The beautiful Basque city of San Sebastien—situated on two sweeping beaches bathed by Atlantic surf—is a glorious combination of natural landscapes and urban treasures. Green mountaintops (one crowned by an enormous statue of Jesus, reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro) look down upon an awesome crescent of boat-dotted harbors and grand boulevards with tall art nouveau architecture. The Parte Vieja, its narrow alleys lined by packed tapas bars and beautiful boutiques – promises the liveliest and most entertaining nightlife in Basque Country (and possibly, in all of Spain.) Where to stay? The Hotel Maria Cristina—part of Westin's Luxury Collection—is a five star masterpiece overlooking the Urma River just minutes from the beach. Guest rooms boast ocean views from balconies, fine furnishings, marble, and all the modern amenities you'd expect in a world-class luxury hotel. After all, the Maria Cristina is a prominent fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Reader's Choice Awards. The spa is superb.
The Bilbao Guggenheim is nothing short of magnificent. Frank Gehry's incredible construction-- composed of glass walls, limestone, and titanium-- glimmers like a giant fish in the sunlight next to the Nervion river. Since it's opening in 1997, the former industrial city of Bilbao has become a showcase of art and culture. The Guggenheim is the most dynamic kind of architectural setting to contemplate and appreciate modern art. Current exhibitions include Russia!—the most comprehensive and significant collection of Russian art sent abroad since the end of the Cold War. From the 13th century religious icon painting to the present. Until September 3. Also on view: Max Beckmann, The Watercolors and Pastels, the first exhibition of its kind (a few watercolors have been displayed in surveys of his work, but never together.) Until September 17. Don't miss the permanent collection, including Richard Serra's groundbreaking The Matter of Time. Museum hours: Tuesday- Sunday, 10 am- 8 pm. EUR 12.50, adults.
August 30, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Good news for spa clients, bad news for spa media From our friends the SpaQuest spa professionals It is always interesting to us when magazines create ‘top’ lists for spas, because for us the perfect spa vacation cannot be defined by general criterion, but instead by whether or not an individual’s specific set of needs has been fulfilled. There is no cookie cutter mold that fits all spa experiences, or clients. A spa vacation that is rich in holistic immersion, for example, might be intentionally meager on luxe amenities in order to encourage guests to focus on achieving intrinsic goals without distractions. Likewise, pampering spas with endless arrays of treatment options and mega facilities tend to soft pedal a focus on goal attainment in favor of the delight of almost instant gratification. Of course both have their place in the spa industry because they cater to very different types of clients, or even the same clients seeking different experiences at different times. Luckily for die-hard spafanatics, in recent times the industry has been undergoing a form of upgrading of spa retreats. Destination spas, the holy grail of holistic experience, have been melding age-old philosophies of weight-loss, detoxification and stress management with modernized spa facilities and engaging outdoor activities. The latest destination spa to enter the category we fondly refer to as ‘holistic luxury’ is the Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. Founded in very strict dietetic/fitness philosophies – older clients will remember it as the National Institute of Fitness, a spa that would have fallen into the boot camp category years ago – the ages old spa is always in flux in order to meet the demands of the new, more discerning spa consumer. The holistic resort’s new Sage Stone spa is a haven of treatments that incorporate elements of the local minerals and flora. Spas such as Miraval located in Tucson, and the Canyon Ranches (Lennox, Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona) had the foresight to offer holistic luxury for years now. As industry leaders, both properties have not only become brands, but also usually top those lists we mentioned earlier. And each of these experiences is tailored to appeal to different types of clients with the Canyon programs fulfilling a Type A demand while Miraval cultivates a “balanced” vacation. Newer spas added to our roster, such as the Lakeview at Fontana, North Carolina and Sivory Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, were created with this amalgamation of mind, body, spirit and sensuality in mind. They are destination spas with a pleasing balance of philosophy and pampering. We embrace this evolving model of spa experience, one that is sure to throw a wrench in the cogs of print media machines and their fanciful ‘top’ lists, because it will prove increasingly difficult to determine which spa is ‘best’ when the delineations are less black and white. The lists may also prove irrelevant with the new and newly upgraded spas and also better educated and sophisticated spa clients that understand that spa experiences cannot be judged simply by star rating or celebrity sighting, that the intangible benefits are just as important as the physical ones, if not more so. Visit SpaQuest at http://spa-quest.com/
During the summer months, the Atlantic coastal resort town becomes a mecca for the fashionable, who flock to the casinos and trendy bars, and surfers, who catch awesome waves ranked as Europe's best surfing spot. In the mid 19th century, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie frequently vacationed in Biarritz, and the high-roller vacationers soon followed suit. Near the border of Spain in the heart of Basque Country, Biarritz is not far from the quaint riverside town of Bayonne, known for its chocolate, ham, and fascinating Basque culture and customs. Hang with the surfers on the beach, enjoy a coffee on the seaside promenade, and come dusk, hit the happening bars along the Rue du Vieux Port. Standing proud above la grande plage, the stately Hotel du Palais is the place to stay in Biarritz. Built in 1854 for Empress Eugenie, the luxury hotel delights guests with its unsurpassed elegance and tradition ofart de vivre. The gorgeous outdoor pool overlooks the sea and the hotel's many comfortable beach cabanas.
