LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Diamonds? Chocolate? Pink hearts and white doilies? Who needs 'em when you can really do Valentine's Day right with the My Healthy Valentine Package in Chicago. Four Seasons Hotel Chicago has partnered with the Center for Partnership Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to create an unforgettable Valentine's Day experience. Take care of your heart--and the heart of your beloved--with the My Healthy Valentine Package. Experience a romantic getaway at the plush Four Seasons as well as a comprehensive physical and one-of-a-kind health assessment from the Center for Partnership Medicine with top specialists. (In addition to the physical and screenings, dieticians will help you develop nutrition and exercise plans for a healthy lifestyle for the New Year.) After your physicals, check into your luxurious suite at Four Seasons and let the pampering begin. The package includes the Couples Harmony Massage in the Spa, a romantic, candle-lit dinner in your room featuring a healthy menu specially prepared by Executive Chef Kevin Hickey , and an in-room welcome amenity of red wine and dark chocolate as well as signed copies of Dr. Michael Roizen's YOU: On a Diet and YOU: The Owner's Manual. The one-night package rate begins at $8,900 per night, including the health experience. Rates for additional nights begin at $635.
Perched high in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, just 45 minutes from Marrakech, Virgin's latest retreat is the ultimate luxury hideaway. The sumptuous Kasbah Tamadot boasts one of the most dramatic views on earth: soaring mountain peaks above hillside Berber villages and the river valley beneath. The grounds are meticulously landscaped with rose, fruit, and cactus plants, enhanced by courtyards, terraces, and the gorgeous infinity pool. There is a spa, gym, hammam, tennis courts, indoor swimming pool, and acclaimed restaurant with sweeping views. The accommodations are nothing short of magnificent: each room is individually designed with terracotta tiles, patterned rugs, antique doors, and hand painted furniture. The three-bedroom master suite, called "The Studio," is situated away from the main building in its own private haven beyond the rose garden. It is rich in architectural detail, with all the luxurious contemporary conveniences. The lower level has two spacious bedrooms (one with a private pool). There is another bedroom on the upper level with an expansive roof terrace.
Located at the world-famous Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Echo restaurant serves diverse and delicious flavors of Asia in a lovely setting accented by vibrant decor and Asian-influenced art. The menu is composed of the Five Elements; make your selections from Wind (small plates to begin the journey, Fire (the wok), Water (beverages, sushi, seafood and shellfish), Earth (meat, game, poultry, and produce), and to complete your trip, Flavor (desserts and sweets). Back by popular demand, Echo is resuming its wildly successful Demo and Dinner Series this January. Enjoy a series of interactive evenings with the restaurant's most popular Asian dishes prepared before your eyes. The four-course dinner features a half-price specialty drink to complement the cuisine and is priced at $70 per person. The series begins with The Art of Japanese Cuisine on January 10, 2007. The Art of Thai Cuisine will take place on February 7, followed by The Art of Chinese Cuisine on March 7, and The Art of Vietnamese Cuisine on April 11.
Soft sandy beaches. Excellent scuba diving. Beautifully colored colonial houses and architecture that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A vibrant cultural melange (including Arawak, Dutch, Spanish, West Indian, Latin, and African). Lively nightlife. Curucao has it all. And in the winter months, these islands-- about 35 miles north of Venezuela and a 2 1/2 hour flight from Miami-- host one of the best festivals in the Caribbean: Curacao's Carnival. As described by Fodor's:
Starting in early January, street dances, parades and parties -- called "Jump-ups" -- get underway every weekend through the end of Carnival. The main parades, featuring fantastic floats and costumes, take place in February and early March. (Parade routes vary from year to year, so ask your hotel concierge about special seating for tourists.)
Where to stay? Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino is the only five-star hotel in Curacao. A member of Leading Small Hotels of the World, the hotel and its new sister property, Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club, are located in central Willemstad, overlooking the glorious St. Anna Bay. Kura Hulanda is itself a museum, offering a superb collection of 18th and 19th century architecture in this Dutch Colonial historic district. The 80-room luxury boutique hotel is nestled within a village complex which is part of this exciting historic and environmental preservation project. Take advantage of an excellent Winter Value Rate of $210 per room, per night at both properties, available until April 8, 2007.
Fringed by the tall, snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees, the French village of Cauterets is a picturesque resort destination, famed for its seasonal recreational activities. In the winter, Cauterets is almost always shrouded in a thick blanket of snow, and entices skiers and snowboarders of all levels to hit the slopes carved from the surrounding mountains. This year's scant snowfall has compelled most French ski resorts in the Pyrenees to close-- with the exception of Cauterets, of course. The town's proximity to some of the best hiking trails in France (the National Park of the Pyrenees straddles the Franco-Spanish border and boasts a wealth of natural beauty) ensures plenty of summertime visitors as well. After a day on the slopes, relax fatigued muscles in Les Thermes, the Roman style bath complex fed by hot springs. (The naturally-warm water may reek of rotten eggs, but the jet pools and showers are divine.) Sip an aperitif at one of many cozy bars or hit the casino, located near the river which flows through the town. At the small covered market, foodies drool over perfect wedges of local cheese, homemade blueberry torte, and seasoned charcuterie. Note: most shops are only open in the morning and evening hours.
There's been a lot of hype about the launch of Nicky Hilton's first boutique hotel, the Nicky O in South Beach. The New York Times hailed it a Hotel of the Year, listed alongside such exciting properties as The Peninsula Tokyo, Amanresort's newest boutique in New Delhi, and the Brazilian jet-setter's paradise of Warapuru.
