LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
August 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Volunteer tourism, a.k.a "voluntourism," is a growing trend in travel, and more and more travelers are jumping on the bandwagon and planning to volunteer during their vacations. Forbes Traveler sums it up nicely:
There comes a point — generally when you're on your third margarita, sunburned over 60 percent of your body and the kids are screaming in the infinity pool — when you start to wonder if there is more to the whole vacation concept than lying on a beach getting toasted. A way of showing thanks for your own good fortunes, perhaps. You want a chance to contribute more to a local economy than buying overpriced trinkets that neither you nor your friends back home really need.
Ritz-Carlton has taken notice. They've created the Give Back Getaways program- to offer guests a chance to give back to the community with half-day local community experiences, working alongside Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen in a Community Footprints humanitarian or environmental project. All profits from the Give Back Getaways programs are donated to the partner organizations. An example is the Blue Iguana Recovery Program at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, led by naturalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, where guests assist with the breeding program to help a unique species on the brink of extinction.
August 19, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
The Regent Grand Resort and Spa has just opened on Grace Bay in the beautiful Turks & Caicos Islands. The resort is the second luxury condominium resort by the highly regarded Turks & Caicos based HAB Group, who have been developing in the Turks & Caicos and London luxury markets for over 20 years. Their first property, Villa Renaissance, has recently been awarded a Tripadvisor Top 10 Luxury Caribbean Resort, and it is thought that the Regent Grand will be even more successful. The property has 50 oceanfront suites, all with fully fitted kitchens and fantastic ocean view balconies, which ensure that guests enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets in the Caribbean.
The luxury five star Regent Grand is offering guests 25% off until December 2008 and anyone lucky enough to book in the next few weeks will receive free golf during their stay at the nearby 18 Hole championship course, Provo Golf Club. Guests will also receive a 15% discount at the Spa for reservations up to 30th September, and can have treatments either at the Spa or in room if required.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests will also receive a free welcome amenity of a bottle of wine and a fruit basket in their room upon arrival.
August 19, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
South Florida's hottest new hotel has been racking up the awards since it opened, named one of the 15 Hotels to Watch on Travel + Leisure's World's Best List 2008, one of the 30 Best New Hotels Around the Globe on Travel + Leisure's It List 2008, as well as one of the 40 Must-See Properties on Travel Agent's 2008 "Hot New List." Located on the northeastern end of exclusive Bal Harbour Village, bordered by Baker's Haulover Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean, the ultra-chic property has a 750-foot pristine beach only 15 minutes away from South Beach. The amenities are world-class (including the first Guerlain Spa to open in America), and the building's striking glass façade boasts breathtaking 360-degree panoramas. There's still time to grab a special summertime opening rate at The Regent Bal Harbour, available until September 30, 2008, of room rates priced at $295 on weekdays and $345 on weekends. Plus, we just got word of another spectacular special offer of free airfare credits when you book a four-night stay (or longer) through December 18. This incredible incentive is worth $2,500, adding real value to your stay, ensuring an incredibly luxurious guest experience at The Regent Bal Harbour.
Just minutes away from the center of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort is a secluded retreat surrounded by blissful beaches. This self-contained resort paradise boasts a 44,788-square-foot CHI spa with a unique design concept: a spa village with 8 private island villas, surrounded by the South China Sea, each with a lounging area, steam room, bathing facilities, and fragrant garden. Around the world, Shangri-La's CHI Spas are celebrated for embracing a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being, inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies. CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort offers exclusive therapies that incorporate local ingredients such as Borneo volcanic mud, Sabah pearls and cocoa alongside signature CHI treatments inspired by the ancient healing traditions of the Himalayan region. A two-night "Spa Indulgence" package is available until December 15, 2008, with prices starting from approximately $764, double occupancy, for a Kinabalu Seaview room.
Hurry! You have just two more days to take advantage of this deal. Book by August 20, 2008, and you'll get seven nights for the price of five at the Biras Creek Resort, Virgin Gorda's luxurious 31-suite resort surrounded by three distinct bodies of water (the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the lagoon of North Sound-- all in brilliant shades of emerald and turquoise). Available for travel until August 31, this special is for Ocean Suites only. What a way to celebrate the end of summer: basking in the Caribbean sun and ocean breezes, feasting like kings, swimming and snorkeling from your own private beach in this tropical island paradise that's only reachable by boat or helicopter...
