Posts Tagged: Luxury Hotels


16
Jan 12

Detoxing Celebrity-style at the Canyon Ranch Miami

 It would be fair to say that after three back-to-back trips in less than a month, followed by a Christmas and New Year feasting frenzy, I could now happily weigh-in alongside a team of Russian shot-putters and am a prime candidate for gout, in fact if I carry on at this rate I will have no feet by February. So, something has to be done and I’ve come to the shocking conclusion that I am going to have to eat less and move more. And where better to start this radical new regime than at the Canyon Ranch Miami Beach, Hollywood’s favourite wellness retreat.

Now, I do love a trip to the spa but I’ve never really felt the urge to use my holiday time to detox. It just doesn’t sound much … fun really, but with a guest list that includes Shakira, Eva Longoria, Terri Hatcher, January Jones, as well as Jason Statham and Gerard Butler (spas aren’t just for the ladies any more!), the Canyon Ranch promised to be more than your average health spa. There may be 230 classes a week, resident doctors, nutritionist and physiotherapists, and a lofty keep-fit philosophy but there are also lashings and lashings of luxury and a fair amount of fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival, I was pleased to see that the lobby was definitely more Kenzo than Tenko, showcasing original Art Deco features of the original Carillon Hotel alongside the upscale elegant designs of New York architect David Rockwell. The rooms too were plush, inviting and surprisingly large – even by American standards – each with vast living rooms and kitchens, spacious spa-style bathrooms and broad balconies overlooking the ocean.

So far, so good. And after a good night’s sleep in my jumbo bed I’m up and at ‘em. The Canyon Ranch does have a reputation for taking a serious approach to health and fitness though so I fully expected warm cabbage-water and wheatgrass for breakfast but no, instead – and much to my delight – I’m presented with a plentiful plate of organic blueberry pancakes, coming in at less than 300 calories, including the syrup! So this is how those celebs manage to stay so skinnylicious! Here’s the recipe if you want to try it out yourself (you really should). And if you love this recipe as much as I do, you can find more here

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes with Fruit
Ingredients
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/4-1/2 cup 2% milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup berries or chopped fruit  (Blueberries and bananas work well in this recipe.)
12 tablespoons pure maple syrup Instructions1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine remaining wet ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
2. Lightly coat a griddle or large sauté pan with canola oil. Place on burner over medium heat until hot. Portion approximately 3 tablespoons batter on griddle and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon berries or chopped fruit. Cover fruit with 1 additional tablespoon batter and cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook other side to golden brown.
3. Serve 3 pancakes topped with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.Serving Information
Makes 6 (3-pancake) servings, each containing approximately: 365 calories, 70 gm. carbohydrate, 6 gm. fat, 54 mg.cholesterol, 10 gm. protein, 469 mg. sodium, 4 gm. fibre.

Loving the idea that eating healthily could taste so good (this Canyon Ranch even allows alcohol, unlike its sister resorts in Tuscon and Lenox, but, of course, here the cocktails are organic, the beer biodynamic and the red wine green) I’m now convinced the keep-fit side of things will be a breeze too.

 

 

 

 

 

I bypassed the enormous indoor rock climbing wall, the spectacular state-of-the-art gym overlooking the ocean, and the four swimming pools and instead opted for my first ever Zumba class. Zumba was invented in Miami and claims to be an easy-to-follow, Latin inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness party. Sounds fun right? I thought so. I like a party and, although the only time I really dance is on nights-out when copious amounts of alcohol seem only to serve to enhance my natural dancing ability, I felt sure I could hold my own. Not so. My first ever Zumba turned out to be a somewhat humiliating experience as within moments I came to the sudden, stark and sober realisation that – I can’t dance! While the rest of the class, including a couple of nip-tucked octogenarians, pranced around the room in a series of highly-coordinated hip-shaking movements, I found myself flailing about like a mad jellyfish, facing the wrong way (more than once) and gasping for air like a guppy. Strangely though, I loved it and by the end of the sessions I was caught up in the feverish good fun of it all and happily ran around the room high-fiving strangers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was only one thing to remedy this sudden outburst of American-like enthusiasm and that was to head to the spa for some calm downtime. A 70,000 sq.ft shimmering, mosaic-covered sanctuary awaited me. Two floors of gently-lit sumptuous rooms, tropical “experiential” showers, pools of healing waters, thermal cabins, soaking tubs, laconiums, and an igloo (yes, really) made for a fabulous A-list experience. The massage too (just about) lived up to its $240 price tag with a hundred minutes of pounding, pressing and pulling inspired by ancient techniques used on Thai warriors.

Needless to say, as I enter into 2012 I believe that these celebrities have got the right idea and from now on I will be stuffing myself with pancakes, embarrassing myself at Zumba and all-day spa-ing wherever possible. Who’s with me?

