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Cape Cod's Chatham Bars Inn joins the Forbes Travel Guide Stars List

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 26, 2013 09:00 AM

chatham-bars-inn-cape-cod-cape-cod-massachusetts-104121-1.jpgChatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod is the newest Mass. hotel to join the Forbes Travel Guide Star List

Looking for the best of the best in hotels, restaurants and spas? The annual Forbes Travel Guide Star Ratings List was released this morning, highlighting the properties around the world that hold the coveted stars.

In Massachusetts, Blantyre Resort, Boston Harbor Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Boston, and Mandarin Oriental, Boston lead the pack of Five-Star hotels. Four-Star hotels include XV Beacon and the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common. Joining the rank of Four-Star properties this year is the Chatham Bars Inn, including its spa and restaurant.

The Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards recognize exceptional hotels, restaurants and spas around the world. This year, the list also includes Forbes Travel Guide "recommended" hotel, restaurants and spas. These are properties that haven't been given a star rating, but that "provide guests with a strong sense of location, whether through style or function," according to Forbes. For the complete list of Five- and Four-Star properties around the world, click here. Below are the highlights from New England:


Oscar-ready: Hotels featured in some of our favorite movies

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 20, 2013 01:08 PM

How many times have you walked into a hotel and thought to yourself, "I've seen this somewhere before..." Hotels are commonly the backdrop for many movie shoots, and with Oscar night just a few nights away, we thought we'd take a look at a few of our favorites.

Just in time for the Academy Awards, and in honor of the The Leading Hotels of the World's 85th anniversary, the hotel group released their list of hotels that starred in some of our favorite major motion pictures.

You likely know that The Bellagio was site of one of the most beloved crime-comedies of 2001, "Ocean Eleven", but did you know that The Ritz London was one of the interiors used in the romantic comedy, "Notting Hill", or that over 100 items from Room 512 of Ritz Paris was recreated for Tom Hanks' thriller "The DaVinci Code"?

The new LHW website,, features 85 different hotels that made an appearance in iconic films throughout time. I captured a few of my favorites in the photos below. Grab the Good-n-Plenty's, pop your popcorn, and check out how many look familiar to you.


Iconic Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris celebrates its centennial

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 18, 2013 07:12 AM

HOTEL PLAZA ATHENEE.jpgThe grand dam on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne in Paris is taking luxury style to a new level as it prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday.

Since Plaza Athénée's opening in April 1913, it fast became a melting pot for the fashion elite, international diplomats and luxury travelers from around the world. It's been home to Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Jacqueline Kennedy and Hollywood A-listers including Josephine Baker, Grace Kelly and more. Christian Dior first set up his couture salon here, and Chanel, Nina Ricci, Chloe, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton soon followed with stores on the trendy Avenue Montaigne. Today, the Avenue Montaigne is synonymous with designer luxury, and the Plaza Athénée is the meeting point for French hospitality and Parisian glamour.

I recently visited the hotel during a trip to Paris. The rooms are draped in elegant adornments such as bronze lamps and crystal chandeliers. While some of the carpets, drapery and fabrics look tired, it's all part of a magical mystique that floats through the hallways of this enchanting hotel. The rooms overlook either the Eiffel Tower or the Plaza Athenee's own garden, which becomes an ice rink in winter (see more photos below).

Athenee-Room.jpgOne of the hotel's signature suites. Here, the living room windows perfectly frame the Eiffel Tower.

Plaza Athénée is the place to stay if you fall to extremes. The see-and-be-seen crowd will love the creative cocktails and people watching at Le Bar du Plaza Athénée, while those looking for an escape will appreciate the hotel's spacious rooms, plush bathrobes, and butler service. At Plaza Athénée you can remain front and center, or retreat into a much needed luxury escape.


Spa escapes: Conde Nast travelers pick the top spas in the U.S.

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 13, 2013 09:21 AM

boston-spa-couples-suite.jpgCouples suite at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston

What better way to warm up during the cold weather months than at your favorite spa. Most spas at luxury hotels are open to visitors and locals, so there's no reason why you shouldn't treat yourself to a little rest, relaxation and hydration at your favorite spa. Think of it as a mini-day break, and indulge!

