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With France still being the number one country for international tourist arrivals (a whopping 79.5 million people visited in 2011, more than double its population), and Paris being the logical first stop for a lot of those people, the city of light continues to be a draw for luxury hotels to open their doors.
Shangri-La Paris arrived in the former residence of Roland Bonaparte (Napoleon’s nephew) a few years ago, Raffles Le Royal Monceau came around following a game of hotel hot-potato, and we saw pictures of the upcoming Peninsula Paris earlier this year.
This kind of competition means established hotels need to step it up, whether it’s by adding a wing and branching out to the Middle East as we talked about last week, closing for two years for a top-to-bottom renovation, or hosting the final episodes of a small HBO series and offering packages that start at €2,695 ($3,312) to relive the experience.
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When he isn't pricing new real estate in Macau, Las Vegas tycoon Steve Wynn is keeping his eyes peeled for a new home in Manhattan. And he's now found the house of
our his dreams: the penthouse suite at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park.
The NY Observer reports that Wynn has nabbed the apartment for $70 million, and it sounds every bit as incredible as we imagine. In fact, if we weren't so busy finding out about all the new hotels opening up in Manhattan, we would be knocking on his door this very instant trying to get a peek inside.
Think he'd have us in for tea and a bit of hotel gossiping?
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President Ernest Bai Koroma, center
When we learned the particular hotel used by the President of Sierra Leone during the United Nations General Assembly in NYC, of course, we figured it was worth sharing. And even more so when we found out that the four-year official had supposedly taken up three floors of the hotel.
But in fact, as we learned from a rather petulant email we received at the beginning of the weekend (from the Sierra Leone embassy, no less), the President and his entourage only took up two floors of Hyatt 48Lex—the penthouse floor and the one below. Phew. Well, that really clears things up. Between $16 muffins and this, we were seriously considering a saucy little email of our own denouncing extravagant spending by governments in hotels. But for now, we'll just downgrade that to a warning.
To read a portion of the email, which doesn't exactly present the hotel in the most favorable light, click below.
The Trump Soho sends word that their full collection of 11 penthouse suites is finally open for booking, after the hotel's April debut, meaning you can now spend the night with panoramic views of New Jersey and Manhattan—if you can afford the price of admission.
We had a chance recently to scope a couple of the suites and the views are indeed magnificent, including the cityscapes from bathtubs and a direct view up Sixth Avenue to the skyscrapers of Midtown. (The view was even better from the 400-square-foot outdoor terrace attached to one of the suites.) On the west side of the hotel, guests can spy The Standard, which looks remarkably tiny from the 44th floor of the Trump. At least one suite we saw also had a telescope for spying on New Jersey.
Also new is a 33rd-floor "penthouse" that includes a pool table and high-end A/V equipment that the hotel is positioning as an ideal place for group sports watching.
We're not exactly sure how you go about fully getting your money's worth when paying $20K a night for The Plaza's recently renovated penthouse-level Royal Terrace Suite. We suggest not leaving for more than fifteen minutes because the room runs you roughly $833 an hour.
We were able to tour the Royal Terrace Suite, the largest (2,000 square feet) and priciest of the six glorious Manhattan penthouse suites. Alas, after careful consideration, we have come to the decision that we definitely do want to live in one, and we'll even settle for the $10,000 a night Edwardian Suite. How we'll make that happen? We aren't quite sure yet. But dire financial straits have us thinking UUUUGE! (Insert The Donald's voice, the man who once owned our future new pad.)
Here's a quick video for you to see what we're all worked up about. Tomorrow, we'll give you the full scoop on what's inside.
The Setai San Diego (remember, no relation to the Miami Beach property) will be opening next month in the city's downtown area and this isn't just some hack property that grabbed the Setai name. The Setai will probably end up being THE luxury hotel in San Diego and by luxury hotel we don't mean the kind that our parents and grandparents like. No, we mean the kind that we like.
The standouts at this hotel seem to be its suite offerings. There are 37 suites--17 of those are one-bedroom suites and 20 are luxe suites which come with full Italian kitchens, Miele and Sub Zero appliances, full living rooms, balconies, private bedrooms and baths. South-facing suites will have balconies with floor to ceiling windows that open to give guests views of the city, ocean and bay.
But the real star is the Grand Penthouse Suite, one of three penthouse suites. This is apparently going to be the largest on the West Coast.
New York City's Mansfield Hotel is already swanky enough, but for those with even a bit more cash they've just opened their renovated penthouse suite, the Renwick Duplex Penthouse.
The Renwick penthouse covers 1,400 square feet over two floors plus a loft, and it's bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows--but it's also full of technology like electronic blackout shades so you can control just how much light gets in.
And there's more technology: three huge LCD TVs in all the right places (living room, Jacuzzi room and bedroom--the last one retracts into a cabinet at the foot of your bed), plus free WiFi and an iPod docking station.
If you're feeling social you can also turn the penthouse into an entertaining area--they reckon about 30 guests fit comfortably. Or use the dining table for an important business meeting with eight of your favorite clients. If things get dull there's always a TV to turn on somewhere.
Discounted Hotel Penthouse Suite
$1,800 per night
The Buckingham Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is offering up its 2,000-sq-ft Martinelli Penthouse for 50 percent off for the rest of August.
Typically, the suite goes for more than $3,600 a night. But now at $1,800 a night, the suite's king and queen bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, breakfast nook, sprawling living room, fireplace and a terrace with a view overlooking Central Park, can be all yours.
The Martinelli Penthouse, named after the long-time resident and Metropolitan Opera tenor Giovanni Martinelli, can be booked online or by calling (888) 511-1900. The deal expires August 31st.
Pictures of the Martinelli Penthouse are after the jump
On our last stop at the Dukes Hotel in London, we were most interested in the masterful martinis getting mixed there, but now we're ready to take a look at the hotel as a whole. So was the Irish Independent who gave it a pretty favorable review over the weekend.
They recommend booking the penthouse room if you can. It's 700 square feet of luxury with a 7 foot bed and a view over the park from a private balcony. With a rack rate of £1,100 (it's almost too scary to convert that, but it works out at almost US$2,200), the penthouse isn't for everyone, but it's always nice to dream.
Dukes is getting press right now because it's the 100th anniversary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming's birth--and Ian Fleming was a regular at Dukes. Get it?
A fairly tenuous link, but there's a big Bond exhibition tying in at the Imperial War Museum, plus the hotel's offering a Bond About Town package which includes room, a classy wet shave for him, a "Miss Moneypenny manicure" for her, dinner, breakfast, late checkout and--of course--a martini. The base rate for Bond About Town is £450 (US$890). But that's a really good martini.