LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
April 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A trip to see the "world's greatest monument to love" is a once-in-a-lifetime must. The gleaming white Taj Mahal is as breathtaking in person as in all the photos. The place to stay is the opulent Oberoi Amarvilas, located just 600 meters from the Taj. A masterpiece inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture, the Oberoi boasts views of the Taj from every single room in the hotel. Though if you choose a Luxury Suite, you can check out the monument from a telescope in the living room. You'll get spoiled like a maharajah at this grand hotel that epitomizes over-the-top luxury in every way. Don't miss the specialty baths at the Spa, operated by Banyan Tree. While soaking in warm water floating with flower petals, you can gaze out at the shimmering Taj Mahal.
Now's the time to check out the Hopper and Homer exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago-- running until May 10, 2008. Check into the Conrad Hotel, a bastion of contemporary luxury smack dab on the Magnificent Mile and within walking distance to the Art Institute, and you'll be spoiled rotten by the cool amenities on offer. Unleash your inner artist and book the special "Homer and Hopper" package. Starting from $420 per night and available for a limited time, the package includes accommodations, an in-room interpretation of the works of Homer and Hopper amenity prepared by the hotel's Executive Chef, two tickets to the Homer and Hopper Exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago, audio tour for two for the exhibit, and a gift certificate for $25.00 to Blick Art Supply. [Map]
Spa-lovers come for the intimate Sanctuary Spa with its luxurious Asian-inspired treatments. Feeling zen? You'll appreciate the movement studio and quiet corners for relaxation. Foodies are delighted by the farm-fresh cuisine with Asian accents prepared by Executive Chef Beau MacMillan (yup, he's appeared on the Today Show a couple times). Offering dramatic mountain and spa casitas with breathtaking views of Paradise Valley, the award-winning Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is the swanky Arizona hideaway of choice. And since last year's debut of the "Mi Casa, Mi Chef" program, gastronomes are going wild. This package is the ultimate epicurean getaway, where four couples can enjoy the instruction of their own personal chef in a private mountain home:
From the farmer's market to the kitchen of a private mountain home, guests join Sanctuary Chefs for the ultimate in bespoke dining. As a guest of the Mi Casa, Mi Chef package you will work hand-in-hand with the Chef to plan your customized dining experience, and work side-by-side to prepare the feast. The Chef will join you for you dinner, expertly pairing wines to complement the meal. This feast for the palate ends with a feast for the senses, as the sun sets over the Sonoran skyline.
The package includes two nights in a private mountainside home, a chauffeured trip to the local farmer's market with your Chef to shop for that evening's customized menu, interactive cooking session and dinner paired with wines, and one 60-minute spa treatment in the private home for each person. The "Mi Casa, Mi Chef" experience is available once per month through December 31, 2008, subject to availability. Pricing starts at $8,000.
April 3, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
I recently traveled to New York City on business, and of course in my line of work, I stayed in three hotels over the course of five nights. One of those properties was The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, located on Madison Avenue at 76th Street. The hotel strives for a "private residential atmosphere" and they more than succeed. The dedication to creating that feeling is demonstrated by the Managing Director choosing to live on the property with his family.
I was spoiled like a princess at The Carlyle in the hotel's "Royal Suite" - room 2209. The Royal Suite is located on the 22nd floor along with three other suites and is a short ride with the white-gloved elevator operator from the lobby. The Carlyle's Royal Suite floor-plan (click on the image at right) doesn't do justice to how spacious the Royal Suite actually feels. After stepping inside, I thought I had entered into someone's Park Avenue apartment with gorgeous hardwood floors, area rugs, and fabric wall coverings.
According to The Carlyle -
- With just 187 rooms and suites distributed among the hotel's 60 residential apartments, The Carlyle offers the exclusive ambience of an Upper East Side pied-a-terre. The Royal Suite is an elaborate two-bedroom suite offers 1,700 square feet of living space and features both a king-bedded and twin-bedded bedroom. There is a full kitchen, dining room for six, two marble bathrooms, a double-high ceiling in the raised living room, grand piano and mantle fireplace. This suite is located on the 22nd floor and features views sweeping skyline and East River views. Tastefully appointed and individually decorated by Alexandra Champalimaud, the Royal Suite features original hardwood floors, area rugs, luxurious fabrics and linens, and unique artwork adorning its walls.
The hotel's description fails to mention that from the kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom you can see views of New York's Central Park - and that these impressive views are from windows which open all the way ... without screens or safety nets. I loved it, but I can imagine it would be terrifying for others.
After wandering through the suite for a half hour, I called friends of mine who live in New York and invited them to share the second bedroom of the suite. I thought they might enjoy the extra space! The suite easily fits four adults or two adults and two children. The sofas are not pull-out for sleeping, but I can admit that I did take a small nap in one accidentally.
I honestly have nothing but wonderful things to say about The Carlyle's Royal Suite and amenities. The suite has a very regal feel with rich colors, black marble and deep woods – but the large open windows, mirrored walls, and high ceilings keep it from being oppressive. The standard published rack rate for the Royal Suite is $6000 USD per night for 2 adults (I personally did not pay that much!). The most standard, basic rooms at The Carlyle start at $755 USD per night for two adults. Just for comparison sake, the hotel's most spectacular suite is the 2600 square foot duplex on floors 28 and 29 which features three bedrooms, full park views in the tower and is $15000 USD per night.
