LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 10, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Legendary designer Jacques Garcia is at it again. He's designed the swanky new interiors for the newly-remodeled Regent Hotel, set to reclaim its place as the most majestic hotel in Bordeaux after a big restoration. But don't worry, the landmark property has faithfully retained its historic features despite its ultra-luxurious additions. Opposite the Grand Theatre (the Opera of Bordeaux), the hotel is ideally located near the upscale shopping in the Golden Triangle (think Van Cleef & Arpels, Chopard, YSL, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli...) The best part of all is the state-of-the-art spa Les Bains de Lea on the 5th and top floors, that includes a swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and wellness center (opening later in the year). Also on site: the sophisticated L'Ocean restaurant serving innovative seafood. Slated to open in Spring 2008, the Regent Bordeaux is the best thing to come to the world's wine capital in a long time.
Party like a rock star, or just get pampered like one, at Boston's stylish boutique hotel: Nine Zero. Located just one block from Boston Common, the multi award-winning hotel combines Boston's traditional elegance with a hip vibe. Trendsetters flock to the happening bar and to the city's most coveted dining spot, Spire restaurant, named one of the "Top 50 Hotel Restaurants" by Food and Wine magazine. Book the Celebrity Weekend Package and indulge in some serious luxury in the Cloud Nine penthouse suite, which seems to float dramatically above the city on the hotel's nineteenth floor, boasting breathtaking views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. This cosmopolitan hide-out features electronic drapes, a viewing telescope, plasma screen television with surround sound, a steam shower, and Jacuzzi. This over-the-top package includes two nights accommodation, private jet plane transportation, chauffeur driver at your beck and call, Winston floral arrangement in room, Cristal & Caviar, a personal assistant, a personal hair stylist/make-up artist, in-room 5-course meal with private chef, in-room Relax & Rejuvenate massage, Barney's Personal Shopper to update your wardrobe, Intermix gift certificate, a trip to Cartier, a personal yoga session in-room, and last but not least, a slew of celebrity magazines! Priced from $19,990.
It is with great sadness that we learn the news about Maxjet, the all-business class luxury airline connecting London and the East Coast. Maxjet filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2007 and has ceased service. This is especially disappointing for Washingtonians who were spoiled by Maxjet's sensational service-- as Eos Airlines, the main competition in this niche upscale market, only flies to NYC.
Good news from Fairmont's eco-friendly luxury hotels... Not only is Fairmont Hotels and Resorts committed to energy-efficient practices, but also green kitchen operations. When the trendy talk these days is all about lessening our carbon footprint on the planet, Fairmont is actually taking action. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is devoted to organic and sustainable local menus, as well as finding ways to run an environmentally responsible kitchen. Case in point: Fairmont locations in the Pacific Northwest which partner with Rodney Strong Vineyards, an organic wine producer that operates with solar power and takes steps to ensure soil and water conservation. And Ottawa's beautiful Fairmont Chateau Laurier is connecting local producers with businesses by hosting events such as "Farmer-Chef Meet and Greet." In British Columbia, the Fairmont Vancouver Airport and The Fairmont Empress were the first hotels to join the Ocean Wise program run by the Vancouver Aquarium which promotes the use of sustainable seafood. In Bermuda, the chefs at The Fairmont Southampton and The Fairmont Hamilton work closely with local fishermen to source a variety of line-caught fish. Even the staff cafeteria at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise creates eco-friendly menus focused on locally-grown and organic ingredients. And get this-- starting this year, the Fairmont Newport Beach will hire a "local forager" to visit local organic produce markets to buy choice goods for the hotel. Bravo.
Disney's Year of a Million Dreams celebration has been extended until the end of 2008 (!) -- which means that lucky guests still have the opportunity to score a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite, towering four stories above Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Over the past year, hundreds of visitors to the Disney resorts have been awarded freebies by the Dream Squad, with the top prize at Disney World being an overnight in the fairytale chamber at the pinnacle of Cinderella's Castle, originally built for Walt Disney and his family. This prize is chosen randomly by a computer that designates a certain attraction, time, and seat number daily. The lucky winning party is plucked from the crowd and whisked away to a marvelous wonderland. Reached by private elevator, the salon, bedchamber, and bathroom are situated off a private marble-floored foyer appointed with 18-karat gold leaf. Canopy beds are draped with fluffy feather comforters. The famous glass slipper (worth $18,000) is displayed in a cove, "a memorable artifact from the story." The furnishings may resemble the style of the French rulers from the period inspiring the Cinderella story, but the amenities are definitely 21st century: garden tub plus shower, and a flat-screen HDTV hidden behind the framed portrait of Cinderella hanging above the fireplace.
