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It scares us sometimes when it turns out hotels we thought we talked about just a few months ago were actually on our radar closer to a few years ago. How time flies. Such is the case with Six Senses hotels, which we looked at in late 2013 for its expansion plans in all sorts of places: far from its usual Southeast Asia habitat in the French Alps near Mont Blanc, in the remote kingdom of Bhutan, and the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Opening dates in 2015 and 2016 seemed so far away at the time, and yet here we are, with the first two resorts scheduled to open on July 1: Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, a half hour outside Chengdu in China. Chengdu is one of the largest cities in China and the capital of the Sichuan province, home to 80% of the world’s panda population. The resort will have 113 suites and villas (above a rendering, which shows an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional design), and not surprisingly, a serious spa with locally-inspired treatments and “sensory journeys”. Scheduled for July 1 as it may be (the May date on the website we've been told will be July), we can’t seem to make reservations yet.
It’s the weekend. You know what we like to do at weekends? Hit the spa.
So let’s fantasize about Villa Stephanie, a new opening in Baden-Baden, Germany’s most iconic spa town, and a new addition to the Oetker Collection. When we think of BB, we tend to think of old-school, Austenesque places. Not so Villa Stephanie, which has completely renovated a Victorian building in the grounds of the Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa to give it deliciously contemporary-yet-classic insides – the best of both worlds.
Creating a new hotel in a listed building in a centuries-old setting like Bath isn’t an easy task. Throw in the addition of a new wing and direct access to the original Roman thermal springs, and you’re looking at one thing: a delayed opening.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, which we first talked about just over three years ago, was meant to open earlier this year, but we now understand it will arrive in “spring 2015”. While we wait, there are some beautiful renderings on the hotel website to explore, starting with the above of “Spa Village Bath”, where you will start your visit “with a circuit that includes dipping in three natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, traditional and infrared saunas, steam room, an ice chamber and elegant relaxation areas”. It does look rather spectacular, doesn’t it?
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As the temperature drops from “inferno” to “tannable” in the Coachella Valley, there’s lots going on in the Palm Springs hotel scene. A new restaurant? A hotel opening? A sad demolition? Here’s what’s happening:
· Here’s the first picture from the forthcoming Palm Springs Hotel. Originally slated for an August opening, it “hit a construction snag” but is now on course, with the website taking reservations from 23 November, with rooms from $139 on opening night ($119 the following week).
When it comes to picturesque properties, The Salish Lodge & Spa in Washington certainly needs no introduction or explanation.
Back in 2009, we gushed over a really pleasant experience, enjoying the ridiculous, romance-enducing setting as well as one of the Lodge's infamous moonlight massages. The Salish did away with the moonlight massages for a while, but they're back, along with the opening of a new "yoga tent" called the "Hidden Terrace."
This new temperature controlled canvas and glass enclosed tent sits atop the 268-foot waterfall and allows for killer views even on the coldest days of winter (or a damp, wet Northwest day). You can check out a few photos in the gallery below.
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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).
Attention "Mind Body Spa" junkies! Exhale Spa is now officially open at Loews Hollywood (formerly the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel), so Core Fusion fans no longer have to trek to Santa Monica for barre squats. We do love the beach but you can bet we're signing up in Hollywood STAT.
Exhale had a grand opening party on February 13 and we are officially regular customers. The 7,000-square-foot spa has men and women's changing rooms equipped with glass-wall steam rooms, a relaxation lounge with clove-spiced, hot-neck pillows and another lounge with all sorts of munchies and beverages. There are seven therapy rooms (two that have showers), including a couple's room with jacuzzi tub. Clean up them nails in the mani/pedi station and, should you need to cool off, the outdoor swimming pool with cabanas is plunge-worthy.
Exhale means serious business here. As in, they knocked down three hotel rooms to accommodate for their cultish classes (ahem, Core Fusion), so expect that to roll out this summer. In the meantime, get a massage, facial, acupuncture, whatever you need to restore Zen. If you require some inspiration, there's a Buddha statue in the hallway. Namaste!
