LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
February 6, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Many of our clients seem to get overwhelmed when researching hotels in Dubai. With so many luxury hotel choices, in a city that is relatively new on destination hotspot radar, visitors are often unsure where to start. Hotels in Dubai can basically be broken down into three categories: beach, city and desert. People traveling to Dubai for leisure will most likely want to stay at one of the beach properties such as Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Madinat Jumeirah properties (pictured) - Al Qasr, Dar al Masyaf, Mina A' Salam. Other beach properties include Ritz Carlton Dubai, One and Only Royal Mirage, and the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.
When visiting Dubai for business, most people choose one of the hotels in the heart of the city because either they are attending a conference at a hotel downtown, or they need to be near the World Trade Center or the Dubai Convention Center. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Raffles Dubai (pictured), Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Shangri-La Dubai, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Fairmont Dubai, Taj Palace Hotel or Traders Hotel Dubai are all close to the airport and located in the business district. If you tire of sitting in meeting rooms, many of these hotels provide shuttles to the beach, or you can spend your free time in their world-class spas, restaurants, pools, or shopping malls.
One thing to consider: If you need to be in the city center but would like to be near the water, choose a hotel on Dubai Creek. The creek comes in from the Persian Gulf and splits the city almost equally in two. Hotels such as Radisson SAS, Dubai Deira Creek, and InterContinental Dubai Festival City line the creek. Or choose the Grosvenor House Dubai which is situated on the Dubai Marina and overlooks the Persian Gulf. While it does not have a beach itself, guests are welcome to use the beach at the adjacent sister property, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa.
Visitors are so excited to experience the glamor of Dubai's beaches and city center that they sometimes overlook the beautiful desert resorts that are just outside the city. These resorts provide a peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and give visitors a chance to take in the unique desert landscape. Two excellent choices are the Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa and the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa. If your trip itinerary allows, we recommend planning a weekend in the desert at the end of your trip.
The travel trend these days for business executives? Checking into historic hotels. After hefty renovations, these hotels have become destinations in and of themselves. And industry experts cite this category as a better-performing niche. Case in point: The Peabody in Memphis, famous for its parade of ducks at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. through the lobby. After a makeover a few years ago, the hotel sports ultra-luxurious rooms, an indoor pool and athletic club, and wireless access in-room-- not an easy feat for many landmark hotels which require rewiring for that 21st century amenity. What's the draw to the historic hotels like The Peabody and Manhattan's legendary Plaza? These hotels are distinctive, luxurious, and offer a sense of place, as explained by a spokesperson for the 210-member Historic Hotels of America.
Plan a weekend getaway now at a Kimpton hotel and enjoy Internet rates starting as low as $99 per night, available exclusively Thursdays- Sundays until March 30, 2008. The Kimpton brand is known for its distinctive, one-of-a-kind hotels where guests enjoy hosted evening wine receptions and complimentary Wireless Internet access. Each hotel is different: colorful, vibrant and with lots of personality. (And most are pet-friendly.) Book a room at the high-style Hotel Monaco Denver, housed in the historic 1917 Railway Exchange Building and the 1937 Art Moderne Title Building, and you'll find rates starting at $129 per night. (2/14-2/16 are black-out dates.) The Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, MA is going for $129 per night. At the recently-renovated Alexis Hotel in Seattle, rates start at just $159 per night. Other Kimpton hotels priced at $159 per night: Portland's Hotel Monaco, San Diego's Hotel Solamar, and San Francisco's Hotel Palomar.
Steal away for a weekend with your favorite gals to historic Santa Fe, New Mexico and let La Posada de Santa Fe pamper you with the Girls Rock Package. The concierge will plan everything for your stay, so you and your girlfriends don't have to lift a finger. Situated in the very heart of the city, La Posada de Santa Fe's adobe-style accommodations sprawl over six landscaped acres. Indulge in some Southwest-inspired spa treatments at the Avanyu Spa, check out the art galleries and fine shops, and taste the signature cuisine at Fuego restaurant. Priced from $350 per person, per night, the package includes two-nights accommodations, one 50-minute Dancing Wind Massage or a 50-minute Essential Facial per person, tapas tasting with champagne at the Staab House, free museum passes to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, 10 percent discount in the museum shop and café, and complimentary coffee-table book and Georgia O'Keefe biography presented in-room upon arrival. Also includes parking and resort activity fees.
