LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
February 25, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This summer, think Sardinia. The second largest island in the Mediterranean boasts beautiful, unspoiled coastlines and some of the best scenery in all of Italy. The new L'Ea Bianca resort, meaning literally "white water," sprawls over a gentle hillside overlooking the turquoise and emerald sea. Opposite the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago, the resort is framed by a lovely beach and groves of green juniper trees. There are only 31 bedrooms at the resort, meaning the ultimate privacy for guests. Each offers a spacious balcony, elegant furnishings, and bathrooms with both showers and whirlpool tubs. Lounge on the beach, where attendants will provide sun umbrellas and sun beds, or by the lovely pool. Not far from the Porto Cervo harbor (which houses some of the Med's most elegant yachts), L'Ea Bianca is located on one of the most prestigious areas of Sardinia's Emerald coast. Note: The spa will open this year, an excellent addition to the health and beauty center.
Set sail on the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean and discover some of the most stunning scenery on the planet: remote islands of talcum powder beaches and lush tropical forests, and underwater life equally as beautiful. The 47-foot twin-hulled catamaran Banyan Tree Lagoon I will take to the seas of the Seychelles starting in March 2008. Staffed by a personal host and skipper and stocked with all the luxurious amenities one expects of Banyan Tree, the ship will accommodate six guests for overnight cruises from the resort. Wood-paneled bedrooms are spacious, and the air-conditioned main salon provides panoramic views.
This April promises a real treat for wine lovers in Napa. Meadowood-- the premier wine country estate surrounded by 250 acres of croquet lawns, tennis courts, and hiking trails-- has put together a one-night seasonal offering to delight passionate oenophiles. Enjoy luxurious lodgings with a fireplace, a welcome glass of wine fireside in The Restaurant Bar with Restaurant Sommelier Rom Toulon, and dinner for two in The Restaurant at Meadowood featuring the Rare & Collectible Wine Lovers' Menu created by Michelin Two-Star Chef Christopher Kostow & Rom Toulon. Here's the menu (get ready to salivate):
At the Bar
Jonata, "La Flor de Jonata", Santa Ynez Valley - 2006
Black River Osetra Caviar
Le Reve, Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, Napa - 2001
Cold Smoked Kampachi
Rhubarb, Beet, Spring Onion
Kongsgaard, "The Judge", Napa Valley - 2005
Clam, Chorizo, Lemon Verbena
Marcassin, "Blue Slide Ridge Vineyard", Russian River Valley - 2003
Roasted Sonoma Lamb
Date Carpaccio, Cinnamon, Arugula
Harlan Estate, Oakville - 2003
From the Garden
Château D'Yquem, Sauternes, France - 1995
Beginning at $1,540 per couple. Reservations are available Monday through Saturday nights in April.
Steal away to Savannah, where the city's oldest hotel, The Marshall House, just completed a sparkling $1.5 million renovation. Named one of Cosmopolian Magazine's "25 Secret Sexy Places" (2007), The Marshall House has been pampering guests with southern hospitality since 1851. The original staircases, mouldings, and doors are intact, but now the guest rooms boast pillow-top mattresses, flat-screen TVs, all new custom-made furniture, draperies and rugs, and Wifi. Take advantage of the special rate with the Renovation Celebration package, and you'll find rooms for a steal- just $149 per night. But hurry, this package is only available until the end of February 2008.
Plan a getaway to Europe this spring and enjoy authentic and enriching experiences with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. We've gushed before about the "In the Know" concierge program-- destination videos and local tips galore-- and the "Insider Experience" program takes this attentive service to another level. InterContinental has designed special packages for its guests to experience what is truly special about a city or region-- local food and wine, art and music, sightseeing, local markets-- and discover the nuanced secrets of each destination.
Case in point: "Insider Experiences" at Ceylan InterContinental Istanbul (pictured), where you can "Conquer the Grand Bazaar" with a personal guide at your side to lead you through the maze of shops in the world's oldest and largest covered shopping area, or discover the "Sights of Istanbul" with a personalized tour and private driver. At Amsterdam's InterContinental Amstel, you can enjoy "Canals and Canapés," a two-hour tour of Amsterdam's historic canals aboard a private salon boat for two. As you watch the city drift by, indulge in champagne and canapés followed by a six-course dinner with wine at La Rive. The "Amsterdam Amour" experience includes private limousine service, glasses of champagne and chocolate Traditionamstel Pure in-room, and a pair of choice seats at a classical concert.
Fly to Athens and discover marvelous "Insider Experiences" at the Athenaeum InterContinental, including "City Shopper," where a personal guide will escort you in a private car to Athens' jewelry stores, designer showrooms and shops where artisans create sandals and other handmade items, and "Cultural Treasure Hunt," a private guided tour that includes a visit to a Greek artist's studio, a stop in the Central Market of Athens to sample taverna food and an introduction to ancient and contemporary architecture, composers and literature.
Whistler is, hands down, North America's top ski destination. The numbers don't lie: Whistler's got the biggest vertical rise (5,280 feet) and the most terrain (8,171 acres) in North America. Surrounded by glaciers and soaring peaks, the future site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games is also home to some of Canada's most exclusive resorts. Four Seasons Whistler guarantees a mountain vacation like no other. With endless activities indoors and out, Four Seasons is the ultimate winter getaway. Think morning lessons with the exclusive Ski Elite program, cross-country skiing on more than 28 kilometers of trails, and sleigh rides through a winter wonderland. Limited time special offer: When you stay four nights at the Four Seasons, you'll receive a CAD 400 credit with one complimentary day of skiing! Rates start at CAD 435 per room, per night, and the credit can be used toward food, beverage or spa charges. After a day on the slopes, treat yourself to a signature skier's massage in the spa and fireside meal at Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar. The one-day free ski is based upon the purchase of a minimum three-day ski pass. Available until April 12, 2008.
February 21, 2008
By: Guest Writer
[Courtesy of our friends at Goldarth's Review] Next to Nepal, the Kingdom of Bhutan is probably the most sought-after destination for adventurous travelers yearning for an exotic and perhaps spiritual experience deep in the seclusions of the Himalayas. Now, you can take in the charms of this isolated Buddhist nation in luxurious environs, with the opening of the Taj Tashi in Thimpu. The latest jewel in the crown of the Indian-owned Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, it features 66 luxury rooms and suites (including 2 duplex suites), restaurants serving Bhutanese and Continental fare, lounges, bars, spa, a heated indoor swimming pool and fitness center, and Bhutan's first golf course. Be spellbound by spectacular views of majestic mountains and centuries-old Dzong temples from the comforts of your suites. After all, you're in "The Last Shangri-la on Earth". The Taj Tashi, Thimphu is situated in the centre of the capital city, has adopted age-old Bhutanese traditions in its architecture and offers panoramic views of neighboring mountains.
By: Guest Writer
February 21, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
The Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok comprises 799 luxurious guestrooms in two adjacent towers, the Shangri-La Wing and the Krungthep Wing. All rooms have river or city views, and are decorated with classic Thai touches, including silk and teak finishings. The below video offers a tour of a Conrad room on the 21st Floor of the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok. [Video courtesy of youtube's gman2004k. Taken in October 2007.]
What could be more fun than a magical weekend exploring London? '41', the elegant five-star hotel located near Buckingham Palace, is offering a special weekend package your whole family will enjoy. Celebrated for its high service levels and stunning décor, '41' is not far from Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and a special treat for the kids – the Changing of the Guard. The two-night package includes family accommodation (king size bed and pull-out sofa bed), tour of the hotel (including the kitchen, so the kids can help prepare lunch for Mum and Dad), a special children's menu, your very own bathrobes and slippers, welcome pack with games, kiddies' packed lunch every day, English breakfast daily, and a special turndown treat each evening. Priced from GBP 495 per room, per night based on two adults and two children sharing a Hospitality Suite. Two-night minimum stay required. Available March 21-23, 2008.
February 20, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Now's your chance to extend your stay at this glamorous palace hotel perched on the cliffs of Madeira overlooking Funchal Bay. After a multi-million dollar renovation in 2006, the legendary Reid's Palace has re-emerged as the finest luxury hotel on this Portuguese Atlantic outpost, a paradise of lovely pools and stunning views. Managed by Orient-Express Hotels, Reid's Palace also boasts a lovely spa. Take advantage of the "One Complimentary Night Offer" and get a free seventh night from March 18- April 19, 2008. Starting at $4,112 (double occupancy) for the full week stay, including daily breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers. Celebrated for its wine-making tradition, the beautiful island of Madeira has a temperate, therapeutic climate, just right for a springtime visit.