Tag Archives: Hotels & Resorts

RunWESTIN Concierge

Westin Hotels creates jobs for ‘running’ concierge

RunWESTIN Concierge

Westin Hotels has launched a nationwide search across the US for its first resident running concierge who will hit the pavement leading run groups for guests.

Passionate runners with an appetite for travel are being invited to apply for the RunWestin Concierge position to act as an on-site running expert traveling across the country to help guests prepare for a series of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons throughout the year.

As personal running coach for the North American races, the concierge will engage with fellow runners, share training and race advice, lead warm-up runs and helm social media accounts for the service.

In partnership with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons, the Westin is also offering VIP Marathon packages to its running guests that offer bib pick-up, pre-race pasta dinners, access to the post-race VIP Recovery Tent, and ice bags delivered to their hotel rooms.

The packages are available in race markets including Montreal, Las Vegas and Los Angeles with additional races for 2014. Deadline for the running concierge position is June 30.

Palazzo Versace Dubai

The Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai

Palazzo Versace Dubai

A sprawling, palatial hotel and residence signed by luxury label Versace is set to open its doors next summer in the heart of Dubai.

Specs for the Palazzo Versace Dubai are impressive. Hotel guests and residents will be offered a range of luxury amenities that include a lagoon, sandy beach, waterfront pedestrian promenade, male and female day spa and salon, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and, of course, a Versace boutique.

The property will house 169 condominiums and 214 opulently decorated hotel rooms swathed in rich fabrics and silk, hand-cut marble, bespoke mosaics and hand-drawn, gold-etched vaulted ceilings, all of which have been chosen to evoke European and Italian grandeur.

More than 100 specialists, including top stonemasons and mosaic artists from around the world have been recruited to work on the hotel, 90% of whom are artisans based out of the United Arab Emirates.

The building exterior, meanwhile, evokes Greco-Roman art with a Medusa porte-cochere, elegant pillars and a landscape of water fountains, reflection pools and lagoons.

The Dubai outpost will be the label’s second luxury property in the world after the Palazzo Versace Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, which opened in 2000.

Trump Hotel Collection in wellness focus


Trump Hotel Collection is the latest hotel chain to join the health and wellness movement, launching services that offer low-calorie menus and fitness programs that allow guests to work out in their room.

Debuting on Monday, the “Trump Wellness” program rolled out across the brand’s luxury properties in the US, Canada and Panama in partnership with Technogym and sports apparel brand Under Armour, which will provide footwear and workout gear for guests. Pre-loaded iPod shuffles are also available.

Guests who prefer to work out from the comfort of their hotel room can also call upon the concierge to bring up yoga mats, stretch bands, and light weights, while those who want to hit the pavement are offered maps of local running paths mapped by each Trump Hotel Collection property.

The dietary component of the wellness program includes a range of gluten-free, vegan, and organic meals with nutritional information, as well as a Quick Bites menu that offers meals to go in 15 minutes or less. Minibars have also been made over to include healthier snacks.

Where possible, select properties will also be sourcing vegetables, herbs and other ingredients through local farmers and artisanal producers.

Trump Hotel Collection joins a string of other hotel chains that have caught on to the demand for healthy travel, particularly among the business set who are regularly on the road and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Westin Hotels and Resorts, for instance, will loan guests a pair of New Balance sneakers and workout clothes, and even a ‘running buddy’ who will accompany guests on their run in a foreign city.

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas also offers “Stay Well” rooms that include spa menus, wake-up light therapy, air purification and aromatherapy, vitamin C-infused showers and wellness videos from Deepak Chopra.

And Fairmont Hotels & Resorts offers a “Fairmont Fit” program that includes fitness gear, mp3 players, bikes on loan and running clubs.

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Top 25 most sought-after hotel brands

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

After a cull through more than 133 million online searches on Google, Bing, Yandex in Russia and Baidu,Hilton Hotels and Resorts has emerged as the most sought-after luxury hotel brand in the world.

That’s according to the recently released World Luxury Index Hotels report, which looked at the top 70 brands in the world and ranked them in a tidy list that ranks their online popularity.

