It may be sleeting, hailing, snowing (et freaking cetera) in this hemisphere, but the sun is shining in Cape Town. For those in desperate need of the summer sun, take off for Cape Town to bask in some sizzling temperatures. Twelve Apostles is the place to be, perfectly situated above the sea with stunning views of the mountains. The hotel boasts equally as stupendous accommodations and facilities: heated pools perched above the Atlantic, the exquisite Azure restaurant, the seriously sublime Sanctuary Spa, and panoramic sea views that go on forever. Of course Twelve Apostles has racked up a slew of impressive awards and accolades, as befits one of the world’s best hotels. When you stay for three nights at Twelve Apostles, get the fourth for free, along with a slew of added amenities thrown in. Like welcome drinks, full South African breakfast daily, wine tasting daily in Azure restaurant, complimentary transfers, and use of the hydrotherapy pools, aroma sauna and flotation tank at the Sanctuary Spa.
As if a stay at the Banyan Tree in the Maldives wasn't magical enough. The resort has organized sailing expeditions aboard the Turkish gulet, a 30-meter double-mast yacht named Velaa. Elegantly appointed, the yacht can accommodate up to 12 guests in comfortable mahogany cabins for one-, two-, and three-night adventures to the best dive spots in the North and South Male Atolls of the Maldives archipelago. With five-star service onboard, gourmet cuisine, daily canapés and drinks, and luxurious cabins equipped with LCD TV screens and DVD players, this isn't exactly roughing it. Soak up the sunshine from the ship's deck, picnic on secluded beaches, explore the wonders of the deep, diving with grey reef sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, stonefish and turtles. After your unforgettable journey, return to the luxury of Banyan Tree Maldives for some more pampering.
February 13, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The sky's grey; the weather calls for an ominous-sounding "wintry mix." Now is the time to daydream of sunnier climes, and plan a winter getaway to the tropics. Here's an idea: your own private island in French Polynesia, a little piece of paradise ranked number one on Conde Nast Traveler's "Top 25 Escapes in the World." Vahine Island, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, is a 10-acre wonderland overlooking Bora Bora, about 40 minutes by plane from Papeete International Airport. Overwater bungalows, white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons, coconut groves and lush rainforests, secluded coral reefs with a rainbow of tropical fish. This is paradise on earth, chock full of hedonistic delights, and only enhanced by the marvelous French cuisine. It doesn't get much better than Vahine Island. (As if you needed further goading, check out the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.)
February 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
At the Restaurant at the Setai, trans-ethnic cuisine is crafted from the finest, freshest ingredients in an impressive exhibition kitchen. This is the pinnacle of haute dining in South Beach, the new "Vegas by the Ocean," so called by NYT critic Mark Bittman. The article “Is South Beach Growing Up?" identifies The Setai's restaurant as "visually stunning," with "competent, and actually warm, service":
The sheer scale of the Restaurant at the Setai-- South Beach's most opulent dining spot, and perhaps one of the most interestingly and arguably perfectly designed restaurants in the world-- is astounding. An enormous courtyard is dominated by a huge reflecting pool, and there are 20-foot ceilings, domes of 500 tightly grouped roses and an elaborate array of materials used to build the minimalist but intricate walls and floors: pressed metal, carved wood, imported antique brick, slate, stone, tile and fabric. Down the hall is a strikingly long bar, whose top is mother-of-pearl.
The price tag? A mere $120 per person with the prix fixe tasting menu.
From your own private infinity pool, you gaze out over the turquoise Indian Ocean to the lush green peak of Tamarin in the distance. Behind you, wide glazed doors open invitingly into the luxury of the Presidential Suite's spacious living room. From the crescent shaped beach, you can snorkel and scuba dive the nearby coral reefs, spectacular in their colorful marine life. After an afternoon sailing serene waters, you retire to the Taj Spa for a massage and a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor. The setting is magical: spa pavilions and water courtyards surrounded by gardens and reflecting pools, overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. As the sun dips below the horizon, you sip a cocktail and anticipate the fine cuisine that awaits. You pinch yourself. Just another day in Paradise.
