November 1, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Even in November, Vienna is quite the European hot spot. Catch a performance at the opera house. Hit the museums. Waltz til you drop at the Viennese ball. Come mid-November, discover seasonal cheer and gifts galore at the Christmas markets, while sampling hot punch and mouthwatering treats. And whatever you do, don't miss the Vienna Boys' Choir sing Sunday morning mass. Where to stay? The Grand Hotel Wien, the very hub of Viennese social life since the turn of the century, recalls the majesty of the past epoch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Besides the royal accommodations, the hotel boasts an excellent location: only a stroll away from the Vienna State Opera, the famous Karntner Strabe and the magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral.
Experience one of New Zealand's most exclusive and private lodges. Aptly named, Solitaire Lodge is situated on its own private peninsula, gazing out over Lake Tarawera and onto Mount Tarawera's peak. And with only 10 suites, this five-star lodge offers the ultimate in privacy, with personal service that's been recognized worldwide as virtuoso. From every luxury suite, you'll enjoy supernatural views from floor-to-ceiling windows. The Lodge provides an exciting base for those wishing to explore the area's natural beauty. You'll find a slew of activities: float plane tours, jetty access to luxury charter boats, trout-fishing, bush walking, and thermal bathing. It's here, in blissful seclusion, where you can experience the Ultimate Indulgence Package. Imagine: a 40-minute helicopter flight where you'll stop on Mount Tarawera for a glass of champagne. A three-hour cruise aboard Clearwater Pride with lunch served. A four-course gourmet dinner (the finest in New Zealand cuisine prepared by Chef Ervin Garde), daily cocktail hour, and full breakfast each day. The two-night retreat at Solitaire Lodge also includes a bottle of Methode Champenoise and one dozen red roses. Priced from NZD 2,250 per room, per stay. Minimum two-night stay.
There's a reason skiers flock to Vail's upscale sister resort for the season's first powder. Beaver Creek offers a luxurious ski and snowboarding experience with top-notch service. The ski resort serves fresh-baked cookies every afternoon on the slopes, offers complimentary ski-check for mountain guests, and e-mails grooming reports and snow conditions to the local hotels each morning. Rumor has it there are even snowboarding butlers available on the slopes. Talk about a stellar luxury mountain! The place to stay is the Beaver Creek Lodge, the resort's only luxury all-suite boutique hotel, located right at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. Nestled within the charming alpine village, Beaver Creek Lodge embodies mountain chic luxury. The sublime retreat has newly renovated suites and condos with cozy fireplaces, ski-in/ski-out convenience, fine dining at Rocks Modern Grill, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, championship golf, and off-site spa relaxation.
Opening Day is November 21, 2007.
A vibrant mix of flamenco, tapas, guitarists and bullfights, Seville is the pearl of Southern Europe, the cradle of Andalusian spirit. In this exuberant cultural capital, taste some delicate tapas, indulge in siestas, explore the city's historical riches, and discover one of the finest hotels in the world. The Hotel Alfonso XIII, a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, was designed to be Europe's most luxurious hotel by mandate of his majesty King Alfonso XIII (the hotel's namesake). Built in 1929, the posh royal palace is strategically situated in the heart of the historic city center and a few minutes away from the Reales Alcázares and the Plaza de España. The hotel is an emblem of true Spanish beauty, with its intricate carvings, genuine crystal chandeliers, astounding arches and arabesques. It's easy to see why the Hotel Alfonso XIII is a fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. Spend Christmas in Seville and score an unbelievable package at the Hotel Alfonso XIII. Including accommodations, buffet breakfast, and a fabulous Christmas lunch for two people on December 25, 2007, the getaway is priced from just EUR 343.
The Kor Hotel Group manages some swanky properties, its Viceroy label encompassing all that's cool, inventive, and provocative in the luxury hotel business. The glamorous experiences found at the Viceroy Santa Monica and Viceroy Palm Springs will soon be matched by the stylish Viceroy experience in new locations: Miami, the Riviera Maya, and-- hot off the press-- Zihuatanejo. This new Mexican property, to be situated on the Playa La Ropa Beach, will open in 2010. This is the second Zihuatanejo property for the Kor Hotel Group, along with the dreamy Tides Zihuatanejo, recognized as one of the world's best resorts. Kor knows good real estate when it sees it. And guess what: award-winning architect Jean-Michel Gathy and his design firm, Denniston International, will create the interior and exterior experience for Viceroy Zihuatanejo. That's music to our ears.
