Friday, October 28, 2011

When the Stars Go Off the Beaten Path

Being in the spotlight is all good and great, but when the stars need some time to unwind, they sure know how to do it in style. Always opting for five-star treatment, here are some of the most secluded, yet adored hotels that celebrities are known to vacation at.

Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados is one of the most luxurious, and exclusive resorts in all of the Caribbean. The west coast of Barbados is known as the “Platinum Coast,” and there is no limit to the extravagance in the service. The spa is perfection, and there are three golf courses, as well as nine tennis courts to help you pass the time away in paradise. Some of the celebs that have stayed here are Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, Simon Cowell, Rihanna, and Tiger Woods, who actually booked the entire property for his wedding in 2004.

Le Meurice in Paris offers one of the finest luxury hotels anywhere in the world. As for location, it is situated in the absolute heart of Paris. It has long been a favorite of celebrities, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Orson Welles, Ginger Rogers, Harrison Ford, and pretty recently, Beyonce and Jay-Z have lived it up at this lavish hotel.

Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy is located on the Amalfi Coast. As for romance, you could not find a more dreamy destination. When the sun sets, 400 candles get lit in the hotel’s famous restaurant, La Sponda, for the ultimate in ambiance. This chic location offers world class shopping and dining, while being situated in the gorgeous setting of the bay of Positano. It’s no wonder why Reese Witherspoon chose it for her recent honeymoon to husband Jim Toth.

St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai, Hawaii, is the top choice for many stars visitingHawaii. Kauai is known for its incredible sunsets, the secluded natural vistas, and the availability of great waves for surfing, and great trails for hiking. In short, it is every adventurer’s idea of paradise. The resort is considered one of the most elite, and grandest throughout all of the Hawaiian islands, with amenities and service that are unrivaled. Ben Affleck and wife, Jennifer Garner, George Clooney, and Alicia Keys have all stayed at the resort, with complete satisfaction.

When a celebrity stays at a certain hotel, you know it says something about its standard of quality. When numerous stars are known to frequent certain spots that are well out of the limelight, you know there’s got to be something special about them. These resorts can be considered elusive gems, offering the best of the best and privacy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The World’s Newest Seven Wonders

Despite what goes on in the world, nature is one way to bring us all together. Beyond our control, and all around us, it can be awe-inspiring to look at the world through appreciative eyes, and not take for granted the immense beauty of our planet. Every so often, it becomes time to choose new natural wonders to focus on. 28 different locales across the globe are competing for one of seven spots. The first contest of natural wonders happened in 2007, and it brought votes from more than 100 million people worldwide.

Among the contestants are Angel Falls, Venezuela, which is the world’s tallest waterfall, which cascades 19 times above Niagra Falls. Germany’s Black Forest, Azerbaijan’s Mud Volcanoes, Halong Bay of Vietnam, Iguazu Falls of Brazil and Argentina, Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher, the Maldives Islands, the Jeita Grotto of Lebanon, and Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest are just a sliver of the distinctive natural landscapes vying for a spot on the revered seven. Well-known, somewhat obvious contestants include the Grand Canyon, the Dead Sea, Australia’s Aboriginal sacred monolith, Uluru, and the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Islands, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Of course, this is not a complete list, but I am sure you get the picture on the majesty of these places.

Once the list is chosen, you can be sure that travel will definitely increase to the selected locales. If you are planning on making a trip that will be rich in both natural exploration and culturally enriching, finding a great, luxurious hotel should not be a problem. With all of the great perks, you can be sure to find a great deal as well. If you plan on visiting the Grand Canyon, staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas is a great option for both fun and location. In Tanzania, Singita Grumeti Reserves will provide a posh, relaxing atmosphere as you explore the surrounding wilderness. Hotel das Cataratas in Brazil provides the most sumptuous stay near the legendary Iguazu Falls. In Vietnam, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has had more than 100 years of excellent service and luxury. Munich’s Rocco Forte Charles Hotel is a fantastic place to stay if you are going to be venturing into the Black Forest regions, offering a great location as well as comfort.

The natural wonders of the world offer so much to us, and no matter which destinations get chosen, it is important to remember how necessary all of the earth’s resources are. And there is no better way to appreciate them than to visit!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hotel Bel Air Gets a Makeover

When the extraordinary becomes ordinary, it becomes time to break new ground. The Hotel Bel-Air has just outdone itself with exquisite revamping, taking Old Hollywood elegance and catapulting it into the 21st century, without even the slightest tinge of modern pretentiousness. Not that one would expect anything less of a hotel that has garnered awards such as being named “#1 in the U.S” by Travel and Leisure Magazine, and “#1 Boutique Hotel in the U.S.” by Departures Magazine. It has also achieved a five-star rating by Mobil more times that any other hotel in the state of California; which is not an easy feat to accomplish! When you consider those accolades, and all of the fabulous perks, this gem of a desert oasis will forever be embedded in your mind as one of the finest places to stay in all of Los Angeles.

