco Forte will unveil a splendid new resort in 2009. Lapped by Mediterranean waters, Sicily is a land of ancient history, a cultural crossroads of temples and fortresses, overshadowed by the volcano Mt. Etna. Here, in a small village called Verdura (near Sciacca on the southern coast), the Rocco Forte Collection is building a EUR 129 million hotel and golf resort. Centered around the restoration of several historical buildings, the hotel will no doubt reflect the history and character of the region. Overlooking the sea, the 200-room Verdura Golf and Spa Resort will boast two championship golf courses, a hydrotherapy spa, and recreational facilities.