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The bad news, guys, is summer is ending.
The good news is, winter means opportunities to do things you couldn’t face in summer – like sleeping outdoors in India. Especially when it’s tiger season.
This month sees the (re)opening of three tented camps from Sujan in Rajasthan: Sher Bagh, in Ranthambhore, the Serai in Jaisalmer, and Jawai Leopard Camp.
Sher Bagh (top pic) isn’t new, but it’s been completely renovated for the 2014 season, with all tents getting their ensuite bathrooms refurbished and enlarged (yes, ensuite bathrooms being enlarged - as you can imagine, these aren’t your ordinary tents). Two new suites have also been created – one with a walled garden, one with a private pool (and both with butlers). The location, meanwhile, is tiger central – 81% of visitors last year saw at least two per day.
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The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
The Goring (who, as of two weeks ago, became the only London member of Relais & Châteaux) recently unveiled what is, undoubtedly, London’s most unconventional and quintessentially British Christmas tree.
The tree, called “Christmas Rain,” is part of a collection of Christmas trees created for the hotel by British luxury brands. This one is the focal point, though, standing tall at 30 feet in The Goring’s garden, and designed by a fellow Royal Warrant Holder and Britain’s leading rainwear specialist, Fulton Umbrellas (they’re famous for their see-through umbrellas favored by the Royal Family including Wills and Kate and, we expect, little Prince George will follow in their rain-booted footsteps). Rather than regular glass baubles, the tree is decorated with bespoke Fulton umbrellas (ever-at-the-ready for the traditional Christmas rain shower) and a shimmering shower of mirrored raindrops arranged in a waterfall of crystals, beading and sequins.
Historic Hotels / Romania Hotels / Estonia Hotels / Hungary Hotels / Relais and Chateaux Hotels / Poland Hotels / Croatia Hotels / → All Tags
If Paris, Rome and London have begun to lose their luster and you're looking for a novel way to explore Europe's vast terrain, don't fret. Way over on the other end of the continent, countries like Romania, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and Croatia beckon with 17th century castles, lush countryside, and unspoiled coastal cities. Here's a look at some of the most stunning old-world hotels to be found in the region.
Three Sisters Hotel, Estonia
This Relais & Chateaux-branded property is actually made up of three former merchant houses, built in the fourteenth century, and located within the walls of Tallinn's Old Town. Guest rooms (all renovated in 2003) convey the building's intimate, medieval vibe, but it's the suites that get the most play: four-poster beds, claw foot tubs, and spacious living rooms with the original ceiling beams.
Downstairs, guests can cozy up next to the fireplace, sip on vodka in the dungeon-like Beluga Bar, or head to the award-winning Bordoo restaurant for a five-course degustation menu (65 EUR pp) featuring Estonian specialties like onion consomme, steamed whitefish, elk "cocotte," beef fillet and apple with salted caramel.
Rates from $500/night.
Six more after the jump!
Historic Hotels / Relais and Chateaux Hotels / Turkey Hotels / Cave Hotels / Sweet Suites / Killer View / → All Tags
The newest hotel to join Relais & Chateaux isn't actually that new at all—in fact, it's made up of dozens of caves and stone dwellings that date back thousands of years. As you can see from the photo above, Museum Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey is a modern, luxury five-star property with seriously old roots.
The entire renovation project took four years, and there are even some nifty photos on the hotel's website showing the dramatic transformation from archaeological site (apparently, the Hittites, Persians, Romans and Ottomans all dwelled here at one point) to a 30-room boutique hotel, complete with restaurant, bar and outdoor pool.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
Tomorrow morning Westin Hotels is having a 5K run in New York to celebrate the launch of their exclusive New Balance gear lending program. Both Westin, New Balance associates (and now Top Chef-host, Padma Lakshmi) will run to benefit Soles4Souls, an organization that provides shoes to adults and children around the world. A majority of the donations will support Hurricane Sandy victims. The run starts and ends at the new Westin New York Grand Central where there will also be a Soles4Souls donation station the public can drop off gently used or new footwear throughout the day. After the run, Westin and New Balance will donate more than 15,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls. For more info, visit westinnewbalance.com
Sandals Resorts International has purchased Grenada’s all-inclusive LaSource Resort for an undisclosed sum. This is the brand’s first property in the country. The hotel will be renamed Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa, and will add 100 more guest rooms to its current space for a total of 200 private cottages and bungalows. Many of these will be concierge- and butler-level suites, as is common in the Sandals brand, and also the famous octagonal-shaped Rondoval suites. We wonder if Sandals will keep LaSource’s former amenity of one free spa treatment a day. Sure it was only a 25-minute teaser, but it was something. A part of us believes they’ll be cut, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised before.
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Our own Eloise, Josh Flagg recently took a trip down to Virginia where he made friends with a very interesting hotel restaurant"employee." Read on to find out more!
Have you ever met a cow by the name of Faira who serves you cheese table-side? Well I have!
If you visit the uber-chic Inn at Little Wahington (which incidentally is not in Washington D.C., but in Virgina), you will have one of the best meals of your life in this quaint hotel.
The Inn at Little Washington is basically in the middle of nowhere. Driving there, I was sure I had made a wrong turn. Amongst all the goats and tractors, and old abandoned barns, I was sure I was not on my way to a Relais & Chateaux five-diamond resort but alas, all of a sudden, there it was!
Looks like it is high luxury Thursday here at HotelChatter. We reported recently on how the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville snagged a coveted Mobil 5-star rating--one of only 27 in the U.S. Tennessee has another hotel, however, that has shown up on best-of lists for years: Blackberry Farm in a little dot on the map called Walland.
It's not often that a rural hotel in the south can vault onto nearly every "best of" list and then stay there year after year, but Blackberry Farm has managed to pull it off. On an estate that once served as a getaway for the founder of Ruby Tuesday's restaurant chain, it has been expanded over the years to become a 4,200-acre estate in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It was first built with six guest rooms for friends and family and now contains 51 rooms, suites, and cottages.
This is not cutesy country B&B full of cross-stitched hearts, wooden ducks, and gingham, however. Expect sumptuous linens, tasteful furniture, and lots of little extra touches that make each room special. Rates start at $745, with a two-night minimum most times of year, and can climb to $4,800 for a three-bedroom cottage. This includes all three meals, however, which are spectacular enough to get the place written up in most every food magazine and to get it accepted into the Relais & Chateaux organization.
This is mainly a place to relax in style, but with this much room to roam, there are plenty of opportunities to hike, ride horses, or go fly fishing. It's safe to say you'll be taken care of here as well as any place for hundreds of miles around: Blackberry Farm has been rated #1 in the world for service in Travel & Leisure, #1 in Service in the U.S by Condé Nast Traveler (with a perfect 100 score), and #1 in the U.S. by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report.
[Photo: Magnolia Jazz]
· Blackberry Farm [TripAdvisor]
· Hotels in Tennessee [HotelChatter]