This ain't no suction cup. The Monsterpod stick-to-anything tripod is pretty revolutionary technology, billed as the "most incredible digital planet tripod on planet earth." The "patent pending viscoelastic morphing polymer super grip tripod" sticks to more than 1,000 objects (you know, the usual suspects: trees, traffic lights, windows...) Small, compact, and a mere $29.95.
My home town is getting a makeover and I couldn't be happier. Kimpton-- that most delightful hotelier-- has bought the aged, decrepit Holiday Inn in Old Town, Alexandria and plans a complete overhaul. At long last: the return of glamour and class to this prime real estate in the heart of Old Town's cobblestone streets, flickering gas lamps and gorgeous colonial homes! Kimpton is pumping in $22 million in its conversion; the new Hotel Monaco, Alexandria will have 241 colorful and unique guest rooms, a pool, fitness club, and fine dining. Bring it on.
From Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications, Small Luxury Hotels of the World In the last 18 months, SLH has received over 1100 enquiries for membership. In 2005 alone, the brand received over 650 membership enquiries via its website, of which only 17 hotels met the standards and earned membership for 2006. Regionally, SLH received 23 requests for membership from hotels in Thailand but only 5 became members for 2006. 91 requests were received from the U.S.A. but only 6 became members. A total of 55 requests from Italian hoteliers lead to the biggest grouping of 11 new members; finally, 30 requests from the UK and 26 from France both only delivering two members each. Although Small Luxury Hotels of the World continues to receive requests for membership in the traditional markets, the brand is making a concerted effort to expand into newer, emerging markets. This effort has already paid off for 2006 with the addition of hotels in Laos, China, South Korea and Russia. Areas of interest for future growth in 2007 are Dubai, South America, Eastern Europe, China and Japan where the brand is already in serious discussion with luxury boutique properties. The total collection now stands at 359 hotels in 59 countries, and for the first time includes a presence in South Korea, Laos, St Lucia, Russia and Estonia. See the list after the jump.
In The Americas 1. Adara Hotel at Whistler; Canada 2. Le Chateau du lac Sacacomie; Quebec, Canada 3. Dolphin Bay Hotel & Residences; San Louis Obispo, CA 4. The Inn of the Five Graces; Sante Fe, NM 5. Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate; Huntington, NY 6. Goodstone Inn & Estate; Middleburg, VA 7. Marina Inn at Grande Dunes; Myrtle Beach, SC 8. Castle Hill Resort & Spa; Ludlow, VT 9. Sivory Punta Cana; Dominican Republic 10. Discovery at Marigot Bay; St Lucia 11. Gaia Hotel & Reserve; Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica In Asia Pacific 1. Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant; Katoomba, Australia 2. The Country Club Sydney; Nr Sydney, Australia 3. Island Hideaway Spa Resort & Marina; Dhonakulhi Island, Maldives 4. The Fortress; Galle, Sri Lanka 5. The Beach Negombo; Negombo, Sri Lanka 6. Banyan Tree Lijiang, Lijiang, China 7. Fuchun Resort Hangzhou; Hangzhou, China 8. Losari Coffee Plantation Resort & Spa; Central Java, Indonesia 9. Maison Souvannaphoun Hotel; Luang Prabang, Laos 10. Eros Spa & Resort Club Parthenon; Chungnam Province, South Korea 11. Hotel Hera Club Parthenon; Chungnam Province, South Korea 12. The Baan Thai Wellness Retreat; Bangkok, Thailand 13. D2hotel chiang mai; Chiang Mai, Thailand 14. The Racha; Phuket, Thailand 15. Nakamanda Resort & Spa; Krabi, Thailand 16. Aleenta Resort & Spa; Phang Nga, Thailand In Europe 1. Hoteldorf Gruner Baum; Salzburg, Austria 2. Manos Premier Hotel; Brussels, Belgium 3. Padaste Manor; Muhu Island, Estonia 4. Estate Hotel Schwarzer Adler; Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany 5. Brandenburger Hof; Berlin, Germany 6. De Hoefslag; Utrecht, The Netherlands 7. Dwor Oliwski Hotel & Restaurant; Gdansk, Poland 8. Savoy Moscow; Moscow, Russia 9. Royal Park Hotel; Bernese Oberland, Switzerland 10. Chateau de Cely; Ile de France, France 11. L’Hermitage Gantois; Lille, France 12. St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel; Crete, Greece 13. Villa Le Scale; Isle of Capri, Italy 14. Albergo San Montano; Isle of Ischia, Italy 15. Townhouse 12; Milan, Italy 16. Townhouse 31; Milan, Italy 17. Townhouse 70 Suite Hotel; Turin, Italy 18. Masseria Torre Coccaro; Puglia, Italy 19. Inn at the Roman Forum; Rome, Italy 20. View at the Spanish Steps; Rome, Italy 21. Relais la Suvera; Tuscany, Italy 22. Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte; Tuscany, Italy 23. I Casali di Monticchio; Umbria, Italy 24. Selenza Thalasso Wellness Hotel; Andalucia, Spain 25. Hotel Club Maritimo Sotogrande; Andalucia, Spain 26. Vincci Seleccion La Plantacion del Sur; Canary Islands, Spain 27. Mas Passamaner; Tarragona, Spain 28. The El Rodat Hotel; Alicante, Spain 29. The Goring; London England 30. Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island; Argyll, Scotland 31. La Stampa Hotel & Spa; Dublin, Ireland 32. La Sultana Hotel & Spa; Marrakech, MoroccoOur question? Who dropped out ... Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Official Site Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Five Star Alliance
From Doug Camp, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Hay-Adams
The DC Cherry Blossom Festival happens each year from March 25th through April 9th (although the Yoshino cherry blossom trees will stay in bloom a little longer than that). This year's parade on Saturday, April 8th will be hosted by Pat Sajak. Other performers include Anthony Fedorov (American Idol Season 4) and Grammy-nominated artist Martha Wash.