Here are the top 25 most sought after hotel brands in the world:

1. Hilton
2. Sheraton
3. Westin
4. Four Seasons
5. Hyatt
6. Hyatt-Regency
7. Ritz-Carlton
8. Embassy Suites
9. Renaissance
10. InterContinental
11. Fairmont
12. JW Marriott
13. Sofitel
14. Grand Hyatt
15. Loews
16. Shangri-La
17. Mandrain Oriental
18. St. Regis
19. Le Merdien
20. Regent
21. Park Hyatt
22. Kempinski
23. Jumeirah
24. Langham
25. Taj Hotel

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab named best hotel in the world

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

Luxury, sail-shaped hotel the Burj Al Arab in Dubai has snagged the lofty title of being named the best hotel in the world by readers of a travel magazine distributed by The Daily Telegraph.

Announced this week in London, the iconic Dubai landmark beat the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, Raffles in Singapore, Le Touessrok in Mauritius and The Savoy in London to take home the title at the Ultratravel awards 2013.

burj al arab rolls royce

It’s the latest in a string of titles for the property, which has become the standard bearer in the luxury industry for offering services that range from helicopter transfers, 24-hour private butlers and a fleet of chauffeur-driven Rolls Royces.

Most recently, the hotel debuted 24-carat gold-plated iPads for use among all their in-house guests as a virtual concierge service.

Burj Al Arab gold ipad

Here are the other winners of the Ultratravel awards for 2013:

Best hotel in Australasia: Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Best hotel in Africa and the Indian Ocean: Le Touessrok, Mauritius

Best hotel in the Americas: Waldorf Astoria, New York

Best hotel in Europe: Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris

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

Best hotel in Asia: Raffles Singapore

About 500,000 copies of the luxury magazine Ultratravel are distributed to readers of The Daily Telegraph.

Royal Suite Burj Al Arab hotel

Burj Al Arab ipad

Dubai hotel to provide guests with gold iPad

Burj Al Arab gold ipad

Guests staying at the iconic, sail-shaped luxury hotel the Burj Al Arab in Dubai are being given 24-carat gold-plated iPads which will serve as their personal virtual concierge for the duration of their stay.

It’s the latest in lavish and — and some might say over-the-top —  hotel perks being launched out of luxury chains looking to raise the bar and seduce the richest and glitziest hotel guests to walk through their lobby doors.

Every in-house guest is being equipped with the loan of a gold-plated iPad which they can use to access guest services, restaurant and spa menus, private dining, butler and housekeeping services.

The gold edition is the second installment in Burj Al Arab’s virtual concierge service. Last October, the hotel premiered 24-carat pink gold iPads in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The gold iPad, created by The Gold & Co. London and embossed with the hotel logo, will also be available for purchase at the Burj Al Arab’s boutique shop for a cool 37,490 AED or €7,930.

Other gold-plated products available include the iPad mini, iPhone 5 and the Blackberry Q10.

Rome Cavalieri hotel

Luxury hotel Rome Cavalieri celebrates 50th anniversary

Rome Cavalieri hotel

This iconic Cavalieri hotel in the Eternal City is celebrating its golden jubilee in a number of different ways.

One of which is the chance to discover this top address for only €50 a night…a deal which goes to the 50th person to book a room any given week.

Starting now and running into August, those who happen to be lucky enough to make a reservation at just the right time will pay just €50 for the night’s stay — even for a Deluxe Room or the Penthouse Suite with its rooftop terrace.

A photo exhibit on the history of the hotel will also be held to fête the big year. Another exhibit shows stills of movie scenes that were shot right there at the hotel on Monte Mario hill.

Also to mark the occasion, the award-winning hotel spa has come up with a special “wellness” package.

The Rome Cavalieri, which opened in 1963, is owned by the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts group. It is one of the most luxurious hotels in Rome, boasting an impressive art collection and a plentiful wine cellar with 53,000 bottles.

Rome’s only three-star restaurant is also right inside the hotel. Dinner at La Pergola costs between €125 and €183. For information and reservations: Romecavalieri.com

Hotel Martinez Cannes

Cannes Film Festival: Hotel rates skyrocket by 500%

Hotel Martinez Cannes

During the annual film fest (running May 15-26) hotels in Cannes hike up their usual rates by 178 percent on average, according to French tourist site Allovoyages.fr.

