LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
September 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Vegas building boom is simply not slowing down. The hotels that used to be the center of the action are facing a lot of competition; 40,000 new hotel rooms are being built over the next five years! So hotels like the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel-- home of the notorious Rehab pool parties on Sunday-- are injecting lots of capital. Like $750 million worth, in a massive expansion and renovation that will preserve the hotel's classic party image but lure a more upscale clientele. Purchased by Morgans Hotel Group in February, the hip Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel is going to go even edgier, with the addition of two new towers, spa, celebrity-designed deluxe suites, and European style (a.k.a. topless) pool. The most notable addition? Wasted Space, the tattoo-parlor-inspired lounge.
September 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Wishing you a wonderful long weekend from all of us at Five Star Alliance. We'll be back soon with the latest deals and news from the best luxury hotels around the world.
Follow your bliss to Brazil, where a stylish eco-retreat on Bahia's Câcao Coast is making waves with its incredible setting and chic rooms. Fourteen bungalows-- outfitted with decks, gauze-netted beds, and sun terraces with open-air showers-- are surrounded by 1,500 isolated acres, overlooking an unspoiled, white sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Set within a large coconut palm plantation, Fazenda da Lagoa offers mesmerizing sea views or sunset vistas over the mangroves. There's AC, a direct dial phone, and a TV with DVD and CD player, so isolated paradise doesn't mean you have to kiss goodbye technology. Bathrooms have Casa Granado brand soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion-- all biodegradable products. Relax with a massage or spa treatment at the Wellbeing Lounge, where mineral-rich rainforest clays are used in special treatments like the Rainforest Mud Mask. Leisure activities include treks on the Maroin river and kayaking the lagoon, but you can always just lounge by the beautiful pool.
For those seeking a special hideaway in the French capital, look no further than Relais Christine, a secluded luxury boutique in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres within a stone's throw of the Louvre and Notre-Dame. Tucked in the end of a narrow street, this delightful haven is housed in a former 13th-century abbey. Through the gates of Relais Christine, discover a cobbled, flower-filled courtyard and 51 lovely guest rooms decorated with authentic Louis XIII décor and fine antiques. Some rooms have private terraces overlooking the garden. Breakfast is served in the vaulted room that was once the abbey's kitchen. There's an honesty bar where you can help yourself at any time. And spa treatments are available on the lower level. Special Fall rates at Relais Christine start at just EUR 340 in a Standard room, which includes breakfast, one ticket to the Louvre, free access to the fitness center, and free parking. Valid from September 1- November 30, 2007.
The Dorchester is one of the most desirable places in the world to stay. For 75 years, this gracious London establishment has welcomed celebrities, world leaders, and society with style and hospitality. Looking across the soft green lawns of Hyde Park-- the city's largest royal park-- The Dorchester boasts a premier London address in the heart of exclusive Mayfair. Here, guests enjoy spacious rooms with great charm, fabulous dining, an indulgent spa, and exceptional service. From now until December 31, 2007, take advantage of the Martini Cool package at The Dorchester, and receive special rates for two with full breakfast, plus two complimentary cocktails, created specially by the Bar Manager, along with a a beautiful set of Dorchester Collection cocktail mixing cards with the Martini creations from all five hotels. Starting from GBP 385 per night.
Summer is fast approaching in sunshine-soaked Sydney. Stake your claim to some stylish digs on the Wharf at Woolloomooloo, where BLUE Sydney showcases fun and modern accommodations, including 36 stunning Loft Rooms. Managed by Taj Hotels, BLUE enjoys beautiful views of the Sydney Central Business and Shopping District, the harbour and Royal Botanical Gardens. Housed in a historic wharf building, the boutique hotel retains all the charm and authenticity while offering all the latest in luxurious comfort and cutting-edge technology. The Ultra Loft Suite boasts a spacious lounge with sofa downstairs with a deluxe bathroom and King bed upstairs. Located on the 5th floor, the two Ultra Loft Suites have unimpeded Bay and City views.
Coming this winter 2007: the hotly anticipated Guerlain Spa at the sophisticated Regent Bal Harbour Hotel. With this spa opening, The Regent Bal Harbour unveils a new spa brand in the U.S.-- one which exclusively offers Guerlain therapies and products in a luxurious environment. Located near the prestigious Bal Harbour Shops in North Miami Beach, the oceanfront luxury hotel features exquisitely appointed rooms, outdoor pool with private cabanas, and two gourmet restaurants. Boasting a beautiful oceanside location, the 15-room, 10,000 square foot Guerlain Spa joins other notable destinations in Milan, Paris, and Shanghai and utilizes the complete line of Guerlain's world-renowned skincare products in its customized treatments. Upon arrival at the Guerlain Spa, guests will be asked to complete a comprehensive Spa Therapy Questionnaire, which therapists use to create a personalized beauty and wellness strategy. Plus, the questionnaire's results are transferable to any Guerlain Spa worldwide so clients can continue their well-being journey anywhere in the world.
For the ultimate epicurean experience, take a respite at a beautiful chateau situated just five minutes from the center of Reims and the epic Notre Dame Cathedral. Surrounded by sprawling gardens and hundred years old trees, Chateau Les Crayeres is the embodiment of French elegance and superior gastronomy. This is a luxurious gourmet retreat in the heart of Champagne country. The hotel has organized some excellent packages which combine incredible tasting dinners with organized tours of some of the most celebrated vineyards in the area. For example, the "Discover Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin" package includes a VIP welcome in your beautifully appointed room, a spectacular dinner at the chateau proposed by Chef Didier Elena, a tour at the Veuve Clicquot Champagne house and its Gallo-Roman cellar, and a visit to the surrounding vineyards. Priced from EUR 2300 for two people for a two-night stay.
Things are simply sizzling in Vegas. Now's the time to hit the beach at Mandalay Bay, with a special getaway package starting from just $109 per night in a Deluxe Room. Enjoy the only premier wave pool in Vegas with lots of pristine sand-- 11 acres of tropical poolside bliss. But that's not all. Mandalay Bay has improved upon this fantastical fun-in-the-sun Vegas experience with the $30 million Beach expansion, which includes the new air-conditioned beachside casino, just steps from the crashing waves. (Sliding glass panels provide the ultimate indoor-outdoor comfort). There's a new Beach Bar & Grill, along with the exclusive new sun villas overlooking the Beach, which feature day beds, wet bars, 50-inch flat-screen televisions, MP3 players, changing areas and private decks. The Surf N Sand package includes $300 in Mandalay Place Savings Certificates and $20 in exclusive "Sand Dollars" to use anyway you like at Mandalay Beach.
There's been a lot of buzz about Napa Valley's latest: the 89-room Solage Calistoga resort, which welcomes pets, boasts a mud bar at the spa, uses solar power, and serves fine, locally-grown produce. Enlightened, chic, and utterly fabulous, Solage Calistoga is located on the northern edge of Napa Valley. Rooms are named from stars in the night sky (how cool is that?), designed with natural materials and warm local woods. All of the accommodations feature outdoor private patios, a pebbled-stone shower, flat-screen TV, desk with high-speed WiFi Internet, DVD player, and iPod docking station. A pair of cruiser bikes is provided for your use during your stay, so you can go for a spin through the resort's beautiful 22 acres. Have a ball (bocce) on the classic courts, or take a dip in the beautiful pool. Energize yourself at the Spa Solage with a full-body mud "cocktail" at the Mud Bar. After dark, gather around the fire pits and savor a cocktail before enjoying the restaurant's delightful cuisine.