July 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
At long last, Boeing introduced its newest commercial jetliner on July 8 (fittingly, that's 7/8/07) before a packed house of 15,000 folks at the assembly factory in Everett, Washington. The first test flight won't take place until late August or September, but that doesn't mean the orders have stopped streaming in. Boeing's counted orders from 47 customers for a whopping 677 of the aircraft. Built from composite materials, the planes will be a lot lighter and thus use 20 percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized aircraft. It also means quieter takeoffs and landings.
Now is the time to visit the magical kingdom of Bhutan. For centuries closed to outsiders, the country has slowly opened its doors to visitors in recent years. Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Himalaya, Bhutan is a wonderland of pristine landscapes, colorful architecture, and beautiful, enduring cultural traditions. A year of celebration is coming up for Bhutan: the new King will be crowned in Spring 2008 and the coronation of the fifth Dragon King promises to be a grand, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Join in the revelry while staying at Uma Paro, the 29-room five-star boutique opened by COMO Hotels and Resorts in fall 2004. Surrounded by a wild and dramatic topography-- terraced hills, towering, snow-capped peaks, orchard-lined rivers-- Uma Paro is a retreat rich in luxurious comforts, where guests find themselves inspired by the cultural riches of Bhutan.
Opulent, splendid, jam-packed with luxurious amenities, of course. This is Vegas we're talking about. But Caesars Palace has something else to add to its impressive list of world-class facilities: a Tea Sommelier. That's right. As guests unwind at the incredible, new Qua Baths and Spa and enjoy specialty treatments found nowhere else in the world (bath liqueur, Roman Rituals, anyone?), the Tea Sommelier will serve delightful teas from an inspired menu in the Tea Lounge. Teas are created specifically for each gender, so men can sample the Gunpowder, a wok-fired Chinese green tea rolled into tablets resembling gunpowder, while the ladies sip Summer Rain, a cantaloupe and lychee flavored white tea.
P.S. For the royal treatment, try a cup of Silver Needle, a white tea so delicate it was once handpicked by virgins in white gloves and served only to Emperors.
Like its sister hotel in Riyadh, the new Rosewood Corniche hotel will provide unrivaled luxury in Saudi Arabia. The third Rosewood property in the Kingdom, the Corniche is located in the heart of this bustling urban center by the Red Sea. (The city is the second largest in Saudi Arabia, a major business capital, and a principle gateway to Mecca.) But Jeddah is also touted as Saudi Arabia's own St. Tropez, a resort town for sun-seekers. In the middle of all the action, the new luxury hotel will attract both business and leisure travelers. Business women will appreciate the dedicated Ladies' Floor, created exclusively for female travelers, a "first" in the Kingdom. Here, female butlers will unpack luggage, provide travel information, and assist with special requests 24 hours a day. In fact, all guests enjoy the benefits of 24-hour butler service, along with the latest in technology in their luxurious guest rooms. Doting hotel staff will be decked out in uniforms designed by international fashion icon, Yahya Al Bishri, whose couture collection has been worn by Saudi Royals and the Prince of Wales. For a truly regal experience, book the Royal Suite located on the top two floors of the hotel, complete with private cinema, magnificent bathrooms overlooking the sea, two personal butlers, and opulent master bedroom and relaxation lounges.
Discover what Thomas Jefferson called Utopia, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Just minutes from Jefferson's historic Monticello in the heart of Virginia hunt country, Keswick Hall is an intimate luxury hotel that recreates the grace and style of the Old World. Overlooking the Arnold Palmer designed golf course, rolling green hills of the Piedmont, and the spectacular mountain ridges in the distance, Keswick Hall's 48 guest rooms are the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, designed with overstuffed ottomans, antique club chairs, beautiful armoires, and beds piled high with comforters and feather pillows. Unwind by the horizon infinity pool and enjoy decadent poolside service. Improve your game on the resort's clay and hard tennis courts, or with private and group instruction. Play a round on the world-class golf course, its lush grounds dotted with beautiful old growth trees. And of course the delights of Charlottesville-- vineyards, elegant antique stores, Jefferson's University of Virginia, and Monticello itself-- abound. Dine at Fossett's Restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase a magnificent panorama, and sample the sumptuous afternoon tea in the Villa Crawford. (In the evenings, relax with a single malt scotch and a fine cigar in this after-dinner gathering place.) With the Summer Escape package, enjoy a welcoming seasonal beverage and cookies upon arrival at Keswick Hall, delight in an award-winning three-course dinner for two, and then wake up with a continental breakfast. Rates start at $415 per night in a Signature Room.
