What started out as a novel way to attract single female travellers and groups of ladies has turned into a legal nightmare for a boutique hotel in Denmark. The Bella Sky Hotel in Copenhagen opened last year as Europe’s largest design hotel. It reserved one floor specifically for women and added extra feminine touches such as makeup mirrors and glossy magazines to make their female guests feel more pampered.
Unfortunately Denmark’s Equal Treatment Board ruled that the initiative was illegal. The hotel is currently refusing to comply with the ruling, stating “the only man who can access this floor will be a fireman in the case of fire”.
The Dukes Hotel, a five star London boutique hotel has also decided to woo women guests and has assigned some of its rooms as “Duchess Rooms”. These rooms are serviced solely by women staff and have added extras such as fresh flowers, styling accessories and female bathroom amenities. They are proving very popular with their upmarket female clientele, but may prove to be less than popular with the European Commission on Gender Equality.
One of the hazards of business or travel is the inevitable difficulty in falling asleep for the first night in a strange bed. For those suffering from jetlag, stress, too much work (or too much play!), the Milestone Hotel, a leading luxury hotel in London, is offering the perfect answer. It has devised the “Gentle Art of Falling Asleep Package” especially with the insomniac traveler in mind.
Those wanting to test the challenge can book a room with a heavenly bed complete with your own preference of pillow off the pillow menu and an Alpha Sleep Pod to emit gentle sound waves to lull you off to sleep.
The package also includes a personal consultation with a sleep, stress and performance therapist who can impart some sleep tips. The package includes a one hour relaxing massage and a goody bag, not of chocolates filled with E-numbers, but a lavender eye mask and aromatherapy oils.
If all this has lulled you into a state of semi-slumber, the price may have you sitting bolt upright and bright-eyed again with shock. The insomnia package reputedly costs $1300 (approximately £813) per night, hence the question, “What price would you put on a good night’s sleep?”
Those planning to attend the London 2012 Olympics would be well advised to book early if they want to stay in a luxury hotel in London. Currently the city only has 120,000 hotel rooms, according to Gadling, and is expecting around 5.5 million visitors. To meet the deficit, the London Olympics organizers are planning to dock cruise ships on the River Thames to act as temporary hotels.
There are suitable docks at Stratford, just three miles from the Olympic Park. Further floating rooms are also planned to cope with the high demand for hotel rooms by leasing berths to private luxury yacht owners. So far there are no estimates on the “floatel” cabin prices, but they are likely to be steep. They city of London is quoting prices of around £150,000 (US$243,000) to lease the docking berths for the three-week period.
London hotels are not cheap at any time, but the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper estimates that hotel room prices may be hiked tenfold during the Olympics. Pity the poor business traveler or regular visitor wanting to see London’s sights during that period.
In the final countdown to the wedding of the year, many luxury hotels in London report they still have plenty of space for last-minute visitors. Prince William, second in line to the throne, will be marrying his student sweetheart Kate Middleton on Friday April 29th , but unless you’re a hermit I guess I’m not telling you anything new. What is a surprise is that luxury hotels in London are not fully booked for the event.
As always for travelers, this is good news as the hotels are now throwing in all manner of extras to fill their rooms. Many London hotels have resisted the urge to hike the prices, although London is never a cheap place to stay. What guests will find is that staying two nights or more will net them all sorts of goodies.
Champagne is a popular freebie, but a Champagne Flight on the London Eye looking out over the rooftops of the city is even better. Those staying in the Cadogan Hotel junior suite get afternoon tea and a Royal Wedding dinner thrown in. One Aldwych, a cool boutique hotel in London, still has rooms available along with the classy Bermondsey Square Hotel and the Lancaster London. The May Fair is reportedly dishing out souvenir crystal champagne flutes to its guests. Even the well-located Athenaeum which is just a stroll across St James Park from Buckingham Palace still has availability, as do various Hilton hotels.
The spokesperson for the British Hospitality Association put out an upbeat message saying that London hotels still expect many visitors to arrive at the last minute to celebrate. He explained away the disappointing bookings as being because people are taking long Easter breaks which means they may find themselves at other destinations rather than London for the celebrations.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
While Ryanair ponders the pros and cons of offering standing room only flights, at the other end of the spectrum New Zealand Air has launched its luxury skycouch.
Nicknamed “cuddle class” for reasons which will shortly become apparent, the concept is that couples wanting extra space can each purchase an extra half a seat, turning three economy class seats into more flexible couch space on which both can stretch out and sleep.
Skeptics raise eyebrows at the thoughts of this encouraging yet more inebriate passengers to attempt to join the mile high club. Even those with less lustful thoughts may struggle to readjust their limbs in this compact space which lacks the demarcation of the central armrest. For those who are slightly wider than average it may provide additional comfort – but perhaps not for the sharing partner.
Families traveling with children may find the flexible space ideal, allowing children to curl up and sleep through the flight, or to use the less restricted couch space as a play area.
New Zealand Air will be offering the skycouch on select flights from Auckland to Los Angeles and on some flights connecting with London, beginning in April 2011. It remains to be seen whether this is the shape for the future of overnight flights, or another experiment destined never to fully take off.
by Gillian @ Luxique Luxury Travel
For some of the flying on New Zealand Air to London, check out Luxique’s unique selection of boutique hotels in London.
The American credited with founding the concept of the boutique hotel, Ian Schrager, is returning to London for his next project.
In a joint venture with Marriott International, Schrager is to redevelop Berners Hotel – a stalled development north of Oxford Street in the heart of the West End.
Media reports say Marriott International bought the site of the 193-bedroom hotel for more than £60 million ($97 million). It was put up for sale when the company that owned the business went into administration in August. More than 40 bids were received.
Schrager made his name with Studio 54 in New York and went on to open luxury and boutique hotels in New York such as Morgans and Gramercy Park and the Sanderson boutique hotel in London. He said: “I’m thrilled to be returning to London for an incredibly special and historic building like Berners Hotel.”
Schrager and Marriott teamed up in 2008 to create a new boutique design hotel brand called Edition and have plans to roll it out globally.
The ‘London Edition’ development on Berners Street will take up to two years. The hotel had been part refurbished, with planning permission in place. The building has been covered in scaffolding and hoardings for nearly four years.
The site dates back to 1835 when it was built as five classic houses. These were then converted into one hotel in the early 1990s, before closing in January 2006 for the proposed redevelopment and upgrade.
by Andy Moreton
Boutique or grand – Luxique has a comprehensive selection of luxury hotels in London.
There are many reasons for visiting the Capital and staying in one of the the top luxury hotels in London – the world-class shows, theatre, opera and ballet; the unrivalled opportunities to truly shop ‘till you drop, even at London prices; the museums and art galleries, many of which are now free to enter, and the legendary gourmet dining. There are at least 5570 restaurants in London, according to the Yellow Pages, and many more pubs and coffee houses, snack bars and take-aways so you should be able to dine somewhere different every night for the next 27 years without having to repeat yourself.
However, in reality, we are creatures of habit, and having found somewhere good to dine out, we would rather return there than risk disappointment elsewhere. Many of London’s finest restaurants are an integral part of the luxury hotels in London which are found in Capital’s most prestigious areas. With expensive taxi fares and impossible parking, it makes sense to dine where you are staying. Here are some of London’s very best restaurants, complete with adjoining luxury hotel accommodation.
One of the city’s best restaurants is tucked inside the five star Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. Although you may feel out of place without a jacket and tie, Hélène Darroze, one of France’s most distinguished chefs has brought her Michelin-star cuisine to London for a gastronomic experience to savor. The more informal Espelette restaurant also offers signature dishes by Hélène, along with delectable afternoon teas.
Equally Michelin star-studded is the Foliage restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental. Nestled in one of the top luxury hotels in London, the restaurant enjoys a Royal Park on either side hotel and al fresco dining on the terrace in the warm summer evenings is an unrivalled experience. Attention to detail includes the waiting staff collecting leaves from Hyde Park and placing them beneath the bespoke glass plates to truly set the scene for an amazing experience.
The five star luxury Berkeley Hotel in London boasts possibly the finest dining with not one but two award-winning restaurants. Gordon Ramsay takes on New York’s café scene with his Boxwood Café whilst Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley presents a total food euphoria.
Finally, be prepared to be dazzled by an exciting international restaurant set in one of the premier luxury hotels in London. Nobu offers a delectable Peruvian-Japanese menu in the Metropolitan Hotel. Founded by world-renowned chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and presided over by Executive Chef Mark Edwards, this specialty cuisine cannot fail to impress. Coupled with the legendary service and contemporary interior design, this luxury hotel in London’s Park Lane makes a truly refreshing place to dine and to stay.
by Luxique - A Unique Collection of Luxury Hotels in London
The leading business publisher, Forbes (of ‘Rich List’ fame) recently announced its experts’ pick of Europe’s most luxurious hotels.