On the downtown Vancouver hotel scene, Le Soleil stands out for its exemplary service. The knowledgeable concierge can arrange just about anything: from butler and shopping assistance to private trainer and masseuse. Personal preferences such as type of bed and pillows, room temperature, brand of beverage, favorite restaurants and special dates are noted by Le Soleil's staff on subsequent visits. To the delight of female business travelers, the AAA Four-Diamond hotel even has Elle Suites specifically designed with the female executive in mind. Sumptuously appointed with exquisite décor, this intimate, European-style hotel has a great location in the heart of the city. With the Bed and Breakfast package, you'll find an unbeatable value. Check into a luxurious one-bedroom suite and in the morning, wake up to a delicious hot breakfast, all for just $159 per night. (Available til April. From May- October, the package is priced at $229.) Plus, if you book with Five Star Alliance, you get complimentary Internet access during your stay.
It's not too late to plan an unforgettable Valentine's Day in D.C. The award-winning Hay-Adams hotel, the most prestigious address in the capital, has put together a fabulous Valentine's Weekend Package to spoil you and your special someone. Splurge with a luxurious stay at the Washington landmark overlooking Lafayette Square and the White House, where you'll enjoy plush accommodations (featuring ornamental fireplaces and intricately carved ceilings) and the hotel's famous personal service. Room rates include champagne and flowers, chocolate dipped fruits, special bath amenities, a romantic CD, and a full American breakfast for two. The package starts at $439 per night and is available February 14, 15, or 16th, 2008.
February 5, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
TripAdvisor.com has officially chosen The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the No. 1 "Best Luxury Hotel in the U.S." The TripAdvisor's 2008 Travelers' Choice Awards also recognized The Signature among the "Top 100 Best Luxury Hotels in the World" and the "Best Hotels in the World's 25 Most Popular Destinations." What makes the win so interesting is that the Signature does not offer a casino, is non-smoking only, and all-suites - no standard rooms here. While it is true guests can still use the MGM Grand for gambling and smoking, by booking the Signature, they get to enjoy a gated entrance and suites with balconies.
Note Bene: At 550 square feet, the MGM Signature Junior Suites are big on style and are the most basic, standard room category.
By: Courtney W. May
Business in Jeddah? The place to stay is the Qasr Al Sharq, the opulent "Palace of the Orient" managed by the new Waldorf-Astoria Collection. Designed by the folks behind Dubai's seven-star Burj Al Arab, the all-suite hotel epitomizes extravagance. Pure gold, handpicked crystal and porcelain, exquisite mosaics, cultured marble, the finest art... Luxury is in the details. As befits a palace this grand, some of the suites are more than 10,000 square feet in size, and come with massage tables and private gyms. Service is exceptional, as the personal butlers are members of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. Facilities include a traditional Hammam, magnificent pool with a fully retractable glass roof, and ladies-only spa with Jeddah's only Aquamedic pool that pumps underwater jet streams specifically designed to massage the body. For business meetings, there are seven boardrooms themed to reflect the world's economic powerhouses (think: British Windsor Room, Japanese Kyoto room). Plus, all the suites are equipped with laptops that wirelessly connect to the Internet anywhere in the building.
Share a magical time with your family in the heart of the European capital. One step away from Grand Place, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and close to the city's key historic sites and attractions, the stylish Hotel Amigo is a newly-refurbished gem in the Rocco Forte Collection. Renowned for its five-star accommodations and impeccable personal service, the hotel is the ideal base for you and your family to discover Brussels. The Hotel Amigo has put together a VI'Kids program (how clever!) with all sorts of special amenities. After a generous buffet breakfast at the Ristorante Bocconi (or in your room), spend the day with your kids at the Natural Science Museum, checking out the impressive collection of dinosaurs. The VI'Kids program includes 2 Classic Rooms connecting or adjoining (for 2 adults and 2 children) with 50 percent reduction on your kids' room, full buffet breakfast, tickets to the Museum of Natural Science, a welcome basket filled with goodies and children's amenities, a "Bvlgari" present for kids, daily newspaper and access to the fitness center. Total price for 2 Classic Rooms is EUR 405. Available every weekend until April 30, 2008.
PS. The Hotel Amigo offers a Family Lunch with a special 3-course Children's menu, along with Babysitting service.
What could be more romantic than Florence for Valentine's Day? Savor the dolce vita at an enchanting Renaissance villa nestled on six hectares of beautifully-landscaped gardens. Just outside the gates of Florence, the Villa Olmi entices guests with its original murals, refined antiques, and contemporary amenities galore. (Marble bathrooms with jacuzzis, plasma TV screens, Wifi, the works...) The Italians certainly do things right for Valentine's Day. Escape to Florence and enjoy splendid accommodations with an essential oils Jacuzzi bath, fresh fruit and Italian "Spumante" in-room upon arrival, and a complimentary buffet breakfast. On February 14, there will be a sumptuous, candle-lit feast with live music (EUR 65 per person). Rates for the "Luxury Valentine Escape" start from EUR 295 for the Classic Room. Plus, if you stay for three-nights, you'll enjoy a wine-tasting session in the villa's impressive wine cellar. Available from February 11- February 17, 2008.