Indulge in the best afternoon tea in the world at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge. Cakes, butter biscuits, and scrumptious delicacies are all set for a makeover in the style of the world's top fashion designers, such as Lanvin, Jimmy Choo and Valentino, as The Berkeley launches its new Autumn/Winter 2006 Prêt-a-Portea cake collection. The traditional afternoon tea gets a twist with inspiration from the latest fashion season's catwalk designs. On the Pret-a-Portea menu this season are fashionista delectables such as Valentino leopard chestnut crème handbag, Giles Deacon pink polka dot nougat mousse , Alexander McQueen Stuart tartan chocolate cake , Aquascutum yellow coat ginger biscuit, Yves Saint Laurent frilly passion fruit meringue and Jimmy Choo gold boot biscuit. (All served in tiny bites, of course, for the figure conscious.) The Berkeley's pastry chef visits London fashion week shows to get his inspiration for the new patisserie collections; the Berkeley has also created a distinguished Prêt committee of fashion experts from publications such as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar to check out the collection. Pret-a-Portea is served in The Caramel Room at The Berkeley from 2-6 pm everyday priced at GBP 33 per person. (GBP 41 per person includes a glass of champagne.)
The best hotel in Tokyo, the inspiration and backdrop for the film, Lost in Translation, is also the setting for one of the hottest hotel bars in the world. Park Hyatt Tokyo is an elegant oasis of space and calm that offers spectacular views of Tokyo and the Kanto Plain all the way to Mount Fuji, from the top 14 floors of the 52-storey Shinjuku Park Tower. This major landmark on the Tokyo skyline houses the stunning New York Bar, the place to see-and-be-seen in the city. The ambience could be Manhattan itself: black ebony chairs, walnut flooring, steel supports of the floor-to-ceiling windows, and Valerio Adami's huge murals of Radio City Music Hall and the Rainbow Room. As one of the top venues for live music in the city, the bar features jazz by top international artists nightly. New York Bar offers vintage cognac and brandy, classic and original cocktails, and the largest selection of American wines in Japan. Casual dining menu is available. Open Sunday to Wednesday from 5 pm to midnight. Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 1:00 am. Cover charge of 2,000 JPY is applied Monday through Saturday from 8 pm, Sunday from 7 pm.
The fifth annual Art Basel Miami Beach is just days away. The spectacular international art show-- to take place from December 7-10 this year-- is the American sister event of Art Basel in Switzerland, one of the most important art shows in the world. Art Basel Miami Beach is an extraordinary event combining an international art show with special exhibitions, parties, and events featuring design, film, music and architecture. The exhibition sites will be located within the Art Deco district, just a few steps from the beach. A selection of 200 art galleries from all over the world will exhibit 20th and 21st century art from over 1,500 artists; the Miami Beach Convention Center will be packed with good stuff and there will be art fairs galore. (Check out the Catalina Hotel and Beach Club in South Beach, wholly converted into an art gallery for the event.)
The best kept secret of the Indian Ocean-- the 26 atolls and 1,190 tropical islands of the Maldives-- has become one of the hottest destinations on the planet. Rated the number one islands in the world by the Conde Nast Traveler 19th annual Reader's Choice Awards, the Maldives are a natural wonder with unparalleled biodiversity (over 900 species of fish) and some of the most breathtaking dive sites in the world. Located on one of the most picturesque islands of the Maldives (lush and beautiful Ihuru), the Angsana Resort is surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty: pristine reefs, palm-dotted beaches, and turquoise waters. The island is encircled by a shallow lagoon and technicolor reef, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Angsana Resort and Spa Ihuru offers the hedonistic pleasures of a spa retreat and the perfect holiday paradise. The 45 private villas feature thatched roofs, private gardens and verandas with dining and sitting areas. The resort has recently revamped its spa offerings with an extensive list of treatments, including Asian Spa therapies and special men's treatments. The new highlights include Duet, tailored for couples to enjoy together (the spa experience begins with a Tropical Fruit Wash for him and an Almond Milk Aglow body polish for her, followed by body massages and the Milk Orange Bath), Soothing Sun Relief (which includes Cucumber Soother and a calming facial soother), and Ayurvedic Delights.
PS. Noteworthy: The Angsana Resort and Spa has won awards for its environmentally friendly focus, including several outstanding marine biology research initiatives.
Possibly the world's most famous ski resort, Badrutt's Palace is a historic symbol of St. Moritz and the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism. Situated on six acres of private grounds high above the village of St. Moritz, overlooking the lake and mountains, Badrutt's Palace occupies a regal perch amidst dramatic and unspoiled scenery. Since its opening in 1896, Badrutt's Palace has been hailed as a symbol of the Swiss Alps region, a wondrous winter playground beloved by visiting celebrities and royalty. The Palace offers 165 guestrooms and 30 suites with stunning views. Guests enjoy discreet service, the ultimate relaxation at the spa, exciting nightlife, world-renowned cuisine at the hotel's restaurants, including Nobu, the trendiest new restaurant in St. Moritz opened by adored superstar chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. With parties, polo ponies and ski slopes, the Winter season is an event not to be missed in St. Moritz. The Pre-Holiday Ski Break is a fantastic deal; guests experience the pampered luxury of Badrutt's Palace at an unparalleled discount with four nights for the price of three. Stay December 5-17, 2006 (not including Saturday nights) and get a rate of $280 per night for a superior double room (usual rack rate is $510).
