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SW Hotel San Diego Debuts Art Collection

World-renowned photographer Aaron Chang is exhibiting his first collection of surf and travel images at the W Hotel in San Diego...

World-renowned photographer Aaron Chang is exhibiting his first collection of surf and travel images at the W Hotel in San Diego. This framed collection (on display until the end of January) features Aaron's high impact, large format photographic prints of waves, surf shots and exotic locations across the globe. Aaron offers many of these framed images in large, high impact sizes up to 8 feet long.

"Aaron's photography is the perfect compliment to W San Diego's Surf. Sand. Chic. atmosphere," notes General Manager Martina Boettcher. "His exhibit has generated much interest and endless comments from our guests. Aaron's recent gallery reception was a wonderfully unique event for us, bringing in a full house and taking over two floors from the poolside debut of his photo wrapped surfboards to outdoor digital displays on the beach."

Larger custom size images can be printed on high quality paper, metal, glass and wood using eco-friendly dies. When printing onto metal, the digital photographic quality gives the pieces depth and accents with unbelievably rich colors. The prints are below the surface providing a high-quality appearance with lasting durability. These large pieces provide a new and unique twist to both indoor and outdoor design.

"The digital revolution has made this possible," Aaron states. “The amount of information in a digital file today far exceeds that which is on 35mm film. The resulting art is stunning clarity and detail never seen before by people who have not experienced Pipeline on a 10 foot day. The finest details like water drops on the face of a wave are brought to life through this advanced technology. It's almost like being there."

The Aaron Chang Gallery will be open to the public and for appointments on February 3 with the Grand Opening event taking place on February 28 in Solana Beach, California. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation.

Hillary Clinton Stays at Jerusalem's King David Hotel

During her official visit to Israel this week, former First Lady and U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, spent two nights at the King David Jerusalem. She is among a long list of monarchs, heads of state and superstars who have been guests of Israel's most famous hotel.

Secretary Clinton, who is pictured here with the King David's Director of Delegations and Groups, Sheldon Ritz (left), and Haim Shkedi, King David General Manager (center), stayed in the King David's Royal Suite, while her delegation occupied a total of 154 rooms. Clinton used the Presidential Suite for all her interviews, while a running food station was kept for her on the sixth floor throughout her stay.

The flagship property of the Dan Hotels and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The King David was recently featured in Travel+Leisure's "World's Best Hotels" and Conde Nast Traveler's "Gold List."

Dan Hotels Israel is the largest luxury hotel group in the country. The history of the chain dates back to June 1947, when two brothers Yekutiel and Shmuel Federmann, purchased a 21-room guest house called the "Kaete Dan" on the Tel Aviv sea shore. Today, the chain owns 13 deluxe hotels in prime locations around the country, an international convention center and a hotel training school.

Finca Cortesin Hotel: New realms of Andalucian luxury

The newly opened five-star Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa offers unparalleled luxury on Spain's southern coast. Set in the Andalucia's pristine hinterland near Sotogrande and Marbella, this new 67-suite property offers an elegant holiday experience for the sophisticated traveler.

The hotel, golf course and spa aim to set a new benchmark for luxury both on the Costa del Sol and in Spain as a whole. The most significant resort development in the area in recent years, the Finca Cortesin required an investment of more than 700 million Euros.

The resort covers an area of 300,000 square meters and more than 530 acres of land including a signature 18 hole golf course, spacious green areas and terraces as well as two outdoor and one indoor pool.

"Our goal was to create a luxurious resort that would outshine every conventional five-star resort here in Andalucia in terms of magnitude, premium service, classy design and grandeur. Finca Cortesin even exceeds our ambitions", says Javier Reviriego, General Manager of Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa.

Designed by the renowned architects Roger Torras and Ignacio Sierra, the hotel is inspired and influenced by the architecture of traditional Spanish fincas, giving the impression that it was built more than 100 years ago. With its red clay tiles and whitewashed walls it perfectly blends into the Mediterranean landscape of Andalusia. The interior of the hotel features a Moorish inspired cloister with hand-carved ceilings and floors that includes a unique traditional flowing fountain. The space has been fine-tuned by specialists from the Alhambra, the famous Moorish palace and UNESCO World heritage site in Granada. The spacious rooms, hallways and public areas are nobly furnished with marble, antiques, goblins and decorations originating from Spanish, Portuguese, French and Belgian monarchial castles, monasteries and stately homes. Interior designers Duarte Pinto Coelho and Ana and Cristina Calderon ensure the property exudes flair and individual style.

Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista, Verona Italy Boutique Hotel

The hotel has two swimming pools, including an indoor pool, and guests can relax with a drink in the bar, unwind in the sauna, and enjoy a massage in the treatment room.

Multilingual staff at the 24-hour front desk can give help and advice on the hotel and surrounding area, and there is free, valet parking, 24-hour room service, complimentary Internet access in public areas, and a concierge service to help book tickets and tours.

El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa,
Taos New Mexico Luxury Hotel

3 Rooms & 33 Suites

The secluded sanctuary captivates with exquisite elegance and a sincere commitment to ecological preservation and sustainability.

El Monte Sagrado is set upon four acres of gardens nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Architecture, art and ambience set the mood for an experience that is a harmonious delight to the senses. The resort features 36 suites and casitas with decor that reflects an array of global influences inspired by Native American culture, foreign lands and local artists. Enjoy the serene experience of The Living Spa and the splendid swimming pool. With a creative menu of global and local influences, an extensive wine list and inviting atmospheres for dining, El Monte Sagrado is a culinary destination.

ACCOLADES
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts

LEISURE
Swimming Pool
Jacuzzi
Fly Fishing
Rafting
Hiking
Horseback Riding
Hot Air Ballooning
Excursion to Taos Pueblo
Art Collection throughout the hotel is fantastic

21c Museum Hotel, Louisville

90 Rooms & Suites

21c Museum Hotel is a boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Museum Row and downtown Louisville. 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky is the first of its kind - a 90-room hotel dedicated to world class luxuries, Southern-style hospitality and contemporary art from living artists.

21c is an epicenter for culture, activity, and artistic expression for the city and region. Owners, Louisville investors and philanthropists, Laura lee Brown and Steve Wilson created 21c based on their own passion for Art and the theory that it could serve as a destination in the city's revived and vibrant downtown area. With this initiative 21c Museum Hotel, Proof on Main and 21c Museum International Contemporary Art Foundation (ICAF) was born. The three create an innovative union of modern technology, southern hospitality, and pure luxury - all anchored by world class contemporary art from emerging and internationally acclaimed living artists.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel

56 Rooms & Suites

The Henry Jones occupies the former factory of jam-maker Henry Jones IXL, beside Sullivan's Cove on the Hobart waterfront. Minimalism meets the classic lines of the 1825 warehouses, with exposed rafters and sandstone walls. A 3-storey glass atrium at the rear of the building will house a gallery of works by Tasmanian artists, famous and emerging.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is the latest project of the developer Flora de Kantzow, whose conversion of the 1830's Launceston mansion Hatherley House into a designer hotel has won rave reviews.

The Historical Past of English Country House Hotels

Ever stayed at an historic hotel and yearned to learn more about its past?

A private collection of luxury country house hotels in the UK and France, Von Essen hotels have the answer. They are introducing 'Heritage Concierges' at all their properties. Guests can discover the history of the hotel they are staying at through a dedicated member of staff. The first to offer this innovative concept is the magnificent Cliveden (pronounced "Clivdin') in Berkshire.

And what a task. Cliveden has been the scene of riotous living by the rich and infamous for almost three and a half centuries. Secret agents, call girls, billionaires, dukes and queens have all partied hard here. The name is so synonymous with presidential league entertaining that even the 'Sugar King' Julio Lobo referred to his bolthole for holding court in Havana as the "Cliveden of Cuba".

Michael Chaloner, the Heritage Concierge, is well up to the job. He jokes that he's been at Cliveden "forever". Michael explains, "Surprisingly the house has never been the principal seat of any of its owners. It's always been a holiday home if somewhat on a grand scale. When it was 'converted' to a hotel in 1985 barely any changes needed to be made.'

Some things really haven't changed. Sue Crowley, the Hotel Manager – actually the staff never refer to it as a "hotel" but rather "house" – comments, "All the food still comes up on trays from the cellar kitchen. This involves navigating four twists of the narrow staircase!"

The present house is an impossibly palatial affair erected in 1851 to the design of Sir Charles Barry for the 2nd Duke of Sutherland. This starchitect honed his penchant for all things Italianate 10 years earlier at the Reform Club in London before being let loose at Cliveden.

It's hard not to feel important, sitting on plumped up cushions in the Great Hall under the disdainful eye of Lady Astor in a Sargent portrait, while beyond a cordon a gaggle of National Trust visitors gawk and shuffle past (von Essen lease the building from the National Trust).

Each of the 39 bedrooms is individually decorated and is named after someone connected to the house, from the Tudorbethan panelling of the Mountbatten to the sloping ceilings of the Prince Albert. In the Asquith you can lie back in the bath and watch limos pulling up in the forecourt three storeys below.

Thankfully there's not a modern extension in sight. Fancy a four poster bed? No problem, try the Chinese Room. A coronet bed? That will be the Sutherland Suite. A polonaise bed? Not sure, but there's probably a room with one somewhere. Cliveden doesn’t do second class. No wonder Queen Victoria stayed here for six weeks.

Henry Ford, Franklin Roosevelt and George Bernard Shaw have also enjoyed jaunts to Cliveden. In 1893 the hideously wealthy American tycoon William Astor, who'd bought the house 13 years earlier for a staggering $1.25 million, presented it to his son as a wedding gift. Halcyon days beckoned as Astor junior and his glamorous wife Nancy hosted society with great aplomb. The government of the day was broke (sounds familiar?) and so ministers were only too glad to meet visiting dignitaries at Cliveden.

But it is the fall of a government which keeps Michael's tour lively. Almost half a century ago, on a balmy midsummer Saturday evening the Secretary of State for War Jack Profumo clapped eyes on Christine Keeler, an 18 year old demimondaine, larking around the swimming pool. The rest is history, as immortalised in the 1989 film Scandal starring Ian McKellen, John Hurt and Joanne Whalley.

"Lord Astor had persistent backache," says Michael, "so he allowed his osteopath Stephen Ward use of Spring Cottage on the estate as payment in kind. That fateful evening the party staying at Spring Cottage included Christine Keeler and Yevgeny Ivanov, an assistant Soviet attaché who was also a spy."

Now in full swing, he continues, "Meanwhile Profumo and his wife, the beautiful Northern Irish actress Valerie Hobson, were guests of the Astors. After dinner they strolled out of the house to the pool area. Profumo clad in a dinner jacket; Keeler in a dripping towel. Their clandestine affair began the following day. When Keeler sold her story to a tabloid it was revealed that she’d supposedly been sleeping with both Profumo and Ivanov at the same time." A case of 'Reds in the beds'.

Jack Profumo baldly denied any "impropriety" in his relationship with Christine Keeler in a statement to the House of Commons. “Well he would, wouldn't he?" tartly snapped Mandy Rice-Davies, Keeler’s best buddy, later at the subsequent court case. Profumo finally confessed though not before successfully suing Paris Match and Italian magazine Il Tempo for libel. Stephen Ward was tried on trumped up charges relating to immoral earnings and committed suicide before the case concluded. Profumo’s career lay in tatters and the furore brought down the then Conservative government in 1964. The swimming pool is now Grade I listed.

Notoriety and Cliveden go hand in hand. The first owner, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, was imprisoned in the Tower of London several times. It was said of Buckingham that “a young lady could not resist his charms… all his trouble in wooing was, he came, saw and conquered”. He challenged his mistress’s husband to a duel in 1696. Buckingham lost. A cross-sword emblem set into the East Lawn commemorates his gory death.

Even the luscious interiors, manicured to within an inch of their lives, aren’t quite all they seem. Look closely and you'll find the unexpected from blood spattered soldiers lurking in the Great Hall tapestries to rabbits mercilessly trapped behind balusters in the gruesome plasterwork of the French Dining Room.

Once a full day's coach ride from London, Cliveden is now only half an hour by train from Paddington. A chauffeur can pick you up from the station at nearby Burnham. Natch. Culinary delights to satisfy the most demanding of gourmands await. The long Terrace Dining Room greedily devours six windows of the nine bay garden front. Highlights of the menu include John Dory slow cooked to perfection and Blumenthalesque chocolate fondant (The Fat Duck is a mere four miles downstream). Von Essen are upholding the tradition of hospitality to perfection.

