Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for September, 2007

Luxury Hotel Chains: Vail Resorts Outlines Specific ‘Green’ Measures for $1 Billion Ever Vail Development

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Vail Resorts has announced more detailed plans for making the $1 billion Ever Vail the largest LEED-certified, multi-use resort development project in the nation.

“The mission of Vail Resorts is to provide exceptional experiences at our extraordinary resorts,” said Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “What we are announcing with the Ever Vail development is completely aligned with two of our most important stakeholders — the spectacular natural environment that serves as the backdrop of Vail Mountain and the local community in which we operate.”

Vail Resorts is now several steps closer to making the 9.5-acre Ever Vail project at the base of Vail Mountain a reality. This past June, Ever Vail was accepted into the pilot program for LEED’s new “Neighborhood Development” certification program, putting it on the path to becoming the largest LEED-certified project for resort use in the U.S. In addition, Vail Resorts has clarified a number of aspects of the project, which will be presented to the Town of Vail staff as part of its approval process. After conducting extensive research and consulting with various green building sources, the Company plans to undertake the following innovative eco-sensitive measures to ensure that the project can be an icon for the town and a source of pride for the entire Vail Valley community.

  • Use only woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and local area beetle-kill Lodgepole pine trees in building construction. A Vail Valley company is currently working with the U.S. Forest Service to establish a procedure for reclaiming the dying trees to be used in the project. Wherever possible, the Company will purchase and incorporate local and regional “green” materials for construction. 
  • Incorporate a geothermal process (ground source heat pumps) to harness energy that would be used for nowmelt. Coils of durable material are embedded deep into the earth below. A fluid within the coil collects   heat from the earth and distributes it through surface streets and sidewalks to melt the snow. 
  • Install small hydro micro-turbines in Gore Creek to power the outdoor streetscape lighting in public areas. 
  • Preserve and enhance existing wetlands and Red Sandstone Creek through a new storm water runoff management system. 
  • Include significant affordable housing on-site (see below), helping to meet many of the diversity equirements of the LEED program.
  • Use reclaimed water from snowmelt for use as “gray water” in the toilets, rather than using potable water. Create a “closed-loop” gray water system for washing all mountain operations vehicles, such as snowcats and snowmobiles at the site of the new mountain operations maintenance yard. Finally, use a large amount of reclaimed water from the snowmelt system to augment flows in Red Sandstone Creek.
  • Orient all buildings to maximize the natural light, thereby creating greater energy efficiency.
  • Incorporate green, living roofs on several of the buildings within the project. A “green” roof is a system in which natural materials such as soil and indigenous grasses cover the roof structure to help reduce solar heat accumulation and storm water runoff.
  • Implement an erosion control program so as to mitigate any potential erosion during construction.
  • Establish a “flex car” program to minimize vehicle emissions on the I-70 corridor between Denver International Airport and Vail. Vail Resorts would provide a fleet of cars for owners of properties in Ever Vail to use while in town, thereby reducing the total number of cars in the valley and encouraging owners to use shuttle service and public transportation to and from the valley.

Ever Vail is located on a true “Brownfield” site at the base of Vail Mountain, currently known as West LionsHead, and will consist of over one million square feet of mixed-use space including residences, a hotel, offices, retail shops and restaurants, mountain operations facilities, a public parking garage, a new gondola and related skier portal and a public park. The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, established February 2007, integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design.

“Our announcement today is just the beginning of many more to come about our efforts to make sure Ever Vail is on the cutting edge of green building,” said Katz. “We hope it will become a symbol of our intrinsic relationship with the spectacular mountain environment in which we operate.”

As an important piece in creating a vibrant, year-round community in Ever Vail, Vail Resorts is proposing to include 123 beds within the project in what will likely be the most desirable affordable, deed-restricted housing available for purchase in the Vail Valley. The studio, one- and two-bedroom units will range in size from approximately 900 to 1,600 square feet and will be designed to attract singles, couples and families interested in living in a sustainable, pedestrian-friendly community with a mix of retail, restaurants and public amenities all within walking distance at the base of Vail Mountain. “We believe this is the most significant on-site affordable housing commitment ever proposed for a real estate project in Vail,” said Katz. “In addition to the affordable housing, our decision to include over 50 percent of our employee housing requirement on site is the right decision for both Ever Vail and the community.”

