LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Most folks think of InterContinental Hotels as the first truly international hotel brand in the world. So it's no wonder that InterContinental-- as it continues to define glamorous global travel-- goes the extra mile to provide guests with unique experiences to enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. Case in point: the "In the Know" program that provides online destination videos and Internet communication with the hotel concierges. Today's savvy, worldly guests are pickier about what they expect from hotels, and InterContinental is on hand to point the way to authentic and local destination experiences.
At the InterContinental Grand Stafford in Hong Kong, for example, you'll find maps created by the concierge with suggestions for the best shopping and dining spots in the area. (The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus service to the Star Ferry area, to boot.) And at the Athenaeum InterContinental, the best hotel in Athens, the multi-lingual concierge can do a lot more than arrange tours of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Local insider tips include favorite neighborhoods, new exhibits, and what's new on the city scene. Even suggestions for the best Greek gifts to take home with you. Check out this video from the concierge.
Luxuriate in the grand surroundings of Ireland's grand sporting estate, Mount Juliet Conrad, and learn how to tell your Pétrus from your Penfolds. The country house hotel is offering a series of exclusive wine master class weekends with award-winning sommelier, Alain Bras. Recognized as one of Ireland's leading authorities on wine, Bras was Ireland's representative at the World Sommelier Championships in 2004. During these two-night escapes, Bras will guide guests through tastings of Champagnes, Ports, and fine wines. The wine master classes are priced from $543 per person and includes two nights accommodation with breakfast for each guest in The Hunter's Yard, a casual dinner including wine on the first evening, and a Champagne reception and dinner including wine on the second evening in the Lady Helen Dining Room at Mount Juliet House. Tuition and course materials are also included. The dates are November 5-6, 2007, November 26-27, 2007, January 14-15, 2008, and February 4-5, 2008. Set within 1,500 picturesque acres in Kilkenny county just an hour from Dublin, Mount Juliet Conrad offers an incredible range of activities-- in the grand tradition of the gracious living of the countryside-- including horseback riding, clay shooting, fishing, archery, tennis, and golf.
October 5, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Enjoy the lively rhythm and elegant ambiance of the chic 1st arrondissement at the legendary palace hotel that has played host to international royalty, fashion designers and countless public figures, Hotel Le Meurice. The Christmas package, starting from EUR 590 per room, per night, includes accommodations, daily American breakfast, Christmas gifts and chocolates for parents and children. Extraordinary Christmas Eve and Day dinners are available at Restaurant Le Meurice and Jardin d'Hiver. Package available from December 7- December 27, 2007.
Or if a Christmas stay isn't in the works, plan a New Year's escape to the heart of Paris. This internationally renowned five-star hotel is Paris at its most elegant and stylish. Between December 28, 2007- January 2, 2008, your family can enjoy a minimum two-night stay with accommodations, daily American breakfast, Christmas gifts and chocolates for parents and children starting at EUR 730 per room, per night.
The award-winning international carrier, Emirates Airlines, has just announced some ground-breaking improvements for its popular nonstop flights between NY and Dubai. For the evening flight from JFK, the new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will feature enhanced versions of the talked-about First Class suites, life-flat massage seats in Business Class, and extra legroom in Economy Class. And the industry's largest personal TV screens. Emirates is spending $50 million just to install the enhanced First Class suites on the new aircraft. These First Class suites are more akin to what you'd find on a corporate jet than a commercial aircraft; they include a fully-flat bed with in-seat massage, dine-on-demand room service, in-suite personal mini bar, a big personal wardrobe within the suite, and sliding doors for the ultimate in privacy. Plus, there's a new communal First Class bar area. So next time you jet to Dubai, you just may not want to get off the plane.
