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Should You or Shouldn't You? A HotelChatter Review
We decided it was high time to check out one of the newest hotels that make up Vancouver’s skyline, the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Opened in 2010 for the Olympics, this beautiful “ode to glass” building is not only chic, but is a happening destination unto itself.
Check-In: We took advantage of the hotel’s car service and had a great chat with our driver about the hotel and living in Vancouver. When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by dapper doormen whose uniforms can best be described as a cross between Armani and 1940s movie gangster in a very fashionable grey. It was a very good start.
As we were ushered into the long, cool and white marble lobby we noticed immediately the hotel's bespoke Indian Jasmine fragrance. Our driver, who was part of the concierge team, never left our side. Once given our keys we were escorted to our room, passing the serene-but-not-for-long Lobby Lounge that spans the entry space.
Room Reaction: We entered our room on the Fairmont Gold floor and were immediately dazzled by the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Vancouver harbor and port. We were introduced to the iPad2 waiting for us and the hi-tech lighting system (which also controls the drapes) with its pre-set mood makers – Day, Evening, Relax – and in the bathroom, there’s a setting for Groom or Spa.
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Nothing is worse than showing up bleary-eyed to your hotel and being told your room isn't ready yet. Worse still if your bones ache from sitting on a plane all day and you've been dragging around your suitcase for so many hours that your hand has become permanently locked in claw grip position.
Thankfully, the Plaza Athenee in New York has come up with a solution to the whole early check-in conundrum: the "Rest and Refresh" package. By reserving ahead of time, guests can kill time in their own private Spa Suite, which comes with a marble bathroom and private steam shower. In addition, they can request a facial or massage, and even sneak in a quick breakfast or lunch at the hotel's Arabelle Restaurant.
With pampering like this, who needs the guest room?
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With plenty of new hotels heating up the scene in Turkey (Fairmont, Nikki Beach Resort, Four Seasons, to name but a few), it's no surprise that Shangri-La's shrewd crew of hotel planners wanted to plant their flag as well.
Over the weekend, the gorgeous Shangri-La Bosphorus officially opened its doors, with 186 guest rooms, a spa, and a three-story dome-shaped atrium capped with a skylight as well as a "massive Bohemian chandelier that rains crystals for two storeys." Oh, those Turks.
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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Seaweed facials
What's In: Facials with gold, diamonds and other sparkly things
Diamonds and other precious metals and gems are sparkly and luminous; why shouldn’t your skin be the same? See what the hotel spas below are doing to make your skin radiate with good health.
The Dorchester Hotel in London offers the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial. Following ten years of research and three years of development, Carol Joy London products are created with some of the most precious beauty ingredients around (who knew that Golden Millet Oil was like pure gold?).
This intensive facial includes exfoliation with a diamond-head contraption that is said to be gentler than the traditional crystal ablater (we just like that word –- it sounds kind of bad-ass). While that’s going on, you’re being blasted with an Oxyjet machine that produces 95% pure oxygen to cool and soothe your skin and stimulate collagen production. The result? A firmer, clearer and more glowing you. The price for beauty, in this case, is £205 ($279).
Hotel Spas / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Marina del Rey Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Natura Bisse / → All Tags
We've become accustomed to ultra-luxe hotel spa offerings from facials done with real diamonds particles to body treatments made with fossil stone and even the rare stem cell treatment. But the Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey celebrated the grand opening of their new Spa Nautica in a highly unusual way--with a special bubble filled with 99.95 percent pure air from Spanish toiletry brand, Natura Bisse. But there's more.
Inside the bubble, the spa performed complimentary 30-minute "Direct Affect" facials on party guests using carboxitherapy (C02 to combat the signs of aging), which "produces an explosion of oxygen resulting in a visible revitalization of the skin." Um, yes please.
Sadly, the bubble was just an opening trick and it's already been popped, er, taken down. However, the Direct Affect facial is available at the spa for $85. It's done in one of the spa's seven treatment rooms, not a bubble. There's also a super luxe facial being offered called the "Diamond Experience Cryo-Repairing Lifting Facial" which lasts 90 minutes and costs $325, but is a serous anti-aging treatment that involves an "intensive mio-facial lifting massage" and "cold lifting" which repairs damaged DNA. But of course, you can get an regular old massage and body treatment at the spa too in case the complicated words scare the living daylights out of you.
The 611-room Westin Playa Bonita got plenty of attention when it opened in 2011 as Panama City's newest beach resort—no thanks to an all-night, Carnival-style grand opening party on the beach, complete with fireworks, Latino pop stars, and an estimated 3400 guests (ourselves included!).
