Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts has launched Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences (www.waldorfastoria.com/drivingexperiences) at six of its landmark properties in the United States. The new driving program offers hotel guests the unique opportunity to get behind-the-wheel of three incredible supercars under the guidance of world-class professional racecar driver Didier Theys.
Designed to appeal to discerning travellers and automotive enthusiasts, Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences give participants access to three of the world’s most famous super cars, including a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, McLaren MP4-12C, and Porsche 911 Turbo.
The driving experience program will start its engines in six of Waldorf Astoria’s 29 properties, including:
· Waldorf Astoria Park City – Park City, Utah, September 30 – October 5
· La Quinta, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Palm Springs, California, October 15 – 20
· The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Scottsdale, Arizona, October 24 – 29
· The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New Orleans, Louisiana, November 6 – 11
· Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Boca Raton, Florida, November 14 – 19
· Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Phoenix, Arizona, December 2 – 7
At every location, motorists will receive an introduction and tutorial about each vehicle by excursion leader and Belgian race champion Didier Theys, and then set out behind the wheels on a bespoke and breath taking driving tour, rotating cars and drivers along the way.
The pre-arranged courses will take attendees through some of America’s most beautiful routes and historic landmarks. In Utah, for example, the pre-planned course will take the group past Provo Canyon and Bridal Veil Falls, and the Palm Springs route will include stops along the San Bernardino National Forest and Big Bear Mountain. The total drive time will be approximately three hours and the cost of the experience is $999 (approx. £601) per couple (excluding accommodations). Waldorf Astoria Ultimate Driving Experiences are presented in partnership with DXL US.
“The Waldorf Astoria brand has provided unforgettable experiences for its guests for more than a century,” said John T.A. Vanderslice, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide. “This program continues our legacy by offering our clientele authentic and unforgettable moments that further connect them to our properties in an extraordinarily modern and interactive way.”
Waldorf Astoria enthusiasts are also invited to participate socially in a #WaldorfExperiences contest launched online on August 11, 2014. Waldorf Astoria will ask fans and followers of the brand’s social channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to submit photos from their own driving experiences by tagging them with the #WaldorfExperiences hashtag for a chance to win a free stay at a Waldorf Astoria property.
To learn more about or to book the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences, please visit www.waldorfastoria.com/drivingexperiences
The Starwood owned Silicone Valley area hotel is trialing the first Botlr (robotic butler) on call day and night to attend to guest requests.
Once guests call the front desk for a room service request, the hotel’s human staff simply load up the Botlr with an extra towel or a late night snack, input the guest’s room number and the Botlr does the rest.
It can navigate hotel corridors and use the elevator using a Wi-Fi signal.
The pilot program officially kicks off on August 20 and may be deployed at almost 100 properties if it proves a success.
Starwood says the robots will augment rather than replace existing staff.
The Botlr was built by California tech firm Savioke which believes there is great potential for service robots.
“There are all these places, hotels, elder care facilities, hospitals that have a few hundred robots maybe but no significant numbers and we think that’s just a huge opportunity,” said Savioke CEO Steve Cousins.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – With its third golf course newly crowned the South Carolina Golf Course of the Year and the resort’s recent addition to Travel + Leisure’s Top 5 World’s Best Family Getaways list, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort plays host to golfers, families, retirees and tennis fans from around the country throughout the fall season.
Carolina sunshine paired with mild temperatures, ranging from the 70s to low 80s as a high, encourage visitors to the 2000-acre Hilton Head Island resort to head outdoors and enjoy its plentiful and varied activities from fishing and biking to golf and tennis.
Palmetto Dunes offers three championship Hilton Head golf courses, all of which have been named South Carolina Golf Course of the year and rated four stars or more by Fodor’s Golf Digest Places to Play. Each is distinctively different and appealing, ranging from the oceanfront Robert Trent Jones course to the George Fazio course, which is Hilton Head’s only par-70 course, and the Arthur Hills course known for its rolling dunes.
Guests can book a variety of golf packages that include golf instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy along with accommodations in the resort’s many Hilton Head vacation villas and homes, as well as group golf packages for 12 or more players that include golf rounds, breakfast, team shirts, beer and more perks.
The Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center, home to 25 tennis courts open for play, will host the Palmetto Dunes Fall Tennis Classic Aug. 29-31, the Banana Open Challenge Oct. 3-5 and several United States Tennis Association South Carolina state championships throughout October and November. The center also offers daily tennis instruction, as well as an exhibition and happy hour Mondays at 5:30 p.m. and equipment demonstrations on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. through October. Tennis players will find a host of packages to choose from including the Stay & Play package and Extreme Tennis Vacation.
Fishing is abundant on Hilton Head Island in the fall, and the resort’s official outfitters, Hilton Head Outfitters, provides inland fishing charters, as well as kayaking and canoeing, in the resort’s 11-mile inland saltwater lagoon system.
At the resort’s Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, located across Highway 278, there are also inshore and offshore fishing charters, including night shark fishing. Other activities at the marina include jetpacking, parasailing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more. Shelter Cove Harbour offers waterfront dining and shopping, as well as entertainment with the Music & Food on the Harbour series that includes live music paired with food and drink tastings on Thursday evenings throughout September and October.
Families on fall break will find Hilton Head Island to be an active and adventurous getaway. The Sun ‘n Fun Island Escape includes 3 nights of accommodations, starting at $217/person/night, one round of golf per person, 3-day bike rentals for biking the island’s 50 miles of paved bike paths, a 2-hour kayak rental, 2 hours of tennis court time daily and a massage and a facial or body scrub at Spa Soleil.
For more information about Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort or any fall packages or offers, please call 877-567-6513 or visit www.palmettodunes.com.
About Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a 2,000-acre resort destination located in the middle of Hilton Head Island, S.C., bounded by 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. Named to the top 25 World’s Best Family Getaways by Travel + Leisure in 2013, the resort features three world-class golf courses, an award-winning tennis center, an 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon system for kayaking and fishing, and Hilton Head Outfitters for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour, Hilton Head Island’s largest deep-water marina, located right across from Palmetto Dunes, features waterfront shopping and dining and a wide variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing. For information about activities or reservations, please call 877-567-6513 or visit www.palmettodunes.com
Now, hotels can’t get away with having mediocre Wi-Fi speeds.
Hotelwifitest.com, which tests and predicts the Wi-Fi speed of hotels throughout the world, released a report on Wednesday that ranks hotel chains based on the percentage of their hotels with poor Wi-Fi performance.
The report, which also highlights the best and worst cities for high-speed Wi-Fi, advances Hotel WiFi Test’s mission to deliver accurate Wi-Fi reports of hotels to travelers.
The top five hotel chains were (in order): Radisson Blu (17 percent of hotels with poor Wi-Fi), Hyatt Hotels & Resorts (34 percent), Quality Inn (35 percent), Best Western (35 percent) and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts (36 percent).
The top five cities were (in order): Stockholm (4 percent), Hong Kong (8 percent), Amsterdam (17 percent), Tokyo (19 percent) and Rome (27 percent). San Diego was the top U.S. location at No. 9 (33 percent), followed by Washington D.C. (37 percent) and Chicago (38 percent).
Currently, a hotel with “adequate” Wi-Fi has download speeds of at least 2 Mbps, upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps, latency not exceeding 500 ms and an average stability rating of at least 3 out of 5 (although Hotel WiFi Test President Yaroslav Goncharov recently told TravelPulse that expectations could increase as guest demand and Wi-Fi availability rise).
The report isn’t perfect, as some hotels were only measured by download speeds because upload testing, latency testing and stability feedback are new additions to Hotel WiFi Test’s testing process. The report also does not differentiate between free and paid Wi-Fi.
