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Celebrity Scoop / Gwyneth Paltrow / St. Lucia Hotels / Morocco Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Paris Hotels / → All Tags
People Magazine recently named Gwyneth Paltrow 2013’s "World's Most Beautiful Woman" and that set off a debate frenzy as to whether the actress deserved such a title. Even Paltrow herself has been quoted as saying that while she’s honored, it’s “obviously not true.”
Still, we’re more interested in where a woman with such a high honor go for a little R&R? Especially now after that much publicity. Well, we’re happy to say she’s a fan of some of our favorite places!
Viceroy Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
Paltrow visited the newly renamed and rebranded resort (it used to be Jalousie) with her children, Apple, 8, and Moses, 6. She wrote on her lifestyle website Goop.com, “We are just back from an amazing (and sadly short) holiday at Sugar Beach -- A Viceroy Resort in St. Lucia. It was heaven.” Oh, and she also had to clarify that Moses wasn't drinking a pina colada out of his coconut.
Read on for more of Paltrow's perennial favorites.
What's that you say? Television rots your brain? Makes you lazy? Au contraire!
We told you about the Game of Thrones' packages in Croatia, and LateRooms.com is now reporting that fans are being inspired into action, apparently motivated by the show's medieval city scenes and glacier exteriors. Morocco and Iceland hotels have seen an increase in bookings through the site without offering so much as a discount (sorry, Croatia!), some as much as 100%.
Okay, right, it's only one site, but we think it brings up an interesting component of advertising. Companies pay a lot of money for that 30-second commercial, but who's watching them anymore? People are more aware and avoid ads than ever before. Thanks to the decline of consumer patience when it comes to commercial breaks, the future of advertising is in the hand of product placement than anything else.
Maybe the travel industry can take advantage of that. It's currently working out really well for Iceland and Morocco. So what are the benefits?
Nearly three years ago the movie (or borderline international incident – sorry, SJP, but just. no.) Sex and the City 2 came out. Way back when, we reported on the backdrop for all the hotel-room scenes in the movie being the (then) future Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma, Marrakech, which substituted for Abu Dhabi in the film.
One delay to the first quarter of 2011 later and the hotel was taken over by Indian group Taj Hotels, still optimistically scheduled for the fall of that same year. Now, another year plus later, the Taj Palace Marrakech is finally ready for all those people who have been saving for an SATC-themed journey to Morocco.
Morgans Hotel Group / Hotel News / Delano Hotels / Mondrian Hotels / Marrakech Hotels / Morocco Hotels / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
Just last week we were reminiscing about the days when The Delano would strike out for the wilds of Las Vegas and Dubai but thanks to the great economy meltdown of 2008, those desert dreams were merely mirages. Same goes for these Delano duds.
But today, we've got word that The Delano, under parent company Morgans Hotel Group is actually giving it another go--this time in Morocco.
Morgans has partnered up with Moroccan entrepreneur Ahmed Bennani and Hivernage Collection to open a Delano Marrakech in September 2012 (this year!) followed by a Mondrian Marrakech in late 2013. Here's the brief description on the 73-room Delano Marrakech:
Following the footsteps of its South Beach predecessor, Delano Marrakech will provide world-travelers with another sophisticated world-class urban resort marked by unparalleled style and five-star service. As a self-contained destination, Delano Marrakech will offer a haven of luxury and relaxation in heart of the vibrant, magical city.
We're drooling over recently-released photos of Selman Marrakech, a new 56-room luxury resort that officially opens on May 1. In addition to completed rooms and suites, the 15-acre property also boasts a pool, a 12,000 square foot spa, and, bizarrely, sixteen Arabian thoroughbreds, which roam the property simply for guests to enjoy, and (occasionally) ride.
Our eyes, however, immediately fixated on the detailed craftsmanship that characterizes the walls, the floor, the furniture—from the looks of it, pretty much every surface here is marked by some little ingenious embellishment, from hand-laid mosaic tiles to arched columns to carved wooden balconies.
