LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
April 9, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort in Muscat, is much like Dubai's Madinat Jumeirah Resort in that it is comprised of three distinct hotels. At Barr Al Jissah, travelers can choose to stay at the Al Waha, Al Bandar, or Al Husn depending on their rooming needs. The complex is set on 124 acres, providing excellent views of both the desert and the sea, and only 15 minutes drive from Muscat's city center.
Al Waha, or "The Oasis", is family friendly and has several swimming pools surrounded by date palm trees. Located at the base of a mountain range, a tunnel was created to allow visitor access by car. There are 262 guestrooms in Al Waha, with room sizes starting at 37 square meters. All rooms have a balcony or patio, and most importantly, all are sea-facing.
The central point of the resort is Al Bandar, or "The Town", a hotel that features eight restaurants and cafes, 11 meeting rooms, and the Barr Al Jissah Ballroom. This hotel was inspired by old Muscat and looks as though it was composed from several different buildings, of different heights and styles. Al Bandar has 198 sea-facing guestrooms, with their starting room categories being a little larger than Al Waha's at 45 square meters. The guestrooms at Al Bandar are also sea-facing and have balconies or terraces.
Al Husn, "The Castle", is known as being the most exclusive of all the properties. All rooms and suites have direct views of the Gulf of Oman, and access to the secluded Mahhara Beach and Beach Bar are reserved only for guests at Al Husn. The 180 guest rooms are the largest, not to mention the most luxurious, in all of Oman. Complimentary in-room high speed internet access, Ipods, and DVD entertainment systems are available to guests at Al Husn. If you choose to reserve on of their suites, you will be able to enjoy the pre-dinner cocktail and canapés service as well.
Good luck trying to pick just one! No matter which one you choose, all Five Star Alliance guests visiting the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort will receive a complimentary upgrade to next room category upon check-in, subject to availability.
April 9, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
Beginning in April 2007, the Cheval Blanc at Les Trois Rois will benefit from the talents of their new chef Peter Knogl. Awarded a Michelin star for his work at the Las Dunas Beach Hotel and Spa, as well as several other awards for his cuisine at various other restaurants, Peter Knogl comes well recommended and with plenty of experience in gourmet cuisine. Open five days a week, the Cheval Blanc offers an impressive wine list, and offers a wide range of haute French cuisine. The wine list offers approximately 700 different positions, including rare vintages, and was recently awarded 17 points in the Gault Millau. Enjoy exceptional wine, and fine French cuisine and a romantic atmosphere along the Rhine at Les Trois Rois.
By: Madelyn Giblin
April 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Experience the pinnacle of luxury for a song. The Langham Place Eco Resort and Spa, the new eco-friendly hideaway on the small island of Koh Lanta off the southwest coast of mainland Thailand, has a special package for just $185 per night including transfers, a bountiful breakfast, daily fresh fruit basket in-room, and complimentary late check-out at 4 p.m. Play some tennis, hit the gym, enjoy the use of the non-motorized water sports equipment and the movie house and music room-- all included. The three-night "Buy Me" Package is priced from Baht 6,000 ($185) and is available until October 31, 2008.
P.S. The pix will make you pine for paradise-- soft sand, crystal clear water, dramatic infinity-edge pools with uninterrupted views to the Andaman Sea. And the accommodations, infused with authentic Thai style, are equally as inspiring.
Named as one of the "Hottest Hotels in 2007" by Conde Nast Traveler, the 160-room Pan Pacific has made quite the splash on the Seattle scene. Amenities at this elite, urban destination are sophisticated but what really has tongues wagging is the incredible hospitality (just check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor). They've introduced the concept of the "total stay experience," designed to provide service and amenities tailored for each individual guest. The Pan Pacific's motto? "Of Course...It's Your Stay." You'll even find pet concierge service here. The focal point of the 2200 development at the gateway to Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, the Pan Pacific features Hirsch Bedner designer guest rooms with sweeping views of the Space Needle, South Lake Union and downtown Seattle. Stacked with luxurious amenities and state-of-the-art technology, these rooms are downright lavish. Hypnos beds, Egyptian cotton bedding, Herman Miller chairs, HD plasma televisions, complimentary Internet, and four-fixture bathrooms with oversized tubs, separate showers, plus a shoji screen-style wall to open the space into one large master suite. And every request is fulfilled at the touch of a button. Talk about indulgence. Buzz: Later this month, the Pan Pacific will open the new Vida Wellness Spa, the first U.S. location for this luxury spa company.
So you're looking for some family bonding time, a weekend getaway, family vacation, something unique and memorable... Starwood Hotels to the rescue. The company has just announced "Love Your Family"-- a new, family-friendly program designed for both kids and adults alike. After lots of customer research, Starwood's come up with a program they feel caters to the whole family. The three signature experiences-- Fireside Storytelling (s'mores included), Stargazing, and Dive-In Movies (watch a family film from the pool)-- can now be found in 29 resort locations in the U.S. and the Caribbean under the Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection labels. Other "Love your Family" services? Connecting rooms, food and bev discounts, counselor-led kids nights, all coordinated by the resort's "Director of Fun."
Snorkel the Florida Keys, Tour the Everglades, Swim with Dolphins: Insider Experiences from the InterContinental Miami
Reasons to love the InterContinental Miami:
*The brand new MY SPA offering indulgent and innovative treatments
*Richly-appointed accommodations with breathtaking views over Biscayne Bay and the city skyline
*State-of-the-art fitness center and heated outdoor pool
*66,000 square feet of meeting space, including 30 meeting rooms
But the best part of all? Exclusive Insider Experiences created by the InterContinental Miami's expert concierges to help you take advantage of this exciting tropical playground. These destination vacation packages include "Key West Express," "18 Holes of Golf," "Luxury Car Rental," "South Beach Snorkeling," "Tour the Everglades," and "Swim with our Dolphins."