GO THERE

Canyon Ranch Hotel and Spa, Miami Beach: Tel 305-514-7000; http://www.canyonranch.com/miamibeach/; From $400


2
Jan 12

New Year’s Eve at The Setai Miami

Well, we may tightening our belts and pinching our pennies over here in the UK but it seems that the shimmering beachside city of Miami may have missed the memo about the worldwide economic downturn. Over in South Beach, the limos are lined up and the champagne is chilling for the inevitable influx of super-celebrities ready to hit the famous New Year’s Eve party scene – Lady Gaga, P-Diddy, J-Zee and Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and Owen Wilson are amongst a huge list of stars that have chosen Miami as the place to “bring in the bells” over the last few years. And the hottest ticket for 2012? The Midnight in Marrakech Ball at The Setai.

The Lowdown

Even without a glamorous party on the go, The Setai is one seriously alluring place to be. The gorgeous, design-conscious hotel may have been open for six years now but it still has the heady buzz of a brand new opening so I was thrilled to make it my first stop on my pre-Christmas tour of Miami. Celebrity sightings at The Setai, where the enormous rooms can easily accommodate an extensive entourage, are too numerous to mention. Most recently the X-Factor USA judges, contestants and crew took over the hotel, laying down tracks in the Lenny Kravitz designed recording studio like Jay-Z and Chris Brown before them. Simon Cowell, of course, bagged the best room – in fact he won’t stay anywhere else in Miami – checking into the incredible four-bedroom Penthouse suite complete with rooftop lap pool, Jacuzzis-a-go-go, Baby Grand piano and a wine cellar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you can’t afford to drop $30,000 a night from your Prada wallet then there are another 86 ultra-chic suites to choose from. All have spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows affording views of the city or beach (or both if you’re lucky) and come with designer beds and threads, deep black granite bathtubs, rain showers, Asprey amenities, 50” TVs, Bose sound systems and Illy coffee makers. And the little touches – I love the little touches – each guest is also provided with a gorgeous raffia beach bag, sandals and sarongs. Fabulous.

 

The Highlights

The Setai is a knock-out of a hotel. From the minute you walk through the splendid Art Deco exterior, of what was once the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, you’re met with an entirely different South Beach experience. There are no ice-cream colours and squidgy furnishings here, instead The Setai has opted for a cool Asian aesthetic and has totally nailed it. A soothing palette of polished woods, honey-coloured stone floors and perfectly positioned artworks are offset with flashes of oatmeal and orange – including a stunning display of 500 amber-like roses.

 

 

 

 

 

It says a lot about a hotel when you just don’t want to leave, even with a city as spectacular as Miami on your doorstep, but there was nothing else for it. After a morning spent meandering around the hotel’s tropical gardens and flitting between the three temperature-controlled swimming pools, it was time for a Mediterranean inspired lunch at The Setai Pool and Beach Bar. Thankfully the food lived up to my now incredibly high expectations (as did the cocktails) and come three o’clock I had to practically be wheeled to my spa appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spa at The Setai, which carries through the same serene South East Asian vibe, overlooks South Beach and is an intimate, peaceful and stylish space. I booked in for the Ila Kundalini Back Massage which involves working on the spine to unblock the build-up of negative energy caused by stress. Now, I’m not sure if my Chakras were cleansed or any other kind of inner magic replenished but I did fall asleep within five minutes and felt wonderful when I was gently awakened from my slumber an hour later. The perfect pick-up before a night on the town.

Star Style

 

 

The ladies of Miami take their swimwear very seriously indeed so, apart from needing that all important NYE party dress, you’ll be wanting some stylish swimwear. ReallyRee over on the Hello! blog, Attempts at a Stylish Life, put me on to a beautiful beachwear collection from Paolita. If you’ve got the body and the confidence, this gorgeous silver swimsuit from their Spring/Summer ’12 collection is sure to make an impact.

 

Luxur One Piece £140 Paolita.co.uk

 

 

 

 

GO THERE

The Setai; Tel (305) 520 6000; http://www.setai.com/; Rates from US$550


14
Nov 11

Vancouver’s Hautest Hotel: The Fairmont Pacific Rim

With the new movie from the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, about to hit our screens and no doubt throw fans of the vampire series into frenzy, I thought that it would be a good time to pop over to the film set (and one of my favourite cities) – Vancouver.

