Friday, January 27, 2012

11 Eco-Friendly Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Green travel isn't only about the journey—it's about the destination, too. Here are eleven great picks, selected for sustainable practices (including the use of least-toxic cleaners, energy and water savings, and recycling efforts), sense of place, community involvement and general ambience. 1) Pinehurst Inn, Bayfield, WI: This serene inn cuts down on its environmental impact without skimping on the guest services. Complete with whirlpools, fireplaces, and a full organic breakfast, it also includes solar paneled roofs and energy-efficient appliances (, 877-299-7651). 2) Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, ME: The first hotel in Maine to be carbon-neutral through offsets also offers plenty of luxuries to its green-seeking guests. Stroll down the private boardwalk to a mile of sandy beach or stay in and indulge at the LEED-certified spa. (, 800-888-4287). 3) Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Homer, AK: This eco-lodge puts up a maximum of 12 guests per night and groups of 6 or more can have the entire lodge to themselves, so it's a true escape. The lodge relies entirely on wind energy and hydropower and works hard not to interfere with the untouched wilderness on its doorstep. You might even be lucky enough to spot a whale, seal, porpoise, or one of many other sea creatures right outside! (, 888-283-7234) 4) Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, Vero Beach, FL: This Green Seal-certified beachside resort not only makes great efforts to save water and energy, but also rewards guests for doing their part, including offering parking discounts for hybrid vehicles (, 772-231-5666). 5) Camp Denali, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska: The star attraction is Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. The phrase "unspoiled paradise" won't seem hackneyed as you step out of your cabin into spectacular parkland (Denali National Park, 907-683-2290; also see 6) Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco: This LEED-certified hotel is in the heart of what is arguably America's greenest city. Skip the car while in town and take a stylish refurbished tram, or rent a Prius to visit nearby Point Reyes National Seashore and dine at Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in Berkeley (, 888-717-2881). 7) Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale National Park, Mich.: Hidden on a remote island in northwest Lake Superior, Rock Harbor Lodge is about as far away from it all as you can get (, 906-337-4993). 8) Sundance Resort, Sundance, Utah: With access to 6,000 wilderness acres at the base Mt. Timpanogos, Sundance provides excellent skiing and hiking while maintaining a keen attentiveness to the environment (, 800-892-1600 for reservations). 9) Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, Milton, N.Y.: 90 miles from New York City, this inn on the Hudson River serves local, organic foods grown on site and relies on geothermal and solar energy to warm its spa waters (, 877-7-INN-SPA). 10) Asheville Green Cottage, Asheville, N.C.: Sleep on organic cotton sheets and natural latex mattresses during your visit to Asheville, a city chockablock with organic restaurants, farmers' markets and mountain views. Come the last weekend of July for Bele Chere, the Southeast's largest free arts and music festival (; 800.331.9707). 11) Dunton Hot Springs Resort and Spa, Dolores, Colo.: This resort, in a former ghost town located in the San Juan Mountains, is close enough to the desert for trips to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly (, 970-882-4800).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Four Seasons unveils $18 million website as luxury travel grows


Four Seasons is well known for its luxury qualities so a website portraying its properties and destinations with large, professional images and other bells and whistles is no surprise.

What is a surprise is the $18 million investment in this latest incarnation of the brand’s online presence.
Perhaps not when you factor in that it is geared towards the very wealthy and developed for a company targeting worldwide revenue growth of 9.2% in 2012.
While it would be nice to have a breakdown of the spend to see what money buys in the digital world these days, Four Seasons has declined.
The figure is likely to include the big, bright photography, new booking process, mobile optimisation, social media integration and personal profile technology with the ability to set preferences which will enable Four Seasons to create a more targeted online experience.
It might also cover the extensive research around digital consumption conducted for the development of the site as well as focus groups to improve the understanding of guests’ needs (results shared below).
A final clue to the website spend might be in the fact that while it attracts 30 million visitors a year – up 10% from 2010, revenue from online only represents 12% of total revenue – an increase of just 2% in five years.
The new website is geared up to speak to the findings of the first issue of the 2012 Four Seasons Luxury Trends report which focuses on digital technology and reveals the likes and expectations of luxury travellers.
  • 57% like to have the latest gadget according to the Affluence Collaborative compared to 18% of the general population
  • 71% bring a smartphone with them on their travels while 61% bring a tablet device
  • The company experienced a 200% increase in bookings completed on a tablet device in 2011
  • 72% surveyed by Four Seasons are active Facebook users and 36% are active on Twitter
  • Twitter usage by guests increased 350% between 2009 and 2010 and is expected to continue to grow at the same rate
  • YouTube video views now total 280,000, a 30% increase on this time last year
  • Luxury travellers say the most important online activity, 59%, while in transit to or staying at a hotel is reviewing information about activities in the local area
  • The most important in-room technology includes good mobile phone coverage, fast wifi, charging stations and wireless printing
  • Guests still want the personal touch at the hotel with only 32% citing the ability to check-in without speaking to someone as valuable compared to the 78% of respondents who saw kiosks for airline check-in as valuable

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

China Transforms Soviet Warship Into World’s First Luxury Aircraft.

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do you look for when choosing a luxury hotel – a gym? A swimming pool? How about the ability to launch over 30 aircraft at an enemy country? If you said yes to all of the above, then China’s latest investment could be for you. The country has purchased the Kiev, a 1,000 foot vessel that was the pride of the Soviet Navy during the 1980s, and turned it into the world’s first luxury aircraft carrier hotel.

Read more: China Transforms Soviet Warship Into World's First Luxury Aircraft Carrier Hotel | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World  i

Friday, December 30, 2011

Vilner Showcases Vito’s Luxury Possibilities by Emmanuel (RSS feed) December 29th, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Looking more like an executive business jet’s cabin than a small earthbound van, Bulgarian tuner Vilner has taken an ordinary Mercdes Vito van and made it truly extraordinary. The understated exterior treatment hints at very little of the transformation wrought by Vilner to the interior of the van. From the outside, the van just sports aftermarket wheels and a subdued presence. Open the sliding door, step inside, and you are transported to a plush luxury interior that you wouldn’t be embarassed to accommodate any VIP or celebrity in.

Four ultra-plush seats occupy the cabin, whose headliner and side trim are finished in matching-color Nappa leather, Alcantara and fine wood. Tinted windows isolate the occupants from the outside world, the better to enjoy the complete infotainment system featuring multispeaker audio and a 19-inch LCD. Helping the occupants keep their cool is an onboard mini ref. Of course, the front occupants of this Vito have not been forgotten, as they are cossetted in Mercedes CL seats.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Celebrity Homes in the Heights of Luxury (GALLERY)

Let's face it: Lavish living and celebrity go hand in hand. Rarely will you find a property owned by an A-lister (or even B-lister) for less than a few million big ones. But -- in most cases -- these jaw-dropping price tags really do translate into a level of luxury unrivaled by any others, except those of certain business magnates.

From Oprah's swanky Chicago co-op, to President Obama's former summer retreat in Martha's Vineyard, to David Spade's luxurious Malibu beach house, the celebrity homes we've thrown together in this weekend's gallery are no exception to the rule of thumb that "rich and famous" equals truly mind-blowing houses.

Click through our gallery to see some of the most beautiful homes owned or connected to celebrities. 
Gallery: See These Star-Quality Celebrity Homes

By Teke Wiggin  | Posted Dec 17th 2011 9:00AM

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Ready Fellow Enthusiasts for A Great Season

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Wednesday December 7, 2011
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Audi’s 2012 S7 and 2013 S6: 4.0-Liter Twin-Turbo V-8, 420 Hp
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The smarter choice for your holiday travel
XOJET. Xceptional Private Aviation.Experience exceptional private aviation. Book your holiday flights on XOJET’s mid- or super-mid-size jets. Get preferred access, outstanding service and free Wi-Fi on every plane—at 40–60% less than other programs.
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New Halcyon Gallery Debuts with a Chihuly Exhibit
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Executive chef Craig Strong of StudioExecutive chef Craig Strong of Studio, the signature restaurant of Montage Laguna Beach resort in Southern California, has given the term farm-to-table a literal translation. More
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Cynthia Rose’s Golden Era
Vintage Navajo turquoise with cognac and white rough cut diamond in 18KT gold over silverDesigner Cynthia Rose, known for her clothing and accessories, unveiled her first fine jewelry collection at L’Armoire on Park Street in New Canaan, Conn., showcasing her new fine jewelry. More
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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Luxury Emporium Has the Party Shoes You’re Looking For By FASHIONISTA

It’s finally December – that time of year when absolutely everything counts as an excuse for fashionistas like us to get dressed up and go all out – and we mean out. Office parties, family parties, New Year’s Eve parties… there’s never been a better reason to don all your gayest apparel. But while many of us have been wish-listing sequined frocks and metallic pumps all year in anticipation, others have been decidedly more sleepy in their efforts. Alright, so you went a little nutso on the tryptophan last Thursday — don’t worry, we aren’t naming names!
If you happen to be one of those last-minute kind of gals, you’re in luck: The Luxury Emporium, our go-to site for all the hottest designer accessories, has all the biggest names and on-trend styles for this season’s chicest party shoes. This isn’t just any old footwear. You know that saying about shoes completing an outfit? Let’s just say that these shoes are what make an outfit – trust us, you’ll be looking for a dress that compliments thesebeauts. These are gotta-have-’ems, can’t-live-without-’ems. A pair of sparkling gold Darmaki stiletto slingbacks is all it takes to transform your basic LBD from dull to diva. Or how about some crystal and suede platform sandals from Terry de Havilland to give your maxi gown new lengths? And nothing says “party” like an unexpected pop of color: Some brilliant blue suede Giuseppe Zanotti wedges or alluring red velvet spike heels from Vionnet Paris will definitely do the trick.
If you’ve always thought of luxurious designer shoes as window-shopping fare only (or your credit card had yet to melt from that block of ice – we’ve been there), The Luxury Emporium has another treat in store: 15% off of all full-priced, party-perfect shoes, through December 18. All you have to do is enter the promotion code FASH15 at the checkout, and watch the dollars disappear. Those black suede Balmain ankle boots you opened in a new tab when you started reading this post? Go ahead – add ‘em to your shopping bag. We promise you’ll be the life of every party.
Flip through our gallery to see some of the fabulous designer party shoes available now at The Luxury Emporium, and head to their site for even more options. Happy partying!

Luxury Wealth & Style