LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 10, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson
Ritz-Carlton Montreal has recently undergone an extensive $200 million dollar restoration. The result is a hotel that offers its guests the perfect mixture of old and new. The building’s facade was preserved and restored, public spaces were renovated and redecorated, and rooms were redesigned with the utmost in luxury and comfort in mind.
Here are just a few details of the restoration:
-Part of the historic building was expanded and converted to accommodate a new residential wing, the Ritz-Carlton Residences. If you've always wanted to live at the Ritz, now you can! These 45 exclusive residences provide the opportunity to live at a renowned Montreal address while enjoying the comforts and services of a luxury hotel.
-Guests can shop without leaving the building. Renowned and revered jeweler Tiffany & Co. opened a 2000 sq. ft. boutique just below the Ritz-Carlton Residences.
-Corporate clients were a top priority in the restoration. The hotel’s 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space are incredibly flexible, able to host formal board meetings for 12 people, larger meetings for 35 to 75 or a gala dinner for up to 350. Perhaps the grandest space at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, the Oval Room meeting space was restored by artisans who hand painted the finishes.
-The 98 guest rooms and 31 suites include the Royal Suite, which at 4,700 sq. ft is the largest hotel suite in Montreal. The guest rooms feature high-tech amenities, such as intuitively remembering a guest’s temperature preferences upon check-in, and motion sensors that activate lights to guide guests in a darkened room. The marble fireplaces in many suites are original to the 1912 hotel, while the luxurious and modern finishes were added during the recent restoration.
-The rooftop saltwater pool is heated with reclaimed energy from the hotel’s kitchen. Stunning views of the Montreal skyline can be seen from inside or on the terrace and guests can also relax inside the sauna.
-During the restoration of the hotel, enormous energy and resources went into creating the most advanced, HACCP-certified kitchen in the city. The new kitchen, which prepares meals for in-room dining as well as banquets, is able to feed 1,000 diners at a time, and includes the first dedicated fully-kosher kitchen in a large hotel in Montreal.
-As with all of famed Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants around the world, Maison Boulud, located inside the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is unique to its setting. Traditional French culinary roots meet high standards of hospitality to reflect the culture, tastes and lifestyle of the city, with a particular focus on local produce and artisanal Quebecois products. An outdoor dining area overlooks the garden in the summer months, and a 46-seat glass greenhouse is open off of the main dining room during the winter. Maison Boulud welcome diners for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Sundays.
-Ritz-Carlton Montreal, just four months after re-opening, has been awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award®, recognizing its status as one of North America's most luxurious hotels. The property joins just three other Five Diamond-rated hotels in Canada, and is the only one in Quebec.
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October 30, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
Le Parker Meridien New York was one of a number of hotels severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This hotel was one of the buildings in the area that had to be evacuated last night because of the crane that was hanging from the top of the Park Hyatt New York. Although there are a number of hotels in the area, Le Parker Meridien was the only one to get evacuated by the New York Police Department. The hotel is currently empty and is expected to remain that way for the rest of the day until all damages can be properly accessed.
Our hearts certainly go out to everyone affected and we are certainly happy and available to help our travelers find last minute arrangements around the world.
October 11, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson
Tired of the mundane macchiatos at your local Starbucks? Got some cash burning a hole in your pocket?
Anantara Resorts has what you need to feel caffeinated and lighter in wallet. The luxury hotel group has
introduced Black Ivory Coffee (affectionately dubbed Elephant Poo Coffee for reasons that will become clear
in a moment) to its resorts in the Maldives and in Thailand's Golden Triangle. While picking coffee beans out of
animal poop isn't new (civets, those hipsters of the animal world, have been pooping out coffee beans since
before it was cool), coffee beans via elephant dung is.
How is this rare and precious coffee made? The process begins with selecting choice Thai Arabica beans that
have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 meters. Said beans are fed to the rescued street elephants that live
at Anantara's Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). Enzymes found in the elephant's digestive
system break down the protein in the coffee bean. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness
in coffee, the resulting bean has almost no bitterness.
Beans expelled by the elephant are handpicked out of the dung by mahouts (elephant trainer and carer) and their
spouses. After some time drying in the sun, the coffee is refined at the GTAEF. The roasted beans sell for around
$1,100 a kilogram with eight percent of all sales are donated to the GTAEF to help with veterinary care for rescued
street elephants. Approximately 10,000 beans are needed to produce one kilogramme of roasted coffee.
When it is served to guests at Anantara's Golden Triangle, the coffee is hand-ground and brewed tableside using
technology developed in 1840's Austria. Now all this coffee needs is a fun nickname. Dumbochino? Elephalatte?
Pachyspresso? We'll keep working on it.
September 18, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson
Guests at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Nashville got an unexpectedly early wake-up call, allegedly thanks to Olympic snowboarder Shaun White. It's been reported that White, the two-time Olympic Gold medalist nicknamed "The Flying Tomato," pulled a fire alarm at the luxury property which caused an early morning evacuation on Sunday. White fell and hit his head in the ensuing commotion, and was transported and then released from a local hospital. The evening ended for White with an arrest for vandalism and public intoxication.
Let's hope the other guests requested a late check-out time.
