LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
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.
Renowned French architect Gilles Saint-Gilles has transformed his bold vision into sublime reality with the beautiful Villa Camilla, which opened on Panama's idyllic Pacific coast in December 2005. "I want to live a refined lifestyle that doesn't compromise my childrens' future,” so says the architect, who has created a luxurious, exclusive retreat in harmony with the spectacular natural surroundings of lush green hills and sparkling Pacific. With a team of European craftsmen, Gilles built on-site workshops to train local artisans who have designed virtually every component of the guesthouse and private homes on-site: teak doors and shutters, bamboo ceilings, terra cotta brick floors, Chiriqui stone walls, and parquet floors patterned from purpleheart wood mixed with French oak wine caskets-- the ultimate mix of the Old World and New. This attention to detail has also been focused on the natural environment, as Gilles' team has restored the Tropical Dry Forest eco-system that originally existed in the province, providing wildlife habitat for the future. Villa Camilla (and its aesthetically magnificent guest rooms) is just one aspect of this elegant oceanside community; it is possible to purchase one of 71 lots and Saint-Gilles will custom-design the home to build on it.
It's here. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston's first new art museum in nearly a century, opened on December 11, 2006 on Fan Pier. The architectural centerpiece of Boston's waterfront, this vibrant cultural institution integrates the city's HarborWalk into the museum's design and showcases harbor views throughout the interior. In honor of the new museum, Langham Hotel is offering a special getaway package. Situated less than a mile from the museum, the Langham boasts its own collection of art, including two restored murals by N.C. Wyeth, paintings by artist Kenneth Maryanski, and a collection of antique cartographic materials and maps of New England and Atlantic Canada. Once the Federal Reserve Bank, the Langham Hotel is an elegant national landmark, a fusion of historic charm and urban sophistication. The luxurious guest rooms overlook the gardens of Post Office Square and the Boston city skyline. The AAA four-diamond hotel is home to the award-winning brasserie-style restaurant, Cafe Fleuri, where delicious Mediterranean cuisine is served under a lofty glass atrium ceiling. The Langham's ICA Package includes overnight accommodations, two tickets to the Institute of Contemporary Art, continental or buffet breakfast for two in the sky-lit Cafe Fleuri, use of Langham Hotel's Health Club and indoor pool, and a welcome gift from the Institute of Contemporary Art. Priced from $215 per room per night. Valid through March 30, 2007.
Hot off the press. You can now own a piece of the Telluride icon, the Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa. The resort's about to undergo a $60 million transformation into a condominium-hotel with exclusive Colorado homes and vacation condos available to a privileged few. 174 guest rooms will be converted into studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, available for individual ownership, priced from $500,000 each. Ideally located in the center of Mountain Village with ski-in/ski-out access, The Peaks embraces the spectacular mountain landscape that surrounds it. Condo owners will receive all the benefits of the five star resort: the impeccable personalized service, privileges at the Telluride Ski and Golf Company championship golf course, ski-in/ski-out access, Ski Valet to heat and tune boots and assist with equipment storage, four restaurants and 24-hour in-room dining, daily housekeeping, garment care, tennis, VIP Concierge to coordinate travel, arrange dining reservations and provide detailed information on the area's vast array of activities, and access to the Golden Door Spa, now available exclusively to members, residents, and guests. The best of both worlds.
Enjoy the tranquility of this luxurious English Country House retreat, ranked as one of Britain's top twenty hotels by Tatler magazine. Set amidst beautifully manicured English country gardens in the picturesque village of Evershot in Dorset Downs, Summer Lodge offers its guests a range of country pursuits, from horseback riding to shooting. But perhaps the most splendid part of the hotel is the 3 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant, where Chef Steven Titman's extravagant cuisine is matched by the fine wines chosen by Eric Zwiebel, UK Sommelier of the Year. (Indeed, Wine Spectator bestowed its Best of Award of Excellence in 2006 for the outstanding wine list.) The famous Summer Lodge Wine Dinners, held on the first Tuesday of every month, are memorable evenings where guests are spoiled with a four course dinner and a selection of five fine wines from a specific wine region. Guest speakers showcase the wines. The program for 2007 begins on March 6, 2007 with an evening dedicated to the best small family-owned domains in the Rhone Valley, France. (The dinner is priced at GBP 65.)
Beirut's most luxurious hotel, Le Royal Beirut, has recently opened. Situated on a hill overlooking the city, just 15 km from the International Airport, the five-star hotel is blessed with beautiful views of the azure Mediterranean from its 231 guest rooms and rooftop restaurant. Guests can now enjoy the hotel's excellent restaurants and bars, state-of-the-art health club (with personal trainers), outdoor pool and terrace, and the exclusive Royal Spa, spread out over four floors with panoramic vistas. The Spa offers lavish treatments, including the famed Dead Sea Mud Baths. The Dead Sea Mud Bath Package includes one night's accommodation in a Deluxe Sea View room, breakfast at Le Jardin du Royal, Dead Sea Mud Bath (45 minutes), late check-out, and complimentary access to swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and fitness facilities. Priced at $250 for two persons.
January 1 means new diets, dreams and well-intentioned goals aplenty. Leave it to Omni Hotels to help their guests uphold their New Years resolutions, with a slew of new services for the new year. Aiming to drop those extra lbs packed on during the holiday season? Omni's gotten in gear to help guests with their physical health with state of the art fitness facilities, running maps (and complimentary iced bottled water and towels offered for a cool-down), Get Fit Kits (two-pound dumbbells, a floor mat, stretch cords, and a mini radio headset for the ultimate in-room work-out) and Get Fit Guest Rooms, which come with their own treadmills, Get Fit Kits, and mini bars stocked with healthy snacks and drinks. Not only that. Omni's chefs are busy crafting menus that will be trans fat-free by the end of the first quarter. (Special dietary concerns? Just ask the chef. Omni's chefs are willing to accommodate any special dietary need.) And Omni hasn't forgotten about their guests' mental health. The music and scents in the hotel lobbies are designed to ensure a positive frame of mind, and Omni's signature in-room Sensation Bars include items such as CDs, pillow sprays, mini zen gardens, and eucalyptus bath salts to sooth the mind and body.