Ready, set, sweat! Head to the beach for an early AM power walk, followed by rock-climbing and then a little yoga. After an afternoon of kayaking, get pampered with a deep tissue massage. Welcome to Bikini Boot Camp, at Amansala, an eco-chic resort near the cliff-hugging Mayan ruins at Tulum, Mexico, overlooking the sparkling Caribbean and white sand beaches of the Yucatan. Boot Camp ain't so bad when it's in such a purty place. After Hurricane Wilma's recent devastation, a few Yucatan hotels are back up and running, Amansala included. Set on the beach, 14 palapas are casually elegant: decorated with mosaic-tiled bathtubs, bohemian details and beds draped with mosquito nets. The dining cabana offers delicious communal-style meals, such as fresh caught grilled fish, mangos, jicima salads and other yummy low calorie selections. One-week camp is $1842, and includes six nights accommodations, all meals, two bike excursions, kayaking, yoga and exercise classes, two massages and one Mayan clay treatment, and all entertainment.
Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines just announced a new version of its Big 'S' Sale with prices starting at $19 each-way for domestic and Caribbean travel. Though serious restrictions apply, and the lowest fares are available for midweek winter travel, Smarter Travel investigated and still found savings of more than $300.
Fly to Mexico on American from $198 R/T. Destinations include Cozumel, Cancun, Los Cabos, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City. Valid through March 31, book by December 15. This sale is hot!
Ahh, the Hotel Ritz Madrid. Favored residence of royalty, heads of state, and fashionistas alike, upon their visits to Spain's culture-saturated capital. The divine result of King Alfonso XIII's desire to build a luxury hotel to rival the Hotel Ritz in Paris. In the heart of the city, located in the center of the "Triangle of Art," the Hotel Ritz evokes the pomp and grandeur of the Royal Madrid of old. And from now until December 20, save 20 percent! The "Art in Madrid" package includes accommodations for three nights; entrance to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Prado and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia; a five-course dinner at the hotel's highly-acclaimed Goya restaurant; afternoon tea in the lounge (one per person); airport transfers; and champagne and fruit in your room. The rate is $900 per person, double occupancy.
Hotel Ritz Madrid, Official Site
Hotel Ritz Madrid, Five Star Alliance
Enjoy Christmas and New Year in Hong Kong at the legendary "Grande Dame of the Far East" and take advantage of The Peninsula Hotels' Complimentary Heritage Tours. Between December 5 and February 28, guests staying at The Peninsula Hong Kong can enjoy a 45-minute night tour of Kowloon's spectacular neon heritage. Soak up the classic grandeur, timeless elegance and world-famous service of The Peninsula in the most spacious hotel rooms in Hong Kong. (And the enormous Roman-style swimming pool, that opens onto a sun terrace overlooking Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island.) The holiday season at The Peninsula means impressive gourmet feasts and lots of festive musical entertainment. Additionally, celebrate the Chinese New Year when January 29 ushers in the Year of the Dog.
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Official Site
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Five Star Alliance
Introducing the tiniest, perfectly portable little external speakers for your iPod. Only two ounces, so you can hide this baby in your purse. At 40 bucks, this is a steal.
For over fifty years, the Hotel Bel-Air has been synonymous with Beverly Hills elegance. An urban oasis with 12 acres of gardens and fountain courtyards, just minutes from Century City, Beverly Hills and Westwood, the hotel is prestigious and exquisitely luxurious, while retaining an understated glamour. After all, this is a Mobile five star award winner. 91 guestrooms and suites feature private entrances, fireplaces, French doors, and tiled courtyards with private outdoor spas. Toast 2006 at the event of the year: Hotel Bel Air's New Year's Eve Cabaret Gala Dinner. Enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner with wine pairings, imbibe plenty of champagne, and dance the night away to live music. $375 per person.
Hotel Bel-Air, Official Site
Hotel Bel-Air, Five Star Alliance
December 8, 2005
By: Guest Writer
St. Pete's notorious hotel scene is about to do a 180. For years marked by a severe shortage of rooms, with chronic unavailability for travelers seeking to discover Russia's most culturally fascinating city, St. Pete's luxury hotel market will double in size next year. Brands like Raffles International, Intercontinental, and Sofitel have disclosed plans for new hotels in the city.
By: Guest Writer
December 7, 2005
By: Guest Writer
By Ellen Whitman
On a quiet and leafy corner of one of Mexico City's trendiest colonias, the Condesa DF hotel manages to satisfy the most unabashed hipsters, design aficionados, discerning foodies, and even bargain shoppers ($150/night for a basic room). Ian Schraeger-like in feel, this four story triangular hotel is geographically and emotionally focused on its central courtyard, home to its impressive Miami Beach meets Soho restaurant and bar. Whether it be a working lunch, a leisurely Sunday brunch or a last call martini, it is always a scene to be seen in. But unlike so many trendy eateries, the cuisine is just as hot as the clientele; the creative sushi and decadent desserts are of particular note. Stick to the wine list however, as the cocktails are pricey and often disappointing. The service can also be a little spotty, but everyone is so eager to please little oversights are easily forgiven. Thursday through Saturday, a subterranean nightclub continues into the wee hours as does the tropical rooftop bar. As such, Condesa DF is not a hotel for the kiddies, nor is it for those seeking a subdued retreat even if the minimalist white guest rooms do all have sumptuous bed linens, flat screen televisions and iPods. Better to enjoy all that luxury after stumbling back from the beautiful circus of Condesa DF's nighttime offerings.
By: Guest Writer
Perfectly located halfway between LA and San Fran, the Paso Robles region is known for its zesty Zinfandel. The wine's celebratory gala is hugely popular, now running for 14 straight years. More than 80 wineries host the three-day festival, packed with events including winemakers dinners, special tastings, food pairings, seminars and live and silent auctions. When? March 17, 18, and 19 of next year, but tix just went on sale, in time for the holidays.
Enter through the residents-only entrance to discover London's exclusive, intimate retreat. From the marble and wood-paneled lobby on the 5th floor, there are 16 deluxe rooms and 4 split-level suites—including the Conservatory suite with its glass ceiling. All are elegantly decorated with mahogany furniture, black leather details, marble bathrooms, and equipped with the latest technology. A few rooms also offer views overlooking The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, where the horses are exercised daily. Awarded the Silver award for "Best Small Hotel in London" by VisitLondon, 41 prides itself on truly five star service. The hotel's best feature? The Lounge, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or martini by the fire.