UK’s 50 top ‘green’ hotels

Monday, September 17th, 2007

UK hotels deemed to be at the forefront of sustainable tourism have been identified.

A range of independently owned and corporate properties share the honours in the first register of its kind.

The Green Tourism Business Scheme has handed out gold awards to those companies which have demonstrated a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and promoting sustainable tourism.

The list was compiled by a team of independent assessors who individually verified each establishment’s green credentials before granting them the highest possible grading, according to the organisation.

They had to achieve a minimum standard from more than 120 separate measures ranging from best management practice and energy saving to buying local produce and caring for wildlife and the landscape.

Green Tourism Business Scheme director Andrea Nicholas said: “This is more than just a list it is a sign of the future as more people are demanding that hotels have to be environmentally aware.

“Our assessors visited every hotel on the list and verified their claims to be green.

“We are delighted that so many places want to win the highest accolade – a Gold Award, many others have achieved Bronze or Silver. These hotels are pioneering the way.”

The Green Tourism Business Scheme was founded in partnership with VisitScotland ten years ago and has more than 1,400 members across the UK.

Britain’s 50 ‘Greenest’ Hotels:

  1. Ambassador Hotel, Brighton., East Sussex.
  2. Apex City Hotel, Edinburgh, Midlothian.
  3. Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa, Dundee, Angus.
  4. Apex European Hotel, Edinburgh, Midlothian.
  5. Apex International Hotel, Edinburgh, Midlothian.
  6. Argyll Hotel, Isle of Iona, Argyll.
  7. Bedruthan Steps Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall.
  8. Blueseas Hotel, Penzance, Cornwall.
  9. Budock Vean Hotel, Falmouth, Cornwall.
  10. Careys Manor Hotel & Senspa, Brockenhurst, Hampshire.
  11. Castle Campbell Hotel, Dollar, Clackmannanshire.
  12. Cleaton House, Westray, Orkney.
  13. Crown and Cushion Hotel, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
  14. Dartmouth Golf and Country Club, Dartmouth, Devon.
  15. Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, Melrose, Roxburghshire.
  16. Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel, Alnwick, Northumberland.
  17. Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland St Andrews, Fife.
  18. Glazebrook House Hotel, Ivybridge, Devon.
  19. Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire.
  20. Greenbanks Country Hotel, Wendling, Norfolk.
  21. Herrislea House, Tingwall, Shetland.
  22. Hilton Colyumbridge Hotel, Aviemore, Inversness-shire.
  23. Isles of Glencoe Hotel & Leisure Centre, Fort William, Inverness-shire.
  24. Jurys Inn, Glasgow, Glasgow, Strathclyde.
  25. Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh, Midlothian.
  26. Langass Lodge, Locheport, Isle of North Uist.
  27. Loch Torridon Hotel, Achnasheen, Ross-shire.
  28. New Hall, St Andrews, Fife.
  29. New Lanark Mill Hotel, Lanark, Lanarkshire.
  30. Park Hotel, Thurso, Caithness.
  31. Paskins Town House, Brighton, East Sussex.
  32. Pennyghael Hotel, Pennyghael, Isle of Mull.
  33. Pool House Hotel, Poolewe, Ross-shire
  34. Primrose Valley Hotel, St Ives, Cornwall.
  35. Radison SAS Glasgow, Glasgow, Renfrewshire.
  36. Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian.
  37. Rufflets Country House & Garden Restaurant, St Andrews, Fife.
  38. Station Hotel, Dumfries, Dumfriesh
  39. Stein Inn Waternish, Isle of Skye
  40. Strattons Hotel, Swafham, Norfolk.
  41. Sunny Brae Hotel, Nairn, Inverness-shire.
  42. Tables Hotel, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye.
  43. The Ballachulish Hotel, Fort William, Inverness-shire
  44. The Bonham, Edinburgh, Midlothian
  45. The Foveran Hotel, Kirkwall, Orkney
  46. The Howard, Edinburgh, Midlothian
  47. The Silverdale Hotel, Brighton, East Sussex.
  48. The White Horse Inn, Chichester, West Sussex.
  49. The Winnock Hotel (Drymen), Loch Lomond, Stirlingshire.
  50. Willowburn Hotel, Oban, Argyll. 

