The St. Regis New York was ranked the most expensive hotel in New York City. Photo credit: St. Regis/Facebook
New York has it all -- theater, restaurants, shopping. It's also one of the most expensive cities in the world. But if you've got the dough to drop, New York can be one of the best playgrounds in the world.
Imagine for a moment you do have a few extra grand to spend -- how would you spend it in New York City? Shopping on 5th Avenue? Dining at five-star restaurants? Private chauffeurs and shoppers? And where would you stay?
NewYorkHotels.org compiled a list of the most expensive luxury hotels in New York City, and calculated the average room rate for the most affordable double room in each hotel from May 2012 to April 2013. The results: The St. Regis tops the list as the most expensive hotel in New York City with an average of $823 a night for the most affordable room.
The hotels that made the list have everything you'd expect -- luxury amenities, stellar service, and fine dining options and in some cases a spa, but are they worth the cost?FULL ENTRY
With the unofficial start of summer around the corner, it's officially time to start thinking about your summer travel plans. Whether you're a beachcomber or a mountain climber, there's no denying the allure of a dip in a great pool at the end of the hot day. With that in mind, here's a list of 10 of the hottest hotel pools around the world. Where would you like to take a dip?
Grand Wailea, Hawaii
Grand Wailea, Hawaii: The hotel’s 2,000 foot long, 25,700 square foot, 770,00 gallon Wailea Canyon Activity Pool has an aquatic theme park, thanks to its nine pools that are connected by a river that carries swimmers along at varying speeds, from whitewater rapids to lazy currents. Wailea Canyon also has four waterslides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, the world's first water elevator at the center of a multi-level volcano (you sit on an inner tube that rises and descends with the water level), a sand beach, six waterfalls, caves, three Jacuzzis, an infant pool, and a swim-up bar.
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa: The River Bluff Water Experience offers six acres of heated pools, fountains, waterfalls, rivers, and an abundance of poolside lounges. The highlight is the Pedernales River, a water ride utilizing lower gradients and higher volumes of water to create the feel of a natural river. For a more leisurely experience, the 1,200 foot lazy river carries guests around the grand cabana and pool deck areas.
Oil Nut Bay, Caribbean
Oil Nut Bay, Virgin Gorda: Perched on the rocky southeast cliffs of Oil Nut Bay, The Cliffs rental suites each boast a private outdoor infinity plunge pool that blends seamlessly with the boundless Caribbean Sea. The resort’s Beach Club features three infinity pools complete with a tiled waterfall and grotto flowing off the main, 45,000 gallon pool. All three are plastered with recycled glass beads known as Beadcrete, and all pools on the property have salt generator systems. The resort is accessible by boat or helicopter only.FULL ENTRY
Sunrise on one of Turnbery Isle Miami's 18-hole golf courses.
Mention southeast Florida and the first thing that most people think of is South Beach - white sand beaches draped from end to end in bikini-clad sun-worshippers, volleyball nets, parasailing and partying in the streets. Sure, South Beach has its finer points - a little further down the road and you'll find yourself in Bal Harbour, the tony village coveted by luxury travelers, and you really can't be the entertainment factor on Ocean Drive on any given night. But for those who want a little more privacy and recluse, there's something a little less flashy but just as luxurious only minutes from Miami Beach.
Turnberry Isle Miami, one of Marriott's newest Autograph Collection hotels, is located just minutes from Fort Lauderdale and Miami in the city of Aventura, and is a welcome escape from the mayhem synonymous with South Beach and southeast Florida.
Turnberry Isle Miami sits on two 18-hole championship golf courses, boasts a 25,000 square foot Four-Star Spa, three heated pools and four restaurants. And that's just the beginning.
Take the early morning 3-hour flight to Fort Lauderdale and you can be relaxing at the resort's Laguna pool by lunch. From there, the options are endless.FULL ENTRY
Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef is a the must-do travel experience. Photo credit: Flickr Sarah_Ackerman
To help entice your wanderlusting side, VIRTUOSO TRAVELER, the magazine published by luxury travel network Virtuoso®, published “29 Experiences of a Lifetime." From snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef to escaping to a private island, and learning how to tango in Buenos Aires, the list of experiences spans the globe and gives travelers a glimpse of adventures just waiting to be experienced.
Sure, some of these trips require a good amount of time and money, but here's the good news: there's plenty of time to save, many are quite affordable, and you might even find some inspiration from some of the trips on this list to create your own.
Here's are a couple "lifetime experiences" from Virtuoso:FULL ENTRY
Prepare your sweet tooth, because next installment of Mandarin Oriental, Boston's pop-up shop is bound to make your mouth water and cure any and all sugar cravings.
After a successful couple months in the pop-up business, Mandarin Oriental, Boston is setting up it's next shop: Oralia’s Pop-Up Cake Shoppe.
Oralia’s Cake Shoppe will feature a four special cakes created by Mandarin Oriental, Boston pastry chef Oralia Perez, who also creates all of the hotel's wedding cakes. The individual servings of cakes will include Boston Cream Cupcake, Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake, Carrot and Cream Cheese Cake and Strawberry Shortcake.
You can grab the cakes to go, or enjoy them with a glass of champagne, or a cup of coffee or tea in the hotel lobby. The cakes are all priced at $10.
The Cake Shoppe, open now, will be available daily from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in the Lobby Lounge next to the fireplace.
The Berkshire Tasting Panel, an experienced group of sommeliers at hotels and restaurants in The Berkshires, kicked off the “Berkshire Summer Wine Challenge” - a challenge to choose a white, rose or red wine, retailing under $20, "that represents all the Berkshires has to offer…artistry, history, poetry, purity, relaxation and lastly great taste."
The panel members were Sommelier Dan Thomas from the Red Lion Inn, Kollin Kozlowski CSW and Wine Director at Kelly’s, Blanytre’s Sommeliere Christelle Cotar and Front End
Manager of Mezze, Caitlin Harrison.
The judges participated in two roundtable blind tastings where each judge selected a rose or red wine out of a group of over 100 samples. On April 22 at Blantyre in Lenox, the judges revealed their choices and announced the “Quintessential Berkshire Summer Wine”
Here's what the panel had to say about the winning wines, both of which hailed from Spain:
The most surprising choice, our #1 red wine, a Cannanou (Grenache) which the group agreed/guessed was a southern French red, maybe a Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault blend because of its earthy, ripe and mature character. Much to our surprise it was from Sardinia (I guess you could call that “extreme southern France!”). Grenache is a great summer choice, fresh and fruity, with minerality and acid backbone. The same descriptors could be said about Albarino, or even Chacoli for that matter. Ultimately our white wine choice was the Chacoli, produced not far from Rias Baixas, the “green” land of northern Spain. This wine stood out for its purity, lively personality and true sense of terroir.FULL ENTRY
The entrance of the 45 Park Lane Hotel, London, a Forbes Five-Star hotel
If you're planning a trip to London in the near future, Forbes Travel Guide has some insight to share. The international star-rating company released its first ever star-ratings for London last week, and the results are nothing short of luxurious.
In total, London brought eight Five-Star ratings to the city, ranking London in the top five cities with the greatest Five-Star concentrations (New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Shanghai round out the top five in the world).
The six luxury hotels in London with Five-Star ratings are:
- 45 Park Lane
- Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
- The Dorchester
- The Lanesborough
- The Savoy
Luxury is limitless, especially when it blends the best of all words: travel and retail. So when French crystal company Baccarat announced it was planning to open high-end residences, hotels and spas, luxury lovers around the world perked up.
In a statement released by Baccarat, the company plans to open six hotels, resorts and residences by 2016. The locations have been set:
- Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York (2014, shown right)
- Baccarat Hotel & Residences at Dubai Pearl in UAE (2016)
- Baccarat Residences Shanghai in China (2016)
- Baccarat Hotel Rabat, Morocco (2014)
- Baccarat Spa Resort Marrakech (2015)
- Baccarat Resort & Residences Marrakech (2016)
Some of America's finest beers are crafted here in New England. To help bring beer lovers together, the BrewInn was created - an opportunity for beer lovers to embrace travel while taste-testing their way through different brews.
