Tag Archives: luxury hotel

Grand Hotel Kronenhof

TripAdvisor’s Top 10 hotels of 2014

The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina, Switzerland, tops TripAdvisor’s list of the top 10 hotels in the world for 2014.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof

In the site’s latest Travelers’ Choice Awards, Italy boasted the most unique hotel winners with 152 properties given top marks by TripAdvisor travelers.

The UK followed close behind with 145 accommodations listed, while the US and France tied with 144 award-winners.

More than 7,120 properties were given honors across seven categories spanning top hotels, bargain hotels, bed and breakfasts, family, luxury, romantic and small hotels.

The Grand Kronenhof hotel lobby

The Grand Hotel Kronenhof is a five-star, ultra-luxurious property located 1,800 meters above sea level near the resort town of St. Moritz in Switzerland. The hotel received a 97 percent approval rating among guests.

“Few grand hotels seamlessly blend old-world charm and modern conveniences as well as the Kronenhof. The property is as impressive as the surrounding mountains,” wrote one enamored guest.

grand hotel kronenhof spa

Registered as an historic landmark, the Kronenhof dates back to 1848 and rises spectacularly from within a forest of pine and larch trees.

In lavish, neo-baroque style, gold-gilded rooms at the palatial property offer panoramic views of the mountains as well as the Bernina and Roseg glaciers.

Top 10 Hotels in the World

1. Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina, Switzerland
2. The Upper House, Hong Kong, China
3. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, Lankanfushi, Maldives
4. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
5. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
6. Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador
7. Lindos Blu, Lindos, Greece
8. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Punta de Mita, Mexico
9. The Oberoi, Mumbai, Mumbai, India
10. Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, Toronto, Canada

The Grand Kronenhof

And the winners in select categories also include:

Top Luxury Hotel in the World
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse, Franschhoek, S. Africa

Top Luxury Hotel in the U.S.
The Grand Del Mar, San Diego, California

Best Bargain Hotel in the World
Castlewood House, Dingle, Ireland

Best Bargain Hotel in the U.S.
Desert Riviera Hotel, Palm Springs, California

Best Hotel for Families in the World
Cavallino Bianco Family Spa Grand Hotel, Ortisei, Italy

Best Hotel for Families in the U.S.
Floridays Resort Orlando, Orlando, Florida

Best Hotel for Romance in the World
The Place Luxury Boutique Villas, Koh Tao, Thailand

Best Hotel for Romance in the U.S.
Honor Mansion, A Wine Country Resort, Healdsburg, California

Top Small Hotel in the World
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse, Franschhoek, S. Africa

Top Small Hotel in the U.S.
La Maison Hotel, Palm Springs, California

Best B&B and Inn in the World
Bindon Bottom B&B, West Lulworth, England

Best B&B and Inn in the U.S.
Historic Oak Hill Inn, Natchez, Mississippi

Afternoon Tea with Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo afternoon tea comes to Munich

The Mandarin bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Munich is offering an afternoon tea menu created in partnership with luxury shoe and accessory brand Jimmy Choo.

Afternoon Tea with Jimmy Choo

The menu includes a pastry inspired by the famous brand’s “Sundays” pumps and a chocolate treat shaped like the “Charlize” handbag, in addition to chocolate-raspberry macarons and small glasses of gourmet creations with grapefruit, lemon and caviar.

This assortment of treats is served with your choice of tea (€39) or a glass of champagne (€55). All guests will receive a complimentary gift set from Jimmy Choo: Jimmy Choo flash fragrant surprise.

This is not the first time Jimmy Choo has collaborated with the hotel group. Last April, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong served up a variety of pastries inspired by the designer’s Spring 2013 collection.

The hotel even offered a package including a one-night stay, afternoon tea and a pair of shoes.

Hotel Ritz Paris

Sneak Peek At the Newly-Revamped Ritz Paris

Closed for renovationsince summer 2012, the famous Parisian hotel is scheduled to reopen in 2014. In the meantime, the Ritz offers a sneak peek at its updated décor through its brand new website.

Ritz Imperial SuiteFans of the Ritz can catch a glimpse of the Imperial Suite, the luxurious indoor pool at the spa, and the Michelin-starred L’Espadon restaurant through colorful sketches by illustrator Damien Cuypers.

A video takes the website’s visitors behind the scenes of the renovation:

In addition, the new website allows the Ritz to present its legendary history, describing how Coco Chanel took up residence at the hotel in the 1930s, how Ernest Hemingway “liberated” the hotel bar in 1944, and how legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier was present from the Ritz’s founding in 1898.

Ritz Teasing Espadon

The two-year renovation covers everything from the hotel’s rooms and suites to its manicured gardens and gourmet dining facilities. The facelift should allow the historic hotel to maintain its prestigious reputation in the face of competition from major hotel groups such as Shangri-La or Mandarin Oriental, both of which have established a presence in the French capital in recent years.

Saint James Paris Love Pavilion

Relais & Chateaux eyes younger clientele

After 60 years of drawing an older, more established clientele, luxury hotel group Relais & Chateaux is hoping to attract brand loyalty among a younger, more dynamic demographic.

It’s a marketing strategy that may prove challenging at a brand where the average age of the typical hotel guest has been 50. The group claims it’s making a few inroads, having dropped the average age of its clientele to 47 over the last few years.

Saint James Paris Love Pavilion

But when most of the properties come at rates beyond the means of many young adults who’ve only been in the workforce for a few years, how do you generate brand loyalty and keep it?

This year, the group is offering a 30 percent discount to guests visiting properties in Paris and the Champagne region in France who are under the age of 30.

Relais & Chateaux members are often historic or heritage landmarks like castles or manors, set in some of the most bucolic areas in the world. Hotels are admitted based on factors such as ‘charm’ and ‘character,’ while terroir, or ‘the taste of the land,’ is given high importance for restaurants.

The company has recently launched 14 Creation Gift Boxes that start at €169 for 2 people. The boxes are good for 3-course meals and overnight stays at Relais & Chateaux properties around the world.

Hotel Hyatt Zilara Cancun

Hyatt launches two all-inclusive resort brands

Hyatt Hotels is making its first foray into this segment of the travel market with the launch of two distinct all-inclusive resort brands: Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara.

Hotel Hyatt Zilara Cancun

The first will offer family-friendly vacation experiences, while the latter will target travelers without children looking for rest and relaxation.

Hyatt has already launched the first hotels representing the new brands: the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, both located in Mexico.

According to a press release from the hotel group, owner of over 500 luxury hotels worldwide, the new resort brands will give new momentum to the market for all-inclusive vacations and allow Hyatt to become an innovative actor in this segment.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun

To this end, the group conducted research on its clients’ desires and expectations in order to effectively differentiate the Hyatt all-inclusive experience from that offered by its competitors, namely through more high-end services.

Even with the “all-inclusive” package, guests at the new Hyatt hotels will enjoy more flexibility and personalized services than in a typical resort in this category.

Guests who enjoy more spontaneity in their vacations can modify the activities or meals they have scheduled at any time, and the hotel remains in contact with the clients from the moment of their reservation, namely through social networks, to provide assistance with itineraries and planning.

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

In a separate area of its development plans, Hyatt hopes to offer hotels that are more integrated into their surrounding environment, namely by introducing the guests to the local culture through regional excursions, shows and cuisine.

An underwater hotel room

A new underwater hotel room has opened off the coast of Tanzania for intrepid, adventurous and ocean-loving travelers. Set off Pemba Island, also known as ‘the Green Island’ in Arabic, guests of The Manta Resort’s underwater room are dropped off at a self-contained hotel which literally drifts at sea.

underwater hotel room

Guests can sunbathe on the top deck of their private island accommodations by day and dine on a lounge deck at water level. By night, they’ll then dive into the sea to access their hotel room, where they nod off amongst the fishes and their marine surroundings.

For an ethereal effect, the suite, which is built four meters below the surface, is lit by underwater spotlights to provide a backlit projection of the Indian Ocean’s tropical sanctuary.

Part of the experience also lies in its isolation and underdevelopment as a tourist destination. The most reliable way to access Pemba Island is by chartered flights from Zanzibar.