Rates from $249 a night.
[Photo: Exhale Spa]
There's a new spot for stylish digs in Turkey's happenin' metropolis with the new Marti Istanbul Hotel. After a soft opening in the middle of last year, the hotel is ready to show travelers what makes them tick in their entirety with every space open and ready to wow guests behind every corner.
Tucked away in the heart of Istanbul, the Marti showcases the local Taksim culture. Considered the cultural and commercial area of the city, the sleek 11-story property is located within walking distance of dozens of galleries, boutiques, restaurants and bars.
Each of the 270 rooms are designed by famed Turkish eye-for-style, Zeynep Fadillioglu, and play with both Ottoman design and contemporary design. Cast in either a purple or blue hue, the rooms create a comfy living space for those that prefer a calming feel. Meanwhile, suites feature a hammam-style marble basin surrounded by richly textured mosaics to really get the true Turkish experience.
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We're not sure if it's a good idea or what, but for the first time publicly announced (and we say that for a reason), The Peninsula Beverly Hills is letting non-hotel guests have access to its rooftop swimming pool and private poolside cabanas.
Apparently this is a chance to let people get a taste of the life that the A-lister’s who'll attend the upcoming Golden Globes, Grammys and Oscars live when they stay at the tony hotel. Of course, getting folks to spill those bold-faced names is harder than child birth. But whatevah.
So, it seems in order to get more play out of the cabanas (what else could be the reason?) the Peninsula has created three spa packages for plebes like us, that will duplicate the VIP treatment. Not only will you get a heavenly massage, but also included is poolside lunch, all-day use of the rooftop pool, and even a private cabana! This top spot is laced with a loaded iPod, flat-screen television, minibar, WiFi, and more.
And even though we feel a bit nervous this will turn the PBH into a low-rent free-for-all, a peep at the price tags makes us think all will be OK.
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Are you a fan of the Mirbeau Inn & Spa in upstate New York? If so, you might be excited to learn that the award-winning property has just announced it will be opening a second location just outside of Cape Cod in the Pinehills in the spring of 2014.
Offering 50 rooms, the new Mirbeau will no doubt provide some healthy competition to the area's bazillion bed and breakfasts. Plus, the property will be only four hours from New York City and just under an hour from Boston.
The inn itself will be designed in the spirit of an old manor house in the French countryside, with Monet-inspired gardens. There will be fireplaces in every guest and massage room, and a restaurant and wine bar on-site. Not to mention, the property will overlook Pinehills Golf Club, which contains the only two 5-star public courses in all of New England.
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Staying fit while on the road can be difficult even for the most seasoned of travelers. Hotel gyms can be cramped, dark and soulless, not to mention outdated and hard to find. However, with features like open-air rock-climbing walls, on-staff personal trainers and Philippe Starck-designed lap pools, these five hotel gyms prove that getting a workout while traveling the globe can be the highlight of your trip.
Ok, we might be stretching it (get it?!) a little, but you see where we're going with this.
No, it’s not, and more than that, it’s a treatment that challenges your sense of personal space.
But let’s start at the beginning. During our recent trip to Istanbul this year, it seemed that it would almost be a crime to not have a Turkish hamam in Turkey. So we headed to the Amrita Spa at the five-star Swissotel The Bosphorus hotel.
With a health club and indoor pool attached, we knew that this spa was a good choice because it was filled with locals as well as tourists. There was already a good vibe at the check-in counter, where you could see a dimly-lit pool within the inner sanctum of the spa. With our escort, we walked deeper inside until we reached the changing room with all its many amenities: showers, sauna, private rooms, etc. Once we were wrapped in our towels for modesty’s sake and ushered into the hamam, our coverings were removed and modesty was now forever damned. This was the exact point when the hamam experience became interesting.