April 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
La Dolce Vita, indeed. The largest suite in Europe can be found on Via Veneto in Rome-- sprawling over two full floors beneath the frescoed cupola of the Westin Excelsior. Here's the breakdown. After a $7 million renovation, the signature suite continues to outshine most hotel accommodations worldwide. Sumptuous furnishings? You betcha. Tapestries and magnificent artwork adorn the place. The suite boasts six bedrooms, a rich paneled dining room that seats ten, private fitness room, boardroom and private eight-seat theater, sauna, steam bath, and Jacuzzi. Relax on the sundeck with your choice of 160 imported wines and take in the fabulous views of the Eternal City. Price tag on this one? Rumor has it that it's close to $40,000 a night.
The designer behind the glorious interiors of the Hotel Victor in South Beach, Hotel Costes and Hotel Fouquet's Barrière, the fabulous new palace on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, has big plans for his personal château. Jacques Garcia, the world-renowned interior designer, has decided to open his home, the regal Château du Champ de Bataille, to visitors with the debut of a new restaurant and glamorous 18-room hotel. Surrounded by expansive private gardens and the beautiful countryside of Normandy, the 17th century château was built by one of the principle architects of Versailles. Garcia has begun an elaborate restoration. As opulent as Garcia's other masterpieces, the public rooms have been completely restored in period style and filled with objets d'art. Garcia will unveil the boutique hotel-- a luxurious oasis within his magnificent château-- in 2008.
Has the Grand Bar kept its cool? The Soho Grand opened in 1996 (the first hotel to go up in stylish Soho in over a century) and its glamorous lounge took off as the hip place to be. It appears that this joint still epitomizes all that is trendy in Manhattan's downtown. Amber-hued lighting, copper tables, plush chairs, creative bar drinks, and oversized windows overlooking West Broadway. And indeed, it seems the Grand Bar and Lounge is the hot spot where celebs are both getting it on, and breaking things off.
April 19, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
In celebration of Earth Day, the Hayman Island Resort will be featured on ABC News broadcasts this weekend to report on significant environmental programs in Australia and the Reef. Located on the southwestern side of Hayman Island just beside the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by coral fringed beaches and the lapping waters of the Coral Sea. The resort's website offers a dedicated page - Hayman.com.au/planetearth - to recognize the resort's involvement with ABC News and the "Planet Earth 2007: Seven Ways to Help Save the World" program.
The spotlight is on Hayman because of their direct involvement in the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef through a series of projects with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The report will also show ways in which desalination plants, such as the one operating on Hayman, may be the answer to water shortages. Tune in to ABC's 20/20, Nightline or Good Morning America on Friday and Saturday of this week to watch the Hayman Island Resort interviews Live.
PS - In recognition of Hayman's involvement with ABC News, guests can benefit with the Hayman has also introduced the "ALL INCLUSIVE HOLIDAY- Hayman Planet Earth 2007 Escape" which includes 3 nights, full breakfast, a la carte 3-course dinner, and numerous Island activities. The 3-night package is priced from AU$1485 per person, and is valid through 20 December 2007.
For frequent travelers to Washington's lovely Dulles airport (will they finish the construction already?!), there's good news on the horizon. The DC suburbs-- aka "Virginia's high-tech corridor"-- are growing a mile-a-minute. Starwood's announcement yesterday is part of this incredible regional development. The new luxury hotel on the block will be the Westin Chantilly, a 211-room hotel to be built within the Commonwealth Centre development about three miles from Dulles. Outfitted with Westin's signature services and amenities (including the brand's Heavenly Bed and Bath), the new hotel will be open in Spring 2009. Guests can look forward to the "Westin signature sensory welcome"-- white tea scent and mood music, anyone?-- along with Unwind: A Westin Evening Ritual. (Looks like Westin's even branded their happy hour cocktails.)