But it’s certainly a step in the right direction as more and more travelers not only desire adequate Wi-Fi, but also require it.
A recent survey by Hotels.com highlighted just how attached travelers around the world are to mobile devices. Ten countries in the survey were particularly unwilling to give up their mobile devices during their travels, including Thailand (85 percent of the country’s travelers), Korea (78 percent), Japan (69 percent), China (67 percent), Singapore (60 percent) and Taiwan (53 percent). Obviously, the fact that all six of these countries are part of an Asian market that is being heavily targeted by the travel industry is no small thing. And it’s safe to say these countries are going to want adequate Wi-Fi for their mobile devices.
Sites like Hotel WiFi Test are raising the bar for hotel Internet speed, and guests are looking for more bars on their mobile devices and computers. If your hotel has mediocre Wi-Fi (whether paid or free), you may want to change that fast.
To view the full Hotel WiFi Test report, go to hotelwifitest.com.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Sure, you’ve selected your seat from an airplane map by now.
But now you can choose which hotel room you want via a digital floor plan, courtesy of Hilton Worldwide.
In July, Hilton became the first hospitality company to offer room selection and customization via mobile and Internet-based floor plans. Part of a company-wide initiative to focus on the digital and technology space, the offering was conceived based on feedback from travelers.
“Number one, what we’re trying to do is give guests the ultimate in choice and control, really make sure it’s their vacation and that it’s custom to them,” said Dustin Bomar, Senior Director, Global Online Services at Hilton. “The second thing is, we were asking our consumers what they wanted to see, what they would use, what they would find valuable. And 84 percent of guests (in a global survey by Hilton) said if they had the option of choosing their room, they would do it. So, because the guests asked for it, that’s what we’ll provide.”
Guests can currently select their exact room online or via the Apple and Android HHonors apps across five Hilton U.S. brands: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. That covers nearly 1,000 Hilton hotels. The functionality will also be available at DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels properties within the U.S. this fall.
That’s in addition to digital check-in, digital checkout and the ability to order food, beverage and other items that will be waiting for you when you step into your hotel room.
By the end of 2014, digital check-in and room selection will be available at more than 4,000 Hilton Worldwide properties across 11 brands in 80-plus countries via members’ Hilton HHonors accounts.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Nestled in the valley beneath Les Baux, a hilltop medieval village, new Small Luxury Hotels of the World® property, Domaine de Manville, has opened its doors offering 30 tranquil rooms set in a stunning 100-acre estate.
As well a large spa, fitness suite, outdoor pool, scenic 18-hole golf course and gourmet restaurant, guests can also enjoy the best of the Provençale lifestyle with an excellent wine cellar, and the option for wine tasting and truffle hunting.
Guests can explore the nearby medieval towns, sample delicious Provencal cuisine and stroll through the picturesque landscape. The surrounding acres of land, olive trees and lavender fields give this property a feeling of being refreshingly secluded and truly capture the essence of the Apilles region.
Rooms at Domaine de Manville with Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) are from £187 per night based on two people sharing. To book, visit www.slh.com or call 0800 0482 314
For more information on Domaine de Manville, please visit
With the oldest golf tournament in the world about to create global golf fever, UK company www.holidaysplease.co.uk are the first travel company to offer customers the chance to play on every course of the European Tour.
You and three friends will combine to create the ultimate 4 four ball golf holiday and take on all 48 courses featured in last season’s European Tour. The lucky participants will also get to play at this years Open Championship venue Royal Liverpool Golf Course.
You’ll cover 26 different countries in a phenomenal 100 days – The global nature of the European Tour means it has many venues outside Europe such as South Africa, the Middle East, India, the Far East, Australia and the USA. Playing at some of the best courses in the world you’ll find yourself walking the fairways at exclusive golf clubs like St Andrews, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, Royal Melbourne GC and Leopards Creek.
