LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
June 2, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Long before Namibia made headlines as the secret hideaway for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the country was a favorite for in-the-know travelers. The dramatic landscapes, including the red-dune Namib desert, are luring more and more folks to southern Africa, who are delighted by the incredible design hotels on offer. Case in point: the new Onguma Plains Camp, which has been getting a lot of press as one of the hottest hotels of the year. There are only 13 rooms in this fort-like hotel, all with private viewing decks over looking Etosha National Park. The rugged setting of the private 50,000 acre game reserve will take your breath away. To quote the Travel + Leisure "It List":
While the design of most southern African lodges skews toward either safari chic or super-Modernist (Singita), Onguma takes the bush lodge in a bold new direction. All carved antique doors, billowy curtains, and reflecting pools, it's as if a casbah were relocated to the continent's south. The main lodge features brushed-metal sconces, Middle Eastern lanterns, and long mirrors in distressed wooden frames. Two of each guest room's walls are made of canvas; they can be opened to reveal a mesh window that makes the plains look like an Impressionist painting. At night, the resort requires that you zip yourself snugly into your room (which can feel claustrophobic). But it's a safety precaution, since lions roam nearby.
This summer, check out the blossoming arts scene in Indianapolis, a surprising and unexpected fact, the Washington Post recently ruminated, as "the Indiana capital is trumpeted as the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World," due to a year-round calendar of college contests and Olympic trials."
"Go Colts!" signs adorned shops and buildings like campaign posters; even the Japanese restaurant Mikado, which cowers in the shadow of the RCA Dome football stadium, claims to be the home of the Super Bowl XLI champs. For the sophisticated sports fan, there are tuna rolls and Sapporo during "Monday Night Football." In addition, no race car devotee could come to Indy without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kissing the fabled bricks is not allowed, but no one will stop you from genuflecting.
Sure, sports are a big deal in Indianapolis, but now there are more contemporary art venues than there are pro sports venues in the entire state. Come enjoy what Indianapolis has to offer this summer, and make the luxurious Conrad Indianapolis your destination of choice. The finest hotel in the city, the Conrad Indianapolis is located in the heart of downtown, just one block from Monument Circle, connected by skybridge to both the Indiana Convention Center and the RCA Dome. The summer getaway offer includes continental breakfast for two in Vitesse each morning and complimentary valet parking for one vehicle. From just $179 per night.
Now there's another reason to check out the dream holiday destination of Sardinia. The award-winning Forte Village Resort-- comprised of 7 refined hotels (including Hotel Castello and Villa del Parco), 35 suites, 21 restaurants, a world-renowned thalasso spa, and numerous recreational activities-- is offering the Forte Village Football Academy with the Chelsea Football Club this summer. From May – September 2008, coaches from the English Premier League side will be taking up residence at Forte Village's Football Academy to provide expertise to boys and girls aged 4-13. What better motivation for young people than a master-class from the club responsible for developing John Terry from a teenager into the Chelsea and England team captain? Chelsea and Forte Village have developed a fantastic program for the participants, culminating in a mini-tournament where parents can come cheer them on (if they can pull themselves away from the luxurious, seaside facilities of Forte Village Resort!) We can't think of a better vacation experience for kids and their families.
Extend your stay in San Francisco and get pampered by the Four Seasons, located just two blocks from Union Square. With the "Stay Longer" package, you can score a complimentary third night along with Full American breakfast for two in Seasons Restaurant (or with in-room dining). Take a jaunt to the nearby Museum of Modern Art, hit the gym at the world-class Sports Club/LA located inside the hotel itself, or simply relax in your generously sized guest room checking out the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the city's downtown. This package is offered from May 30, 2008 - December 31, 2008, with a minimum three-night stay required. Starting from $430 per night. There are some black-out dates.