Originally built in 1946, the architecture speaks directly of the Spanish mission style. The hotel now offers 103 different rooms, 12 of which were just built. Set directly into the hill, they give the most incredible views of the canyon. The renovated design is the work of Alexandra Champalimaud, one of the world’s best interior designers who specializes in the hospitality industry.

There is no end to the luxury, as the entire property is laden with details such as spacious bathrooms that have heated tile floors, private pools, and beautiful outdoor fireplaces. Resting atop the entire building is new bell tower.

As for dining, whether you stay here or not, the culinary experience will certainly add to the grandeur of the experience. Looking to outdo all competition, Wolfgang Puck is not the executive chef of the establishment, lending his vast knowledge, and serving up the finest California cuisine the state can offer. The restaurant is known as “Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air will open it’s doors to the public on November 1.

Located in one of the most fashionable cities, LA, Hotel Bel-Air knows how to take care of all of your beauty needs. The experience of the spa is not to be missed under any circumstances of your visit. Done by the luxurious Swiss company, La Prairie, you will experience treatments like none other.

Consider it the updating of a classic, with decadent styling and a boatload of glamour. If Los Angeles is going to be your destination anytime in the near future, this is one hotel not to miss.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Looking For The World's Best Halloween Party?

Halloween is generally a Western celebration, with roots dated in the ancient Celtic ritual Samhain (pronounced sow-when). Considering this, the parties that happen in the UK and Ireland are pretty legendary. The Druids throw themselves a big pagan party at Stonehenge, recreating the ancient ritual their ancestors celebrated several millennia ago. In Ireland, the celebrations are a totally different story. Less ritualized, and no lessons on ancient history, these shindigs are more about impromptu debauchery, wild costumes, and much of the same frolicking that happens in the States. In fact, in the US, there was very little mention of Halloween before the period of the Potato Famine. Our modern day festivities hark back to Ireland, where jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating began. Derry, in Northern Island hosts an amazing Halloween street carnival that boasts great live music and the night closes with fireworks. Dublin’s Samhain parade is a decadent, flamboyant display of everything spooky and witchy. Stay at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin, for chic comfort and a luxurious place to rest up after all the partying.

Southeast Asia may not be your first thought about ghoulish destinations, but Bangkok really does know how to throw a street party. For Halloween, the city’s most colorful revelers get decked out to the nines, and wild costumes are a mainstay. Stay at the Sukhothai Hotel, after all the wickedness, you will need a some comfort to sink into.

If you are going to stay domestically, San Francisco presents the opportunity to have a blast all over the city on Halloween. Known for its incredible culture, where people love to play dress-up any day of the year. Suffice it to say, on Halloween the whole town goes all out with their wildest, scariest costumes. A stay at the Hotel Palomar will not disappoint, and will have you right in middle of everything. Long known for its history of witch prosecution, Salem, Mass. is always a sight to see on Halloween. Plenty of history, and the Official Salem Witches Halloween Ball make for a very cool trip. Stay in an ultra-luxurious spot like the Mandarin Oriental, Boston and your Halloween extravaganza will be unforgettable!

Halloween may be a holiday with Celtic history, but it has become a global party, a time for playing pretend, and having a blast. If you are tired of the same old routine, definitely get out there in the world and try something new this year!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Five-Star Foliage: Experiencing the Brilliant Colors Right Now at Autumn's Height

From the eastern seaboard stretching west to the Rockies, and all throughout Canada, right now in North America, the changing of the leaves is in full swing! Among the best spots to see the vibrant hues are New England, Ohio,Colorado, and North Carolina where foliage tours will have your sights ablaze. Having the perfect hotel to retreat to is ideal. Here some top-notch options for a luxurious stay while gazing at autumn’s glory. As always, don’t forget about the priceless perks!
This charming estate is worth the trip alone! Add in the foliage, and you have the makings for an unforgettable fall getaway. Seeing the colored leaves and spending time at this 200-year-old farmhouse, you will be lavished with phenomenal hospitality. There are ten guest cottages, each set discreetly into the scenic landscape. Not to mention the property is situated on three hundred acres of meadow, gardens, and hardwood forests that will provide ample opportunity for ingesting the seasonal beauty.
If you want a scenic trip that offers you the ability to be immersed in the colorful fall foliage, yet still want the vivacious thrill of a city, New York is a fabulous locale. The Gramercy Park Hotel is great spot to stay in because it is offers extravagant, decadent style, a prime location in the city, and a gorgeous rooftop garden that serves as a private club. Whether you choose to venture into areas outside the city for beautiful views of the deciduous changing leaves, or if you want to remain on Manhattan, venturing only as far as Central Park, New York can make for a thrilling fall vacation.
This gem of a hotel will definitely make your stay more than worthwhile as you indulge in the colorful scenery. Spend your days viewing the changing of the leaves, and retiring at night at this exemplar hotel, rich in comfort, luxury, and AAA Four-Diamond status. Exquisite interior details and outstanding mountain views are a facet of every room. For additional pampering, the Aria Spa will have you rejuvenated through your entire trip if you desire.
The changing of the seasons is one of nature’s great spectacles for the eyes. It lasts only a brief time, before fading into the gray of late autumn and winter. Why not savor it all in five-star luxury?!