Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for March, 2009

Self-service kiosks introduced at Latin American airports

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Continental Airlines will now provide self-service check-in kiosks throughout 13 airports in a bid to improve their customer experience.

Those embarking on luxury vacations in 13 Latin American destinations including Acapulco in Mexico, home to the Fairmont Pierre Marques and Belize, where The Inn at Roberts Grove is located.

Kiosks will be provided by technology company NCR Corporation. Vice president Michael O’Laughlin noted that increased tourism in the region has raised the bar in terms of customer service expectation.

He explained: “Increases in tourist arrivals and expenditures continue to make Latin America a top ranking tourist market.

“As tourism increases, so does the need to provide travellers with an efficient and hassle-free airline check-in experience.”

Other popular luxury holiday destinations that will be getting the self-service technology installed at airports include Panama City in Panama and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Continental Airlines recently made the top 50 list of Fortune magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list.

Britons flock to Europe for luxury holidays

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Britons are flocking to Europe to spend their hard-earned cash on luxury holidays, according to research by M&S Money.

The amount of Euros spent abroad is currently valued at £18 billion, with Euro holiday cash currently amounting to 58 per cent of all currency sales within the UK.

However, Robin Broke, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva), notes that spending abroad tends to be curtailed by Brits when sterling is weak.

“At the moment the pound has weakened a lot against the euro, so most of Europe’s quite a lot more expensive. This will have some sort of impact.

However, he added that the “trend is still there, not least because we’ve got these very tempting low cost airlines and we’ve got a very well developed outward package tour industry”.

Britons are currently only second to the Germans in terms of going abroad for holidays.

The rise of the US mini-break

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

A growing number of Britons are willing to fly across the Atlantic for their mini-breaks, new research by the Halifax has revealed.

More than 1.9 million British tourists flocked to the US in 2007 to sample some of the many luxury holidays available.

The Far East attracted the next largest mini-break cohort of Britons, with more than half a million setting off to destinations such as Thailand, Japan and Singapore.

Research by the lender also showed that the number of Brits taking a mini-break is set to increase by 35 per cent in 2008 compared to last year.

Meanwhile, one third of those surveyed (33 per cent) claimed that a growing tolerance of long flight times was behind their increased desire to travel far and wide for even the shortest of trips.

But with more Britons exposing themselves to unexpected conditions across different continents, travel insurance for even mini-breaks lasting less than a week is “vital”.

According to Paul Birkhead, senior manager of Pricing and Underwriting at Halifax Travel Insurance: “Travel insurance will cover you for the unexpected, making it vital that everyone has it.

“Lost baggage, delayed flights or illness can prove expensive, especially if you are 1000′s of miles away from home.”

Bilbao’s international popularity soars

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Bilbao in Spain is fast becoming an international hotspot, according to Lonely Planet.

The northern city is already famed for its cultural significance as the largest city in the Basque region, but is has enjoyed a surge in popularity as it targets a wider international audience.

According to Korina Miller, commissioning editor for Spain and Portugal at Lonely Planet, Bilbao has a versatile appeal to match any established luxury holiday destination.

“Mellow by day and hopping by night, Bilbao has arrived as an international hotspot in a stylishly late fashion.

Bilbao has reinvented itself as a vibrant metropolis, something which is increasingly recognised by international visitors.”

According to cityguide.com, the 19-gallery Guggenheim Museum is by far the most impressive attraction, showcasing the finest works of some of the 20th century’s most accomplished artists such as Picasso, Warhol and de Kooing.

Architects showcase villa designs in Thailand

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Architects and clients are increasingly looking to Thailand to develop some of their most innovative luxury villas and hotel designs, according to an industry expert.

Those keen on purchasing a villa to rent or to have regular luxury holidays abroad, need look no further than Phuket in Thailand, where there is a substantial variation among styles to suit most clients.

Hong Kong-based architect, Adrian McCarrol, explained that much of the revolution of Thai architecture is due to traditional styles not being conducive to “contemporary lifestyle”.

He said: “Owners often tell us that they want their home to embrace their modern way of living but they also want to sense that they are in Thailand.

“Reinterpretation of forms and techniques can be used to infuse a design with a more genuine representation of the local culture and the use of local materials can help reinforce these ideas.”

Meanwhile, the Thai prime minister recently unveiled proposals for the country’s first Casino’s in tourist hotspots including Phuket, Pattaya, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai.

Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day tourism focus

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

St Patrick’s Day is a “good focus” for attracting tourists to Ireland, according to Tourism Ireland.

The tourist board recently unveiled a €37 million (around £28 million) campaign to promote Ireland as a luxury holiday destination in connection with St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

According to a spokesperson for Tourism Ireland, the country is attracting an increasingly international audience for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, particularly the capital Dublin.

She said: “Once confined to a single day, it now spreads itself over a week and attracts an international audience of well over one million.