Our series on Marrakech concludes with the grandest suite we saw during our four day jaunt to the Moroccan city.
Dar Ayniwen, like Jnane Tamsna, is located in La Palmeraie, providing a sea change in terms of environment when compared to the Medina. The estate-turned-hotel that doesn't shy away from pomp and circumstance: stately excess best describes its decor, from the textured Berber rugs layered and peppered throughout its interior, to walls plastered with vintage travel posters, to the plush gardens surrounding it, with a variety of bird species chirping a natural soundtrack for the villa.
Removed from the frantic climes of Marrakech's Medina, Jnane Tamsna is located in the city's Palmeraie district, tucked away from other sizeable resorts in the area. We planned an afternoon sojourn to the grounds after learning about on-site cookery classes featuring staples of Moroccan cuisine. Fans of former Gourmet Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl may remember Jnane Tamsna's house chef, Bahija, featured on an episode of Adventures With Ruth.
Morocco Hotels / Marrakech Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Hotel Reviews / Africa Hotels / Hotel Service / → All Tags
Yesterday we teased today's full review of Riad Joya, a boutique hotel planted squarely in the middle of Marrakech's Medina, the most ancient part of the city. Having made the claim that Joya provided us with the best service ever experienced, it's only fitting that we elaborate on such a bold statement.
Mint tea and fresh Moroccan pastries: now that's a check-in greeting
Though London's winter has been comparatively mild to previous chillblain-inducing, blustering holiday seasons of years prior, us local Hotel Chatter-ers found ourselves craving a mid-season warm weather getaway nonetheless. Marrakech, Morocco won out over other similarly balmy cities for its proximity to the U.K. capital (it's just a three hour flight away) and the promise of tangines peppered with Ras el Hanout and preserved lemons.
Our VIP Hotel Reviews Series is back. For those of you with goldfish memories, this is the series in which we hand-pick experts in the travel and media worlds and beyond to tell us what are their favorite hotels and why. From time to time, we'll feature a hotel review from said VIPs about their favorite leisure or business hotels.
Our next VIP reviewer is Beverly Hills manse lister Josh Flagg. Josh is a Los Angeles real estate agent, star of Bravo!'s Million Dollar Listing, and an avid traveler. He has vacationed with his family in all the top resorts and hotels of Europe America and the Middle East. In 2011 Josh released his first book, a biography of his grandmother Edith Flagg, known also as the queen of polyester. The book is entitled "A Simple Girl; Stories My Grandmother Told Me". He is now releasing his second book, an autobiography on himself: Million Dollar Agent, Brokering the Dream
All week long, we'll be fantasizing about some of the Over The Top New Year's Eve events and packages that ritzy hotels are putting together. Who knows? Maybe one of you moneybags out there will invite us to party with you! Know of an OTT hotel package for NYE? Send it to us!
Now, we're guessing SJP won't be there, but there will be stars of a kind--the hotel is flying in the cast of the musical The Best of Broadway (from New York, London and Oslo) to perform a single show on December 31.
Celebrity Scoop / Morocco Hotels / Hotel Reopenings / Jennifer Aniston / Orlando Bloom / Movie Set Hotels / → All Tags
While hotel opening parties stateside seem to be a thing of the past, in Morocco the parties seem more lavish than ever with a mind-boggling amount of celebrities in attendance.
We were just recovering from the Lindsay Lohan-Gerard Butler possible hook-up at the Mazagan Beach Resort last month when we heard that the famed La Mamounia Hotel threw an opening party with Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Adrien Brody (who played the piano for guests), Juliette Binoche, Dree Hemingway, Paloma Piccaso, Jose Carreras, Glenda Bailey, Colin Cowie, Matthew Williamson and Salma Hayek in attendance.
So, what happened to Lindsay Lohan's invite? Well, considering that the hotel took about three years to renovate (done by internationally-acclaimed interior designer, Jacques Garcia), we guess they didn't want Lohan sullying up the opening festivities.