Hotels + Resorts
Ask German soccer star turned furniture entrepreneur Bobby Dekeyser how he spends his time at Dedon Island—his new nine-villa resort on Siargao Island, in the southeastern Philippines—and he’ll wax on about surfing Cloud 9 beach, fishing for lapulapu, and paddleboarding to the offshore pagoda. Even if your agenda is more relaxed—say, picnic dinners in the mangrove forest or endless spa treatments—it’s all included. Which means your entire stay feels as carefree as a nap in one of the property’s whimsical “nests,” handwoven pods that hang from coconut trees. $$$$$
Photo by Paul Barbera / Courtesy of Dedon Island
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Can we take a moment? Because lately our arrangement has been feeling a bit stale. Positively outdated, even. When we asked you to suggest a great local spot for dinner, we didn’t mean your hotel’s “signature fine-dining outlet” or the white-linen relic you’ve probably been recommending for a decade. We meant where you would go for a casual night out. Do you still read the local papers? Maybe start skimming the blogs, too. We even know a concierge who started his own blog!
The point is, we’re here to actually get to know your town, and you’re our advance scout. We shouldn’t have to tell you about that great new gallery downtown or the cool cocktail joint that just opened. It’s okay to have a folder of harmless standbys. But trust us: we can handle something offbeat and authentic, like that great Indonesian spot your colleague in Amsterdam sent us to.
Indeed, many of your brethren go above and beyond, like the London concierge who selected a gift at Harrod’s for our friend’s wedding, or the guy in Tokyo who mapped out a complicated train journey for us. So please, don’t just feed us the same rote script. Wouldn’t a little creativity make your job more interesting?
The T+L Editors
Photo © iStockphoto
The 84-year-old grande dame just unveiled the next-generation rooms of its modern tower, part of a $58 million, 15-month renovation. (The original building will reopen in April 2013.) T+L got an advance look at the 21st-century makeover, complete with cutting-edge technology hatched in the hotel’s own R&D lab and a sleek new design that maximizes space and functionality. $$$$
• Guests can make free international calls on the wireless phones with VoIP (voice over Internet protocol).
• Ten multi-language touch-screen panels placed around the room control the lights, curtains, thermostat, television, and Internet radio (all 3,000 stations).
With a record 50.5 million visitors to New York last year, it’s no surprise that the hotel scene is heating up.
A flurry of Manhattan hotels new and old are trying to one-up each other—at a pace even a local like myself finds dizzying. In midtown, the stodgy Roger Williams is now the Roger New York ($$). Expect tufted blue-velvet sofas and—that signifier of hip hotels everywhere—a consulting mixologist.
• A $65 million update has converted the stalwart Helmsley into the Westin New York Grand Central ($$). Look for a restaurant and bar by buzz-maker Rande Gerber.
• France-based boutique hotelier Grace Leo is the driving force behind the renovation of the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, now One UN New York ($$).
Ilaria Venturini Fendi may be a scion of the Roman fashion dynasty known for its leather handbags and furs. But for her, luxury is I Casali del Pino, the organic farm she owns 30 minutes from Rome, where she’s opening an agriturismo this fall. The cozy inn’s 19 rustic-chic rooms are furnished with wrought-iron beds, salvaged tiles, and under-floor geothermal heating. The eco ethic is nothing new for Fendi: her accessories company, Carmina Campus—which is also run from the farm—creates totes out of “upcycled” materials (venetian blinds; mosquito nets). There’s a restaurant serving dishes such as lemon-ricotta ravioli with pine-nut pesto. And the pecorino cheese on the menu? That’s courtesy of Fendi’s own flock of Sardinian sheep. 39-06/3089-5688.
Photo by Monika Hofler
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From top: Photos courtesy of The Chesterfield; The Madison; L'Auberge Carmel.
Celebrated Italian restaurateur Sirio Maccioni (the man behind New York's Le Cirque and a handful of other restaurants across Las Vegas and now New Delhi) returns to The Pierre with Sirio Ristorante, forty years after serving as maître d' at the same hotel's venerable La Forêt supper club kickstarted his illustrious career.
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.
Photo courtesy of The Dorchester