Luxury Travel: Six Hotels To Spot The Rich And Famous

soho grand hotel new york

Over the next two weeks, celebrities galore are flocking from Hollywood and New York to Cannes, where they’ll be celebrating the industry’s biggest film festival of the year. Don’t have the money to anchor your mega yacht in the southern French waters? Don’t worry, neither do we.

Instead, we’ve gotten the inside scoop from on where the celebs like to hang out in the states, so you can enjoy a little luxe pampering of your own – without the price tag of a transcontinental flight.

Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles
Built in 1927, generations of artists, novelists and screenwriters have produced work within the hotel’s walls including: Hunter S. Thompson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tim Burton and Sofia Coppola. More recently, Emma Roberts, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, and Kirsten Dunst have been spotted lounging on the overstuffed couches and sipping cocktails at Bar Marmont. It’s even where Ashton Kutcher had his rumored affair.

Metropolitan Hotel, London
Contemporary, chic, and with stunning views of Hyde Park and the London skyline, the Metropolitan Hotel has hosted A-listers such as Madonna, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Tom Hanks and Cameron Diaz. Enjoy dinner at the Japanese-Peruvian, Michelin-starred restaurant, Nobu, then retreat for post-dinner cocktails at the exclusive Met Bar, which is open to hotel guests and members only.Soho Grand Hotel, New York City
Celebrities are commonplace at this luxury hotel. Lindsay Lohan, Heidi Klum, Kevin Spacey and even local Manhattanite Sarah Jessica Parker have been spotted at this trendy hotspot. Guests enjoy complimentary iPad and MacBook Pro access, top-notch service at Prive Salon, and can even adopt a pet goldfish during a stay.

The trendy, uber luxury Geejam Hotel draws a mix of celebrities from actresses like Sharon Stone and Grace Jones to artists like Gwen Stefani and Bjork. Guests can enjoy state-of-the-art technology, Apple TV and a private beach. Upon arrival, guests are provided a cellphone to use throughout their stay – a perk we’d love to see more of.

Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara
Perched on the beach just north of Santa Barbara, this Spanish-influenced luxury resort features direct beach access and world-class golf. Fergie, Josh Duhamel and Jennie Garth are a few of the Hollywood stars to have relaxed at this oceanfront property. The resort has an array of leisure and recreational activities to please guests including four lighted tennis courts, three zero-edge swimming pools, four restaurants including the four-star Miro restaurant, the Spa at Bacara and much more.

The Little Nell, Aspen
The Little Nell, one of the legendary star-studded hotels in this mountain town, is internationally renowned as a glamorous playground for the famous and wealthy. This resort has hosted Hollywood idols such as: Jack Nicholson, Mariah Carey and Kate Hudson. Enjoy a variety of adventurous pursuits such as the Audi Test Drive Program and heli-skiing.

Ritz-Carlton Launches iPhone App

Ritz-Carlton iphone appAfter a long wait, Ritz-Carlton is launching their first mobile app today. This free app will allow travelers to travelers to book and search online, but will also offer a series of unique tips and QR code experience tours that let them experience properties before they even arrive.

Some of our favorite functionalities of the new app include the “Presidential Tips” section, a specially-curated selection of tips from Herve Humler, company president and COO.

To learn Presidential Tips, guests use the app to scan a QR code at the time of check-in.

The code-based experience tours also add something new to the mix, with 20 hotels starring in the pilot program. For example, at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, where guests can participate in a Cultural Art tour led by QR codes that will allow them to learn more about the hotel’s art collection. At The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, where young guests will be able to enjoy a digital scavenger hunt, led exclusively by QR codes and clues at each stop.

GPS technology also allows the application to recognize when a guest has arrived at a Ritz-Carlton and can provide location specific advice, information and exclusive offers. The app also integrates the hotel’s concierge recommendations from Four Square, updated weekly, as well as allow access to hotel and resort activity calendars so that guests can always know what’s going on at area properties via “Push” notifications.

The free app is available on both Apple and Android platforms.

The couple’s guide to Valentine’s Day hotel packages

valentine's day It’s always fun to do something a little special for Valentine’s Day, and staying at a luxury hotel can definitely add an air of romance to the occasion. And because we know every couple has a different idea of romance, here is a guide based on your “couple personality” to help you decide where to spend this Valentine’s Day.

Nature-loving couples

Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Amelia Island, Florida

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, is a romantic hotel in general, with ambient restaurants and activities for couples like cooking classes, bike tours, wine tastings, and picturesque hikes. There is also a nightly “Beach Lovers Fire by the Dunes” where couples can snuggle with blankets, hot cocoa, and binoculars for star-gazing in front of a beach bonfire. For Valentine’s Day, couples can opt for the “Romance Package”, which includes accommodations, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival, breakfast for two, a rose-petal turndown service, free parking, and late check-out. Rates begin at $379 per night. Call 904-277-1100 to book.valentine's day Couples who love food and wine

Geneva on the Lake
Finger Lakes, New York

Geneva on the Lake is situated in the perfect location for those who love celebrating with delicious cuisine and free-flowing vino. The area is home to culinary trails, farm-to-table dining experiences, and over one hundred vineyards. During the month of Valentine’s Day, Geneva on the Lake is helping to enhance the wining and dining experience even further with a “Romantic Valentine’s Celebration” package, which includes accommodation in a suite that overlooks Seneca Lake and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, two elegant wine glasses, chocolates, a full breakfast, a bottle of locally produced wine or Fuji apple juice, a candlelit four-course dinner with live music, and, if you stay on a Friday, a wine and cheese reception. Rates begin at $330 per night. Call 800-343-6382 to book.

shore hotel Eco-conscious couples

Shore Hotel
Santa Monica, California

The Shore Hotel is an environmentally-friendly, luxury property right on the beach. They are LEED-registered, use local materials for building as much as possible, and recycled 50% of their construction waste, among other initiatives. During the entire month of February, the property is offering a “Pink Goes Green” package that includes accommodations, two bicycle rentals to use for your entire stay, a 60-minute couples massage at Tikkun Spa, a bottle of organic champagne or wine, and a $50 credit to The Lobster Restaurant, the on-site seafood eatery. Rates for the package start at $469 per night. Call 310-458-1515 to book.

affiniaCouples who love public displays of affection

Affinia Hotels
New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Affinia Hotels, a boutique hotel chain with multiple properties in New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C., is offering a “Kiss & Tell” package from now all the way until December 31, 2012. The package includes accommodations with upgrades (if available), a list of each city’s most romantic kissing spots, Affinia signature “Kiss Me” mints, a “Kisses Goodnight” turndown service that includes Hershey’s kisses, and a split of champagne. To make the package more fun, the hotel is asking couples to take kissing photos around the cities and post them to the Affinia Facebook page and the Affinia Twitter account. Prices start at $139 per night in New York and Washington D.C. and $149 a night in Chicago. Call 866-246-2203 and say the word “KISS” to book.

las vegas Wedding-obsessed couples

The Pop-Up Wedding Chapel at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada

Whether you’re looking to get married for the first time, renew your vows, or just trying it out for a day or two, The Pop-Up Wedding Chapel at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas offers a variety of wedding-inspired packages. Each includes a 20-minute ceremony, Molla Space eraser rings, and Sofia Coppola champagne poppers. Note that all packages are faux until you add a $150 legal binding fee.

For those who are looking to quickly seal the deal, there is the “Hitched in a Hurry Package” ($80), which includes the wedding ceremony, a photo booth photo, and a gift bag. Couples looking to get a little more out of the experience can opt for the “On a Whim Package” ($125), which will give you the wedding ceremony, a silk flower bouquet, two photo booth photos, six cans of champagne, party favors, a t-shirt, two cake tops, and a gift bag. And, for those couples who want to really go all out, there is the “Going to the Chapel Package” ($195), which includes the wedding ceremony, silk flower bouquet, a bottle of Sofia Coppola Champagne (swanky!), two photo booth photos, party favors, six cake tops, two t-shirts, Marquee Hotel nightclub guest list access for four people, and a gift bag. Call 702-698-7640 to book.

valentine's day Couples with sex on the brain

Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa
Miami Beach, Florida

Let’s be honest; for most couples, romance isn’t just about chocolates and tropical sunsets. And because Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa understands this, they’re hosting a “Sensuality & Sexuality” week from February 13-18, 2012. Not only will you be able to relax on the beach with your partner, you’ll also be able to learn how to heat things up in the bedroom (don’t worry if you’re single, as there are solo tips, as well). Some of the classes guests can partake in include:

  • Get in Touch with Yourself- Learn how to bring back and ignite sexual passion and vitality
  • Swap the Blue Pills for Dumbbells- Learn how to use exercise to increase sexual performance
  • Position Yourself- Couples will learn strengthening exercises that will not only work your muscles but also help you achieve unique and pleasurable sex positions
  • Keep It Up (for men)- Dr. McGee gives the men insight into how things like nutrition, relationships, stress, exercise, and everyday activities can affect sexual performance
  • Forty Beads Talk with Carolyn Evans (for women)- The ladies will learn a new method that will help transform their relationships

Rooms start at $605 a night. Call 800-742-9000 to book.

valentine's dayRustic and adventurous couples

Blackberry Farm
Walland, Tennessee

Blackberry Farm is a luxury resort housed in a renovated farmhouse situated in the hills of the Smoky Mountains. From February 10-14, 2012, the property is hosting an array of romantic activities, some of which include a romantic confections baking demo, horse-drawn carriage rides, aphrodisiac tasting menus, spa treatments for couples, private fly fishing lessons, and adventure sports like kayaking and white water rafting. Rates start at $695 which includes all meals. Call 865-984-8166 to book.

valentine's day Snow bunny couples

L’Auberge de Sedona
Sedona, Arizona

L’Auberge de Sedona is a luxury property situated on Oak Creek as well as in the midst of picturesque red-rock mountains. Through March 15, 2012, the property is offering couples a chance to experience the natural beauty of the area by hitting the slopes with their “Snowmance” package, which includes two-nights accommodation in either a guest room or fireplace and private patio-equipped luxury cottage, ski lift tickets to Flagstaff Snowbowl for each day booked, and a $75 credit to use for food and drinks or the spa. Prices start at $265 for a guest room and $320 for cottage. Call 928-282-1661 to book.

fairmontHigh-roller couples

Fairmont Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

For couples that like to live life in the fast lane, a stay at Fairmont Chicago will give them the chance to spend this Valentine’s Day lavishing in expensive tastes. From February 10-14, 2012, the property is offering a $100,000 “Romantic Getaway Package”, which includes your own butler throughout the stay as well as a Presidential Suite featuring a rose petal trail from the foyer to a bed of six dozen red roses. The package also includes a $10,000 gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago that will give sweethearts access to their exclusive Fifth Avenue Club, allowing for personalized shopping, doting slaes attendents, and the ability to shop during non-regular hours. And if you’re not feeling like a baller already, you will also receive a Marshall Pierce & Company 18 karat white diamond and sapphire necklace. Back at the resort, the high rolling continues with a lavendar and rose petal-filled bath for two, strawberries, Cristal Champagne, a ninety minute in-room couples’ massage, breakfast in bed each morning, as well as two fine dining experiences, one being a Chef’s Table-for-Two at the on-site Aria and the other being at your choice of hotel in Chicago. Call 312-565-8000 to book.

valentine's day Couples who can’t get enough chocolate

Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead
Atlanta, Georgia

From February 1 up until Valentine’s Day, the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, is offering a Valentine’s Day package that includes accommodations, breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, chocolate, champagne, a rose-petal turndown service, and overnight valet parking. Along with this, there is a calendar of chocolate-inspired activities for couples. Some sweet selections to expect include a Chocolate Afternoon Tea ceremony ($34), a chocolate desert-ladden brunch ($59), chocolate and wine pairing sessions (included), candy making classes ($125 per couple), and 50-minute chocolate spa treatments ($155-$290). Prices begin at $299 per night and the chocolate activities can be purchased a la carte. Call 404-237-2700 to book.

Luxury Vacation Guide 2012: Brazil

Long known as the land of tropical beaches, beautiful rainforests, and of course, Carnival, Brazil emerges in 2012 as a luxury destination on the verge of blowing its long under-the-radar cover.

Brazil, South America’s largest country offers something for everyone – exceptional cuisine, active pursuits, and of course, famous beaches and Brazilian bikinis. In true luxury fashion, consider a visit to the new Aman resort, Amanoca, about 1.5 hours outside of Rio, opening later this year. Other “luxe” staples include Ponta dos Ganchos, near Florianapolis on Brazil’s south coast, or split your time between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero – either way, you can’t go wrong. Of course, fans of luxury shopping won’t be missing out either. In 2012, the world’s sixth largest economy will see an influx of brands like Fendi and Prada. A recent Forbes article stated that Brazil was home to more high net worth individuals than Russia and India, and more billionaires than Saudi Arabia, France and Italy in 2010. Visit now before the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics turn this paradise into a tourist trap.

[flickr image via Matito]

Uniquely designed luxury hotel and office complex in China resembles ocean waves

unique hotel in china It’s truly amazing what architects can do nowadays in terms of innovative design, and the Hangzhou Waves, a new luxury hotel and office complex proposed in China, is a perfect example of this. While the structure is a 5 star accommodation, it is also a work of art, as it actually resembles the natural waves of the ocean.

Hangzhou Waves is a project of JDS Architects, a firm known for its unique approach to design and architecture. In fact, it says right on their website that their approach is “affirmatively social in its outcome, enthusiastic in its ambition and professional in its process. At the core of our architecture is the ability to take a fresh look at design issues through experienced eyes”.

The technique used to create the hotel and office space was to use ascending and descending cubes to create the two buildings, which mirror each from a back-to-back point of view. And just like the ocean, the building plays host to plots of lush plant life.

For a better idea of the project, check out the gallery below.