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During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Queen Elizabeth II broke with hundreds of years of protocol and agreed to rent out the lavish rooms—or so-called “state apartments”—inside St. James’s Palace to various companies during the Games. Only holders of the Royal Warrant—companies with long-standing ties to the royal family—were able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime offer.
Holding a Royal Warrant signifies that Her Majesty prefers that company—or brand—over others. And the list grows.
Just this week, for the first time in history, The Queen granted a Royal Warrant to a hotel. The Goring, the 103-year-old Edwardian property near Buckingham Palace in London's Belgravia neighborhood where Kate Middleton slept the night before her wedding, was honored. “To be able to display Her Majesty’s coat of arms is something that the staff will be enormously proud of. Without doubt this is the most important recognition,” claims Jeremy Goring, great-grandson of the hotel’s founder.
Whether you want to ski or swim, we have some fun and affordable ideas for your getaway this season.
Caribbean Beach: Martinique Stay:Plein Soleil Located 25 minutes from the airport, this chic collection of airy villas faces Thalemont Bay; the pool overlooks the inlet, too. The pretty, soft-white bedrooms here have linen-draped chaise lounges and Koi fish live in the ponds on the terrace. Dine at the open-air restaurant for spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint. American Airlines offers connecting service through San Juan, Puerto Rico from many U.S. gateways. Doubles from $219/night.
After an invigorating day on the slopes, who doesn’t love a good après-ski drink or bite? Each of these hotels takes the tradition to a whole new level, with fun activities and tasty tipples.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe has a “marshmologist” on hand every evening leading the Art of the S’more program. The whole family learns how to roast the perfect marshmallow, and adults can enjoy the delicious S’moretini. On the other side of Lake Tahoe, newcomer Basecamp(pictured) offers its guests plenty of beer pairing options, including beer and beef stew, as well as the extremely popular beer and croute au fromage (a hearty Swiss dish of melted cheese over toast). Yes please.
Ever wonder what that $30-a-night “resort fee” on your recent hotel bill was actually paying for? Depending on the property, it could have covered anything from Wi-Fi and “complimentary” bottled water in your room to gym and business center access—which you may not have even used during your stay. Either way, you were going to end up paying for it, no matter how enticingly low that advertised rate was. This practice of tacking on additional (and sometimes mandatory) fees to basic rates is known as “drip pricing,” and is most commonly encountered in resort destinations such as Hawaii and Vegas.
A new floating hotel in Liverpool, England, is already churning the waters of controversy even before it opens. The Titanic Liverpool boutique hotel, set to open this week, is designed to resemble the sinking stern section of the fated ship—complete with two mock smokestacks and a paint job that creates the illusion of a heavy slant.
Arc’teryx meets Anthropologie at Lake Tahoe’s newest place to stay, Basecamp Hotel(South Lake Tahoe, Calif.$). Just minutes from both the water and the Heavenly Mountain ski resort, it was designed with high-style adventurers in mind. Its 50 chic, sleepaway-camp-inspired rooms (some with bunk beds) substitute lanterns for lamps and survival guides for Gideon Bibles. Nightly group meals encourage hostel-like mingling—as do the outdoor fire pits, where you’ll find guests sharing s’mores and trading stories about the moguls on Heavenly’s famous Gunbarrel run.
Stylish? Yes. Expensive? No. These four island finds have charm to spare.
Harbour Island, Bahamas Ocean View Club: The eclectic nine-room inn faces a beautiful pink-sand beach. Inside, there are colorful paintings by Bahamian folk artist Amos Ferguson and breezy rooms with whimsical touches (trumpet lamps; polka-dot couches). $$
Martinique Plein Soleil(pictured): The accent is on Creole French in this tasteful collection of villas facing Thalemont Bay. An open-air restaurant serves spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint; the 16 soft-white bedrooms have linen-draped chaise longues worthy of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife—and a Martinique native. $$