New England Inns & Resorts is made up of nearly 250 properties, many of which have their own breweries or pubs, or have tapped into the local craft beer movement in their area. The BrewInn offerings vary by property, but sample packages include:FULL ENTRY
April is National Stress Awareness Month and what better place to blow off some steam than in New York City? Eventi, A Kimpton Hotel, is offering stress level reduction packages to help keep your stress levels in check. Depending on where your stress level is - high, medium or low - you can enjoy a tech-free room, aromatherapy or yoga in your room.
Here's a breakdown of the deals:FULL ENTRY
In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedies, airlines and hotels are waiving cancellation and trip change fees for travelers. If you're in Boston, or you have plans to travel to Boston, here is a list of phone numbers to call for travel changes:
American Airlines: 1-800-433-7300
AirTran: Call 800-AIR-TRAN (800-247-8726)
JetBlue: 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583)
Southwest Airlines: 1-800-435-9792
United Airlines: 800-864-8331
US Airways: 800-428-4322
Virgin America: 1.877.359.8474
Hotels are also waiving fees for last-minute re-bookings. Here's a list of the major hotel groups and their phone numbers:
Fairmont Hotels: 800-527-4727
Four Seasons: 800-332-3442
Hilton Hotels: 800-445-8667
Hyatt Hotels: 800-233-1234
InterContinental Hotels: 800-327-0200
Preferred Hotels: 800-323-7500
Sheraton Hotels: 800-325-3535
W Hotels: 877-946-8357
Westin Hotels: 800-325-3535
Wyndham Hotels: 800-545-5545
The most important thing at this point is your safety.
If your travel plans are cancelled, or if you need to change your travel plans, rest assured you'll be able to do this with ease.
Watch this space and I'll keep you updated on any more information about travel as it happens.
Ever wondered where Chef Daniel Boulud likes to dine in New York? Or what chocolatier Katrina Markoff craves with her desserts? Or, what spices mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim hides in his hidden cocktails?
Startle.com, the online ratings site for Forbes Travel Guide, recently named their top 40 "Tastemakers" to watch in 2013, and the list will have you salivating for more.
What's a Tastemaker, you wonder? These are the people who make travel a little more delicious. They are your favorite chefs, bartenders, pastry perfectionists, sommeliers and all things epicurean. They are also the ones who create the atmosphere and environment that you enjoy - from barstools to lighting and flatware. They are the ones responsible for wishing you were back at your favorite restaurant, bar or hotel.
Who are some of these Tastemakers?FULL ENTRY
Healthy eating is a priority for most parents, but how do you keep kids noshing on healthy snacks when on vacation? More hotels are offering healthy food options for kids and families, giving parents a sense of relief when it comes to curbing appetites on-the-go.
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts just announced its partnership with nationally recognized nutritionist and author Keri Glassman to create a new JW Kids Menu. This kids menu is meant to help kids build healthy eating habits while traveling, said the hotel group.
“With kids’ food choices becoming increasingly diverse, we are looking to create dining options that are fresh, healthy and imaginatively tasty,” said Mitzi Gaskins, vice president & global brand manager for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. “These items will not only delight kids from a culinary standpoint, but will also let parents know the JW Marriott brand cares about the well-being of their entire family.”
Imagine walking into your luxury hotel room in the heart of the one of the most fashionable cities in America and finding a closet, pre-stocked, with your favorite designer labels in your size and style. Heaven. In a hotel. All for you.
That's the concept from Miami's newest luxury resort, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort and Residences, and their partnership with Neiman Marcus.
The new service is a spin on the traditional idea of personal shopping. Neiman Marcus, which is located directly across the street from the resort in the trendy Bal Harbour Shops, will personally style a guest's closet in advance of their stay, with items hand-picked from that guest or chosen directly from a Neiman Marcus personal stylist, based on guests' taste and preferences.FULL ENTRY
Pursuitist, luxury blog dishing about all things opulent, published the details of this trip, which includes a two-year travel package for two people that hits all of the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites for $1.5 million. Here's what the blog had to say:
The luxury trip will take in all of UNESCO’s spectacular 962 World Heritage Sites, including the Taj Mahal in India, the pyramids in Egypt and the Forbidden City in China as well as less internationally known sights such as the painted timber houses in Halsingland, Sweden and Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in the US state of Illinois.