My picture of the living room area from the top of the stairs - looking towards the fireplace to the right, piano straight ahead, desk and television to the left. (I wish I had a better camera or lighting for this one).
The main bedroom with king bed, door to the right, standing in the bathroom doorway. There was an iPod docking station, multiple closets, television, great views, and of course slippers and robes for two.
The 2 stock photos provided by the hotel ...
Don't forget - Guests who make their reservations through Five Star Alliance for The Carlyle will receive a special welcome gift upon check-in, a $50.00 food and beverage credit as well as a complimentary in-room continental breakfast daily for up to two guests.
Learn More about The Carlyle Hotel in New York City >>
By: Courtney W. May
April 3, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Perhaps no other address offers the prestige, historic significance and convenience you'll enjoy at InterContinental Sydney. Renovated in 2004, the hotel features a heated indoor pool and onsite health and fitness facility.
Five Star Alliance client Christine N., of Perth, Scotland said the following about her stay at the InterContinental Sydney:
- "The view of Sydney Opera House and Watson's Bay was fantastic - enhanced by the huge windows and very comfortable window seats (I didn't want to leave). The room itself was tremendous with many little touches that were much appreciated. Hotel staff very helpful with restaurant reservations - would recommend the Cafe Opera for the buffet."
Click on the images above or below to watch a video and tour the spaces of the InterContinental Sydney Hotel >>
Make reservations for the InterContinental Sydney here >>
Fans of the luxury airline will be pleased about this one. Starting July 6, 2008, Eos will start daily service between London Stansted and Dubai's international airport. So now lucky passengers can enjoy the Eos Class experience when heading to the world's most outlandish, over-the-top destination. We've talked up the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world, but now Dubai's also getting one of the biggest malls in the world-- a gargantuan, 12-million-square-foot development complete with an indoor aquarium and an Olympic sized ice skating rink. Tickets to Dubai onboard Eos will be available starting in April.
This summer Quebec City will be going off. The splendid European-style city-- a UNESCO World Heritage Site of cobblestone streets, charming facades, and walled ramparts-- is celebrating its 400th anniversary. In fact, the big bash promises to be the party of the century. Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, North America's only fortress city has been partying hard since the beginning of 2008, with events scheduled for the entire year. But July will mark the crème de la crème of celebrations-- with a fireworks competition, urban opera, and exclusive shows from Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil. This is the ideal time to visit and say bon anniversaire. The place to stay is the award-winning Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the marvelous state heritage hotel situated high on a bluff in the very heart of Old Quebec. In fact, this castle is Old Quebec. Offering exquisite dining opportunities through renowned Executive Chef Jean Soulard, luxurious guest rooms and a distinctive European charm, the Fairmont promises a memorable stay during Quebec's 400th anniversary celebrations.
Savvy travelers check into Bangkok's Shangri-La Hotel to experience the ultimate in luxury for a fraction of the price of what you'd find in a comparable luxury hotel in other cities around the globe. This riverside hotel has lavish facilities in a serene tropical setting, the ultimate retreat in a bustling metropolis. Centrally located in the Silom district, the Shangri-La is also convenient to the Saphan Taksin station of the Skytrain. Relax at the signature spa, and dine onboard the Horizon, the hotel's private river cruise ship. Book the Dream Deals package (available until Dec. 22, 2008), and you can get enjoy rates as low as $180 per night, which is the same price as an average hotel in the U.S. these days. And this hotel is anything but average. You'll get overnight accommodation, complimentary buffet breakfast for two, and an arrival airport limousine transfer. Or book the Spa Sensation package, available until June 30, 2008, and you'll score one night accommodation in a Krungthep Deluxe Room, daily breakfast in Riverside Lounge, spa treatments (one body scrub and one signature therapy), and Riverside Lounge privileges, featuring: all-day beverages, afternoon high tea, early evening cocktails and wireless high-speed Internet. All for just $375 per night.
Book by April 30, 2008 and you'll find rates as low as $235 at The Tides Zihuatanejo, the breathtaking resort on Mexico's Pacific Coast that's a fixture on "World's Best" lists. That's a 30 percent savings off rack rates for the summer and fall. At this beachfront paradise, you'll find doting Beach Butlers, fabulous Tides amenities, a world-class spa, and an outstanding restaurant. Our favorite perk? The exclusive private lagoon dinners-- the ultimate romantic experience on your own private island.
April 2, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
For those guests who are tired of getting into the shower only to find the water is not the temperature you wanted, the brand new Regent Bal Harbour has the ultimate amenity for you. Its palatial showers, with floor to ceiling views of the Atlantic Ocean also have custom "toe testers." Each shower has a faucet groove for guests to dip their toes in to test the temperature of the water before turning on the head to enjoy a relaxing shower. Enjoy the oceanfront Regent Bal Harbour - the first luxury hotel to open in Bal Harbour Village in over 50 years.
By: Madelyn Giblin