“A carnival atmosphere provides a backdrop for days of music and activities, which include street theatre, fireworks displays, pageants, exhibitions, music and dance, with the highlight of the festival being the city’s St Patrick’s Day Parade.”

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, but the Dublin festival begins on March 13th.

Tourism Ireland is hoping to attract more than nine million visitors to Ireland in 2009.

‘Hot’ favourites for honeymooners

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Luxury vacations to somewhere “hot and exotic” are the favourites for honeymooners, according to a leading industry expert.
 
One hot destination, St Lucia, has proved particularly popular and was recently voted the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination at the 2007 World Travel Awards.
 
However, according to a spokesperson for online wedding community website hitched.co.uk, the Maldives is one of the most popular destinations for its newly wed members.
 
She said: “Honeymoons do vary depending on what type of couple you have, but the majority tend to go for somewhere hot and exotic.
 
Far away islands have a feel of tranquillity, peace and quiet, with the romance factor thrown in as well. It is a honeymoon after all!”
 
She also noted that twin centre trips are becoming increasingly popular which “might consist of a twin centre holiday like Bangkok and then onto Vietnam, driving across America, or deep sea diving off the coast of Australia“.
 
Meanwhile, recent research conducted by the Foreign Office has revealed that around 70 per cent of British stag and hen parties are held abroad.

Five-star luxury hotel to arrive in Auckland

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

The former New Zealand Reserve Bank is to become an exclusive luxury five-star resort, it has been revealed.

Luxury hotel chain Accor’s Pullman Auckland is set to open during the second quarter of 2010 and will feature 290 favourably-sized guestrooms to entice its customers to stay.

Conference facilities will also be capable of housing up to 800 delegates at any one time, reports Scoop.

Vice president of Accor in New Zealand and Fiji, Paul Richardson, told the magazine that the new $100 million (£40 million) project will compliment the mid range hotels in the city.

“The environment is designed around flowing spaces, comfortable facilities, the latest technology and warm, professional service.”

New Zealand’s tourism industry has recently been praised for its luxury villas and lodges, taking advantage of its stretching countryside.

The country’s hoteliers are likely to benefit from the most recent tourism campaign launched in India, where it expects to visitation to grow by up to 20 per cent, reports TravelBizmonitor.

Not everyone hates the cold!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

The latest goings on at our favourite winery, Chapel Down.

The snow and very cold weather may be bad news for some of you, and a joy for others. For us, its mainly good news. Firstly, we all enjoy the look of the place with a covering of snow and its good to have a snowball fight and a bit of sledging. Secondly, in the vineyards, its no bad thing. The vines will be thoroughly dormant and that’s good news. For the last two years we have had exceptionally mild winters and we think that has been one of the causes of the lower harvests we have had in 2007 and 2008 as the vines have remained stressed over the winter and not become dormant for long enough. I know I’m grumpy if I dont sleep well. In addition, the various bugs that can cause problems will not have survived this cold snap.

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The vineyard on the first day of the snow
On the downside, visitor numbers to shops and restaurants generally are down. Remarkably, the restaurant here at the vineyard continues to thrive and had its busiest Saturday ever on the 24th January!

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A rare quiet time on the balcony at dusk
Of course winter means its pruning time. Our teams are out in vineyards preparing the vines for this year. Owen went out with a camera the other day and took the following shots of the vineyard. Arty isn’t he?

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It seems that most businesses around here are pruning too – but its people that are being cut. It seems that everyone is cutting back on their spending and looking for bargains. There are lots of things to cut back on, but I think life is too short to drink bad wine. It may cost a couple of pounds more, but it’s good for you (in moderation), is something to look forward to and share and it relaxes you. I dont think we should compromise on feeling good with your partner, friends or family, no matter how tough things get. Fortunately. it seems many agree with me.

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Please remember whilst you are bargain-hunting though. The real saving you make in sourcing local produce is the support you give to local workers and keeping employment and maintaining healthy communities. We do. We have an active sourcing policy of Kent and our local community first, England or British second, Europe third, Rest of the World if we must. Perhaps if more people did the same….

Frazer Thompson
Managin Director

Chabil Mar Villas Wins Prestigious TripAdvisor Award

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards honors the world’s best hotels, earning their distinction from those who know them the best – real travelers.  

They rated Chabil Mar Villas as one of the best luxury hotels in the world. 
 
Recent TripAdvisor travelers rated their experience at Chabil Mar Villas as “an exceptional resort”, “a perfect vacation”, and the “#1 hotel and the #1 location”. See more comments from TripAdvisor travelers.

More About Chabil Mar Villas
Chabil Mar Villas is Placencia’s only private, luxury resort.  Situated on over 400 feet of gorgeous oceanfront, each villa on this lushly landscaped property is tastefully designed, appointed with original artwork and features excellent views from private verandas.  Two infinity pools, free Wi-Fi in the comfort of your villa and a unique “guest-only” restaurant with butler service make Chabil Mar Villas a one-of-a-kind resort experience.