Hotel News We Noted: July 5, 2013

four seasons st. petersburg
Image Courtesy of Four Seasons

Happy Friday, everyone! We hope that most of you are reading this as you enjoy an extended long weekend and that everyone had a great Fourth of July yesterday. We’re back from Arizona and, after a brief stop home in Washington, D.C. (see us on Instagram again this week), we’re headed to Richmond for the weekend.

Opening Sunday: Four Seasons St. Petersburg
The first Four Seasons in Russia opens this weekend when a 19th-century palace officially becomes The Four Seasons St. Petersburg. Immortalized in Alexander Pushkin’s poetry, the 177-room hotel is located inside an iconic, triangular-shaped building in the city center, just steps from the Winter Palace. Nearly all rooms boast impressive views, and guests can enjoy numerous on-site amenities, including a Russian Tea Lounge, a bar with (what else?) vodka tasting flights and an Asian-inspired restaurant opening soon called Sintoho. A luxe spa will also open later this year. A second property in the country, Four Seasons Hotel Moscow, will open in 2014.

Hotel Deals: SniqueAway becomes Jetsetter
As we reported a few weeks ago, the flash sale site formerly owned by Gilt Groupe was sold and merged with SniqueAway, a TripAdvisor company. Today, the platform is called Jetsetter, the better known of the new brands. While this news isn’t particularly exciting in and of itself, the $100 incentive credit the brand has given to members of the site is. Use that cash to book a reservation at some of your favorite luxury hotels for more than 40 percent off. At some properties, that’s like a free night! Need a code? Join here.

Hotel Opening: Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai
Shangri-La hotels has opened its third luxury property in the city in the heart of the city’s most fashionable neighborhood on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River. The 508-room hotel is located inside the Jing An Kerry Centre, a high-end mixed use property featuring shopping, offices, restaurants and more. In addition to an impressive art collection, the hotel features four restaurants, (including a New York-style steakhouse) and the largest Horizon Club lounge in the Shangri-La collection.

Hotel Review: L’Auberge de Sedona
We spent several days last week visiting L’Auberge de Sedona in the lovely city of Sedona, Arizona. The AAA Four Diamond property is tucked just below the city’s main strip of shops and restaurants and is conveniently nestled against the hillside with impressive views of both the famed Red Rocks and the charming Oak Creek. (A car is definitely necessary, but the gratis car service to nearby hiking trails and shops was definitely a plus, as this resort is more walkable than most.) We stayed in a Creekside Cottage, a perfect choice for the super hot days. Overall, the property is an ideal choice for guests visiting the Sedona area – rooms are spacious, rates are reasonable, and the on-property restaurant is voted one of the best in the area, offering fine dining on the banks of Oak Creek. We’d also suggest a sampling of the resort’s spa, where treatments are inspired by the desert setting. Overall, this resort is definitely worth a return visit.

Hotel News We Noted: May 31, 2013

hilton coffee display
Courtesy of Hilton Hotels

It’s the last “Hotel News We Noted” of May, and we have lots of news to report. If you’re just tuning in, each Friday, “Hotel News We Noted” brings readers the latest, most interesting and downright oddest news of note from the hospitality world.

Have a tip or a comment to share? Leave a note below or shoot us an email.

Wellness Lovers Unite: Miraval Comes to … New Jersey?
When we envision a wellness retreat, New Jersey might not be the location we’d choose, but Miraval is betting that its loyal clientele will want to take their retreats east. Earlier this week, the brand announced plans to open a second resort in Somerset County on a property formerly owned by the King of Morocco. Dubbed “Miraval at Natirar,” the property should open in 2014.

New Brand Alert: Tommie Hotels
Commune Hotels & Resorts, the parent company behind Thompson and Joie de Vivre hotels, this week announced the launch of Tommie, a value-oriented brand for stylish young travelers. Rooms are called “crash pads,” meeting spaces are “incubators,” and lounges are called “reading rooms.” Self-check in, eclectic retail and gourmet grab-and-go foods should appeal to on-the-go travelers. The first location will be on 31st Street in Manhattan, and a West SoHo location is also planned, both of which anticipate a 2015 opening. What do you think?Hotel Opening: Traders Hotel, Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will open its third Traders Hotel in Malaysia on June 1. The 283-room property is a 20-minute drive from downtown Singapore and is ideal for family or business travelers as it is located near two theme parks and the state administration center. It’s pretty cheap too – starting room rates begin at $123 per night.

