Tag Archives: Hotels & Resorts

Google Glass photo

Hotel reservations come to Google Glass (VIDEO)

Google Glass photo

Online travel agency Destinia.com has released “Hotel near me,” an app that allows users to search for and book hotel rooms through .

Using the wearer’s GPS location data, the app finds the closest hotels and displays them in a list. The Google Glass user can browse through the options and even filter by price.

hotel near me destinia

The app is also capable of showing additional information on each hotel and can even to take users on a virtual tour using the augmented reality glasses.

Once a hotel is selected, the app connects to Destinia.com to finalize the reservation. Users can even send additional instructions to the hotel if desired.

The app is available for free download at www.hotelnearme.com.

Yoo Montreal terrace

Montreal debut for YOO inspired by Starck

Yoo Montreal terrace

 has unveiled images detailing his luxurious ‘Yoo inspired by Starck’ Quebec design debut.

Yoo Montreal‘ is a 20-storey residential complex comprising 96 apartments decked out with hot tubs and fireplace-adorned terraces.

Offering unrivaled views over downtown Montreal, Starck’s interior design concept echoes the rawness of the building’s architecture, with heavy use of concrete, timber and leather representing the mineral, vegetable and animal elements of the natural world.

Reflective surfaces add a playful element to the utilitarian space, which features polished chromes and sparkling chandeliers contrasted against concrete flooring.

Yoo Montreal room

Horse imagery is a common reference throughout the design, incorporated as an homage to the area’s locally famous Griffintown Stables.

Buyers will be able to choose from three design palettes for the apartments: Minimal, Nature and Culture.

“Montreal is an extremely unique city,” says French designer Starck. “I don’t believe there is anything like it anywhere else in the world.

“The colorful mosaic, cultural richness, and vibrancy of Montreal and its Griffintown district provide the ideal soil for the creation of the kind of fertile surprises that Yoo specializes in — spaces and objects designed to open people’s eyes, engage conversation and spark interaction.”

Yoo Montreal

Construction of Yoo Montreal will start this summer and the project is set to be completed in 2016.

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

And the best hotel in the world is…

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

The  in Dubai has been named the best hotel in the world by readers of The Telegraph’s luxury magazine Ultratravel.

In addition to taking the title of best hotel in the Middle East, the luxury hotel beat Claridge’s in London, the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, the Mandarin Oriental and The Upper House in Hong Kong to take the lofty title.

The Burj Al Arab was also chosen by the UK publication’s readers as the best hotel on the planet last year.

helipad Burj Al Arab

In the glittering city of superlatives that makes sport of claiming a string of firsts, largest and tallest records, the Burj Al Arab offers a slew of extravagant hotel services including butler service for kids, weddings on the hotel helipad, and 24-carat-gold-plated iPads.

It was also named the world’s leading hotel at the World Travel Awards last year, an event known as the Oscars of the travel industry.

Other major winners of the Ultratravel awards include Emirates, which won in the category of best long-haul first class, and British Airways for best long-haul business class.

Emirates A380

Here are the other major winners:

Best hotel in the Middle East: Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Best new hotel in the world: Rosewood London

Best hotel in the Americas: Four Seasons Hotel New York

Best hotel in Africa and the Indian Ocean: Cape Grace, Cape Town

Best luxury hotel chain: Four Seasons

Best airline lounge: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, London Heathrow Terminal 3

Best long-haul first class: Emirates

Best long-haul business class: British Airways

Best hotel in Asia: The Upper House, Hong Kong

Best hotel in Europe: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Best hotel in the world: Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Best country: United States

Best ski resort: Whistler, Canada

Best large luxury cruise line: Cunard

Best city: New York

Best luxury tour operator: Kuoni

Best golf resort: The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland

Best airport: Changi, Singapore

Best river cruise line: Viking River Cruises

hotel newspapers

Hotel newspapers at risk of becoming obsolete

hotel newspapers

After hotel chains increasingly abandon the hotel minibar and room service, newspapers could also become obsolete, after luxury hotel chain Shangri-La announced plans to offer a digital service in lieu of the hardcopy kind.

The Hong Kong-based hotel group will now be offering guests access to 2,500 local, regional and international newspapers and magazines, which can be accessed via their smartphone, tablet or e-reader.

That means that guests can read their hometown paper in their native language from their hotel room half-way around the world.


The service will be made accessible through the hotel wifi and available as an app for mobile devices. Print newspapers will be offered upon request.

