Tricking Out Your Jeep

Tricking out your Jeep is easier than you might think. No matter your budget, there are a number of accessories and parts that you can purchase to trick out your Jeep the way you want it. From roof racks such as the Jeep jk roof rack, lighting, flares, engines, etc. you can have the Jeep More »

How to Carry Travel Gear on a Motorbike

There’s something about a great road trip that can make us feel truly free. A motorbike road trip, however, can really take the euphoric feelings of freedom to a whole new level. Feel the rush as you explore new terrain and take to the open road on your bike. Whether you’re going away for a More »

How to Survive While Driving in Exhausting Heat

Long and hot summer days are a perfect time for adventures, and your car is definitely in want of a cool drive. You’ve bought new summer tyres, planned your itinerary in details, and packed your belonging…but you still aren’t ready enough to hit the road. Travelling by car in a trying heat requires much more More »

Tag Archives: luxury

Decompress in the world’s best airport spas

1 hr.

Courtesy OM Spas

High flyer Karen Zuckerman, president of Maryland-based marketing and advertising agency HZDG, has a secret weapon for avoiding the air terminal blues: treating herself to a facial or massage while waiting to board her plane. No, Zuckerman doesn’t travel with a beauty entourage. Rather, she’s just one of many travelers taking advantage of the proliferation of airport spas around the world.

A spa aficionado in her leisure time, Zuckerman often visits high-end beauty temples like the Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and Canyon Ranch. While none of these luxurious spas have opened airport outposts (yet), plenty of other brands are helping make flying a whole lot more Zen these days.

“An airport spa gives me the ability to multitask and do a little something for myself,” explains Zuckerman, who travels about 30 times per year for work within the U.S. and Europe. Depending on what’s available, she’ll book a facial, massage or quick mani-pedi at whatever terminal she finds herself in. “When I’m really stressed and can sneak in a 20-minute neck or back massage, that’s a huge bonus,” she says.

Sunny Kortz of OraOxygen—whose spas in the Calgary International and Detroit airports attract travelers, airport employees and the odd civilian (the Calgary branch is located pre-security)—reports that many clients come for combined oxygen/massage treatments. “The oxygen refreshes your body and mind after a long plane trip,” she says. “When used together with a massage treatment, people can go energized to that business meeting or trip with the kids.”

Jill Bryan, regional manager for the Absolute Spa at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, constantly receives glowing feedback from guests (many of whom are pilots and flight attendants) who indulge in a spa session between flights. “Aside from reading a book or playing on your smartphone, there’s not a whole lot to do in the airport,” she says. “We find a lot of guests that didn’t have time to get their last-minute pre-holiday treatments done are extra appreciative.”

The spa offers a range of treatments pitched at frequent flyers, including a color gel no-chip manicure that lasts up to three weeks, and a spray-tan application that’s hugely popular with vacationers heading to tropical destinations.

Whether you’re stuck in transit, quailing at the prospect of boarding a long-haul flight or just whiling away the hours between check-in and takeoff, there are now countless ways to relieve the tension, stress and ennui of traveling before you’ve even taken off. Check out our list of terminally fabulous airport spas, from Calgary to Dubai, and prepare to give travel-induced stress a send-off.

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America’s hottest new hotel restaurants

Courtesy of The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort Residences via Travel + Leisure

JG Grill at St. Regis Bal Harbour, Fla., offers Asian- and French-inspired cuisine, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pool and Atlantic Ocean.

Convenient as they are for a quick bite, hotel restaurants can get a bad rap for uninspired menus and bland atmosphere — sometimes, deservedly so.

But there’s been a countervailing trend gathering strength since the mid-’90s, and some of the hottest restaurants are now opening in hotels, proving to be destinations for locals and tourists alike. As Spanish chef José Andrés says, with “so many great dining and drinking experiences in hotels, it is bringing back a golden age when hotels were the only places to meet out for a dinner.”


Savvy hoteliers like Ian Schrager, Andre Balazs and Steve Wynn were among the pioneers, seeing the possibility of luring guests with high-concept design and high-caliber culinary talent. “Vegas had a lot to do with it,” says Charlie Palmer, who has seven hotel restaurants. “They wanted the branding, not just someone to cook. They realized a lot of people travel by their stomachs, and a great restaurant from a well-known chef not only offers a great dining experience, it brings notoriety to a hotel.”

Slideshow: See America’s hottest new hotel restaurants

For chef Daniel Humm, of the three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, opening a new restaurant at the NoMad Hotel in New York stoked his creativity. “We had the opportunity to think about the kinds of things people want to eat while they’re reading in the hotel library or soaking in a luxurious bathtub, things we had never done before,” he says.

Creating a distinctive identity can be crucial to a hotel restaurant’s success. At the Dutch at the W South Beach Hotel Residences, chef and restaurateur Andrew Carmellini insisted on a separate street entrance (“No one wants to walk through a lobby to get to a restaurant,” he says) and contrasting music and décor. He says that, as a result, “the place feels authentic, like it has soul.”