Get your game on at Kiawah, selected as the "Best Golf Resort in the US" by Travel and Leisure Golf. (The awards list isn't exactly short.) Golfers flock to Kiawah for unmatched play on the five championship courses designed by Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Clyde Johnston. The world-famous Ocean Course-- ranked third in the "Top 100 You Can Play" by Golf Magazine-- recently got a $4 million makeover. Plan a girl's getaway and enjoy some of the best golf in the world as well as the beautiful beach, fantastic spa, shopping and natural beauty that has made Kiawah such a sought-after destination. The two-night Golfing Gals Bootcamp is designed for two people and includes ocean-view accommodations, champagne and chocolate covered berries on arrival, daily breakfast, dinner at Jasmine Porch, round of golf (not the Ocean course), half day golf school, nine holes of on-course instruction (for three people), and two Kiawah visors. Kiawah's team of instructors will cater the package to suit every skill level-- from beginners to pros looking to refine their game.
"Your body is a temple for your spirit; appropriately our spa is a chapel." It's hard to argue with that one. The setting for the new Mandarin Oriental's delicious spa is-- quite literally-- a 14th century Renaissance chapel. Opened in February 2007, the 99-room hotel occupies a former monastery in Prague's oldest quarter. Luxury Spa Finder magazine recently featured this luxury spa as buzzworthy:
The spa's seven treatment rooms, including two couple's suites, have vaulted ceilings, and even its more modern-looking public spaces (including a light-humidity sauna and vitality pool) have a meditative atmosphere that's divinely calming.
The reception area (pictured) is spectacular. The floor's glass panels display the foundations of a 13th century Gothic church. Above, a glass bridge joins the two wings of the second floor.
Jet to Egypt and soak up the Mediterranean sun in style-- in the ancient city where Mark Antony and Cleopatra got all dramatic. Perched over the sea, the new Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano is a glamorous addition to the mythical city. Full of architectural treasures, Egypt's second largest city is also an economic and industrial hub for one of the world's oldest civilizations. Alexandria is the setting for Pompey's Pillar, the Roman Amphitheather, awesome underwater ruins, and the legendary Library of Alexandria, reborn in 2002 as Bibliotheca Alexandria . As to be expected at a Four Seasons hotel, rooms are classically elegant (with 180-degree sea views), dining options are numerous, and the spa is world-class. Located within the stately Grand Plaza shopping and residential complex, Four Seasons Alexandria at San Stefano is now accepting reservations for September 1, 2007 arrivals.
How do we love Sierra Mar restaurant? Let me count the ways. Awe-inspiring views of the California coast above the craggy cliffs of Big Sur. The innovative prix fixe menu with four courses of heavenly, seasonal fare. 4,000-label wine list. All glass dining room, all the better to contemplate that amazing seascape. Located at the numero uno hotel in Cali-- according to Travel and Leisure's Top 500 (January 2007)-- the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant offers one of the most memorable dining experiences on the West Coast.
Please note: Until July 30, 2007, Post Ranch Inn's superb restaurant has moved to a custom designed Rancho Sierra Mar building next to the swimming pool while the original kitchen is remodeled. Guests can expect the same incredible grub, while enjoying a special private exhibit of eight large-scale powerful sepia toned photographs by Canadian born artist Gregory Colbert.
Mom'll love this place. Just a few blocks from the historic Plaza in the charming city of Santa Fe, La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa offers luxurious adobe-style accommodations in a garden setting. Many rooms feature kiva fireplaces along with original artwork from local galleries. (Psst. It's the best place to stay in town!) Treat Mom to a special getaway and celebrate Mother's Day in style at La Posada de Santa Fe. The two-night package includes accommodations, welcome amenity, dinner for two at Fuego restaurant, and serious pampering at Avanyu's indigenous spa with one 50-minute treatment and one 80-minute treatment (choice of body treatments/facials includes Rolling Thunder, Dancing Wind or Flowing Water, and the Essential, Timeless or Renewal Facials). Rates start at $418 per night in a Classic Room, available for the month of May 2007.