When you’re not playing golf you’ll be staying in exquisite luxury hotels. The accommodation includes Hillbark Hotel 5 star Country Hotel, Grand Hotel Vienna, Atlantis the Palm Hotel Dubai, and the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain.
The price for the greatest golf adventure on earth starts at £62,500/$100,000 per person based on four people, which includes first class flights, luxury private transfers, green fees and luxury accommodation. Cheaper options are available with economy flights.
We also have a private jet option to every location for £250,000 / $400,000 per person again based on four people sharing. This option also earns the accolade of the most expensive golf holiday ever created!
Holidaysplease say: “If you’ve ever dreamed of following the same path as the greats of golf then this is the holiday for you. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create your very own piece of golf history”.
For further details of this iconic trip just visit – http://www.holidaysplease.co.uk/news/ultimate-golf-holiday/
To mark the launch of its brand new stylish and luxurious self-catering lodges, the stunning five star Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island, located a two hour drive from Glasgow has launched its Hilltop Spa Getaway. The three night stay will cost £499 per person and include accommodation in the new lodges, the Hilltop Reserves; two indulgent hour-long ESPA treatments in the spa; and a dinner in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant.
The Hilltop Spa getaway gives guests a chance to completely enter a ‘world of their own’, with long strolls along the beautiful untouched beaches and plenty of time to soak up the tranquility and enjoy the unique experience of staying on a private island. Eriska is inhabited by countless species of wildlife such as otters, seals and red deer and all around the island there are nature trails with information points just waiting to be discovered.
The Hilltop Reserves which launched at the start of the month are stylish and luxurious stand alone self-catering lodges that are nestled on the hillside, completely secluded from the main hotel and the rest of the 300 acre island.
Each complete with their own private hot tubs; the two lodges boast stunning views across the sea, with the Isle of Lismore in the distance. Guests can sit back in the evening sun on the large external decking or in the hot tub with a glass of champagne in hand and witness some of the most breathtaking sunsets to be found anywhere in the world.
The Hilltop Reserves come complete with high speed Wi-Fi; an entertainment system; tile and wooden flooring; their own heating and water system; a luxury en-suite bedroom; and a modern, state of the art kitchen. Not only are the suites customised to blend in with the beautiful surroundings, but they are also as fundamentally ‘green’ and as sustainable as possible.
Although the spa break will be an opportunity to completely switch off and escape, guests are invited to the main hotel for a delicious supper cooked up by multi-award winning chef Ross Stovold. On the menu there will be a variety of creative and mouth-watering starters and main courses; with one fish from the surrounding waters; a meat dish from the hills surrounding the island; and a final vegetarian alternative inspired by one of the gardens or larders close to hand.
Guests will also be able to make the most of the five star private island’s heated indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, driving range, indoor tennis courts and 9-hole golf course.
Easily accessible from Oban, Connel Airport, Glasgow and Edinburgh, guests can arrive by car, boat, or even aboard a private sea plane from Glasgow Airport!
The wildlife, second-to-none views and serene location all help to give Eriska a magical feel that truly is unrivalled and makes it the perfect destination to discover for a spa getaway.
The Isle of Eriska is a luxury 5* resort and member of Relais & Chateaux; located on its own 300 acre Private Island just off the coast of Scotland. With unrivalled views, this haven of tranquility also boasts its own 9 hole golf course and a relaxing spa.
The island is 5 miles from Oban Airport and a two hour drive from Glasgow airport. It is also 6 miles from Connel Ferry train Station.
Private Sea Plane from Glasgow Airport to the Isle of Eriska can be arranged on request and costs £1500 return, carrying up to 8 guests.
Hilltop Spa Getaway – 3 Nights £499 per person
3 nights’ accommodation in a luxury Hilltop Reserve on a self-catering basis
2 Hours of ESPA Spa Treatments per person to be taken over the two days
Dinner on one night in the superb 3AA Rosette restaurant
Use of Wet facilities
Free Robe and Slippers in the Spa
Spa treatment time from is from 10.30am and the length of treatment time includes the consultation period
Golf widows rejoice! Edinburgh New Town Cookery School is running a luxury cooking experience for those who prefer spatulas to clubs.
