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Six Senses Resorts and Hotels’ mantra is “to create unique properties in places of natural beauty with a focus on sustainability and wellness.” Well it seems that the Six Senses Douro Valley, set on a 19th-century wine estate spread out over 19 acres, has taken that to heart, gotten on the bandwagon, and even drunk the communal wine.
Today's the big official unveiling of this stylin' boutique property with only 57 rooms, suites and one-, two- and three-bedroom villas – some with private pools and gardens. Designed by NY-based Clodagh Design (after consulting with a Feng Shui master, of course), the hotel has a rustic chic thing going on that fits in well with its surroundings in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Douro Valley (the oldest wine-producing region in the world – yeah, we didn’t know that either).
Quinta Deluxe Room
Rooms come with the expected king or twin beds, tea and coffee facilities, free WiFi, minibar and flat-panel television, but, really, it’s the organic design that stands out: earth tones of gray and sand with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of space to boot.
Get a feel for the rest of the place below!
Two Bunch Palms celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, but it’s in the last couple of years that it's got really interesting. The resort got new owners in 2012, having been in receivership. Kevin Kelly of Canyon Ranch fame became CEO in July 2013. In September they stripped out the heavy, steakhouse-style restaurant and made a fresher, more Californian area (see it after the jump).
Oh nothing, it’s just a solar farm – a solar farm which, when it was switched on last week, made Two Bunch Palms, the hotel on whose property it sits, the first carbon neutral resort in North America.
Two Bunch Palms is one of Desert Hot Springs’ historical spa resorts, using the natural hot springs for which the town is named. And Two Bunch has some history, too – it’s one of the two oldest mineral spa resorts in the country (75 this year) and has history with Hollywood and even Al Capone, who, legend has it, had it as a hide-out before it became a hotel.
But who needs celebs when you have one of the greenest resorts in America? The stats speak for themselves: 3.5 acres, 1,824 300-watt photovoltaic panels, generating enough energy to power the entire resort. The power it generates will save 375 million gallons of water and 13.5 million pounds of carbon emissions over the next 21 years, compared to normal power sources.
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Mossy at The LifeCo in happier times
Celebs – they’re just like us! Or rather, some of them are. Others trash their hotel rooms or get so affected by a stay that they end up being seen to by the police.
While Brad and Angelina flew economy to the French Riviera, Kate Moss and Tom Hanks’ son have flown the flag for celebs behaving badly.
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It’s not quite the promised “Spring 2015”, but we’ll take it: The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel will open July 1.
It was last November that we walked you through a load of renderings from inside the listed building in Bath, which will have direct access to the original Roman thermal springs. Naturally, this is what your spa experience will be all about. The hotel’s “private water reserve bubbles to the surface at 47 degrees centigrade, packed full of rich natural minerals”. A one-hour “Bath Circuit” is a “ritualised self-guided tour of the thermal pools, saunas, steam room, ice alcove and elegant relaxation rooms”, which concludes with a “very special Water Ritual Ceremony”. What exactly that is, we’ll have to find out.
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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]