LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Beijing is welcoming a slew of new luxury hotels just in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. Just recently, Fairmont-- the iconic brand that got its start with the 1907 opening of that landmark Nob Hill establishment, Fairmont San Francisco-- announced plans to open a grand luxury hotel in the Chinese capital. This will be a welcome addition to the collection of fabled castles, secluded lodges, and modern retreats that dot North America and Europe. Fairmont will open this new 25-storey Beijing hotel in partnership with the Thailand-based Reignwood Group. Expect 235 classy guest rooms, restaurants and bars, and a 1,000 square meter Willow Stream Spa with fitness facilities and a swimming pool. Located downtown near landmarks like Tiananmen Square, the Fairmont Beijing is being designed by the Japan-based architectural firm Paul Tange & Associates.
Photo Via National Geographic
Tucked away in the winding alleyways of Montmartre, a charming and chic new hotel made its debut this summer. From the façade, the Hotel Particulier Montmartre appears to be a 19th century country house, surrounded by leafy landscaping and secluded private gardens. Though there are only five guest rooms, this interior space is a dream of modern design. Vogue (September 2007) praises the "distinct personalities" of these magical spaces designed by a graphic designer, a Musée de la Mode et du Textile curator, and three artists. From fanciful fashion to ornate rococo style, the guest rooms embody the best of high design. Choose the top-floor miniloft for incredible Paris views.
Be forewarned: finding the entrance amidst the tiny rues of hip Montmartre is not for the faint of heart.
Only 36 guests will be allowed to attend this exclusive event at Bermuda's finest resort, Cambridge Beaches. Over the weekend of November 15-18, 2007 the resort proudly welcomes actress and author Mariel Hemingway for a very special event. Inspired by her book Healthy Living from the Inside Out, Every Woman's Guide to Real Beauty, Renewed Energy and a Radiant Life, the weekend will be filled with enriching activities in a stunning seaside setting-- where attendees will also enjoy all the distinctive pleasures of the resort. Hemingway will share her passion for healthy living and spotlight the four cornerstones of her book: food, exercise, home and silence. Highlights include:
* a book signing and cocktail/mocktail party to begin the weekend
* an inspirational beachside yoga session
* a Hemingway-inspired lunch
* a personal Q & A on the benefits of great nutrition and how to choose "foods that boost"
* a delicious sampling of Hemingway's signature menu items throughout the weekend
* a personal conversation with Mariel about stress and the benefits of meditation
This exclusive event package includes premium deluxe accommodations, all meals prepared by the renowned Cambridge Beaches culinary team, additional yoga classes and a spa treatment at the fabulous Ocean Spa. All guests for the event will also receive Rare, a special gift from Lili Bermuda, the island's on-site perfumery. The four day/three night event is priced at $2,825 per person based on double occupancy.
Say hello to the new Dukes Hotel. This beloved London establishment was recently taken over by Campbell Gray Hotels-- a collection of exquisite, individual hotels including One Aldwych in London and Carlisle Bay in Antigua-- and has undergone a complete makeover. Tucked in its own courtyard in a quiet corner on St. James's Place between Mayfair and Green Park, Dukes has been given a touch of 21st century contemporary chic. Hailed by The New York Times as "the ultimate country house hotel, only steps from Piccadilly," the award-winning Dukes Hotel is as famous for its service (the best in London, according to Travel and Leisure), as it is for its martinis. All 90 luxury rooms and suites have been upgraded by a stellar design team, along with the public areas. The world-famous Dukes Bar has been made up with blue velvet chairs and portrait paintings from the Dukes collection. Guests will find a new menu at The Dining Room, featuring classic British dishes with a comprehensive wine list (including a special reserve selection with predominantly Old World reds). There's also a Health Club with a 24 hour gym, steam room, and full range of spa treatments.
The Dan Hotel Tel Aviv, member of Leading Hotels of the World, has debuted new guest rooms with advanced technology. The ultimate in elegance and comfort, the guest rooms are what you'd expect to find at Tel Aviv's best hotel. The Dan Tel Aviv sits on the shoreline lapped by the brilliant, blue Mediterranean, within easy access to all the urban sophistication of Tel Aviv (thumping nightlife, trendy restaurants, excellent shopping.) A city hotel in a resort setting, the Dan is centrally located, right next to the main business and entertainment district, with direct access to a white sand beach. Facilities include a newly renovated spa, outdoor sea water pool, indoor freshwater pool, sun deck overlooking the beachfront, Jacuzzi, sauna, and fitness center. Recognized for its high level of personal service, the Dan Hotels chain is considered the top in Israel.
PS. Get a discount of 15 percent with a stay of seven nights or longer.
Stay for four nights or longer at The Boulders Resort, and enjoy rates as low as $169 per night. (Twist my arm! Lingering longer isn't so hard when indulging in all that Five-Diamond luxury.) Nestled in the secluded Sonoran Desert amidst dramatic 12 million year old granite boulders and towering cacti, this exclusive resort showcases distinctive adobe architecture that blends with the natural surroundings. The Boulders is located just 15 minutes north of Scottsdale, but feels a lifetime away. Discover all that desert beauty (teeming with wildlife), the world-famous Golden Door Spa, and challenging golf greens which have put the resort on the map as one of the top golf resorts in America.
A Tinseltown institution, The Beverly Hills Hotel, aka The Pink Palace, is one stylish place to drink. Since 1912, the hotel has reigned supreme as a luxurious hideaway on Sunset Boulevard in the center of Beverly Hills. Surrounded by 12 acres of lush tropical gardens and exotic flowers, the hotel is certainly a place to see and be seen. Head to The Polo Lounge-- a favorite breakfast spot and watering hole for generations of stars and Hollywood types-- and order the signature cocktail, The Pink Palace, made with gin, Grand Marnier, grenadine, and lemon juice.
Escape to South Africa and discover "a world in one country": dramatic landscapes teeming with wildlife, caves etched with ancient rock art, a beautiful, timeless wilderness. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat is a five-star ecological oasis, a stunning hideaway that happens to be a sanctuary for many endangered species of flora and fauna. (It's hard to contain one's exuberance when writing about a property this extraordinary.) Situated 270 kilometers from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof is recognized as one of South Africa's Natural Heritage Sites. A proud member of Relais & Chateaux, the resort boasts an impressive list of accolades. Here you'll find luxurious guest rooms, a pampering spa, swimming pools, wilderness excursions and activities aplenty. Plus the dining is out-of-this-world. Pictured: Imagine a breathtaking dining experience under the starlit sky, where a traditional South African barbeque is served in a unique setting: an ancient, natural sandstone amphitheater of giant boulders overlooking time-worn cliffs and valleys.
PS. This time of year is simply magical. After the winter rains, an abundance of wildflowers dots the landscape.
Sometimes the best things come for those who wait. Having sustained significant damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the storied Fairmont Hotel-- the elegant, marbled New Orleans landmark-- closed for serious renovations. The 2006 reopening date was pushed back after estimates of the damage were discovered to be grossly underestimated. But rumor has it that this beautiful and beloved Grande Dame may have a second chance after all. The hotel was purchased in late August 2007 and happy guests may see the comeback of The Roosevelt, the hotel's former incarnation. This is good news for those who also mourn the loss of the hotel's Sazerac Bar, the successor to Huey Long's favorite barroom hangout. If luck should have it, we may even see this illustrious hotel join the ranks of the premium hotels in the new Waldorf Astoria brand.
No honeymoon or Polynesian vacation on the horizon? No matter. Try this for a little Friday diversion. Discover the digital postcards of the gorgeous InterContinental Moorea, set on two acres of lush gardens backed by mountains on the island's north coast. Click away, and share with your buddies. French Polynesia conjures images of brilliant deep water lagoons edged by stunning white sand beaches; over-water bungalows from where you can slip into the crystal clear waters. And the InterContinental does not disappoint. You'll find a spa, plenty of water sports, tennis courts, outdoor pool, Kids Club, a turtle sanctuary, and a large Lagoonarium for snorkeling. You can even swim with dolphins at the on-site Dolphin Centre. Tempted? Splurge on a romantic getaway at the InterContinental Moorea.