LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
There's been lots of buzz about "the next Croatia": the small, sun-soaked country wedged between Bosnia and Albania on the Adriatic coast. Montenegro is one of those jewels that tops 2008's hotlist of the "next destinations." In fact, Amanresorts is currently pumping millions into the restoration of the resort island, Sveti Stefan, a former haunt of movie stars which will soon open as an exclusive private-island resort. Dating from the 15th century, the island's picturesque dwellings and cobblestoned streets are encircled by golden crescent-shaped beaches. Sveti Stefan is in fact connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus (pictured). Formerly a glamorous hideaway for all sorts of A-listers, the island fell into decline during the 1990s. But now Montenegro is on the tourist map once again and Amanresorts luxury playground will soon begin wooing well-heeled travelers to its magical shores.
Milan has a new high-design hotel from the folks behind Miami's Setai and Vietnam's award-winning Nam Hai Hotel. GHM's unique urban resort, a blend of Western technology and Asian ambiance, is a 250-room masterpiece located in Milan's residential Bovisa district. It's only fitting that Italy's fashion capital should be home to such a stylish hotel, perfumed with a subtle signature fragrance of mandarin and green tea. The Chedi's spacious guest rooms are decked out with Asian artifacts, large limestone bathrooms, and all sorts of high-tech gadgetry. Choose the Chedi Club Lounge Level and you'll enjoy butler service and a dedicated concierge. The exclusive Health Club is a haven of tranquility. You'll find a sauna, hamman, steam room and whirlpool, fully-equipped fitness club, treatment rooms, and-- the best part of all-- a heated indoor swimming pool. One of the largest pools in Milan, the Chedi's pool is flooded with natural light from a magnificent glass rooftop.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2008 from all of us at Five Star Alliance. Wherever you are celebrating-- from Shanghai to Charleston-- enjoy a fabulous New Year's Eve!
Thinking ahead to the hottest travel destinations for 2008? Think Stone Age in Turkey, with a stay at Anatolian Houses in the heart of the ancient region of Cappadocia. This awe-inspiring volcanic landscape-- like a bizarre moonscape-- has witnessed rule by many different civilizations throughout its rich history. Built deep within the caves, Anatolian Houses is a unique luxury hotel with 19 rooms. But these cave rooms are hardly soot-covered, claustrophobic spaces; in fact, they are upscale suites, equipped with whirlpool tubs, impressive antiques and works of art, fireplaces, and all the latest cutting-edge technology. Relax at the Spa and Wellness Center, take a dip in the pool, sip from the wine fountain. This could be the coolest setting on earth.
Bermuda's classic resort is also one of the most romantic hide-outs in the world. Last year's February relationship menu was such a hit-- private island fine dining, romantic movies by candlelight, cooking classes-- that Cambridge Beaches is again hosting a series of weekend events during the month of February to rekindle the romance. With its 30 acres of private beaches and gardens, the resort alone is a dream come true for couples seeking a little r 'n r. But couples can also look forward to interactive classes led by Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a renowned relationship expert who has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, and in the New York Times, about how the five senses hold the keys to an improved love life. February's "Come to Your Senses" events will allow couples to explore the five senses-- sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste-- with couples massages, dance, cocktail creating, and more.
Since its opening at the end of November, the Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro has been the talk of Las Vegas. The mastermind behind this new hotspot is the world's foremost chocolatier, François Payard, recognized year after year with prestigious awards from the French Government, Bon Appetit, and Wine Spectator. The third-generation French pastry chef has worked at many Michelin-starred restaurants, including NY's legendary Le Bernardin. With his new pâtisserie, Payard brings a little piece of Paris' Left Bank to the Strip. Located adjacent to Rao's at Caesars Palace, the restaurant offers classic French bistro fare and fresh pastries for breakfast and lunch, while the dinner features a four-course all-dessert tasting menu. And for those on-the-go, there's a retail area where you can purchase chocolates, candies, pastries, and coffee. Taste connoisseurs will be dazzled by the evening tasting menu, where you can choose from four distinct categories: Le Fromage, The Orchard, Coffee, Caramel and Nuts, and Tout Chocolat. Chocoholics will rejoice with the Tout Chocolat menu; the ingredient is served up in a variety of ways: warm chocolate tart with cocoa nibs tuille and gianduja ice cream; devil's food cake with cardamom pot de crème, chocolate pudding and whipped crème fraîche.
The French Riviera's glamorous Art Deco palace is home to one of priciest suites in the world. Overlooking the largest private beach on the Croisette, the Hotel Martinez lures the rich and famous seeking the fanciest digs in the South of France. The room of choice? The Presidential Suite, with its incredible panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes from wrap-around teakwood decks and sunken Jacuzzis. Rumor has it that the price tag is EUR 18,000- EUR 32,000 per night. The 8,000 square foot pad includes two sitting rooms, two dining rooms, four bedrooms, kitchen, hammam and sauna-- not to mention a plethora of high-tech accoutrements and the private butler on call 24 hours a day. But it's really the terrace-- arguably the most fabulous on the Cote d'Azur-- that has movie moguls coming back for more each year during the Cannes Film Festival.
Now there's another reason to love the Willard InterContinental, the D.C. institution that has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce. I Spa may be sinfully luxurious, the Cafe du Parc may be divine, but the Willard, the epitome of world-class hospitality, is also a green hotel. The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) recently awarded the Willard and its General Manager with its Environmental Award for hospitality sustainable development for "Willard InterContinental- The Next 100 Years." What's in the plan? The conversion to 100 percent wind energy power, the first hotel in the nation's capital to achieve this; Complete hotel retrofit for energy-savings including the use of compact florescent bulbs; The rehabilitation of Pershing Park across from the hotel; Water savings projects where the proceeds go to cleaning the local Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay. Bravo.
Pasadena's turn-of-the-century icon will soon become the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, reflecting its new ownership. Hong-Kong based Langham Hotels has eight luxurious hotels worldwide, and will now add this So Cal landmark to its splendid collection. Starting January 8, 2008, the 392-room hotel will be serving up signature Langham service in style. [Map]
Winter blues got you down? Take a weekend trip to Miami, where the luxurious amenities of the Conrad await: dazzling contemporary guest rooms with all the latest technology, tennis courts and hot tub surrounding the rooftop pool, the Spa Conrad with breathtaking views from the 24th floor, and the Sky Lobby overlooking Biscayne Bay and the city's glittering nightlife... Located in an innovative building of concave glass and steel in the heart of Miami's financial district, the Conrad Miami provides quick and easy access to South Beach, Coconut Grove, and Key Biscayne. Improve your swing this winter with the "Winter Warm Up" package, which includes two nights accommodation, decadent daily breakfast, one round of golf at the stunning 18-hole Crandon Golf course in Key Biscayne, complimentary transportation to and from the golf course and a 50 percent discount on purchases and rentals from the pro shop. Also included in the package are two 60-minute wellness treatments of your choice at the new Spa Chakra, a complimentary rejuvenating foot bath upon arrival at the spa and the luxury of a late 3 p.m. check-out. Starting from $549 per room, per night.