 

 

I adore this town. Where else can you go whale-watching, skiing, cycling and shopping all in the same day? The nightlife is pretty good too! I’ve spent many happy days strolling around Stanley Park, shopping on Robson (I’ve spent more money in MAC than I care to admit), sipping cocktails at the city’s stunning rooftop bars, as well as exploring the surrounding countryside all the way from Seattle to Whistler. However, this time my dear friend (and gay boyfriend), accompanied me on a visit to Vancouver’s hottest hotel and celebrity hangout, the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

 

 

 

The Lowdown

Vancouver was already a seriously good-looking city when the 2010 Winter Olympics came along and gave it a dazzling new waterfront facelift. Staking a gold medal position in the heart of the action was the shiny Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel which, since its opening a little over 18 months ago, has attracted more than its fair share of celebrities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was obvious from the moment we entered the smart, marble-clad lobby, decorated with indoor waterfalls and beautiful people, that the Pacific Rim was all about ‘urban glam’. Impressive floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to flood in, while traditional touches like a fireplace and a grand piano warm the space. Upstairs, the alluring Oru Restaurant is sophisticated, polished and the kind of place that’s packed every night of the week with city slickers, super-skinny model types and, of course, celebrities. Cindy Crawford and Nicole Kidman have both been spotted spending time in the hotel. The boutique feel continues half-way up the building to the swish Willow Stream Spa and at the chic rooftop pool – the private cabanas made the perfect spot for some afternoon champagne sipping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a check-in as smooth and sweet as maple syrup, we’re shown to our room; one of the Signature rooms on the corner of the tenth floor. The minimalist, though opulent, design of the lobby (think tactile fabrics, chic chandeliers and contemporary artworks) carries through to the deluxe low-key lodgings. It’s spacious and packed with high-tech gadgetry, but all of these fantastic features slip into the background when we see what is far and away the hotel’s best selling point, the ah-mazing views!

 

The Highlights

The views are quite simply incredible and induced a fair amount of decibel-busting squeals from GBF and I as we took in the spectacular 270 degree panorama of the majestic North Shore Mountains, the Coal harbour coastline (complete with seaplanes dipping in and out of the water) and a glittering cityscape. And where was the best place to enjoy this stupendous view? From the bathtub of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link to see the bathroom reveal! Fairmont Pacific Rim – View from the Bathroom

 

The next morning, following an exquisite sleep I awake to the sound of Matthew tinkering on his laptop. He sees me rise from my slumber and promptly presses a button to adjust the lighting, then presses another button to open the blinds, and rustles up some coffee on the Nespresso maching – clearly we’re in gadget heaven! After I indulged in an early morning bubble bath – I could have luxuriated there all day admiring that view –  it was off to Giovane for a fab deli-style lunch and a quick tour of the hotel.

As special as our room was – and it was very special – it paled in comparison to the all-out extravagance of the hotel’s unbelievably glamorous Speciality Suites. The show-stopping Chairman Suite, with its enormous master bedroom, two living rooms, a 500 square foot spa bathroom and a Balinese-style terrace, cascades over two floors showing off double-height views of the city and harbour. It’s clear why this suite is a favourite of flamboyant rock stars like U2 and Bon Jovi, it is certainly a superstar of a space. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, prefers the privacy of the penthouse Presidential Suite which is accessed by private elevator, sprawls over 2230 square feet, has an enormous marble spa bathroom with jacuzzi and, of course, a heavenly view.

 

 

 

 

 

We spend the rest of the day sunbathing at the rooftop pool and lounging around the fabulous Willow Stream Spa, where we drink champagne in the Jacuzzi till the sun goes down. We smugly agree that the Fairmont Pacific Rim is the perfect celebrity hot spot.

 

Star Style

 

 

 

A great pair of jeans will take you from day to night in Vancouver. I love these navy-blue babies from cool Canadian brand, Domino – Jessica Alba and Kirsten Dunst are just a couple of the celebrities that have been spotted wearing them.

Domino Candy Navy £90

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fairmont Pacific Rim: Tel 604-695-5300; http://www.fairmont.com/pacificrim; Rates from $229 CAD


21
Oct 11

Passport to the Stars: One Year On

It’s now been a year since I joined the Hello! blogging team with the Passport to the Stars blog and, oh my, what an exciting year it’s been. I kicked things off with a trip to the romantic Ritz-Carlton in Cancun and have closed my first twelve months with a trip to the stunning, star-filled La Residencia in Mallorca – look out for a super-glamorous post on this one soon! In between, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy celebrity-style stopovers everywhere from London to Hong Kong, to the Caribbean and the Cotswolds so, with so much to cover, I thought it would be fun to create a word cloud from Passport to the Stars’ entries to reflect the spirit of the blog one year on.