This year guests will have to shell out on average between €200 and €250 a night for a room in central Cannes.

And some hotels have no qualms about bumping up the bill to dizzying heights. One of the most impressive rate hikes is at the Hotel Cézanne.

The off-season rate for a night at this 4-star location with spa is €154. During the festival, an overnight stay skyrockets to €1,014, in other words a 558 percent markup.

The Villa Tosca, less than a five-minute walk from the Croisette, pumps its prices up by similar proportions during the annual event. On average, festival-goers will have to fork out €470 to sleep there, i.e., 535 percent more than its usual rates.

For festival-goers looking to keep overnight expenses down, bear in mind that hotel rates in Cannes are lower on the last weekend of the festival than at the start.

Or simply spend the night in one of the neighboring towns, like Juan-les-Pins, where a room in a 3-star hotel averages only €100 during the festival.

elephant rides

Pop-up hotels and ‘braincations’ to trend in 2013

elephant rides

Pop-up hotels, bespoke itineraries, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences and ‘braincations’ are among some of the travel trends predicted to shape 2013.

According to Hotels.com’s trendspotting spring report, “experiential travel” will be top of mind among globetrotters this year, as consumers seek out itineraries that follow the roads less traveled.

Consumers are being increasingly drawn to the idea of unique and exclusive accommodations such as mobile, pop-up hotel experiences that can’t be replicated by brick and mortar properties.

Instead of checking into a hotel room, travelers now have a range of options that include glamping tents, mobile shipping containers and pods.

Belgium-based company Sleeping Around, for instance, converts 6-meter sea containers into self-contained luxury hotel rooms complete with a box-spring bed, rain shower, iPod docking station and air conditioning. The pods travel around Antwerp.

Similarly, travelers are also predicted to bypass commercial cruise lines in favor of smaller river boat options that sail along less predictable waterways, such as the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam, or the Danube River between Prague and Istanbul, says Hotels.com.

Hotels are also responding to consumer demand for bespoke travel itineraries that go above and beyond concierge service.

The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts’ Imagination Initiative is built to indulge guests’ wildest fantasies with add-on experiences that include elephant rides through the jungles of Thailand, or a VIP on-field meet-and-greet with the International Polo Club at Palm Beach.

And in response to the pressures and stress associated with staying connected 24/7, the Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts offers tech-free zones for those craving a ‘braincation.’

The collection of the chain’s nine resorts across the Caribbean and Mexico began offering tech-free zones last December where cell phones and electronic devices are banned. Instead, guests are encouraged to disconnect, read, or pursue other “tech-free” activities.

aruba marriott lounge corners lobby

the great gatsby poster

Hotels offer up Gatsby-gilded deals

The Willcox Hotel

As buzz around the Hollywood release of “The Great Gatsby” continues to build, travelers looking to time travel back to the Roaring Twenties have no shortage of options in the US, where select properties have either preserved or recreated the spirit of flapper chic opulence, jazz and the Gilded Age.

Fans of the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and the book that made him immortal may want to look into The Inn at Great Neck in New York, for example, the inspiration for the Long Island town of West Egg, points out online reservation site Hotels.com.

Described as the ‘ultimate 1920s-themed retreat,’ the inn pays homage to the Golden Age with art deco period murals which depict scenes from the book, and also offers live music like jazz.

Here are a few hotels that channel the spirit of Jay Gatsby’s Roaring 1920s, as curated by Hotels.com:

The Willcox

The Willcox, Aiken, South Carolina

Until May 31, luxury hotel The Willcox will be offering a special Gatsby-themed package that includes 1920s-inspired cocktails before bed, a copy of the book, live jazz, a deck of cards and poker chips.

A 3-course menu includes retro classics like Waldorf salad and beef filet wrapped in bacon and blue cheese. The stately, grand mansion is also evocative of the decadent era with its majestic white columns.


Hotel Le Meridien Dallas

Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh, Dallas, Texas

Built in the heyday of the 1920s, Le Meridien recently underwent a $36 million USD renovation that aimed to preserve its history, but bring it into the 21st century with marble pillars, handblown glass chandeliers, and art deco designs.


