The World’s Most Expensive Hotels

August 30, 2009
Starwood Hotels
The Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva commands $65,000 a night for its four-bedroom penthouse.

Amid the recession, rock stars, diplomats and other celebrities find solace from the doom and gloom by spending their time in sanctuary provided by the world’s most luxurious, and expensive, hotels. While many of us are tightening our belts, shortening our summer holidays or even abandoning them, hoteliers to the rich and famous claim to have no trouble filling their most exclusive accommodations, and in the case of the most expensive suite in the world, managing to double its rate to $65,000 (€45,642) a night.

In an annual survey by Financial News’ sister publication Wealth Bulletin, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, tops the list as the most expensive hotel room in 2009, commanding $65,000 for its four-bedroom penthouse — twice as much as patrons paid a year ago for its luxurious setting and views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.

The hotel’s management puts the rise down to “buoyant demand” from government officials and U.N. diplomats.

Last year’s winner, the iconic Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, came second this time, at $35,000, $1,000 up from last year.

New entries this year were the third-placed Presidential Suite at the Hotel Cala di Volpe in Sardinia, the Villa La Cupola Suite at the Westin Excelsior in Rome and the Presidential Suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo.

Despite the past year’s financial and economic turmoil, prices at the best hotel suites have risen by an average of 10% this year. Herbert Ypma, founder of the Hip Hotels brand, said: “The very high end hasn’t suffered all that much. A lot of hotels used to having upmarket clientele are getting the benefit of them taking far more time off than usual — so they have more time to stay in hotels. Money was never the issue, time was.”

Hoteliers said that although the number of business travellers has fallen in the past year, government officials have taken their place in the best rooms and suites.

President Barack Obama and his entourage took over the entire Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow for three nights in June. The President Wilson Hotel said heads of state and other high-level government officials are fuelling demand for its hugely expensive Royal Penthouse Suite.

Vivian Deuschl, spokeswoman for Ritz-Carlton Hotels, said demand is also coming from wealthy leisure travellers: “Last year they might have taken three or four cheaper holidays. This year they are taking one big vacation, but pulling out all the stops.”

The 10 most expensive hotel suites according to Wealth Bulletin’s survey for 2009 are:


Four Seasons
The library of the Ty Warner Penthouse at New York’s Four Seasons Hotel.

1. The Royal Penthouse Suite, President Wilson Hotel, Geneva — $65,000 per night

Complete with a cocktail lounge, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson is so exclusive that bookings reportedly have to be made through the hotel’s chairman. The suite occupies the entire top floor of the hotel. It is reached by a private elevator, has four bedrooms overlooking Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc and comes with six bathrooms. Equipped with bulletproof windows and doors, it is almost exclusively reserved for celebrities or state heads, ideal with the United Nations headquarters a five-minute drive away.

2. Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel, New York — $35,000 per night

Business at the Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York has remained as buoyant as when the suite opened in 2007, according to a spokeswoman. The nine-room suite has walls inlaid with thousands of pieces of mother-of-pearl. There is an indoor-outdoor Zen garden, a private spa room with a screen of living bamboo and a book-lined library, which has a grand piano at its centre.

3. The Presidential Suite, Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia — $34,000 per night

The Presidential Suite at Hotel Cala di Volpe near Porto Cervo, averages around $34,000 a night, although during the peak summer season will cost as much as $45,000. Located in the hotel tower, the multi-level Presidential Suite sprawls across 2,500 sq ft and has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private gym, a steam room and a wine cellar. It is crowned by a rooftop terrace with an outdoor saltwater swimming pool.

4. Villa La Cupola Suite, Westin Excelsior, Rome — $31,000 per night

Villa La Cupola Suite in Rome’s Westin Excelsior embodies all things Roman and excessive: a cupola, a Pompeii-style Jacuzzi, frescoes and stained glass windows detailing allegories of a mythological figure paired with a modern one, such as Atlas and Television, Hypnosis and Neurosis, Hermes and Marketing and Hermaphrodite and Fashion. Located on the fifth and sixth floors, the suite covers 6,099 sq ft and has an additional 1,808 sq ft of balconies and terraces overlooking Via Veneto.


Ritz-Carlton
The Presidential Suite at Tokyo’s Ritz-Carlton.

5. The Presidential Suite, Ritz-Carlton Tokyo — $25,000 per night

The Presidential Suite, on the top floor of the city’s tallest building, has spectacular views of Mount Fuji and Roppongi Hills, as well as an expansive vista of Tokyo’s impressive cityscape. It occupies 2,368 sq ft. For refreshments, guests may enjoy the $18,000 Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini, which comes with a one-karat Bulgari diamond at the bottom.

6. The Bridge Suite, The Atlantis, Bahamas — $22,000 per night

The 10-room Bridge Suite is actually a bridge spanning the two towers of the Atlantis Hotel. The 23rd-floor suite is decked with marble floors, a grand piano and a 22-carat gold chandelier. It was known in former times as “the Michael Jackson Suite” because of his regular stays. Prices have come down from $25,000 last year and fees are negotiable. Nevertheless, the suite is so exclusive the hotel does not even advertise it.

7. The Imperial Suite, Park Hyatt Vendôme, Paris — $20,000 per night

The Imperial Suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris provides guests with an “in-suite-spa” concept — with the bathroom/spa comprising a whirlpool bath, a steam shower room and a massage table. The 2,500 sq ft penthouse suite has a huge living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a work area.


Burj Al Arab
The Royal Suite at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

8. Royal Suite, Burj Al Arab, Dubai — $19,600 per night

Since it was built in the mid-1990s, the Burj Al Arab has become one of the world’s most instantly recognizable hotels with its billowing sail-like structure stretching out on an artificial island into the Gulf of Arabia. The Royal Suite on the 25th floor has a marble-and-gold staircase, leopard print carpets, its own private lift and a rotating four-poster canopy bed.

9. Royal Armleder Suite, Le Richemond, Geneva — $18,900 per night

The Royal Armleder Suite at the Le Richemond Hotel is named after the wealthy family who used to own the famous hotel before Rocco Forte bought it in August 2004. The three-bedroom suite, which stretches over 2,500 sq ft on the seventh floor, has a 1,000 sq ft terrace with panoramic views of Lake Geneva, a real log fire and floor-to-ceiling bulletproof windows. Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte’s sister and well-known hotel interior designer, designed the suite.

10. The Ritz-Carlton Suite, The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow — $16,500 per night

To stay at the best suite in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton would cost around $16,000 a night — $500 less than last year. Furnished in Russian imperial style, the 2,370 sq ft suite has views of famous Moscow sites including the Kremlin and Red Square. The suite comes with that necessity for the security-conscious Russian billionaire — a panic room with its own energy and telecommunications facilities.

Research for this survey was compiled during mid-August. Prices are rate per night including taxes.

by Tara Loader Wilkinson

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From Financial News at http://www.efinancialnews.com

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10 Girls to Avoid in Las Vegas

August 28, 2009

We’ve told you the things Not to Do in Vegas but sometimes a trip isn’t classified by what you did, it’s who you did. And if you do…er meet the wrong people, that exciting weekend in Sin City can go south real fast.

So if you want to avoid being the butt of your friends jokes for years to come and having your first name be substituted for a noun referring to an embarrassing act (“You just pulled a Dave”) –read this before you go to Vegas — our list of 10 Girls to Avoid in Las Vegas.

1. Vegas Cougars
You want the cougar? You can’t handle the Vegas Cougar. She is more than likely late thirties to late fourties, may or may not look like she is in the middle of a skydive thanks to her wind tunnel look from too much plastic surgery, and she will definitely buy you dinner and a drink.

Wait, free dinner and a drink so what is the issue? Vegas Cougars travel in packs, may or may not be divorced and will be ultra aggressive with younger men. The real issue is the Vegas Cougar is the queen of the follow up text, call, email, facebook friending — so if you want to spend the next five years hearing about her marital issues, by all means join her for dinner and a drink, otherwise, walk away.

