Travel + Leisure is having a minor love fest with the Austrian capital of Vienna these days—its buzzy contemporary arts scene, revitalized Biedermeier districts, proximity to an increasingly wonderful wine country, perennially spirited cultural calendar, and most recently, the opening of a new luxury hotel.
In grand Viennese style, the Ritz-Carlton property (the company's first in Austria, ninth in Europe, and 80th worldwide) is housed in not one but four 19th-century palaces along the elegant and centrally located Vienna Ringstraße. The hotel's exterior is classically opulent, yes, but it's the property's interiors that make it so special.
Belgraves, A Thompson Hotel, has launched Project Bell Boy, collaborating with renowned English hairstylist Errol Douglas MBE to design custom coifs for Belgraves’s trendy front of house team that “pay homage to the hotel’s location in the chic Belgravia neighbourhood.”
Meanwhile, there’s a new Belgraves Big Night Out package (until December 23, from £1,200) for guests, which includes an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s top suites and a visit to Douglas’s Motcomb Street salon for a blow-dry or a cut; afterwards, you’ll be chauffeured to your West End nightlife venue of choice. The project is set to continue into 2013 and to launch at Thompson properties around the globe, each of which will offer destination-specific hairstyling tips.
As the only hotel in the UK to offer polo, Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park, in Ascot, recently launched a Polo Academy. Under the tutelage of Andrew Hine, who both captained and managed the English national team, guests could learn to play the world’s oldest team sport.
In anticipation of the new 007 movie, Skyfall (out in the U.K. October 26; in the U.S. November 9), Dukes bar at the Dukes hotel is offering martini-making classes with its head barman, Alessandro Palazzi. After all, it’s said that this is where author Ian Fleming was inspired to write the line “shaken, not stirred.”
Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.
For those who have ever hoped that dinner at Nobu would last forever, your wishes have been granted. Celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa has added hotelier to his résumé with the soon-to-open, 181-room Nobu Hotel ($$) at Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas. Overnight guests get first dibs on tables at the hotel’s restaurant—at 13,000 square feet, the biggest one yet. But they might be more inclined to order up to their David Rockwell–designed rooms (Japanese calligraphy on the walls; walk-in shower with black umi tiles). For breakfast—a first for Matsuhisa—there’s kurobuta sausage, onsen egg, and green-tea waffles, and the mini-bars are filled with blood-orange-chili juice and the chef’s own brand of chilled sake. That’s not all: “Upon arrival, guests will be welcomed with a cup of green tea and a traditional cracker from my hometown, Saitama, Japan,” Matsuhisa told us. “It was important for me to incorporate elements of my heritage and culture.”
Few would've imagined that this week’s storm with the friendly-sounding name could wreak such havoc and devastation along the East Coast. In the wake of 20,055 flights cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy and with infrastructure is slowly coming back online, there are still an estimated 7.8 million people without power, billions of dollars in damage, and many whose lives will never be the same. They need help. Here are some easy ways for you to help out:
Based on contributions to the Red Cross Disaster Relief, American Airlines is giving AAdvantage members one-time bonus reward miles, starting with 250 miles for a minimum donation of $50. Go here for donation details.
Sentosa Island’s transformation from tourist trap to hip getaway was completed this year with the recent opening of W Singapore – Sentosa Cove. The 240 rooms have a jungle theme, so don’t forget your safari gear. And of course, guests can expect the usual whimsical W touches like mood lighting and glow-in-the-dark bathtubs. The resort also has private berthing docks so guests can rock up in their yachts. With a water-centric design, this hotel is bound to please . . . even if you’re not that hip.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent.
Café Royal, the 150-year-old Regent Street institution once frequented by the likes of Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf, is on track to reopen in December—as a hotel. It’ll be the second member of The Set—a new collection from Alfred and Georgi Akirov, the guys behind Jerusalem’s Mamilla hotel—after Amsterdam’s new Conservatorium. The 159 rooms will have historic touches such as timber and bronze ceilings and fumed oak paneled walls. The property will also feature a revamped Grill Room and Domino Room, an Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre with a lap pool and a hammam, and a private members club. hotelcaferoyal.com
Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.
If you’ve stayed at a Firmdale Hotel, such as London’s recently reopened Dorset Square($$), you know that the group’s design director and co-owner has an affinity for patterns and embroidery. Kemp—who just completed a new collection for Chelsea Textiles and a book, A Living Space (Rizzoli)—reveals her inspirations on the road.
Biarritz, France: “The shop Mimi’s Corner (33-6/19-13-31-31) is owned by an eccentric Outsider artist who vandalizes pictures; I bought four of Queen Elizabeth II for the Crosby Street Hotel. Staying at Hotel du Palais($$$$) is like being on the bridge of the Titanic, with sweeping views of the Atlantic.”
The Rhode Island town that conjures up Gilded Age mansions and yacht clubs is getting an injection of youthful energy thanks to the Attwater, a reinvention of a fusty old inn. Designer Rachel Reider put a colorful twist on the 1910 building, splashing the 12 rooms in nautical blues, lobster reds, and driftwood grays. Add in-room iPads and a café serving house-made Oreos, and you have the makings of a modern coastal retreat. It’s not your great-grandfather’s Newport. 22 Liberty St.$$
This classic 9-room inn a block from the Kennebunk River is hosting a pumpkin carving contest this Halloween. Pick up a pumpkin at nearby Patten’s Berry Farm and take it to the pumpkin carving station. The pumpkins will be displayed on Halloween night, when a panel of judges will select the winner. The prize is a free night’s stay to be used anytime between October 2012 and the end of April 2013. Doubles from $159/night. www.captainfairfield.com
The inspiration for Steven King’s The Shining, this hotel has an on-staff paranormal investigator who will take you on a five-hour ghost hunt—if you’re brave enough. There is a range of other ghost and history tours available, and the hotel puts on a Murder Mystery Dinner on Friday, October 26, and a Shining Ball on Saturday, October 27 ($89 per person). Doubles from $169/night. www.stanleyhotel.com
Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando, FL
Book this package for a 3-night stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort (on-site at Universal Studios Orlando), a 2-day ticket to both Universal Orlando theme parks, early park admission to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and one night admission to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal, where you can experience mazes and haunted houses featuring “The Walking Dead: Dead Inside” based on AMC’s series and “Welcome to Silent Hill” based on the video games and film franchise. From $609/adult ($203/night per adult). www.loewshotels.com and www.halloweenhorrornights.com
Virginia Hotel, Cape May, NJ
A restored 1879 landmark building just a half a block from the beach, the Virginia Hotel has cottages as well as rooms in the main house. Its Creepy Cape May package includes continental breakfast, two drinks at the on-site Ebbit Room, special Fat Witch treats, and a Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour through the town’s Victorian streets with a guide who will relate the paranormal findings of ghost writer Craig McManus along the way. Doubles from $140/night. www.virginiahotel.com