Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for October, 2009

London hotels sign up to Green Tourism scheme

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Luxury hotels in London have begun signing up to the London Development Agency’s (LDA) Green Tourism for London scheme.

More than 30 hotels and attractions have already signed up, including the Ritz, the O2 Centre and the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

The scheme, initially launched in October 2007 to help “improve resource and energy management”, awards Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditations to help visitors select the most eco-friendly venue.

LDA chief executive Manny Lewis told Travel Weekly that the scheme underlines the responsibility of all London’s businesses to the environment.

He said: “In signing up to the Green Tourism for London scheme these hotels and attractions are not just doing their bit for the environment but are making huge savings in their energy and water costs.”

It is also hoped that the scheme will help raise London’s green tourism profile amid growing global consumer concern over the impact of climate change.

Egypt attracting Britons

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Egypt has attracted significant interest from tourists, according to the UK’s leading long haul operator Kuoni Travel.

Their latest Egypt advertising video, showcasing the sights, landscapes and activities that travellers can hope to pack into a luxury holiday, has had more viewings than any other, attracting the interest of 25,000 tourists over the last six months.

Britons currently top the tourist list of visitors to Egypt, followed closely by Russians in second place.

Senior product manager Alicia Welsman noted its popularity is in no small part down to the amount the country has to offer in the way of luxury holiday experiences.

She said: “As a destination, Egypt has an enormous amount to offer; it’s relatively close to the UK, has reliably good weather and presents many cultural and historic attractions as well as fantastic diving and beaches.”

According to tourism consultancy firm IPK, Egypt enjoyed 21 per cent growth in international tourism numbers last year – the highest in the North African region.

Jamiaca’s luxury holiday boom

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Luxury hotels in Jamaica are enjoying an unprecedented boom in guests that has them bursting at the seams, it has been revealed.

Luxury holiday resorts such as the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel and the Hilton Hotel, currently hosting the UK’s Prince Charles and wife the Duchess of Cornwall on a visit, have found themselves fully booked.

Claudette Kenlock, director of sales and marketing at the Hilton Hotel told the Jamaica Observer that ISSA boys’ and girls’ Athletic Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston is likely to bring in even more visitors.

She told the newspaper: “We are at a 100 per cent occupancy and the Champs persons would add to it.”

Similarly, smaller luxury hotels such as the Knutsford Court Hotel and the Courtleigh Hotel are also feeling the effects of increased international popularity of both Jamaica and the sporting event.

Such has been the growth of Jamaica’s tourism industry that it is set to construct a state-of-the-art hospitality institute, due to be completed in 2009, to train tourism industry professionals.

Cyprus resort ‘up for World Travel Awards’

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

A top beach resort in Cyprus has been nominated for two awards, it announced yesterday.

 

Columbia Beach, a five star luxury hotel located on the island’s Pissouri Bay, is up for the Cyprus’ Leading Resort and Cyprus’ Leading Spa gongs at the World Travel Awards.

 

Voted for by around 160,000 travel agents from 200 different countries, the awards are well-regarded within the industry.

 

The Columbia Beach resort is arranged around an 80 metre lagoon pool – with suites located in luxury villas.

 

“Sloping roofs furnished with reclaimed terracotta tiles and shutters on the windows and abundance of natural wood give the hotel a discreetly aged and traditional look, created so that old and new blend together,” the resort operator said in a statement.

 

It added: “The atmosphere is calm, luxurious, away from every day life.”

 

The World Travel Awards are held in Crete this October.

Walking holidays in Zaragoza

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Keen hikers have been advised to take their summer holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees around the city of Zaragoza.

According to Collett’s Mountain Holidays, spectacular scenery and historical towns such as Aragon form a suitable setting for keen walkers to explore.

Visitors to the region this summer will also be able to enjoy the international Expo 2008, which takes place in Zaragoza this year.

Commenting, managing director of the holidays firm Tom Collett said: “Our guests will only be a two hour drive away from Expo but those who fly from the UK to Zaragoza will have an opportunity to visit Expo at the beginning or at the end of their holiday.”

Speaking more generally about the region’s attractions, he added: “The geography of the Pyrenees means that this type of holiday is primarily for walkers who relish the challenge of a series of breath taking day walks in wild and remote mountain terrain.

“Geographical highlights include the stunning 3,000 metre high peaks of the Sierra de la Partacua, the Sierra de Tendenera and the glacial Valle de Tena.”

Japanese inns offer an ‘authentic’ holiday

Monday, October 12th, 2009

A trip along Japan’s Nakasendo highway unlocks the feudal past of this most modern of countries, the Observer reports.

The ancient Tokyo to Kyoto thoroughfare is studded with minshuku – traditional family-run inns which give the holiday maker an insight into Japanese life.