2. Hot Girls Looking Lonely & Lurking Around Casino Floors at 4 AM
Dude, she is not *that* into you. She looks way to good and way to put together for 4 AM — why? Quite possibly because she is just starting her night, and her job. She is probably looking for a drunk guy counting his winnings and looking for someone to go upstairs with.

Where can you find these natural looking and acting girls? Well, every casino floor really, leave it to Kid Rock to point out one of their favorite hang outsMandalay Bay.

We said it before and we’ll say it again, prostitution is illegal in Clark County. If you need help, study the women on this list before you go.

3. The Smoking Granny at the Slots.
We don’t mean the smoking Granny as in cougar. We mean the smoking Granny as in smoking butts until she hits jackpot on the penny slot machines. Granny will sit there for hours and hours all the while smoking some old brand of cigarettes that she stocked up on at BJ’s Warehouse before it was discontinued due to its direct link with lung cancer. Spend five minutes near Granny and you will be sick the next day with smoke inhalation injuries.

4. Bachelorettes
Some dudes probably seek out bachelorettes because they are easy targets and you can’t blame them for that. These are girls walking around in special “I’m the Bride” outfits and weighted down with penis paraphernalia, shotglass necklaces and always-overfilled drinks. They’re also sizing up the guys on the dance floor saying to themselves, “He could be the last man I ever have sex with/make out with/bump and grind with.”

But dude, have you seen the amount of alcohol that the bachelorette has been knocking back? Chances are, once you get that bride-to-be back to your hotel room, she’ll be too drunk to “hang out.” You also risk a sloppy, drunk sobfest over the near act of cheating on her fiancee. A night full of deep meaningful relationship talk with a stranger — is that what you want out of your trip to Sin City?

5. The Cooler Woman
Yes, coolers can come in the male variety too but we’ve often found that women coolers are the cruelest. Once you start hitting it big, the ever-vigilant pit boss will let you win a few more hands just to let you think you are invincible. Then he’ll bring in a severe-looking woman to slow your roll. Even if it’s 4:30am, she’s still sharp as a tack, ready to do her job which is to make you lose.

She will either remain completely silent or feign that she doesn’t understand English — cause you know, idle chatter equals winning hands for the players. Every once in a while, in between her relentless run of Aces and Jacks, she will throw you a wry smile, acting like maybe if you stick around long enough you will win your money back.

Wrong, before you know it you will be curled up in the fetal position crying in your room. Ditch her and the pit boss she rode in on.

6. The Not-a-Woman Woman
Like any night out in the big city, you have to be careful about who’s got the real goods and who’s got the cleverly hidden goods.

Hell these days even Lady GaGa is subject to web rumors about her private parts. That means it isn’t always easy to tell, especially under club lighting and the influence of booze. If you are questioning the femininity of any club goer it is best to just move along instead of declaring, “It’s a man baby!”

7. Hitler’s Woman
Avoid this crazy woman who yelled “Heil Hitler” at a Jewish man during one of those fiery Town Hall meetings over health care. Members of the Aryan nation need not heed our warning.

8. The Thief
Anytime some beautiful girl starts talking to you when there is a “Sexiest Man Alive” celeb sitting nearby (Pitt, Clooney, DiCaprio, Pattinson, maybe Efron), it is too good to be true. It’s not because you’re in Vegas and you must be feeling lucky. Don’t fool yourself. It’s because you’re sitting in the high roller section at Encore and she noticed your new Panerai watch. And you’re blessedly bodyguard-free.

This woman is also thinking that you might have some other goodies in your suite upstairs and wouldn’t it be fun if you brought her up there and ordered some champagne and caviar before she dropped a roofie in your drink and made off with all your expensive possessions? Do your best to shoo her away unless you want to leave Vegas thousands of dollars poorer. Hmm…that will probably happen anyways. So really, it’s up to you.

9. The Sex at Rehab Woman
If you meet a girl at Rehab, the Hard Rock’s raunchy pool party, and she wants to have sex with you, you should first consider this: This girl is pretty crazy to want to have sex with you in public. Still, that’s not so bad. After all it’s Vegas and that’s what a few drinks in 100+ degree weather will do to anyone. What’s worse is that this girl wants to have sex with you at Rehab where several other folks have already had sex in the very same water you’ve been swimming in. Condoms don’t work in water, do they?

