Thursday, July 30, 2009

Four Seasons Is Top Luxury Hotel

Bad news for the Ritz-Carlton, it's no longer the top dog in luxury hotels. That's according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. The study looked at overall hotel guest satisfaction across six hotel segments from luxury to budget. The Ritz-Carlton has been chosen the top luxury hotel in past years but this year the honor went to the Four Seasons even though the rooms at the luxury chain are more expensive. In the next tier down, the winner of the Upscale segment was Embassy Suites Hotels which took the honor for the third year running.

To determine overall satisfaction the study looked at seven key measures: reservations; check-in/check-out; guest room; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and costs and fees. Over 66,000 people who stayed n a hotel between May 2008 and June 2009 were part of the study. The survey showed that guest satisfaction with luxury hotels has remained stable from 2008. The most-desired amenities include complimentary breakfast, wireless Internet access and pillow-top mattresses. In luxury hotels a high percentage of guests say they expect in-room high-definition flat-panel TVs. The study also found that guests are more aware of property-initiated "green" programs and 72 percent say they participated in their hotel's conservation programs. by Deidre Woollard - Luxist

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hip Hostels - Barcelona’s Centric Point Creates Travel Oxymoron for Backpackers

The word “hostel” usually conjures up images of bummy backpackers slumming it in old, basic, barren, cramped, shared accommodations, that and a really bad horror flick. This is definitely not case at Centric Point Hostel located Barcelona, Spain.

The atmosphere and vibe is laid back to compliment the prices which start at just over $30 for dorms or $80 for private rooms. While the amenities provide a hip and chic feel. Yes I’m using the word “amenity” in a blog about a hostel. Located in the heart of Barcelona, the very affordable digs include a common room outfitted with Internet access, music, satellite TV and a Nintendo Wii. They even toss in free breakfasts.

So if you are travelling to Spain on a budget but still want to stay in style, check out this new way to “rough it.” Totally focused to the international traveller from our travellers desk you can book all kinds of tours and activities to socialize and discover the city. Altogether one of the most spectacular hostels in Europe. (metronews) Via: Ryan Hinkson

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bar Refaeli Seeks Solace in St. Tropez Nightclub

We're heading into the final month of summer here and you know what that means--celebs will be descending en masse in St. Tropez on the French Riviera for their annual pilgrimage of partying, yachting, topless sunbathing, and more partying.

But it looks like Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue cover girl, Bar Refaeli is getting a head start. The beauty was seen partying it up with Brazilian polo player and entrepreneur Ricardo Mansur, leading us to believe that her on-off boyfriend, Leonardo DiCaprio, is once again "off." This Ricardo dude might also have it out for Leo as he reportedly once dated Leo's ex, Gisele Bundchen, as well.

While celebs can be found throughout the summer in St. Tropez (not all of them are classy like Jon Gosselin, Tara Reid and Avril Lavigne), August seems to be the month to go. The New York Times has a great article about the madness of splashy flashy St. Tropez that gives a good history of the place and how it turned into such a party spot. True, the article is from 2005 which is now firmly "pre-recession era" but this is the French Riviera--there's no such word as "recession," is there?
And as for how Bar actually got to St. Tropez, well we're guessing she didn't fly her SI One.
by juliana - Jaunted

[Photo via TMZ]

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wild Eco Retreats - West Africa's Resort Spa Channels the African Wild

Scottish-based design consultants, Treasured Dreams, is one of the world’s leading treehouse design and construction companies, and they have been aspiring to create one of West Africa’s leading eco holiday resort and spa.

The aim of the project is to create the next most sought-after destination for exclusive sunny short hall vacations for European residents as well as a luxury spa, five star hotel and numerous exceptional dining alternatives. The resort will feature about 75 villas and 200 residences and combines a destination experience with luxurious facilities.

All suites feature luxurious en-suite bathrooms, multimedia DVD players, satellite TV, and coffee/tea making facilities; each villa comes with its own private Jacuzzi that over looks the river.

The Hotel Spa has been designed with the surrounding landscape in mind. The interiors reflect the natural colors of the African landscape, with the work of local artists adding colorful highlights. In Treasured Dream's world nothing is impossible. We dedicate ourselves to giving you the best possible service and ensuring your time with us is a pleasurable experience. And, if you share in our belief that nothing is impossible, you will find that the only limit to what can be achieved by our own imaginations. (treehouse-builders) Via: gorby2

The W Fort Lauderale Wants You To Visit Their Water Wonderland

Where: 401 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd [map], Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States, 33316

The W Fort Lauderdale's Terrace Bar

Yes, summer in Florida is sticky and sweaty. But the still-new W Fort Lauderdale is trying to woo you down to the Sunshine State with its “W Presents Wonder on the Water” promotion.

According to the hotel’s website, here’s what you get:

· VIP Living Room table with two Coastal-politans
· W beach towel, two lounge chairs & an umbrella on the beach
· Bliss® Hot Cream Manicure $25
· Chef-guided kitchen tour with wine at Stephen Starr’s signature restaurant
· Unbelievable room upgrade!

That’s the Living Room lounge in the hotel—not to be confused with the nightclub of the same name up at the Los Olas riverfront (a place Playboy describes as “the Jetsons on crack.”)

This Living Room has a 20-foot “signature bar under overheard tilted mirrors” where hotel literature encourages you to create your own action “kicking back on mattress-inspired seating under the pool as you catch glimpses of swimmers through portholes.” There’s also a “sultry hidden nook with glistening LED starlights.”

That W beach towel will set you back 38 clams if you buy it in the W Hotels Store, and the Bliss Hot Cream Manicure is usually 25 bucks.

Oh, and as for that chef-guided tour with wine at Stephen Starr’s signature restaurant? (Steak 954, which the Miami Herald granted an “excellent” review.) Read the fine print when you go to book this promotion and you learn that this is contingent on purchase of dinner for two.

Still, the package starts at just $299 for a Wonderful Room with Limited View for a stay this Saturday night. Not too shabby when you consider how good it will feel to wrap your freshly manicured nails around a Coastal-politan in the sultry hidden nook! by MsRebecca = HotelChatter

[Photo: Tom Barnes]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Most Natural Partnership in Vegas: The Hard Rock and Virgin America

Where: 4455 Paradise Road [map], 89169

It’s the most holy of alliances. Virgin America, the rock ‘n’ roll airline, has teamed up with Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel for a special promotion. From now until December 30, you can get a 30-percent-off rate at Hard Rock Hotel when you book three nights or more. While VA’s promo offer suggests the special is good “exclusively” for Elevate – its frequent-flier program – members, the Hard Rock’s site is also running a “Summer Special” on it Web site that seems to offer exactly the same deal.

Normal rates for next Friday night (July 31), for example, in a king-sized room are $259. With the discount (either via VA or Summer Specials) that means you pay only $181 and change. Here’s an unexpected perk, too: while Saturday night, August 1, is totally sold out if you try to book it through the regular “reservations” tab on the HRH’s Web site, if you book by clicking on the “Summer Specials” button, you can actually score a room. It’s $499, mind you, but it’s there.
While we’re scratching our head as to how VA can claim "exclusivity" for the offer, it’s not a bad deal. Check this out: if you’re interested in booking a room during the mid-week in December, your rate is a low, low price of $48 per night. Holiday shopping junket, anyone? by Erika Pope - VegasChatter

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club Pool By the Numbers

Where: 1281 Channel Drive [map], Santa Barbara, CA, United States, 93108

Guests of the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara have a choice when it comes to pools: the "intimate" Resort Jungle Pool or the "legendary" Olympic-sized pool across the street at the private-membership Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club.

The spa, and fitness facilities here are open to club members and Four Seasons guests only. And with that kind of exclusivity, numbers matter.

Below, we've rounded up some interesting numbers regarding this exclusive pool area.

160: length of the Coral Casino pool in feet.
31: number of private cabanas surrounding the pool.
180: number of chaise lounges by the pool for the cabana-less; number of degrees of your Butterfly Beach view.
1937: year the beach club was built.
65 million: cost in dollars of the Coral Casino’s recentish restoration by architect Peter Marino.
3: number of years spent on said face-lift.
5: price in dollars for the cheapest items on the Coral Café menu: onion rings, sweet potato fries, truffle and parmesan French fries, or tortilla chips with salsa.
600: actual cost in dollars for onion rings or fries, once you factor in the necessary Four Seasons room rate that will allow you access to the Coral Casino.
500: approximate numbers of Coral Casino club members.
250,000: starting cost for membership.
250: estimated number of names on membership waiting list.
795: rack rate listed for a room at the Four Seasons Biltmore this Saturday night.
90210: all you can think about, if you are a guest of a member who gets to play rich at the “beach club” for a day.

