14Jul

Top U.S.Travel Destinations 2011

Virtuoso’s Luxe Report revealed the top domestic travel destinations for 2011. Hawaii dominated the list, demonstrating US traveler’s need for exotic island vacations in 2011!

1. Maui, Hawaii

The Four Seasons Resort Maui is one of the islands best luxury hotels.

Four Seasons Resort Maui

What has been recognized as the “Best Island in the World” 16 years in a row (out of 23) by the Conde Nast Reader’s Poll. So it’s no surprise this amazing island took the top spot as most sought after destination of 2011! Not only is it a great leisure destination, but offers adventure activities as well. Whale watching, exploring active volcanoes, water sports, golf and more can be found on the islands of Hawaii.

2. New York City

Hotel Plaza Athenee is one of New York City's best hotels.

Hotel Plaza Athenee

In 2010, NYC drew in 43 million tourists. That’s a 7% increase from 2009. It’s possible that 2011 may hit 50 million tourists. It makes sense that NYC tourism is doing so well in this economy because it offers plenty of things to do, is within driving distance for a good amount of people on the east coast, and it’s larger-than-life attitude can be just as thrilling as the exotic Maui!

3. Las Vegas

The Bellagio is a luxury hotel in Las Vegas

Bellagio Las Vegas

It seems like the perfect place to let off some steam. Casinos, nightlife, shopping, and shows are the main attractions. Summer is great for Vegas pool parties too.

4. Napa Valley

Auberge du Soleil is a luxurious hotel in Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil

Napa draws over 5 million tourists every year. People come to visit wineries and take in the beautiful landscape. Plus, you can stop by San Francisco (#5) on the way.

5. Orlando

Disney World is a popular tourist attraction in Orlando, Florida

Disney World

Disney travel is huge, and with new renovations this year, exciting for many.

6. San Francisco

The W Hotel in San Francisco is a popular luxury hotel.

W Hotel San Francisco

People come to San Francisco for the food, architecture, art, and entertainment. It’s a great place for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. San Francisco is to the west coast what NYC is to the east coast – a great weekend spot that’s not too far, but you still feel like you’re going on a substantial vacation.

7. Colorado Mountains

The Ritz Carlton Vail is a new luxury hotel in Vail.

Ritz Carlton Vail

The Rockies are really popular during the winter and early spring for skiing and snowboarding. There are lots of great resort towns, like Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs.

8. Big Island, Hawaii

The Fairmont Orchid on Big Island, Hawaii, is a popular luxury hotel.

Fairmont Orchid

The second Hawaiian island to make the top 10, Big Island is (as it’s name might suggest) the largest. It’s also an active volcanic site, which is one of its biggest attractions.

9. Maimi

The Gansevoort is a luxury hotel in South Beach, Miami.

Gansevoort

Another great place to go for a long weekend and have some fun. Relax on the beach during the day and enjoy the South Beach scene at night!

10. Kauai, Hawaii

The St. Regis Princeville is a popular luxury hotel in Kauai, Hawaii.

St. Regis Princeville

The third and final Hawaiian island on the list…Kauai is the oldest and has been featured in over 70 Hollywood movies. Directors can’t get enough of the beautiful landscapes of Kauai!

20Jun

Haute Hotel: Ritz Carlton Vail

The Ritz Carlton Vail opened this past winter. It is a super-exclusive, members-only destination that features elegant Bavarian architecture and huge vacation condos within the amazing five star Ritz resort!

The Ritz Carlton Vail offers luxury vacation rentals in Vail, CO.

Ritz Carlton Vail

Design

Ski resort destinations are notorious for their outdated “Bavarian” style design – logs and plaid everywhere! Not at the Ritz Carlton Vail. It’s definitely alpine design, but done tastefully. They’ve used a neutral color palette, huge windows that let in lots of light, and rustic wood elements.

The Great Room lounge features huge bay windows and plush furniture that is perfect for relaxing. The Lobby Bar is ultra-cozy and dimly lit.

The Ritz Carlton Vail vacation condos offer spacious living rooms and dining rooms.