And while interest in the region is growing amongst divers for its unspoiled reefs, the area has yet to be paved by large-scale resorts and tourist crowds.

The Manta Resort

The suite is designed by Swedish outfit Genberg Underwater Hotels, which opened its first underwater property in a Swedish lake near Stockholm in 2000.

The Utter Inn is a single room that lies three meters below the surface and contains twin beds and a table. Room rates at The Manta Resort start at $750 per person a night.

Chabichou Courchevel 1850

Top 5 spas for après-ski luxury

Chabichou Courchevel 1850

After a hard day on the slopes, nothing beats an après-ski spa treatment. Here are a few of the world’s best luxury hotels and spas that will surely hit the spot.

Bagni di Bormio Spa Resort, Bormio – Italy

Bagni di Bormio Spa Resort

A spa town since Roman times, Bormio is home to the five-star Grand Bagni Nuovi, which first opened as a spa resort in 1836. Along with Murano glass chandeliers and art nouveau flourishes, the hotel features a gorgeous 5,500-square-meter spa, where a hydro-massage bath is fed with thermal water.

Facilities include open-air baths, Jacuzzis, saunas, and a Turkish bath, and a full menu of treatments from detox facials to enzymatic gommage.


Victoria-Jungrau Grand Hotel & Spa Interlaken – Switzerland

Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel

This five-star alpine hotel, featuring two spas, opened in 1856 and is in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, gateway to the Wengen (birthplace of downhill skiing), Grindelwald, and Mürren.

Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa

One spa features more than 30 Espa treatments, involving Eastern-inspired techniques, while the Sensai Select spa offers treatments designed by the Japanese company Kaneba. The spas are connected by a huge pool with hot tubs and a spa café for juices and teas.


Le Chabichou Courchevel 1850 – France

Chabichou Courchevel 1850

This 42-room alpine retreat in Courchevel 1850 is nestled right on the piste and easily connects visitors to the entire Trois Vallées ski area. The spa, Cha’Banya, a subterranean wellness center built under the ski slope features a huge pool, a hammam, Polar bath, ice fountain, and salt grotto.


The Green Leaf Niseko – Village Hirafu – Japan

The Green Leaf Niseko

Nestled at the base of Mount An’nupuri in Japan, the 200-room Green Leaf Niseko Village features ski-in/ ski-out access to powder slopes as well as a gorgeous spa. Included is an open-air bath fed by a clear mineral spring that is cooled to about 104F (40C). Spa treatments include everything from acupressure to Ayurveda and specialty treatments such as the Rubber Neck bamboo tapping massage.


Fairmont Mont Tremblant Resort in Mont Tremblant – Quebec, Canada

fairmont tremblant

This ski-in/ski-out resort features 314 rooms and a lush spa features two outdoor Jacuzzis and a therapeutic hot tub, a dry sauna, steam bath, and a heated indoor pool. The spa menu includes an 80-minute remineralizing clay massage and a glass of champagne.


Hot new luxury ski resort openings for 2013

L'Apogee Courchevel

They’re among the most anticipated ski resort openings of 2013: a 5-star chalet set in the French Alps, the first alpine property out of the W hotel chain, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “world-class” ski resort. Here are a few of the most luxurious ski resort properties opening up in the next few months

L’Apogée Courchevel

Courchevel 1850, France – Opening date: December 11

L'Apogee Courchevel room

A new luxury hotel is set to open in one of the most prestigious skiing destinations in the French Alps. With 53 suites, a penthouse and a five-star chalet that comes with a private chef and butler, L’Apogée Courchevel is located atop the Jardin Alpin, described as the prettiest spot in Courchevel 1850.

Amenities include a restaurant helmed by a Michelin-starred chef, a champagne bar, spa, Jacuzzi, indoor pool, on-site hairdresser, ski-in and ski-out facilities and the largest kids club in the area.


W Verbier

Verbier, Switzerland – Opening date: December 1

W Verbier Hotel

Set within the 4 Vallées, where snow bunnies have 412 km of slopes to choose from, the opening of the W Verbier in December will mark the W hotel chain’s first alpine property.

Four, traditional chalets are connected by a contemporary glass atrium, while the gondola — which whisks skiers up mountain altitudes of 3,300 meters — is located at their doorstep.

A mix of natural and modern materials like wood and stone are used in the hotel’s 130 guest suites, which are designed to juxtapose urban New York cool, against traditional Swiss design. The restaurant, Arola, is helmed by a Michelin-starred chef who combines Spanish cuisine with Swiss flavors.


The Chedi Andermatt

Andermatt Swiss Alps – Opening date: December 6

Chedi Andermatt Hotel Swiss Alps

Located below the Gemstock peak of the Urseren valley, Andermatt is about four hours from Munich and Stuttgart, two hours from Milan and 90 minutes from Lucerne and Zurich.

Billed as a five-star luxury resort, an artist rendering shows a soaring, multi-level, alpine-inspired property that will include a state-of-the-art spa and wellness center, pool, relaxation area, wine and cigar lounge, and après-ski bar.

Wood-paneled rooms are softened by plush textiles like velvet and throw blankets and leather sofas, while bathtubs are strategically located to offer panoramic views of the hotel’s natural surroundings.


Masik Pass ski resort

North Korea – Opening date: Unknown

masik pass ski resort

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is hoping to transform the Masik Pass area into a “world class” ski destination as his arch nemesis South Korea prepares to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Originally scheduled to be unveiled October 10 to coincide with the 68th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party, the opening has been stalled due to ambitious and unrealistic projections and sanctions that prevent the country from buying ski lifts from Switzerland.

Plans for the resort include 110 km of multi-level ski runs, a luxury hotel, heliport and cable cars.

Taj Palace Marrakech

10 Hottest New Hotels in the World

Hotel Casa San Agustin took the top spot on TripAdvisor’s Hot New Hotel list this year, which guests described as a “true jewel in the Caribbean” and a “pampered oasis.”

Hotel Casa San Agustin

Guests heap particularly lavish praise on the level of hotel service, with the personalized butler feature described as “world class.” Composed of three colonial white-washed buildings, the property straddles modern conveniences and luxury that includes iPad-powered concierge services with preserved original frescoes and centuries-old wood-beamed ceilings.

It’s the latest accolade for the Colombia hotel, which made it on to Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards 2013 as well as Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot New Hotels 2013 list.

Kura Design Villas Uvita

For the ranking, hotels had to have opened in the last year and earn a minimum four out of five-bubble rating. The list is made up of 33 hotels in 18 countries, including luxury properties in less predictable locations such as Arkansas; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Topping the Hot New Hotel list for the US is the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, Arkansas, while the Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai took the top spot for Asia. The Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square in the Lithuanian capital took the top spot for Europe.

Mandarin Oriental Pudong

Here are the Top 10 hot new hotels in the world according to TripAdvisor users:

1. Hotel Casa San Agustin, Cartagena, Colombia
2. Kura Design Villas Uvita, Uvita, Costa Rica
3. Taj Palace Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco
4. 21c Museum Bentonville, Bentonville, Arkansas
5. Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square, Vilnius, Lithuania
6. Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, Shanghai, China
7. Refinery Hotel, New York
8. Ampersand Hotel, London, UK
9. Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Baku, Azerbaijan
10. Zero George Street, Charleston, South Carolina

Taj Palace Marrakech

island of Randheli

New luxury accommodations in the Maldives

Cheval Blanc Randheli resort

According to a recent survey conducted by Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Maldives islands rank as the most popular luxury vacation destination on the planet. The island nation is already a hotbed of high-end tourism, with accommodations fit for the most demanding guests, and new luxury resorts are appearing each year. Here, we take a look at three of this season’s most notable newcomers.

Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel Maldives

Cheval Blanc Randheli

This establishment, owned by the LVMH Group, brings all of the prestige of the original Cheval Blanc, located in the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps, to the Noonu Atoll in the sunny Maldives.

A private hydroplane carries guests of the Cheval Blanc from the Malé airport to their destination in 40 minutes. Upon arrival, guests are met by 45 spacious villas (the smallest has a surface area of 240 square meters, or 2600 square feet), luxurious services and breathtaking beaches.