The move is billed as an eco-friendly strategy and has the potential to be copied within the hotel industry at a time when hoteliers are increasingly rethinking standard amenities that have become obsolete with time.

Old standbys like the hotel minibar and room service are being scrapped with steady decline in demand.

hotel client reading newspapers

For example, the New York Hilton Midtown — the biggest hotel in New York City with 2,000 rooms — has eliminated room service and replaced it with a self-service, cafeteria-style restaurant, citing a decrease in requests.

Automated check-in, self-serve and virtual services are increasingly being offered to respond to the rise of the “invisible traveler,” independent guests who prefer human-free travel experiences.

luxury hotel minibar

Major chains like the Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt are also gradually pulling the plug on room fridges.

Meanwhile, a TripAdvisor survey found that 39% of US travelers used room service in the last year, and only 13% said they made a minibar purchase.

Room service


City of Dreams Hotel Tower by Zaha Hadid

Macau’s City of Dreams Hotel by Zaha Hadid

Macau is set to become home to a strikingly dramatic luxury hotel designed by British architect Zaha Hadid that involves voids and negative spaces cut out of the 40-story building, enveloped in a latticed or ‘exoskeletal’ shell.

City of Dreams Hotel Tower by Zaha Hadid

When it opens in 2017, the City of Dreams Hotel Tower in Macau will house 780 guestrooms, suites and sky villas.

 City of Dreams Hotel Tower Architecture

Artist renderings reveal an expressive and powerful design: Hadid pushes the boundaries of structural engineering to reimagine the standard monolithic rectangular block with voids and negative space carved out of the building’s center, using soft, curved lines.

City of Dreams Hotel Tower Macau

The building shell has an exoskeleton design, a motif that’s repeated inside with 3D diamonds and pyramids that seem to grow from the interior walls and into the spacious, atrium space.

City of Dreams Hotel Tower Macau lobby

The tower will become the fifth property developed by Melco Crown Entertainment and feature meeting and event facilities, gaming rooms, a bright, airy lobby atrium, restaurants, spa and sky pool.

City of Dreams Hotel Tower

helipad Burj Al Arab

Helipad Wedding on Offer at Famous Dubai Hotel

helipad Burj Al Arab

Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab hotel has created a wedding package that will turn its helipad 212 meters in the sky into a unique wedding reception venue.

Add-on features with the wedding package include everything from a dramatic entrance aboard an Italian twin engine Augusta 109 aircraft — or by terra firma in a Rolls Royce Phantom — to accommodations, beauty, spa treatments and personal training sessions.

Couples can also develop a specially designed, bespoke wedding scent with a perfumer and take private lessons on etiquette and dance.

The Burj Al Arab’s Wedding in the Skies program starts at $55,000.

Burj Al Arab wedding receptions

Koh Samui Thai boxing

Four Seasons creating experiential travel packages

Koh Samui Thai boxing

In what is dubbed the “Get Away, Get More” program, the Four Seasons hotel chain has created travel itineraries that offer guests unique, hyper-local cultural and educational experiences.

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, for example, has created a “Twilight in Budapest” experience that explores the spine-tingling story of Vlad III, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

After a limousine-guided tour of the city, participants will visit the hilltop Visegrad Castle, where the 15th century warrior, known as Vlad the Impaler for impaling his victims on giant spears, was kept prisoner for 12 years.

At the Koh Samui outpost in Thailand, guests can also try muay thai or Thai boxing under the guidance of a former world champion.

The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has created a full-day excursion into the Australian Outback that includes a bushwalk tour led by an indigenous guide and encounters with native animals like koalas and kangaroos.

It’s become a widely used marketing strategy in the luxury hotel industry: promises of rich, once in a lifetime travel experiences!


Waldorf Astoria Hotel Opens in Jerusalem

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Ottoman facade

This week in luxury and notable hotel openings, we look inside the new Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, a restoration project that brought a historical landmark out of a 79-year hibernation with features like a retractable glass ceiling, marble floors and a lofty atrium promenade.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Located within walking distance of the walled Old City and the Jaffa Gate, the latest Waldorf hotel is billed as the only internationally branded luxury hotel in the city and restores what was previously the site of the former Palace Hotel, which checked in its last guest in 1935.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Guest Suite

With 226 guest rooms and suites spread over 10 floors, the hotel design blends Greco-Roman, Gothic and Ottoman architecture, while preserving the 80-year-old Ottoman facade.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem lobby

Dining choices at the hotel include a French brasserie and gourmet Italian restaurant. Next year, the property will open two indoor lap pools, two gyms, a boutique spa, and two wet and dry saunas.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem restaurantWaldorf Astoria Jerusalem Marbled halls and staircases

Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa Opens in Tibet

Tibet Potala Palace

In a sign of things to come, the Shangri-La has become the latest hotel group to open a luxury property atop the highest plateau on the planet, in one of the most fabled, mythical destinations on Earth.