August 29, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
After a 47 day stay in the Chateau Marmont in California, Lindsay Lohan racked up a $46,350.04 hotel bill that went unpaid. The hotel made several attempts to resolve this matter, but their efforts were unsuccessful, resulting in a stern letter addressed to Lindsay from the hotel’s General Manager and a banning from the entire property until her outstanding debt is paid. Lindsay was asked to remove her belongings by 12:00PM on August 1st, 2012. So what, you may ask, does a movie star buy to drop nearly $50,000 on a month and a half stay in a luxurious hotel? Why cigarettes and alcohol, of course! During her stay, minibar charges equaled $3,145.07, and her cigarette’s bill was $686 at a whopping $14 a pack. We certainly hope the Chateau Marmont receives its outstanding payment, but we’re doubtful that they'll be quick to forget and allow Miss Lohan to stay again.
August 21, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.
Question: We currently have a reservation for September 4th – 7th at the Four Seasons Florence, but need to check in a day earlier. How can I change the dates of my reservation?
Answer: We work within hotel systems where all modifications are accomplished through the process of re-bookingfor new dates and cancelling the existing reservation. We can either cancel your current reservation and make a new reservation, or simply make a new reservation for that new day (September 3rd – 4th) and request that you stay in the same room for the entirety of your stay. If the hotel is showing availability for September 3rd – 7th, and you are not within penalty period and can cancel your current reservation without any fees, then we can simply cancel your current reservation and make a new one. If the rate has gone up or if the hotel is no longer showing availability for September 3rd – 7th, but it does have availability for September 3rd – 4th, we can make a new reservation for the same room type of your current reservation and request that you stay in the same room for the entirety of your stay through the hotel. This request cannot be guaranteed but the hotel would do its best to honor this type of request. You can cancel and rebook your reservation online or over the phone, whatever is most convenient for you. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as the extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.
Image of the Four Seasons Hotel Florence
June 26, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
It wasn't long ago that we wrote about the Observatory Hotel and lauded its prime location, by the Observatory Park and not far from the Sydney Opera House, and great service and amenities. Current owners Orient Express are saying goodbye to the property while they finalize the sale of the property and transitioning the hotel to Langham Hospitality Group, owners of great hotels like the Langham London and closer by Langham Melbourne. The transaction is expected to close on August 8th. A continued relationship with Orient Express just wasn't in the stars for Observatory, but guests have no reason to worry that the transition should disrupt their upcoming stays. If anything, with new ownership comes the desire to make a great first impression, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Langham plan a few things for their newest acquisition. We'll have to keep our telescopes trained on the Observatory Hotel for any sign of a new vision for the hotel's future.
June 19, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
KSL Resorts have made a couple of new additions to their collection in 2012, and a change in ownership is always an exciting time for guests of a hotel. New ownership means a new philosophy, and often most importantly, an infusion of investment that allows for extensive renovations. KSL has taken over the iconic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, and invested in renovating the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA.
The Grove Park Inn is a huge attraction for locals and travelers alike, a perfect getaway for a weekend of relaxation for anyone on the East Coast or even just visiting the area. Its spa is top-notch, and it has a real down-home authentic feel to both the rooms and the hospitality. We're excited to see what KSL is doing with their newest addition.
While the Grove Park Inn epitomizes southern luxury, Hotel del Coronado has its feet firmly planted in west coast culture. The 368 have also been completely redesigned and purposed for rejuvenation. The resort itself rests on Coronado Island, sunning itself on the picturesque California beaches. With a distinctly Victorian atmosphere coupled with California's standard of relaxation, its no wonder that the Travel Channel has rated it the number one wedding destination in America. The Hotel Del Coronado is already a great resort, and we're looking forward to trying out the redesigned rooms.
May 3, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
The Mandarin Oriental in Atlanta, Buckhead is now open for business, which created a bit of a conundrum for me. See, there are just so many great headlines for Buckhead. Alternate titles included, "Ahead of the Trend," "The Buck Stops Here," and "Mandarin Oriental Opens a New Hotel in Buckhead," which was the generous contribution of the portlier half of my brain. Thanks, left brain, but you're not very good at this. Anyway, after my painstaking research into optimized punnillanimity, I turned my eyes to the actual details of the newest addition to the Buckhead neighborhood. The Mandarin Oriental promises terrace views of the city skyline from some of the rooms on higher floors, and its Premier Terrace Suite offers a more panoramic view from either of its two balconies, from which you can enjoy some fantastic in-room breakfast or dinner. Stay in any of its 127 guest rooms to enjoy its 15,000 sq ft spa and Taipan Cocktail Bar. Also, look for the More in Atlanta package to grab a third night free.
April 27, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
The Four Seasons, while known for its all-weather capability, is taking the spring and early summer to get ready for their grand opening in Toronto. As summer winds down and autumn approaches, the newest addition to the Four Seasons brand will be opening its doors to all comers. Reservations can now be made online beginning on October 1st, 2012 and that date may be pushed up as opening day is finalized, so be sure to keep checking in for earlier days as the opening approaches.
This new Four Seasons property takes the refined style of the internationally renowned brand and adds a little twist of 2012 on top. Four Seasons Toronto will be sleek and modern, and their world class spa and restaurants cannot be ignored. You'll be frequenting the largest spa in the city at the Four Seasons, and the restaurants have been reimagined by international restaurateur Chef Daniel Boulud. His namesake restaurant Boulud and the d | bar are aiming to become fixtures of the Toronto scene, pioneering a trendy hotel bar atmosphere. I, for one, am excited to see the Four Seasons expanding to more wintry climes in time to keep me cozy for next Christmas.