Amanda Irby, the Business Development Manager, confirms that these days you are more likely to find Jamie Oliver celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary at an impromptu alfresco dinner on the terrace than any political mischief unfolding. “Or you may well pass Sir Paul McCartney engaged in conversation with his daughter Stella next to the Great Hall fireplace.” Indeed the President of Afghanistan held meetings in the Macmillan Room lately. History is rumbling along. The Heritage Concierge at Cliveden will never be short of fresh tales to update his tours.

Virtuoso Announces 2010 Best of the Best Hotel Award Winners

Luxury travel network, Virtuoso, announced this year's winners of the prestigious "Best of the Best" hotel awards last night at Virtuoso's 2010 Travel Mart conference in Las Vegas.

This marks the fourth year Virtuoso has reviewed its collection of more than 800 world-class properties and recognized hotels that set new standards in luxury travel and hospitality professionals who elevate the industry through their efforts. Editors of Virtuoso Life magazine, the Virtuoso network's award-winning publication, collaborated with the organization's elite travel advisors to select hotel nominees in ten categories that ranged from best architectural design to top hotel and hotelier of the year. Winners represent the best in their category, demonstrating innovation, dedication, social conscience and even courage. The "Best of the Best" award winners will be featured in the September/October 2010 issue of the magazine.

Award winners:

Best Spa: The Spa at Grand Velas All-Suites & SPA Resort, Riviera Maya
At 89,000 square feet, The Spa at Grand Velas All-Suites & Spa Resort is the largest spa in the Yucatan. Built amid the lush jungle that hugs the resort, the Spa boasts an organic style reflective of its Mexican surroundings. A cavernous lower level takes its inspiration from the region’s underground water pools, or cenotes. A hand-hewn rock wall emerges from a winding chlorine-free pool that's outfitted with water-bubble beds, cascades and a gurgling volcanic geyser.

Best Family Program: Rocco Forte Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily (pictured above)
With its exclusive beach, acres of wide-open countryside, two championship golf courses and idyllic climate, Vendura makes the perfect destination for a family holiday. There are kid-size bicycles, a shallow children’s swimming pool and free organized activities. Little ones enjoy mime classes, treasure hunts and biscuit making, while the Teenagers Club offers rugby, beach volleyball and golf.

Best Hotel Dining: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Dorchester Hotel, London
Awarded three Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester offers contemporary French cuisine in a random and elegant décor along with professional and friendly service. Guests can book tables overlooking beautiful Hyde Park; or parties of six can book Table Lumière, a table surrounded by a shimmering curtain of 4,500 fiber-optic lights.

Most Innovative Guest Experience: Amanfayun in Hangzhou, China
Hidden in a picturesque valley, Amanfayun enjoys a serene setting surrounded by tea fields, natural forest, quaint villages and a pilgrimage circuit of five significant Buddhist temples. Designed in the spirit of a traditional Chinese village, the property comprises 47 dwellings, several of which date back more than 100 years. Bonds forged with local monks at the fourth-century Temple of Goodness make it possible for guests to hike up the mountainside to join them for prayers before sunrise and afterward share a traditional vegetarian breakfast.

Most Socially Responsible: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Since 2001, the Four Seasons' owners have been the backbone of the Growing Together program, which benefits rural communities on the Papagayo Peninsula through customized volunteer experiences that support local schools and conservation efforts. Now 12 staff ambassadors match guests who want to volunteer with communities that have the greatest need.

One to Watch: Alan Fuerstman, Montage Hotels & Resorts
As a young college graduate, Alan Fuerstman was hired as a bell captain at Rancho Las Palmas where, it is said, even J.W. Marriott himself was impressed by the young man. Fuerstman moved on and up, running good resorts and making them better. He left the Bellagio in Las Vegas to start Montage. With Utah’s Montage Deer Valley Resort set to open in December, all eyes are on the 53-year-old as he expands Montage beyond the West Coast.

Hotelier of the Year: Claudio Ceccherelli, General Manager Park Hyatt Milan
When Claudio Ceccherelli was a 25-year-old reception manager, he taught at the Aurelio Saffi hotel school in Florence. Now, at 53 years of age and the general manager of the Park Hyatt Milan, Ceccherelli is a gracious old-world gentleman who’s not too buttoned-down to come to work wearing an Inter Milan team jersey the day after a big win or don chef’s whites and cook lunch for the staff. He’s an exceptional mentor for a hotelier on his way up.