Hilton Gets A Jolt: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Coffee Added to Hilton Hotels
Travelers love (or love to hate) the in-room coffee amenities at most hotels, and, of late, many chains have moved away from big brands to select specialty or local roasters for their in-room brew. Hilton has done the same, announcing a partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, to provide an exclusive new in-room assortment of coffee and teas at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels properties across the Americas. The blend is called the “Hilton Morning Blend.” Purchase a 12-ounce bag on Hilton at Home to test for yourself and get 20 percent off your entire order. As Hilton heiress Paris would say, “that’s hot.”

Cool Contest: Four Seasons Goes After Brides
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is celebrating wedding color palettes with the launch of the second annual issue of Four Seasons Weddings magazine with a Pinterest contest. Brides to be can enter to win a $1,000 Four Seasons gift card redeemable at any Four Seasons hotel or resort worldwide by creating their own wedding palette pin board. A panel of expert judges, including Style Me Pretty and Bridal Guide, will select the winner the week of June 24, 2013. We aren’t getting married, but we sure would like a $1k gift card, wouldn’t you? If you qualify, enter the “Pin Your Wedding Colour Palette” Pinterest contest here.

Luxury Travel: Four Seasons Announces 2014 Private Jet Around The World Itineraries

around the world with four seasonsFour Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a name already synonymous with luxury, has kicked things up a notch with the unveiling this week of their 2014 “Around the World” programs. The private jet tour takes lucky (read: rich) jetsetters on a month-long journey to between seven and ten destinations across the globe on a private Boeing 757 outfitted for just 56 guests.

The destinations? Bucket-list worthy, and the hotels aren’t too shabby either. All properties on the tour are Four Seasons hotels or resorts, naturally.

This year the program has a few tweaks, as they are offering two itineraries: a “Rediscover the Americas” tour from February 24 to March 13, 2014, that touches down in Miami, Nevis, Buenos Aires, Carmelo, Costa Rica, Punta Mita and Beverly Hills and a 23-day around the world trip that starts March 14 and goes to Hawaii, Bora Bora, Bali, Sydney, Mumbai, Istanbul and London. The trip has gotten even more high touch as well – there are just 56 spots this year, down from 78 the year before.

Just what does one get when they travel around the world by private jet? Quite a bit, including a private chef, physician and a veteran Four Seasons concierge who’ll be onboard for the duration. On travel days, guests will enjoy expedited boarding, luggage handling and assistance with customs and immigration formalities, where possible. Once comfortably on board, travellers can stay connected with Global Wi-Fi or tune out with supplied Bose headphones – although there are no overnight flights, so guests won’t need to catch more than a nap here or there.

Guests enjoy between two and three days at each location, and can choose their own itineraries while on the ground.

How much will it cost you? A cool $63k per person, double occupancy for the Americas tour, and $88k, double occupancy, for the Around the World trip.

Not too shabby for an around-the-world trip by private jet, we’d say.

[Image Credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts]

Hotel News We Noted: March 8, 2013

the jefferson boardroomWelcome to this week’s edition of “Hotel News We Noted,” where we round up the week’s best, most interesting and just downright odd news of note in the hospitality world. Have a tip? Send us a note or leave a comment below.

The hotel world has been buzzing this winter with new and planned openings, extreme amenities and packages galore. Here’s our take on what you need to know this week:

Shangri-La Goes After Saudi Princess Who Skipped Out on $7.5 Million Hotel Bill
The Shangri-La hotel in Paris is going after the Saudi princess who left in the dead of the night and skipped out on her $7.5 million hotel bill, Business Insider reports. The princess spent six months on the 41st floor of the hotel, and her father, the King, has refused to pay her debts. The king has since confined the princess to a palace in Saudi Arabia after she left a trail of unpaid debts across Europe. Nothing quite says “princess” like palace confinement, hmm?

Hotel Openings: ME London
The first ME by Melia hotel in the UK and the fifth in the brand opened last week in one of the world’s hottest cities for hotel growth – London. ME London is located in the heart of the West End, on the site formerly inhabited by the famous Gaiety Theatre. The 157-room property will feature a rooftop bar, Radio, offering panoramic views of the city, as well as the brand trademark penthouse, SuiteME – a two-level superlative experience offering a fire-pit warmed private terrace, a private lounge, separate dining room, three 3-D televisions, a pillow menu and much more. (Remember the crazy Cancun penthouse from the Real World Cancun?) NYC-based The ONE Group is the hotel’s official F&B provider, with two of its iconic brands opening venues within the property – STK London and Cucina Asellina.

Luxury Hotels Coming Your Way: Four Seasons Madrid, An Aman In Venice and Multi-Billion Dollar Las Vegas
While much of our hotel news is often focused on newly opened or revamped properties, this week seemed to have much to offer in the way of “soon-to-come” luxury hotels. Four Seasons announced their first property in Spain, Four Seasons Madrid, in the next four years, Aman is coming to the Grand Canal with a new ultra-luxury property opening on this summer boasting 24 suite-style rooms, and a Malaysian investment firm has paid $350 million for a multi-billion dollar hotel complex to come in the former Echelon site in Las Vegas, USA Today reported.Tech Tips: Eventi Offers Hi-Tech Amenities For Travelers
Sick of traveling with tons of gadgets? Eventi, a New York City Kimpton property, now has a “Business Bar” where travelers can rent gadgets ranging from iPads and MacBook Pros to Kindles, Nooks and even digital cameras. This free service is geared to help travelers who like to pack light, but who would love to sample some of these gadgets as a trial before buying, particularly the cameras!

Sleep Better: Accor’s Ibis Offers a Sleep App
We’ve certainly written about hotels with great sleep programs before, but this is the first time we’ve seen a hotel brand unveil their own sleep app. ibis Styles and ibis budget are transforming your restful night into a digital work of art. Every morning, it allows iPhone users to see how their night’s sleep has been transformed into an original digital work of art. Once the Sleep Art app has been programed, the iPhone becomes a sensor that captures movements and sounds. This data is converted real-time into a virtual “work of art” as the user sleeps. Every night is different. These virtual works of art are stored in the gallery and users can therefore compare each night’s sleep and share results by email or on Facebook, so that as many people as possible can also find out about this unique digital experience.

The President Dines at The Jefferson in Washington, DC
Much buzz has been heard in the news this week about President Obama’s dining with 12 republican leaders. But we’ve got the inside scoop on where he dined – most outlets only called it a “discreet” Washington hotel. The property was, in fact, The Jefferson, a Preferred Boutique property in downtown Washington. The congressmen and President dined on everything from Blue Crab Risotto to Lobster “Thermidor” to Peanut Butter Crumble. We hear that the president picked up the tab!

[Image Credit: The Jefferson Washington, DC]

Over-The-Top Valentine’s Day Experiences: Day 10

ty warner penthouse four seasons new york
When it comes to love, what better way to say it than with a private jet and diamonds? We have 52 reasons in this package from Jetway Private Air and Four Seasons in this penultimate romance package.

The “52 Love Salute” honors love that lasts through every week of the year. Start with a private chartered flight on a luxurious jet of your choice with Jetway Private Air from any U.S. state. We hope you live far enough away to enjoy this.

En route, play 52 love songs on a play list for an in-flight serenade and enjoy 52 love poems – just in case writing in iambic pentameter isn’t your forte or if the smooth sounds of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” don’t already whet her fancy.

Joining the mile high club is optional, but you will have plenty of time for romance when you arrive to the Ty Warner Penthouse Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel New York, considered one of the world’s most iconic hotel suites.

The evening of romance includes: caviar and Champagne from Calvisius Caviar Bar, unlimited use of the hotel’s Rolls Royce with a personal chauffeur, a personal butler 24/7 and a decadent dinner for two prepared by Executive Chef John Johnson as well as unlimited massages given in the Penthouse spa room.

Really, you had us at “unlimited massage,” but there’s more. You’ll also enjoy a stunning 52-carat heart-shaped diamond necklace from Premier Gem Corporation.

To purchase the package, call Jetway private air (866-809-2198) or Four Seasons Hotel New York (1-800-487-3769). The package begins at $417,000 and can go up to $487,000 depending on departure city. Reservations are based on availability; Penthouse is $40,000 plus tax per night for each additional evening. This package can only be booked over the phone.

Didn’t catch the rest of our over-the-top packages? Check out our past Valentine’s Day coverage, here.