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Just as the Great House on Necker Island is open again for business, is Richard Branson expanding his exclusive Virgin Limited Edition collection of billionaire-worthy escapes and toys (Necker Nymph anyone?). The place is called Mahala Mzuri, in the Maasai Mara region of southern Kenya, a name that means ‘beautiful place’ in Swahili.
The traditional Maasai ceremony to celebrate the opening took place at the end of last month, and Branson participated as recognised Maasai Elder, which he became six years ago. Who knew?
There are plenty of hotels out there that are finally "getting it" when it comes to the luxury hotel experience. When we are paying up to several hundred dollars per night (and sometimes over a couple of thousand on occasion), there are certain touches that are expected and then there are little things that are just plain thoughtful on the part of the property, ultimately making for an especially memorable stay. As frequent travelers we really appreciate all of those little details. Plus, it's nice to feel like we really got our money's worth. Here's a look at a few luxury hotels going out of their way to throw in complimentary extras that make us like them even more:
We told you about this a while ago when it was first announced and frankly it's a really nice little upgrade. Even those sitting pretty in the upper crust may not ever step foot in a car with this level of prestige, even if they can afford to own one (some people are much too practical). C'mon. We don't care what your income level is, can you really tell us you don't want to roll up to the hotel in a Maserati? Don't lie.
Insane Hotel Packages / Hotel Breakfast / Dorchester Collection / Dorchester Collection Hotels / Luxury Hotels / London Hotels / UK Hotels / → All Tags
The next time you’re checking into The Dorchester and they ask you to state your name, you could just say, “Bond. James Bond.”
With the release of William Boyd’s new 007 novel, Solo, a few short weeks back, you can—quite literally—insert yourself in the story at The Dorchester. The London hotel is the setting for the opening scene of Boyd’s new Bond book, in which 007 is described as treating himself to a 45th birthday breakfast in 1969. In the book, Bond’s breakfast at The Dorchester consists of “four eggs, scrambled with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee.”
If you order Bond’s birthday breakfast, the hotel will help set the scene by offering you an iPod loaded with hits from the 60s, giving you an extract from a national newspaper and the menu from 1969, and serving your breakfast silver service-style in keeping with the 60s. Once a week, a table will be chosen at random to be charged The Grill's 1969 price, a sum just short of £2 ($2.70).
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Thinking of starting your holiday shopping? Yeah, we’re not either but, luckily, the good folks at the Dorchester Collection’s Beverly Hills Hotel have our backs.
The hotel is launching an exclusive jewelry line by Anndra Neen (Phoebe and Annette Stephens are the sisters behind the label), winner of the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, for the gift-buying season. Available the first week of November and only through December, you can pick up a piece of the collection at The Beverly Hills Hotel's gift shop. That's it. There's nowhere else. Pieces from Anndra Neen have accessorized Michelle Obama, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, Nicole Richie and Anna Paquin so you'll be in fine company.
The first piece to launch is a distinctive bracelet inspired by the hotel's iconic design elements, from distinctive shades of pink and green to the signature banana leaves found on the wallpaper and landscaped gardens across the property. It is created by hand and features Agate stones and alpaca and brass materials. (We wanted to show you the piece but we're told it's still being perfected by the design team.) Additional pieces to debut include a necklace, choker and clutch. To give you an idea of cost, the bracelet will retail for $485. Not horrific at all.
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Not only did we ogle Rosewood London last week (hopefully just phase one in Europe for the group), we also picked up some additional news: a first few snapshots of the rooms at Rosewood Beijing (coming next year) and the exciting update that another hotel is being planned for Bangkok.
Both hotels sound like they will be rather unique; the building in Beijing “will recall a mountain profile with contrasting volumes and shapes” and Bangkok promises 650-square foot Pool Sky Villas, with large terraces and private plunge pools (!!).
We all know that ordering gourmet fare directly to your hotel room door comes with a cost. One that some of us will gladly pay for, especially if it truly is on par with fine dining and we get to enjoy a small feast in our pajamas. Plus, there is something fun and a little reckless about not caring one iota how much the apple pie à la mode will wind up costing when you go to check out. It’s either a vacation or going on the company card anyway, right?