The Dutch town of Maastricht has been hailed as both an historical delight (cobble stone streets framed by 17th century houses) and-- on the other side of the Maas River-- an "urban planner's dream mix of contemporary buildings." Just a ten minute drive outside of this charming European city, the luxurious Chateau St. Gerlach is a destination in and of itself. Sprawling over a number of period buildings (including a 13th century chateau, farmhouse, convent, and Baroque church), the hotel is home to the fine, Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name. Nestled on a beautiful country estate with a wildlife reserve, Chateau St. Gerlach showcases the best of the Valkenburg countryside-- the frontier region that is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Holland. Dive into some extraordinary haute cuisine with a special "Culinary Maastricht" package. This fabulous offer include two nights in a Deluxe Room, a welcome glass of champagne on arrival, daily breakfast buffet in the Winter Garden, free Marco Polo guide of Maastricht, and free use of the swimming pool, Turkish bath, and sauna. Enjoy a four-course dinner at Michelin star restaurant St. Gerlach and then on your second night, indulge in a five-course dinner at Michelin star restaurant Chateau Neercanne. Rates start from just EUR 259; available until December 31, 2007.
Billed as the world's sexiest hotel, the trendy Adam and Eve Hotel-- located along the Belek coastline near Antalya in southern Turkey-- also boasts the world's largest swimming pool. (It's got a fancy design award to back up its claims.) Floor-to-ceiling windows provide endless views of the Mediterranean. Guest rooms boast state-of-the-art lighting systems and walls of mirrors. The sleek restaurant promises the finest cuisine from cultures around the globe. There are bars aplenty. Plus, there's a cute little promotional ditty, to boot:
a room in paradise
for every adam and eve
a heaven on earth
you'll never want to leave...
Enjoy a very special Thanksgiving, Breakers style. From November 21- 25, 2007, The Breakers Palm Beach will offer a bountiful harvest of good eats and fun-filled activities the whole family will enjoy. Think late-night laser tag, catamaran cruises and snorkeling trips, cooking demos, children's bedtime stories, and drive-in movies. After the Thanksgiving Day parade, savor a sumptuous feast in one of three locations-- the Ballroom, Flagler Steakhouse, or L'Escalier Restaurant—followed by Bingo & Bonfire on the beach. (There will be s'mores and prizes aplenty.) The revelry doesn't stop there; the weekend will be jam-packed with entertaining amusements. Standard Superior Rooms start at $399 per night.
For the ultimate safari experience "down under," head to Bamurru Plains, named one of the hottest new hotels on the planet by Conde Nast Traveller UK. Located just to the west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains, just two and a half hours from Darwin, Bamurru Plains exudes understated luxury in a breathtaking setting. With a host of birds and wildlife right at its doorstep, this remote camp brings a touch of decadent style to the beautiful Australian wilderness. Here guests can experience excellent safaris, crocodile cruises, and airboat trips into the surrounding savannah woodland teeming with wildlife. With no TVs or phones, each individual safari suite is designed to blend with the environment, exposing guests to incredible sights and sounds: the haunting call of a Whistling Kite, the sound of a full grown buffalo splashing its way through the floodplains, the morning chorus of tens of thousands of Magpie Geese. Raised on timber platforms, these nine free-standing rooms are filled with creature comforts: blissful beds, 100 percent cotton linens, extra-large, soft bath towels, and high pressure showers. Guests gather for excellent meals in the main lodge, where the small number of guests ensures a superior level of attention. Rates start from AUD $850 per person, per night (double occupancy), including meals, beverages, and scheduled activities. The camp is closed from November 1- January 31.
Take a break this fall with the popular Stay and Play Golf Package at everyone's favorite, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort-- and enjoy overnight accommodations and a free round of golf on the PGA-tested Mystic Rock course. Or choose the Stay and Spa Package, which includes a complimentary 50-minute Hot Stone or Swedish Massage at the indulgent Woodlands Spa. Both packages are available from $299, when you book Sunday-Thursday.
This Saturday, October 6, 2007 Paris will remain open all night for its annual cultural extravaganza. What a way to pull an all-nighter! From sun-down to sunrise, the grand museums, churches, historical sites (and even swimming pools) of Paris will remain open and free to the public. Visitors can even enjoy the palace of Versailles under moonlight. The city obliges with free transport (shuttle buses, and there's always the cool, free bike service). Night owls will go gaga over the nocturnal contemporary art exhibitions and music concerts in these exciting venues. This year's Nuit Blanche is dedicated to Ingrid Betancourt, the politician and activist held hostage by the FARC in the Colombian jungle since 2002.