Hotel of the Year: The Goring, London
For almost a century, four generations of the Goring family have run the exceptional property. Opened in 1910, The Goring was the first hotel to introduce private bathrooms and central heating for every room. Today, the hotel is a bastion of quality and absolute individuality. Well-known British designers Nina Campbell, David Linley and Tim Gosling have all had a part of the design concept; and later this year, the hotel will debut six new Russell Sage-designed rooms done up with historic fabrics – and sheep.

Best Achievement in Design: Armani Hotel Dubai
Known for his classic style, Armani had his hand on everything from the A-shaped swimming pool to the zebrawood paneling. The 160-room hotel goes minimalist inside Dubai's cloud-piercing Burj Khalifa, with curved walls, metallic finishes and limestone floors – the bronzed A-shaped arches in the triple-height lobby are one of Armani's favorite details.

Best Bar: Sir Elly's, The Peninsula Shanghai
Crowning the upper two floors of the new hotel, Sir Elly’s has an edge when it comes to gigantic views – a circular bar area and three raised sofas facing huge windows ensure everyone gets a great look at The Bund, the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline. Named for Peninsula’s founder Sir Ellis Kadoorie, this glam space seals its staying power by offering inspired cocktails and cuisine from a five-star French chef.

Luxury Resort to Open in 2012 on
Marlon Brando's Private Island

Located on the French Polynesian island of Tetiaroa and a product of the late Marlon Brando's vision, construction on "The Brando" is progressing steadily with completion slated for late 2012.

The exclusive resort will be the only hotel on Tetiaroa, the former playground of Tahitian Kings in French Polynesia's idyllic islands. Purchased by Marlon Brando in 1965, Tetiaroa is a 13-island chain circled by a coral reef offering a tranquil and pure paradise 35 miles from the island of Tahiti. The Brando is a product of Brando's vision to create a project which will resonate with visitors and also foster opportunities for guests to get to know both the place and the people of French Polynesia. The Brando will feature: 47 deluxe bungalow villas (each with private plunge pools), a spa, fitness center, community pool, as well as various island activities including scuba diving and archaeological tours of royal Tahitian sites.

The Brando will also offer a real estate component, selling 25 residences located on the Eastern shore of Motu Onetahi. Further details will be announced in 2011

Palazzo Las Vegas Named in Travel + Leisure Top 50 Hotels

The Palazzo Las Vegas has been named as one of the Top 50 Hotels in the Continental U.S. and Canada in the Travel + Leisure 2010 World's Best Awards readers' poll featured in the magazine's August 2010 issue.

The Palazzo came in at number 18 among Large City Hotels (100 rooms or more) in the region and was the highest ranked property in Las Vegas, widely regarded as the resort capital of the world. The awards are handed down following a survey completed by magazine's readers. The World's Best Awards hotel rankings are based on readers' ratings in five categories: room/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food, and value.

In addition to over 3,000 suites tailored for decadence, The Palazzo has proven itself as a one-stop destination for Las Vegas visitors, with entertainment such as Jersey Boys delighting guests night after night, and Canyon Ranch SpaClub® setting all at ease. The property boasts over 60 luxurious boutiques, including Barneys New York. The Shoppes at The Palazzo also debuted ventures by designers and apparel lines that had never appeared in Las Vegas before, including Chloe, Christian Louboutin and Diane von Furstenberg. New shopping venues were not the only fresh ideas to appear on the Strip; The Palazzo enlisted renowned chefs such as Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck to launch fresh concepts to entice diners. Guests not only enjoy the scope and quality of luxury that is offered at The Palazzo, they have come to expect it.

To be acknowledged on such a prestigious list such as Travel + Leisure's World's Best Hotels in the Continental U.S. and Canada requires a property to go above and beyond guest expectations. The Palazzo recently launched Prestige at The Palazzo, a distinctive experience and elevated level of service for the sophisticated and savvy traveler. From a private check-in area, to unparalleled amenities with special touches, the space is designed and matched with the finest staff to make a stay at The Palazzo a memorable experience. Prestige at The Palazzo offers guests an array of opulent complimentary amenities including a private champagne reception, access to Canyon Ranch SpaClub® fitness facility, admission to Azure luxury pool, personal concierge service, deluxe continental breakfast, afternoon coffees and teas, hot and cold hor d'oeuvres, cocktail reception, selection of evening desserts, business center services and internet access. In addition to the complimentary services, Prestige at The Palazzo offers guests the option to purchase additional levels of luxury amenities including exclusive pillow upgrades, specialty baths drawn by bath butlers and in-suite arrangements for special occasions.