Want a big name in hotels, but not a megachain like Hilton? Then check into Nicky O South Beach, a 95-unit condo hotel in Miami from Nicky Hilton, who is branching out beyond her handbag and jewelry businesses. Expected to open next spring, the hotel promises ''fashion, glamour, celebrity and an unparalleled social environment,'' at least according to its Web site, which carries as much information about Ms. Hilton as it does about the hotel.
Nicky's promised a hip, celebrity-packed hot spot. The hotel will feature E! News Tickers in prominent places, photos of all of her buddy celebs, cupcakes at turndown, and designer suites, including a 5,000-square-foot penthouse designed by Roberto Cavalli. But there's a hitch. (Or maybe a few.) The hotel has been dogged with woes aplenty: ongoing delays, a lawsuit, and a premature reputation of notoriety inspired by HotelChatter's savvy sleuthwork. We're yet to see whether this dabbling in the family business will actually pay off.
Savor an enchanting Valentine's Day package at some of the world's most romantic hotels and resorts. From the French Riviera to the East Coast of North America, Relais and Chateaux properties are luxurious hideaways that provide the best kind of pampering for you and a loved one. Packages include luxury accommodations and some delicious treats... like Champagne on ice in your guestroom, a romantic dinner for two, chocolate-dipped strawberries, pampering spa treatments, and more. At the Chateau de Noirieux in the Loire Valley, for example, enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day package that is also a gourmand's fantasy. The sumptuous hotel, truly fit for a king, features lavish accommodations and a superb restaurant in a grand architectural setting dating from the 12th century. The Valentine's Day package includes accommodations for two, continental breakfast, lunch or dinner with a special Valentine's menu, and a half bottle of Champagne in-room upon arrival. Priced at EUR 370, available from February 9-14, 2007. And North Carolina's elegant country inn, The Fearrington House, is offering a one-night Romance Package which includes overnight accommodations, traditional English Afternoon Tea, full breakfast, a bottle of chilled champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, gourmet dinner for two, a red rose at turndown, and luxurious robes and slippers. Starting at $560, available from February 14- 28, 2007. The full list of participating Relais and Chateaux properties can be found here.
Come April 1, 2007, The Greenbrier will debut a sassy new makeover. For over two centuries this distinguished resort-- a National Historic Landmark-- has charmed discerning travelers with its stately architecture, scenic beauty, abundant recreational activities (50! including a world-class spa and golf), and impeccable service. But this symbol of ultra-luxury lost its Mobil five star rating in 2000 after 38 consecutive years ranked as one of the top resorts in North America. With this exciting $50 million renovation, The Greenbrier seeks to regain its superstar status. For the first time since World War II, The Greenbrier is closing from January 3 until April 1, 2007 to complete the makeover, which includes new restaurants and nightlife, and luscious, new beds and linens and flat-screen TVs for all 721 guest rooms. Hemisphere will debut in the former Old White Lounge area, featuring exciting global cuisine from Chef Michael Voltaggio. 38°80 will be The Greenbrier's new entertainment venue in what was formerly The Tavern Room, with handcrafted flights and world lounge music that will evolve as the evening progresses-- a sultry, sexy ambience. In addition, the full renovation of 63 guest rooms will add new marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers and executive-style desks. Be the first to discover the new Greenbrier in Spring 2007; reservations are now being accepted.
What could possibly be more luxurious than the Ritz-Carlton Spas? A ritzy spa experience with Prada Beauty skin care products. Select Ritz-Carlton Spas have partnered with Prada to bring lucky guests the ultimate in blissful pampering and relaxation. There are four indulgent beauty treatments available: the Prada Exfoliant Visage (a gentle peel that eliminates dull surface cells while re-texturing and re-vitalizing skin), the Prada Radiance Visage (Prada's highly advanced Lightening Concentrate/Face contains a freshly mixed Ascorbic Acid that works to lighten dark spots and correct irregular pigmentation, thus restoring luminosity), the Prada Reviving Visage (an intensive, non-surgical treatment that dramatically lifts and firms facial contours, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and restores natural beauty to mature skin), and the Prada Replenishing Body Facial (a soothing re-mineralizing treatment that uses a combination of specialized massage techniques and Prada's signature scent).
Participating Ritz-Carlton Spas include Georgetown, Huntington, Laguna Niguel, Naples, Reynolds Plantation, Half Moon Bay, Key Biscayne, Lake Las Vegas, Orlando Grande Lakes, Sarasota, and South Beach-- the award-winning La Maison de Beauté Carita, the only location of this signature spa outside of Paris. All Prada Beauty treatments include eight single-use Prada beauty products to continue the luxury at home. Talk about indulgence.
The tiny island of St. John-- accessible only by boat or ferry-- is the least developed of the US Virgin Islands: a paradise of tropical forests, white sandy beaches, and turquoise waters teeming with tropical life. Nestled within the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, the exclusive resort of Caneel Bay has been celebrated as one of the finest in the world since it was founded by Laurance Rockefeller. Caneel's accommodations have been artfully constructed to blend into the landscape-- the seven secluded beaches and 170 lush acres surrounding the property. Here, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts will host the newest chapter of its exclusive Hot Type Author Series with world-renowned writer Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and The King in the Window. From January 27-31, 2007, Gopnik will host a series of private dinners where guests will have the exclusive opportunity to discuss his past works, his adventures in Paris as well as his most recent book, Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York. The Hot Type Author Series Program debuted at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, with Michael Gross, and has been praised by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report as the "most unique hotel amenity" of 2005.