Surrounded by the Himalayan mountains, the Shangri-La Lhasa is set 3,650 meters feet) above sea level in Lhasa, the administrative capital of Tibet.

Shangri-La Lhasa

While the company is Hong Kong-based, its evocative brand name is inspired by the fictional utopian Himalayan lamasery described in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon. You’ll find a copy of this book in every room!

The hotel’s high-altitude facilities include a 24-hour medical clinic and the city’s first “Oxygen Lounge”, where O2 concentrations are equivalent to those found at sea level, helping guests to acclimatise to life at 3650m.

Shangri-La Lhasa bedroom

Efforts are made to create an authentic Tibetan atmosphere: Guests are greeted with the offering of a hada — a traditional ceremonial white silk scarf — and barley is thrown on a wooden container used by Tibetans to pray for a bumper harvest.

Once in their room, guests are served yak butter tea in Tibetan pots. And upon departure, hotel staff sing traditional Tibetan songs to send off their guests.

Shangri-La Lhasa hotel Decoration

All 289 guest rooms and suites are decorated in the bold colors and fabrics found in Tibetan culture. The hotel centerpiece, meanwhile, is a striking 6.5-meter-tall chandelier made from 61,000 pieces of crystal, draped in a flowing red fabric to evoke a prayer wheel.

Shangri-La Lhasa lobby

The hotel is located within walking distance to the Potala Palace, formerly the chief residence of the Dalai Lama, and Norbulingka Palace, which once served as the Dalai Lama’s summer residence.

Shangri-La Lhasa waitress

Richard Branson To Buy South African Vineyard And Hotel

Mont Rochelle Hotel

British billionaire and investor Sir Richard Branson is to buy Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyard in the South African region of Franschhoek.

The estate boasts a history that dates back to the 17th century. Branson said he wants to promote wine tourism in the Franschoek area.

The 22-bedroom property includes a fitness facility, an outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi and a sauna, and activities like wine tastings on horseback, golf, and tours of the local farmer’s market and chocolate factory.

Mont Rochelle hotel pool

Wines produced out of the vineyards include Sauvignon Blanc, unwooded Chardonnay, barrel fermented Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and rosé.

The South African property will expand Branson’s existing Virgin Limited Edition portfolio that includes Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve in South Africa, Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, The Lodge in Verbier and Mahali Mzuri, a tented safari camp in Kenya.

Mont Rochelle Hotel photo

Branson will close the Mont Rochelle hotel for refurbishments and re-open in August. Set on a hilltop, the estate also includes 39 hectares of vinelands.


hotel lutetia

Hotel Le Lutetia in Paris closes for renovation

Hotel Le Lutetia

Paris’ landmark luxury hotel Le Lutetia, whose guests included Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle and James Joyce, closes Monday for a three-year renovation following similar makeover moves by rivals.

The seven-storey Art Deco hotel built in 1910 follows in the footsteps of the Crillon, Ritz and Plaza Athenee which have all closed for extensive revamps.

The hotel in the heart of the city’s chic Saint-Germain-des-Pres district was taken over by German officers occupying Paris in World War II.

French wartime hero De Gaulle spent his wedding night here. The establishment also attracted literary luminaries such as Andre Gide and Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of “The Little Prince.”

Hotel Le Lutetia lobby

“Le Lutetia has always been a beacon of the Left Bank,” said author Pierre Assouline, who has used the hotel as a setting for one of his novels.

French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte will oversee the renovations. The hotel was bought by the Israeli real estate group, Alrov in 2010.

The hotel is also selling its collection of artworks, over 3,000 pieces of furniture and 8,000 bottles of wine and spirits. The auction will take place between May 19 and 25, 2014 at the Hotel Lutetia.

Bar du Lutetia

Argentario golf

Luxury, golf and wellness… under the Tuscan sun

Argentario Resort exterior

The breathtaking Italian region of Tuscany is not only about wrought-iron beds and terracotta floors. The rustic area also features contemporary designs nestled in a traditional atmosphere. Representing this alternative spirit is the 5-star Argentario Resort Golf & Spa, offering avid golfers and spa aficionados a distinctive, environmentally sustainable luxury experience.

Located on the idyllic Maremma coastline, the resort offers 73 panoramic rooms with various styles that vary from modern-contemporary, to classic, to a more eclectic décor.

Argentario Resort Hall Reception

There are 7 appointed suites, and the property also includes an independent, glamorous three-bedroom villa located on a hill next to the golf course.

Argentario Resort Penthouse Suite

The resort belongs to the Design Hotel group. One of the main ideas behind the Argentario project was to show the region’s progressive side.

Argentario Resort Home Suite

“In Tuscany, you are used to seeing rustic villas – which are beautiful – but I wanted to do something new, something fresh”, says owner Augusto Orsini. To fulfill this dream, he looked for particular materials and designs that would give the resort a unique and eco-conscious spirit in rustic Tuscany.

Argentario Golf Club

The on-site 18-hole golf course is BioAgriCert accredited for its minimal environmental impact. It was designed by Italian pro Baldovino Dassù and architect David Mezzacane, and overlooks Orbetello Lagoon.

Argentario Golf Club Tuscany

The local golf academy is managed by Emanuele Canonica, winner of the 2005 Johnnie Walker Championship, and features the Trackman IIIe for golfers to improve their swing.

Argentario Resort Espace Wellness Center

The cutting-edge Espace Wellness Center covers a 29062 ft² area offering luxurious treatments largely based on organic and local products. Wellness services include a heated indoor pool with saline water, an outdoor pool with sun terrace, bio-sauna, hi-tech gym and tennis courts.

Argentario resort Indoor swimming pool

Finally, the Dama Dama Restaurant specializes in locally inspired cuisine made from indigenous ingredients, with dishes presented in an innovative gourmet style. Cooking courses and wine tastings can be organized on site.

Argentario Resort Dama Restaurant

For visitors who wish to escape mass tourism, yet would like to enjoy sightseeing in world-famous spots, the Argentario Resort enjoys a strategic location in the Maremma, an area that is still relatively unexplored in southern Tuscany.

Argentario Resort terrace

Day trips can be easily organized to Rome, Pisa, Siena and Florence, and visitors can then retreat to relaxing, exclusive and green surroundings.

More Information: www.argentarioresort.com

Porto Santo Stefano

shark fin soup

Starwood Hotels bans shark fin soup

shark fin soup

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is the latest international hotel chain to ban the controversial shark fin soup across its entire portfolio of brands including Sheraton, Le Meridien, St. Regis and W Hotels.

Shark fin soup is viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy and is traditionally served at wedding parties and business banquets in Asia.

The company started taking shark fin off menus in 2012 and has cut use by 79% within the past two years, Starwood said.

The ban will also extend to other threatened animal species such as whale and sea turtle which will also be stricken from the menus of their 1,200 hotels and 1,300 restaurants around the world.

In 2012, the Shangri-La also announced plans to stop serving shark fin across its list of properties worldwide.

The Hong Kong-based group said it would cease serving shark fin in all of its restaurants and phase out Bluefin tuna and Chilean sea bass at all restaurants as part of their sustainable seafood policy.

When finning sharks, fishermen catch them, slice of their fins and throw the sharks back into the water, where they can no longer swim. The practice kills as many as 100 million sharks a year,

Colin Peter Field

The Ritz Paris takes up residency in the Connaught

Colin Peter Field

This spring Ritz Paris’s Bar Hemingway is taking up residency at The Connaught Bar in Mayfair, London from April 7-13, 2014.

Top mixologists, Colin Field of Bar Heminway and Agostino Perrone will create a specialized drink menus in each of their own styles.

In addition to trying out new cocktail recipes, the duo will also collaborate on new drinks for clients.

Forbes magazine named Field the world’s greatest bartender twice, while Perrone was named the world’s best bartender at the influential mixology event Tales of the Cocktail in 2010.

Field has helmed the Hemingway Bar for 18 years, where he also created a signature cocktail he calls ‘France in a glass,’ made with Calvados, apple juice and mint and topped with champagne.

The Ritz Paris closed in 2012 for renovations and will re-open in 2015.