Ritz Carlton Vail Dining Room and Living Room

Members Only Vacation Condos

The Ritz Carlton Vail is a members-only destination comprised of Residence Club vacation condos. The Ritz Carlton Residence Club program is a fractional program, similar to a timeshare, but with deeded ownership in a specific unit. These condos are located within the resorts in addition to the hotel’s traditional accommodations of guest suites, and offer owners access to resort amenities. The Vail location, however, is Residence Club vacation condos only. That means you have to be part of the Club program, or rent from someone who is. There are plenty of vacation rental agencies who specialize in luxury vacation rentals to choose from.

Five Star Condos + Resort Amenities

For those of who who enjoy the extra space of vacation rentals (and TripAdvisor says that you do), the Ritz Carlton Vail is something to consider. These condos have spacious bedrooms (with walk-in closets!), fully equipped gourmet kitchens, elegant dining room, living room, washer/dryer, and powder room.

Guests also have the luxury of resort amenities, like a year-round heated pool, fitness center, spa, lounge, and on-site dining. Hotel services are also provided, including twice daily maid service, room service, 24 hour concierge, ski nanny, ski concierge, and Ritz Kids Program.

The Ritz Carlton Vail offers Club guests resort amenities, including a year-round heated pool.

Ritz Carlton Vail pool

Location, Location, Location!

Vail is one of North America’s premier ski destinations whose fame is only surpassed by Aspen. The Ritz Carlton Vail is right in the heart of this charming and luxurious town. There is fine dining, shopping, and nightlife just steps away!

15Jun

Luxury Travel in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are known for their unique wildlife.

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are known for their exotic wildlife. It’s a great place to take kids or go on a secluded romantic vacation.

Children love the animals found on the Galapagos Islands.

Galapagos Islands are great for kids

The Islands are an archipelago, a string of 6 islands formed by large volcanic domes fused together. It is one of the most volcanically active places on earth! Isabela is the largest island, but still only has 2000 inhabitants, most of which are fishermen.

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago.

The Galapagos Islands are a string of 6 islands, formed from volcanic domes.

The Islands were discovered accidentally by Spain when a ship went off course. It was thought to be worthless because of the rocky terrain, but has been used as a pirate hideout and food source. Whalers ate about 200,000 tortoises and wiped out an entire sub-species. Charles Darwin made the island famous when he discovered natural selection, and on the 100th anniversary of Origin of Species the Charles Darwin Research Station was created.

There are 15 sub-species of tortoise found on the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands have a large tortoise population

The tortoises on the Galapagos Islands are large.

The tortoises are huge!!

Now the Galapagos Islands are a huge tourist attraction for wildlife enthusiasts. There are some truly unique variations of animals to be found here. The Galapagos penguins, red-billed tropical birds, waved albatross, blue footed boobies, Galapagos finches, giant tortoises, and fur sea lions are just a few!

The Galapagos Islands has lots of sea lions

Galapagos Islands sea lions

The Galapagos Islands are home to blue footed boobies.

Galapagos Islands Blue Footed Boobies

Where to stay: The Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge

This beautiful lodge is located just steps from the ocean on Santa Cruz, the most important of the inhabited Galapagos Islands. The town there, Puerto Ayora, is the largest town with 15000 residents. The lodge was designed to blend with the mangrove forest and seafront that surround it. It offers the best views of the bay and two seaside restaurants.

The Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge on the Galapagos Islands.

Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge, Galapagos Islands.

18May

Haute Hotel: Alvear Palace Hotel

The Alvear Palace Hotel is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Alvear Palace Hotel

The Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina is known as “The Grand Dame of Buenos Aires” for a reason! This stunning hotel is located in Recoleta, the most exclusive neighborhood in BA. It offers direct access to shopping, museums and sightseeing. Alvear has an old-world style and has incorporated elements of Empire, Louis XV, and Louis XVI interior design. They have enhanced this style by adding art by renowned Argentine artists.

The beautiful lobby of the Alvear Palace Hotel.

Alvear Palace Hotel Lobby

The personalized and attentive services are another thing that set Alvear apart from the rest. Their Butler Service will unpack, draw you a bath whenever you like, give you complimentary garment pressing, and help you pack when it’s time to leave. Don’t have time to shop? Don’t know where to shop? Alvear’s Personal Shopper has got you covered. The shopping specialist can either do all of your shopping for you, or take you on a personalized shopping tour.

The Alvear Palace Hotel offers afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea at the Alvear Palace Hotel

The dining and bar options at the Alvear have been patronized by businessmen, socialites, and celebrities since the 1930s. La Bourgogne is their French dining option. L’Orangerie is the grand dining room that hosts the amazing breakfast buffet and Sunday Brunch. The Sunday Brunch features an international buffet with shellfish, seafood, wild game, and desserts. Their acclaimed afternoon tea features fine teas, cakes, fresh fruit tarts, warm scones, and aspecial “Alvear Blend” of tea.

The Lobby Bar is an exclusive venue that serves great cocktails. The Cigar Bar offers havana cigars and fine chocolates and liquors.

The La Prairie Spa at the Alvear Palace Hotel includes steam rooms, saunas, pool, and relaxation rooms.

Alvear Palace Hotel Spa

The Alvear Spa and Fitness Center is the perfect place to relax! The steam baths, saunas, a ludic pool, relaxation rooms, and La Prairie products and treatments.

The Alvear Palace Hotel is a great option when trying to choose accommodations in Buenos Aires. Even if you don’t choose to stay there, the Afternoon Tea, Sunday Brunch, and Lobby Lounge are worth a visit!

11May

Top 10 Luxury Honeymoon Destinations

Mystique Santorini is a great honeymoon destination in Greece.

Mystique Santorini

1. Santorini, Greece
This amazing destination was created from a volcanic caldera, whose rim now hosts luxury hotels. From this elevated point you can view spectacular sunsets and views of the Aegean Sea. If you head down the cliff you will find shopping, amazing beaches, delicious food, and local wineries. Don’t forget to explore the Akrotini, a prehistoric settlement preserved under volcanic lava.

 

Where to Stay: Mystique Santorini

Mystique is perched on the rim of the caldera and has an incredible infinity pool, luxurious cave-like rooms carved into the cliff, and relaxing neutral tones.

 

 

The Palais Amani is a beautiful hotel in Fez, Morocco.

Palais Amani, Fez, Morocco

2. Fez, Morocco

 

Fez is Morocco’s second largest city and is bustling with bazaars and shopping opportunities. In the town center you will even find snake charmers and fortune tellers! Go to Old Medina of Marrakech for rugs, leather goods, and other travel souvenirs.

Where to Stay: Palais Amani

Palais Amani underwent a 3 1/2 year restoration that brought its existing features back to life and added work from local artisans. The spa offers massages in a room overlooking the hotel’s garden, and the rooftop bar has great views of the city below. Each room has embroidered linens, luxurious bathrobes, and complimentary embroidered slippers.

The Cap-Est Lagoon Resort & Spa is a luxury resort in Martinique.

Cap-Est Lagoon Resort & Spa

3. Martinique

 

This unique island can be considered the Paris of the Caribbean. It’s upscale and has over 150 restaurants. The locals close shop at noon for lunch and always eat out, which has led to the development of so many restaurants. Their cuisine is a delicious blend of French and Creole dishes. There is also a good nightlife, shopping, and sightseeing.

Where to Stay: Cap-Est Lagoon Resort & Spa

This resort has contemporary villas with Franco-Caribbean design. The soft, minimalist decor and lagoon views create a super relaxing and tropical vibe!

Villa San Michele is one of the most luxurious hotels in Florence.

Villa San Michele, Florence

4. Florence

 

Italian food, wine, Renaissance art & architecture, just enough sightseeing, and Italian fashion – need I say more?

Where to stay: Villa San Michele

This facade of this amazing hotel was designed by Michelangelo. If that isn’t cool enough, it’s also located on top of the hill of Fiesole so it has views of Florence and the Chianti countryside. The hotel amenities have great views, too. The heated pool and the open air restaurant, Loggia, look out over the city.

The Shangri-La Hotel Paris was once the home of Prince Roland Bonaparte.

Shangri-la Hotel Paris

5. Paris

 

A pretty obvious choice, but a great one nonetheless! Amazing food, sightseeing, entertainment, shopping, and opulent hotels sound like a pretty great way to spend a honeymoon.

Where to Stay: Shangri-La Hotel Paris

The building that is now the Shangri-La Hotel Paris was once Prince Roland Bonaparte’s home (Napoleon’s nephew). It was recently resorted to its former glamour and offers some of the largest rooms and suites among luxury Paris hotels. Most rooms have Eiffel Tower, Seine River, or the Louvre views.