Five on-site restaurants offer French and international gourmet cuisine. In the spa, guests enjoy treatments with Guerlain beauty products and Leonor Greyl hair products. Sports, special events and custom services are all on the menu as well. Opening November 15. Prices available upon request.

Maalifushi by Como

Maalifushi by Como

Como Hotels will open its second resort in the Maldives December 1. Maalifushi is located on the Thaa Atoll, which can be reached in around one hour by hydroplane from the Malé airport.

The resort consists of around 60 suites and villas built on stilts, including some located directly on the beach, and others with private pools. Two on-site restaurants offer international cuisine, as well as Japanese and Maldivian specialties.

The spa — with eight massage rooms and hammam, Jacuzzi, and sauna — offers beauty and relaxation treatments based on the principles of holistic medicine. Prices available upon request.

largest private villa in the Maldives

A private villa on Kunfunadhoo Island

From December 15, travelers will be able to rent a 2,000 square meter seaside villa from the Soneva Group, which aims to combine luxury with sustainability through its “Slow Life” philosophy.

All of the villas in the Soneva Fushi resort are built with sustainable materials using local techniques but remain decidedly high-end. The newest villa, which the group claims is the largest in any Indian Ocean resort, has eight bedrooms, a game room, and a spa with massage tables and a gym.

There is also an enormous 477 square meter (5130 square foot) pool surrounding the residence, complete with a dining terrace where guests can enjoy a waterside lunch.

Prices per night range from around €8500/$11,500 to €22,500/$30,400 depending on the season.

Next summer, the group will expand its offering with Soneva in Aqua. The luxury yacht will allow guests to enjoy the same level of service and comfort experienced in the Soneva Fushi villas while sailing from atoll to atoll in the Maldives.

Soneva Aqua yacht

The Royal Horseguards

New luxury hotel brand launches out of London

The Royal Horseguards

The luxury hotel market is about to get crowded as a London-based hotel company has announced ambitious plans to launch a new brand they claim will “redefine” luxury across the industry.

Their first order of business? To convert their existing five-star The Royal Horseguards hotel located on the north bank of the River Thames and re-open as Clermont Hotel in 2014.

The Clermont hotel will serve as their flagship outpost in Europe — the first of 30 Clermont-branded hotels to be built around the world over the next decade.

It’s also the first of three new hotel brands the company, glh. (Global Hotel Company) plans to launch over the next 12 months, it says, an ambitious plan that hopes to put the squeeze on well-established luxury brands like The Four Seasons, the Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz-Carlton.

Other properties that will be rebranded under the Clermont sign include Singapore’s tallest building (290 m) the Tanjong Pagar Centre and the Clermont Kuala Lumpur which are due to open in 2016.

The latter will feature an Olympic-length pool, aqua gymnasium, and private dining rooms where residents can host private events and entertain guests. Plans are also afoot to build private luxury apartments across Singapore and Malaysia called Clermont Residences.

hotel lutetia

Lutetia Hotel in Paris: a new ‘pop-up’ suite

hotel lutetia

Interior designer Régis Dho has decorated a “suite éphémère,” a suite whose decor will stay in place for a limited time only, at the prestigious hotel on the Left Bank in Paris, entitling his creation “Night & Day.”

Régis Dho, who has designed restaurants for some of the greatest French chefs, including Michel Rostang and Alain Ducasse, produced a unique, Art Déco-inspired design for the suite at the Lutetia.

The decorator aimed to make the space feel like a sophisticated yet comfortable sanctuary, cloaked in shades of black, grey and turquoise.

The designer has repurposed certain pieces for a whimsical yet distinguished touch: a Bastide chest of drawers serves as the mini bar, and a Solférino bench seat has been transformed into a bedside table.

Before Dho, other designers who created special ‘pop-up’ suites for the Lutetia include the Campana brothers, David Lynch and Guillaume Piéchaud.

Lutetia hotel pop up suite

The “Night & Day” suite may be reserved through the hotel, with prices starting at €900 per night.

