March 27, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
Recently the New York Post did a feature on Jonathan Newbury and his "Dream Job". "Work is a Luxury for Hotel Inspector" is an interview with Mr. Newbury, the vice president of global development for Small Luxury Hotels of the World, in which he discusses how SLH chooses its' members and what they look for when inspecting properties. From the article:
NY Post: What are you looking for when you inspect a hotel?
Newbury: We don't have a check box saying each room has to be this many square meters or that the music must change in the restaurant every 30 minutes. We're more concerned with the totality of the experience: how the guests feel the moment they arrive at the door, and how they feel when they leave. It's the little touches we're looking for. To be luxury these days, you have to be really special.
Back when Five Star Alliance was launched, Mary wrote an article titled "Defining Luxury: Articulating the Intangible" which helped describe the process we use here at Five Star Alliance.
And as Cal Simmons, Founder of Five Star Alliance, likes to say - "Luxury can be different to everyone, some people might like the small country inn with 5 rooms, others might want the classic Four Seasons downtown, but we want to find all of those luxury properties out there with great service and the overall experience."
By: Courtney W. May
Stay 4 nights, play 4 free! Enjoy all the fun of Orlando's action-packed theme parks and relax at the AAA four-diamond award-winning Loews hotels onsite at Universal Orlando. Book four or more nights at Loews and receive two free tickets for unlimited admission to Orlando's top attractions. Book a stay at Portofino Bay Hotel and enjoy the Mandara Spa, three themed pools, Campo Portofino children's activity center, and the festive harbor piazza filled with Italian sports cars and Vespas. Or choose the Hard Rock Hotel and check out the 12,000 square foot pool with sand beach, massive slide, and underwater stereo. Or escape to the Royal Pacific Resort and enjoy its Polynesian themed pools, restaurants, and entertainment.
4 nights= 2 free tickets to both Universal Orlando theme parks.
5 nights= 2 free tickets to the Universal theme parks, plus 1 free ticket to Wet 'n Wild.
6 nights= 2 free tickets to both Universal Orlando theme parks, Wet 'n Wild, and SeaWorld Orlando. Available April 15-June 6, 2006.
As recently featured in the New York Times, Mont Tremblant offers mountain chic just 80 miles from Montreal. Second-home owners are attracted to this beautiful ski resort, fashionable but not overly glamorous; the NYT raves:
Tucked into the Laurentian Mountains less than 80 miles north of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is a stunning Quebec ski town perched at the southern tip of Lake Tremblant. It somehow manages to blend the kitsch of a Disney-like ski resort, the elegance of a small cosmopolitan city and the serenity of fir-and-pine-covered mountains.
The place to stay is the Fairmont Tremblant, situated in the heart of the picturesque village at the base of the majestic Laurentian peaks. Here, you can climb aboard a high-speed chair lift directly at your doorstep. The facilities at this award-winning hotel are state-of-the-art: heated outdoor and indoor pools, spa and health club, golf, excellent culinary options, and beautiful guest rooms.
Spend Spring Break in Rome and soak up the city's wonders without the crowds. Wander the city and stumble upon the ancient temples and broken marble columns in the Forum that date back thousands of years. Watch the sun sink behind the silhouette of St. Peter's dome, pink and orange streaked across the sky. Shop til you drop at the city's fashionable boutiques. Savor a glass of wine or steaming espresso at the Campo dei Fiori; toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain. Book a stay at Hotel de Russie (Rocco Forte's magnificent, historic hotel, situated ideally near the Spanish Steps), and enjoy an Easter special which includes complimentary buffet breakfast, entry to the Galleria Borghese Museum or the Coliseum, daily newspaper and Easter delights upon arrival. Rates from EUR 585 per night for a Classic Double Room, excluding 10 percent VAT. Available April 5-10, 2007; minimum two-night stay required. In addition to its perfect location, Hotel de Russie is known for its gorgeous terraced gardens and central courtyard, excellent dining (al fresco in the butterfly garden), and one of the city's best health clubs and spas.
The Book-Cadillac Hotel will soon return to its former splendor. Detroit is going through a renaissance, and the $180 million renovation and reopening of the famous hotel is the ultimate symbol of Detroit's rebirth. Rising from the ashes of decline and neglect, the once-luxurious hotel will-- once again-- dazzle as the Grande Dame of the city. As described in a recent AP article:
The Book-Cadillac Hotel was the epitome of glamour when it opened its doors in 1924. The world's tallest hotel, it boasted an opulent, Italian Renaissance-inspired design. Over the years it hosted presidents, Hollywood stars and infamous gangsters.After standing vacant for more than two decades -- the gilded interior stripped by scavengers, the ballrooms exposed to the elements -- the Book-Cadillac is poised to again become Detroit's ultimate luxury destination.