The Gansevoort Turcks and Caicos brings urban luxury to the tropical environment.

Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

6. Turks and Caicos

 

This is one of the most underdeveloped islands in the Caribbean, and the tourism industry mostly caters to an upscale clientele. They have some of the most beautiful beaches and several luxury resorts to choose from.

Where to Stay: Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Experience modern urban luxury in a tropical setting. The 7000 square foot infinity edge pool is one of the hotel’s best features, and they also have the famous Bagatelle Bistrot.

 

The Missoni Hotel Edinburgh is a luxury hotel that incorporates Missoni's eclectic modern style.

Missoni Hotel Edinburgh

7. Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Edinburgh is a beautiful destination, offering rolling Scottish hills, castles, vibrant theater scene, hiking, and sightseeing.

Where to Stay: Missoni Hotel Edinburgh

This hotel is exactly what you would expect from the Italian fashion house. The hotel was designed with distinctive use of color, pattern, and textiles.

The Viceroy Bali offers luxurious accommodations just minutes from Ubud.

Vicory Bali

8. Bali, Indonesia

 

Bali is an amazing place with tropical beaches, forests, cliffs, museums, historical towns and temples. The resorts promote spiritual health and well being, and there is a general aura of tranquility. Definitely a place to get away from it all!

Where to Stay: Viceroy Bali

The Viceroy consists of 25 villas on a secluded ridge of the Pentau river, just minutes from Ubud, one of Southeast Asia’s most charming villages. The villas are super luxurious and offer everything you could need, including espresso machines and private pools.

The St. Regis Resort Princeville offers luxurious accommodations on one of the most beautiful Hawaiian islands.

St. Regis Resort Princeville

9. Kauai, Hawaii

 

Kauai has everything a couple who loves the outdoors could need – tropical beaches, hiking on the Na Pali coast, and kayaking on the Wailua River.

Where to Stay: St. Regis Resort Princeville

Relax in the infinity pool overlooking Hanalei Bay, lay out at the private Pu’u Po’a Beach, or golf at their 2 courses.

The Anantara resort in the Maldives offer luxurious overwater villas.

Anantara, Kihavah, Maldives

10. Maldives

 

Experience white sand beaches, remote location, privacy, and delicious tropical food. The islands are located along the trading route of the Indian Ocean, resulting in an interesting mix of cultures.

Where to Stay: Anantara, Kihavah, Maldives

These overwater villas offer the ultimate tropical getaway surrounded by white sand, coconut palms, and reef waters full of marine life. The famous underwater restaurant is a once in a lifetime experience!

 

2May

Mother’s Day Trip & Brunch

Are you taking your mom on a luxury vacation for Mother’s Day? These restaurants in popular vacation destinations feature decadent brunches that are sure to make Mother’s Day special for you and your mom!

San Francisco, CA

Foreign Cinema serves one of the best brunches in San Francisco.

Foreign Cinema Brunch

Where to stay: The Ritz Carlton San Francisco Residence Club

Urban luxury at Union Square, with direct access to the best shopping in the city!

Where to Brunch: Foreign Cinema

This theatrical restaurant offers delicious dishes such as homemade pop tarts with real fruit inside, balsamic fried eggs, and Dungeness crab croque monsieur. And of course since it’s in San Francisco, they have a ton of fresh seafood, including an oyster bar, mussels, prawns, and lobster. There are 3 dining rooms to choose from, the main space with the kitchen and bar, a lively courtyard where old movies are played at night, and a quieter art gallery space. A secret (delicious) item not on the menu: beignets.

Los Angeles, CA

The Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills serves amazing brunch.

Four Seasons Los Angeles Brunch

Where to Stay: The Peninsula

Classic Beverly Hills luxury in a great location.

Where to Brunch: Four Seasons Hotel (Beverly Hills)

The Four Seasons BH brunch is known for three things: serving a variety of delicious food, being expensive, and celebrity sightings. The service is impeccable and they offer a several food and beverage stations, including breakfast food, Bloody Marys, sushi/Asian food, cheese, and desserts. The Four Seasons is doing a special Mother’s Day Brunch, reservations highly recommended.

New York

Essex, located in the Lower East Side, serves amazing Sunday brunch.

Essex New York City Brunch

Where to Stay: Waldorf Astoria

New York elegance and an amazing location on Park Avenue.