The biggest reason to head back there now, however, is the resort's new Sensory Spa by Clarins, which debuted in October and has spent the last four months living up to its name by offering guests what it calls the "Tropical Rainforest Circuit," an hour-long hot-and-cold treatment featuring herbal saunas, ice fountains, an amethyst crystal steam room, and a Raindance Rainmaker shower. In fact, the whole thing is supposedly so relaxing, the spa lets you do the circuit twice.
Wondering what a "Raindance Rainmaker shower" is exactly? We scratched our heads over that one too: apparently it's a chamber with jets of water and air installed on the walls and ceiling that can re-create a "thick, thin or swirling warm rain experience." Err…sounds nice? We don't know, maybe we need to try this one out for ourselves….
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Not to state the obvious, but it’s winter and you’re in need of some TLC to bring you out of your dark-day doldrums. We get it. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most authentic local spa treatments to kick-start your spring recovery.
Fairmont Mayakoba -- Riviera Maya, Mexico Well the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 as the Mayans predicted, but don’t give up on them yet. They still got game. In a private canopy overlooking the mangrove forest, guests of the Willow Stream Spa can enjoy treatments that utilize Mayan ingredients such as Conchera, fossil stone and wood from the local Zapote tree. For a bliss-out treatment, try the Mayan Clay Purification which incorporates local Mayan clay and involves a massage using sage oil and Mexican obsidian stones.
Four more blissful, all-natural spa treatments after the jump!
We love movie premiers and, even more, we love to be looking smart with a nice smooth face. Like a baby's bottom, but more manly and suitable for an international spy like James Bond. QT Sydney has come to the rescue their Mr. Bond Shave. It's just in time for the US premiere of the movie today.
Yes, we know it's Movember, but bare with us for a moment.
The shave is as retro as it gets in QT's cool barber shop connected to the SpaQ. A complete throwback to when men wore hats, shaved with straight razors. We're talking hot towels, thick shaving cream, blades and aftershave all brought into the 21st Century with a splash of pampering to look your best, even if you're not living a life of espionage.
Men are encouraged to sit back, relax and enjoy the experience because "a razor to the neck reminds you that you're truly alive." After all the stubble is removed, a re-hydrating eye mask is applied while your neck and shoulders get a complete rub-down. We would be surprised if anyone walks out of the barber shop not looking their best and ready to take on Dr. No.
You guys are way too good at this! Here we were thinking we’d pick a more difficult to identify hotel, but no: both in the article comments and on Twitter (@HotelChatter) several of you got it right in no time, so we couldn’t wait until next week for our reveal.
The hotel we were hinting at was Wildflower Hall, an Oberoi resort in the Himalayas. Located in Shimla, in the far northwest of India, with Tibet and Nepal to the (south)east, the hotel sits at an altitude of 8,250 feet (2,500 meters) in 22 acres of forest. Formerly the site of Lord Kitchener’s residence, the current six-story building was constructed after a fire in the early nineties.
This is one glamorous Friday with two, count 'em 2, Fantasy Friday posts. The first one was dreaming about rubbing elbows with the rich and famous at Huka Lodge in New Zealand. Now this luxurious hotel package comes to you from Seoul, South Korea and is not for the penny-pincher. Super extravagance comes in the forms of an $80K spa treatment at the city's Ritz Carlton.
The hotel created a package specially designed for high-rolling Chinese tourists that chartered a flight to Seoul to be poked and prodded all to walk away looking and feeling younger. Part of a full tour package that allows for travelers to pick their poison, as it is, and tailor-fit their vacation because well, they have enough cash to throw around. The price range for the anti-aging packages start at $440 and tops out at $87,680. We don't think that includes tip.
For the single workaholics out there who blew the summer stuck behind a desk and now don’t have a titillating tale to write about (and win a stay at The Standard Miami), we give you a gentle tsk tsk, but a chance to redeem yourself.
While everyone else gets back in work grind, use that stored up vacation time and head to The The BodyHoliday at LeSport in St. Lucia where the all-inclusive health and wellness haven is hosting a “September Solos” retreat from now until the 30th.
On the agenda is the makings of a perfect date—daily spa treatments, gourmet dinners, cocktails, and sunset cruises and champagne concerts.
It used to be back in the day we got excited by the brands of toiletries being offered, particularly Fresh, Red Flower and Kiehl's. Then we started obsessing over hotels that went above and beyond the hotel trinity of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel to offer multiple lotions, mouthwash, toothbrushes, razors and combs. But now we're onto something new--carefully selected toiletry kits.
Recently, we've spotlighted the kits at the Upper House in Hong Kong filled with high-end REN products (along with a plastic baggie for TSA on your trip home) and the Elite Therapeutics line at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. And now we've been able to sneak a peek at the toiletries being offered in-rooms at the Rancho Valencia Resort in San Diego which is reopening later this fall.