Cheltenham braced for its annual festival meeting

The historic town of Cheltenham in Gloucester has a lot going for it. It’s within a stone’s throw of the Cotswolds, has plenty of independent shops and fantastic landmarks and scenery. However, this part of the world is perhaps most famous for being home to the Cheltenham Festival, one of the biggest events on the horse racing calendar.

First started back in 1860, when it was known as the National Hunt Meeting, it originally started in Market Harborough, but had moved to its current home permanently in 1911. Some of the festival’s flagship events including the Gold Cup (created in 1924) and Champion Hurdle (1927) were created to make it a must-see for any racing fan, and has grown in popularity with each year.

The Cheltenham Festival attracts visitors from all over the world, especially Ireland. There are two reasons for this: the first being that the Festival usually coincides with St Patrick’s Day, while the second is because Ireland is one of the most prominent horse racing nations. More than 236,000 people attended last year’s event, showing how popular it is.

What to do in Cheltenham?

If you like the idea of going to the Festival, you might want to look at the special offers bookmakers like Ladbrokes currently have on each race, but what else can you do when visiting Cheltenham? As it happens, there are quite a few sights to see and things to do for visitors to the four-day event when the races are either over or yet to begin.

When taking a stroll through the town centre, you might want to pay a visit to the Art Gallery & Museum. Here, you can see plenty of exhibitions showing what Cheltenham was like in the past as well as works from Britain, the Netherlands and even as far afield as China.

The Promenade is Cheltenham’s most famous streets. Walking up and down it will give you endless opportunities to marvel at the town’s Georgian architecture and unique shops. This street looks at its best during summer, but with the Festival on, you’ll be foolish not to have a little stroll.

Cheltenham is also home to a number of great restaurants including the award-winning Le Champignon Sauvage, run for over 25 years by the same chef. The Montpellier Wine Bar and Pie & Mash are also great places to dine out in style.

Being a famous spa town, Cheltenham is home to a number of spa hotels where you can stay if you’re going to the festival. This town is perfect if you’re looking to unwind, as the choice of spas is massive.

The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane Awarded Best UK Day Spa

The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane has recently been awarded the Best UK Day Spa at the SPA Traveller Awards 2012.

The hotel’s rooftop spa has a viewing terrace, a fitness centre, and nine luxurious fitness rooms, each with its own private relaxation pods. The spa is offering a new menu for New Year 2013, with around 40 individual body and facial treatments, and a wide range of Spa Day packages, in partnership with ESPA, Omorovicza, The Organic Pharmacy, Vaishaly and CACI. The spa’s patrons can also buy gift certificates for their friends and relatives, online or by making a personal visit to the spa itself.

The hotel is located in the heart of Mayfair, across from Hyde Park and close to the sights and experiences of the city of London. The hotel is offering 193 luxury guest rooms, including 46 one, two and three-bedroom suites for guests. The hotel amenities include airport transfers, wireless and wired Internet connections, complimentary newspapers and shoeshines.

The hotel Concierge team is available to arrange a number of activities for families to enjoy, including horseback riding in Hyde Park, viewing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and arranging tickets to the newest exhibitions and shows.

The New Year’s Eve party tonight commences in the Amaranto Bar with a six-course dinner for £246.00 per person. Live music is offered by the Bessame Mucho quartet. The New Year’s Day Brunch buffet is priced at £96.00 per adult, and £48.00 per child.

St Regis Doha Announces Opening of First Remede Spa in Middle East

St Regis Doha hotel, in Doha, Qatar, has opened its new Remede Spa, the first from the spa brand in the Middle East.

The new spa is offering an Olympic size swimming pool, luxurious pool cabanas and a private beachfront. The spa covers an area of around 1,400 square metres, and includes 22 treatment rooms, before and post-treatment lounges, as well as male and female steam rooms.

Tareq Derbas, the general manager at The St Regis Doha, said, ‘The opening of our Remede Spa is an important milestone for the hotel. We aim to offer guests an unprecedented level of bespoke experiences in everything we do at The St Regis Doha, and our Remede Spa treatments are no exception. It is the first time the customised treatments are brought to the Middle East, and the response we received so far from both Doha residents and hotel guests is very promising.’

The hotel is offering 336 guest rooms and suites; a business centre; concierge service; tennis courts; fitness facility; and wireless internet access in all guest rooms.