Excellent location. Panoramic views of the city and bay from the guest rooms. Superb business facilities and health club. Highly personalized service. The Conrad Centennial Singapore has it all... a luxurious respite for both business and leisure travelers in the heart of the city. And for a limited time, the hotel is offering two fun special offers. With the "Night Safari Weekender" and "Zoo Weekender" packages, receive luxury accommodation, buffet breakfast and a choice of admission to either the Singapore Zoological Garden for 2 people or 2 tickets to the Night Safari, where visitors check out an awesome array of nocturnal wildlife. Guests are also hooked up with complimentary tram rides around the zoological gardens or safari park. Rates for the "Zoo Weekender" offer start at $233 per room per night, and the "Night Safari Weekender" starts at $243 per room per night. Valid alid until December 30, 2006, over weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Two-night minimum stay required.
The hottest, trendiest place on the So Cal coast, Tower 23 opened in July 2005 to much fanfare and celebration. Overlooking long stretches of golden sand, the three-storey all-glass hotel is a stylish, contemporary urban resort, taking its name from the Lifeguard Tower 23 positioned on Pacific Beach in front of the hotel. Billing itself as San Diego's "only luxury, lifestyle hotel on the beach," Tower 23 is a celebration of contemporary architecture and design. The 44 guestrooms reflect the oceanfront setting—the environment of sun, sand, surf, and sky—with minimalist design, private balconies and patios to contemplate the sea, and teak furnishings. (And with names to match; the rooms are divided into three types: Spirit, Sky and Surf Pads.) Of course the rooms are brimming with all the latest technology: LDC flat-screens, XBoxes, wifi Internet, and Tempur-Pedic beds. Hipsters flock to Jordan, the sleek restaurant and bar (pictured) where fresh California cuisine is served in a happening environment.
August 29, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
lebua at State Tower offers a wide range of of fine dining options, all of which are congregated under one roof - The Dome. The Dome at the State Tower is the award winning hotel in Bangkok, with titles such as 'Best Western Restaurant 2005,' three Thailand entries as the exclusive winner in the Condé Nast Traveler's 2005 Hot List, 'Best New Al Fresco Dining', and 'Best Lounge Bar' (amongst others). From November 28th to December 2nd, 2006, The Dome at State Tower will host a remarkable 1,000,000 baht (US $25,000 +) per head gala dinner. The dinners are an unprecedented extravagant grand finale for 'Epicurean Masters of the World' - a gourmet food and wine extravaganza. This will be the second event after the successful launch last November - and this year sees seven Chefs de cuisine of Michelin Three-Star restaurants (including the world’s first female to achieve the revered culinary distinction), congregate under one roof over the course of 5 days, to create a culinary extravaganza never before seen in Thailand and rarely experienced anywhere in the world. In addition to featuring remarkable food from the world’s finest chefs paired with equally remarkable wines, the 1,000,000 baht (US $25,000 +) per person price will include overnight suite accommodation at the lebua at State Tower hotel; a personalized designer jewelry gift; a collection of personalised Riedel sommelier glasses; and a signed commemorative Limoges plate from the event. Click here to read more about the event from eHotelier, or contact The Dome at State Tower for reservations by calling + 66 2624 9555, or e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the following websites: www.epicureanmasters.com and www.thedomebkk.com.
Rocco Forte's icon of Swiss hospitality is located in the heart of Geneva, facing the famous Brunswick Gardens and overlooking the Alps, Lake Geneva, and the Old Town Cathedral. Spring 2007 will celebrate the reopening of the prestigious hotel, which will start taking bookings in November 2006. Just minutes from the business and shopping districts of Geneva, Le Richemond will blend stylish contemporary design with traditional elegance in its 109 rooms and suites. In addition to its superb restaurants and meeting facilities, the hotel is planning the largest suite in Geneva, situated on the seventh floor and featuring three bedrooms, dining room, living room, and two sunny terraces. Le Richemond will also offer a new fitness center, spa treatments, sauna, plunge pool, and business center. With the impeccable service which is a trademark of Rocco Forte hotels, the newly renovated Le Richemond promises to be an exclusive and luxurious respite from the bustling city.
The posh canvas tents at The Resort at Paws Up are more akin to a five-star hotel than camping out. And with the resort's superior five-star amenities, this is the way to experience Montana's epic wilderness in style. Opened in June 2005 on 37,000 acres in Blackfoot Valley, just outside of Missoula, The Resort at Paws Up is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice in this slice of heaven: saddle up and go horseback on the hundreds of miles of trails, take your best shot at the sporting clays course, cast a fly with an expert guide with the best kind of Montana fly-fishing experience, or go swimming in the lake, boating, hiking, mountain biking, rafting, or play a round at the nearby championship golf course. This is the ultimate wilderness adventure playground. After a day enjoying the country, return to a sumptuous in-room spa treatment. Soak up the rustic elegance at Tent City, with featherbeds, fine linens, and all the modern conveniences offered at the resort's other luxury vacation homes, overlooking the grandeur of the Montana wilderness. The Resort at Paws Up offers a truly unique western experience.
This award winning, glass-walled restaurant is, by far, the ritziest resort restaurant in Carmel. Terraced on an ocean bluff overlooking the dramatic seascape of the Big Sur coastline, at the Highlands Inn Park Hyatt, Pacific's Edge provides incomparable ocean vistas. As guests dine on spectacular French-New American fare and savor bottles from the 1,700-label wine list (a perennial Grand Award winner from Wine Spectator), they can watch whales and sea otters playing just offshore, and the sunset dip below the Pacific's horizon at the most picturesque spot on earth. And to top it all off—the staff is elegant and attentive, ensuring a fantastic dining experience.