Where to Brunch: Essex

Head to the Lower East Side to Essex, where you will find a delicious brunch for only $20 that includes 3 Bloody Marys, screwdrivers, or mimosas! This chic white, lofty space is the perfect place for a Mother’s Day Brunch. Enjoy classic brunch items, like the manchego mac & cheese, lobster benedict, Mexican Matzo Brei (scrambled eggs, tortilla crisps, monterey jack cheese, avocado, black beans and pico de gallo) and The Deep South (chicken fried steak, biscuits, eggs, and sausage gravy).

Boston, MA

Stella, located in Boston's South End, serves delicious brunch.

Stella Boston Brunch

Where to Stay: Ames Hotel

One of Boston’s newer hotels, featuring chic and modern luxury.

Where to Brunch: Stella

Stella offers simple Italian food and a cute atmosphere. The entire place is white and includes a great outdoor patio. Enjoy traditional breakfast foods, like bagel and lox, frittatas, parfaits, and eggs benedict.

Miami, FL

The Biltmore Miami serves a lavish Sunday Champagne Brunch

Biltmore Miami Sunday Champagne Brunch

Where to Stay: Biltmore

An iconic Miami hotel that has accommodated countless celebrities and public figures with superior service and elegance.

Where to Brunch: Biltmore’s Fontana

The Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Biltmore is a legendary affair that combines European flair with Latin flavor and Miami’s own unique style. There is live entertainment and a lavish buffet, including caviar, shellfish, smoked salmon, carved meats, fresh omelets, pastas, sushi, and a wall of spectacular desserts.

Scottsdale, AZ

Fred's at Barneys New York in Scottsdale offers a sophisticated Sunday brunch.

Fred's at Barneys New York Scottsdale

Where to Stay: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Modern luxury inspired by its stunning desert surroundings.

Where to Brunch: Fred’s at Barneys New York

Mom is sure to love Fred’s, which features a bright, open space with views of Old Town. Brunch is elegant and relaxing, featuring a Bourbon Street Brunch, bagels made from scratch, and live New Orleans jazz. The flavored iced tea and specialty cocktails are also delicious! A huge bonus of brunching at Fred’s is that it’s located in Barneys New York! After eating and sipping on mimosas, go to Barney’s for some Mother’s Day shopping.

Chicago, IL

Elate in Chicago serves a great Sunday brunch.

Elate Chicago Brunch

Where to Stay: Elysian Hotel

Where to Brunch: Elate

This rustic, modern, and casually sophisticated restaurant is adjacent to Hotel Felix, Chicago’s first LEED certified hotel. Brunch dishes at Elate include breakfast pizza, braised pork and egg tostada, and creme brulee pancakes. The special Mother’s Day prix fixe meal begins with a buffet of muffins, fruit, pastries and cheese. Guests can choose from 3 entrees, and finish with dessert. Don’t forget the bottomless mimosa for $20!

28Apr

Haute Hotel: Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman

The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is one of the best Caribbean resorts.

The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman

The acclaimed Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is a sprawling resort that covers the entire width of the island, about 145 acres. It is by far the best resort on the Cayman Islands! When you finally arrive, you’ll be served delicious lemonade in a tropical tiki hut. Then they will whisk you away to your guest room…

I recommend staying in one of the newly refurbished guest rooms, which now feature chic and modern design. These rooms are closer to the pool and offer stunning ocean views. The Ritz has thoughtfully scattered the ocean with fun toys, rafts, and even floating bars! I wish I was floating on a raft on the Caribbean with a cocktail in my hand right now

This European style resort is meticulously manicured and designed with marble, stone, and luxurious woods everywhere. The resort is split into two buildings, connected by a climate controlled catwalk that overlooks West Bay Street.

As an island resort, there are a variety of fun water activities to choose from, like snorkeling, sailing,and water rafting. You can explore the island and check out the Cayman Turtle Farm, where you’ll get to touch and swim with green sea turtles.

The Silver Rain Spa at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is a La Prairie Spa.

Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Silver Rain Spa

Taking in a treatment at the Silver Rain Spa, a La Prairie Spa, is a great way to relax. The Silver Rain Spa incorporates pure and rare ingredients and offers massages, body and facial treatments, hydrotherapies, and La Prairie anti-aging formulas.

The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman’s premier restaurant, Blue by Eric Ripert, celebrates epicurean artistry in the grand tradition of Le Bernadin. The menu features seafood locally caught by Cayman fishermen. The wine cellar offers over 650 selections from all around the world.

Periwinkle is an elegantly casual restaurant that features a terrace and lagoon views. The menu offers simply prepared seafood, homemade pasta, pizza, and Mediterranean style cuisine. 7 Prime Cuts and Sunsets is a steakhouse and seafood & raw bar. 7 Prime also features a Cuban Cigar assortment and Sunday Prime Rib Dinner.

The golf course at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman was designed by Greg Norman. This 9 hole course features 8 holes on the water and a final island green. Caddie concierge service and golf  instruction is available.

The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman implements an Ambassadors of the Environment program, which offers eco tours for kids, youth, adults and families.

Conclusion: Great for honeymoons, girls getaways, and family vacations! Beware of children.

Related Posts:

28Apr

Haute Hotel: Four Seasons George V Paris

The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.

Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris

The Four Seasons George V Paris is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. Located just steps from the Champs Elyees, it features restored and replicated 18th century furnishings and interior design.

The Four Seasons George V Paris offers stunning guest rooms.

Four Seaons George V Paris - Guest Room

The 244 guest rooms, designed in the style of Louis XIV, are available in a variety of sizes. About 25% of the guest rooms are suites, and many have spectacular Eiffel Tower views. The basic rooms – if you can call them basic – feature city or courtyard views, crystal chandeliers, and full marble bathrooms. The larger suites, such as the Empire suite, include sculptures dedicated to Napoleon and Josephine. You’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower quite clearly from your private terrace, which faces this world famous landmark directly. There is also a living room, dining room, green marble bathroom, and guest powder room.

The Four Seasons George V Paris features a beautiful pool in the spa and fitness center.

Four Seasons George V Paris - Pool

The Four Seasons George V pool offers the ultimate experience in chic pool relaxation. The pool, located at the spa and health club, is decorated with trompe l’oeil murals of the garden of Versailles. The spa itself features muted tones with 18th century prints. The VIP treatment room includes its own whirlpool, sauna, steam room, and 2 massage beds. This spa is know as the best hotel spa in Paris!

The Four Seasons George V Paris features Le Galerie, a beautiful lounge featuring 19th century paintings and Flemish tapestries.

Four Seasons George V Paris - Le Galerie

Le Galerie is an elegant, peaceful lounge, decorated with Flemish tapestries, 19th century paintings and furniture. Le Bar overlooks the Avenue George V and features a beautiful mahogany and wood bar.

Fine French dining is available at Le Cinq, which offers incredible views of the hotel gardens and courtyard. The restaurant serves classic French cuisine and has won 2 Michelin stars.

The husband can play golf at the nearby Albatros course, which has hosted 8 French Open Tournaments and is an acclaimed European golf course.

Conclusion: The Four Seasons George V Paris is superior in its elegance, decor, and romantic atmosphere, right in the heart of Paris!

Related Posts:

Top 10 Romantic Getaways

23Apr

Haute Hotel: Ritz Carlton Moscow

The Ritz Carlton Moscow is one of the capital's finest hotels.

Ritz Carlton Moscow

The Ritz Carlton Moscow is located right off Red Square, on the city’s main avenue, Tverskaya Street. This Ritz features true Russian glamour and a few distinct services and amenities inspired by its region – like the Lobby Lounge’s vodka sommelier!

The hotel offers 334 spacious guest rooms (the smallest is 450 sq ft), and they will cost you…standard rates, depending on the season, are upwards of $1000 per night.

The Ritz Carlton Moscow offers a chic lounge, O2 Lounge, which offers amazing views of the city.

The O2 Lounge at the Ritz Carlton Moscow

The O2 Lounge at the Ritz Carlton Moscow features Faberge inspired lounge chairs.

The Faberge chairs at the Ritz Carlton Moscow's O2 Lounge

The Ritz Carlton Moscow’s O2 Lounge features views of the Kremlin, a sushi bar, oxygen bar, “Faberge” chairs, and chic design.

The premier restaurant at the Ritz Moscow is Caviarterra, whose menu incorporates the local culture. Enjoy Russian classics like caviar, borsch, chicken kiev, and beef stroganoff. The Petrus wine room has a collection of over 800 wines from around the world!