10. Elvis Cross-Dressers
That’s just some kinky stuff we are not ready for yet.


[Photo: ktylerconk]

[Front Photo: Alaskan Dude]

Via: VegasChatter

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Back of the Envelope Travel Guide: Toronto International Film Festival

August 27, 2009

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival is right around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about what films to see, where to stay and where to go for celebrity gawking. This year’s roster includes Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Up in the Air, starring George Clooney, and Precious, a smaller film with a couple of big names (Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry) appearing at the festival to back it.

Tickets for the fest, which runs from September 10th-19th, can be purchased via the festival’s box office in customized packages, pre-set packages or individually (single tickets go on sale September 4th at 7 am). If you’re heading north of the border for the red carpet festivities or just to watch them, we’ve got all the tips for where to stay and eat and what else to catch when you’re not asking for autographs.

Where to Stay:
The Fairmont Royal York has been a mainstay for celebrities and industry hot shots in town for TIFF. In honor of the festival, they are offering a special TIFF and the City package, which includes one night’s accommodation in a Fairmont Gold Room, deluxe continental breakfast in the Fairmont Gold Lounge, evening hors d’ oeuvres in the Fairmont Gold Lounge, two martinis in the Library Bar, one in-room On-Command movie, two Film Passes (up to 5 regular screenings each), TIFF guest swag bag, 2009 Program Book, the 2009 Official Film Schedule and two CN Tower Passes, all of which is presented to you by a private concierge upon your arrival. The package starts at $389—such a steal for all of this!

Where to Eat:
Pangaea Restaurant is one of the city’s celebrity hot spots during the festival; Bono and Diane Keaton have both been spotted here during recent fests. This posh restaurant has an incredible selection of teas from around the world and an equally impressive wine list, but their specialties are inventive entrees like the Ontario Lamb, a roasted loin of lamb with sautéed turnips, radish pods, baby carrots and fondant potatoes for $38.95, or the Wild Striped Bass served with ven roasted, braised pearl onion, sautéed fava beans, sweet peas, fennel and fresh herb beurre blanc which is also $38.95.

What Else To Do:
Its easy to get burned out on films during the festival with over 300 movies being screened at this year’s fest, ranging from local fare to big-name  blockbusters. It’s therefore a great idea to have something else planned while in Toronto that has nothing to do with cinema. Through January 3rd, the Royal Ontario Museum is featuring a special exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls that includes 17 scrolls, four of which have never been displayed before. The museum is open from 11am to 5:30pm on weekdays and between 10am and 5:30pm on weekends. You can buy advanced tickets online for $28.00.  by cmb

Jaunted – [Photo: Fest 21]

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Hurry! Jet Set to Zrce Beach, Croatia

August 25, 2009

Recently, a good friend of mine – a cool cat from a small town in Bosnia set out on a weekend journey to Zrce Beach in Croatia.  Just think of this place as the “Ibiza” of Croatia!  He said that his life will never be the same =)  With top International DJ’s like Tiesto performing on a regular basis during the summer, it’s no reason why this is one of the hottest spots for the European Jet Set!  Summer is almost coming to an end, but there is still time to check it out. Here is a brief scoop on what you are missing!

Check out this video!

Novalja on the island of Pag is a popular summer resort which hosts probably the only beach in Croatia with Ibiza sense.
Zrce can be reached form Novalja by car or you can take a small shuttle bus operating during the summer.

Zrce is a long, stretched, white pebbled beach with crystal clear sea. The beach has numerous facilities and three popular open-air clubs offering entertainment until wee-wee hours. Aquarius and Papaya are outfits from Zagreb’s popular clubs, and there is also beach-bar Kalypso.

Aquarius is superbly equipped, it has places to eat, drink and dance, aerobics, homemade ice cream and also a fun pool! Often there are theme parties, bubble parties, live concerts, resident and international DJ’s playing hippiest house music.

Papaya is arranged in exotic style and it offers bar, restaurant, VIP area, pool, water slide, jacuzzi, after beach parties, cocktail parties, foam parties and dancing all night. Varied music styles are played by resident and international DJ’s.