In most cases this might be true, but allow us to suggest paying a bit more attention the next time you peruse the all-day dining pages. Because while the average luxury traveler has no qualms about spending $30 on a cheeseburger (à la carte of course), we have found a few room service items that will have every one of you thinking twice before ordering. Although, if you are in the mood to splurge, some of these might just be worth every penny.
Two months have flown by since we stopped by Rosewood London in August to get a first impression of what was to come for the 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building on High Holborn, and here we are: the hotel is now officially open (on time! It can be done after all).
Having spent an evening exploring the public spaces, from arrival in the dramatically-lit courtyard and the stunning rose-bronze entrance gallery to the book-filled, library-feel Bar and elegant Mirror Room, we are seriously impressed with how that $130 million was spent. It’s a tasteful, luxurious, and, most of all, interesting mix of design, furniture, fabrics, colors, and art that really worked for us. Read on for more.
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The Royal Horseguards Hotel, on the River Thames
Think the luxury hotel market is crowded enough already? Not so, according to glh. (Global Hotel Company), which is planning to show all the big, established names out there how it is done with a brand new series of luxury hotels: Clermont Hotels.
They will start in one of the hottest markets there is – London – by transforming the Royal Horseguards Hotel into Clermont London, and have Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the works. That’s just the start in an expansion to 30 properties over the next decade. And there is even more: glh. will be announcing two additional hotel brands in the near future. Feel as overwhelmed as we do? We’ll talk you through how this all came about.
While the Peninsula Paris might be slowly revealing its Beaux Arts façade on Avenue Kléber, a hop and a skip down the Champs Élysées, two other Parisian luxury hotels are still very much off in the land of dreams.
Hotel Ritz, on terribly chic Place Vendôme, is coming up to the midway point of its two-year plus closure, or as the French put it so much more eloquently, “vers une nouvelle legende”. If possible, the building is even more obscured from prying eyes than it was last time we walked by, earlier this year.
Let's be honest, luxury hotels are pretty great. You are well taken care of, always addressed with a professional, caring attitude and usually, there is some fantastic food involved.
After experiencing the level of service and amenities that five-star brands like Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons have set the bar on, one can become rather, well, jaded. Perhaps even, dare we say, expectant of certain details we have grown used to having while traveling.
So here's a look at what may come as a
shock disappointment to everyone out there that has grown far too accustomed to the lavish life. Just a few things that (whether you want to admit it or not), you will be sorely upset about should you accidentally book less-than-stellar accommodations.
Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Opening Rates / Loews Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Breakfasts / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel News / → All Tags
The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue shuttered its doors last January leaving the NYC's power breakfasters suddenly homeless. But come January 16th, the landmark hotel will be making eggs and bacon again, amongst other things.
The hotel is finishing up an extensive $100 million renovation, that's been spearheaded by Jonathan Tisch, the chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, and which has overhauled 379 guest rooms (above) including 58 suites as well as created a new restaurant and a new salon and spa, along with new private meeting spaces and a fitness center.
While we already knew that the salon and anti-aging spa will be run by celebrity stylist Julien Farel, we're a little more interested in the return of the restaurant, especially since it was so well-loved by so many powerful people.
Loews promises a new dining concept managed by New York restaurateurs Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli of the Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group. (Their Sant Ambroeus restaurant on West 4th is favored by celebs and models alike.) Together they will work Executive Chef Dan Silverman to bring a market-fresh menu filled with "modern interpretations of classic dishes" combined with "international flavors and palates."
But will Larry King still be able to get his Cheerios with blueberries? We hope so.
Last time we walked down Avenue Kléber in Paris to check in on the construction progress at The Peninsula, the former Hotel Majestic was still covered in scaffolding. Just over five months later, there is much more to see, with the limestone exterior freely basking in a pale autumn sun last week. The 1908 façade has some beautiful architectural details, and the u-shape that will enable a lobby terrace facing the avenue is clearly visible.