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We’ve talked about designer hotels before (see our Top 10 List and Armani Hotel Milan blog post, for example), but the trend for fashion-branded hotels is really taking off, and the new year brings a notable upcoming opening in London from well-known fashion house Bulgari, and several hotels from Versace and Missoni are in the works.
Bulgari London is set to open in the spring of this year, making it the fourth Bulgari hotel, with the first three in Milan, Bali, and Tokyo. According to the vision of Bulgari hotels, “each property shall be located in the most prime luxury neighbourhood [sic] in the city,” and the London property is no exception – it’s located on Knightsbridge in the heart of the city. And of course, the hotel is nothing if not luxurious, with custom-built details, luxurious and rare materials, and Italian cuisine. www.bulgarihotels.com
We’ve seen our fair share of unique hotel design elements, but the sheer number and grandiosity of on-property hotel aquariums took us by surprise. While some are in locations where you might expect to find elaborate shrines to the local ocean flora and fauna – Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Philippines – mega-aquariums have turned up in some unexpected places, like central Berlin and midtown Manhattan. A pair of Vegas showstoppers, a duo of Florida hideaways, and a monstrous aquatic playground only possible in everything-to-the-extreme Dubai round out our list of the largest and most extravagant. And unlike the tanks you may have encountered during grade school field trips, these 10 hotel aquariums aren’t just for pressing your nose against the glass: Some allow guests to plunge right in through scuba or snorkeling sessions, stingray feedings, or dolphin encounters. So take it from us – it really is better down where it’s wetter, under the (artificial) sea! Check out our Top 10 Hotel Aquariums to get a sneak peek of these watery wonders.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more travel deals.
In keeping with Arabic culture, the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Finance Centre has introduced a Shisha Sommelier and Shisha Terrace, perfect for tobacco enthusiasts. Shisha, or hookah, is a common practice in the Middle East, allowing people to come together, relax, and enjoy smoking flavored tobacco. The Shisha Sommelier will greet guests with their choice of shisha and provide suggestions based either on the guest’s taste or based on his or her food and drink. Or, guests can opt to create their own unique shisha flavor, which will be remembered for future visits. The Shisha Terrace is in a convenient location, situated next to the pedestrian bridge connecting the Ritz-Carlton to the Dubai International Finance Centre. Guests can relax in the Terrace’s warm atmosphere while listening to the soothing bubbling of the hookahs and enjoying their very own blend of shisha.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, cruises, and more travel deals.
Italian-based cruise line MSC Cruises has announced new 7-night sailings to exotic ports of the Arabian Sea this winter sailing season. Set sail aboard the MSC Lirica to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, as well as to Oman. What’s more, the company is offering guests who book their berths before July 31 a whopping 50 percent off rates for one guest per stateroom on these newly debuted itineraries. Rates for the full-paying passenger begin at $649, bringing the reduced rate for the second passenger to as low as $324.50 (before taxes and fees). That works out to as little as $46/night for the discounted fare. What’s more, kids 17 and under sail for just $99 apiece. Weekly departures are available from October 30 through March 4. www.msccruisesusa.com
See our Dubai Travel Guide and our Abu Dhabi Travel Guide for more trip-planning information, than use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on cruises and more.
Only 46 of the massive, double-decker Airbus A380 (launched in 2007) planes are in operation, so when Emirates invited me to tour the world’s largest passenger jet at JFK last week, I happily accepted.
Quite simply, the double-decker plane is a beast: Baggage handlers look like dolls next to the oversized jet engines; the wingspan is wide enough to host a soccer game; and a nudge of Air France’s own A380 infamously sent a Delta plane twirling 90 degrees at JFK in April.
Despite the size, the planes consume 20 percent less fuel per seat than the next-largest aircraft, are more fuel-efficient per mile than Toyota’s Prius, and produce less than half the noise of a Boeing 747-400 – no wonder then that Emirates operates 15 of the machines and has an additional 75 on order.
