LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
With an unbeatable location on prestigious Syntagma Constitution Square in the heart of downtown Athens, the storied King George II has played host to kings, presidents, and Athenians alike since 1936. (A true celebrity haunt, King George II lured the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.) From this posh palace, an opulent hideaway of crystal chandeliers, Italian marble, and lush fabrics, visitors enjoy views of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill. And this historical landmark is bursting at the seams with ultra-modern amenities like plasma-screen TVs, high speed Internet, advanced climate control and ventilation, and personal trainers at the state-of-the-art gym. The only hotel in Athens among the 75 Top Europe Hotels on the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, it has also been honored on the magazine's 2007 Gold List. Indulge with the new CARITA treatments at the Palace Spa and be sure to dine in Tudor Hall, the city's most acclaimed gourmet restaurant overlooking the Acropolis. The Weekend Shopping Package at King George II is priced from EUR 180 per couple, per night, and includes luxurious accommodations and breakfast.
Escape to the Caribbean this October for some sun and artistic inspiration, where art workshops with renowned artist Michelle Torrez will be held at Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort. You couldn't ask for a finer destination, as St. John's beauty has been luring artists for decades. Set on 170 pristine acres in Virgin Islands National Park, Caneel Bay has been a sought-after getaway for loyal clientele since its founding 50 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. And with its perfect beaches and lavish facilities (spa, tennis, four distinct restaurants), it's easy to see why. The art workshops with Torrez are the latest of several recent travel packages featuring notable personalities at Caneel Bay, like last January's Hot Type: Visiting Author Series with New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik, and May's wine tasting with Margaret Duckhorn, Co-founder of Duckhorn Wine Company in Napa Valley.
The three-day art workshops will take place at the Turtle Bay Estate House, an 18th century plantation house perched on a cliff high above the sea. Michelle Torrez is a talented painter whose highly collectable works have been featured in numerous publications; she has gained quite a following both in the U.S. and worldwide. At Caneel Bay, Torrez will focus on the human form, making extensive use of a female model over three days of instruction while inspiring students to take a fresh approach to expressing themselves. Torrez will work closely, personally and rigorously with serious artists and earnest aspirants. The four-night/three-day getaways are available at Caneel Bay October 15- 19 or 20- 24, 2007, and include accommodations in an Ocean View Room, a welcome reception, working breakfast, lunch and breaks daily, all the art materials sufficient for the workshop, as well as three full days of personal instruction from Michelle Torrez in the intimate setting of the Turtle Bay Estate House. Priced at $2,800 per person including all taxes.
Most visitors to the Boar's Head Inn (myself included), find themselves drawn to the Old Mill Room, quickly enchanted with the impressive wood beams lining the ceiling, the large fireplace and cozy ambience of the fine dining restaurant. The Inn has a long and impressive history, and the Old Mill Room is the heart of it all.
The Boar's Head Inn was built from the timbers of an abandoned gristmill, formerly located along the banks of the Hardware River. Dating back to 1834, the mill had survived burning despite the orders of Generals Grant and Custer during their Civil War march. The old mill, a treasured Virginian artifact, was carefully dismantled and reconstructed on the Inn's site. The original fieldstones, pine beams and planks, and massive grist stones are displayed throughout the Inn, prominent reminders of the past.
For 19 years running, the Old Mill Room has earned the AAA Four-Diamond Award for culinary excellence. The menu spotlights heirloom vegetables, wild game, Chesapeake Bay fish and seafood, and wines from the region's finest vineyards and wineries, as well as from around the world.
From the property's early days as the site of Terrell's Ordinary in the 1730's to its development in the 1960's as a quintessential Virginia inn, Boar's Head Inn has enjoyed a reputation as a welcoming place to stop (anything but ordinary!) Indeed, the Boar's Head Tradition has endured since Shakespeare's day, when London's Boar's Head Inn was synonymous with good food and warm hospitality, a tradition maintained in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.
Nestled in the gently rolling hills of a 573-acre estate just outside Charlottesville, Boar's Head Inn combines the grace and hospitality of a country inn, with the luxurious amenities of a full-service resort. There's championship golf, top-rated tennis, a luxury spa, sports club, swimming pools, and four restaurants. The meeting facilities-- newly revamped-- are unrivaled in the region. When I recently attended a conference sponsored by Whole Foods Market (regional summits encourage local growers to get their products on the stores' shelves), I was impressed by both the venue (beautiful ballroom) and the delicious lunch.
As a massive $70 million renovation comes to an end, the Grande Dame of New York has returned to her original splendor. Uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, Jumeirah Essex House is an internationally renowned urban oasis right in the heart of midtown Manhattan. A member of National Trust Historic Hotels, the 515-room landmark is part of Dubai-based luxury hospitality group Jumeirah and sister to the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj al Arab. The ambitious makeover project has enhanced the facilities and services of the hotel, rebuilding its status as one of New York's iconic luxury hotels. Here's the skinny on the exciting renovation. Come September 2007, guests will enjoy completely remodeled rooms and suites with the comfort and functionality of the 21st century, the latest in high-tech amenities, including an "electronic butler" system using LCD touch screens, and a more functional lobby where guests can enjoy Afternoon Tea and light fare. The completely renovated restaurant, transformed by Tony Chi, one of the world's top designers, is slated for the end of 2007, or early 2008. It promises to be one of the city's hottest culinary destinations.