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong to be Highest Hotel in the World

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C will make a magnificent return to Hong Kong when it opens the world's highest hotel in the city in the first quarter of 2011.

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which will occupy floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre (ICC) in Kowloon, will be a stylish and thoroughly modern hotel that truly reflects the sophistication, style and elegance of the Ritz-Carlton brand in a contemporary way.

Modern in design, the hotel will be the heart and soul of Hong Kong and will attract visitors from all over the world for its world-class style, design, service and its landmark location. The hotel will offer 312 guest rooms all providing spectacular city and harbour views. Starting at 50sqm for a Deluxe Room, and reaching an incredible 365sqm for the magnificent Ritz-Carlton Suite, all rooms provide state-of-the-art technology including WiFi, iPod docking stations and stylish flat screen TVs. In addition, Club room guests will enjoy the panoramic Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge with complimentary food and beverage presentations 24 hours a day, as well as a dedicated Club Concierge, work stations, meeting rooms and WiFi throughout.

One of the unique aspects of the hotel, which reflects a move to more casual elegance of The Ritz-Carlton brand, will be its bars and restaurants, which have been stylishly designed by Japan's Spin Studio and Wonderwall. With six dining venues starting on the 102nd floor, including state-of-the-art designer Chinese and Italian restaurants, and lobby lounge, the alfresco rooftop bar will be a truly stunning venue at 490 meters above sea level with outstanding views over Hong Kong. Asian-style tapas and contemporary cocktails will be served on the roof terrace, where fire pits and casual seating will create an atmosphere of stylish luxury. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong will boast one of the largest ballrooms in the city at 930sqm. Elaborately decorated with a sea of crystal chandeliers, the décor is suited to weddings, meetings and gala events. Complimented by an additional four meeting rooms, the total of 1,300sqm of meeting space will become the new social centre for Hong Kong and will set the benchmark for events in the region.

For those wishing to relax and indulge, the ESPA located on 116th floor and consisting of 860sqm of treatment rooms and relaxation area, will re-define the urban spa experience in the city and across Asia. Featuring nine deluxe treatment rooms and three couples’ suites, every treatment room offers floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views where a world-class team of professional therapists ensure a spa experience like no other. The hotel also features a fully equipped fitness centre and an indoor pool on the 118th floor with a 28m x 7m LED screen on the ceiling that can display images. In the podium of the ICC tower, the 1,000,000sqm Elements shopping mall offers some of the finest shopping in Hong Kong with luxury brand names featured throughout this world-class location. The ICC will also host an Observation Deck on the 100th floor and offer direct connections to Hong Kong International Airport in 20 minutes and Central Hong Kong in five minutes. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong will be very much at the heart of the city and will become a must-see tourist attraction when it opens in the first quarter of 2011.

Smithsonian Journeys Announces 2011 Around the World Private Jet Tour

Journey Features Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef, Serengeti National Park and Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

During this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, travelers accompanied by a world-class team of experts will explore more than 12 World Heritage sites and experience diverse cultures—all in a single journey. Travelers will meet indigenous peoples and explore exotic places while traveling from one destination to the next aboard a private Boeing 757, bypassing commercial airline routes and schedules. The chartered jet is specially configured to generously accommodate 88 VIP-style seats instead of the standard 228 seats.

Experienced expedition staff will attend to every logistical detail, create customized excursions tailored to personal interests and ensure a luxury journey.

The first stop on the 22-day journey is Peru, with a visit to the Inca monument, Machu Picchu, one of the world's most impressive architectural achievements. Travelers will then fly more than 2,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island to meet with renowned archaeologists and witness the mysterious colossal stone statues called moai.

In Samoa, a land that has changed little from ancient times, guests will be treated to a lavish traditional feast and colorful performance of Samoan dance. After crossing the international dateline, they will arrive in Cairns and venture out to the Great Barrier Reef, the largest known coral reef in the world, or visit Daintree, the world's oldest rainforest. Continuing to Asia, travelers will visit Cambodia's stunningly beautiful Angkor Wat temple complex or explore historic Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

In India there will be visits to Agra, site of the famous Taj Mahal, and Jaipur, the "Pink City," named for the rose color of its prominent buildings. Tanzania follows, with a safari in Serengeti National Park, home to the densest "big cat" predator populations (lions, cheetahs and leopards), or to Ngorongoro Crater to observe great herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra.