Russian black caviar, blinis, and chilled vodka, oh my. The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow has been making waves since its opening last year. Hailed as one of the best new business hotels in the world by Fortune, the Ritz-Carlton has the best location in the city, perched on the edge of Red Square. The opulence on display here is evidence of some serious "Moscow Moola." The technology butler and vodka sommelier may be cool, but the food is what has tongues wagging. At Jeroboam, you can feast on cuisine from Michelin three-star chef Heinz Winkler. And the rooftop lounge and sushi bar are easily the hottest ticket in town, overlooking Red Square and the Kremlin. From now through the end of the year, book the Reconnect package at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow and you'll enjoy one night accommodation, personal concierge service, buffet breakfast for two, Russian black caviar with blinis and chilled vodka served in-room upon arrival, roundtrip airport limo service, and pre-registration at check-in. Starting from 948 C.U.
Unleash your inner cowboy at the luxurious Texas ranch of Lajitas. This is the Wild West at its most chic: "With velvet comforters and cowhide rugs, it's a sybarite's fantasy of the Old West," explains Travel + Leisure. Plus, there are plush bathrobes and fancy Agave bath amenities, to boot. The rugged wilderness of West Texas, between Big Bend National Park and the Mexico border, is home to this fabulous destination resort encompassing 25,000 acres. Here at Lajitas you can take advantage of the "Wanna Be A Cowboy" package and fire guns at Greasewood Flats (the resort's very own cowboy action shooting range), go trail riding and get a gourmet picnic lunch and 'cutting horse' instruction from the equestrian staff. From $390 per night, including deluxe accommodations and daily breakfast.
Turn up the heat this summer on the Las Vegas strip with The Palazzo's Sublime Summer Package. The package includes a 50 percent discount on a bottle of wine at Morels French Steakhouse, 20 percent food discount at Woo Pan-Asian Cuisine, a complimentary mini facial and makeover with purchase of any Fresh product, and $25 gaming credit. Rooms start at $159 per night. Morels French Steakhouse is located in the Palazzo and offers an extensive wine list, in addition to combining traditional steak with other delectable culinary aspects such as seafood, and cheeses from around the world. Woo Pan-Asian Cuisine is a unique combination of contemporary Japanese cuisine and California ingredients, giving dinners a savory experience in Pan-Asian cuisine. Guests will also enjoy Fresh, high quality beauty projects that provide effective, enjoyable treatment to your skin.
By: Madelyn Giblin
Centrally located in the very heart of the city, on the left bank, close to the Saint Germain area and walking distance from the Orsay and Louvre Museums,The Hotel Montalembert is the ideal place to stay for travelers in Paris. Only a short walk away from the Louvre and Orsay Museums, the Hotel offers plenty of activities in the surrounding area. This summer, US travelers can enjoy a fixed US dollar rate on all rooms booked for July and August. Stays at the Hotel Montalembert include breakfast; offer is valid for a minimum two night stay.
By: Madelyn Giblin
Switzerland's Park Hotel Weggis is easily one of the poshest properties in Europe. Nestled at the foot of the Swiss Alps on the shores of Lake Lucerne, Park Hotel Weggis boasts ultra-luxurious rooms (think designer furniture and the most sophisticated technology), an incredible spa, and gourmet restaurant that pleases the most discerning of palates. This enchanting resort is also known to have a soft spot for soccer/football. (This is Ronaldinho's European digs of choice, among other superstar players.) To coincide with the Euro 2008 soccer championships, the Park Hotel Weggis is offering 10 percent off during the month of June. You can catch the matches via big-screen in the hotel's beachfront lounge. The package includes two nights accommodations, daily breakfast, two three-course dinners, and a body peeling in the Sparkling Wellness Center. From $708.
May 28, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
There's a new wine tasting venue in the Eternal City. The award-winning Westin Excelsior Rome, situated in the celebrated Via Veneto district, has introduced a new spot dedicated to fine wines paired with a selection of Italian cheeses and gastronomic specialties. VIN-ORVM was designed by Michael Stelea HDC architecture studio and thereby recalls the hotel's ORVM BAR. The 60-square-meter space is distinguished by oversized pots with orange branches and parquet and walls designed with warm wood accents. An enormous wrought-iron gate separates the tasting room from the cellar, boasting over 150 different labels of red and white wines. This is the ideal spot for an exclusive wine tasting, and the VIN-ORVM is open as well to external guests, with parties of a minimum of ten people for lunch or for dinner.