Ducasse's arrival in London is causing quite the stir. The new restaurant will open at The Dorchester, the landmark Mayfair hotel of great repute, on November 13, 2007. For over 75 years, The Dorchester has represented the pinnacle of London luxury, and now, in addition to the glorious dining at China Tang, the hotel will offer an extraordinary restaurant experience at Alain Ducasse. The celebrity chef already has a restaurant at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, part of the Dorchester Collection. The new restaurant will seat 82 guests, including the intimate private dining areas. The chef-entrepreneur is working on an entirely new and original menu which will no doubt catapult the restaurant into prime position as a quintessential London hot spot.
Just across from the isle of Nevis in the lower Caribbean, St. Kitts hasn't defined its own tourism niche the way neighboring Nevis has lured well-heeled travelers. Until now, anyway. There's a new high-end development in store, and it promises to dazzle. Christophe Harbour, the 2,500-acre development, will boast luxury hotels from Mandarin Oriental and Auberge Resorts. And if Auberge's new Sandy Bank Bay is any bit as exceptional as its other properties (Auberge du Soleil, Esperanza, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff), we're in for a treat. Situated on a peninsula, the resort site features seven miles of sandy coastline facing both the turquoise Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. There will also be a spa and a Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Auberge's resort is slated for 2009, with the Mandarin Oriental following in 2010.
If the Burj Al Arab is the icon for modern luxury hotel design, then the Burj Dubai, like a phoenix rising from the construction chaos of Dubai, should most definitely be a contender for the next round of "The New 7 Wonders of the World." It is now the tallest building in the world, and it keeps getting taller. Every three days, another floor goes up and no-one really knows how high it is going. Officially, the projected final height of Burj Dubai is being kept a secret-- due to intense competition. In fact, the good folks at Wikipedia can't keep the entry updated fast enough. Rising from the center of the Emaar development, the Burj Dubai claims to be "the most exclusive address in the world." As described by the Washington Post:
From its heights, the super wealthy who have bought one of the project's luxury condominiums will survey the boomtown of boomtowns, a city-state so rich and ambitious that it is remaking its geography, building man-made islands and peninsulas, and a 46-mile, $11 billion canal (to give waterfront access to new real estate developments).
So you've committed some ugly etiquette atrocities. Elbows on the table isn't the worst of it. You've written Miss Manners hoping for her unfailing wisdom on correct behavior. But really, what you need is a dose of the South: a weekend of elegance and etiquette at one of the top resorts in the U.S. After all, Charleston-- only a short drive from the island-- is considered the most mannerly city in America, where etiquette is considered an important part of everyday life. And the resort's AAA Five-Diamond Sanctuary Hotel prides itself on having class, composure, and elegance. To help you and your family learn the etiquette of the south, The Sanctuary has designed a special Elegance and Etiquette Weekend to be held on November 9-11, 2007. The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette will help you refine your social skills: both in the business environment and social arena (the art of dining, and host/guest etiquette). Meanwhile, your kids will learn all sorts of useful tips: setting the table, dining in style, writing thank-you notes and invitations. The two-night event package includes accommodations, welcome tea reception, Etiquette Program sessions, one lunch and dinner, one brunch, and a thank-you cards amenity. Priced from $2,169 for one adult and one child at The Sanctuary (oceanview accommodations).
Fashion divas, heed this one. Now you can hit San Francisco's best, most exclusive addresses for Fall Fashion with the help of Campton Place, the celebrated luxury boutique hotel located right on the edge of Union Square. Find the season's top designs in ultimate comfort with the "Shop Til You Drop" package. Enjoy four nights at the intimate Campton Place Hotel and get spoiled with gracious personalized service (more akin to a stay at an elegant residential apartment). You'll get airport transfers, welcome cocktails, daily breakfasts for two, plus 12-hours in a limo to shop the designer boutiques on Union Square, the chic shops in the Marina and Pacific Heights, galleries across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, the upscale malls in Napa, and even all the charming boutiques of Palo Alto. Available until November 21, 2007, the package is priced from $3,750 and includes all gratuities.