In total the trip will span 157 countries and take two years, during which time the couple will stay in hotels such as Sandy Lane in Barbados, Hotel George V in Paris and The Plaza in New York.
As part of the package, a donation of $7,500 will be made to UNESCO during the trip.
Check out all the details from Pursuitist.com.
Readers: If you had $1 million, where would you travel to?
How often do you book travel from your mobile device? If you're one of the on-the-go travelers that's setting the trend in mobile experiences, you should think about downloading the apps from Southwest Airlines, Choice Hotels and Marriott - they're raking tops from frequent travelers.
According to the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Travel Edition, Southwest Airlines was given top marks (82 out of 100) for providing the best mobile experience. Choice Hotels (80) and Marriott (79) rounded out the top three mobile performers.
“Southwest’s simple, friendly, and no-frills approach to doing business translates well in the air as well as online. No assigned seats and no fees for baggage help to simplify the process for the consumer, which no doubt contributes to a more satisfying mobile experience,” said Eric Feinberg, ForeSee senior director of mobile.
The index is a study of the mobile experiences of 25 major airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and car rental companies.FULL ENTRY
The Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons Boston is looking to spruce up its cocktail menu. The search for a new signature martini is on, and the Bristol is taking to social media for the drink of choice
If you make a mean martini, The Bristol Lounge Bar wants to hear about it. The bar has always ben known for serving up Boston’s best martinis and switching up their cocktail menu seasonally, but now the bar looking for one martini that will remain: The Bristol Martini.
Think you have a flare for mixology? Create your own Bristol Martini and submit it through Facebook. The Bar is hosting a martini contest from now through April 9, 2013, and the winner will receive a year of complimentary appetizers, and his/her name on the menu at the Bristol Lounge.
Here's how you can enter:FULL ENTRY
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in California will celebrate Earth Hour this Saturday.
This Saturday, Ritz-Carlton hotels, resorts, clubs and residences around the world will shut off the lights for one hour in recognition of Earth Hour. The Earth Hour homage is part of the hotel company's commitment to Community Footprints (, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s social and environmental responsibility program.
If you're staying at a Ritz-Carlton on Saturday, prepare to go dark at 8:30pm local time. Some hotels are celebrating with special Earth Hour events, including:FULL ENTRY
Planning summer travel with the kids? FamilyFun magazine has some great places for you to consider. The family-activity magazine recently announced its top destinations and attractions, as voted on by families. The list is featured in the magazine's April issue.
Top 10 Overall Favorite Family Destinations:
- Yellowstone National Park (WY, MT, ID)
- Acadia National Park (ME)
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)
- Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial (SD)
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI)
- Yosemite National Park (CA)
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park (FL)
- Glacier National Park (MT)
- Pearl Harbor Visitor Center/USS Arizona Memorial (HI)
Some mornings, waiting for the T just to find it's packed full of people and you have to wait another 10 minutes for another train and hope there's space available, just gets old. Add in some rain and snow, and it's downright infuriating.
So there I was, tweeting my frustrations from my local MBTA station, when lo and behold, the cheerful team at Virgin Atlantic appeared!
Well, not with the click of my heels, but not far from it, either. Turns out the team from across the pond is scouring Twitter for frustrated potential flyers, hoping to add some cheer to their day. Here's what happened:FULL ENTRY
If you're planning to read your nuptials in New England, Forbes Travel Guide has some suggestions for you. While the Boston Commons and Boston Public Gardens are often the most popular spots for wedding photos in the spring and summer, the four- and five-star hotels in the city are where weddings typically hold court.
Forbes rates The Four Seasons, Boston, as one of the top wedding venues in Boston. The hotel offers panoramic views of Boston Common and the Boston Garden, and has private bridal and bridesmaid suites for day-of preparations. The hotel also has a wedding package that includes a honeymoon suite, as well as transportation to the airport on the day of your departure.
