Author Archives: Leticia

The Jumeirah Essex on Central Park

Guardian of Manhattan’s green heart

Jumeirah Essex House - Exterior

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The Jumeirah Essex House, situated in a prime spot overlooking Central Park, was built in the 1930’s and is a masterpiece of Art Deco design. Jumeirah Hotels undertook a 70 million-dollar complete renovation of the property to restore it to its place as one of the most glamorous and swank hotels of Manhattan. All the Art Deco flourishes have been retained while the rooms and suites are renovated to five-star status.

Jumeirah Essex House - Lounge

Guests are greeted after check-in with a warm towel in a gold basket with a flower. The lobby is ablaze with fresh flower arrangements and the notable art collection. Music emanates from the lobby’s grand piano and soon you are transported into a reverie that brings to mind Fred and Ginger. Guest rooms now sport a fantastic lighting system, flat screen TV, marble bathroom, luxurious bed, fluffy towels, robes and slippers.

Dining is another treat at the Jumeirah Essex House. The Cafe Botanica offers American cuisine in a garden setting with views of Central Park. Journey’s Lounge is the perfect spot for an aperitif with its wood-burning fireplace, leather sofas and mahogany paneling.

There is a state-of-the-art fitness center with personal trainers available as well as a spa with sauna, steam room and massage. The Jumeirah Essex House, beside its perfect location and magnificent setting, also has extensive meeting and banquet facilities for special events.

Jumeirah Essex House - Room

The New York Palace
Location: 455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022; 40 minutes to an hour — allow additional time for heavy traffic periods.

Luxury style: The is no more perfect location than Central Park South. The beauty of the magnificent park and the convenience of being dead center in Manhattan make Jumeirah House ideal for all sorts of travelers. The upscale tourist will love the proximity to Fifth Avenue shopping; businessmen will find it perfect for events; families will love the large spacious rooms and nearness to Central Park.

What we’ve heard: The recent renovation plus the ideal location has brought Jumeirah Essex House into the big league of New York luxury hotels.

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Alfonso XIII • Seville, Spain

Andalusian palace echoes Moorish and Baroque eras

Exterior of Alphonso XIII, the Luxury Collection

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This grand palace was built by King Alphonso XIII in 1928 to host dignitaries for a worldwide exposition held in Seville. The architecture is a fascinating blend of Moorish and Baroque themes and is in Seville’s historic center near the Seville Cathedral and the Royal Alcazar Palace.

There are magnificent wood-panelled ceilings, marble floors and intricate tilework including exquisite hand-painted ceramic tiles. Furnishings are period and the whole effect is very rich. The central courtyard with fountain and grounds surrounding the hotel give a green and secluded air to the hotel.

Alphonso XIII - Restaurant San Fernando

The hotel’s dining options include complimentary buffet-style breakfasts. The elegant and formal San Fernando Restaurant serves Spanish and Mediterranean dishes, and features blue and clear-glass leaded windows and dark-wood furnishings. The Japanese-style Kaede restaurant prepares sushi and teppenyaki. There is a lively bar located adjacent to the patio, and features live piano or violin music during evening hours. A seasonal outdoor pool and tennis courts provide outdoor recreation.

The 147 guest rooms are opulent and styled either with a Baroque or Moorish flavor, all with air-conditioning and soundproofing. Rooms are spacious and feature upholstered chairs, richly-textured sofas, carved wooden beds and wardrobes. The bath will not disappoint, a symphony of white and gold tile with tub/shower combinations.

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Alphonso XIII, the Luxury Collection
Location: San Fernando 2, Seville, Spain; allow 1 hour for transport to the airport with connecting flight to internationally bound flights.

Luxury style: Ornate and traditional grandeur will enhance any visitor’s stay. The echoes of the Baroque and the Moorish eras tingle the imagination and the visitor will see this motif repeated throughout Andalusia. Although the Moorish influence permeates Andalusia, the style retains a fairy-tale flavor to visitors especially those from across the ocean.

What we’ve heard: The concierge at the Alphonso XIII can direct you to an evening’s entertainment of flamenco dance at cafes called ‘tablaos’, where some of the most distinguished practicioners of the art may be found.

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The Westin Excelsior Rome • Rome, Italy

Landmark of la dolce vita on Via Veneto

The Westin Excelsior Rome • Rome, Italy - Guest room

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The Westin Excelsior is one of the grandest of the grand hotels in Rome, that particular sort of hotel that aims to be tops in every aspect, but prizes service perhaps above all. Founded in 1906, the Westin Excelsior is decorated in a turn-of-the-century Empire style, with lots of gilt, chandeliers and painted walls, all emerging recently from a renovation that touched nearly the whole hotel.

The 319 guest rooms are also done in this style with the emphasis on opulent fabrics and rich textures. The signature Westin Heavenly Bed, marble bathrooms and modern amenities such as satellite TV and wireless access make the environment cozy, convenient and a joy to return to after a hard day shopping or sightseeing. Many of the rooms also have balconies which is icing on the cake. The true seeker of luxury will opt for the Villa La Cupola, a split-level corner suite which is marketed as Europe’s largest.

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Restaurant Doney serves Roman favorites and seasonal Mediterranean dishes in a sumptuous but welcoming setting. The adjacent Club Doney offer drinks and snacks and guests can also drop in for a late morning breakfast or light refreshments all day long. There is a fully-equipped fitness room, an indoor Roman style pool and guests can relax with a massage or beauty treatment. The Westin Excelsior also has extensive facilities for meetings and truly fine banquets are often held at the hotel.

The Westin Excelsior
Location: Via Vittorio Veneto 125, Rome 00187, Italy; 30 kilometres, 45 minutes by car to Fiumicino airport

Luxury style: The tradition of ‘grand’ hotels is alive and well in Rome and the Westin Excelsior is one of the most notable examples. Traditional, elegant and crispily new from the recent renovation that spruced up the venerable institution, but left the charm intact.

What we’ve heard: The Villa La Cupola is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with private screening room, two master bedrooms, balcony, sauna all beneath the signature cupola of the hotel.

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