The Connaught Hotel London


Top 10 family-friendly hotels in the US 2014


Florida has emerged as the leading destination for family-friendly hotels among US travelers, with the Floridays Resort Orlando near Walt Disney World Resort taking the top spot in a new TripAdvisor survey.

With a living and dining area, and fully-equipped kitchen, a suite at the Floridays allows families to cook and eat at the hotel. The hotel also offers a grocery delivery service that will stock the fridge before families arrive.

In fact, the condo-style accommodations could be described as an extension of family home life, as suites also come with washer and dryers, Jacuzzi tubs in the Master suite, Wifi access and 37” flat-screen TVs.

Given that Florida is home to a slew of park attractions, it’s no surprise that the Sunshine State dominates the list of top 10 hotels for families with four addresses. California follows with three hotels.

family friendly hotel

Top 10 Travelers’ Choice Hotels for Families in the U.S.:

1. Floridays Resort Orlando, Orlando, Florida
2. Woodloch Pines Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania
3. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Orlando, Florida
4. Candy Cane Inn, Anaheim, California
5. Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, North Conway, New Hampshire
6. Best Western Premier Saratoga Resort Villas, Kissimmee, Florida
7. Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, Highland, New York
8. West Inn & Suites Carlsbad, Carlsbad, California
9. Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground, California
10. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, Florida

Floridays Resort Orlando

Old Dearborn Bank Building photo

Virgin Hotels to open in Chicago

Chicago skyline

After planes, trains and spaceships, Sir Richard Branson has revealed new details on his latest travel-related venture: Virgin Hotels.

According to a new infographic released from Virgin, the inaugural Virgin Hotel is slated to open in Chicago’s central business district, The Loop, and feature 210 rooms, 38 suites, and 2 ‘Rock Star’ rooms.

In line with the brand’s overall branding strategy, Virgin Hotels will target a creative, high-income audience by pitching a “sophisticated hotel experience.”

Other specs for the hotel include a rooftop lounge, the Boheme, two restaurants, a coffee and wine bar; gym, yoga and relaxation center; business area, theater and dance floor.

The hotel takes over the 27-storey landmark Old Dearborn Bank Building and is expected to open in September.

Virgin said that the Art Deco building, designed in 1928, “has significant historic and architectural features that will be restored and recreated.”

The Virgin Hotels brand is expected to offer accommodation competing with upscale lifestyle or luxury chains such as W HotelsAndaz or Hotel Indigo.

Branson has also expressed interest in moving his Virgin brand into the cruise industry, telling German business daily Handelsblatt that he’s already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany.

Old Dearborn Bank Building

Westin Launches Multimillion-Dollar Wellbeing Campaign

Westin hotels Well Being

Westin Hotels wants guests to “Sleep Well” in it, and is putting $15 million behind a year-long well-being campaign to reinforce its lifestyle brand image.

For the global launch, Westin has partnered with the makers of Headspace, a mobile app that provides short, guided meditation sessions and exercises.

The collaboration will see guests offered a similar program on the hotel website Westin.com, with videos and audio files specifically designed for business or leisure guests, pre and post-stay.

Westin Well Being

To launch the program, Westin hotels has also been holding 5 km runs, mini spa appointments, group yoga sessions and opened up juice bars.

The six-pronged well being program includes aspects like “Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well.”

In addition to meditation and nutritious meal options, the campaign also focuses on physical fitness by lending New Balance running gear to guests.

Westin partnership New Balance

The latest development out of Westin follows on the heels of the Even hotel launch, a concept out of the InterContinental Hotels Group.

The entire brand was developed with health and fitness as the guiding principles and include features like in-room gym zones, nutrient-packed meals and snacks and all-natural eucalyptus linens.

EVEN Hotels bedroom

W Hotel Amsterdam

Amsterdam to Get W Hotel in 2015

Amsterdam’s historic former Telephone Exchange building is set to get a makeover as the contemporary W Hotels chain prepares to move in to town.

W Hotel Amsterdam

W Amsterdam, set to open its doors in the city’s Dam Square in autumn 2015, will be the design-led Starwood Hotel brand’s first Dutch location.

The hotel will feature 169 stylish guestrooms, including 10 suites and one Extreme Wow Suite (the company’s take on the Presidential Suite).

Upon entering the building, guests will be taken directly to the hotel rooftop for check-in and a cocktail in the W Living Room. The building will also feature a rooftop bar and restaurant with city views.