Egypt's Valley of the Kings is the next featured destination. Travelers will visit the tombs of divine pharaohs, including King Tutankhamen, sail the Nile in a felucca (a traditional sailboat) and see the spectacular temples at Karnak. Morocco's historic Fez is the last stop on this global expedition.

Smithsonian Journeys' 'Around the World by Private Jet Tour" is available for $62,950 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes round-trip private jet travel from Orlando, Fla., luxury accommodations, all meals, ground transportation, excursions and activities, welcome reception, lectures by experts, on-board physician, baggage handling, gratuities and emergency evacuation insurance.

Cranwell Resort Receives Best of the East Meetings Award

Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club was recently recognized for a 'Best of the East" Award by Meetings East Magazine, a leading conference planners publication, the fourth time the resort has been honored with this distinction.

Readers of Meetings East vote annually for their favorite meeting properties in the East based on the following criteria: quality of the meeting space; guest rooms; guest services and amenities; food and beverage service; high-tech services and equipment; recreational facilities and activities; the efficiency and helpfulness of staff; and overall value and experience.

Nestled in the heart of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Cranwell has long been a favorite destination for meetings and events for up 200 guests. Cranwell features 15,000 square feet of event space including a spacious ballroom with panoramic hilltop views and a stately board room in an historic Gilded Age Mansion. The property offers wireless internet access throughout the resort.

Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club is an all-season resort in the heart of the scenic Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, known for its abundant cultural venues including the famed Tanglewood Music Center and the Norman Rockwell Museum. In addition to a graceful, historic Gilded Age Mansion, this award winning resort features 114 distinctive guest rooms, an 18-hole Championship golf course set on 380 hilltop acres and one of the largest resort Spas in the Northeast. With three restaurants and spacious banquet rooms, Cranwell also hosts numerous year-round conferences, weddings and social events.

Cranwell Resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ brand, an unsurpassed collection of over 500 hotels which together offer an infinite variety of memorable hospitality experiences. Cranwell is also a long time member of Historic Hotels of America, which preserves the authenticity of over 200 of America's most prominent historic hotels and inns. The resort is listed in Zagat's "Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas” and some of their many awards and distinctions include the SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Award for one of “Best Spa Resorts for Golf", and the Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence

010 will receive a complimentary pre-tour hotel night.

El Conquistador Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection, Receives Meetings & Conventions Award

Following a bevy of recent awards, El Conquistador Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection, continues to define excellence with its two latest pieces of recognition.

The resort announced that it has received the prestigious Meetings & Conventions' 2010 Gold Tee Award, as well as the Fodor’s Choice distinction for 2010 from Fodor's Travel.

Voted on by more than 60,000 discerning meeting professionals, the highly respected Meetings & Conventions Gold Tee Award is presented annually to the world's most exceptional golf and meeting properties. To qualify as a Gold Tee Award recipient, meeting professionals must witness the hotel's capability to blend a professional meeting atmosphere with championship golf courses. This year, 74 properties earned the votes to win a Gold Tee Award.

Since 1988, Fodor's Travel has awarded the Fodor's Choice distinction to only the world's best hotels, restaurants and attractions. Each year during their global travels, Fodor's writers evaluate thousands of properties in consideration for Fodor’s Choice acclaim. Only 15% of those visited receive the impressive distinction, which in 2010 includes El Conquistador Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection.

These latest awards come on the heels of three other notable recognitions received by the luxury resort - Hotel of the Year Award, presented at the recent Que Pasa! TV Network's (QPTV) first annual People’s Choice Awards; the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award received for the second consecutive year under the Waldorf Astoria Collection brand; and Top 10 Best Caribbean Hotel by Readers in the 2010 Celebrated Living Platinum List.

Offering renovated guestrooms and the $42 million addition of the Grand Atlantic Conference Center, the El Conquistador Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection, is the largest non-convention center meeting and event facility in Puerto Rico. The Grand Atlantic Conference Center provides two adjacent conference areas with two ballrooms (Grand Caribbean Ballroom pictured left), complemented by 16 additional breakout rooms, offering meeting planners over 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space, which translates into more square feet of flexible meeting space per available guestroom than any other resort in the Caribbean.