As featured in the July issue of Conde Nast Traveler, the "happening white-on-white rooftop bar, Dome" is the place to be in India's commercial, cultural and movie capital. In the midst of all this glamour, the 58-room InterContinental Marine Drive commands a sweeping view of the Arabian Sea. There are a number of fine dining options at the elegent hotel, but the al fresco rooftop venue stands out for its dreamy ambience. Voted Mumbai's most Romantic Restaurant in the year 2005-2006, Dome serves grilled delights from the open kitchen on the terrace. From this open-air cocktail lounge, guests can take in spectacular sunsets and views of the Marine Drive promenade. An international selection of cigars and wines is found at the bar, lit by soft light sreaming through the domed glass.
Just in time for the winter holidays, RockResorts will open its latest luxury hotel in this idyllic Caribbean island: The Landings St. Lucia. Nestled on 19 oceanfront acres on Rodney Bay's white sand beaches, The Landings St. Lucia will have lavish accommodations with water views, a Spa, and 80-slip marina. St. Lucia has recently outshined the Turks and Caicos islands as the Caribbean "it" spot, with myriad luxury hotel openings making headlines this year-- Discovery at Marigot Bay, Raffles, Ritz-Carlton, to name a few. To celebrate the opening, The Landings is offering low rates of $329 per night (May 24 - November 1, 2008), while 2007 holiday rates start at $549 per night.
Joining the likes of Waldorf-Astoria, Bulgari, and Crillon Hotels, Baccarat Hotels and Resorts is the latest luxury hotel brand on the block. Starwood recently announced its latest venture into the foray of five-star hotels, inspired by Baccarat's iconic status with its fine, hand-crafted luxury goods (as the "provider of crystal to kings"). The first for the brand will be the Baccarat Wailea in Hawaii, scheduled to open in 2010 with 193 condominium homes furnished by Baccarat, the ultimate luxury living experience. Of course lobbies will be adorned with those signature Baccarat chandeliers. Other locations will follow in the Caribbean, Europe, and the Far East.
Make like Johnny Depp and celebrate the outlaw life with the whole family at Jumby Bay. The exclusive resort-- nestled two miles off the coast of Antigua on a picture-perfect private island-- has devised a fantastic adventure of treasure hunts, pirate movies, and pancake parties for a luxe family-fun getaway. Set amidst a paradise of palms and tropical flowers, Jumby Bay is a secluded hideaway accessible only by boat, known worldwide for its world-class amenities and service. Embrace your inner buccaneer with the Pirate Adventure Package, which includes seven nights luxury accommodations in an Oceanview Suite, all meals, the Burger Mania menu (gourmet speciality burgers for lunch), Pirate Movie Night under the stars, Caribbean Beach Party, Private Island Treasure Hunt, Sunday Pancake Party where kids can make their own pancakes, Sorbet from the "Sorbet Butler" who roams the beach with complimentary refreshments, and Turtle Watching on Pasture Bay Beach. Adults will enjoy the sunset cocktail cruise, Nanny Service for six hours, and choice of two 50-minute massages or tennis lessons. Most activities are complimentary: bicycles, tennis, pool, fitness center, croquet, and non-motorized watersports. Rates for the Pirate Adventure Package at Jumby Bay start at $950 per night, for two adults and one child under age 12 sharing a room (additional rates apply for a fourth person). Available through October 31, 2007.
After a massive two year renovation by interior designer Jacques Garcia, La Réserve has emerged as one of Geneva's hottest hedonistic haunts. Utterly decadent, this contemporary five star hotel is located on the shores of Lake Geneva in a beautifully landscaped park of 10 acres. The Garcia touch is evident in the animal print carpets, outrageously gaudy colors, plastic resin chandeliers... (you get the idea). Most of the spacious 102 rooms and suites have a terrace with views over the gardens and the lake. High tech amenities include high speed Internet, flat screen TVs with CD and DVD players, Satellite TV, and international dial with personalized voicemail. The Spa, four hectares of sheer bliss, was also redesigned by Jacques Garcia with magnificent pools, hammam, sun beds, treatment rooms, and gym. This spectacular space also houses an organic restaurant, decked out in white leather. After a stay at La Réserve, you may wish to take home with you the sinfully delicious cuisine. With the in-flight catering service, you can enjoy classic dishes from the hotel's restaurants-- a whole menu of your choice-- during your flights from Geneva.