Hotels + Resorts
Downtown Los Angeles has transformed from one of L.A.’s “whatever” neighborhoods to a must-do that’s on everyone’s list. With the recent opening of the brand new JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels and an influx of hot restaurants in the surrounding blocks, the area is set for visitors to do more than just park and beeline to the Staples Center for a concert or sporting event, it’s now a place you want to get to early, stay all day, and maybe even spend the night.
I recently returned from a weeklong trip to Miami Beach with my good friend Peter. He turned out to be the perfect travel buddy because, like me, we had two plans for the trip: lots of beach time and lots of good food.
We checked into the recently renovated Palms Hotel & Spa on Collins and instantly fell in love. The view from our seventh floor Oceanfront room was amazing; I did not grow the least bit weary of waking up to it. Though if you want to splurge and really get the full Oceanfront experience, I'd suggest booking one of the top-floor suites, which are bigger, with hardwood floors and balconies. Otherwise, the Oceanfront is truly the only choice. How could you be that close and not opt to see the sea at all times??
I'm sure you can find the beach, so let's get to the food part, shall we?
Tinseltown rumor has it that the Hollywood sign, that iconic beacon of glamour, could be cast in a new leading role: that of a luxury hotel.
The fate of the sign, first erected in 1923, has recently been in question as real estate investors who own the adjacent land indicated that they were willing to sell it to developers for building luxury homes. In February, the Trust for Public Land and the Hollywood Sign Trust began an emergency fund-raising campaign to buy the 138 acres and save the sign.
The Los Angeles Daily News recently reported that a Danish architect, Christian Bay-Jorgensen, met with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to propose that a luxury hotel, incorporating the 9-letter sign, be built on the site. His plan calls for each letter to be rebuilt 90 feet tall (twice their current height) and enclose lavish guest rooms with enviable views of the city. The rest of the hotel would be built behind the letters and would, in Bay-Jorgensen’s plan, include public spaces that could serve as locations for awards ceremonies.
Tough times for tourism? Not in Cartagena de Indias. I recently returned from a long weekend in Colombia (currently a "recession-proof country," according to several economic analysts), and while global markets may be floundering and travel numbers down, this sultry Caribbean city is booming with a wave of new boutique hotels, innovative eateries, and ample old-school watering holes. Here's the scoop:
At least a half a dozen gorgeous properties have recently opened downtown (plug: don’t miss T+L’s It List of Best New Hotels in June!). I settled into the 24-suite Anandá Hotel Boutique (pictured below), a quiet retreat in a restored Spanish-colonial building with carved-wood balconies and three breezy roof terraces. The cool, Zen-like calm is a world apart from the bustling street scene just outside its massive wooden doors.
I confess: I’m a fan of The Donald. The swagger, the money, the hair, the catch phrase. My interest in The Apprentice, however, has waned, and I missed the TV show’s introduction of Donald Trump Jr. So, when the opportunity arose to chat up Donald 2.0 about the new hotel he’s overseeing (with his sister and brother)—the Trump SoHo, which opened Friday in New York—I couldn’t resist.
We met in the hotel’s library, a masculinely decked out space with deep chairs, thick tables, and books no one will ever read. Besides being well-coiffed and well-clad, DT Jr. is:
• Confident. (“People said, ‘Isn’t it horrible they changed zoning code because of what you did?’ That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.”)
• Affable. (“What drives me? My father calling at 5 a.m. asking why I’m not in the office!”)
• Self-deprecating. (“I’m probably the only graduate of the Wharton School of Finance to move to Colorado to work in a bar.”) Ok, kind of self-deprecating.
Wall Street Journal | LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is checking into the hotel business. The world's largest luxury-goods company, home to brands such as the Louis Vuitton fashion house and champagne maker Veuve Clicquot, said Thursday it will develop resorts using the name of its Bordeaux winery, Cheval Blanc. The company tested the concept with a first location that opened in the French ski resort Courchevel in 2006. Two more hotels are scheduled to join the new chain by 2012 in Oman and Egypt, the company said.
The project is "a natural extension of activities in luxury hospitality with Cheval Blanc," LVMH said in a statement.
Like many top hotel operators, LVMH is limiting its exposure to the volatile hotel industry. It won't own the real estate or finance construction, but will instead run the resorts under management contract, a similar model to other high-end chains such as The Ritz-Carlton. The new LVMH Hotel Management business has six employees.
After spending over an hour on hold waiting for help from the IRS last night, boy could I use a break. Luckily these four hotels are cashing in on tax-season deals (and puns!).
The Kimpton Hotel Group (like T+L favorite Kimpton Palomar Hotel) is offering a Sweet Tax Relief package: The hotel will waive the hotel and restaurant taxes for stays through April 30th. The Hard Rock San Diego has an EFFEN! Taxes package—also expiring April 30th—that not only waives hotel and restaurant fees but also includes an EFFEN! Brand Vodka cocktail (get it?).
Also in the tax-pun-vein, the Trump International Miami is offering a 1040EZ deal through May 30th which features three nights and two massages for $1,040. Lastly, you can save some green at the eco-friendly San Francisco Orchard Hotel group (Orchard Hotel and Orchard Garden Hotel) with their own version of the 1040EZ deal: book by April 15th for a $10.40 discount on hotel rates. Now, if only you could figure out how to write these stays off as a business expense?
Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo credit: iStock
Those who know me well, realize there’s nothing I like more than a little “wine and bitch” session. That’s why if I had my druthers, this April I’d be high tailing it—along with my dog Max—all the way out to Greenough, Montana for the second annual "Wine & Bitch Weekend" at The Resort at Paws Up.
Tambo del Inka, the first luxury hotel to break ground in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas (and Luxury Collection's second property in Peru), opened its doors today. Its location, smack in between the historic ruins of Machu Picchu and the modern city of Cusco, seems to be echoed in the hotel’s ethos—its 128 floor-to-ceiling-windowed rooms are decorated in keeping with ancient Peruvian tradition, while its bright, contemporary architecture (from Miami-based firm Arquitectonica) leaves no modern luxury to be desired.
New York Times | ASIA is beginning to look a lot more like America—at least when it comes to hotels.
Major United States hotel chains are aggressively expanding into Asia, creating new options for travelers looking for familiar brands abroad. Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to open 34 to 40 properties in the Asia Pacific region this year, or about three hotels a month, including the first St. Regis in Japan, the first W in Thailand and the first Le Méridien in Taiwan. Hilton plans to open new hotels in Japan and China by year-end. And Marriott will add about 20 properties, including four JW Marriott properties in India, four Courtyard by Marriott properties in China, and a Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai.