When Cunard unveils its newest ship, Queen Victoria in December 2007, three ships will sail together under the Cunard banner for the first time ever. The ships-- Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2, and the Queen Victoria-- are part of a legacy of ocean-crossing that symbolizes the refinement and elegance of a bygone era, when trans-Atlantic journeys were civilized events for the privileged few. These glorious voyages continue today with ocean liners that are "floating palaces of art deco splendor and Edwardian excess." Cunard pampers guest with every comfort and elegance in the ultimate luxury travel experience. The maiden voyage of the Queen Victoria is scheduled for December 11, 2007. Amenities include the dramatic three-tier Grand Lobby, Winter Garden (with glass roof), Royal Court Theater, a two-story library, and a Todd English Mediterranean style restaurant. Sweeping staircases, soaring ceilings, and elaborate chandeliers will dazzle the passengers. 86 percent of the 1,007 guest staterooms will be outside, and 71 percent will have a private balcony.
Stressed out by your wedding planning? Before the honeymoon--even before the wedding--why not try a Minimoon, the quick getaway for the future bride and groom to remind each other, amidst all the wedding stress, why they agreed to tie the knot... Indulge in a little pre-wedding relaxation, and celebrate your future marriage at Peter Island, the idyllic Caribbean Classic. The legendary resort, consistently awarded one of the world's best places to stay, combines the sophistication and exclusivity of a private island retreat with the understated elegance of the BVI. Accessibly only by boat or helicopter, Peter Island is 1,800 acres of lush, tropical beauty, and features five beaches, a private yacht, tennis courts, scuba diving, and an incredible staff. Here's the skinny on Peter Island's De-stressor for the Stressed-out Bride and Groom Minimoon: The package includes a welcoming bottle of champagne and an invitation to a gourmet vintner dinner, choice of a day trip to St. Thomas (Tuesday and Saturday) or to Virgin Gorda (Thursday), a trip to the Peter Island Loop to watch the sunset including wine, fruit, and cheese, a private spa experience for two at one of the the Spa at Peter Island's private, seaside bohios, a private dinner on the beach (tiki lights and all!), and a special departing gift to help prepare for marital bliss. Package includes four nights accommodations in an Ocean View Room, all meals and most activities. Rates start at $4,490 per couple, from January 4 through April 15, 2007. From April 16 through November 16, 2007, rates start at $3,205 per couple.
This Valentine's Day, hit the slopes at Aspen and indulge in a stay at the quintessential Aspen hotel. Opened in 1889 at the height of Colorado's silver boom, this luxurious boutique hotel has become a symbol of Aspen itself. Surrounded by the majestic Rocky mountains, Hotel Jerome is just minutes from downtown Aspen. The hotel features 92 sophisticated guest rooms which have been individually decorated with luxurious amenities. Guests enjoy exquisite American cuisine, excellent service, year-round heated pool and two Jacuzzis, and ski resort transfers. Hotel Jerome has created the Be My Valentine Package for the perfect Valentine's getaway. Available from February 13-15, 2007, the package includes deluxe room or suite accommodations, Champagne and a special treat prepared by Pastry Chef Heather Campbell in your room upon arrival, daily lift tickets for two, candlelit dinner for two in the Century Room, nightly bath butler service, and daily continental breakfast buffet in Jacob's Corner. Rates start at $595, two nights minimum stay required.
In the 100 years since its inauguration, the legendary Hotel Adlon Kempinski has become a symbol of luxury in Berlin. Now celebrating its centennial, the Adlon Kempinski invites guests to enjoy its jubilee year with special events, historic exhibits, and the October birthday bash. And with the debut of the Presidential Suite--unveiled last year in the hotel's new Security Wing-- the Adlon Kempinski continues to make history with one of the most opulent suites in the world. (Not to mention safe. This suite has an independent telecommunications system, dedicated security hub with video monitoring, bullet-proof walls and windows, and an independent power supply.) The seven-room suite is as elegant as befits the royalty and heads-of-state who frequently stay there. With a beautiful view over Potsdamer Platz, the Suite features a spacious living room, office and conference room, bedroom with separate dressing room, as well as a 30 sq meter bathroom with Jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, and massage area. Of course the suite's loaded with state-of-the-art technology (and includes 24-hour butler service). The impressive 240 sq meter suite is available for about EUR 20,000 a night.
Hot on the trail of Guggenheim, which last year announced ambitious plans for a new museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry. As reported by the New York Times, the French government recently confirmed that it will rent the Louvre name and art treasures to a new museum in Abu Dhabi, for a sum rumored to be between $800 million to $1 billion. The new Louvre will be one of five museums slated for the tourist development on Saadiyat Island, opening in 2012. The new museum will be managed by a new International Agency of French Museums, which will also manage the Musée d'Orsay, the new Musée du Quai Branly, the Château de Versailles, and the Pompidou Center. This is a monumental decision, and signifies a serious directional change in the marketing of the oldest and most famous art museum in the world. Is Chirac selling out?