My word cloud was made using Wordle. It’s fab, isn’t it? I love the way it takes the text and turns the prominent words into a floaty, colourful visualisation of your work. I’ve picked some of the stand-outs to break down the best bits from the last year:

 

 

Hotel: Over the last year, Passport to the Stars has evolved to include a collection of luxe hotel reviews amongst the celebrity travel gossip. I’m regularly asked now which of these amazing hotels is my favourite and for me that’s as difficult as trying to pick your favourite child! I will always have a soft spot for The Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong though. I was brought up on the island and one of my favourite childhood days out involved popping on a pretty dress and  taking afternoon tea (and a milkshake) at the Clipper Lounge with my Mum. And many years on (I’m not telling you how many) it’s still one of my favourite things in the world to do.

 

Celebrity: Of course! It’s a celebrity travel blog, and this word was bound to have a prominent cloud position. All the lovely hotels I visited had plenty of celebrity callers, but it has to be The Dorchester with its eighty years of A-listers that wins for the highest and most prestigious star count.

Suites: My (made-up) award for best suite also goes to The Dorchester. During my visit I was upgraded to the beautiful Belgravia Suite and its elegant colonial decor and balcony overlooking Hyde Park had me positively swooning. This was also one of Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite hotels – and that lady knew how to travel in style, love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spa: A visit to a luxury spa was once an occasional treat but has now become an integral part of my job – well, someone’s got to do it. I’ve become a real spa bunny and have to say that Britain has come up trumps with the most amazing new spa complexes. The light and lovely Spa at the Coworth Park (left) and the dark and decadent Blythswood Square Hotel Spa in Glasgow (right) both receive big shiny gold stars from me.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Romantic: The saying goes that “you’ve never lived until you’ve loved in Rome” and, having honeymooned at the Cavalieri, I can confirm that this is true. For its full-on romantic vibe and achingly beautiful view of the Eternal City, the Rome Cavalieri is my hotel of choice for starry-eyed lovers.

 

 

Beautiful: This is a tough one; Prague, Rome, Paris are all amazingly gorgeous destinations, and Barbados meets all the paradise island requirements but having just returned from the simply stunning La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, I’m going to give them the prize for most scenic and serenely beautiful destination to this hillside haven of loveliness – just look at this view from my room!

 

 

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog so far. These lucky celebrities love to travel so there’s plenty more to come! Look out for the lowdown on Vancouver, otherwise known as Hollywood North, and the filming location for the Twilight films, as well as a visit to the Mandarin Oriental Prague to see where the Hollywood movie moguls have been staying during the shoot of the new Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol movie. There’ll also be some winter sun from favourite celeb destinations Thailand, Dubai and the Maldives. Also, if you spot any A-list lovelies on your travels don’t forget to leave your comments or send me a wee Tweet on @passporttostars. Thanks for following along!

 

 

 

 


23
Sep 11

The Cotswolds Celebrity Style: The Ellenborough Park

I’ve not long returned from a lovely stay in the stunning Cotswolds. It’s hard to believe that it was my first visit to this red-hot rural hotspot but as I’m from Scotland I usually take my staycations north of the border. The Cotswold’s didn’t disappoint though. The area has, of course, long been a favourite of celebrities; Kate Winslet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liz Hurley, Huge Grant, and Damien Hurst are just a few of the big names that own multi-million pound mansions in the area, but a little an extra bit of cool Britannia was added earlier this year when Kate Moss and Lily Allen tied their respective knots amidst the picture-perfect English countryside. So, I packed my designer Wellies and donned a deerstalker, for a visit to the area’s latest new-kid-on-the-Cotswold-stone-block, the five star, celeb-filled Ellenborough Park Hotel and Spa.

 

 

The Lowdown

This charming Cheltenham manor house has galloped ahead of the local competition picking up a mantelpiece full of ribbons and trophies since its opening earlier this year. There’s plenty on offer for luxe-loving, pleasure-seeking guests; within the walls of the impressive Grade II-listed Elizabethan building, grand fireplaces and oak-panelled walls have been well-dressed with rich wood furnishings and stylish scarlet and royal blue sofas and chairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior design guru, Nina Campbell – who was behind the decoration of Princess Catherine’s pre-wedding suite at The Goring Hotel – took charge of the Ellenborough’s smart interiors and has perfectly combined olde-worlde elegance with modern country chic to create a truly stunning space. I absolutely adored this glittery gorgeous peacock wall lamp that illuminates the balcony area of the Great Hall – so covetable!

 

 

 

The hotel’s foodie credentials are fantastic too and are said to attract many a local celebrity round for lunch, dinner or drinks. Whether it was breakfast in bed – seriously delicious in so many ways – afternoon tea or something a bit more formal, you won’t be disappointed. Celebrated chef, David Kelman, oversees the country house cuisine at the Ellenborough Park and has done an excellent job of showcasing the wealth of local products the Cotswolds has to offer. In the Beaufort Dining Room, there’s a self-assured selection of classic gastronomic delights – think buttery Lobster Thermidor and perfectly prepared Chateaubriand. Or for something equally as delicious but not quite so formal try the comfortable surroundings of The Tudor Club Brasserie – the Pear and Apple Pie, made with fruit freshly-picked from the trees outside, was to die for.