Travelling the Nakasendo road, the earthquake-proof walls, bright neon signs and plate-glass frontages of big-city skyscrapers are left behind – in favour of simple wooden frames, tatami mats and a range of attractive countryside settings.

Tourists in search of luxury, however, have the option of staying at a ryokan – large, high-class establishments which offer a more “glamourous” overnight stay.

However, minshuku owner Fujiwara Natsuko told the newspaper that a more authentically Japanese experience is offered by the simpler ‘bed and breakfast’ style hotels.

“In a ryokan you arrive, go into your room and that is it, you don’t get any communication with the people running the place, or other guests,” she commented.

“But in a minshuku you meet people. In Japanese there is a phrase, ‘kawaka sen’ – ‘to meet faces’. It is just friendlier.”

Dubai to become ‘theme parks capital’

Friday, October 9th, 2009

A construction boom means that Dubai is to host the world’s biggest theme parks, the Times reports.

Dubailand, currently a stretch of desert on the outskirts of the city, will play host to a total of 26 theme parks when the £60 billion project is built.

Marvel Super Heros, Universal Studios and DreamWorks, along with Legoland, are all to build parks on the vast site – which in terms of land area is bigger than Singapore and twice the size of Disney World.

Luxury villas, a golf course designed by Ernie Els, along with three polo fields, will also be incorporated into the complex.

Ahmed Tag Eldeen, a marketing director at Dubailand, commented: “From December 2010, we will be opening a theme park every six months.”

Dubai aims to become one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations in the future, with target visitor numbers of 15 million a year by 2015.

Greyhound goes upmarket with new BoltBus service

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The iconic Greyhound bus, which has transported millions of tourists across America over recent decades, has undergone an upgrade.

A new “luxury” option for travellers known as the BoltBus has been launched by the operator to run between New York and Washington, Boston and Philadelphia, the Times reports.

Extra legroom and free on-board WiFi are two of the perks of the new models – which also have very cheap ticket prices.

In line with Greyhound’s “Bolt for a buck” media campaign, at least one seat on each bus has been made available for a single dollar – although these berths tend to sell out weeks in advance of the journey.

“All things considered, what’s not to like? For your American fix, you can now get two sexy cities for pretty much the price of one – twice the restaurants, twice the shops [and] twice the culture,” the report adds.

Tickets for the BoltBus can be booked through boltbus.com.

Iceland park ‘the biggest in Europe’

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The Scandinavian nation of Iceland is set to create the largest national park in Europe, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Vetnajokull, located to the south-east of the country, incorporates over three million acres of wilderness.

This means that around 13 per cent of the entire land area of Iceland is given over to the protected area.

The park, which has been given its new status by the Icelandic government, contains volcanoes, sand flats, lakes and ravines – as well as one of the biggest glaciers in the continent.

Tourist accessibility to Vetnajokull has been aided by the creation of visitor centres, clearly-marked trail routes and a new network of park rangers.

Commenting on the park’s creation, Olof Yrr Atladottir at the Icelandic Tourist Board said: “National park status will protect the area against development, pollution and other human interference in order to preserve it for future generations.”

The government aims to attract around 40,000 new tourists to the park each year.

Happy Birthday Bloody Mary

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

bloodymaryThe St. Regis New York is famed for creating the Bloody Mary in the King Cole Bar in 1934. Today, the luxury hotel is celebrating the birth of the Bloody Mary with inspired menus and Spa Treatments

The luxury hotel chain St. Regis hotels and resorts will be offering the Bloody Mary specials in all their luxury hotels around the world. Starting today and through the end of this year, St. Regis will offer guests opportunities to experience its signature cocktail in new and creative ways including a special Bloody Mary menu created by Manhattan and Washington DC’s leading chefs and restaurants, Bloody Mary inspired spa treatments, a Bloody Mary epicurean menu, the St. Regis Bloody Mary World Collection, and more. Invented in the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis landmark hotel in New York, the ‘Red Snapper,’ or Bloody Mary as it has come to be known, has been imitated and adapted endlessly by others throughout the years, but the original St. Regis recipe still stands as one of the most beloved cocktails ever created. To further underscore the celebration, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has issued an official proclamation, naming today, October 5th Bloody Mary Day in New York and Starwood CEO, Frits van Paasschen, will ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange to end the work day and kick off the anniversary in true St. Regis fashion.

The Bloody Mary has been a part of St. Regis history since 1934 when bartender Fernand Petiot introduced the ‘Red Snapper,’ which would later be renamed the Bloody Mary, at the King Cole Bar in The St. Regis New York. The famed cocktail was created when Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka cocktail he had in Paris. The formula was spiced up with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce, but since ‘Bloody Mary’ was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar, it was rechristened the ‘Red Snapper.’ While the name may not have caught on, the spicy drink most certainly did, and over the years it has become the signature cocktail of the St. Regis brand.