In addition to indoor spaces, a number of scenic outdoor and poolside areas provide meeting planners additional venues for group functions, including terraces with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and El Yunque Rainforest; the sea-side Coquí Water Park (pictured right); as well as the resort’s private Palomino Island, which can be reserved for the most exclusive themed events. Las Casitas Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection, is an intimate resort that shares the grounds of El Conquistador and is an additional accommodation option or retreat for group executives seeking a higher level of attention and privacy.

Missouri Luxury Resort Offers Ideal Setting For Business Meetings

Enter a world of tremendous natural beauty surrounding this inspirational executive retreat.

Stonewater Cove Resort and Club is an elegant hideaway nestled on nearly 500 forested acres in Mark Twain National Forest, where business can be an absolute pleasure when melding the calming, lush landscape with elegant accommodations to create a chic, rustic ambiance ideal for business travelers. With the ancient forest's peace, quiet and wealth of fresh air, see what your team can do with a down to earth, naturally beautiful atmosphere, along with all that's expected in upscale travel destinations.

Stonewater Cove Resort and Club offers a warm, elegantly appointed workspace for state-of-the-art conferencing and dynamic strategic planning. This lake view boardroom, infused with warming natural light offers two custom-made meeting tables crafted from driftwood found in the surrounding forest. With added exclusive access to a covered terrace with stunning water views, guests can relax and let their creativity abound. A larger multi-purpose room on the lower level of the lodge is also available for groups of up to 40 people.

Santa Monica's Hotel Shangri-La Introduces Virtual Business Center

At the Hotel Shangri-La, the concept of a single room business center has been banished, and in its place the freedom for the business traveler to enjoy the visual perks of the hotel's stunning beachside location.

With the introduction of the VBS - Virtual Business Center, guests can now roam the hotel and conduct business in a spot that brings out their own creativity or lets them engage in an off-site meeting.

Guests are provided with a Dell lap top computer and Wi Fi access free of charge! "We felt that our guests didn't need to be cloistered in a back room somewhere on the property which reminded them of their own confined office," explains Tamie Adaya, Hotel Shangri-La owner. "At our hotel, they can sit roof top while taking in the view or poolside enjoying a cold drink; all while getting their important business completed and commerce done."

Additionally, guests receive front desk services ranging from email, to fron t desk services such as fax transitions, as well as messenger service or complimentary use of the on-premise notary. Whatever the need, when at Hotel Shangri-La, consider it done.

Switzerlands Beau-Rivage Palace Unveils Two New Grand Spaces

The Beau-Rivage Palace, set next to the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva and considered one of Europe's finest hotels, recently completed renovating one of its most celebrated spaces, La Rotonde, and creating a connecting, modern glass-enclosed space, La Terrasse.

The renovation of La Rotonde, which was originally built in 1908 and is classified as a historic monument, required numerous specialists - restorers, painters, tinsmiths, carpenters, metal-workers and statigraphers, to name a few - to successfully bring to life the final vision of the space while complying with the strict regulations required by its unique heritage status.

No detail was overlooked - the original colors that graced its walls in the early 1900s were painstakingly restored through stratigraphy, a process that carefully removes each layer of paint applied over the years. Artwork restorers carefully uncovered the original details of the room's magnificent fresco, while original Gobelin carpets were sent to Basel to be repaired. Light fittings were sent to France for expert work. Over 1,584 pounds of paint and nearly seven pounds of gold leaf were used in the renovation, along with 330 pounds of mastic and 528 pounds of plaster.

The finishing touch: natural light flowing in through the windows of the adjacent La Terrasse, highlighting every splendid detail of the restored space.

Hotel Inter-Continental Wien 

A-1037 Wien
Johannesgasse 28
t.43(1)71122-116
f.43(1)7180150
Online Reservations

Located by the famous Stadtpark and just a few minutes' walk from the Ringstraße, State Opera House and Stephansplatz, the Hotel Inter-Continental Wien is the ideal starting point from which to explore this fascinating city.

With 453 guest rooms and 16 meeting rooms, all newly renovated, the Hotel Inter-Continental Wien stands for unmatched attention to detail and a tradition of excellence.

 

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