The hotel has recently opened two new Ramsay restaurants, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Doha and Opal by Gordon Ramsay Doha, by the famous chef.

Earlier Derbas said, ‘A great deal of effort and detail has been put into perfecting these culinary experiences for both casual diners and gourmet enthusiasts, and we are confident that these restaurants will elevate Doha’s fast-growing dining scene to the next level.’

Westin Hotels & Resorts Announces New In-House Spas

Westin Hotels & Resorts, a hotel brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, is offering to open new Heavenly Spas at its properties.

The company has announced its plans to globally expand its spa brand, Heavenly Spas, to 13 properties by 2014. There are currently 28 spas active at its various properties worldwide.

Jeremy McCarthy, the director of global spa development and operations for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said, ‘There is a growing demand for spa and wellness services in key global emerging markets such as Asia. Westin’s Heavenly Spa concept fulfils that demand and provides signature sensory experiences aimed at mind-body wellness and revitalization, designed specifically for the Westin guest.’

The new spas will open at The Westin Lagunamar, The Westin Chennai Velachery, The Westin Xiamen, The Westin Changbaishan, The Westin Wenzhou, and eight more properties in North America and Asia. Heavenly Spa by Westin offers signature treatments and exclusive programmes mirroring local culture and customs making each spa unique in its offerings, with a motto to offer wellness for the road, and to allow guests to leave with a better sense of wellbeing than when they came.

Brian Povinelli, the global brand leader for Westin Hotels, said, ‘The global expansion of our Heavenly Spa brand underscores the strong appeal of our distinctive positioning around well-being which dovetails perfectly with the top three things consumers do today to improve their wellness – exercise, eat better and visit a spa.’

Bulgari Hotel and Residences London to Open This Month

The Bulgari Hotel and Residences, London, a luxurious hotel located in the heart of London, UK, will be opening on May 28, this year.

The new luxury hotel in Knightsbridge, London is offering 85 rooms and luxurious suites furnished in a contemporary design. The property will be a part of the portfolio of Virtuoso, a US-based luxury travel network.

Introductory rates at the new hotel commence from £440.00 per night, and will also be inclusive of a £75.00 spa credit to be redeemed at the exclusive Bulgari Spa, located inside the hotel.

Albert Herrera, the company vice president of hotels, destinations and tours, said, ‘Building upon the successful relationships we have with Bulgari’s Milan and Bali properties, we are thrilled to welcome its newest hotel and residences to our collection of prominent Preview hotels. Bulgari’s first London property shines much like the jewels that have made the brand so widely celebrated. We will maximize the program’s assets to ensure that we create a relationship and establish prominence within our network befitting of a Bulgari product.’

Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners designed the hotel’s interiors, which feature a silver theme and with architecture and decor in keeping with the Bulgari brand’s heritage. The silver theme runs through the entire hotel, including solid silver Bulgari chandeliers, silver candlesticks, and other decor items that are on display.

The new hotel spa offers 11 private treatment rooms and one double spa suite, as well as a pool and 150 square metres of fitness area.

Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa Edinburgh Reopens After Renovations

The Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa, a luxury hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, has reopened after the completion of a re-modelling project.

The hotel is part of Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, a brand from US-based hotel company, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. According to the company, the recent re-modelling of the hotel includes a new and contemporary look for public areas, refurbished guest rooms and meetings complex; as well as the opening of a new restaurant and bar.

Hoyt Harper, the company global brand leader for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, said, ‘We have spent the last few years renovating and rebuilding one of the hotel industry’s most iconic brands and Sheraton’s all-time high guest satisfaction scores are a direct result of this investment. As one of our flagship hotels, the newly renovated Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh showcases our commitment to making the brand an unparalleled leader in the hospitality sector.’

The hotel’s new look is intended to offer superior customer satisfaction to both business and leisure travellers, with 269 fully refurbished guest rooms that have a modern Scottish look; a new Sheraton Club Floor, for Club level guests; 14 flexible event rooms; and a six-story, 35,000 square foot ‘One Spa’.

The hotel is also offering new Sheraton brand signature experiences, including a Link@Sheraton communications hub in the hotel lobby with complimentary Wi-Fi and computer workstations; and a holistic fitness programme, Sheraton Fitness, programmed by Core Performance.

The hotel is being re-launched as part of a global re-branding operation, which will be seeing a worldwide rejuvenation of the Sheraton branded properties for an investment of around $6 billion.