Photo via Wikipedia
No longer a backpacker's tropical paradise, the island of Koh Samui is getting a luxe makeover with a plethora of new hotel openings. First up, the W Retreat and Residences-Koh Samui, the third such luxury resort in the world for the stylish lifestyle brand, following the debut of the fabulous W Maldives in September 2006 and the W Vieques, scheduled for 2007. The Koh Samui retreat, slated for late 2008, will be an upscale, 70 villa property which will include 20 residential units for purchase. Situated on the secluded Maenam beach on the north shore of the island, the new W will have a prime position to enjoy Koh Samui's best windsurfing and snorkeling sites. Of course guests can enjoy all the stylish services and amenities they've come to expect at W Hotels and Retreats: the signature Living Room and lounge, trendy restaurant, 24-hour concierge, and Whatever/Whenever service.
Likewise scheduled for late 2008, the new Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa is to be located on the exact opposite of the island, overlooking Aow Thai Beach on Koh Samui's southwest tip. (It doesn't get any better than this for contemplating the dazzling sunsets.) From its perch on a hill, the 118-villa resort will feature panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand and outlying islands. Surrounded by lush coconut plantations, the resort will offer a variety of fine dining restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, and meeting and business center facilities. The luxurious villas will be enormous, with plenty of outdoor space for private plunge pools and sundecks.
Head to the Winter Blues Festival at Coeur D'Alene Golf and Spa Resort and ditch those winter blues. The idyllic landscape at the resort's lakeside setting may be cure enough for the inevitable wintry blahs (not to mention the luxurious accommodations, spa treatments, and sumptuous cuisine). But this award-winning destination resort has designed an added enticement: the Winter Blues Festival on the weekend of February 16-18, 2007. The Northwest's preeminent blues artists will be showcased at this inaugural event, including Seattle's Lloyd Jones Struggle and "Blueswoman of the Year" Nicole Fournier (& Her 3 lb. Universe). The lineup features nine bands playing the blues for some 15 hours over the three evenings. All the musical events will take place at four intimate music venues conveniently located inside the resort, including two stages inside the newly remodeled Conference Center as well as an exciting Blues Cruise on the lake Saturday after dark. Take advantage of the special Winter Blues Festival Package which includes accommodations and access to all the music venues for the weekend. Packages begin at $149 per person nightly. Daily tickets are $10 Friday and Sunday, and $35 on Saturday.
This is one of the best restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. Hastings House prides itself on incorporating the finest regional ingredients into its pris fixe menu. Each day, Chef Marcel Kauer designs a new menu to reflect the freshest local products: herbs, greens and fruit from the kitchen garden and orchards, fresh seafood from nearby waters, and meat, poultry and game from Salt Spring Island farmers. These constantly-changing menus, an effortless balance of texture and taste, revolve around what is fresh and in season from the "Organic Gardening Capital of Canada" (aka Salt Spring Island.) Winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its remarkable wine list, the restaurant is a culinary delight as much for its food as for its excellent service and spectacular views of Ganges Harbor. The four-course menu, with amuse bouche and palate cleansing sorbet, is priced at $95 (three courses is $85). Note: Now you can take a little piece of the kitchen home with you with the Hastings House Country Estate cookbook. The elegant 96-page hardcover blends colorful history with a passion for food. Great recipes are interspersed with fascinating anecdotes and stunning photography.
Most folks know the Conrad Brussels as the luxurious spot with the biggest guest rooms in the European capital. But that's not all. In addition to its world-class facilities, the Conrad Brussels has now created its own winter wonderland with a 300 sq meter private ice-skating rink in the hotel's beautiful inner courtyard. (So you can recreate the winter magic despite this year's bogus-- thanks, global warming-- season). Until February 14, 2007, enjoy Conrad On Ice in the heart of Brussels. Special packages start from EUR 249 per person, per night and include accommodations in a classic room, buffet breakfast, access to the Aspria Avenue Louise spa facilities, and two passes for Conrad On Ice with a delicious hot chocolate.
It's good to go. As reported by Reuters, the Chinese government has given the thumbs up to Las Vegas Sands for its $9-$12 billion resort project slated for the small island of Hengqin, located near the world's gambling capital of Macau. Las Vegas Sands has already set up its first casino in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. The Sands Macau opened in 2004 and the Venetian Macau (the $800 million dollar sister hotel to Las Vegas's Venetian) is just months away from launch. The company's plan for Hengqin covers about 80 million square feet of space, with the resort initially opening its doors in the summer of 2008. Las Vegas Sands is hoping to break ground before the Chinese New Year in February. With the new Venetian Hengqin International Convention and Resort, Las Vegas Sands will solidify its role as one of the top resort developers in Asia.