Vanderbilt Grace Newport Rhode Island

Vanderbilt Grace, Newport, Rhode Island

Until September 30, the Newport boutique hotel, built in 1909, is offering the Grace Gatsby package that includes a two-night stay, a five-course dinner menu, a sunset cruise along the Newport harbor.


Ambassador Hotel Kansas City

Ambassador Hotel, Kansas City, MO

Built to celebrate 1920s neoclassical architecture, The Ambassador is a boutique hotel updated with contemporary style. For Gatsby lovers, until May 15 the Gatsby Package includes champagne and strawberries, luxury transportation around town, rose petals strewn around the room and breakfast



w hotel taipei

W Hotels to Double Asian Portfolio

W Singapore Sentosa Cove

W Hotels Worldwide unveiled plans to more than double its Asian presence by the end of 2018, bringing its Asian portfolio to nearly 20 W hotels and retreats in nine countries.

More than half of the W brand’s global pipeline is slated for Asia Pacific, including the first W Hotel in mainland China opening in Guangzhou later this month, followed by other China openings in Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha and Suzhou over the next five years. Additional W Hotels have been announced in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. W Hotels recently opened in Singapore and Bangkok.

The W brand entered Asia in 2004 and currently has eight hotels and retreats in seven countries, including Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Maldives and Hong Kong.

w hong kong pool


Exotic travels inspired by “Game of Thrones”

Game of Thrones

Hotel bookings in the desert town of Ouarzazate, Morocco have experienced a 100 percent spike since the season premiere of “Game of Thrones,” the epic fantasy TV series that has garnered a cult following around the world.

Hotels set in filming locations such Ouarzazate, also known as the ‘door of the desert,’ and Iceland are seeing a noticeable spike in bookings since the third season of the HBO series started on March 31.

The same trend was observed when season two featured settings from Dubrovnik: hotels in the Croatian city likewise spiked 28 percent in 2012.

While Ouarzazate has seen a 100 percent increase, Iceland  — also the site of some of the show’s medieval scenes — saw a modest 13 percent hike in bookings.

The Ouarzazate area has set the scene for other epic films such as the 1962 version of “Lawrence of Arabia” with Peter O’Toole, “The Mummy,” and Russell Crowe’s “Gladiator.”

Hoshinoya Karuizawa winter

Top eco-friendly luxury hotels

Laguna Lodge Hotel Guatemala

A resort in Australia that helped bring a species of tree back from the brink of extinction, a lodge in Guatemala that’s completely off the grid, and a Japanese oasis that offers guests luxury eco-tours are being called some of the top, green yet lavish hotel stays in the world.

It sounds like a contradiction in terms: opulent hotels that provide five-star service and amenities while respecting the environment.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa summer pond

But according to Ecoluxhotels.com, helmed by a travel journalist and an environmental consultant, the two concepts don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa bedroom

As the world fetes the 43rd edition of Earth Day, globetrotters with deep pockets are encouraged to consider spending their money at eco-responsible properties that offer luxury experiences, guilt-free.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa guestroom

Just an hour outside Tokyo, for example, guests can find a secluded, mountainside spa resort that harnesses the power of the area’s geothermal energy to provide a luxury hot spring experience which is said to have skin-healing properties.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa autumn day

Hoshinoya Karuizawa, styled after traditional Japanese inns or ryokans, also offers guests award-winning eco-tours on foot and on bike that explore bird wildlife sanctuaries in the day, flying squirrels at night, and operates a black bear conservation program.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa dining hall

Similarly, the resort is powered by hydroelectricity generated by the area’s fast-moving streams and rivers in the mountainous surroundings, while foods are sourced from local farmer.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa winter

Here are a few other picks for the greenest luxury hotels in the world, as chosen by Ecoluxhotels.com:

Laguna Lodge, Guatemala

Set in the lush, tropical jungles of Guatemala, the five-star boutique hotel offers sweeping views of Lake Atitlan and a trio of volcanic peaks in the distance.

Laguna Lodge Hotel jaguar suite

Suites are carved out of the area’s volcanic stone, adobe and palm and decorated in indigenous Mayan antiques.

Laguna Lodge Hotel

The lodge is also powered entirely from renewable solar energy and is off-grid, reuses grey water, collects rainwater and grows organic vegetables. Meals are meat-free.