Let’s face it: no one, even a jet-lagged, hungry traveler, wants to eat at a restaurant jam-packed with tourists. Travelers today seek experiences rooted in a place — and that’s the goal of many of these new hotel restaurants, including a newcomer at Atlanta’s InterContinental Hotel Buckhead that takes southern comfort foods to a new level.

“I really believe this is the future of our industry,” says Wolfgang Puck, who certainly helped fuel the trend; his latest in the revamped Hotel Bel-Air brings his hotel restaurant count to 16. “A great hotelier, a great restaurateur: it’s the perfect marriage.”

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Luxury chains ride travel boom, eye new horizons

A rising class of affluent globe-trotters from China, Russia and Brazil is spurring retailers to expand their presence in high-end airports from the United States to Germany to China.



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Travel retail has long been a fixture for brands like Estée Lauder Cos Inc and LVMH’s Louis Vuitton. But sales at airports and other travel venues have risen far more quickly in recent years than at regular stores for many chains, putting this area of retailing front and center in many companies’ expansion plans.

Chains with few such stores are adding new ones: Tiffany Co is set to open a second store in Singapore’s Changi this year and one at Berlin’s new airport next year, bringing the jeweler’s total to eight, while Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot, which is also part of LVMH, is eyeing Frankfurt’s airport.

Meanwhile, Estée Lauder Cos, with nearly 1,000 airport stores across its myriad brands of beauty products, is branching out to domestic airports in smaller cities in China and Brazil to find new growth in the travel business and scouting places that could one day be China’s top vacation spots.

“It is the moment to ask ourselves, what is the St-Tropez of China?” Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Freda said in a recent interview. Travel retail sales growth at the company has outpaced its overall growth.

Worldwide, duty-free and travel retail sales of perfumes, cosmetics and luxury goods jumped 28.3 percent between 2008 and 2011, according Generation Research. The Swedish data firm expects them to jump 25 percent to $44.5 billion by 2014 from its projection for 2012.

For perspective, Boston Consulting Group expects overall sales of luxury goods to rise 14.5 percent by 2014.

China’s emerging middle class has been the single largest motor of luxury’s growth in the last few years.

According to the Global Business Travel Association, there are plans in place for 100 new airports in China in the next decade. So called second-tier cities like Chongqing and Wuhan are emerging as major centers and attracting retailers’ notice.

Spending thousands at an airport on a designer handbag is much more of a habit for shoppers from China and other emerging markets than for Westerners.

“The Chinese love buying when they travel– it’s a culture,” said Hublot Chairman Jean-Claude Biver, noting how much those shoppers boost sales at its airport stores in Switzerland.

Even in the United States, where airports are generally seen as shabby compared with Europe and Asia’s sleek venues, there is interest in opening stores when facilities are up to standard.

Estée Lauder Co’s M.A.C. and Brookstone Inc were among the brands to open stores at the splashy $1.4 billion international terminal in Atlanta that opened in May.

Chris Anderson, Brookstone’s director and general manager of airport retail, said he would gladly open many more under the right conditions, given how they serve as a billboard for the chain.

But for many, U.S. airports are generally not up to snuff, hampering the potential there.

“When I look at American airports, there is just no sense of trying to create in many of them a nice store,” Samsonite International S.A. CEO Tim Parker said.

Olivier Bottrie, president of travel retail worldwide for Estée Lauder Cos, and other industry executives recognized the threat of a global economic crisis, but pointed to travel’s quick recovery after shocks like 9/11 and the 2003 SARS epidemic.

“It is an area that is growing in terms of traffic and therefore in terms of sales potential,” Bottrie said.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Click For Restrictions – http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

3 North American luxury hotels celebrate 100 years

Matt Sayles / AP

In this April 25, 2012 photo, the entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel is seen in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Beverly Hills Hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Travelers looking forward to a little luxury in the coming months may want to look backward instead. From Boston to Beverly Hills, iconic hotels are celebrating their 100th anniversaries with historic tours, special events and package deals.

“The years between 1897 and 1912 represented a golden age of outrageous luxury hotels,” said Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz, associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico and the author of “Hotel: An American History.”

In fact, 1912 can be considered something of a watershed year. “It’s not just what came before; it’s what came after,” said Sandoval-Strausz. “The income tax was imposed in 1913 by the 16th amendment. Before that, rich folks just had a colossal amount of untaxed income and there had been a burst in hotel building to accommodate them.”


