GREAT LUXURY ESCAPES
Get physical: Get fit for the colder weather with Sofitel Sydney Wentworth’s Urban Winter Renewal package. The hotel is pitching the deal as an alternative in the heart of the city to a week-long detox at a health farm. The two-night package, designed for two, is priced at $949 and includes two dayspa experiences at the Lattouf Aveda Hair Spa and a health club program at the Wentworth’s Elixr Health Club, which includes a one-hour session with a personal trainer. On the more relaxing side, there’s also dinner for two (Sofitel’s Winter Renewal menu has been designed by the hotel’s executive chef). For stays to the end of August. More: (02) 9228 9188; www.sofitelsydney.com.au.
Palace in the heart: The most exciting hotel to open in India recently is Nadesar Palace in the holy city of Varanasi, set on the Ganges. The historic building, once the city residence of maharajah Prabhu Narain Singh (who hosted guests here of the ilk of Louis Mountbatten and the Queen), has been developed as a 10-suite hotel amid orchards and gardens full of marigolds and jasmine. More: www.tajhotels.com.
Back in business: The Pierre, the US flagship of Taj Hotels on New York’s Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park, has reopened following a lavish $US100 million ($121 million) renovation. Work included refurbished guestrooms and a new restaurant, Le Caprice at The Pierre, as well as 2 East, a new lobby lounge and reception area. ‘‘ The designs perfectly complement The Pierre’s classic ambience of quiet refinement and restore a sense of the property’s original grandeur,’’ says general manager Heiko Kuenstle. More: www.tajhotels.com/pierre/.
Cocktail hour: The Peninsula Bangkok’s new River Bar
Aman heaven: The next Amanresorts property to open will be the 24-suite Amantaka in the delightful World Heritagelisted town of Luang Prabag in Laos. After lengthy delays, Aman New Delhi, in the Indian capital, is in business; it’s a contemporary oasis that includes pool suites and all manner of luxe trimmings, so travellers should take care not to confuse it with the unrelated budget property Hotel Aman Delhi. More: www.amanresorts.com.
City style: Take a Hong Kong break in style with a stay at the five-star Langham Palace hotel. Creative Holidays has a threenight package flying Virgin Atlantic from $1329 a person ex Sydney, $1565 ex Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, $1569 ex Canberra. Premium economy upgrade from an extra $753 a person. Be quick: for sale to June 19 for travel to June 30. More: www.creativeholidays.com.
Spa trek: Cable Beach Club Resort’s new Chahoya Spa comes with seven private treatment rooms, double Vichy shower room and yoga deck. Qantas Holidays has a fournight package at the up-market West Australian resort with breakfasts, one-hour fusion stone massage for two at the spa, a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival and Broome airport transfers. From $1052 a person, land only. Cable Beach Club Resort has two swimming pools, one for families, the other reserved for adults. www.qantas.com.au/holidays.
River views: Cocktails at The Peninsula Bangkok now come with views thanks to the newly opened River Bar beside the Chao Phraya River. The hotel has a one-night Summer Splendour package to September 15 from 9500 baht ($339) a room with breakfast for two, a $US100 credit to be used in the hotel’s restaurants, bars, spa, boutique or for a room upgrade, and a gift certificate for a free night at any Peninsula hotel worldwide. More: www.peninsula.com.
Gem of an offer: Canada’s Fairmont Banff Springs, marketed as ‘‘ the castle in the Rockies’’, has a money-no-object two-night package in which the extras include a halfcarat diamond. Accommodation is in the Presidential Suite or Spa Suite; includes return limousine transfers between Calgary airport and the hotel, fresh flowers and champagne on arrival, personal concierge, tasting menu dinner in The Banffshire Club with wine pairings, spa treatment for two, a round of golf with the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course professional or a day of guiding and instruction with the Fairmont Snow School (in season). There’s also dinner on the second evening, breakfasts and gratuities. From an eye-popping $C8499 ($9544) for
Isle of dreams: Angsana Velavaru, Maldives two; available from May to September and December to April. More: www.fairmont.com/banffsprings.
Down to business: Singapore’s Four Seasons Hotel is offering an all-inclusive Value Meeting package. From $S325 ($274) a person for weekdays, $S315 Friday to Sunday, which includes breakfast, use of meeting room with lunch and coffee breaks. For a little retail therapy, Orchard Road’s golden mile of shopping and entertainment is close by. Following a refurbishment last year, the hotel offers high-speed internet access and wireless connectivity. More: www.fourseasons.com/singapore/.
Sofitel expands: French-based Sofitel Luxury Hotels, which is opening the 438-room Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach in September, has unveiled plans for two more hotels to be developed in the United Arab Emirates. In China three contracts have been signed in the country’s eastern and southeastern regions; construction is under way and the first opening is expected at the end of 2010. Sofitel also has hotels under construction in Pakistan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. More: www.sofitel.com.
Wish upon a spa: Peninsula Hotels has partnered with Espa to create a range of Simply Peninsula treatments and products. There are two essential oil blends, Refreshing (lemongrass, rosemary and wild mint) or Relaxing (ylang-ylang, patchouli and clove), available in products such as silky body lotions, hand cleansers, shower gels, shampoos and conditioners. The spa range is being progressively released at Peninsula properties, starting with Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills (Los Angeles), Tokyo and Bangkok. More: www.peninsula.com.
Water world: Angsana Velavaru resort, in the pristine South Nilandhe Atoll of the Maldives, is opening a cluster of 34 In-Ocean Villas (each with spacious decking, infinity pool and hammock suspended over water). The complex, with its own Italian restaurant and bar, is 1km from the island of Velavaru and is touted as this small Indian Ocean nation’s first ‘‘ floating resort’’. Guests also have access to the facilities of Angsana Velavaru proper, which has beachfront accommodation. Start-up rates from $US750 a villa a night, including breakfasts for two. More: www.angsana.com. Barry Oliver and Alexandra James More luxury hotels escapes: