Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
But some newer hotels invested heavily in guest satisfaction this year, none more boldly than Atlantis in the Bahamas, which unveiled an $11 million club — not for the casino’s big spenders or celebrity visitors but for teenagers. The unprecedented facility includes a Vegas-worthy dance club, touch-screen coffee tables in the Internet lounge, a “gaming stadium” with 32 screens in the round, and private gaming cabanas.
The teen and tween audiences are becoming increasingly powerful when determining where families will go on their holiday,” explains George Markantonis, president and managing director of Atlantis parent Kerzner International Bahamas.
Also targeting young guests, THe ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman now feeds kids 5 and under for free at four of its restaurants, including at the new floating dining tables recently launched for offshore lunch service. La Samanna on St. Martin introduced new kids’ programs featuring treasure hunts and beach Olympic games, as well as boat transfers to the resort from the airport.
Guests looking for more for their money — a leading trend forged by the economy — should look to CuisinArt Resort & Spa on Anguilla, which added complimentary Internet access and daily breakfasts to its room rates.
“Travelers now have less time and things are more expensive,” says James Lohan of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. “They want to make sure what they’re going to get is going to be good.”
Celebrated Living readers are quite confident of their European favorite, again the Four Seasons George V, Paris, now undergoing a soft remodel by famed French interior designer Pierre Yves Rochon. Another nearby A-lister, the Ritz Paris trumpets its staff, offering cocktail classes with Hemingway Bar tender and author Colin Field every Saturday and installing a dinner table in the two-Michelin-starred kitchen of executive chef Michel Roth. The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme furnishes its new apartmentlike Ambassador Suite with a fireplace and a rain shower, and the entire property is scented with a custom aroma designed to provide “a sense of where you are,” says Hyatt’s Dowell, “that’s understated and subtle.”
After a three-year renovation, The Savoy in London vaulted onto the list, expanding upon its historic foundation to include remodeled riverfront suites, a reopened Savoy Grill under the direction of chef Gordon Ramsay, and a “Green Butler” charged with eco-oversight.
As London primps for next year’s Olympics, Asia’s economic boom continues to resound in culturally proud hotels. The Peninsula Hong Kong just debuted new programs spanning history and contemporary culture, from a visit to a 13th- century Tang clan home to a private tour of the gallery district. The 135-year-old Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok just completed a renovation of its lobby, maintaining its heritage chandeliers while updating furnishings. And Indonesia’s Amandari now offers treatments involving a consultation with a local Balinese healer.