If you choose the "Swim with Our Dolphins" package (referred to as "Insider Culture 2" when booking your res), you'll get to enjoy deluxe accommodations and a two-hour program that offers an insightful look at dolphin behavior up close. You can even slip on a wetsuit and follow trainers into the water for one-on-one interaction with a dolphin! The "South Beach Snorkeling" package (choose "Insider City 2" when booking) includes a diving excursion to Key Largo's world-renowned John Pennekamp Marine Sanctuary. When you pick the "Tour the Everglades" Miami Florida Vacation Package, you'll experience an airboat ride through the largest remaining swampland in the world. See alligators, turtles, rare birds, and all other sorts of plant and animal life in the largest remaining natural subtropical wilderness in North America. Choose "Insider Culture 1" when booking.
We've just uncovered some unbelievably low rates at La Perouse, the elegant hotel situated just a stroll from Old Nice. At the end of April, bask on the sunny French Riviera while relishing room rates at just EUR 132 per night. At La Perouse, there is also the possibility of booking a summer stay (high season in the south of France) for a guaranteed dollar rate starting from $340 per night in a Standard Room. Though the rate is fully pre-paid and non-refundable, this is a great deal at this beautiful hotel when rooms on the French Riviera are hard to come by. Dine on tasty Provençal cuisine on the terrace under the lemon trees. Here's a sampler to tempt the taste buds: Escallops of duck foie gras pan fried with a honey sauce, Large pan fried Mediterranean prawns in a Provençal vinaigrette, Lamb chops grilled and served with pesto and polenta, Delicate tart of pears cooked in thyme served warm with caramel ice cream. Brimming with Provençal charm, La Perouse boasts magnificent views of the glittering Baie des Anges. There are pretty flowered terraces with sea views, gardens, and an outdoor pool. Plus, we love us some free Wifi. Book with Five Star Alliance and you'll get complimentary in-room continental breakfast.
April 7, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
During my recent stay in New York, the Gramercy Park Hotel on 21st Street and Lexington Avenue, right on Gramercy Park was one of the properties that I got the chance to experience. I stayed on the 12th floor in room 1201, which is a Deluxe Loft with a view of the inner courtyard. The colors and design were in keeping with the hotel's claim of featuring a "vivid Renaissance color palette inspired by Raphael". The room featured a large bathroom, seating area, and King size, overstuffed bed. During my stay I ....
- - ate appetizers and had drinks at Wakiya Gramercy Park Hotel - and thanks to the recommendation of the bartender - the soup dumplings on the Dim Sum menu were absolutely wonderful,
- had reservations for a girlfriend and I at the Rose Bar (I got in!) on a Saturday night where we sat next to the fire and drank martinis,
- enjoyed a continental breakfast on the Private Roof Club and Garden (where J.Lo had her baby shower the previous evening)
- and exercised in the Aerospace Fitness Centre.
Rates for the Deluxe Loft are usually around $725 (I received a 50% discount). I of course took photos during my stay - and you can see them all HERE or a few individual ones below ...
The Roof Club and Garden on the 16th floor uses "artist Julian Schnabel's vivid color palette of dazzling Renaissance colors" where "custom furniture and fittings weave through the space in a breathtaking series of seamless indoor and outdoor areas." The space also features a room which "includes a ceiling light installation that evokes the notion of a chandelier in the movie Blade Runner."
I especially enjoyed the Garden portion of the Rooftop space, with a retractable roof 16 stories above the city. For the continental breakfast, hotel guests were seated in sofas and chairs around coffee tables, and the food spread included fruits, pastries, cereals, yogurts, and breads. The waiters made sure to clear the tables and refilled orange juice and coffee.
View more photos or plan your visit to the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City >>>"/>
By: Courtney W. May
Looking for the ultimate destination for a sophisticated spring fling? Think Bermuda-- where pink sand beaches and sparkling azure waters entice romance-seekers to the island's classic resort, Cambridge Beaches. The luxury resort offers the best of Bermuda-- from private beach dinners to snorkeling jaunts by catamaran. And now you can enjoy a fifth night free at this world-class cottage colony resort. With the "Revive in Five" package, you can stay for 5 nights and only pay for 4. Book anytime until May 12, 2008 for travel between now and May 21, 2008. Or take advantage of a special offer from the Bermuda Tourism Department and score a $300 air credit. (Travel before April 30, 2008.)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more spectacular setting than Amangani for a three-night Pilates retreat. Surrounded by the magnificent peaks of Grand Teton National Park, the award-winning resort is perched on a butte 7,000 feet above sea level. Pilates guru Alycea Ungaro, the founder and director of RealPilates (whose pupils have included Madonna and Uma Thurman), returns to Amangani from May 14-17, 2008 with a brand new retreat based on her new book and DVD set, Everyday Pilates. Ungaro will lead participants through a variety of exercises during the one-hour daily pilates sessions which are geared towards both the novice and advanced student. Learn the fundamental principles of pilates and how they apply to daily life, perform four unique routines for a comprehensive wellness regimen, establish modifications to tailor personal routines, and learn the optimal breathing sequence. The three-night retreat includes accommodation, daily breakfast, airport transfers, and three days of 60-minute Pilates instruction. Priced from $2,100 for a Suite (single/double occupancy, one participant), and $2,525 for a Suite (double occupancy, two participants).