Kalypso is a beach sport bar offering sand volley, darts, badminton, then cocktails, Internet access, fast food, but also all kinds of other fun events including Miss and Mister competition and of course good music until morning.

Photo: Croatia Travel Information, Video: SwimmerSwimmer79, 411: Croatia-Beaches.com

Related Links Croatia, Hotels in the Island of Pag, Airfare to Croatia

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Sanctuary Swala, Swim While On Safari

August 24, 2009

Sanctuary Swala Camp, part of the Sanctuary Retreats collection, has just re-opened in Tanzania and combines up close encounters with wildlife with luxury amenities. Following a $1.5 million rebuild, the camp now has 12 spacious canvas pavilions, designed around an open-plan model with large living areas, king beds and en suite bathrooms with both indoor and outdoor showers. Floor to ceiling canvas windows lead onto large private lounge decks that overlook the main watering hole which regularly draws lions, leopards and resident bull elephants.

The camp now also has a new infinity swimming pool and main dining and lounge areas that offer fine dining with views over the waterhole and valley beyond  combining luxury with the excitement of the African bush. The camp is located in Tarangire National Park and is home to large herds of elephants as well as more unfamiliar animals like wild bat-eared foxes. To celebrate the opening of Sanctuary Swala Camp, 2009 rates will remain throughout 2010, and rates start at $440 per person/per night, all inclusive. A special launch offer includes a deal that lets you book two nights at Sanctuary Swala Camp and get your third night for free.  by Deidre Woollard

Related Links:  Hotels in Tanzania, Photo Gallery

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The Surrey Hotel Will Cater to Cartier Lovers and Other Luxury Enthusiasts

August 22, 2009

Where: 20 East 76th Street [map]New YorkNYUnited States10021

Um… Is that Kate Moss?

Recession, Schm-cession. While some are in conservation and simplification mode, others, like the soon-to-be-opened Surrey hotel refuse to put luxury on the back burner. In fact, it happens to be at the forefront of the design plan for the Upper East Side-located property. Set to open on October 1st, The Surrey will have 190 “salons” (we’re pretty sure that’s a fancy way of saying “hotel rooms”), with 30 suites, a Presidential suite and a Penthouse.

The design nods to the 1920s and incorporates more than a few highfalutin touches: gray marble floors, French limestone walls and archways, and the kicker, a Jimmie Martin-designed “Cartier Closet

The designer name march continues in the “salons,” with requisite LCD TVs and iPod docking stations, Duxiana beds, Pratesi robes, Sferra bedding, and more. It’s like Fifth Avenue landed in your room, er,salon

As for dining, famed chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s Cafe Boulud will service the lobby level-bar, rooftop garden (which overlooks the UES and Central Park), hotel spa, and in-salon orders. Suffice to say, The experience won’t come cheap—we’re talking $499-$699 introductory rates. They say you can’t put a price on quality; to that we snicker. A mid-to-high three figure price tag sounds about right.  Via: hotelchatter

[Lobby renderings courtesy of The Surrey Hotel]

Related Links: Hotel Deals in NYC, New York Pass

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The High-Tech Menu At An NYC Wine Bar Is So Lush 2.0

August 20, 2009

Where: New York, NY, United States

Ordering a meal off a geeky interactive menus absolutely makes our day, and we just realized that at Adour in the New York St Regis Hotel they’ve taken the geek factor to a really nerdy extreme by making their wine menu interactive.

It’s nowhere near as flashy or game-like as other high-tech menus we’ve been ogling recently, but neither should it be: choosing a wine is a serious business. Adour itself has this to say about their interactive wine screens:

The wine list is organized in an entertaining format, color-coded and classified by origins, one specific appellation within each region … an innovative way for guests to discover wine producing areas.

High-tech but refined, as you can see. Nothing wrong with that—we just like being able to push a few buttons instead of having to ask the staff all our dumb questions.  by amandak – Jaunted

Related Links: Hotel Deals in NYC, New York St. Regis Hotel, New York Pass, NYC Packages

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