Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for April, 2009

Hawaii resort outdoes US spas

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

The Mauna Lani Resort in Hawaii has been awarded the highly coveted top spot on the Conde Nast Traveler magazine Top Hawaii Spa List for 2008.

Mauni Lani Spa, located on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii, was also named the third-best spa in North America and the Caribbean.

The award double will ensure that both the luxury hotel and country remains confident of tourism levels going into the summer season, following the reopening of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on April 10th.

Expressing his delight at the accolades, director of resort marketing and sales Mark Glickman claimed that the unique luxury holiday experience the spa provides was the reason for the Mauni Lani Resort’s success.

He added: “There is no greater accolade than one that comes from our spa enthusiast guests from all over the world.”

Meanwhile, Lake Austin Spa Resort received the best spa in America ranking, while the Tanjong Jara Resort in Malaysia got the Asia Pacific and Indian Subcontinent title.

Delay flying after surgery abroad

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Travellers having surgery abroad have been advised to extend their trip.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesperson, Jason Wakeford notes that some luxury hotel time can be the difference between making a full recovery and returning with problems.

Research by the CAA claims that 514 emergency calls made by UK airlines in 2007 were due to medical conditions, resulting in 58 diversions.

But Mr Wakeford notes that while most conditions are unlikely to cause problems, a delayed trip in which to indulge in a luxury holiday is advisable as a safety measure.

He said: “After day surgery, if you have had that abroad, you may want to delay your return trip to give yourself some extra time to recover.”

CAA guidelines note that reduced barometric pressure and jet lag can all complicate the effects of medication and contribute to travellers’ thrombosis.

Guidelines also advise a prolonged delay of air travel following major surgery, particularly cardiovascular intervention.

No frills airlines not so budget for families

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Budget airlines may not offer good value for money for families on luxury holidays, the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has claimed.

While the headline price per air ticket may be attractive, there are other considerations, such as child-friendly facilities and staff, when booking a family onto a flight abroad.

According to Sean Tipton of Abta, budget airlines don’t offer child fares and will not offer a heavier baggage allowance that is often necessary to cope with any additional family luggage such as a buggy.

By comparison, he notes that “any traditional airline or charter airline will do discounted fares for children, no frills carriers do not”.

He added: “Not always but in many cases, they will fly from inconvenient airports and if you’ve got small children then obviously you’ll want to be in your hotel as quickly as possible.”

Virgin was voted the most child-friendly airline in a Rough Guides survey published in February 2008, while British Airways (BA) was voted second.

Meanwhile, budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet’s combined score was less than one third the individual score for either BA or Virgin.

Newseum opens in Washington

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

A now useless radio tower, parts of the Berlin Wall and a bullet-ridden car are just some of the items on show in the newly opened Newseum in Washington, US.

Tourists on luxury holidays in the home of the White House, Capitol Hill and one of the world’s first heralds of free speech can now embark on an exploratory tour of the history of news.

Among the thousands of artefacts on show is the World Trade Centre broadcast tower and a 25-meter high marble engraving of the US constitution’s First Amendment.

In keeping with Washington’s historic significance, the Newseum’s executive director notes that it is “dedicated to free speech, free press and free spirit”.

The museum is conveniently located on a famous tourist route, positioned strategically between the presidential White House and the famous Capitol Hill landmark.

Interactive features include the Great hall of News where viewers are surrounded by a constant flow of uncensored news both new and old, and the Hot Seat room where tourists are encouraged to compile a report for broadcast to deadline.

Over-50s keen on active holidays

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Over-50s tourists are shunning traditional luxury holidays abroad and are keen to take a more active route, new research has revealed.

According to a survey by Alliance & Leicester, one fifth of those polled see turning 50 as an opportunity to try new and exiting challenges.

But while one in ten claim to feel fit enough to run a marathon, other thrill seekers are not likely to be satisfied until they have had a luxury holiday that offers some extra adventure.

Commenting on the survey, current account manager at the lender, Emma Walker, explained that it is no surprise over-50s don’t see age as a barrier.

She said: “More and more over 50s are fit and active well into the later stages of life, so it is no surprise that physically challenging activities such as skydiving and mountain climbing are also on the to-do list.”

Other to-do list additions for over-50s tourists include scuba diving and 4×4 off-road driving. Check out all of the Drake & Cavendish Holiday Ideas.

“Fascinating” China offers cultural adventure

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Luxury travellers should not be put off exploring China because of recent political events, it has been claimed.