The ESPA Spa at the Ritz Carlton Moscow features a pool with an ice fountain.

Ritz Carlton Moscow ESPA Spa Pool with ice fountain

The ESPA Spa is a gorgeous facility that includes a pool with lounge chairs and ice fountain. Treatments utilize the latest scientific discoveries and effective European therapies.

10Mar

Haute Hotel: W Hollywood

W Hollywood Grand Staircase

W Hollywood Grand Staircase

The W Hollywood has an appropriate red carpet theme and a great location on Hollywood and Vine. Guests are across the street from the Pantages Theater and a few blocks down from the Chinese Theater. Lots of awards shows and premiers are held at the Chinese Theater, if you’re lucky you might get to see a few celebrities!

The W Hollywood features chic guest rooms.

W Hollywood Guest Room

The guest rooms at the W Hollywood are typical W – mostly white with lacquer accents and small pops of color here and there. Some of the things in the room (like the iPod dock or coffee table books) are for sale, which I personally find a little strange. The window seats are cute, I love sitting there in the morning and taking in the views of Hollywood. Guest rooms range from 400 to 1,660 square feet. The one I stayed in was 400, but the large suites look spectacular. I find the W guest rooms (and bathrooms!) to be on the smaller side, especially for the price. The room we stayed in at the Bellagio was half the price and three times the size! I guess they’re going for the modern look, but I could use a little extra space, especially in the bathroom. It’s kind of hard to get ready for a fabulous night out in a little tiny box!

The W Hollywood has a great lobby lounge, Living Room.

W Hollywood Living Room

The thing I really like about this W, especially in comparison to the San Diego W,  are the bar/lounge spaces. The Living Room is the lobby lounge and bar. There is a huge chandelier, grand staircase, chic lounge furniture and red carpet – great place for pre-dinner or going out cocktails.

W Hollywood has a great outside terrace lounge called Station.

W Hollywood Station

Station is an outside terrace adjacent to The Living Room and features fire pits, wicker lounge furniture, and a bar. You can order from a late night bar menu and their delicious cocktail list. My favorite is the bellini! They say they have a “reverse” bellini, which sounds great, but every time I visit, they never are able to make it. So I guess I’ll just stick with the regular bellini for now…

W Hollywood has a signature, restaurant, Delphine, that serves modern Mediterranean cuisine.

W Hollywood Delphine

Delphine looks much better in person than it does in the pictures on their website. I love the blue and white tile floors and neutral color tones. It feels very light and airy. They serve modern Mediterranean food with influences from France, Spain’s Costa Brava, and the Italian Riviera. I went for brunch and loved it, and saw that they also have a raw bar which I am dying to try next time! Supposedly they have a great Monday Happy Hour, with $1 and $2 oysters and $5 Sparkling Rose.

W Hollywood has a rooftop nightclub, Drai's.

W Hollywood Drai's

Drai’s Hollywood is the nightclub on the roof of the W. It’s definitely very Hollywood – a lot of people standing around and staring at each other. They also have pool parties on Sunday at the WET deck, which leads me to the next weird thing about this W – they don’t own their pool, and guests of the W have to stand in line and hope they are allowed in on Sunday, when Drai throws the pool party. I prefer the SLS pool, where it’s hotel guests only. But i guess if you’re going to go with the Hollywood theme, you should really go for it…

W Hollywood offers Bliss Spa, a modern spa that offers manicure, pedicure, spa and salon treatments.

W Hollywood Bliss Spa

If you’re someone with great discipline that works out on vacation, W has a great fitness facility, SWEAT. If you’re someone who prefers to get pampered, BLISS spa is the spot for you! They have jazz music, a brownie bar, movies while you manicure, saunas, 7 pampering rooms, and waxing and salon services. This mod mani-pedi lounge is the perfect place to treat yourself to some relaxing services while sipping a glass of champagne.

If you need to get to work, the 24 hour Business Center can accommodate all your work needs. They have PCs, Apples, and lots of other equipment so you can get it done and get on with your vacation!

W Hollywood also has a complimentary car service for short distance trips around Hollywood.

Check the site for special offers before you book, I noticed that they have deals like complimentary cocktails, 2 tickets to Pantages, and $100 credit at Delphine.