Having a friend whose parents are members of the club and being able to hang by the pool when it’s close to empty? Priceless.
by MsRebecca - HotelChatter

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My House Hollywood - The Latest Celeb "it" Bar

The Place:
My House Hollywood

The Scene:
The nightlife version of Hollywood Cribs, My House is the latest late-night reincarnation of the former-Garden of Eden near the corner of Hollywood and Vine. If it were any other city the fact that a nightclub with its historic Moorish-theme that had been around since the ‘30s and entertained everyone from Rudoloh Valentino to Billy Idol would have been spared from the Dodd Mitchell Hollywood re-do. Not so much. Instead, the man the designed Dolce and Falcon, two former-Hollywood hotspots, gets his hands and paint cans on the former-space and creates an Alice in S&M-wonderland that currently the party spot du jour for the Audrina and Paris set as well as various tabloid magazine parties.

Bitterness aside, My House attempts to recreate the Hollywood Hills house party experience in a massive streetfront space that includes a kitchen-theme bar area with stainless steel appliances and super-sex bartenders mixing Patron margaritas. The space is sexy and well thought-out, nearly 10,000 square feet that includes a living room-theme lounge area and micro-dance floor as well as an upstairs bedroom that doubles as the VIP space. Outside is a tranquil terrace area and smoking patio that offers glimpses of the building’s past but with new fireplace, cabanas and even a Jacuzzi for 2am skinny-dipping.

JetSet Tips:
My House is currently used as an event’s space that means that every night offers a different party, promoter or theme. Log-on to the website or call in advance to make sure you get your gay night straight from your US Weekly nights.

Last Word:
Historic Hollywood nightclub gets a mansion-theme facelift by the LA designer of Dolce and nearby Katana. Via: Ann Vine, Editorial Review Author -

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Croatian Radison Blu Offers 100,000 Sq. Ft. Spa

The Radisson Blu Resort and Spa Dubrovnik just became the largest resort on Croatia's Dalmatian coast. The new property, which is only 11 miles from Dubrovnik International Airport, boasts more than 100,000 square feet of spa, sports and wellness facilities with treatments such as hydrotherapy and salt saunas. This is the first Anne Semonin spa to open in Croatia, and to celebrate the milestone, several exclusive treatments have bee developed.

The spa itself occupies 37,000 square feet along the Croatian coastline, with seven individual treatment rooms and two more for couples. An outdoor hot tub sits at the center of this layout. The Thalassotherapy Therma Stone Experience, 100% Active Ice Therapy Facial and Black Sand Scrub & Ocean Massage Ritual were developed specifically for the Radisson Blu – I guess giving three more damned good reasons to get on a plane for Dubrovnik.

Another 75,000 square feet is dedicated to a sports and wellness center. The 60-foot lagoon pool, waterfall and underwater vitality jet lounges sound simply seductive, and there are additional treatments built around these decadent aquatic amenities.

Pass on the cliche European destinations this year, and head out to the Dalmatian coast. The spa experience will be a far cry from the usual. Via: Tom Johansmeyer - Luxist

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

World Cup South Africa 2010: Starting Your Journey to Cape Town

Needless to say, the World Cup South Africa 2010 is going to be a thrilling event. Almost every single World Cup has been, and there are always enough upsets caused by underdogs, captivating victories by the masterful nations, and tightly fought matches, to enthrall the crowd.

In 2010, more of the same can be expected, with the most skillful players from the greatest nations in the world all going head to head for the ultimate prize in football: the World Cup.

If you’re a fan, then this represents a mouth watering opportunity. Not only is South Africa accessible and easy to get to, but it is a beautiful and exotic nation in its own right, which is the main reason why it has become such a popular tourist destination. Further deserving mention is the fact that Cape Town itself is regarded as a premier tourist location within South Africa.

Dare you pass up the chance to enjoy the very best in your favorite sport, coupled with the prospect of a wonderful vacation?

Truth be told, you really shouldn’t dally about too long. Of course, the thought has crossed your mind, but you probably put it off as something you’d decide closer to the time. In itself, this is a huge mistake that so many people make.

Although the Cape Town is prepared for the World Cup South Africa, there is bound to be a shortage of tickets and accommodation as the kick off day approaches. Booking in advance can save you the heartache of missing out on this excellent opportunity.

Consider it this way: Your journey to the World Cup South Africa should begin right here, and right now.

Via: brealynn - VIP Nightlife & Travel

Monaco Taps Motown For Its 'Black Legend' Nightclub

File this item under "uncomfortable coincidences": the developers of the famed Hotel Byblos and St.-Tropez club plan to open an upscale nightclub in Monte Carlo, Monaco, with a theme of great African American musicians. To be called "Black Legend," the club will serve tapas all day while featuring impersonator acts singing soul, funk and pop music, but with a focus on the Motown greats.

Speaking from experience—wink wink—we can vouch for the fact that in Monaco, most of the nightlife happens either onboard a yacht or in a high-rise swanky condo, not in clubs or bars since the daytrippers and tourists take over those. Nonetheless, we don't doubt that "Black Legend" will be a success, considering the French disposition to old African American cabaret acts; they did raise Josephine Baker and more to stardom with the US would have none of it.
The club, due to open this October, should have plenty time to hone its Michael Jackson memorial act and more before the famed Monaco Grand Prix rolls back into town next May.
Via: JetSetCD - Jaunted

[Photo: mhintsa]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boracay Island Resort In Philippines

Boracay is a tropical island located approximately 315km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2km off the northwest tip of the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.

Partly because of its wind and weather patterns, tourism in Boracay is at its peak during the Amihan season. During Amihan, the prevailing wind blows from the east. Boracay's main tourism area, White Beach, is on the western side of the island and is sheltered from the wind. Daytime temperatures on Boracay generally range from 77-90°F (25-32°C) from the beginning of the Amihan season into February or March, increase to the 82-100°F(28-38°C) range.

A number of accommodation types are scattered all over the island, ranging from luxurious hotel types to budget, Spartan rooms. Guests can also choose according to location--Station 3 is where most of the cheaper lodgings are located, while Station 2 is meant for those who want to be within close proximity of the bars. Station 1, meanwhile, is where you can find the more isolated accommodations.

Frendz Resort, one of the best beach locations on Boracay, is only a two minute walk from the famous white beach of Boracay, restaurants and entertainment venues. Situated where u want to be, near all the action, yet away from the hustle and bustle of the beachfront.

Frendz Resort is a fun-filled resort offering 15 native style bungalows, all with their own verandahs to relax on.

Another resort that will captivate your senses is the Nami Resort. All rooms at Nami have breathtaking views and a Jacuzzi on the balcony. The interior design is Contemporary Filipino. All rooms are air-conditioned, come with complete bathroom amenities, terry bathrobes, IDD/NDD telephones, DVD players upon request, cable television, minibar and in-suite spa facilities.

So if you are planning to go for a vacation, then I would strongly recommend you to visit Boracay Island! by: Jackson

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Homage Hotel Packages

Hollywood Heights Hotel Celebrates Michael Jackson

Hollywood Heights Hotel is offering a special Michael Jackson Package to commemorate his contributions to the music industry.

However, this Michael Jackson hotel package is not a fan-driven spectacle as we may have expected. Hollywood Heights Hotel will be donating 10% of the cost of the hotel room to the Make a Wish Foundation—one of Michael Jackson’s favorite charities.

The Hollywood Heights Hotel package is available from now until August 29th, which would have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday.

This is a great way to pay homage to the King of Pop while also doing something for a good cause.
by: Rose Nazarali - HotHotelReviews

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Green Costa Rica Hotels Celebrate Their Blue Flag Beach With Deals

Two resorts in Costa Rica have been taking good care of the beach they share — in fact, they've been so environmentally friendly that the Manzanillo Beach, where you'll find the Allegro Papagayo Resort and the Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort, has been awarded an Ecological Blue Flag for 2009.

Blue Flag beaches are not common, and it's a good way to recognize a beach whose caretakers are making sure it's clean, safe and will stay that way in the future. And these two Occidental resorts are celebrating their Blue Flag achievement with a couple of special deals for this summer.

At the Allegro Papagayo, they've reduced the nightly rates to start at $68, and they've also got a special for kids: under-12's can stay for free until December 18. Nearby at the Occidental Grand Papagayo, they've also reduced the nightly rates, so they now start from $122, and their extra special is giving you a fourth night free if you book three nights in Royal Club accommodations. And of course, if you're staying at either of these places you can be sure that the beach is going to be a high quality one — a pretty important factor for a summer vacation.
Via: amandak - HotelChatter

[Photo: acodring]

Monday, July 6, 2009

Courtney Love Allegedly Trashes The Inn at Irving Place

Where: 56 Irving Place [map], New York, NY, United States, 10003

This is the state of rockstars today: trashing the crap out of cute little boutique hotels like the Inn at Irving Place. Sad. And not very nice. And Courtney Love, girl, you are sort of too old to be doin' that sort of stuff, no?

While we were hangin' out and watching fireworks this weekend, Miss Courtney Love was busy with other things. Namely, she was apparently "trashing" her room. According to Page Six:

While the rocker was visiting New York on June 17 with her 16-year-old daughter, Frances Bean, sources say Love completely ruined her accommodations.

The hard-partying 44-year-old widow of Kurt Cobain left dirty needles and used feminine hygiene products behind, according to sources, and also flooded the floor.

Ew. Ew! Courtney! Girl! Come on. You leave a mess like that behind and you've gotta at least tip your housekeeper (and, um, tip them like $5000), you know?

For those of you unfamiliar, The Inn at Irving Place is twelve-room hotel "furnished with exquisite antiques reminiscent of the New York of Edith Wharton." Quaint and sweet, with rooms that start around $445 per night. Not a trashable-by-rockstars kind of place. Edith Wharton would not be impressed. by Jenna - HotelChatter

Friday, July 3, 2009

Virgin Galactic and the 40th Anniversary of That Other Moonwalk

The untimely death of Michael Jackson has adults of a certain generation remembering the days of the moonwalk craze. But for those with a few more candles to blow out on the birthday cake, the term "moonwalk" conjures up the name of a different iconic American entirely: Neil Armstrong.

The 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk is swiftly approaching: July 20, 2009. And although it's been long in the making, Virgin Galactic moves ever closer to making a space journey a reality for private citizens willing to spend $200,000. (A bargain, really, considering that arranging private space travel today costs about $20 million.) On May 28, 2009, Virgin Galactic announced the successful completion of the first phase of tests of the rocket motor that will propel space tourists up, up and away.
There are still more tests to go, but at this point, the plan is to start sending passengers into space as soon as late 2010. (Delays are very likely, so no need to go into an oxygen-free environment just yet -- don't hold your breath.) There's no moonwalking in the cards, but there is traveling at 3,000 miles an hour to 70 miles above the earth's surface, experiencing weightlessness and a view of more than 1,000 miles in all directions.

If you want to get to this before the been-there-done-that's set in -- at current tally, there are 300 people from 42 countries waiting for their turn -- it's worth signing up early. You can accomplish this exclusively through luxury travel pros Virtuoso, who are the first "Accredited Space Agents."

In fact, Virtuoso founder Matthew D. Upchurch is a candidate to be among the first to make the trip. Whether he's on the very first flight will be determined by a lottery -- he's got a 1 in 14 chance. But hey, the odds of reaching the moon at all forty years ago had to be longer than that.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

W South Beach Is Open!

Where: 2201 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139

The day has come: W South Beach is open. Yes, open. It is July 2nd, 2009 and, presumably, there will be heads on brand new W SoBe pillows this evening. Surreal, isn't it? Consider it your very special Fourth of July holiday present. Or consider it a sweet, sweet miracle.

As we've already noted, this weekend appears to be sold out — but if you're really jonesin' to get in there, you can get a room on Sunday night (there appear to be some available) — and rooms are actually down below the $300 mark; you're looking at $295 (before taxes) for a king.

But don't go booking a bikini wax, a massage and a romantic meal just yet: the on-site Bliss Spa isn't opening until December 15, and Mr. Chow isn't supposed to open until August 15.

Are you inside the W South Beach this weekend? Send us pics and tell us what the scene is like!

by Jenna - HotelChatter

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A New Island Off Waikiki Beach Hopes To Lure Us Out To Sea

If you somehow get tired of all the natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer, there’s soon going to be a new fake paradise for visitors to check out. A company called KanDoo is almost finished creating their own artificial island about 200 yards off Waikiki Beach.

KanDoo Island is really just a humongous catamaran that will serve as a water sports entertainment paradise for visitors and locals alike. The 98-ton boat will offer snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing lessons, and even jet ski trips off its “shoreline.” After a long day on and in the water, come back to the catamaran for some evening entertainment. There will be live music, nightclubs, and probably a fair share of Mai Tais. The company’s CEO wants KanDoo to be a 24/7 destination, but we’re a little skeptical that people will be swarming the place throughout the night.

To prepare for such a large addition to Hawaii tourism, the company has done their own environmental impact study, even though it wasn’t required, and things seem to have checked out well enough. With the sea creatures safe, the place is set to drop anchor for paying customers on July 4. We can already hear "I'm On A Boat," blaring in the background.

Oh, and if you’re worried about getting seasick, they’ve got you covered; the KanDoo will offer electronic motion sickness wristbands so you can leave the Dramamine back on shore. by kjb - Jaunted

[Photo of Waikiki Beach Before The New "Island": phault] Where: Honolulu, HI, United States