Doug Camp from The Hay-Adams, a luxurious Washington, DC Boutique hotel, pointed out that they are offering their Cherry Blossom Package again this year. The package includes complimentary parking, but walking from The Hay-Adams to the blossoms around the Tidal Basin a) is a great walk which includes the White House, Washington Memorial, World War II Memorial and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, b) shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
UPDATE 2 (March 29): The National Park Service's chief horticulturist Rob DeFeo now says Thursday, March 30th will be the peak bloom date for the Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms.
UPDATE: According to the National Park Service Chief Horticulturist, Rob DeFeo, the predicted peak blooming period for the 2006 Cherry Blossoms is March 27th through April 1st.
There is nothing more beautiful than the Cherry Blossoms in bloom around the Tidal Basin. Experience the beauty firsthand while enjoying luxurious accommodations at The Hay-Adams. This package is based on a two night minimum stay. Cherry Blossom Festival information, a special amenity, and complimentary parking are included. Packages start at $309.00 from March 24 – April 9, 2006.
Call the Hotel to reserve 800.853.6807
The Hay-Adams, Official Site
The Hay-Adams, Five Star Alliance
March is upon us, and for serious skiers (but those who prefer not to jet to the Southern Hemisphere during the other half of the year), this means the last days of the season on the slopes. And for some of the finest skiing in Europe-- away from Turin's still dissipating crowds-- the French Alps beckon. And the elegance and exceptional location of Hotel de Charme Les Airelles prove temptingly attractive. A grand chalet of the past, this place still embodies the prestigious old-world days of opulence and grandeur. During the 1992 Winter Olympics, Les Airelles served as home to the International Olympic Committee. Basking in its beautiful setting, with ski runs at the door, the hotel boasts an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam and Turkish bath.
Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, Official Site
Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, Five Star Alliance
Courtesy of the NYT: Tip the housekeepers on your next hotel stay!
Perhaps because they were unseen, working in the room when the guest was gone, hotel maids were generally overlooked by many travelers until fairly recently. A seasoned business traveler would always make sure to have a bunch of singles on hand to take care of the parking valet, the bellhop, the doorman and the cabby. But the maid? ...[the physicality of the housekeeping job has] become more intense in recent years, especially as hotels in the upscale and luxury niches have added luxurious new beds and bedding. Take a look at those swanky beds. They have duvets. They have half a dozen pillows and heavy 300-thread-count sheets-- usually three sheets, rather than two, per bed. Now think about the extra work involved in making those swell beds. Yet in most hotels, the maids are still expected to do the same number of rooms a shift, usually 14 to 16.Thus the importance of tipping. But-- in your experience-- what is the appropriate amount to tip?
Did they neglect to read National Geographic's damning assessment of the Costa del Sol? In Traveler's yearly Destination Scorecord-- ranking the integrity of places by creating an index of Destination Stewardship-- Spain's coast has gone to the dogs. The pressures of development, pollution, globalization, and mass tourism have held sway:
...[in] Spain's Costa del Sol—the overbuilt "Costa del Concrete," which caters to package tours from northern Europe... you can hear more English or German than Spanish. As with many uncontrolled seashores, a nonstop line of characterless hotels blocks off the coastline.The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has assumed management of one of these hotels: the 112-room luxurious Villa Padierna. Though the place has got a golf course, spa, Beach Club, and rooms full of antiques, I'm still skeptical. Good luck, Ritz-Carlton. Let's see if they can turn the tide and bring back the glamor.
I know, I know, I'm a sucker for the white beds in the bar at the Delano. The fact is—I'm a sucker for everything Delano. The chic white bedrooms, the private beach, the magnificent pool, the elegant Indoor/Outdoor Lobby. This is the very best kind of luxurious urban resort, smack dab in the middle of South Beach. With fabulous dining (and did I mention the bars?), this is the place to see and be seen. Paradise could be the cool poolside bungalows, with custom Starck-designed furnishings, luxurious marble bathrooms, and billowing white curtains.
The Delano, Official Site
The Delano, Five Star Alliance
I dig the idea of a totally-democratized travel guide, written and edited by travelers like you and me. In the words of WikiTravel:
Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. So far we have 7,561 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe.But is it reliable and trust-worthy?
In possibly the most heavenly setting on earth, the Spa at Little Dix Bay is situated high above the Caribbean, caressed by sea breezes with stunning vistas of sea, sky and sand. The Spa's philosophy is of ecological balance with the environment; thus the individualized treatment cottages are designed to blend harmoniously into the oceanside cliffs, incorporating local design elements. Likewise, the treatments feature the ancient healing arts of the island's early indigenous populations, using organic herbs and oils. The Cliff Spa Suite is the ultimate hideaway, with luxurious private facilities for both indoor and open-air wet and dry treatments, couple's massage, and a whirlpool overlooking the Caribbean. The Spa menu is as divine as the exclusive resort of Little Dix Bay. Examples include the Salt Island Scrub, Spice and Coconut Body Bliss (using a blend of freshly shredded young coconut and local Caribbean spices), or the Lemongrass Spice Wrap (using hand-picked lemongrass from the resort’s gardens.)
Little Dix Bay, Official Site
Little Dix Bay, Five Star Alliance