Destination Spotlight: Brittany

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Brittany is the ideal destination for a vacation when you want to escape the challenges of day-to-day life without traveling too far. Here are the top five reasons to visit.

Brittany is well-known for its long summers and mild winters. Average temperatures in the summer are around 25 degrees C while in the winter it can be as mild as 15 degrees C.

These days it seems anybody who’s anybody plays golf. And Brittany has not been slow on the uptake. There are currently 34 golf courses in the region ranging from 9 hole beginner courses to private pro courses. Golf fans can’t go far wrong.

Thalassotherapy is the medical use of seawater. It was developed here in Brittany during the 19th century. The province is home to 13 thalassotherapy spas which offer both day packages and vacations.

Brittany hosts almost three hundred events each year so regardless of when you visit there is sure to be something going on. From the Art Rock music festival to theatre productions and sporting events you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy.

There are plenty of interesting sights to see in Brittany, the most famous being the megalithic monuments. The monuments are found scattered over the peninsula and the purpose of them is unknown. Tourists flock to the unusual stones all year round.

Destination Spotlight: Aspen

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Colarado’s largest city, Aspen, has long been acknowledged as the perfect location for a winter getaway.  The ski playground for the rich and famous, during the winter months Aspen is never short of visitors.  But that’s not to say it can’t be enjoyed in the summer too. Here are the top five reasons to visit.

Whether you’re heading to Colarado for a winter break or a summer holiday there is plenty to do on Aspen’s mountains.  Skiing is huge here and during the warmer season hiking and mountain climbing are just as popular. Red Mountain and Smuggler Mountain are two of the favourties in the city.

Water Sports
If it’s an adventure holiday you’re after then Aspen will not disappoint. There are three rivers near the city meaning water sports are a popular hobby. Try kayaking or white water rafting. There are instructors on hand so even amateurs can have a go.

And if the mountains and the lakes don’t provide ebough activity for you there’s always paragliding! There are plenty of paragliding providers in the city with instructors giving you training before you take to the sky. The sport is becoming more and more popular in the city thanks to the thrill-seeking vacationers.

In July, Aspen hosts the Blue Notes Jazz Festival featuring some of the greats of the Jazz world. But if you don’t make it to thar don’t worry. The city is big on music and regularly features performances from major acts.

Let’s face it, we all love celeb-spotting and there’s few places better to do it than Aspen. A host of Hollywood stars and award-winning singers vacation in the city with many owning property here. Keep your eyes peeled for Mariah Carey who reportedly spends Christmas here every year and Goldie Hawn who owns a home here.

September: Rocco Forte introduces two luxury hotel experiences

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

A message from Rocco Forte:

Every hotel which joins my Collection has to have a special appeal. This is certainly true of the two newest additions, Le Richemond in Geneva and The Charles Hotel in Munich.

We now have eleven hotels in the Collection. Although each is unique, they are all united with a common philosophy which ensures the highest standards wherever you stay. But I hope in each one you will find a special and different experience.

Rocco Forte, Chairman
The Rocco Forte Collection

Two September incentives:

Sophistication in the heart of Geneva
Reopening after a major refurbishment on 21st September, Le Richemond is one of Geneva’s most prestigious hotels with stunning views of the Alps and Lake Geneva. The interior design combines the city’s rich heritage with a light, contemporary style.

Sweet Deal Package ›› Relax instantly with a private limousine from the airport, a bottle of champagne and access to Le Spa. Book by 31/12/2007.

Munich’s gateway to tranquillity
Located by the old Botanical Gardens in the centre of the city, The Charles Hotel opens on 4th October. It combines contemporary interiors and hi-tech facilities with historical touches inspired by the Bavarian capital.

Munich Discovery Package ›› Discover Munich with a limousine city tour, a foot massage in the spa and an aperitif in the bar. Book by 31/12/2007.