Laguna Lodge Hotel Guatemala pool

The Scarlet, Cornwall

Set along the Cornish coast, the airy, seaside British resort is pitched as an Ayurvedic-inspired spa that tries to echo the rugged surroundings into its design.

Scarlet Hotel England

In addition to offering classes like ‘laughter yoga’, transformational dance, surfing and horse riding, the wellness retreat also offers day-long sustainability courses.

Scarlet Hotel England outdoor

Eco measures include the harvesting of water, the collection of rain water and the use of solar energy.


Scarlet Hotel England room

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort bar

Deep within the Greater Blue Mountains, three hours from Sydney, guests staying at the Wolgan Valley Resort choose from 40 luxury suites styled after traditional, rural Australian homesteads, each with its own private terrace and swimming pool.

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort australia

Billed as Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resort, the property is also the first to achieve internationally accredited carbon neutral certification through cabonNZero which it’s maintained for three years in a row thanks to its rehabilitation programs and use of renewable energy.

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort suite

By the end of last year, more than 200,000 trees were planted in wildlife corridors, for example, including the reintroduction of the Wollemi Pine, one of the world’s rarest trees, which was thought to be extinct.


Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort

Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa

A luxury safari sanctuary that promises intimate wildlife encounters with four of the five iconic African land animals, Garonga is glamping at its finest.

Garonga Safari Camp South Africa

Guests stay in spacious, airy tents outfitted with wooden decks, hammocks, large, draped beds and indoor and outdoor showers.

Garonga Safari Camp

Activities include safaris, spa services, wilderness walks, outdoor bush-baths and sleep-outs. Ssustainability measures include the conversion of food and natural waste into natural gas, which is used to power the kitchen stove.

Garonga Safari Camp room

The site also harnesses solar power, harvests grey water and grows its own vegetables while its fleet of vehicles is powered by biodiesel.


Garonga Safari Camp photo

Aspria Hotel in Hannover

Top 10 hotels for health-minded travelers

Aspria Hotel in Hannover

For travelers looking for a healthy getaway, here are a few good places to stay along the way.

1. InterContinental has launched a new hotel brand called EVEN, the first mainstream hotel brand to focus exclusively on wellness. Exercise options include in-room touches such as a coat-rack that doubles as a pull-up bar, well-equipped gyms, personalized fitness advice for all guests and a “Wellness Wall” with exercise ideas, walking distances and equipment rental information on display.

The first EVEN hotel is slated to open in New York by the end of 2014, while the company envisions opening another 100 US locations over the next five years, InterContinental announced late last year.

2. Four Seasons in Canada uses wellness concierges, who plan your daily wellness itinerary, including spa appointments, healthy meals, and workouts. In addition, Four Seasons Resort Whistler offers a Path to Wellness package, a three-night stay offering meditation, aromatherapy, and a yoga mat, as well as a fitness plan and outdoor guide to direct guests on mountain adventures.

3. At the New York boutique hotel INK48, guests can borrow the new “Forgot It? We’ve Got It – Runner’s Edition” kit, which includes a music-filled iPod shuffle, a sports watch with a built-in pedometer, a running belt, and water bottles, and a map of the Hudson River running path. Return from your run and you’ll find a Gatorade and a Power Bar waiting in your room.

4. Perks being offered at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts include a “workout in a bag,” which includes instructional cards, foam rollers, and a mat.

5. Westin Hotels and Resorts will loan guests a pair of New Balance sneakers and workout clothes just in case they’ve forgotten theirs at home. If you need a running buddy, a “running concierge” can lead the way.

6. Launched as a health club business in 2000, Europe’s Aspria recently added four urban wellness hotels — Berlin, Brussels, Hanover, Hamburg — that offer a sports club, spa, and healthy meals at its “vital lounges.”

7. Las Vegas’s MGM Grand recently converted numerous rooms into “Stay Well” rooms, chock full of 16 health amenities. Expect personalized spa menus, wake-up light therapy, air purification and aromatherapy, vitamin C-infused showers and wellness videos from Deepak Chopra.

8. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts now offer a new “Fairmont Fit” program, rolling out in 80 of their hotels around the world this year. The package includes fitness gear, mp3 players, and cruiser bikes to borrow, with some hotels offering group fitness and “run clubs.”