Here in Boston, The Spa is Mandarin Oriental is offering a Rose Renewal experience (perfect as a Valentine's Day gift, and available through the end of February). The Forbes Five-Star spa has everything from crystal steam rooms to heated lounge chairs and one of my favorite relaxation rooms in the city. The Rose Renewal experience is $230 on weekdays and $250 on weekends, and includes a 1 hour 20 minute Rose Indulgence Body Wrap or Rose Massage with a revitalizing exfoliation.

If you're up for a spa escape, Conde Nast recently released its annual Spa Poll -- a ranking of the top spas around the world that from more than 46,000 readers. Below are the top 10 spas in the U.S.:


Nantucket hotels announce special pre-season packages

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 11, 2013 05:03 AM

veranda-house.jpgIt's never to early to plan your vacation. Some of the best rates are often off-season, so if you can escape before school vacation and avoid holiday weekends, you could take advantage of some great pre-season summer packages on Nantucket.

Nantucket’s The Veranda House and Chapman House are currently offering a special "Countdown to Summer 3-2-1" package available from May 27 through June 27. The package includes two complimentary round trip passes on the Steamship Authority’s FastFerry service from Hyannis (valued at $158) and a three night stay and one complimentary pass for a two night stay.

Rates for the pre-season package start at $199 mid-week and $249 on the weekends at The Veranda House, and $169 midweek and $209 weekends at Chapman House.


New Hilton web site helps cure "Vacationitis"

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 7, 2013 09:31 AM

It's widely reported that Americans rarely use all of their allotted vacation time from the office. In an effort to free workaholics from their desks, Hilton Hotels & Resorts came up with a solution to "vacationitis": the Hilton Urgent Vacation Care Center.

Visitors to will find a short quiz aimed at diagnosing the severity of vacationitis, and offering suggestions from weekend breaks to week-long vacations, all which link to Hilton Hotels and Resorts’ online booking form.

Workers are advised to seek aid immediately if they show signs of 14 distinct symptoms of Vacationitis, including “Straight to Voicemailaria,” a chronic avoidance of client calls, or “Replyallgia,” the result of a flood of “reply all” emails.


Virgin Atlantic launches art gallery in the air

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 6, 2013 06:25 AM

Finding the perfect memento from your trip overseas doesn't have to be difficult. To help ensure you bring something unique home, Virgin Atlantic launched a commercial art gallery - in the sky.

Upper Class passengers flying between New York and London can view and purchase a series of one-of-a-kind paintings by renowned British street artist Ben Eine straight from their onboard seats onboard, and at Virgin Atlantic’s clubhouses at JFK, Newark and Heathrow.

Eine’s signature style of typography started on the streets of London, and became famous in the US when David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave President
Barack Obama an Eine original on his first trip to Washington DC.

Virgin Atlantic Gallery in the Air 4.jpg


Horse-lovers race to Palm Beach for Winter Equestrian Festival

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 4, 2013 06:42 AM

Equestrian.jpgThere's no better time to plan beach vacations than in the heart of winter in Boston. While you do run the risk of overlapping with Spring Break crowds and family vacations, Florida can offer some pretty unique experiences (South Beach, aside).

Take in a little bit of refined luxury at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, with its "Bridle Meets the Beach" package. Combining elegant efforts, the luxury hotel is a sponsor of the 2013 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, the largest and longest running horse show in the world.

The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach's equestrian package includes:

  • Overnight accommodations on the Ritz-Carlton Club Level
  • Overnight valet parking
  • Daily Internet access in guest room
  • Eau Spa Self-Centered Garden pass
  • One complimentary night - stay for four nights and pay for three
  • Gift from Tamara Comolli Fine Jewelry Collection and a personal consultation upon visiting the store


New Orleans Hotel serves up $10,000 Super Bowl cocktail

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 1, 2013 05:20 PM

ht_key_city_cocktail_nt_130131_wg.jpgNew Orleans is getting fancy for the Super Bowl. Forget about the Pimm's Cups in plastic cups - one New Orleans hotel is offering a limited-time $10,000 cocktail to welcome the Super Bowl to The Crescent City.

The "Key to the City" cocktail is available at the Windsor Court Hotel until Feb. 12. According to a report from

[The cocktail] is made of D'Oliveiras Malvasia 1907 Madeira Cobbler and served in a silver julep cup, garnished with fresh fruit and souvenir gold key.

About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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