5 Great reasons to visit Dubai – a true luxury hotel destination

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

In recent years Dubai has gone from being a country with a relatively small tourism industry to one of the world’s hottest holiday hotspots. And it’s not hard to see why. Here are the top five reasons to visit.

1 Nightlife

Dubai is famous for its cosmopolitan spirit. There are over 100 nightclubs and plenty of bars and restaurants. There is also regular firework displays so you’re night is sure to go with a bang!

2 Shopping

If you like a Bargain, you’ll love Dubai. The world-famous gold market is where you can find gorgeous jewelry at great prices along with other unique treats. But if designer shopping is more your thing then you won’t be disappointed. The country is home to plenty of chic shops and boutiques.

3 Architecture

Dubai’s architecture is amongst the most remarkable in the world. The modern buildings where designed by a host of leading architects resulting in some of the most breathtaking buildings you’ll ever see.

4 Beaches

Dubai is home to plenty of stunning beaches with perfect white sand and gorgeous blue waters, offering the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon.

5 Weather

Dubai’s climate is nothing short of perfect. In the summer it is sunny almost every day and even during winter despite the odd bit of rainfall the sun still shines. Temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees C during the summer months so be sure to pack your sunscreen!

$2 billion keeps Vail at the top of its game

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Vail’s $1 billion renewal has quickly become a $2 billion and increasing renovation — with no end in sight.

Developments including a Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton Residences are under way, and two more large developments — including a W Hotel and a St. Regis — are in negotiations.

Town officials say the construction crane is the new town bird, with eight looming across the landscape.

Resort watchers say the development will help keep the 40-year-old ski town at the top of its game.

Age and the need for new infrastructure have made this the right time to redevelop, said Mayor Rod Sifler.

“It’s very competitive out there,” Sifler said. “Every resort is trying to be a summer resort too. We had to redevelop and grow.”

Vail Resorts Inc.’s three projects — Front Door, the Arrabelle at Vail Square and the proposed Ever Vail — account for a large portion of the development, but other owners are also jumping on the remodeling wagon.

Vail has been named the No. 1 ski resort in North America 14 of the last 19 years, and both developers and officials want to keep it in the top spot.

“There’s no question in our minds that the on-mountain experience at Vail has no comparison, and what we are looking to do is make sure the base area is in the same league,” said Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

Vail’s renewal is projected to create more than 450 new lodging units and more than 100,000 square feet of new shopping and dining space.

Plans call for hotels, condominiums, fractional ownership units, retail space, convention services, restaurants and two ice skating rinks.

All of the development will help keep Vail near the top of ski resort life, said Stan Zemler, town manager.

“It’s a fresh face on an image that is already high-end,” he said. “There has never been as much development or redevelopment going on in Vail’s history.”

Vail Resorts’ Front Door project is a redevelopment of the area surrounding the Vista Bahn lift. It will include coffee shops, sitting areas and 13 chalets, all of which have already sold for $10 million to $15 million each.

The Arrabelle, in the middle of Lionshead, boasts condominiums, residences, retail outlets and restaurants. City officials say the development of the $250 million Arrabelle was the catalyst for the frenzy of activity.

“The quality of the experience that people had on the mountain was not being reflected in the portal,” said Katz. “The Arrabelle was the first step to say we are going to take Lionshead and bring it up to par with the rest of the experience.”

Other developments include the $180 million Solaris, which is replacing the old Crossroads commercial and residential building. It is offering buy-ins at $1.9 million plus $35,000 annual dues for fractional ownership.

Solaris is planning to be the new town square, said Craig Cohn, director of sales, marketing and leasing for Solaris Residences. The project is estimated to be complete for the winter of 2009.

Because development is on-going and some buildings are down because of construction, the town estimates taking a hit of $45,900 in anticipated sales tax this year.

But the town expects the total impact of redevelopment to bring in $5.9 million in additional sales tax revenue in the next five years, said Kelly McDonald, Vail economic development manager.

Katz hopes to help rename Lionshead as Vail Square to create synergy between Vail Village, then Vail Square and extending on the west with Ever Vail.