LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
October 24, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Experience paradise for a song. La Samanna, an Orient-Express hideaway in the French West Indies, is a chic, white-washed wonderland where restaurant provisions are flown in from France daily. And it recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, to boot. This beachfront spa resort has all-time low promotional rates of $395 per night during peak season. The catch? You must arrive on one of the following arrival dates: November 25 and 26, 2007, January 30, 2008, or February 26, 2008. As Travel + Leisure points out, this is a whopping 60 percent savings, as normal peak season rates start at around $1,000 a night. But hurry, this "Best Deal Days" promotion is bound to book fast.
Langham Hotels International will open its newest gem in the beautiful Thai province of Krabi in January. Since the London flagship opened in 1865, the Langham name has come to represent hotels that epitomize elegance and sophistication. (The Langham in Hong Kong is easily one of the top hotels in Asia.) Now Langham brings that legendary reputation to Lanta Yai Island in Krabi province, where an eco-friendly resort will offer luxurious accommodations that coexist in perfect harmony with the magnificent surrounding landscape. The five-star resort features 185 rooms and villas perched on the beach and up the gently sloping hillside overlooking Klong Tob Bay. Other facilities include four swimming pools, including a unique ocean pool, six restaurants and bars, and a plethora of sporting and leisure facilities-- from diving to mountain biking.
No surprise there. French Laundry is the only Bay Area restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars for 2008. Indeed French Laundry is one of only 56 Michelin three-star restaurants in the world, quite the elite bunch. Chef Thomas Keller is the only American chef to hold two three-star ratings, "the equivalent of an Oscar for chefs." (His other restaurant is Per Se in New York.)
As the AP reports, Zagat and Michelin have recently faced off in a "dining guide duel," as the red Michelin guides are moving in on Zagat's turf. Avid urban restaurant-goers swear by Zagat, and now NY and SF foodies can also turn to Michelin, which has published guides for restaurant recommendations in the two cities.
October 23, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Venetian culture comes alive when your US Dollar buys up to 40% more this Fall and Winter in Venice, Italy.
Visit Venice before 31 December 2007 with one of Starwood's Taste of Luxury or Taste of Venice USD packages and take advantage of the special One US Dollar = One Euro* exchange rate parity deal. Valid for a minimum stay of 3 nights at Hotel Danieli, Hotel Gritti Palace, or The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice. Stay in characteristic accommodations from USD 350 (instead of Euro 350) per room per night for two, inclusive of American buffet breakfast, tax and service. Don't delay. Book by 29 December for stays until 31 December 2007.
*Rates confirmed in USD are guaranteed in US dollars when paid in US cash or traveler's checks. Payments made by credit cards at the hotel will be charged in the local currency equivalent based on the exchange rate used by the hotel on the day of arrival. Currency conversions by bank or credit card companies in processing payments are not within the control of the hotel and are subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Please consult the Terms & Conditions for full details of this promotion.
The first ski chalet from Virgin Limited Edition will be-- to quote the official lit-- "the most luxurious of its size in the Alps available to rent." Sir Richard Branson has a knack for choosing the most dramatic settings on earth for his hideaways: the Caribbean's Necker Island, the soaring foothills of Morocco's Atlas Mountains, and now, the iconic Swiss ski resort of Verbier, celebrated as much for its world-class terrain as for its legendary après-ski. This mountain retreat opens its doors for the first time in January 2008 and will be open year-round. Just minutes from the ski lifts, The Lodge, Verbier features nine rooms and suites (plus a kids bunk room that sleeps up to 6), private pool, mini ice rink, and indoor and outdoor spa areas. The ultimate alpine escape doesn't come cheap. Rates for exclusive use in winter range from GBP 35,250-59,000 per week for up to 18 guests. Rates in summer start from GBP 555 per person for a three night stay. You also get most meals, all drinks (Champagne too), and 24-hour driver service from Verbier.
The holidays are fast approaching: the perfect excuse for a family getaway! Jumby Bay has put together the ultimate holiday package of scrumptious eats, ultra-luxurious accommodations, and family-friendly festivities for a most memorable Thanksgiving. Recently honored as the Best Caribbean Resort by the readers of Travel + Leisure, Jumby Bay is set on a 300-acre island paradise off the coast of Antigua in the West Indies. The resort's lavish facilities-- 40 suites and 12 villas, private pools, complimentary Caloi bicycles for every guest, tennis courts, and recreational facilities galore-- are accessible only by boat. The "Island of Thanks" getaway means five days of fun: pumpkin carving for the kids, rum tasting for the parents, holiday cookie decorating, family bingo, and a phenomenal Thanksgiving feast prepared by new Executive Chef, Erik Gremmer. Rates start at $875 per night.
It's not often that you see discounts at an AAA Five Diamond resort, where both the spa and championship golf courses are considered among the best in North America. Starting November 1, 2007, you'll find a special seasonal value offered by the Southwest's premier resort, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. With their "Only One Way Winter Rates," you can treat your family and friends to a winter getaway that feels more like summer-- with the warm sunny days and refreshingly cool nights of the Sonoran Desert. Just leave your coats at home. Rates start at just $379 per night, plus you can earn double airline miles with Fairmont's participating airline partners. Valid until April 15, 2008.
The celebrity chef is moving in on the French, opening a signature restaurant at the opulent Trianon Palace & Spa in Versailles. Set to open in the spring, the restaurant will be bringing British ingredients (!!!) to the capital of haute cuisine. The ambitious chef just opened his fancy Dublin establishment at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, and has had his eye on Paris for quite some time. He's creating a global brand and the goal is to achieve three Michelin stars in NY, London, and Paris-- simultaneously. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Ramsay explained his "culinary patriotism:"
I've had a bellyful of the French coming over and telling us how s*** our food is. We should f****** shout from the rooftops, with our hand-dived scallops from the west coast of Scotland, and our venison from Balmoral, our wonderful Aberdeen Angus steak, and our f****** mussels and oysters from beds in South Ireland. Why not?
Leave it to Claridge's to think up a fabulous Halloween-themed offer. One of the trio of super-luxury London properties managed by the Maybourne Hotel Group, Claridge's is a glamorous art deco jewel situated within easy reach of Hyde Park, Park Lane, Bond Street and Oxford Street. For All Hallows Eve, luxuriate in hauntingly beautiful overnight accommodations (a Mayfair Suite), then linger over a full English breakfast for two, while your kids enjoy a Halloween sleepover at nearby Hamleys toy store. Available for up to 2 children (aged 6-12 years), the sleepover includes themed costumes, photographs, games, scrumptious party food, an overnight stay in the store's Tented Village with bedtime milk and cookies, and breakfast the following morning. Available the evening of October 27, 2007 only.
Visitors to the sexy Tides Riviera Maya, perched on the white sands of the Yucatan Peninsula, will be delighted by the new Tequila 101 Tastings at the Tequila Bar. This ain't Jose Cuervo. You'll taste at least three high-end tequilas including blancos, añejos and reposados, accompanied by different Sangritas, the elixir that serves to extinguish tequila's fire and complements the various tequila flavors. The charming Tequila Maestro, Eduardo Gonzalez, explains the origins of blue agave-- how it is grown and how it is processed into Mexico's world-famous spirit. Plus, he'll give you the skinny on the proper way to drink tequila. Priced at $50 per person, per tasting.