 

The Highlights

The Ellenborough Park has a host of celebrity-style suites hidden away in the hotel’s many ancient towers and turrets. All overlook the pretty grounds and some have views of the adjacent Cheltenham Racecourse. The dramatic Istabraq Suite nestled in the eaves of the Great Hall, with its timbered ceiling, huge bed and beautiful open-plan bathroom is about as romantic as a hotel room can get. The Arkle Suite has its own private dining area, oak-clad walls and spa bathroom make it the perfect space to live out your amorous Elizabethan fantasies. I stayed in one of the luxury rooms (19). It was spacious and beautifully decked-out in a pretty palette of pale blues, greens and creams, with ivy-clad windows and a large bathroom with double sinks, a Victorian claw tub and a nice selection of Penhaligon’s amenities. Standard rooms were rather disappointing though; very small and lacking in the rich character that the rest of the hotel exudes, so my advice would be that if you are going to splash the cash spend a few pennies more and upgrade.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ellenborough Park’s splendid Oriental-themed spa is the perfect spot for an afternoon of posh pampering. The lush little space feels extremely private, featuring a sauna, star-lit steam room, sensation showers and hydrotherapy pool, along with seven treatment rooms and a special VIP area for couples in a Rapunzel-like tower. Treatments are luxe – the Spa Creation Facial is certain to go down well with spa aficionados, and pre and post-treatment guests can lounge about looking gorgeous in the serene magazine-filled relaxation room or chill and re-charge in the jewel-box-like Juice Bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Style


Go country with a pair of Dubarry Galway Boots. Seen here in Walnut £299

And should you forget to pack suitable walking footwear check out the Ellenborough Park’s fabulous Boot Room where a selection of Dubarry boots and Hunter’s Wellingtons are available for guests to borrow.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ellenborough Park: Tel 01242 545454; http://www.ellenboroughpark.com/ Doubles from £240


5
Sep 11

The Oh-So-Cool Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

 

August turned out to be a really busy month for me! So busy, in fact, that I ended up visiting five cities, in four countries, in two weeks – phew! Jet lag aside, I had a fantastic time and I managed to fill up on loads of celebrity travel fuel for my blog. This week, it’s the latest from always-on-the-celebrity-circuit Sin City, Las Vegas, where the oh-so-cool Cosmopolitan Hotel was getting ready to add Grammy Award-winning songstress, Adele, to it’s rapidly growing celebrity guest list.

 

The Lowdown

Hot young things do well in Vegas and Sin City’s hotels are no exception. Strutting its stuff in the centre of the Strip this year’s latest looker is the brand-new achingly cool Cosmopolitan Hotel. The haute hotel started as it meant to go on with a crowd-pulling New Year’s Eve party drawing in those from the highest echelons of the celebrity galaxy. Jay-Z and Coldplay brought in the bells with a show-stopping performance at the Cosmopolitan Marquee Club, with superstar spouses Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow in attendance alongside Rihanna, Kirsten Dunst, Florence Welch, Blake Lively and Jennifer Love-Hewitt.

Cutting into the middle of the Las Vegas skyline, with views of the Strip, the Bellagio fountains and the Red Rock Mountains, the Cosmopolitan sits right in the centre of the action and has become a magnet for every big-time celebrity in town. VIPs can enter anonymously through a series of secret access ways and elevators but mere mortals shouldn’t feel aggrieved as the designed-within-an-inch-of-its-life hotel lobby has more than enough gloss and glamour to make you feel like an A-lister.  Entering the hotel, the brilliant sunshine of outside is replaced by the electric glow of enormous digital walls projecting avant-garde images and groovy patterns across the shiny coal-coloured floor. Glittering at the other end of the vast ground level is the world’s largest chandelier, containing more than two million sparklers, covering three floors and housing five cocktail bars within its giant crystal curtain, it was quite possibly the most ostentatious over-the-top hotel decoration I have ever seen in my life – I loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hotel also has no less than eleven restaurants including the wickedly popular Wicked Spoon and favourite of Jay-Z and Beyonce, Scarpetta – apparently the new-mum-to-be loves the exclusive restaurant’s authentic Tomato and Basil Pasta. Along with these well known celebrity haunts, there’s also a special discreet eatery, a nameless “secret pizza” joint hidden down an LP-lined corridor on the second floor where Justin Beiber recently managed to avoid the “fever” on a date with Selena Gomez.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highlights

Essentially all the rooms are suites here; designed as residential-style spaces each comes with a balcony – not easy to find in Vegas – drop-dead gorgeous designer bathrooms, kitchens and state-of-the-art electronic gadgetry. Studio, one, and two bedroom suites are available, as is the Bamboo Pool’s duplex party pad, The Lanai. Not advertised on the website though and reserved for only the highest of high-rollers and super-celebrities like Lady Gaga and Bono are the hotel’s high-flying flashy penthouse suites. These flamboyant accommodations include a multitude of magnificent rooms, as well as a private screening room, a fully-stocked and downright decadent wet bar, a pool table, spa bathrooms and a wraparound terrace for an incredible 360 degree view of the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following its grand opening on New Year’s Eve 2010, Marquee Nightclub at the Cosmopolitan has become Vegas’ most spectacular space. Boasting a fifty-foot ceiling, chandeliers (of course), a four-storey wall of screens and coliseum-style seating around the central dance floor this designer hotspot has attracted all the beautiful party people you would expect – Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton have both partied heartily here. Nicole Scherzinger chose to celebrate her 33rd birthday this year with an extravagant aqua-bash at the Marquee Nightclub’s Dayclub where lounging about in plush cabanas with private infinity pools, and dancing on the rooftop terraces of the triplex bungalows, was the order of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And when all that partying, dancing, gambling, eating and drinking has taken its toll the hotel’s Sahra Spa and Hamman is on hand to restore your energy levels. Inspired by the desert landscape, this swanky spa is as glam as the rest of the hotel. Long dramatic hallways with double, and even triple-height ceilings, and chalky coral-coloured walls lead past glimmering pearl-studded waterfalls to cocoon-like treatment rooms where you can be buffed, rubbed, plucked, polished and pampered ready for your next Vegas night out.

 

STAR STYLE

 

 

Strut past the burly club bouncers and dance the night away in this fabulous pair of colour block suede stiletto pump from Vionnet by Zanotti

£579

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: Tel 702-698-7000; Cosmopolitanlasvegas.com. Doubles from $350

 


26
Aug 11

Kim Kardashian’s Honeymoon Night Hotel

I was planning on writing about Las Vegas this week having visited the oh-so-cool Cosmopolitan Hotel last week but Kim Kardashian’s wedstavaganza has proven to be big enough to overshadow even the bright lights of Sin City. So, look out for a post soon on Vegas’ latest haute spot but for now let’s take a wee peek at where Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries celebrated the exchange of their million dollar rings.

 

 

With a 20-carat ring, a Vera Wang wedding dress and a $1.5 million magazine deal it was unlikely that the bride-to-be-would settle for anything less than an amazing honeymoon suite. Last week it was reported that friends and family of “Team Hump” had booked up many of the guest rooms and suites at the Four Seasons Resort and Hotel, otherwise known as “the Biltmore”, near stylish Santa Barbara, California. There was, of course, a firm “no comment” from the management but the smart money was on the Four Seasons hosting the happy couple. The ceremony itself took place on Saturday at the $30 million mansion of Frank Caufield in the ultra-exclusive neighbourhood of Montecito but sure enough wily photographers did manage to get a couple of snaps of the couple exiting the hotel on Sunday morning.

 

 

Santa Barbara has long been on my lust-list of places to visit and the Biltmore looks like it would more than satisfy my California dream of staying in a Spanish colonial mansion on America’s romantic Riviera. Room and suites at the resort look charming but the stars of the biggest reality wedding ever are sure to have booked up the Ty Warner Cottage, a 2000-square-foot Iberianesque cottage hidden away in the hotel’s verdant tropical gardens, with its white-shuttered living area, large master bedroom and spa bathroom with rain shower. Sigh…

 

 

 

 

There’s going to be loads of fabulous exclusive pictures in next week’s HELLO! Out Monday 29th August.

 

 

 

 

 

 


29
Jul 11

Glamorous Glasgow: The Blythswood Square Hotel

My lovely Dad phoned me a few weeks ago to give me some inside information for my blog – Brad Pitt is apparently on his way to our home town of Glasgow! As it’s not that unusual for my Dad to say something a bit mad I wasn’t sure at first whether he’d got his facts right but, sure enough, it turns out that this August the Hollywood superstar will indeed be visiting one of the finest cities in Britain (I’m not biased) to film his new zombie movie, World War Z. Glasgow has its fair share of fabulous places to stay but my money’s on Brad visiting Glasgow’s hottest new hotel, The Blythswood Square.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lowdown