Hotel Eden Rome exterior

Dorchester group buys Eden luxury hotel in Rome

Hotel Eden Rome exterior

Dorchester Collection, a luxury hotel group controlled by the sultan of Brunei, said Wednesday it has bought the landmark Hotel Eden in Rome from Britain-based Starman Hotels.

Dorchester said it planned to renovate the 121-room hotel in central Rome following the deal, which press reports estimated was worth 105 million euros ($140 million).

Built in 1834 and converted to a hotel in 1889, the Eden regularly hosts heads of state, royalty and celebrities, and is known for the spectacular view from its sixth-floor terrace.

The Dorchester Collection is owned by the Brunei Investment agency, the sovereign wealth fund of Brunei, and is registered in Britain. It now owns 10 luxury hotels in Europe and the United States, and has said it is looking to expand into Asia and the Middle East.

Hotel Eden Rome


Mandarin Oriental to open luxury hotel in Shenzhen


Mandarin Oriental has chosen mainland China’s Shenzhen, a popular shopping destination located just across the border from Hong Kong, as the site of its new hotel.

Scheduled to open in about three years’ time in a 400-meter tower near downtown Shenzhen, the hotel will offer 190 rooms and suites. Among the facilities planned are a rooftop restaurant and bar and a 1,600 square meter spa offering traditional Chinese beauty and relaxation treatments.

The new hotel will not be the first in China to offer luxury accommodations among the clouds. The Jin Jiang Hotel, for one, welcomes guests atop the 632-meter Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest high-rise.

The high-end Mandarin Oriental hotel is part of a large-scale development project for the Shum Yip’s Upper Hills area, which will be home to office buildings as well as new apartments and retail outlets.

There are already three Mandarin Oriental hotels in nearby Hong Kong, including the group’s very first establishment. The brand has a strong presence throughout the rest of Asia as well, with hotels in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Japan.

Inside the Largest Hotel Suite in Abu Dhabi

royal suite St Regis Abu Dhabi

At 22,600 square feet, the Royal Suite at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi is being billed as the largest hotel suite in the United Arab Emirates and comes with a private movie theater, game room, spa and sauna, and outdoor swimming pool.

St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Living Room

Unveiled last week, the suite spans 22,600 square feet or 2,099 square meters and takes up the top two floors of the resort’s west wing at a price tag of $35,000 USD a night (130,000 AED).

St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Grand Staircase

Guests are greeted with a Steinway grand piano in the living room, and sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf. Earth tones of beige, sand, teal and blue are used to decorate the suite and evoke the hotel’s sea and desert surroundings.

The dining room also seats 12, and meals can be catered through the hotel’s butler service.

St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Dining Room

After descending the elaborate winding staircase, guests arrive at the master bedroom which takes up the entire lower floor and includes an expansive walk-in closet, dressing area, spa, sauna, and ocean-facing bathroom with double shower and bathtub.

St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Master Bathroom

Meanwhile, the royal penthouse suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland is also known as being one of the largest and most luxurious suites in the world with 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, a fitness center, Steinway grand piano and private elevator. The private terrace alone clocks in at 1,680 square meters. The cost for one night’s stay? About $65,000.

St Regis suite Abu Dhabi PoolSt Regis suite Abu Dhabi Master Bedroom  St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Private Theater St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Sea Terrace St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Study St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Terrace St Regis suite Abu Dhabi Treatment Room

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul was named the leading hotel in Europe in Antalya, Turkey at the World Travel Awards Europe last week.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul East Entrance

A former Imperial Ottoman palace, the hotel sits along the Bosphorus coast and harkens the grandeur of the era with ornate, Arabic and Middle Eastern decor, columns, arches, and lush tropical palm trees.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul exterior view

New this year, the hotel also added a poolside Moet & Chandon champagne bar over the summer for guests lounging by the heated infinity pool.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul Room

Rich dark wood paneled suites come with writing desks, a ‘pillow menu,’ and balconies in every room.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul gardens

Meanwhile, other winners in the World Travel Awards Europe hotel category this year include:

– Europe’s Leading City Hotel: Hotel Fouquet Barriere Paris, France
– Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel: Grandes Alpes Private Hotel, France
– Europe’s Leading Hotel & Spa: Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv, Ukraine
– Europe’s Leading Luxury Resort: Conrad Algarve, Portugal
– Europe’s Leading New Hotel: Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Germany
– Europe’s Most Romantic Resort: Royal Adam & Eve Hotel, Turkey

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul gate  Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul living room   Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul suiteCiragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul Hamam


Four Seasons uses Pinterest to help guests plan trips

PinPackGo Four seasons

The majority of travelers will never know the joys of a personal concierge service. After all, a person dedicated to responding to guests’ every need at all hours of the day and night, in addition to providing suggestions on where to wine and dine, is a rather high-end luxury.