The Mandarin Oriental, Boston, gives wedding guests great views of Back Bay and Boylston Street. For the wedding party, the hotel offers spa packages as part of the wedding event.FULL ENTRY
Marriott's Autograph Collection, the portfolio of independent boutique properties, is adding five new hotels to their trendy portfolio.
Startle.com, the website for Forbes Travel Guide, published the news today. The collection will welcome in three new hotels, including two new builds. Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa and Hotel Adagio are the first of the collection in California, and the hip and historic Hotel Blackhawk, located in Davenport, Iowa, also joins the collection. The new builds are Pier South in Imperial Beach and the Triada Palm Springs. With the new additions, the Autograph Collection inches closer to its plans for reaching 50 hotels in the portfolio by year end.
Here's a little more about the hotels:
Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa just completed a $ 26 million dollar renovation. The resort features 162 guest rooms and 11 suites, a spa and full service salon and fitness studio. Fine dining takes place lakeside at BIN189 and there’s a coffee shop, Mountain Aroma, just off the lobby.
Hotel Adagio is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square. Each of the 171 rooms and suites are designed in a modern décor, and The Mortimer - the hotel's bar - was voted one of the city's best bars and night spots.
Hotel Blackhawk also just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, and today includes a new spa and salon, as well as a retro-chic bowling alley, “Blackhawk Bowl”.
Visit Startle.com for more information on the new Autograph Collection hotels.
The Nantucket Wine Festival is one of the nation’s most celebrated wine and food events, and a favorite escape for Boston wine enthusiasts.
The festival kicks off its 17th year on May 15 for 4 nights, featuring a schedule filled with celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, tastings, seminars, symposia, auctions, world class wines and a special charity gala.
The place to be Nantucket's landmark hotel, The White Elephant, which will host many of the wine festival events including The Grand Tastings (new for 2013) and Harbor Gala. The White Elephant and sister properties White Elephant Village and The Wauwinet are offering weekend packages including overnight accommodations, event tickets, dinners at Brant Point Grill and TOPPER’S, as well as Bloody Mary-fueled brunches.FULL ENTRY
I have fond memories of flying when I was a little girl. My mom would ensure my sister and I were dressed up and had something warm to take on the plane, double check that our favorite stuffed animals and travel games were packed (Mad Libs for me, coloring books for my sister), and get us to the airport in plenty of time so we could watch the people come and go.
We'd board the plane, fight over who got the window seat, and meet the cabin crew. If we asked nicely, we could go visit the pilot and even get a pair of wings to pin our clothes and show off to our friends when we returned home. We counted the clouds in the sky, and wondered how close are were to the stars. Flying was a delight. It was exciting and thrilling. It was civilized, dignified and something to look forward to. Flying made travel fun.
While flying has certainly changed over the years - even I can admit it's not as fun as it was when we were kids - the team at Virgin Atlantic aims to bring back a little of the glory days of flying.
I checked into my flight to London and was handed a red card with directions to the lounge on it. I had about two and a half hours before my evening flight and wanted to grab a bite, check emails, and freshen up. The Virgin Atlantic lounge is located in Terminal E on the bottom level, just next to the Aer Lingus lounge and below the gates. In true Virgin style, the lounge made a fashionable first impression.FULL ENTRY
Marriott International is bringing its moxy to the hotel world. Literally.
A new website from Marriott introduces MOXY HOTELS, the newest 3-star-tier segment for Marriott is focused on the millennial traveler. According to the website, MOXY will be "the potency of style, innovation and tech-savvyness."
Marriott's MOXY will debut in Italy, with the first MOXY HOTEL expected to open in Milan in early 2014. Berlin, London and Frankfurt MOXY HOTELS will follow. According to a press release, Marriott plans to add 150 franchised MOXY HOTELS in Europe over the next 10 years. An article from the International Business Times says Marriott will work with Inter IKEA Group, the parent company of the IKEA furniture stores, IKEA to help develop the hotels and guest rooms. The rooms will be priced around $80 (€60).
What can you expect from MOXY? Marriott says:FULL ENTRY