The much-anticipated World's Best Awards has just been released by Travel and Leisure. In these 11th annual reader polls, the chic Singita Private Game Reserve scores at the top of the hotel list, after debuting as number 1 in the world in 2004. What makes the Singita such a hot property? Lions, tigers, and…elephants galore, and on top of that, some of the finest accommodations on the planet, consisting of 18 suites spread out within five lodges. The Sabi Sands is a wildlife mecca, and situated in the middle of this dramatic landscape, the lodges at Singita are internationally recognized as among the most exclusive in the world. After a daily expedition into the African bush, continue the wildlife viewing from the privacy of your own private deck. Or appreciate the gorgeous surroundings while indulging in a massage or beauty treatment at the excellent spa. Enjoy exceptional cuisine complemented by impressive wine cellars: each Singita lodge has a unique and comprehensive wine cellar, totalling approximately 35,000 bottles of the finest South African wines.
Gridskipper on the World's Best Awards, "This Just In: Tourists Love Touristy City"
In an incomparable setting on Baja's turquoise Sea of Cortes, Esperanza is a chic and alluring paradise created by Auberge Resorts. The sandstone villas are impossibly romantic: carved into the bluffs overlooking the sea, where the humpback whales migrate just offshore. The infinity pool seems to spill into the private cove beneath, with stunning views of the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. At the terraced Restaurant, enjoy a star-studded menu of local fish, like almond seared rare yellowfin tuna with warm avocado pie or grilled dorado steak with ricotta crepes and dark pasilla-huitlacoche mole. Or toss back a Piña Dorada at El Bar, watching the sun dip below the Pacific's horizon. The resort's 56 guest rooms and suites have oversized tubs, large outdoor terraces and handcrafted furniture. Unique spa treatments--like grated coconut and lime body exfoliation-- feature natural, indigenous ingredients. After a yoga or pilates class, relax in the warm soaking pool or the indoor steam cave. Other recreational activities include diving, sailing and kayaking trips.
Until September 30, guests can save up to 35 percent off with a special summer package at Esperanza: a five-night (midweek) getaway starting at $2,217 per couple. The "Baja Bliss" package includes five accommodations in an ocean-view terrace casita, two 60-minute Tropical Essence Spa treatments, complimentary yoga classes, nonalcoholic refreshments in a mini bar, complimentary DVD and CD library, and complimentary use of beach cabanas. Inclusive of taxes and service charges. The Baja Bliss package is also available for a five-night weekend package, starting from $2,697.
June 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Situated on Vancouver Island's rugged western shore, the Wickaninnish Inn is a prestigious getaway, an exclusive Relais and Chateaux property voted "One of the Top Ten Hotels in North America" by Travel and Leisure readers. Just minutes from the picturesque town of Tofino, the Inn is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific, nearby islands, and Chesterman Beach, not far from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Clayoquot Sound. From your guestroom's private balcony, take in the panoramic views, and fall asleep in luxury each evening, listening to the sounds of the surf. Indulge in a massage at the Ancient Cedars Spa, delight in a delicious meal at the award-winning Pointe Restaurant, and savor the countless recreational activities to discover the region's heartstopping beauty: explore the wide sandy beaches, go fishing or whale-watching, kayak or canoe the waterways, or hike through the old-growth forests.
June 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Gas prices hovering at obscene highs put a damper on your travel plans? Fear not, a dose of summer sunshine and gorgeous scenery may still be in the cards, with the "Free Gas and Deals on Wheels" package offered by the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado. The National Register Landmark is the quintessential Aspen hotel, just minutes from downtown and surrounded by the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Guest rooms are individually decorated, with luxurious amenities; guests gratefully retreat to their elegant and comfortable haven after a day spent exploring the surrounding countryside (or lounging by the beautiful pool).
The "Free Gas and Deals on Wheels'' package includes a voucher for $50 in gas, free parking, two passes to the Aspen Recreation Center ($30), two bus rides to the Maroon Bells ($14) and two free one-day bicycle rentals. Rates start at $380 for a deluxe king, through Labor Day. Valid through Labor Day.
June 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Black bear sightings, excellent King Salmon fishing, kayaking through fjords with orca and dolphin-viewings, heavenly spa treatments, extraordinary outdoor adventures… The season has begun at King Pacific Lodge, a luxurious haven in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Named the world's # 1 Wilderness Lodge by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, King Pacific Lodge is located on Princess Royal Island in British Columbia, and offers an unparalleled, exclusive wilderness experience. A Rosewood Resort, the King Pacific Lodge is the essence of luxury, its seventeen oversized accommodations showcasing sumptuous down duvets, window-side seating areas that overlook spectacular views of the landscape, and slate-lined bathrooms with deep soaker-tubs. A peaceful and unspoiled getaway in the midst of nature's rugged marvels. The Lodge is now promoting a special offer, to celebrate the recent creation of the Great Bear Rainforest protected area (and the Spirit Bear being named BC's official animal). Guests booking a stay at the lodge in September will receive a one-day complimentary bear-viewing eco-adventure.
June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Looking for an undiscovered island? In Europe, of all places? Look no farther than Pantelleria, the secret volcanic wonderland located between Sicily and Tunisia in the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean. After the June article in Vogue, the cat's out of the bag about this one. The "secret escape for Madonna, Julia Robers, and Giorgio Armani," the "virtual natural spa with thermal rock pools, crater lakes, and cave saunas," sounds too good to be true. And the recreational activities on this island are endless: diving, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, vineyard-hopping, and touring the magical Roman ruins. In this Italian paradise, a new hotel opening is causing quite a stir. Pantelleria Dream offers 46 exclusive suites situated within dammusi, which are the typical island structures comprised of black volcanic rocks which help to insulate from the heat and the sun, with Arab-influenced vaulted ceilings inside. Each dammuso boasts a panoramic terrace with sweeping ocean views. For an ultraprivate, unparalleled experience, request the Venus Suite, which is distanced from the main hotel structure in sublime isolation, and stocked with luxurious amenities. Starting from EUR 180 for a double dammuso, including breakfast.