However, internet users now have access to what may be the next best thing. The Four Seasons, whose 91-hotel network includes the George V in Paris, the Ritz in Lisbon and the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles, just to name a few, has applied its expertise in the matter to a new virtual concierge service.

The Four Seasons offers this virtual concierge service through Pinterest. Users create a board for their trip, adding information on their destination and on the type of experience they are looking for, whether a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a cultural visit.

Next, the user leaves a comment on the Pin.Pack.Go board specifying the destination city.

The Four Seasons hotel located in the destination city will follow the user and send a request to collaborate on his or her board. Of the chain’s 91 hotels, 77 are participating in the service.

Users are not required to reserve a room at one of the Four Seasons’ hotels to take advantage of the service. Over 4,200 Pinterest users have signed up to follow the Pin.Pack.Go board since its launch.

Marriott International's tote bag

Marriott recycles bed linen to create tote bags

Marriott International's tote bag

Marriott International, together with British luxury brand Lily and Lionel and non-profit company SleepingBags, is releasing a limited edition tote bag made entirely of recycled bed linens from its hotels.

With the launch of this limited edition bag, Marriott International scores two points for corporate social responsibility. The first involves the reduction in waste that comes from upcycling its worn out linens, while the second involves committing a share of revenues from the initiative to The Prince’s Trust, a charity working to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth.

The dark grey bag has been printed with a blue and white design from Lily and Lionel, depicting birds in flight around a globe.

Only 1,000 of these tote bags will be produced, and each will sell for €23 (£20) through the Marriott website.

ras al khaimah beach

Banyan Tree RAK creates Arabian pearl experience

Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach

The Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach now offers an original opportunity to guests through its Arabian Pearl Retreat package. Guests who opt for this package are taken by seaplane to a desert pearl farm to learn about the techniques and history of this particularly prestigious form of aquaculture.

While at the farm, guests also take part in a jewelry-making workshop alongside a local jeweler. After choosing their oysters and harvesting two pearls — in the region, these usually measure between 7 and 12mm — participants mount them in a unique piece of jewelry made with 10mg of gold.

The Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach is located on a private beach overlooking the Gulf. The hotel includes 32 villa apartments, a luxury spa, and a restaurant bordered by an infinity pool.

The Arabian Pearl Retreat package, which includes transit by seaplane to the pearl farm, is available through February 28, 2014 (€1,945 including one night in the hotel’s Beach Pool Villa).

skyline Macau

Versace to open Macau luxury hotel

skyline Macau

The Italian luxury brand has signed a deal to open its third ‘Palazzo’ hotel, as part of a new casino resort development in Cotai, Macau.

Versace has partnered with Hong Kong based SJM holdings on the deal, which will see a new five star hotel opening in the Chinese city of Macau. The new location will join the company’s two Palazzo Versace hotels, located in Dubai (where plans for a refrigerated beach sadly had to be scrapped) and on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Macau, which featured in last year’s James Bond blockbuster “Skyfall,” is one of China’s two special administrative regions, alongside Hong Kong. The former Portuguese colony is the only part of the People’s Republic where casinos are permitted, and it’s a lucrative business.

According to Bloomberg, Macau raked in around $38 billion from casinos in 2012 with tourist numbers from mainland China and Hong Kong growing year on year.

Luxury hotels are an increasingly big attraction for fashion brands: Giorgio Armani has two locations in Dubai and Milan, while fellow Italian label Bulgari has three hotels in London, Milan and Bali, restaurants in Japan and a new Shanghai spot set to open up in 2015.