LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
February 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, of Burj al Arab fame, is heading to the Bermuda Triangle. The fast-growing luxury hospitality group has a portfolio with some of the most luxurious and iconic properties in the world: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Madinat Jumeirah, and Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa in Dubai, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London, and the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South in New York. Ambitious new plans are in the works, including the first new luxury resort to be built in Bermuda in 35 years. Jumeirah Southlands Resort promises to shake things up in one of the most enduringly popular vacation destinations in the Americas. Scheduled to open in mid-2008 (pending the appropriate building permits, of course), the Jumeirah Southlands will be situated on 37 acres on Bermuda's South Shore. They're going for a contemporary, innovative style:
Seamlessly incorporated into nature by the extensive use of glass and seemingly endless vistas are a series of dramatically 21st century structures, stairways and open plazas that encompass the suites, ridge-top town houses overlooking the ocean, restaurants and other public areas.
Expansive beach and swimming pools? Check. Nightclub, bars, and restaurant? Check. Conference Center and business facilities? Of course. This resort will even have an equestrian center.
In the most romantic city on earth, the Hotel Cipriani offers the most luxurious accommodations in a secluded haven of elegance and calm. Located at the tip of Giudecca Island, the Cipriani is just a short, spectacular boat ride from St. Mark's Square. The 15th century buildings of the Palazzi, linked to the hotel through an ancient courtyard and flowered passageway, boast magnificent views overlooking the lagoon and Piazza San Marco. The gorgeous swimming pool, the only one of its kind in central Venice, likewise enjoys incredible views over the lagoon. The hotel's spa, named Casanova for the legendary lover who used to hold clandestine trysts in the gardens of the Hotel Cipriani, spills out onto private terraces with fountains.
In this magical setting, take advantage of a special three-day opera package which features a performance at the Fenice Theatre in Venice. The package is available starting with the premiere of Rachmaninov's Francesca di Rimini and Aleko on March 16, 2007. The Great La Fenice Opera Theatre Package includes three night's luxurious accommodation in a junior suite with full American breakfast, Italian Spumante and flowers in-room, two seats in a centrally located box at La Fenice (to be shared with another couple), one gourmet three-course dinner for two (either at the Cip's Club or in a Venetian restaurant near the Theatre La Fenice), and complimentary transportation to and from the airport. The package is priced at EUR 1,450 per night, from March 16-April 19, 2007, and October 21, 2007-January 6, 2008. (From April 20-October 20, 2007, the package is EUR 2,160 per night.)
Overlooking the Miles River by the Chesapeake Bay, the Inn at Perry Cabin is an elegant circa-1816 manor house located on 25 scenic acres. An Orient-Express Hotel, the Inn at Perry Cabin is only a short stroll from the Victorian resort town of St. Michaels on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Steeped in history, the award-winning hotel offers 80 guest rooms with stunning water views, private terraces, in suite fireplaces and oversized bathrooms. This is the perfect hideaway to warm up the winter evenings. From now through March 31, 2007, enjoy savings of 40 percent with a special offer of 3 nights for the price of 2 at the Inn at Perry Cabin. In addition to the great savings, guests enjoy fun added amenities: board games by the fire at Purser's Pub or delivered to your room on the first evening, DVD movie of your choice delivered to the room on the second evening, and candlelit turndown service, cordials in room and a bubble bath on the third evening. And let's not forget the freshly-baked cookies with each evening's turndown service. The package is priced at $540 for three nights based on double occupancy in a Signature room.
Look out, South Florida; St. Regis is coming to the beach. Scheduled to open on May 1, 2007, the new St. Regis Fort Lauderdale is bringing a whole new level of luxury to Florida's Gold Coast. With signature St. Regis Butler Service and exceptional facilities, St. Regis Fort Lauderdale promises ultra-luxury for guests: whether pool-side, beach-side, at the spa, golfing, or fishing. Celebrated interior designers Hirsch Bedner Associates have created an indulgent haven of seaside elegance; the 166 guest rooms, including 8 oceanfront and 20 Intracoastal suites, were designed "to evoke the glamorous era of vintage yachting and luxe travel," and showcase sweeping views of the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway. The hotel will feature a state-of-the-art fitness facility, 8,500 sq. foot exclusive St. Regis Spa, pristine outdoor pool area, private cabana terrace, business center, and dazzling dining room.