Vogue, "Travel: Bathing Beauties"
June 15, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
from Courtney W. May and Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Now that the World Cup is officially underway in Germany (my bracket has the Czech Republic walking away with it all - even though I am a huge US fan), some travelers might be looking for alternatives to dealing with the crazed soccer fans who have descended on Germany this summer. Personally, I can't imagine not wanting to be in the thick of things, but if you're one of those looking to go away during June, SLH has the following promotion "7 : 0 for Small Luxury Hotels: Best Escapes from the Soccer World Championship".
With World Cup madness hitting Germany and much of Western Europe, here are seven ways to visit the region and escape to a world of private luxury and ultimate experiences.
Wild Water Rafting in the Austrian alps: Around Kitzbuhel numerous river routes through spectacular mountain gorges are available for wild water rafting excursions, which the Hotel Tennerhof (www.slh.com/tennerhof) can arrange for its guests. A more tranquil alternative exclusiv for hotel guests: Fishing at a lake nearby where the Tennerhof holds private fishing rights.
Falconry in baroque gardens: As stylish as the ambiance of the castle hotel Chateau St. Gerlach (Netherlands) are the leisure activities of this SLH hotel: Golf, Horse-Riding, Tennis and falconry are on offer in the hotel's baroque gardens and in the wonderful nature of the Geul valley. (pictured)
Clay Pigeon shooting high above Mozart town: Salzburg lies afoot the Vitalhotel Kobenzl. On the Gaisberg mountain, high above the city, which celebrates this year Mozart's 250th anniversary, the Hotel offers attractive sporting alternatives: Clay Pigeon shooting, fishing, mountain hiking and biking as well as sailing, tennis and croquet.
Hot Air Balooning in the Black Forest: The Hotel Belle Epoque (www.slh.com/belleepoque), a neo renaissance villa from 1870, arranges sightseeing flights from Baden-Baden into the wonderful nature of the Black Forrest.
Archery in nature's paradise: Golf, Horse-riding, archery, mountain climbing and many more activities offers the Hoteldorf Gruner Baum (www.slh.com/grunerbaum) in the spectacular mountain world of Gastein. The main building of the hotel was built 1831 as hunting lodge for Duke Johann. Besides the countless leisure activities of the hotel the surroundings tempt visitors with romantic castles, dripstone caves and the national parc Hohentauern.
Formula 1 at the Hotel die Hirschgasse: The hotel offers a Formel 1-Package, which includes a three nights stay in a suite with jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet and a bottle of champagne at arrival. Tickets and transfer to the Grand Prix at Hockenheimring can be arranged by the concierge. The package is available from 27 to 30. July 2006 and costs 1.300 Euro per room. www.slh.com/diehirschgasse
Arlberg from a bird's eye view: Many guests of the SLH Hotel Kristiania Lech in Austria (www.slh.com/kistiania) arrive by helicopter and enjoy a bird's eye view of the wonderful alpine nature: only 300 metres from the hotel, guests can also find a paragliding field .
View more Small Luxury Hotels with Five Star Alliance.
The lush, forested Caribbean isle of Dominica is a nature lover's delight, with miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, gorgeous beaches where whales can be spotted off-shore, and hot springs and glorious waterfalls amidst the rainforest. In this tropical paradise, the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa is a peaceful and luxurious retreat. With yoga studios, beachfront bar, gorgeous Spa, and Atlantic-facing restaurants, this resort could be heaven on earth. The 35 tropical hardwood cottages are nestled within the jungle, accessed by a series of graceful footpaths, and feature balconies and private outdoor showers. At night, fall asleep to the peaceful sounds of the spring fed stream in the forest below, or the Atlantic waves crashing into the soft sandy shore. Dining is an experience to remember, with delicious and fresh Caribbean specialities served in an outdoor Pavilion overlooking the stone pool and ocean.
The former owner of North Face, Doug Tomkins, has created a 30,000 acre wildlife refuge and eco-retreat in Argentina's Corrientes province. The Conservation Land Trust has attracted a slew of nature lovers in pursuit of discovering the beauty of Argentina's vast northeast. The place to stay? Estancia Rincon del Socorro is a 12,000-hectare former cattle ranch on the edge of the Ibera wetlands that is now a nature reserve. Doug and his wife Kris restored a beautiful property, originally built in 1896, including three bungalows and the main house, El Casco, which offers spacious rooms with high ceilings, a screened verandah, well-stocked library, and terraced dining area where beautiful organic meals are served, with fruit and vegetables plucked from the kitchen garden and delicious Argentine barbecue (free range meats). Relax by the pool or take to the savannah on horseback, riding with a gaucho on one of the native horses.
June 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The majestic mountains of British Columbia offer more than superlative skiing; North America's renowned ski destination is just as enticing in the summertime, with fabulous hiking, gorgeous swimming pools, and world-class golf. The Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, the luxury boutique hotel located superbly at the bottom of the gondolas, has put together an excellent family vacation package for some thrilling adventures this summer. The Summer Family Adventure Package (created for a group of two adults and two kids) consists of five nights in a two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen and two bathrooms. The package also includes a five-hour boat trip on Lillooet Lake; a two-and-a-half hour ZipTrek Canopy Tour through the forest treetops; a dog sled tour (without the snow, but thrilling nonetheless); passes to go up Whistler Mountain Peak; and a disposable camera. Starting at $1,739, for family of four. Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals