December 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Hot on the heels of New York City's decision to ban all artificial trans-fat in restaurant cooking, Loews Hotels has announced its own ban on trans-fat at its 18 hotels and restaurants. Loews has become the first hotel brand to do so, in an effort to create healthier kitchens and lifestyles. The full ban on artificial trans-fat will be implemented by June 1, 2007, and applies to all restaurants, room service, and snack service (bye bye, late-night-snack-binging at the mini-bar!) Forget pastries made with shortening (and all that partially hydrogenated badness); real butter will resume its important role in the kitchen as an all-natural ingredient.
Set off on a camel safari across the sand dunes, cruise the turquoise Gulf, or hit the slopes at the challenging indoor ski resort. In glitzy, glamorous Dubai-- setting of the only seven-star hotel in the world-- everything goes. And now, the New York Times has pinpointed the new Raffles as one of the hottest hotels of the year:
In Dubai, where hotels bearing names like Versace, Armani and Trump are all in the works, a pyramid-shaped Raffles is opening this summer with 248 pharaoh-chic rooms and a two-and-a-half-acre rooftop greenhouse.
Located in the heart of the city on Sheikh Zayed Road, the premier business and shopping district of Dubai, Raffles Dubai is a stunning landmark: an 18-storey pyramid rising like a mirage from the desert. The 248 guest rooms are plush and opulent; the Royal Suite is positively palatial, 480 square meters including a private balcony. There will be nine dining and drinking outlets, including the lively China Moon bar, and the heavenly RafflesAmrita Spa. The best part of all is perhaps the unique, one-hectare 'Sparkling Botanical Sky-Garden', depicting the four 'Elements of Life' (fire, wind, earth and water), in an oasis of exotic flora and orchids spread around the swimming pool. Coming Summer 2007.
The InterContinental could be the most stylish hotel in Hong Kong. With unrivaled views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island from its waterfront location, the hotel boasts sleek, contemporary rooms, 24-hour butler service, dazzling infinity pool, and feng shui inspired I-Spa and Fitness Center. The InterContinental is certainly the city's "it" place to eat. This month superstar chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa will open a branch of his famous Nobu eatery at the hotel. (This will be the second Nobu in Asia, and 16th location worldwide.) Interior Designer David Rockwell has transformed the space that used to be Yü restaurant into a sexy and happening hot spot. Signature dishes will include yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and the beloved black cod with miso, along with new creations featuring local ingredients. As described by Sherman's Travel Magazine,
The InterCon has become one of Hong Kong's top dining destinations. First, celebrity chef Alain Ducasse opened his high-concept Spoon restaurant which was followed by Steakhouse Winebar and Grill. And now, a branch of Nobu adds even more cachet.
Welcome the New Year at the elegant Fives Restaurant at The Peninsula New York. Executive Chef Gordon Maybury has devised a tempting five-course dinner menu for the New Year's Eve Gala Dinner. (The prix fixe dinner includes party hats, noisemakers, and one bottle of Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne per couple.) Dance the night away to the upbeat sounds of a five-piece band. And take your chances with the special grand prize drawing-- for a two night stay in the Peninsula Suite, valued at $30,000. Black-tie, $400 per person. On New Year's Day, indulge in the sumptuous Champagne buffet brunch at Fives. Start the year off right with divine selections from the Sushi Bar, Carving Station, baked goods, Risotto Station, seafood, and decadent dessert bar. Brunch is served from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and is $95 per person, inclusive of Champagne.
In the village of Zermatt, close to the Italian border, at one of the premier ski destinations in the world, there is a resort like no other. The luxurious Riffelalp Resort is situated at 2,222 meters above sea level, affording guests an extraordinary and unique alpine panorama. Hit the slopes at the heart of the Gornergrat skiing district; the in-house ski concierge can assist with equipment rental and even set up heli-skiing trips. At the end of the day, soak your tired muscles in Europe's highest outdoor pool (heated to 35 degrees Celsius), taking in superb views of the Matterhorn. Or head to the Wellness Center and explore the various baths-- stone steam, saline, immersion-- and the Finnish Sauna, or indulge in a massage. In the evening, sample Cheese Fondue and Raclette in front of the open fire, or dine in style at the hotel's fine eateries. Evenings are never dull; there is a plethora of entertainment, including two bowling alleys, billiard room, home cinema, wine bar, and cocktail bar.
December 12, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Looking for a last minute getaway trip for the holidays? At this point, just about all of the hotels and resorts in the Caribbean are sold out for the holidays. Any luxury hotels or resorts that do still have availablity, such as the Jamaica Inn, require longer minumum stays (Jamaica Inn has a 10 night min.) There are a few luxury hotels and resorts in Mexico City and South America where you can still find availability.
But don't worry - luxury villas are still available for a last minute holiday getaway in the Caribbean. Luxury caribbean villas are the perfect solution for a last minute luxury getaway with the whole family or with friends.