9. London’s Eccleston Square Hotel offers Hastens’ “Mind Spa” relaxation programming, which broadcasts sleep-inducing natural images and sounds in your room to promote better sleep.

10. Hotel Rio Sagrado, Peru also offers a package called “A Good Night’s Sleep,” where yoga instructors meet guests in their room for sleep-inducing yoga sessions and herbal massage sessions.

New York INK48

Goring Hotel named London’s top afternoon tea place

Goring Hotel afternoon tea service

An annual award described as the ‘Oscars’ of the tea world in the UK has named high tea at The Goring Hotel in London the best in class.

That’s because tea at the posh Belgravia-area hotel starts with an assortment of flavors with heady, elaborate descriptors like hand-picked chamomile flowers from Egypt; Dragon Well or Longjing tea, picked once a year before the Quing Ming Lunar festival in China; and tea-leaves harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas.

To accompany the teas, the service includes a multi-tiered cake stand groaning with pastries such as dainty spice cakes with brandy icing; chestnut rolls; chicken, sour cream, tarragon and red pepper finger sandwiches; and of course, the requisite homemade scones with Devonshire clotted cream and jam.

It’s a service the hotel has been perfecting over the last 113 years, garnering near-perfect scores for the anonymous “tea inspectors” at the UK Tea Guild’s, 2013 Top London Afternoon Tea Awards in 16 categories that included décor, efficiency of service, tea knowledge, appropriate use of crockery, appearance and flavor.

“Afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel is a truly special experience,” said Irene Gorman, head of the Tea Guild.

“The elegant surroundings and faultless presentation make it a memorable occasion aided by friendly, efficient and knowledgeable staff. It is easy to understand why this leading establishment attracts so many, of all ages, to take afternoon tea.”

Guests can either sip on their tea fireside in the hotel lounge, or outside in the hotel garden. Tea service ranges from £37.50 to £47.50 (about US$ 58-73).

The Goring Hotel afternoon tea service

North Korea tourism

Kempinski’s North Korean hotel plans on hold

Ryugyong Hotel Pyongyang

The Swiss luxury hotel chain Kempinski is dropping plans to open a huge pyramid-shaped hotel that has stood half-built for decades in North Korea amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“Kempinski Hotels confirms that KEY International, its joint venture partner in China with Beijing Tourism Group (BTG), had initial discussions to operate a hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea,” Brigitte Hohl Taylor, a spokeswoman told AFP in an email.

“However no agreement has been signed since market entry is not currently possible,” she said, adding in a phone conversation that the discussions had been halted.

In November, the Geneva-based luxury hotel chain said it hoped to open Pyongyang’s 105-storey Ryugyong Hotel in July or August this year.

But on Sunday, the South China Morning Post reported that the Swiss company had decided to ditch the project amid the increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the North Korean regime.

Former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, who died in December 2011, reportedly ordered construction of the Ryugyong hotel in 1987, initially with skills and capital from a French company.

Jumbo Stay in Sweden

Unusual hotel stays around the world

Hotel im Wasserturm

In its list of unique sleeping experiences Hotels.com singled out properties around the world which the site deems to be as memorable as the trip itself.

Featherbed Railroad Company, in Nice, California, for instance, was named for indulging boyish, childhood dreams. Guests have the choice between nine railway cabooses with themes that range from the Orient Express, the Wild Wild West, and Casablanca.

featherbed railroad hotel

Jumbo Stay in Sweden also indulges traveler’s fantasies of joining the mile-high club with all the accoutrements of a plane, but on terra firma. Preserved in its vintage 1970s state, guests stay in one of 25 rooms — one of which includes the cockpit.

Jumbo Stay in Sweden

Sarah Cruise also offers couples the chance to spend the night on the Venetian canal, while Capsule Hotel and Sauna Cosmo Plaza Akabane in Tokyo offers guests an authentic Japanese experience.

Often used by busy Japanese commuters who need a place to crash overnight, travelers crawl into the futuristic, pod-like capsules, not unlike those seen in the Bruce Willis film “The Fifth Element.”