Most luxury resorts in the Caribbean have been booked solid for months. But there are still a few rooms available at the gorgeous romantic hideaway of Anse Chastenet, located in the lush mountain paradise of St. Lucia. With 600 acres of tropical foliage, the soaring peaks of Petit Pitons, and extraordinary beaches, this is paradise on earth. And these days, St. Lucia is the new Turks and Caicos (according to the NYT, anyway), with swank hotels situated on perfect sandy stretches of coastline. The Anse Chastanet Resort offers the renowned SSI Platinum Pro/PADI dive facility, beautiful rooms (some boast luxurious "showers with a view"), art gallery, panoramic dining, the beachside Kai Belté spa, and activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, tennis, sunset sailing, jungle biking, "kool kayaking" or a nature walk among the ruins of a colonial plantation. The Tropical Tranquility Package includes includes seven nights of accommodations, breakfast and dinner, two spa treatments per person, a sunset celebration with champagne and appetizers in-room, snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing and more. Rates start from $4,288 per couple, until December 31, 2006. But hurry! There are only a few rooms left for the holidays. (One beachside deluxe room from December 22-January 3, One Beachside Deluxe Room until December 28, Two Hillside Deluxe rooms with check-out December 27, One two-bedroom suite until December 26, Two Superior rooms with check-out December 28.)
Happy Thanksgiving from The Informed Traveler and Five Star Alliance! Wishing you a wonderful and warm holiday with friends and family. We'll be back next week with the best luxury travel offers and hot deals from the world's most exciting upscale hotels.
A sumptuous Thanksgiving feast, a Sugar Plum Facial or Peppermint Mocha Body Polish at the spa, Smores with Santa and Cookie Decorating for the kids, an unforgettable New Years Gala with a five course dinner and New Year's Day Caviar and Celebration Brunch. Estancia La Jolla is celebrating the holiday season with merrymaking and festive activities galore. Named to Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List 2006, Estancia La Jolla is a California Rancho-style coastal retreat surrounded by lush gardens, only minutes from San Diego and the beaches of La Jolla. Holiday packages include the excellent Estancia La Jolla Togethering, designed for the whole family to enjoy a fun three day stay. The package includes two nights accommodations (three deluxe rooms), Champagne and Cheese reception en suite for six people, daily American breakfast buffet, and six tickets to the venue of your choice: Sea World, Wild Animal Park, or the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Rate is $2006 plus taxes.
It's back. The elegant grande dame of New Orleans, the only Five Diamond hotel in Louisiana, is planning its comeback after a 15-month closure caused by serious damage from Hurricane Katrina. Resembling the beautiful antebellum mansions in the Garden District, Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is celebrated for its traditional Southern ambience and gracious hospitality. Located at the edge of the French Quarter on Canal Street, the hotel features luxurious accommodations (distinguished by European and American art and antiques), excellent cuisine (four venues!), and a 20,000 square-foot European style spa, including signature treatments that date back to the time of Napoleon, Marie Antoinette and the court of Louis XVI. Room enhancements were a major part of the hotel's recent $100 million renovation. All 527 rooms have been renovated with new 400 thread-count Egyptian Cotton Linens, new Bulgari White Tea Bath Amenities, and new Rainforest Showerheads. Flat panel televisions were added to all of the Suites and Club Level accommodations. The renovated hotel will also feature the new signature restaurant called Melange and enhanced meeting space measuring 35,000 square feet. Accepting reservations starting December 4, 2006.
November 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Bangkok's newest member of Small Luxury Hotels is an extraordinary all-suite masterpiece in the heart of Bangkok. At lebua at State Tower, each suite boasts a wall of windows with dazzling views of the city skyline and Chao Phraya River. The spacious suites are luxurious and comfortable, stacked with contemporary conveniences (like two flat-screen TVs, DVD players, in-room broadband Internet connectivity, workstations, and fully-equipped kitchens). The Dome at State Tower features myriad dining options with glass balconies, sexy lighting, terraces, and city viewing galleries. Located on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State Tower, Sirocco is the world's highest al fresco restaurant stunning views of Bangkok. The dramatic deck appears to be suspended in the middle of the sky, frozen in space. Descending onto the deck is a beautifully lit stairway leading to one corner where the hip Sky Bar takes center-stage.
With the Sky Night @ Sky Bar package, enjoy the very best that Bangkok has to offer from high atop State Tower. The package includes daily full breakfast, complimentary local calls and high-speed internet access, complimentary use of the fitness center facilities and swimming pool, welcome amenity of flowers and handmade chocolates, one Sky Bar drink per person, and one bottle of wine in-room upon arrival. Starting at $140 per one bedroom suite through December 21, 2006. $150 per one bedroom suite until March 31, 2007. Two night minimum stay required.