December 12, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Michelin Guide Deutschland 2006 has distinguished the "White Town by the Sea," bestowing an award on the gourmet restaurant Friedrich-Franz in the Kempinski Grand Hotel Heiligendamm. Head chef Tillmann Hahn opened the restaurant in June 2004. The guy's culinary motto? "One cuisine, four aspects." Thus four creative menus-- utilizing the best products from the region and the world—range from Classique, Exotique, Mediterranee, and vegetarian Menu Jardiniere. Framed by the Baltic Sea, the beach and dense forests, the hotel is now blanketed in wintry charm.
The French authorities were peeved at the apparent price-fixing schemes and collusion between the big Parisian luxury hotels, and slapped them with a big fine. Now Le Bristol is appealing the EUR 81,000 fine, claiming the information exchange was purely related to average revenues. Hmm, that makes sense. Good luck guys.
Eva lounged with her man, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, on a recent retreat. What's so keen about the Crescent Court? This Rosewood Hotel is close to all that's cool in Dallas, its boldly colored European style bedrooms the height of luxury, and is home to both a Nobu restaurant and a fabulous spa. Did Eva indulge in a Shea Butter Body Polish or Hotter N' Texas Summer Rock Massage?
Hotel Crescent Court, Official Site
Hotel Crescent Court, Five Star Alliance
Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox is even planning a flag-waving ceremony to advertise the resort area's reopening after that nasty hurricane. But, the Washington Post queries, how ready is it? The resorts to the south, in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, are faring better than treeless Cancun, where about half the town's 27,000 available hotel rooms are open, and a lot of resorts are sadly scarred by eroded beaches.
I told you these guys were good. They just scored big at the seventh annual Luxury Travel Expo today in Vegas, where Sir Rocco Forte—Chairman and Chief Executive of Rocco Forte Hotels—received the Leaders in Luxury Award. His collection of truly exemplary luxury hotels are expanding aggressively across Europe, with hotel openings scheduled for England, Germany and Prague. (The plan—hallelujah!-- is to cover all major European cities.)
Feng Shui'd gyms, McSpa, off-menu spa treatments, lots more traditional water treatments, men-only spas, spa virtual communites (???)… Leave it to SpaFinder to survey the industry and forecast the trends. And some are a little bizarre, to say the least. Massage table in the bedroom, anyone? (The "home-spa integration" thing is going to be BIG.)
Ready, set, sweat! Head to the beach for an early AM power walk, followed by rock-climbing and then a little yoga. After an afternoon of kayaking, get pampered with a deep tissue massage. Welcome to Bikini Boot Camp, at Amansala, an eco-chic resort near the cliff-hugging Mayan ruins at Tulum, Mexico, overlooking the sparkling Caribbean and white sand beaches of the Yucatan. Boot Camp ain't so bad when it's in such a purty place. After Hurricane Wilma's recent devastation, a few Yucatan hotels are back up and running, Amansala included. Set on the beach, 14 palapas are casually elegant: decorated with mosaic-tiled bathtubs, bohemian details and beds draped with mosquito nets. The dining cabana offers delicious communal-style meals, such as fresh caught grilled fish, mangos, jicima salads and other yummy low calorie selections. One-week camp is $1842, and includes six nights accommodations, all meals, two bike excursions, kayaking, yoga and exercise classes, two massages and one Mayan clay treatment, and all entertainment.
Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines just announced a new version of its Big 'S' Sale with prices starting at $19 each-way for domestic and Caribbean travel. Though serious restrictions apply, and the lowest fares are available for midweek winter travel, Smarter Travel investigated and still found savings of more than $300.
Fly to Mexico on American from $198 R/T. Destinations include Cozumel, Cancun, Los Cabos, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City. Valid through March 31, book by December 15. This sale is hot!
Ahh, the Hotel Ritz Madrid. Favored residence of royalty, heads of state, and fashionistas alike, upon their visits to Spain's culture-saturated capital. The divine result of King Alfonso XIII's desire to build a luxury hotel to rival the Hotel Ritz in Paris. In the heart of the city, located in the center of the "Triangle of Art," the Hotel Ritz evokes the pomp and grandeur of the Royal Madrid of old. And from now until December 20, save 20 percent! The "Art in Madrid" package includes accommodations for three nights; entrance to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Prado and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia; a five-course dinner at the hotel's highly-acclaimed Goya restaurant; afternoon tea in the lounge (one per person); airport transfers; and champagne and fruit in your room. The rate is $900 per person, double occupancy.
Hotel Ritz Madrid, Official Site
Hotel Ritz Madrid, Five Star Alliance
December 8, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Enjoy Christmas and New Year in Hong Kong at the legendary "Grande Dame of the Far East" and take advantage of The Peninsula Hotels' Complimentary Heritage Tours. Between December 5 and February 28, guests staying at The Peninsula Hong Kong can enjoy a 45-minute night tour of Kowloon's spectacular neon heritage. Soak up the classic grandeur, timeless elegance and world-famous service of The Peninsula in the most spacious hotel rooms in Hong Kong. (And the enormous Roman-style swimming pool, that opens onto a sun terrace overlooking Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island.) The holiday season at The Peninsula means impressive gourmet feasts and lots of festive musical entertainment. Additionally, celebrate the Chinese New Year when January 29 ushers in the Year of the Dog.
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Official Site
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Five Star Alliance