The very best of Madrid is at your doorstep at this sumptuous grand hotel frequented by the crowned heads of Europe. Enjoy the perfect weekend in Madrid, discovering the art and history of the Spanish capital, and soak up the luxurious comfort of The Ritz. Situated in the heart of the Triangle of Art, just a few steps from the world famous Prado Museum, Thyseen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, The Ritz boasts a killer location just steps from the most glamorous shops and restaurants. Book the Weekend Break and enjoy daily buffet breakfast, exclusive welcome amenities and a bottle of Cava (Spanish champagne) in your room on arrival, late check out (subject to availability), and use of the health club-- all for just EUR 305 per night. The regular nightly rate is EUR 525 for a Classic Room, so this is a real steal.
Now there's another reason to jet to Singapore, the business capital of the East. On Wednesday, the ultra-modern $1.2 billion airport terminal will receive its first passengers. After Hong Kong welcomed its new terminal a few months ago and Bangkok ushered in the problem-choked Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006, Singapore hopes to bolster its position as the region's aviation hub. Changi Airport's Terminal 3, boasting a gorgeous five-storey vertical garden with waterfalls, is designed to handle the massive Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger plane, which was first operated by Singapore Airlines in October. This new terminal will alone handle 22 million passengers a year. Its ambiance? Like a lavish five-star hotel...
January 8, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
Scheduled to debut on March 1, 2008, Fairmont has spent over $6.5 million dollars creating their "hotel within a hotel" - the Fairmont Gold Section - at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. What was formerly 72 villas will become the new, renovated Gold Section of the golf and spa resort featuring 69 villas, a separate entry, lobby, check-in and out, concierges and upgraded rooms from the rest of the 650 room hotel.
For an additional $125-$150 a night over the standard resort rates, guests in the Gold Section Villas enjoy golf course views and having all of their needs covered - from a leisurely breakfast, to afternoon tea or evening refreshments from the honor bar.
Although scheduled for a March 1st debut, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess' General Manager, Mr. Robert Foster told the East Valley Tribune that many of the completed villas are ready and reserved for top-level FBR Open and Super Bowl XLII guests prior to any official opening.
Learn more about the Fairmont Gold program here >"/>
By: Courtney W. May
This winter, make it Maui. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua officially opened today after a massive makeover. A dramatic new design and added amenities mean an unparalleled guest experience surrounded by championship golf greens, brilliant beaches, and the crashing Pacific surf. What's in store? The 463 guest rooms and suites are equipped with all new furnishings, travertine bathrooms, area rug designs with Kukui florals, and Hawaiian artwork framed with Koa wood. All the latest technology means LCD flat-screen televisions, iPod Docking Stations, DVD players and wireless Internet access. But that's not all. The resort's restaurants have been redesigned, and the signature Banyan Tree restaurant has a new destination outdoor bar and lounge with spectacular views of the Pacific and an innovative menu by Chef de Cuisine Jojo Vasquez. There's a new children's pool and enlarged cabanas by the 10,000 square foot, three-tiered pool, and the spanking new Fitness Center, open 24 hours a day, overlooks the ocean. An Environmental Education Center will be open by mid year. And there will be a new Ritz-Carlton Spa opening in May 2008, to boot. (Never fear-- there's a temporary spa offering spa and salon services until this gem opens.) Book now and be one of the first to experience the new digs at this AAA Five-Diamond oceanfront property.
The contest is now open for the eighth annual weblog awards, the annual non-profit competition that chooses the best of the best. Since 2001, the top blogs have been awarded in categories like best American weblog, best photography, best topical weblog, etc. And the lucky winners get recognized at the awards ceremony held at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. So go for it-- nominate The Informed Traveler and other weblogs you find most deserving of a Bloggie!