The Blythswood Square Hotel has only been open just over a year but has already established itself as a major player on the Scottish hotel scene. P Diddy was the first of many celebrities to check in and has been followed a host of musical movers and shakers. As I checked in the T in The Park performers and their extensive entourages were exiting stage left and there were rumours that Beyonce herself had been admiring the cityscape from the terrace of the hotel’s privately accessed, three-bedroom Penthouse suite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located smack-bang in the centre of Glasgow’s central conservation area, the Blythswood Square is a magnificent city centre landmark. Once the former home of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, and one of the starting points of the Monte-Carlo Rally, the hotel has retained all of its va-va-va-vroom in its 21st century incarnation. Downstairs, in the swish lobby area there is an excellent restaurant, serving zingy Scottish cuisine, and a smart yet unpretentious bar. Cross the marble floored reception to the spectacular three-storey chandelier and a grand staircase – one that calls out for a sweeping entrance in an evening gown – to access the first floor Salon, a separate area for afternoon tea and charismatic cocktails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rooms are furnished in cool comfortable slate grey shades with specially commission heather-coloured Harris Tweed covering everything from the lilac lampshades to the turquoise blue bolsters and buttoned headboard. Even celebrities expect wi-fi to be included – Katy Perry recently Tweeted that she wouldn’t stay in a hotel that didn’t have it – and the Blythswood ticks this box, as well as having an extensive range of free in-room movies on offer too. Marble peek-a-boo bathrooms and a selection of spicy Anne Semonin amenities make a flamboyant addition to the suites.

 

The Highlights

The Spa at the Blythswood Square is absolutely exceptional; in fact I would go as far as saying it is one of the best city-hotel spas in Britain. Hidden in the hotel’s enormous basement, the spa complex is a shadowy glamorous space where guests can unwind anonymously. Lighting is low. Nightclub low but rather than being annoying it adds to the spa’s relax-in-the-city vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spa’s USP (sorry I’ve been hooked on The Apprentice) is its exceptional “thermal experience”. A series of rooms and pools that take de-stressing to a galactic level; dip in a giant walk-in Jacuzzi, cleanse in the crystal steam room, invigorate in the vitality pool or lounge in the laconium. There’s also a series of saunas and the tranquil tepidarium with luxurious heated stone loungers to fall asleep on. The spa has also wisely steered away from the usual Asian-inspired theme and has instead fully embraced its Scottish heritage with unique treatments using aromatic indigenous ingredients. The beautifully scented oils, used during my Turus hot stone massage, were created by organic skincare specialists Ila and for sixty magical minutes evoked heather-heavy mountaintops and cedar-scented woods – bliss.

 

Star Style


 

The Blythswood Square Hotel was recently named as the official VIP hotel for this year’s MOBO Awards so channel your inner rock star with this little leather number from hot Scottish designer Christopher Kane

£2205

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blythswood Square Hotel: 0141 240 1666; www.blythswoodsquare.com. Doubles from £135

 


5
Jul 11

Celebrate Like Royalty at the Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo

Love was in the air this weekend, as the Cambridges canoodled on their Canadian tour, Kate Moss got hitched to Jamie Hince, and the tiny Principality of Monaco rejoiced at the union of Prince Albert and her Charlene Wittstock.

Some 3500 guests attended the star-studded Royal Wedding including heads of state and the rich and famous. Amongst them were the French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Prince Frederik of Denmark, couturiers Karl Lagarfeld and Giorgio Armani – who made Charlene’s dress. Former super-model Naomi Campbell also made an appearance and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang Ave Maria for the happy couple.

 

All of these illustrious guests, of course, had to find somewhere to pop on their party frocks and and Monaco’s top hotels were on hand to fuss over their fabulous visitors. The Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo, voted the ‘Best Hotel in the World’ last year, enhanced the hotel’s decor with an amorous floral theme.

In-house stylist and florist Miss Rose created a stunning ephemeral floral display in the lobby. Named the ‘Garden of Eden’, the centrepiece was a spectacular Cherry Blossom tree surrounded by a halo of whimsical white flowers. The hotel’s discreet archway entrance was also adorned in white and red flowers, as a subtle nod to the official colours of Monaco.

Discerning wedding guests were able to soak up the city’s regal atmosphere in the palatial surrounding of the Jaques Garcia designed Hotel Metropole. Dining here is a divine experience; the hotel has two marvellous Michelin-starred restaurants; YOSHI and Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo both of which are celebrity-frequented all year round. Guests were also able to relax in between the three-day celebrations by sipping cocktails at the hotel’s enchanting summer-in-the-city swimming pool or hanging out at the trendy Lobby Bar. The hotel’s fairy-tale pretty suites and junior suites, which feature terraces and stunning views of the ocean, are bound to have been the most sought-after and on-site there is also the celebrated Espa Spa to keep glamorous guests ready for a world-wide audience.

Hotel Metropole, 4 avenue de la Madone, Monte Carlo. (+377) 93 15 15 15 www.metropole.com ) From £265 per night


21
Jun 11

The Dorchester: Home to More Stars than the Milky Way!


