LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
May 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Who knew that Brussels could be a couture-minded mecca for trendy fashionistas? Apparently 2006 has been dubbed The Year of Fashion and Design in Brussels, and the city's buzzing with exhibitions and fashion shows, including a mobile extravaganza where models tour the city in a tram, with each tram stop serving as a catwalk for a different show. The city is a self-professed "favorite haunt of original and talented designers, who, by being based there, not only enjoy the recognition of their peers, but also find in this exuberant and surrealist capital a fantastic environment in which to live and to experiment." Brussels views itself as "setting the pace in terms of fashion and design." Rock on.
Starting on May 17, the luxurious Conrad Brussels is offering a "Mode Design" package for visitors to discover the history and meaning of design in Brussels. The elegant hotel is easily one of the city's finest, with an excellent health club, fine dining, and the largest and most sophisticated bedrooms in the city. The package is available until December 31, 2006, and includes: accommodations in a Classic room, breakfast daily, and an exclusive free gift for fashion lovers. Starting at EUR 235 per room per night. What a steal.
Conrad Brussels, Five Star Alliance
Jumeirah, the luxury hospitality group and member of Dubai Holding, is growing by leaps and bounds. Perhaps the most significant development for 2005 was Jumeirah's entry into the US market, with the acquisition of one of Manhattan's most prestigious and historic luxury hotels: The Essex House. Renamed the Jumeirah Essex House, the hotel is an elegant city landmark, perfectly located off Central Park. Since its debut in 1931, this luxurious property has been the New York refuge for international leaders, dignitaries, and celebs. Most importantly, the hotel houses the superlative Mobil Five-Star restaurant, Alain Ducasse at Jumeirah Essex House-- easily the best restaurant in New York City.
After the acquisition of this gorgeous property, Jumeirah continues to anticipate awesome growth for 2006. Let us count the ways. Management of Shanghai's most prestigious new hotel development in the Luwan District (HanTang Jumeirah Shanghai will open in 2008). Management of Jumeirah Dubai Towers, a five-star hotel in Doha, Qatar. Management of the luxury hotels and theme park at the beachfront town of Aqaba, Jordan. And in Dubai, Jumeirah will operate Aqua Dunya, a theme park resort in Dubailand that aims to become the world's largest leisure and tourism attraction. (With a whopping 8 million sq. ft.) And let's not forget the management of Jumeirah Al Khor in Dubai Healthcare City, and lastly, the Jumeirah Business Bay Hotel, in Dubai's new business district (Business Bay, Dubailand, Healthcare City.... the names are clever, aren't they?) Whew.
Jumeirah Essex House, Five Star Alliance
The Conch Republic-- so named in 1982 when Key West seceded from Florida with the motto "The People Who Seceded Where Others Failed"-- is a quirky and magical place. At the southernmost point in the US, charming, white Victorian houses bask in the sun. There's diving and snorkeling, sailing and sunning, deep-sea fishing, and more bars per capita in (possibly) the entire world over. Needless to say, this was a favorite haunt of Hemingway, whose legendary residence still houses the offspring of his six-toed cats. In celebration of the city's most famous resident, Key West hosts an annual "Hemingway Days Festival." From July 18 to July 23, the 26th annual event celebrates Hemingway's work and lifestyle. A week of literary readings, a theatrical premiere, short story competition, a museum exhibit, and fishing tournament. And as highlighted by the Washington Post "What’s the Deal?"-- from now until October 15, the city of Key West is offering half price admission to many of its major sites, including sightseeing tours on the Conch Train and Old Town trolley, Hemingway Home and Museum, and Aquarium. Coupons are available here.
May 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We go gaga over all things Philippe Starck. Hong Kong's sexy boutique, Jia, LA's Mondrian (oozing all of that Cali style), Miami's hotspot The Delano, and BA's extraordinary Faena Hotel and Universe. The award-winning celebrity designer has knocked our socks off with pretty much every one of his creations. And now the rumor on the street is that the master has been chosen by SBE Hotel Group to create a signature look for an unnamed luxury boutique brand scheduled to debut in 2008. The deets? Apparently, Starck signed a 15 year, exclusive contract, which will open its first hotel in SoCal, where the Beverly Hills Le Meridien is now. Other hotels in NY, Miami and the Carib will follow-- mostly all conversions. The contract also stipulates the design of nine restaurants and lounges, the first of which will open in Brentwood in May. Bring it on! (This is the father of the whole boutique category we're talking about!)
May 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
So maybe Dubai's got an indoor ski resort, the world's only seven-star hotel, and the MotorCity Autodrome. But Abu Dhabi's getting a Ferrari Amusement Park! (So there.) The UAE's oft-neglected capital city (in favor of the trendy, prosperous tourism mecca of Dubai) is also enjoying fast growth and fashionable revitalization. The Gulf-facing capital sports the super-swanky Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, which seems to emanate grandeur (and sheer size-- with its enormous ballroom, endless array of dining options, large health club and spacious guest rooms), and the city's other Le Meridien has just announced its massive AED 20 million renovation, adding luxurious guest rooms and remodeling the spa. The capital city's got its fair share of luxurious shopping malls, golf courses, tennis, and watersports on the Gulf. And of course there's the Ferrari amusement park. Starting in 2008, you can test-drive those $500,000 babies around the racetrack. I'm so there.