This spring, Grace Bay Club will re-open its original landmark hotel building after a $6 million, year-long transformation. Now both families and couples can experience this luxurious all-suite resort experience in the Caribbean. The 11-acre property comprises The Hotel, a romantic adults-only enclave of 21 opulent suites which will open in the spring; The Villas, a family-friendly retreat with 38 expansive luxury suites and one-of-a-kind penthouses, and The Estate, a collection of 22 custom residences and penthouse suites set to debut in 2008. Poised on the spectacular Grace Bay Beach on Provedenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the resort features three dining venues, the Anani Spa, an imaginative kids' program, and a full array of recreational activities, including tennis and oodles of water sports. Recently named "Most Excellent Resort" in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific by Condé Nast Johansens, Grace Bay Club is consistently ranked among the world's finest resorts.
Smack in the middle of "the world's most absurd adult playground" (to quote Aarib Gulley in "Double Down," Outside Traveler's Winter issue), amidst the glitz and all that nonstop action, Canyon Ranch SpaClub provides a quiet haven of tranquility. Located on the fourth floor of the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, the spa is a 69,000 square-ft mega-facility complete with health and wellness center, massage, skin care and body treatments, gyms and weights rooms, therapeutic pools, and a three-story rock-climbing wall. Sumptuous massages and treatments truly run the gamut. As described by Fodor's:
The extensive treatment menu here covers any desire, including Tibetan Bowl Healing and an Ayurvedic herbal rejuvenating treatment. The unusual Rasul Ceremony is a Middle Eastern treatment of herbal steam and medicinal mud in a tiled steam chamber -- perfect for couples. The nutrition, wellness, and exercise physiology departments also offer free lectures, Lifetime Nutrition Consultation, and acupuncture. An adjoining café serves healthy cuisine and smoothies.
In an era of premium air travel for the uber-rich, the likes of which has never been seen before, Singapore Airlines proves itself a trendsetter with the launch of its new fleet of Boeing 777-300ER's. As described by ABC News, the "Orient Express of the skies" makes the 20-hour flights seem short:
For a mere $10,000, first class airline passengers can now rest their champagne glasses on mahogany tables as they hunker down in Givenchy sleep suits in 30-inch leather seats that turn into cozy beds.
This is luxury flying at its finest, with the world's widest First and Business Class seats, enhanced personal space, awesome entertainment systems, and tempting cuisine. In addition, Singapore Airlines is scheduled to launch its new 555-seat Airbus 380 in October, which will boast a bar on each deck.
A member of Starwood's prestigious Luxury Collection, the US Grant is an historical classic, built in 1910 by Ulysses S. Grant Jr. to honor his war-hero father. After a $52 million renovation, the legendary Edwardian hotel re-opened in November 2006. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the US Grant blends classic beaux arts architecture with exceptional contemporary design including $6.5 million in newly commissioned art. Walk through the grand entrance on Fourth Avenue, step into the opulent lobby, and experience the era of elegance.
The pinnacle of the 11-story hotel are the two bi-level Presidential suites. These suites offer multi-level residential comfort in the heart of the cosmopolitan city, just steps from the lively Gaslamp Quarter. These enormous suites are comprised of an upper floor private master bedroom and lower level living room and formal dining room, exquisitely furnished. Of course this posh Presidential Suite offers more than creature comforts: the Luxury Collection bed, Italian linens, plush robes, warm slippers, and the latest in audio and visual technology perfect the sumptuous experience.
The landmark Hay-Adams Hotel, the residence of choice while visiting the nation's capital, has scored another award to add to its impressive list. Winners of the 2007 Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence were announced by Cindy Crawford on February 5 at LA's Hotel Bel-Air:
The awards are given annually to those properties worldwide that represent the finest standards and best value for money in luxury and independent accommodation, as chosen by its readers, hotel guests and Condé Nast Johansens inspection teams.
And the winner for Most Excellent Hotel (USA and Canada) is... DC's supremely luxurious Hay-Adams. Can't really say that I'm surprised. This hotel has serious bragging rights: a location just across Lafayette Square from The White House, warm service, impeccable style, and an impressive history.
According to the US Department of Transportation, there are more than half-million pets which fly each year. But navigating the rules and regs for flying with Fido can be tricky. Which airlines boycott pugs? When are fees required? Which airlines ban pets from the cabin? What if Fido needs his Prozac? CNN's got the skinny, with a list of helpful hints about the different airline policies. A sampling: pets must be considered "healthy" (with health certificates sometimes required to prove it), Southwest bans pets altogether while American and Northwest charge $80 for pets to fly in the cabin, and of course, no snakes are allowed on the plane. (Tip: "Do not feed or give water to your pet two hours before departure.")