Alas, those days are long gone — heck, for most us, they never existed — but it’s still possible to get a taste of the good life at hotels that recall that golden age. For history buffs and well-heeled travelers, here are three hotels celebrating 100 years of luxurious lodging:

The Beverly Hills Hotel
Before there was a city of Beverly Hills, there was The Beverly Hills Hotel, which opened its doors on May 12, 1912. Ever since, the famous “Pink Palace” has served as a swanky second home for celebrities and Hollywood stars from Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Travelers interested in reliving that rich history can sip vintage cocktails in the Polo Lounge — try the Rebel, inspired by Dietrich, or the Norma Jean, named for Monroe — or book the Centennial Celebration package, which includes accommodations, breakfast for two, two vintage cocktails, a 100-year keepsake candle and box of chocolate truffles. Prices start at $660, which, needless to say, is a wee bit more than the $12 a single room cost in 1912.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza
1912 was a big year in Boston with the opening of Fenway Park, the Franklin Park Zoo and, on August 19, the Copley Plaza. Designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed the Plaza Hotel in New York, the Beaux-Arts landmark offered rooms for just $3.50 per night.

A century later, the hotel is now wrapping up a $20 million renovation and celebrating its centennial with 100 days of events, activities and package deals. The Celebration of a Century package, for example, starts at $100 and includes lodging for two, a private hotel history tour and history booklet.

And speaking of special celebrations, the hotel is offering an even better deal to any guest who stayed at the hotel on their honeymoon. Bring your original bill and they’ll charge you the same rate you paid on that happy occasion.

Ritz-Carlton Montreal
Known as the “Grande Dame of Sherbrooke Street,” the Ritz-Carlton Montreal was not only the finest hotel in the city when it opened on December 31, 1912, but also the first in the world to bear the Ritz-Carlton name, in honor of legendary hotelier Cesar Ritz, who helped establish it.

Alas, Montreal-bound travelers will have to wait to experience it as the hotel closed in 2008 to undertake a $150-million renovation that will showcase redesigned rooms, private residences, a Tiffany store and restaurant by celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. A reopening date hasn’t been announced, although the hotel is accepting reservations for arrivals from June 1 and beyond.

More stories you might like:

Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.

 

Three North American luxury hotels celebrate 100 years in 2012

Matt Sayles / AP

In this April 25, 2012 photo, the entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel is seen in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Beverly Hills Hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Travelers looking forward to a little luxury in the coming months may want to look backward instead. From Boston to Beverly Hills, iconic hotels are celebrating their 100th anniversaries with historic tours, special events and package deals.

“The years between 1897 and 1912 represented a golden age of outrageous luxury hotels,” said Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz, associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico and the author of “Hotel: An American History.”

In fact, 1912 can be considered something of a watershed year. “It’s not just what came before; it’s what came after,” said Sandoval-Strausz. “The income tax was imposed in 1913 by the 16th amendment. Before that, rich folks just had a colossal amount of untaxed income and there had been a burst in hotel building to accommodate them.”


Alas, those days are long gone — heck, for most us, they never existed — but it’s still possible to get a taste of the good life at hotels that recall that golden age. For history buffs and well-heeled travelers, here are three hotels celebrating 100 years of luxurious lodging:

The Beverly Hills Hotel
Before there was a city of Beverly Hills, there was The Beverly Hills Hotel, which opened its doors on May 12, 1912. Ever since, the famous “Pink Palace” has served as a swanky second home for celebrities and Hollywood stars from Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Travelers interested in reliving that rich history can sip vintage cocktails in the Polo Lounge — try the Rebel, inspired by Dietrich, or the Norma Jean, named for Monroe — or book the Centennial Celebration package, which includes accommodations, breakfast for two, two vintage cocktails, a 100-year keepsake candle and box of chocolate truffles. Prices start at $660, which, needless to say, is a wee bit more than the $12 a single room cost in 1912.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza
1912 was a big year in Boston with the opening of Fenway Park, the Franklin Park Zoo and, on August 19, the Copley Plaza. Designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed the Plaza Hotel in New York, the Beaux-Arts landmark offered rooms for just $3.50 per night.

A century later, the hotel is now wrapping up a $20 million renovation and celebrating its centennial with 100 days of events, activities and package deals. The Celebration of a Century package, for example, starts at $100 and includes lodging for two, a private hotel history tour and history booklet.

And speaking of special celebrations, the hotel is offering an even better deal to any guest who stayed at the hotel on their honeymoon. Bring your original bill and they’ll charge you the same rate you paid on that happy occasion.

Ritz-Carlton Montreal
Known as the “Grande Dame of Sherbrooke Street,” the Ritz-Carlton Montreal was not only the finest hotel in the city when it opened on December 31, 1912, but also the first in the world to bear the Ritz-Carlton name, in honor of legendary hotelier Cesar Ritz, who helped establish it.

Alas, Montreal-bound travelers will have to wait to experience it as the hotel closed in 2008 to undertake a $150-million renovation that will showcase redesigned rooms, private residences, a Tiffany store and restaurant by celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. A reopening date hasn’t been announced, although the hotel is accepting reservations for arrivals from June 1 and beyond.

More stories you might like:

Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.