The historic property represents the typical Amsterdam School architectural style. It will be re-imagined by Office Winhov architects in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv-based practice BK Architecture. The building’s historical elements will be fully restored and combined with a new, contemporary design.

The brand currently has a portfolio of 45 W Hotels worldwide, with more than 20 additional properties in the pipeline.

Lapa Rios ecolodge Costa Rica

Top 10 Eco-Hotels of 2014

Editors and travel experts at Lonely Planet have curated an interesting list of off-grid cottages, treehouses and ‘earthships’ spanning Costa Rica, South Africa, Tanzania to Russia in a list they call the top 10 eco-stays for 2014.

Lapa Rios ecolodge Costa Rica

With Earth Hour, World Water Day and Earth Day drawing near, the list serves as a useful guide for travelers looking to green their vacations and support sustainable outfits and travel operators.

Taking the top spot is the Lapa Rios eco-lodge in Costa Rica.

Set in the heart of the rainforest in the country’s Osa Peninsula, the property consists of 16 private bungalows built from locally harvested materials that offer luxurious guilt-free accommodations.

Lapa Rios ecolodge bungalow

The 930-acre tract of land is an incredibly rich ecosystem, home to nearly three percent of the world’s biodiversity. Guests of the Lapa Rios lodge are invited to explore their natural surroundings in guided rainforest hikes and bird-watching treks, or while kayaking, surfing and whale watching.

Lapa Rios ecolodge pool

Amenities include private outdoor decks with rain showers and hammocks, king size beds, indoor bathroom and showers, and a central pool.

Lapa Rios ecolodge bar

Other interesting eco-friendly accommodations includes the Chole Minji, which describes itself as a “castaway fantasy” and “jungle island retreat” for the 7 treehouse accommodations built on a remote island off the Tanzanian coast.

Chole Mjini Chole Island

Built into baobab and tamarind trees, all of the thatch-roofed treehouses are designed to offer views of the sea and offer king-sized beds.

Chole Mjini Treehouse

And an ‘earthship’ in New Mexico offers accommodations in the desert that are completely off-grid. Built from recycled materials, the collection of buildings is powered by solar panels, rain and snow-collecting cisterns, and a greenhouse for self-sufficiency.

Earthship Rentals Taos

The off-grid hotel is part of a larger Earthships project that aims to serve as an international model on sustainable, self-sufficient communities.

Here are the Top 10 eco-stays of 2014, according to Lonely Planet:

1. Lapa Rios, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica

Lapa Rios Peninsula de Osa

2. Bulungula Backpackers, South Africa

Bulungula Lodge

3. Chole Mjini, Chole Island, Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania


4. Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Aguas Calientes, Peru

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

5. EcoLodge Chepu Adventures, Chiloe, Chile

EcoLodge Chepu Adventures

6. Maison Anglaise, Taroudant, Morocco

Maison Anglaise Taroudant Morocco

7. Earthship Rentals, Taos, New Mexico, USA

Earthship Rentals Taos

8. Dana Guest House, Jordan

Dana Guest House Jordan

9. Nuli Sapi, Papua New Guinea

Nuli Sapi Papua New Guinea

10. Baikaler Eco-Hostel, Listvyanka, Russia

Baikaler Eco-Hostel Listvyanka

For the full list, visit www.lonelyplanet.com/best-eco-hotels.

Ritz Carlton cake

Ritz-Carlton debuts signature cake

The Ritz-Carlton hotel has created a signature dessert that will become the edible symbol of the brand around the world.

Ritz Carlton cake

After a call was put out to the company’s network of hotels, 22 pastry chefs came up with different recipes in line with the mandate: to come up with a dessert that represented the heritage of the brand.

The winning recipe is a triple-layer, dark chocolate cake flavored with orange and citrus. It is available for purchase at all 85 locations around the world.

It’s not uncommon for luxury hotels to try to seduce guests and attract visitors to the restaurant via sweets and desserts.

The Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel teamed up with Mauboussin recently to create a chocolate, blackcurrant and praline dessert inspired by the jeweler’s ‘L’Oeuvre Noire’ signature ring.

mauboussin dessert

And the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong collaborated with shoe designer Jimmy Choo last spring to offer a high tea service that featured dainty, edible shoe cakes and pastries, inspired by the brand’s spring/summer 2013 collection.

jimmy choo tea set