One walk through the aircraft convinced me to try and nab a seat on any A380 for my next long-haul flight. Here’s what to expect if you fly Emirates:
Whether killing time or scrambling to find last-minute souvenirs, most of us are at one time or another saved by airport shopping. Yes, every airport comes with the standard magazine stands and tacky gift shops, but our top 10 airports for shopping take their retail seriously. We’re talking endless duty-free arcades, luxury boutiques galore, and, maybe most notably, small local retailers that supply homegrown items unique to the destination itself. And isn’t that what souvenir shopping is all about? These gateway hubs span the globe, from Portland to Dubai, and offer the traveler more than just a distraction before boarding – they provide a viable (not TSA-related) reason to arrive the recommended three hours before (international) departure time. Get a sneak peek at the goods with our Top 10 Airports for Shopping slideshow, then read our Top 10 Airports for Shopping article to plot your next layover.
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Dubai is like a magnet, drawing in the uber-rich and famous to its extravagant hotels, sandy beaches, and unconventional attractions such as Ski Dubai (indoor facility), and Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building). But, finding a five-star vacation that will have you enjoying your Arabian nights without the matching five-star price tag can be a tricky undertaking. Fortunately, our deal producers came across this superb four-night luxury hotel package that is valid until April 30 and priced from just $1,758 per couple – that’s just $879 per person!
This Ultimate Dubai Experience deal includes the following:
• A two-night stay at the posh Jumeirah Emirates Towers
• Two nights’ Deluxe Room accommodations at Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
• Breakfast at the Mediterranean-themed Mosaico restaurant
• A $55 shopping voucher redeemable at the Boulevard
• One five-course dinner at Vu’s
• Unlimited access to Shoreside, Dubai’s new private beach (with shuttle transfers)
• Complimentary limousine transfer from Jumeirah Emirates Towers to Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
• One breakfast at Al Forsan
• A desert wildlife excursion in a Jeep Defender
• One sunset cocktail reception at Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge
• One dinner at Al Hadheerah Desert Restaurant
• A 50-minute couples’ spa treatment at Satori Spa
• Round-trip airport transfers in a limousine
About Dubai: Still on a construction-binge of epic proportions, this flourishing metropolis was recently propelled into the tourist-industry limelight by creating ground-breaking attractions, chic hotels, and private man-made islands that emulate the world and palm trees. With scenic seascapes, water and amusement parks galore, gigantic shopping malls, and a plethora of entertainment venues, we’re under the impression that “if you can imagine it, Dubai probably has it.” As for the weather, Dubai’s arid climate can range from a comfortable 73-degree average during the winter months, to a stifling 103 degrees in July and August.
Note: The above price conversions were valid on the date of publication and may have changed.
Unexpected wind gusts and bad weather conditions are reportedly at fault for the Costa Europa’s crash late last night, which left three crew members dead and three others injured. While in route from Dubai to Savona, the ship slammed into the side of a pier in Sharm El Sheik resort, Egypt. The tragic incident comes just days after Costa celebrated the launch of its newest ship, the Costa Deliziosa.
Although passengers have been evacuated and moved to hotels, some have already reported on various cruise blogs that the ship was “taking on water,” and has “suffered serious damages.”
Yesterday’s arrival of the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai for the ship’s naming ceremony officially kicked-off the 2010 new cruise ship frenzy – which is shaping up to be just as exciting (if not more) than last year. Shortly after the Costa Deliziosa set sail, AIDA cruises christened the AIDAblu in Hamburg which will be sailing the waters of Northern Europe. By the end of April, the cruise industry will see five major ships debut – and that’s only the beginning. The major cruise contenders have a total of 13 ships on the drawing board for 2010, and the rapidly growing river cruise industry is introducing three newcomers from both AMA and Avalon Waterways.
Costa Deliziosa, the 15th member of the Costa family, has successfully completed its sea trials and is now one step closer to its Grand Maiden cruise which embarks from Savona February 5. The ship will be inaugurated in Dubai on February 23 – marking the first time the city will be hosting a naming ceremony. Deliziosa will offer onboard entertainment that mirrors that of her sister ship the Costa Luminosa, including a Grand Prix race car driving simulator, a 4-D theater, a putting green, and roller skating rink. Costa Deliziosa will sail a series of 7-night cruises from Dubai, and will then re-position to Northern Europe in late spring.
For more information, visit http://www.costacruise.com.
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