The weekend of August 2-5 honors New Orleans' native son, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, with entertainment, Sizzlin' Satchmo dinners, and educational programs in the French Quarter. Stay at the Windsor Court Hotel, the city's finest hotel, and luxuriate in the tranquility of the Garden District after partaking in the weekend's excitement. For chilled cocktails and cool music, head to the hotel's Polo Club Lounge, its overstuffed chairs and tobacco color scheme evoking the aura of an 18th century "gentlemen's withdrawing room." Take tea at Le Salon. And dine at the innovative, award-winning New Orleans Grill Room, where the new Executive Chef Greg Sonnier, James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef of the South, concocts delightful Louisiana dishes in the city's best restaurant.
With Windsor Court's Museum Package, get incredible savings (suites from $179 and Club Suites from $279 until September 30, 2007!) in the most luxurious hotel in the city, along with two complimentary tickets for one of the following museums: The National World War II Museum (formerly the National D-Day Museum), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, home to the most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world, or the New Orleans Museum of Art, located in New Orleans' acclaimed City Park. The Museum features 40,000 objects valued in excess of $200 million. The hotel itself features its own dazzling $8 million art collection, with masterpieces by Reynolds and Van Dyck.
There's more to Windows Restaurant than the mind-blowing views, overlooking Lake Geneva, the Jet d'Eau, and Mont Blanc. Windows scored a rating of 16 in the prestigious Gault & Millau Guide. After all, the restaurant is housed in the Hotel d'Angleterre, one of the best hotels in all of Europe, and the excellence of the dining experience matches the sheer sumptuousness of the rooms. This summer, indulge in an evening of Enchanting Indian Delicacy during a three-week extravaganza when a five-man team flies in from the Michelin star Tamarind restaurant in London. From July 30- August 18, 2007, discover the exciting flavors of northwest India in a fabulously luxurious setting. The gastronomic four-course dinners at Windows are prepared by Tamarind's renowned chef Alfred Passat and his team.
Get a $200 resort activity credit and complimentary breakfast for two when you book three nights or more at The Sanctuary, the beautiful seaside mansion within Kiawah Resort. Awarded five diamonds by AAA, the exquisite luxury hotel is located just thirty minutes from downtown Charleston, and embodies all of the grandeur and warm hospitality of the American South. Kids adore the range of activities on offer at Kiawah (unspoiled beaches, tennis, bike riding), while their parents enjoy luxurious spa indulgence and championship golf outings. The Family Fun Offer also applies to villa stays; book two or more nights in a villa and receive 20 percent off the nightly rate. Offer available from August 12- September 30, 2007.
There's been a lot of buzz about the opening of San Diego's hottest new hotel, the "posh adult playground" that is the Ivy Hotel. It's not just the rooms that are extravagant, the hotel has transformed San Diego's nightlife scene with Club Envy and the sultry rooftop lounge, Eden Bar. Guests at Ivy receive exclusive VIP passes to Envy:
a multilevel club with a gravitational pull that's hard to resist. Envy will swallow you up in its hidden corners, where beds become tables and tables become dance floors. Anticipate, expose, and play out fantasies.
...While Eden (pictured) is the largest rooftop space in San Diego, complete with pool and sundeck, where visitors soak up breathtaking views and myriad tropical cocktails. Head to The Quarter Kitchen, the hotel's acclaimed fine dining restaurant, for sensual and unique combos of simple food (caviar tacos, lobster pot pie...), cooked to perfection. Celebrity chef Damon Gordon has been an executive chef at some of the world's most exclusive hotels, including The Royalton Hotel in New York, The Delano in Miami, and St. Martins Lane Hotel in London.
Mosaic floors, hand-carved moldings, glorious antique furnishings, sumptuous French fabrics, and of course the Art Nouveau glass roof atop the Winter Garden... In a breath: Parisian opulence incarnate. Hotel Meurice, the legendary Palace hotel adored by visiting royalty, has long stood as a proud Parisian landmark facing the Tuileries Gardens. How could one possibly improve upon perfection? Hotel Meurice has gone hip with a massive renovation, and is now better than ever. Most rooms have wonderful views of the Louvre and Tuileries, or the brilliant white Sacré-Coeur, floating above the city. Each of the seven floors has a distinct style, with 121 rooms decorated in a style reminiscent of Louis XVI. All the rooms are soundproofed and have air conditioning, high-speed Internet access, multiple telephone lines, a direct line, fax machines upon request and cable television. The Spa Caudalíe, opened in 2001, features the rejuvenating and purifying effects of Caudalíe treatments (like the Crushed Cabernet scrub) as well as a separate state-of-the-art Fitness Center. Meals at Le Meurice are as close to perfect as it gets; Yannick Alléno garnered his third Michelin star this year and the critics can't stop raving about the exquisite dining experience-- smart service, stunning surroundings, and elegant French fare at its finest. And of course kids are spoiled rotten at Hotel Meurice: sweets and in-room Kids Kit awaiting upon arrival, a treasure hunt winding through the hotel...
And we thought we were excited when Bacara first opened in Santa Barbara. For the ultimate luxury digs in So Cal, head to the newly renovated Malibu Beach Inn, situated on "Billionaire's Beach," where some of America's richest make their homes on Malibu's oceanfront bluffs. The multi-million dollar makeover means facilities that are downright decadent; the 47 elegantly appointed guest rooms boast breathtaking ocean views from private balconies, natural tile showers, contemporary furnishings made from exotic wenge wood, Dean and Deluca Refreshment Centers and Private Bars, and state-of-the-art technology. An added touch: the in-room wine rack with eight hand-selected Cali wines. The hotel's landscaping, architecture, and interior design reflect the natural beauty of Malibu's coastline, and a unique collection of artwork graces the hotel's walls. Come Fall 2007 (the official re-opening date), well-heeled guests can expect unsurpassed luxury at the area's only destination hotel.
P.S. The signature beach club promises to make a splash.