Among them are the following six which are available to book at the best rates through Luxique. Alongside is a snapshot of the jury’s verdict:
• Le Meurice Paris: ‘Modern elegance, with the opulence of Versailles.’
• Claridge’s, London: ‘The destination of choice for the world’s celebrities and royals.’
• Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, St Jean Cap Ferrat, France: ‘A legendary hotel that epitomises and exudes old-world glamour, while simultaneously offering modern amenities for today’s discerning traveller.”
• Hotel Adlon Berlin: ‘An historic masterpiece, in a prime location, provoking a sense of awe upon arrival.’
• Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, Budapest: ‘Behind the opulent and grand façade lies the fully restored 19th-century spa where guests can enjoy anything from a mud or seaweed bath to an array of full-body wraps.’
• Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy: ‘A much-vaunted palazzo hotel that has dazzled royalty, celebrities, billionaires and chic in-the-know jetsetters for more than a century.’
by Andy Moreton, with acknowledgements to Richard Carnell of Forbes.com.
Dubai, which has already snapped up arguably the world’s most famous cruise ship, the QE2 (see past articles – “Full Steam Ahead For QE2” and “Dubai’s Floating Phenomena”), is now bidding for an icon of the skies - the supersonic Anglo-French Concorde.
Forty years after the British version of the graceful delta-winged aircraft took off on its maiden 22-minute flight, it’s reported that a Dubai-based consortium wants to turn one of the planes into a tourist attraction, possibly on one of the country’s man-made palm-shaped islands.
British Airways grounded its seven-strong Concorde fleet six years ago and gave six to museums. But it kept one, Alpha Bravo, which is now hidden away behind the airline’s engineering base at Heathrow Airport.
By contrast, an Air France Concorde stands proudly on a plinth outside the airline’s headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Another is preserved at the Paris Air and Space Museum by former engineers who regularly run the electronic and hydraulic systems. A report at the beginning of the month that one of the French models would fly again was revealed later as an April Fool’s hoax.
It’s BA’s Alpha Bravo that is the reported subject for negotiation, but the wings would have to be sliced off before it could be loaded on to a ship for Dubai. Concorde devotees (and there are many), are not happy on either count. Ben Lord, of the Save Concorde Group, said: “Sending it to Dubai would be a kick in the teeth for Britain’s aviation heritage. Chopping off its wings and putting it on a ship would be the final insult.”
A source close to the Dubai consortium told the Times newspaper in London that it would spend several million pounds restoring the aircraft’s interior, much of which was removed and used as spares on other Concordes.
by Andy Moreton
Whether you’re looking for a boutique hotels in London or luxury hotels in Dubai, Luxique can help you every step of the way.
I’m writing to you from a group of islands close to continental Europe – an area slightly smaller than Oregon.
That’s the UK in a nutshell, as described by the White House in a briefing booklet for the journalists accompanying President Obama to the G20 summit in London last week.
It was a relief to know that we Brits weren’t being singled out for this size-ism – Germany is ‘about the size of Montana,’ while for the Czech Republic, think Virginia. Even France, the largest country in western Europe, is only ‘four-fifths the size of Texas.’
One person who was happy to leave capacious California for little London is the Oscar-winning actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. Married to Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, she lives during the school year in Belsize Park - a cool quarter of the city frequented by celebs, media types and fashionistas.
On her lifestyle website, Paltrow has been sharing her advice on ‘my London.’ This includes her favourite hotels, which she has named as the Berkeley, the Hempel and Blakes. We at Luxique know how fabulous these three luxury hotels in London are, but let’s hear it from the lady herself:
“For a while, Blake’s was my home-away-from-home in London before I got a flat. It’s a super-chic design hotel, but comfortable and sexy. It’s perfect for a romantic trip.”
“I’ve been to The Hempel a few times and really responded to its clean, modern feeling. It’s in a cool part of London, a bit off the beaten track and it faces a lovely garden. It’s contemporary and minimal - perfect if that’s your vibe.”
“The Berkeley is my favourite proper grown-up hotel in London. It’s done beautifully and has brilliant services. There’s a pool on the roof that opens on sunny days. Right in the centre of London (and on my old street), this is perfect for the discerning business traveller.”
Well said, Gwyneth – there’s a job for you as a Luxique reviewer any time you fancy it. And, readers, if you want more from Planet Paltrow, go to www.goop.com (but be prepared to ‘nourish the inner aspect’).
by Andy Moreton