The hotel will open its door in late 2008 as a new 455-room Westin hotel, with luxurious residential condos crowning the top of the building.
March 23, 2007
By: Guest Writer
I snuck off to Vegas for a Bachelor's party over the weekend in one of the few JetBlue flights that boarded during last Friday's east coast snowstorm. The 16 of us booked our accommodations at Treasure Island (now called TI) because it was the most affordable option for a big group. TI's facilities were for the most part mediocre but their recently installed spa "Wet" had an impressive layout, great massage options, and a fantastic weight room. Our room at TI was a Premier Suite and it was equipped with two marble bathrooms, a terrific Elite SensaTIonal bed, and a 50 inch flat screen - great for us group of guys.
However, my tastes for entertainment were better satisfied at The Venetian (located directly across the street from TI and recommended by Five Star Alliance) which was currently undergoing some new construction (but only mildly noticeable) to add another building/wing. The addition to the Venetian is nearly complete and when finished, it is proclaimed to be the "Biggest Hotel in the World." I spent a lot of free time in their new poker room - opened in late 2006. It was massive and the poker tables were the nicest I had ever laid my hands on (pun intended). I also made my way to the Venetian's nightclub Tao which is a big celebrity hotspot and deserves to be – it features the new trend of combining fine dining and nightlife into one.
The weekend was dubbed by ESPN (because of March Madness) as "the best four days of the year. It starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday and doesn't end until 7 p.m. on Sunday. It's just a whirlwind. It looks like a frat party from morning 'til night. Those are special days." That's a great way to describe a destination bachelor party in Las Vegas.
By: Guest Writer
March 23, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
We've decided to expand our "What a Hotel!" feature, which has been such a hit over at The Informed Traveler Newsletter and other Five Star Alliance publications, by sharing the challenge with our blog readers. Each week we let you test your luxury travel savvy. View the awesome images, take an educated guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think the photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer, the winner and new image.
For our first edition of "What a Hotel!" (drumroll please) ... You've seen the photo at the top of the page, now take a guess in our comments section for which luxury hotel it belongs to ...
Hints to Help: Central Location, Famous Park & Shopping, Rocking with Rockefeller, Frickin' Modern ...
Hot off the press. Raffles will open a spectacular luxury resort in St. Lucia. What to expect at Raffles' latest dazzling property? Exquisite fine dining, five pools, the 10,000 square foot RafflesAmrita Spa, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the centerpiece of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club St. Lucia, with stunning views of the Caribbean and the island's dramatic coastline. St. Lucia is a logical choice for the setting of the newest Raffles Hotel. The idyllic island-- an undeveloped tropical paradise with lush mountainous landscapes and picture-perfect beaches-- is the latest "it" spot in the Caribbean. New properties like The Discovery at Marigot Bay have been making waves in the region.
P.S. The opening date has not yet been announced.
Escape to the San Diego sunshine for a Spring Break the whole family will enjoy. Consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world, Estancia La Jolla is a California Rancho-style coastal retreat surrounded by lush gardens, only minutes from San Diego's attractions and the beaches of La Jolla. At this garden oasis by the sea, indulge in memorable meals, pool-side lounging, and excellent spa services. The world-class facilities and gracious hospitality ensure an extraordinary spring getaway. The Spring Break Getaway, priced from $795 for the family of four, is available from March 30-April 14, 2007, and includes:
*Three nights in a luxurious double queen Verandah room
*Family Picnic Lunch and Beach Bundle For Four (includes sand toys, beach blankets, and umbrella)
*Estancia Classic: 2 hour on-site kid's golf clinic hosted by a Torrey Pines Golf Course Instructor. Available for children 7 and up.
*Flick & Float movie tickets for family movie night by the pool (Each Saturday Night at 6:30pm)
*Complimentary Valet Parking
Beyonce's cover shot for the Sports Illustrated 2007 Swimsuit Issue sure generated a lot of buzz. But even more buzzworthy is the Jamaican setting for the photo shoot. Where exactly were the Sports Illustrated models cooling off by the ocean? Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coral reefs, The Caves in Negril provided the beautiful sanctuary and luxurious accommodations for the magazine's 2007 issue. Ten handcrafted cottages are nestled in lush gardens at the edge of the sea. Within a grotto in the cliff overlooking the ocean, the restaurant is impossibly romantic, lit by candles and strewn with flower petals. There's even an Aveda mini-spa. The Caves is a favorite for high-profile events, but also adored by couples who value their privacy. On the island's westernmost tip, Negril entices with the best beaches in Jamaica and miles of coral reef just offshore, teeming with marine life for excellent scuba diving and snorkeling. Visitors are drawn to Negril's laid-back roots, and casual, cool attitude.