This could be the most exciting setting on earth. Situated in the world's only inhabited volcano crater-- I kid you not-- On the Rocks is blessed with staggering views of the Aegean Sea and Santorini's world famous sunsets. The hotel is comprised of a complex of traditional Greek buildings: white-washed walls, dramatic blue furnishings, bougainvillea-draped terraces (and all that jazz). Situated above the charming village of Imerovigli, the hotel's exclusive apartments boast private verandahs overlooking the cusp of the volcano crater, with the brilliant blue sea beyond. Set to open April 1, 2007, this unique hotel will feature an impressive spa, inviting pool, and gourmet poolside restaurant serving traditional Greek fare. Noteworthy: one of the newest members of Small Luxury Hotels.
February 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Dinner and a... bath? Yep, that's right. Rosewood's world-renowned Las Ventanas al Paraiso, the only Five-Diamond property in Los Cabos, is once again leading the pack with
peculiar innovative amenities. From the ultra-luxury resort that brought you pre-loaded poolside iPods, Mini Cooper S Convertibles and Porsche Boxsters on property, in-room telescopes for star-gazing and whale-watching, pool-side services like sunglass-cleaning, sewing kits personalized to each guest's wardrobe, and the Hot Type author program (whew!), comes another cutting-edge service. When guests sit down to dine at the upscale dining room for an unforgettable meal at The Restaurant, they are presented with the dinner menu and the after-dinner bath menu, which offers a choice of a "Stress Relieving," "Rejuvenating" or "Sensual & Romantic" bath experiences. Choose from the lists of Champagnes, premium tequilas and Cuban cigars, to enjoy in the bath. So while you gobble down your Baja-Mediterranean cuisine, overlooking the pool and the Sea of Cortez, your bath will be prepared for a luxurious experience en-suite.
February 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In the Bahamas, the mega-resort of Atlantis, modeled after the mythical Lost Continent, offers a resort experience like no other. Gargantuan casino, enormous water-parks, 11 swimming areas, and a marine park stocked with 50,000 sea animals. Certainly not for everyone's taste. But now the behemoth of resorts is going upscale, with the stylish, suites-only Cove at Atlantis, set to open on March 15, 2007. Situated between two beautiful beaches, The Cove Atlantis will have a beach club, adults-only pool with beach concierge and plush daybeds, and balmy open-air lobby. Each of the 600 suites will offer French balconies with ocean views and enormous bathrooms (as befits the grandaddy of resorts). The beach and poolside cabanas will be equally as tech-savvy, equipped with flat screen TVs, wireless Internet, Bose 321 system, Private bathrooms and custom-stocked service bars. The folks at Atlantis are promising a "seductive and indulgent experience" at The Cove.
February 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Situated on a cliff top rising above the ocean, the Hotel Albatroz offers the best of the Portuguese Riviera, only 35 kilometers from the Lisbon airport. Formerly a royal summer retreat, Hotel Albatroz is now one of the top boutique hotels in Portugal. Composed of three historical buildings-- including the Duke of Loulé's Palace-- the hotel is a bastion of true luxury and elegance. From the swimming pools and sun terrace, enjoy panoramic views of the bay. From the excitement of the city to the serenity of the sea, Portugal offers an excellent getaway. Explore the historical riches of Lisbon, challenge yourself with a round of golf on five nearby championship courses, enjoy an endless array of water sports, take in the sunset from the bar, and dine on traditional seafood specialties at the popular hotel restaurant, where guests gaze at the jagged coastline of Cascais and Estoril from the stunning beach setting. A winter break at Hotel Albatroz is a steal with their One More Night promotion. Book three nights, and get the fourth night for free! Rates start from EUR 124 (single), EUR 157.50 (double), per night, which includes buffet breakfast and all taxes. Valid until March 31, 2007; subject to availability.
January 31, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
In our ongoing feature of luxury suites at deluxe hotels worldwide, we present to you: Cocoa Island Maldives
2 Bedroom Villa: Located with direct access to the sea, offering maximum privacy
Size: 300 m2
Room description (images after the jump): The 2 bedroom villa has a king size and twin bedded room with private bathroom featuring double vanity unit, WC, island bath, separate walk in shower, outdoor shower and private terrace with access to the water. The full length windows on three sides flood the room with light. Down to the steps is a walkway to a private Bale (covered tiki hut - 2nd image below) for private dining or relaxing. The private sun deck features loungers and a dining table.
Interior Designer: Kathryn Kng
Rates start at US$ 2090 and go up from there ...
Images after the jump
The Cocoa Island Villas:
The Cocoa Island 2 Bedroom Villa Sundeck:
The Cocoa Island 2 Bedroom Villa Bedroom:
The Cocoa Island 2 Bedroom Villa Living Room: