LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Good news from Fairmont's eco-friendly luxury hotels... Not only is Fairmont Hotels and Resorts committed to energy-efficient practices, but also green kitchen operations. When the trendy talk these days is all about lessening our carbon footprint on the planet, Fairmont is actually taking action. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is devoted to organic and sustainable local menus, as well as finding ways to run an environmentally responsible kitchen. Case in point: Fairmont locations in the Pacific Northwest which partner with Rodney Strong Vineyards, an organic wine producer that operates with solar power and takes steps to ensure soil and water conservation. And Ottawa's beautiful Fairmont Chateau Laurier is connecting local producers with businesses by hosting events such as "Farmer-Chef Meet and Greet." In British Columbia, the Fairmont Vancouver Airport and The Fairmont Empress were the first hotels to join the Ocean Wise program run by the Vancouver Aquarium which promotes the use of sustainable seafood. In Bermuda, the chefs at The Fairmont Southampton and The Fairmont Hamilton work closely with local fishermen to source a variety of line-caught fish. Even the staff cafeteria at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise creates eco-friendly menus focused on locally-grown and organic ingredients. And get this-- starting this year, the Fairmont Newport Beach will hire a "local forager" to visit local organic produce markets to buy choice goods for the hotel. Bravo.
Disney's Year of a Million Dreams celebration has been extended until the end of 2008 (!) -- which means that lucky guests still have the opportunity to score a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite, towering four stories above Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Over the past year, hundreds of visitors to the Disney resorts have been awarded freebies by the Dream Squad, with the top prize at Disney World being an overnight in the fairytale chamber at the pinnacle of Cinderella's Castle, originally built for Walt Disney and his family. This prize is chosen randomly by a computer that designates a certain attraction, time, and seat number daily. The lucky winning party is plucked from the crowd and whisked away to a marvelous wonderland. Reached by private elevator, the salon, bedchamber, and bathroom are situated off a private marble-floored foyer appointed with 18-karat gold leaf. Canopy beds are draped with fluffy feather comforters. The famous glass slipper (worth $18,000) is displayed in a cove, "a memorable artifact from the story." The furnishings may resemble the style of the French rulers from the period inspiring the Cinderella story, but the amenities are definitely 21st century: garden tub plus shower, and a flat-screen HDTV hidden behind the framed portrait of Cinderella hanging above the fireplace.
The very best of Madrid is at your doorstep at this sumptuous grand hotel frequented by the crowned heads of Europe. Enjoy the perfect weekend in Madrid, discovering the art and history of the Spanish capital, and soak up the luxurious comfort of The Ritz. Situated in the heart of the Triangle of Art, just a few steps from the world famous Prado Museum, Thyseen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, The Ritz boasts a killer location just steps from the most glamorous shops and restaurants. Book the Weekend Break and enjoy daily buffet breakfast, exclusive welcome amenities and a bottle of Cava (Spanish champagne) in your room on arrival, late check out (subject to availability), and use of the health club-- all for just EUR 305 per night. The regular nightly rate is EUR 525 for a Classic Room, so this is a real steal.
Now there's another reason to jet to Singapore, the business capital of the East. On Wednesday, the ultra-modern $1.2 billion airport terminal will receive its first passengers. After Hong Kong welcomed its new terminal a few months ago and Bangkok ushered in the problem-choked Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006, Singapore hopes to bolster its position as the region's aviation hub. Changi Airport's Terminal 3, boasting a gorgeous five-storey vertical garden with waterfalls, is designed to handle the massive Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger plane, which was first operated by Singapore Airlines in October. This new terminal will alone handle 22 million passengers a year. Its ambiance? Like a lavish five-star hotel...
January 8, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
Scheduled to debut on March 1, 2008, Fairmont has spent over $6.5 million dollars creating their "hotel within a hotel" - the Fairmont Gold Section - at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. What was formerly 72 villas will become the new, renovated Gold Section of the golf and spa resort featuring 69 villas, a separate entry, lobby, check-in and out, concierges and upgraded rooms from the rest of the 650 room hotel.
For an additional $125-$150 a night over the standard resort rates, guests in the Gold Section Villas enjoy golf course views and having all of their needs covered - from a leisurely breakfast, to afternoon tea or evening refreshments from the honor bar.
Although scheduled for a March 1st debut, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess' General Manager, Mr. Robert Foster told the East Valley Tribune that many of the completed villas are ready and reserved for top-level FBR Open and Super Bowl XLII guests prior to any official opening.