Nagakin Capsule Hotel

Here are other hotel destinations singled out by Hotels.com:

Hotel im Wasserturm, Cologne, Germany

Guests at the Hotel Im Wasserturm stay in a historic German landmark, the biggest water tower of the 1880s.

Hotel im Wasserturm Cologne

Madonna Inn Resort & Spa, San Luis Obispo, California

Rooms at the Madonna Inn take on a wide range of themes which include everything from Antique Cars, Crystal Room, Fabulous Fifties, Jungle Rock and Safari.

Madonna Inn Resort and Spa

Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Shaped like a sail standing erect in the desert, the building has become an instantly recognizable landmark in the city and offers extravagant accommodations and experiences for the deep-pocketed.

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

Dream Cave Pension, Goreme, Turkey

This property capitalizes on the area’s natural rock formations, building rooms out of the region’s fairy chimneys.

Goreme Turkey

Hotel de Crillon nuit

Paris’s landmark Crillon hotel closes for makeover

Hotel de Crillon nuit

The Hotel de Crillon in Paris, one of the world’s oldest luxury hotels, is closing this weekend for a two-year-long makeover that includes a new spa and sweeping renovations.

The stone building was commissioned by French King Louis XV and built in 1758. It is one of two twin buildings overlooking the emblematic Place de La Concorde, where King Louis XVI was guillotined.

The hotel, currently owned by Saudi royals, has attracted celebrity guests over the decades, including Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson and Madonna.

The staff took pains to explain that while innovations such as a basement spa were planned, the hotel’s classic look would not be tampered with.

“We will not touch the historic salons on the first floor but we will redo all the 147 rooms, the ground floor and the two inner courtyards,” said Sandrine Daban from the Crillon’s public relations department.


Sofitel Casablanca Morocco

JC de Castelbajac’s design for Casablanca Sofitel

Sofitel Casablanca Morocco

French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was given carte blanche to create a work of art for the new Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche in Morocco.

The permanent art installation, entitled “Fatal Oriental Syncronicity,” has been set up at the center of the luxury hotel’s Le Casart bar.

One of the bar’s walls bears a quote from Michael Curtiz’s iconic film “Casablanca” (1942), uttered by the character Rick, played by Humphrey Bogart: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world? She walks into mine.”

This is not the first time the luxury hotel chain has called on a major fashion designer for one of its hotels. Karl Lagerfeld is set to design the logo for the future So Singapore, and So Bangkok boasts a Christian Lacroix VIP lounge.

Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa

Discover the “Route du Bonheur” with Relais & Châteaux

Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa

Luxury hotel group Relais & Chateaux has released a set of 33 travel itineraries in 12 countries which they’ve dubbed the ‘Road to Happiness.’

Hotels admitted into the exclusive club are often historic landmarks such as castles or manors, set in some of the most bucolic areas of the world and must meet exacting standards of excellence.

‘Road to Happiness’ routes are mapped to highlight the best of a region, with pit stops that provide sweeping views of the oceanside, ancient ruins and historic landmarks.

Take a virtual tour of some of the properties in Relais & Chateaux’s Road to Happiness guide:

Chateau de Brindos

Chateau de Brindos

Set in Biarritz in France’s Basque country, this 5-star hotel is located next to the largest private lake in France, the perfect place for peaceful strolls and romantic stays in the company of the local, wild ducks.

Londolozi Private Game Reserve

Londolozi Private Game Reserve

This private lodge is endorsed by Nelson Mandela and situated in the heart of the Sabi Sand game reserve in South Africa. The Reserve has been family-run for 86 years.

Amenities and activities include an outdoor pool, hiking, yoga, game viewing, nature walks, bush banqueting, cultural village visit, specialist leopard safari, photographic safari.

Maisons de Bricourt

Maisons de Bricourt

The Maisons de Bricourt establishment offers sweeping views of the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel and an oyster farm steps from the property.

Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa

Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa

Built around a famous thermal hot spring on the island of Ischia in Italy, the hotel offers a slew of pampering services such as mud and thermal therapies as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant, the II Mosaico restaurant.

The French Laundry

The French Laundry

Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant The French Laundry is often described as the gold standard in American dining. With three Michelin stars and a string of accolades, The French Laundry inspires pilgrimages from foodies from around the world.