August 15, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Just steps from the ocean and offering 15 beach front villas and ocean view residences and 15 pool suites and pool villas, Aleenta's "Luxury Villa Escape" is sure to capture your imagination for a truly great summer escape. This summer the 5 Days and 4 Nights package will include complementary private car round trip transfers to and from the Phuket International Airport, complimentary welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival, gourmet breakfast daily in your villa/residence or in the restaurant, afternoon canape each day at the Sunset Lounge from 5 to 6 pm, complimentary yoga, tai chi, or thai boxing led by a private instructor in the villa, beach or gym, 60 minute thai massage per person per stay in your room or spa and 20% of the regular rates for any additional selected treatment. With stunning views of the Andaman Sea and a reputation for luxurious style, comfort and personalized services, Aleenta "Luxury Villa Escape" is the escape you have been looking for this summer.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations for Aleenta with Five Star Alliance receive a 30 minute stress and tension relieving massage for 2 in Aleenta's KA Spa once during stay.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
We've got the scoop on a unique Labor Day special that doesn't come around that often. La Samanna Resort, a chic Orient-Express property in St. Maarten, French West Indies, is consistently named one of the world's best places to stay. This gorgeous gem is usually closed for the season over Labor Day weekend, but this year, La Samanna will stay open so you can celebrate the Dog Days of Summer in style. Finish off your summer with a three-night Labor Day weekend package starting at just $995 in an Ocean View Room. You'll also get buffet breakfast daily, a welcome bottle of champagne and a car rental for the day (tax, gas and insurance not included). Upgrade to a spacious One Bedroom Suite for just $100 more per night.
Soon you'll be able to have lunch on the equator aboard a 69-foot luxury yacht, an exclusive offering from the brand new Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa, the first luxury resort in the southern Maldives (on Addu Atoll). This equatorial dining experience is billed as a "first-of-its-kind seaborne adventure." Step aboard the boat at the resort, and you'll cruise 46 miles north to the point where the northern and southern hemispheres collide. Here you'll sip some wine and chow down on a gourmet lunch while lounging on a sun lounger on the spacious timber deck. No doubt you'll see a school of spinner dolphins. Afterwards, take a siesta, or snorkel and fish-- over the equator. You'll also be able to visit the country's third biggest island, Fuvahmulah, on a full-day cruise aboard the beautiful yacht. Opening later this year, Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa will feature 142 villas with views of the ocean or the island's natural lush vegetation.
We liked the Hotel Andalucia when it opened in 2004, but now we like it even better as the Canary Hotel. Renovated and renamed by the folks behind its sister properties, Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, the Canary is fun, fashionable, and a touch exotic. (It's supposed to reflect the Spanish Islands and North Africa, hence its name.) The only full-service luxury boutique hotel in downtown Santa Barbara, the Canary boasts an outstanding rooftop pool and perch, plus a spa, and gym next door. You'll love the Spanish tiles, four-poster beds, and in-room binoculars. Travel + Leisure recently sang its praises in the August 08 issue, citing the hotel's "low-key glamour and easy access to both the city's bustling Old Town and beautiful beaches" as key reasons why the Canary will become "one of Southern California's favorite haunts."
Lucky ducks. Thailand's Phuket Island will soon be getting an all-villa boutique resort at Kalim Bay. And check out that view from the pool, overlooking the Andaman Sea! The Langham portfolio has been expanding rapidly in Thailand, and the announcement of this boutique resort-- Langham Place Miora Resort + Spa, Kalim Bay-- means the luxury hotel operator is on track to operate five properties in Thailand within five years (including this eco-resort on Krabi). Langham has an outstanding collection of five-star hotels around the world, and this sexy new boutique resort promises to be all that and more. Slated to open in early 2010, this Langham Place will boast 78 designer villas including a penthouse set onto a hilltop. Apartment-style amenities will include private bars, contemporary entertainment centers, and private plunge pools with retractable floating dining tables as well as day beds and barbecue grills. And the best part of all? The cantilevered swimming pool that extends from the hill to create an infinity-style effect with a Chuan Spa located directly below.