Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for January, 2010

Orient Express Hotels add Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea to their luxurty hotel portfolio

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Orient-Express Hotels has purchased two distinctive properties in Taormina, Sicily from The Framon Group.

The 83-key Grand Hotel Timeo is considered by many to be the most luxurious hotel in Taormina, and the nearby 78-key Villa Sant’Andrea has a private beach on the Bay of Mazzaro.

Commenting on the transaction, Paul White, President and Chief Executive of Orient-Express Hotels said,”These hotels typify Orient-Express Hotels’ core business – established properties with history and personality. Currently, they both punch below their weight and because they occupy a premier position in the Sicilian market, we are confident we can make significant improvements in performance, as we integrate the properties into the Orient-Express Hotels collection”

Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, has been growing in popularity as a tourist destination and was recently voted Conde Nast Traveller UK Readers’ favorite holiday destination in the magazine’s 2009 Travel Awards. The Grand Hotel Timeo is adjacent to one of the city’s most famous attractions, the legendary Greek Theater, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. Below, looking out across the sea, Villa Sant’Andrea, built in 1830, is right on the beach. The two properties, linked by a private shuttle, have the synergy of Hotel Splendido and Splendido Mare, giving guests the best of both worlds Taormina has to offer. The city has good transport links and is located 40 minutes from Catania International Airport, which has direct flights to all major European cities and good connections to those serving the US.

Grand Hotel Timeo

Built in 1873, the Grand Hotel Timeo occupies an excellent position in the historical center of the city. From the hotel’s panoramic terrace, guests can admire spectacular views of Mount Etna and the coastline. Since the 19th century and the era of the Grand Tour, the hotel has been popular with an elite group of international travellers, who choose to vacation here. Each guest room has its own terrace and the hotel’s ‘Il Dito e la Luna’ restaurant specializes in regional Sicilian cuisine, in elegant surroundings.

The Company anticipates that post refurbishment, The Grand Hotel Timeo will trade at RevPAR levels closer to those of its key Italian properties, Hotel Cipriani in Venice and Hotel Splendido in Portofino.

Villa Sant’Andrea

Villa Sant’Andrea is located on the Bay of Mazzaro, the heart of Taormina’s seaside district. The atmosphere is that of a private villa set in lush gardens, with a private beach. Several of the hotel’s suites open onto a private terrace. The ‘Oliviero’ restaurant, on a panoramic terrace overlooking the Calabrian coast, is known for its fish and seafood specialities.

The Company anticipates that the Villa Sant’Andrea will trade, post the refurbishment which will lift it into a category of its own among the beachfront hotels, at RevPAR levels closer to those achieved at its properties Hotel Caruso in Ravello and Villa San Michele in Florence.

TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Celebrity Hotels

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Which of your favourite stars provide a ‘star treatment’?!

1 Rustic Luxe with Robert Redford: Sundance Resort, Sundance, UtahSituated at the base of Mount Timpanogos on 6,000 acres of rolling hills and babbling brooks, the Sundance Kid’s retreat has TripAdvisor travelers raving about the resort’s rustic beauty, excellent service, and outdoor activities. “Robert Redford did us all a favor by opening this resort, remaining loyal to nature, and preserving the beauty of the canyon,” noted one TripAdvisor traveler.
2 City Chic with Robert De Niro: The Greenwich Hotel, New York, New YorkTravelers are talking about the understated elegance and complimentary in-room snack baskets found at Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in New York City. Located on a quiet street in Tribeca, De Niro’s hideaway features 88 uniquely decorated rooms and suites, plus a zen-like indoor pool enclosed in a 250-year-old Japanese bamboo farmhouse. One TripAdvisor traveler commented on the celebrity clientele that The Greenwich Hotel attracts, “We stopped by the drawing room for coffee and were surprised to see that Mel Gibson chose to do the same at the table next to us.”  
3 Rejuvenation Retreat with Olivia Newton-John: Gaia Retreat & Spa, Brooklet, AustraliaWith only 20 rooms, this boutique retreat features tranquil grounds, healthy food, a full-service spa, fitness center, and relaxing pool.  One TripAdvisor traveler said, “The one thing above all else was the incredible feeling of calm I felt as soon as I arrived on the property. It’s almost magical.”  
4 In the Jungle with Francis Ford Coppola: Blancaneaux Lodge, San Ignacio, BelizeAt Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize, architecture blends effortlessly with nature. Situated in the northwest corner of the 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the lodge’s high-end cabanas and villas enhance the natural surroundings with thatched roofs, open-air living areas, and hammocks. One TripAdvisor traveler noted that, “Blancaneaux definitely provides a luxurious experience – though the setting is rustic, the accommodations are not.”  
5 Life’s a Beach with Gloria Estefan: Costa d’Este Beach Resort, Vero Beach, FloridaOne thing guests won’t experience at Costa d’Este, Gloria Estefan’s posh Vero Beach resort, is a diva attitude from its celebrity owner.  Costa d’Este boasts a beachside location, pool, spa, and a Cuban restaurant. As one TripAdvisor traveler revealed, “We had drinks at the pool before dinner and to our surprise Gloria Estefan was there with some friends. We saw many people approach her for pictures and she was as sweet and gracious as could be.”  
6 Haute Travel with Donatella Versace: Palazzo Versace, Main Beach, Queensland, AustraliaHigh fashion and hospitality join forces at Donatella Versace’s trendy Palazzo Versace resort on Australia’s Gold Coast. All aspects of the resort were designed to reflect the Versace brand, including luxe freebies like mini bottles of Versace perfume. With so much lavishness in one place, it’s no surprise that one TripAdvisor traveler said, “Staying here is like having a taste of what it can be like living ‘rich’!”  
7 On a Mission with Clint Eastwood: Mission Ranch, Carmel, CaliforniaWhen celebrated actor and director Clint Eastwood purchased the historic Mission Ranch in 1986, he saved 22 acres of prime real estate on Carmel’s Monterey Peninsula from impending development. Eastwood, who owns a home nearby, is still spotted on occasion at Mission Ranch, a cozy farmhouse with 31 unique rooms, ocean views, and sheep grazing in the meadow. One TripAdvisor traveler offered, “We admit it – we wanted to stay at ‘Clint’s place.’ It was worth every penny.”  
8 Camp Fever with Kate Pierson: Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel, Mount Tremper, New YorkAfter jet-setting around the world as a lead singer for the B-52s, Kate Pierson caught cabin fever and decided to open Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel near Woodstock, New York. Visitors have their choice of kitschy 1950s camp cabins, or vintage Airstream trailers. While guests note that these are not luxury accommodations, one TripAdvisor traveler wrote, “Kate’s has an aura of ‘cool’ and you feel cool because you’ve stayed there.”  
9 Counting Sheep with John Malkovich: The Big Sleep Hotel, Eastbourne, United KingdomTripAdvisor travelers admit that they were attracted to Hollywood heavyweight John Malkovich’s Big Sleep Hotel because of the budget-friendly prices, seaside location, and trendy reputation. While many travelers praise the hotel’s overall value and excellent free breakfast, opinion is divided on the funky decor, including photos of John Malkovich and furry curtains. One TripAdvisor traveler sums it up, “Cheap and comfortable with a wee bit of cool and trendy.”  
10 Rockin’ Out with Bono and The Edge: The Clarence, Dublin, IrelandPurchased in 1992 by world-famous rockers Bono and The Edge of U2, The Clarence Hotel in Dublin, Ireland is adjacent to Temple Bar, a popular nightlife area. Although most travelers praise the hotel’s location, some cite the evening noise as a problem. As explained by one TripAdvisor traveler, “The rooms are stylish and comfortable. The location is excellent, but note that due to the location in the Temple Bar district, it can be a bit noisy.”"While travelers may visit a celebrity-owned hotel hoping for a brush with fame, these top celebrity-owned properties offer more than just star power,” said Christine Petersen, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Excellent accommodations, mixed with a famous owner’s personal touches, have earned these A-list hotels high marks with TripAdvisor travelers.”  

Orient-Express Hotels add the luxury hotel Rio Sagrado Hotel, Villas & Spa to their portfolio

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010


Orient-Express Hotels to have announced the acquisition of a fifth property in Peru. The Rio Sagrado Hotel, Villas & Spa is a 21 suite luxury hotel, which opened in April 2009.

Hotel Rio Sagrado, a rustic two storey property set in beautiful gardens overlooking the Urubamba river with an imposing mountain backdrop, is three kilometres from the town of Urubamba and fifteen minutes from Ollantaytambo, home to an important Inca village and fortress as well as the main PeruRail station stop en route to Machu Picchu. The hotel has eleven deluxe and ten junior suites plus two 250 sq m villas, constructed from natural stone and woods such as eucalyptus and cedar, with marble and onyx bathrooms and flagstone terraces. Its 230 sq m spa has a large treatment room with views of the mighty Urubamba, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and a sauna.

The Sacred Valley, located between Cuzco and Machu Picchu, is a popular part of holiday itineraries in Peru. Green and fertile, the valley is an important agricultural area, seen from its high towns as a patchwork of fields and Inca terraces. Attractions include the famous Sunday Pisac craft and produce market, Chinchero, according to legend the birthplace of the rainbow, as well as important Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo. PeruRail, the rail operator run by Orient-Express, stops regularly at Ollantaytambo station, as well as Cuzco and Aguas Calientes (the station for Machu Picchu), allowing guests to travel between the Company’s hotels in style, while offering fantastic views of the valley and the Andes.

Paul White, President and Chief Executive of Orient-Express Hotels said, “Expanding the Orient-Express Peruvian experience to the Sacred Valley is a natural as well as a strategic move and enables the company to provide its guests with a luxury itinerary from arrival through to departure. The key sights in this part of Peru are the city of Cuzco, the Inca sanctuary at Machu Picchu and towns, antiquities and markets of the Sacred Valley – arguably one of the most beautiful and scenic places in this wonderful country.”