According to official statistics quoted by the Xinhua News Agency, an estimated five million overseas tourists will visit Beijing during the year of the Olympic Games.

Tour operator the Traveller believes that it would be unfortunate if the boycotting of the Olympic relay run by pro-Tibet protestors in Paris and London overshadowed people’s opinions of travelling there.

The success of the recent Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the British Museum in London highlights people’s interest in Chinese culture, Edan Harvey, product manager at the firm explained.

“[China] is a fascinating country with a host of cultural attractions,” he said.

“People should travel to learn what is going on in the world, to make contact with cultures and communities outside their own to have interface with ordinary people.

“This interface has historically led to understanding and has been a force for good.” he added.

According to figures from the World Tourism Organisation, China received 49.6 million international visitors in 2006, making it the fourth most visited country in the world.

Luxury train travel ‘becoming more popular’

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

More and more people are recognising the reliability and comfort of travelling by train, one train operator has claimed.

According to Virgin Trains, increasing numbers of holiday makers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint when travelling by air or by car.

As such interest train travel has soared, buoyed by faster journey times via Eurostar at London’s new St Pancras station and well-connected links across mainland Europe.

Philippa Richardson, communications manager for Virgin Trains, said that people are now looking at rail travel in “a more favourable light”.

“More and more people are choosing [rail travel] as a means of getting to destinations they might have previously gone to by car or plane,” she said.

“Rail networks around Europe are well-used and I think people are thinking about it more and more as a viable destination,” she added.

For centuries, travelling by rail has been seen as the height of luxury and glamour with the opulent Orient Express at the forefront of many travellers’ minds.

Train operators around Europe have become increasingly aware of the importance of providing passengers with an enjoyable travel experience and first-class travel often offers luxurious added extras for that special getaway.

Istanbul is one of Europe’s top tourism spots

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Turkey’s largest city Istanbul has one of the highest tourism revenues in Europe, according to Deloitte.

Research published in the Hurriyet newspaper indicated that the city enjoyed 22.1 per cent growth in revenue from tourism last year.

Only Moscow and Paris rank higher than Istanbul, with the luxury holiday hotspot coming ahead of both Paris and Venice respectively.

Chairman of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) Tanil Kucuk claimed that its success is in large parts due to its significance as a “cultural centre”.

Sukran Yurekli of the Tourism, Restaurant, Club Owners and Directors Association (TURYID) told Today’s Zaman that tourists make up 20 per cent of its member’s clientele.

Istanbul is now in the top 20 tourist destinations in the world, with around three million more visitors in 2007 compared to 2006.

Alcohol ban during Phuket’s Songkran festivities

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Those taking luxury holidays in Phuket in time for the famed Songkran Thai New Year’s celebrations will have to do so without alcohol, reports suggest.

A 30-day ban on alcohol, announced at the start of the month, will still be in force throughout celebrations taking place between April 10th and13th.

But authorities are doing their best to minimise the impact of the ban by setting up activity stations at popular destinations.

Vice minister Dumwrong Raknaa told the Phuket Gazette: “Tourists don’t want to see people drinking, throwing water around or having uncontrolled fun”.

They will instead be invited to “learn about our great cultural traditions, such as fruit carving and basket weaving”.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently announced that Phuket’s Patong Beach would play host to a huge Songkran Festival, expected to bring in more than 50,000 tourists.

Meanwhile, the Office of Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) in Thailand has banned the sale of all high-pressure waterguns in a bid to curtail waterspray attacks that have become synonymous with the festival.

Drive-thru service offered at 5-star resort

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest, Hungary has developed an innovative way to attract non-hotel guests to its doors, it has been revealed.

As of April 1st, the capital’s Gresham Palace will offer a drive-thru laundry and dry cleaning service for anyone with dirty clothes in need of a clean.

According to the hotel’s public relations manager Krisztina Hornok, the luxury hotel was keen to capitalise on a gap it saw in the market and be “among the first to offer this to the public”.

She told Caboodle that the Gresham Palace offering is “nice and convenient”.

“Simply drive down into the parking garage and drive to the exit where we have a free parking place next to the facility with an attendant ready to help,” she explained.

Luxury hotels have long offered additional services to non-guests, including use of restaurant, bar and internet facilities.

However, this latest offering might concern competitors such as the Hilton Budapest Hotel and the Adina Apartment Hotel, which may be keen to introduce such a scheme themselves.