If The Dorchester was a drink it would definitely be champagne – it’s effervescent, exclusive and ever so much fun! Since its opening in 1931, The Dorchester has been one of the most desirable places in the world to stay achieving legendary status for its exemplary facilities, immaculate service and outstanding dining.  During its eighty-year history, royalty, world leaders, celebrities, musicians and cultural luminaries have graced The Dorchester with their presence so imagine my delight when a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to take a peek behind its renowned revolving door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAR DESTINATION

The Dorchester has been an essential stop for the high-profiled and well-heeled for nearly a century. From its opening in the 1930s which attracted eminent artists like Cecil Beaton, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward, to the war years when General Eisenhower set up headquarters alongside Winston Churchill, to sensational 1960s Jet Set that included Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, to the superstars of the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties, every celebrity worth their salt has been spotted at The Dorchester. Recent Dorchester darlings include Ben Stiller, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Elton John, and Lady Gaga to name just a few.

 

STAR SANCTUARY

As the doorman, in his heavy gold-braided green coat, escorted me into the lavish lobby of The Dorchester I felt like I had made it! The entrance is suitably dramatic for the establishment’s celebrated patrons; reminiscent of a spectacular stage set, the marble-clad lobby resembles a proscenium arch with two splendid reception desks at its wings. Its players are provided in the form of an unending stream of models and yummy Mayfair mummies, international industrialist and suited-and-booted businessmen. The Dorchester runs as smoothly as the well-oiled Bentleys that sit outside: this is the kind of place where if Britney wants a hundred Marilyn Monroe DVDs and a selection of “chick lit”, they will be carefully arranged in her bookcase, or if J-Lo turns up with sixty-six suitcases and insists on Jo Malone candles, suitable stowage will be found and the room will undoubtedly reek of Lime Basil & Mandarin. The Dorchester is, of course, much too discreet to divulge these star secrets but a quick search on the internet provides ample confidential celebrity demands that have been met with ease by the world’s most agreeable hotel.

 

STAR TREATMENT

Celebrity, and non-celebrity, guests residing at The Dorchester can expect round-the-clock pleasure and delight. I was treated to some Star Treatment in the hotel’s beautiful Belgravia Suite. Favoured by many celebrated guests, these suites overlook Park Lane and Hyde Park and are opulently decorated in traditional yet timeless English fashion. Rich wood panelling complements the plush furnishings, elegant fireplace and oriental rugs in the sitting room, and a four-poster bed and Italian marble bathroom, boasting London’s deepest tub and a range of bespoke Floris amenities, combine to provide a truly A-list experience. Cosseted amidst such luxury it was difficult to leave my sumptuous surroundings and obvious why Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell madly in love in the hotel’s Harlequin Suite. But duty called, so after a quick plunge in the bathtub it was time for tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The restaurants and bars are in a class of their own, and dining at The Dorchester is on every icons itinerary. Whether it be taking afternoon tea in The Promenade, hanging with the celebs at Tang, or enjoying some fancy French cuisine at the booked-months-in-advance Alain Ducasse, there’s an abundance of taste bud titillation on offer. We opted for a champagne-fuelled feast at The Grill and, even though my Seventies-inspired jumpsuit clashed badly with the tartan-filled interiors, being a Glasgow girl originally I loved the quirky design, which looked like it had been realised by the love child of Vivienne Westwood and Braveheart! Service was, as expected, impeccable and refreshingly fun, and the adventurous menu proved to be an absolute joy.

 

The Spa at The Dorchester is definitely one of the most glamorous on the planet and has devotees that include Sophie Dahl, Elle Macpherson and Vanessa Hudgens. I was utterly seduced by The Spa’s unashamedly opulent, navy and ivory, Art Deco inspired decor and loved the gorgeous Spatisserie where it is the custom for guests to enjoy champagne, cakes and cocktails pre and post-treatment. The sublime spa space features a show-stopping chandelier of 72,000 South Pacific white pearls, decadent blue velvet day beds and lashings of lilies – I wouldn’t have been surprised if Greta Garbo had swanned out of one of the nine treatment rooms. The Spa has teamed up with some of the world’s leading beauty practitioners, from the supreme facialist Vaishaly to celeb-favourite and anti-aging specialist Carol Joy London, to Aromatherapy Associates and Kerstin Florian, to offer the ultimate beauty experience. A suite for manicures and pedicures is also available, as is hairdresser to the stars, Royston Blythe.

 

 

 

STAR STYLE

I had some serious handbag envy going on during my visit! A glambag is de rigueur at The Dorchester so grab a Great British design like this cute clutch from Nadia Minkoff to garner some green-eyed glances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dorchester: Park Lane, London W1 (020 7629 8888; www.thedorchester.com). Doubles from £265

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