One word, posh. If it was convenient, Beyonce or her luggage would stay here. If she didn’t have Beckingham Palace, Posh Spice would stay here. The atmosphere and decor of The Landmark Hotel in central London is truly lavish. Built in 1899 and originally known as the Great Central Hotel, this hotel is on par with The Plaza or The Carlyle in New York.
If we stayed long enough, I imagine we would have seen a sweet little British Eloise roaming amidst the ladies enjoying their afternoon tea. The Landmark London Hotel is a 5-star hotel with more luxurious amenities than I have seen before, starting with our basic room for 550 GBP upto the Lifestyle Suites for 2,700 GBP per night. Really. Our stay gave me plenty of material for my imaginary life as a famous writer.
Given the level of service and beauty of the hotel furnishings we experienced, I am not surprised this hotel is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Stay at The Landmark London and you could dine next to a sheik or maybe a regular family like us. 21st century bonus: The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (LHW) is the first luxury brand to, not only provide consumers the option of having a carbon-neutral travel experience, but also to make the financial contribution on their behalf to offset their energy consumption. Read More »
Almost from the moment it opened its doors in 1920, the Drake Hotel won most favored status with Royalty. Future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a guest during the 1920s, as was exiled Grand Duke Alexander of Russia and Queen Marie of Romania. During the 1960s, by now an established Chicago icon, the Drake hosted Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Prince Charles, and Pope John Paul II. Even Princess Diana stayed at the Drake Hotel during her only visit to Chicago in 1996.
The preponderance of visiting kings, queens, diplomats, and entertainers molded the character of the Drake, which quickly became known for its commitment to the highest levels of guest service. However, this same reputation was the source of some interesting anachronisms. Although the Drake was the first hotel in Chicago to air condition and include color televisions in all guest rooms, it stubbornly refused to install ice machines until 1967, when the quality of machine ice was finally deemed comparable to “hand make cubes,” and human elevator operators were retained well into the 1970′s.
After Hilton International was brought in to manage the Drake in 1981, $40 million was allocated to return the hotel to its original splendor. Rooms were equipped with high-speed Internet, dual line speaker phones with caller ID, in-room safes, luxurious bathrobes, remote control TVs, iron and ironing boards, and alarm clock radios. A 3000 sq. ft. fitness facility was added and made available to all guests on a complimentary basis.
Though British royalty may not visit with the regularity of bygone eras, America’s royalty – Hollywood – has discovered the Drake in recent years. Scenes from the movies Mission: Impossible, Risky Business, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Hero, What Women Want, and Wicker Park, among others, were filmed at the hotel. Even so, the Drake still maintains one majestic tradition. Every afternoon, in-the-know tourists and Chicago elite gather at the hotel’s Palm Court for live harp music and High Tea, a tradition at the Drake for more than 25 years.
Despite numerous new luxury hotels springing up along North Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, the Drake, with 535 guest rooms on ten floors, five restaurants/lounges, and four major public banquet and meeting areas, is stiill considered to be one of Chicago’s most distinguished hotel premier luxury hotels.
Photo credits: The Drake Hotel
Article by barbara Weibel at Hole In The Donut Travels
Yosemite in the winter is simply beautiful. Many people come here to camp and hike during the warmer weather months, but there is something magical about this grand national park in the colder months.
Snowy meadows, frozen peaks and the quiet can be incredibly conducive to romance or just a great way to recharge your batteries. Whatever you decide, there are many ways to enjoy the Yosemite Valley.
Our stay at The Ahwahnee in January was overall so relaxing and a wonderful time. We had thought about waiting until February and enjoying a Valentine’s escape to Napa, but decided instead to experience Yosemite in snow.
The Ahwahnee Hotel is a splurge compared to other lodging options in or near the park, but worth it if you can swing it. The architecture and magnificent façade are amazing to see, especially for the first time. There is a grandeur about this stately hotel. No wonder presidents and royalty have stayed here.
Did you know that The Ahwahnee was specifically designed to highlight its natural surroundings, which feature Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point? This beautiful hotel has the warmth of a mountain ski lodge but on a grander scale. The interior rooms have Native American motifs and accents with natural wood furnishings.
This AAA Four Diamond hotel has 123 handsomely appointed guest rooms, including 99 hotel rooms, parlors and suites and 24 cottages. We stayed in the main building in a guest room and found that we ate most of our meals in the grand dining room.
With the chilly air and icy roads, I quite enjoyed staying indoors and staring out the enormous windows at the fabulous views, with a warm drink and book. However Badger Pass is not too far if you prefer to go skiing and the hotel can help with arrangements.
Other types of lodging around Yosemite National Park are available during the winter and summer months but you will need to check ahead of time to see what roads are open, besides availability – I suggest you check directly with Yosemite National Park. Booking directly with the park may also save you money or get you one of their seasonal packages or other sweet bargains.
Discover your inner Ansel Adams and no matter when you go or where you stay, don’t forget to take your camera!!
Photo credits to sfcphotography