Learn more about the Fairmont Gold program here >"/>
By: Courtney W. May
This winter, make it Maui. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua officially opened today after a massive makeover. A dramatic new design and added amenities mean an unparalleled guest experience surrounded by championship golf greens, brilliant beaches, and the crashing Pacific surf. What's in store? The 463 guest rooms and suites are equipped with all new furnishings, travertine bathrooms, area rug designs with Kukui florals, and Hawaiian artwork framed with Koa wood. All the latest technology means LCD flat-screen televisions, iPod Docking Stations, DVD players and wireless Internet access. But that's not all. The resort's restaurants have been redesigned, and the signature Banyan Tree restaurant has a new destination outdoor bar and lounge with spectacular views of the Pacific and an innovative menu by Chef de Cuisine Jojo Vasquez. There's a new children's pool and enlarged cabanas by the 10,000 square foot, three-tiered pool, and the spanking new Fitness Center, open 24 hours a day, overlooks the ocean. An Environmental Education Center will be open by mid year. And there will be a new Ritz-Carlton Spa opening in May 2008, to boot. (Never fear-- there's a temporary spa offering spa and salon services until this gem opens.) Book now and be one of the first to experience the new digs at this AAA Five-Diamond oceanfront property.
The contest is now open for the eighth annual weblog awards, the annual non-profit competition that chooses the best of the best. Since 2001, the top blogs have been awarded in categories like best American weblog, best photography, best topical weblog, etc. And the lucky winners get recognized at the awards ceremony held at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. So go for it-- nominate The Informed Traveler and other weblogs you find most deserving of a Bloggie!
Over the last few months, rumors have been flying about a new hotel from Amanresorts located in New Delhi. Rated as the world's leading international hotel group in the 2007/2008 Zagat survey of the World's Top Hotels, Resorts, and Spas, Amanresorts has a dazzling collection of global luxury properties like the picture-perfect Amangani (the crème de la crème of ski resorts) and the five luxury lodges in the mythical kingdom of Bhutan. Slated to open in September 2008, The Aman will be Amanresort's first city property, the gateway to the Aman experience in northern India. Expect private plunge pools and all sorts of high-tech accoutrements. Located at the edge of New Delhi near Humayun's Tomb (pictured) and Purana Qila (a fortress dating from 1400 B.C.), the nine-story hotel will have 29 rooms.
Imagine endless days spent lingering at the beach, luxuriating at the hands of a massage master, and dining on meals so fresh and perfect they would put a Parisian chef to shame. La Samanna is an Orient-Express hideaway in St. Maarten, French West Indies that was named one of the best places to stay in the world by the discriminating readers of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. The 55-acre beachfront property-- the essence of chic-- recently completed a multi-million dollar refurbishment and is easily one of the most alluring spots in the Caribbean. Choose the "Stay Another Day" offer and you can get a free fourth night when you book three consecutive nights. This discounted rate gives you the equivalent of 25 percent savings off the normal rates, and includes daily buffet breakfast and use of the tennis courts, non-motorized watersports, and the fitness center.
P.S. A couple of months ago we pointed out the "Best Deal Days" promotion, which gives all-time low promotional rates during peak season. You can score rates for as little as $395 per night. These dates for check-in are still available: January 30 and February 26, 2008.
January 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It's here. Rosewood Mayakoba has opened its doors on the coast of Mexico's Riviera Maya, where ocean, jungle and sky meet. Consisting of five top-tier properties, Mayakoba is a new kind of eco-friendly luxury community of upscale resorts committed to sustainable development and environmental protection. The Rosewood is nestled on a mile-long arc of white sand, 30 minutes south of Cancun and just north of the charming seaside village of Playa del Carmen. The resort's 128 suites-- modern in design yet crafted from local indigenous materials-- are built along a network of gorgeous lagoons and the Caribbean Sea. Upon arrival, guests are whisked away to their own personal sanctuary by luxury boat or golf cart. The resort complex boasts championship golf at the signature Greg Norman El Camaleon 18-hole course, infinity-edge and spa lap pools, myriad water sports, snorkeling and diving excursions to the world's second largest reef or in the crystal-clear cenotes that spring from subterranean rivers, day-trips to explore Mayan ruins, horseback riding, daily yoga, and more. Sense, A Rosewood Spa, will debut in February 2008. If you book by January 31 (for a stay between February 1-April 30, 2008), you'll get $100 off regular rack rates (which start at $595 per night) plus daily breakfast.