The Easy Entertaining one day course on 27th September 2014 will include demonstrations, cookery skills and lunch with wine, and will give straightforward steps to producing a superb meal at home
Starting with a demonstration over coffee and homemade biscuits, guests will then cook a three course meal, with instruction throughout. Once produced the lunch is then served in the gorgeous Georgian dining room, plus wine, where guests can relax and enjoy their labours.
On the menu for this Easy Entertaining will be:
Salad of Roasted Beetroot with Walnuts and Watercress,
Roast Fillet of Lamb with Herbs, Rosemary Sauté Potatoes, Leeks Braised in Wine,
Bramble and Almond Cake with Creme Fraiche and Honey
The course runs from 9.45 am to 2.30 pm with places still available. To book contact: www.entcs.co.uk
ENTCS is a professional cookery school based in Edinburgh’s New Town. The school was founded by Fiona Burrell, formerly Principal of Leith’s School of Food and Wine. She began her career in Edinburgh and has been teaching professional cookery courses for thirty years. With courses on offer from one day tasters for amateurs, to six month professional courses, many graduates have gone on to work in some the UK’s top kitchens. For more details: www.entcs.co.uk
Set on a 500-yard stretch of private beach, Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita, an ultra-luxury boutique resort, comprises 90 graciously appointed one- and two-bedroom suites, all with private terraces and ocean views. Among the highlights of the resort are La Canoa, an award-winning restaurant; a world-class spa, which combines relaxing Thalassotherapy, with special native Mayan treatments, yoga sessions, skin care, couples massages, and body wraps; and a private 48-foot Catamaran.
Additional diversions include a full range of water sports, culinary classes, language lessons, ceramic painting lessons, and tequila tastings. Leading Special rates from USD 422 per night, single: USD 617 per night, double; include all meals and beverages, catamaran sunset sail, shopping tour by boat, 20-minute Thalasso experience, airport transfer with advance notice.
Located near the tip of Baja California, Secrets Marquis Los Cabos features a gorgeous setting and pristine accommodations. Foodies can relish a menu created from of the freshest local ingredients by one of the few Master Chefs in Mexico; while art enthusiasts browse the resort’s collection of sculptures and paintings on display. Sybarites will want to book a treatment at the Spa Marquis, while sun seekers flock to one of two infinity pools overlooking the water.
A dream for golfers as well, there are six 18-hole courses within ten miles of the resort. Also on offer are wine and tequila tastings, dance lessons, archery, movies under the stars and live music. Leading Special rates USD 278 per night, single; USD 400 per night, double; include all meals in five à la carte restaurants, premium alcoholic beverages in two bars, daily morning coffee amenity, mini-bar refreshed daily, 24-hour suite service, daily activities, live music, theme parties, tax and service.
The Royal Hideaway Playacar occupies a stretch of white sand beach on Mexico’s tropical Caribbean side, just five minutes south of the lively beach town of Playa del Carmen. The sophisticated, colonial-style property (an all-inclusive, all-adult getaway) strikes a winning balance between boutique and rambling, with 13 lush acres and a myriad of activities, like water sports, private tennis lessons and excursions to nearby archeological sites. Dining is exclusively à la carte and many guests dress up for dinner. During the day, the social hub is the vast infinity pool and the oceanfront solarium deck, the perfect place to soak up the sun, while evenings find everyone at the sleek Piano Bar for aperitifs. Lead off rates from USD 245 per night, single occupancy; USD 373 per night, double occupancy; include all meals, snacks, premium alcohol, daytime activities, evening entertainment, a USD 30 spa credit per person per stay, tax and tips.
Set on a private white-sand beach on the island of Cozumel, Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa is tucked between lush jungle and brilliant blue sea, and surrounded by flowering gardens. Just steps from the world’s second largest coral reef system, the resort feels ultra-private. Guest rooms are housed in thatched-roof-style structures with sleek, modern interiors. Outdoors, guests can enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean from their very own hammock, or take a barefoot walk around the resort, in the sand, in the gardens or on natural pathways.
In addition to daily diving excursions, the resort offers an in-house dive shop, 24-hour fitness center, tennis courts, world-class spa, the Chiqui Club children’s program and nearby golf. Breakfast inclusive rates start at USD 277 per night, single or double occupancy, and include daily buffet breakfast. Tax and a nightly service fee of USD 12 per room are additional.
Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is a collection of luxurious beachfront villas and suites located a mile from Puerto Morelos, quietly removed from the buzz of Cancun and Playa del Carmen but within easy reach of both. Inspired by traditional colonial haciendas, the suites feature spacious living areas, kitchens and terraces with ocean views.
The property offers a variety of leisure facilities including restaurants, bars, an activity center, kids club, yachts, fishing, water sports, tennis courts, and a fitness center, as well as a gourmet foods market, butler and personalized concierge service, making it feel like a sophisticated beachfront community. Leading Special rates from USD 421 per night, single or double occupancy, include round-trip airport transfers, daily USD 100 resort credit per suite, and Wi-Fi access. Taxes are additional.
Blessed with palmed-lined beaches, ancient Mayan ruins and a nearly perfect climate, the Riviera Maya is a holiday traveler’s dream. Edged by 1,000 feet of beach, Grand Velas Riviera Maya is set amid acres of protected mangroves, jungle and natural freshwater wells locally known as cenotes. With 491 suites, more than half of which have ocean views or are ocean front, this high-end, family-friendly all-inclusive provides butler service, a full range of watersports, live music and gourmet French, Mexican and pan-Asian cuisines. The nearly 90,000-square-foot, award-winning spa offers hydrotherapy, massages, and body wraps in its 40 treatment suites. A Leading Seasonal Offer, valid through December 19, 2014, is priced from USD 521 per night, single; and USD 694 per night, double; and includes a USD 50 spa credit per person, per night.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is set on the Pacific against the backdrop of the sheltering Sierra Madre Mountains. At this refined 267-suite all-inclusive beachfront resort, kids are catered to with their own pool, as well as treasure hunts, cooking classes and piñata making. Adult travelers, not content to just relax by the pool, can enjoy beginning-level scuba classes, beach volleyball and bike tours. Guest room interiors, in contemporary style with teak furniture, are complemented by private terraces and plunge pools. From now until December 5, 2014, a Pool View Special offer priced from USD 562 per night, double occupancy, (a 20% reduction from regular rates); includes complimentary stays for two kids ages 2 to 12, and 50 percent savings for teens ages 13 to 16 when sharing a suite with their parents, as well as a 10% savings at the resort boutique, and a resort credit that can be used for spa or golf.
For reservations, visit http://www.LHW.com
In the USA & Canada please call 1-800-223-6800 or contact a travel professional.
About The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (LHW)
When extraordinary and one-of-a-kind intersect, you have likely found a Leading Hotel. As the largest luxury hotel collection, with more than 430 of the world’s greatest properties in over 80 countries, we seek out the exceptional. From grand palaces to intimate city hideaways, from ancient castles to sumptuous safari tent villages, from tropical aeries to mystical paradises, all are utterly unique and boldly independent. Each celebrates the culture of its destination, rather than trying to mask it with corporate-mandated sameness. Established in 1928 by several influential and forward-thinking European hoteliers, it started with 38 initial members. With our eight-decade-long commitment to providing unforgettable, authentic travel experiences, LHW selects only hotels that meet our high standards for quality and distinctiveness. To us, hospitality is not an industry; it’s an art…and our passion.
Next Page »