Make a toast to Spring's arrival with some tasty new offerings at the Four Seasons. The brand new Spring Drinks menu-- available until June 30-- mixes up some fresh fruit puree in their enticing new drinks. Shake things up with the English Lemon (2 oz Hendricks Gin, 2 oz Lemon puree, splash of 7-Up), Orange et Mandarine (2 oz Grey Goose Orange, 1 oz Cointreau, splash of Mandarine Puree) or the Spring Margarita (1 oz Don Julio Reposado, 1/2 oz Peach Schnapps, Splash of Sour Mix). How refreshing.
(Want more stylin' recipes from the Four Seaons? Here ya go. The Blue Horizon is 2 oz Bacardi Limon, 1 oz Blue Curacao, Splash of Cranberry Juice. Care for a Caribbean Chat? That's 1 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, 1/2 oz White Creme de Cacao, Splash of Orange Juice, Splash of Club Soda. And the Brazilian Paradise is 2 oz Cachaca, 1 oz Malibu Rum, Splash of Pineapple Juice, Splash of Raspberry Puree. Enjoy.)
Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club is a Carmel legend, the beautifully renovated resort property of The Peninsula Hotels, from where guests experience the charm of Carmel-by-the-sea, the magical Monterey Peninsula, and Pebble Beach. Situated on 850 scenic acres, the resort offers spectacular vistas from its guestrooms overlooking the fairways. But beyond the championship golf and luxurious spa, the Lodge further enhances its elegant reputation as the host of The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, celebrating the luxury motorsports lifestyle. The August 16 event showcases the world's rarest automobiles, fine wines and cuisine in a garden party setting. This year's event commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Targa Florio (one of the world's oldest open-road endurance races) and the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Seca Raceway. Additionally, the event honors the Italian car designer Zagato. This is one of the classic events of the Monterey Peninsula's Classic Car Week, where guests can view 100 legendary sports and racing cars, test drive some Bentleys, and head off-road at the Land Rover Experience Driving School. Tickets are $150 per person, including wine tasting, cuisine, a collectible poster, and access to the Bonhams and Butterfields auction of historic cars, fine jewelry and art.
The world-renowned architect's new landmark is stunning. Following in the footsteps of his extraordinary Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the new hotel incorporates the same materials in its exquisite design, comprised of layered ribbons of colored titanium. As described by the Guggenheim Organization, "his ebullient structure is a response to the unbroken landscape of lush vineyards surrounding the building, while the hues of the colored metal are inspired by the rich tones of the sky and vineyard." The hotel is located in the heart of the Rioja wine region in Basque country, and will debut on July 1. Each of the 43 suites are uniquely designed by the architect, and equipped with luxurious amenities and the latest in technology. Other features to anticipate: the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa (featuring "wine therapy"), rooftop bar and lounge with open fireplace, wine bar, swimming pool, and a large banquet hall converted from an ancient cellar. Starwood's Luxury Collection-- in joint management of the place with the leading wine company Vinos de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal-- touts its signature restaurant as "set to become one of Spain's leading centers for fine gastronomy, combining traditional Rioja cuisine with modern influences by the well-known Echaurren Restaurant (1 Michelin star)." Bring it on.
We've been waiting with bated breath and now the official announcement's been made: tickets to LOVE are on sale now! About a year ago, Cirque du Soleil teamed up with Apple Corps (that's the Beatles company) to create a new show celebrating the musical legacy of the most beloved rock group of all time. And this entertainment experience promises to be like no other: with a unique soundtrack derived from the master tapes at Abbey Road studios, an incredible cast of 60 international artists, and a custom-built theater at The Mirage that features 360 degree seating, panoramic video projections and surround sound. Preview performances begin June 2-- with preview performances offered at 25 percent off regular price through June 29-- and the Gala Premiere is on June 30.
Imagine experiencing stunning landscapes and unspoiled villages on a deluxe bike trip catered to your every whim and desire. After sun-filled days of discovery, devour gourmet cuisine and the world's best wines at the charming inns and chateaux that serve as your luxurious accommodations. For ten years, DuVine Adventures has led the pack in offering specialized luxury bike trips in France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland. The leading tour operator provides the "insider" perspective to regions such as Tuscany, Burgundy, Provence, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland. Guests stay in distinctive and unique hotels, ranging from stately 18th century chateaux to intimate country inns-- all equipped with the most luxurious of amenities for some rest and pampering after a day on the road discovering the countryside. Dinners are as pleasurable as the surrounding scenery, often at top-notch Michelin-starred restaurants and chic, but comfortable, bistros. What a way to see Europe.