Grand Cayman: 4 Bedroom beach villa with private boat dock and cabana
Virgin Gorda, BVI: New 3 Bedroom villa with tennis, just steps from the beach
Tortola, BVI: 1 Bedroom beachfront villa on private island off Tortola
Mustique: 9 Bedroom Japanese style villa with pitch & putt
Provo, Turks & Caicos: 5 Bedroom Palace Resort with boat
See all of our Luxury Villas in the Carribean for Christmas and New Years
Not planning on traveling to the Caribbean? Check out what last minute packages are still available in other parts of the world:
Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Miami, FL
The 12 Best Ski Resorts Worldwide
Los Angeles Area Luxury Hotels
Luxury Family Friendly Hotels in Paris
Tiger Woods recently announced that he will design his first golf course in Dubailand, the region's largest entertainment and tourism project. (The Dubailand concept, envisioned by ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is expected to attract 15 million visitors to Dubai by 2010.) Tiger's par-72, 18-hole championship golf course will be called Al Ruwaya, meaning serenity. The course will feature "lush landscaping, stunning water features, dramatic elevation changes, and five sets of tees to accommodate every caliber of golfer." Significantly, this is the first for Tiger Woods Design. Woods has played in the Dubai Desert Classic three times (winning this year in a sudden play-off) and thus has a lot of fondness for the region. In addition to the golf course, Tiger Woods-Dubai is also in the works: an exclusive golf community that will house Al Ruwaya, state-of-the-art clubhouse, professionally-staffed golf academy, 80-suite boutique hotel, 300 luxury villas and 20 private homes, and retail community. Construction will start in late 2007, and the project is expected to be completed in late 2009.
The cat's out of the bag about the white sand beaches and immense coral reef of the Turks and Caicos islands. As described by Outside Traveler:
Word of mouth helped establish TCI as a jet-set retreat. It started in 1998, when renowned hotelier Christina Ong built a private island resort on Parrot Cay... Now, with new nonstops from Boston and Fort Lauderdale, as well as flights from other hubs, TCI is no secret... and last February a new Carnival cruise-ship terminal opened on the southern end of Grand Turk.
But on the more isolated stretches of the archipelago, elite luxury hotels have staked their claim, dedicated to ecotourism, energy conservation, and preservation of the pristine natural environment. The stunning Amanyara resort opened in March 2006, nestled on the tip of a 5,000 acre nature reserve on the secluded western shore of Providenciales. Coming in 2008: the $300 million Ritz-Carlton Molasses Reef, a unique eco-conscious residential community and boutique resort situated on the unspoiled, uninhabited island of West Caicos. And in 2009, eco-friendly Fairmont Hotels is slated to open a 150-room luxury hotel on North Caicos.
December 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Edinburgh is going off this holiday season. The traditional Hogmanay festival, a four day party filled with exciting events and traditional happenings, is one of the best New Year's parties in the world. The city itself is magical to behold during the festivities: charming cobblestone streets and squares, beautiful shop windows, sparkling lights and plentiful decorations. Things kick off with the Torchlight Procession on December 29; the revelry continues with the world-famous Royal Bank Street Party on New Year's Eve (along with The Concert in the Gardens, The New Year Revels, Seven Hills Fireworks, The Ceilidh in the Gardens, and the Candlelit Concert); the party concludes with the One O'clock Run on New Year's Day. Where to stay? Rocco Forte's award-winning Balmoral Hotel entices with roaring fires, seasonal lights, and luxurious accommodations and service. Overlooking the Edinburgh Castle, the hotel couldn't boast a more perfect location to enjoy the New Year's festivities. The Balmoral celebrates Hogmanay with a traditional Gala Ball, the most sophisticated and glamorous black-tie event in Edinburgh. Champagne and Canapés, a sumptuous four-course menu created by othe Michelin-starred Chef, Jeff Bland, dancing to a live band, and at the stroke of midnight-- the best views in town for the breathtaking fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle. The Gala Bala experience costs from GBP 555 per room, per night (two night minimum). Includes complimentary use of the Balmoral Spa.
December 11, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
During the holiday season, keep your kitchen clean by dining at the Conrad Chicago instead. The Conrad Hotel is located at the heart of Chicago's financial district on Michigan Avenue, also known as "the Magnificent Mile", connected to Nordstrom and Westfield North Bridge shopping centers. Make your reservations for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, or New Years Eve dinner now to avoid being turned away. Plus, if you make overnight room reservations with Five Star Alliance at the Conrad, you'll also get a welcome amenity, continental breakfast for two (2) daily, and a possible upgrade upon check-in based upon availability. Christmas Eve (December 24, 2006) 3 Course prix-fixes Menu $55 Adult + Wine pairing additional $24 Christmas Brunch (December 25, 2006) Hours: 11:30a-3:00p $65.00 Adult / $25.00 under 12 New Years Eve Dinner (December 31, 2006) 7 Course dinner Hours: 7:00p-12:00a $90 per adult, optional wine pairings $56