LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
June 18, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau
Anantara Resorts is proudly announcing the October 2008 opening of its newest property, Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa in Thailand. Located in Phuket's more secluded, natural northern coast, 15 minutes from the Phuket International Airport and just minutes from golf and beaches, this 83 all private pool villa property features unspoilt beauty, absolute privacy and fabulous dining. Special amenities include the magnificent Bill Bensley designed gardens and paths fusing the colorful tropical flora with age old traditional Thai architecture, a world renown Spa specializing in rich, lavish body treatments and scrubs and high concept dining where you pick the location and the chef transforms a meal to a memorable occasion. Special opening Anantara Breeze Packages are available from October to December 23rd offering the 4th night complimentary with a 3 night stay.
By: Betsy LeTourneau
We've found extraordinary low rates on Five Star Alliance for Cancun's fabulous ME Hotel, an AAA Four Diamond Award-winner on the beach-- starting as low as $139 per night this summer. You'll enjoy excellent service and quality amenities like the in-room free pre-tuned iPods and private jacuzzis. Hit up Rande Gerber's Rose Bar, one of the hottest scenes in Cancun, or Mexico's largest infinity-edged pool and the Maxim pool bar. The restaurants offer Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine, and everything in between. There's a well-stocked fitness center and spa, to boot.
Music producer Jon Baker created Geejam as a recording hideaway for folks like No Doubt, Common, India.Arie, Björk and Gorillaz. (Gwen Stefani gave it a shout out at the 2003 Grammy Awards.) Now it's morphed into a hotel, the ultimate insider's escape, as part of Island Outpost, the boutique hotel collection from record mogul Chris Blackwell. Nestled on six lush acres of the San San Estate, from the foothills of the Blue Mountains to the Caribbean, the property is near to the celebrated beaches at Frenchman's Cove and Blue Lagoon. As recently featured in Vanity Fair, these music veterans "have teamed up to turn the creative hideaway into a jewel box of a hotel, complete with intimate cabins, a private beach, and a treetop restaurant tucked into the Jamaican rainforest." Also included: spa, swimming pool, gym, and state-of-the-art recording studio, of course. In the hotel's guestbook, Grace Jones described her visit like this: "I came. I saw. You conquered me!"
Take off and explore the stunning California coast in an Audi (primed with a full tank of gas). The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the AAA five-diamond resort perched on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific's pristine beaches and beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, has partnered with Audi to create some packages for your driving pleasure. Site of the 2008 U.S. Open, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is the ideal location to see all that SoCal has to offer. (Plus, there's an incredible spa and ample recreational activities, to boot.) With the Audi Signature Drive Package, you get two nights accommodation in Signature Accommodations, the use of an Audi A6 for two days, a full tank of gas, and a 4 PM guaranteed late check-out. Priced at $475 per night. The Audi Suite Drive Package is two nights in a Palisade Suite and the use of an Audi RS 4 "Cabriolet" for two days, priced at $1,200 per night. And the Audi Dream Package is even better: accommodations in the Blacker or Gamble Two-Bedroom Suite, use of an Audi RS 4 "Cabriolet" for two days, full tank of gas, two 140-minute spa treatments, two spa gift robes, daily breakfast in bed for two, one dozen roses upon arrival, and 4PM guaranteed late check-out. Priced at $7,500.
Summer Bargains in the Caribbean: Radisson Aruba, Sivory Punta Cana, Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall (Jamaica), Discovery at Marigot Bay (St. Lucia)
Reconsider the Caribbean in summer. In the Sunday Travel section, the New York Times explains why the summer season, contrary to popular belief, is actually the best time to head south to the Caribbean. Temperatures are only a few degrees higher than the peak season (and soothing ocean breezes mean these paradise isles are actually cooler than the popular beach spots in the U.S.). More importantly, room rates at leading resorts can be found at 60 percent lower than the winter rates. Case in point: the Radisson Aruba Resort's Summer Fun Sale means rooms can be found for $275 per night, plus a fourth night free. The ultra-luxurious Sivory Punta Cana, located on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, drops rates to $290 per night (vs. $490 in the winter season). You can snag a room at the Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, Rose Hall for just $199 a night. And the gorgeous Discovery at Marigot Bay in St. Lucia is going for $330 per night (including tax and breakfast).
On the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea, where the shimmering pink sand meets the sea and sky, discover an enchanting luxury hotel. Described as "The Jewel in the Crown of Barbados," the Fairmont Royal Pavilion blends Old World hospitality and stunning scenery (swaying palms aplenty) with all the world-class facilities expected by sophisticated travelers. Golf, tennis, snorkeling, sailing, water skiing, and all that jazz. During the high season, this resort is a couples-oriented destination-- ideal for honeymoons and romantic escapes-- with kids welcomed from May 1 and October 31. Boasting endless views of the turquoise Caribbean, all rooms are decorated with mahogany furniture and luxurious fabrics in the tradition of a Barbadian plantation house, outfitted with all the latest technology. Personalized service is a given here. Read: Beach Butlers who'll deliver fresh towels, sunscreen, drinks and ice water, anything your little heart desires…
Head to the California seaside for a stylish family weekend at Viceroy Santa Monica. The chic hotel has put together an exclusive Family Affair package, utilizing its exclusive hotel amenities and gorgeous setting, to set a fun-filled agenda of activities for the whole fam to enjoy together. How does this sound? Popcorn and movies, surf lessons on a classic urban beach, private yoga lessons by the pool or drives through posh Malibu in a luxury convertible. Here's the skinny:
- Two night stay in a one-bedroom suite with connecting room with two beds
- Welcome Amenity of wine & cheese for parents, cookies & milk for kids
- Movies and popcorn delivered to the room on the first night of stay
- Breakfast each morning at Whist or in room
- Surf lessons for four (additional surf lessons are $120 per person)
- Private family yoga session for four on the Viceroy pool deck
- Luxury convertible car rental for the weekend with map to Malibu and new Getty Villa
The total price for the Viceroy's package is $3,500, available for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night stays from now until October 31, 2008. Must be booked 7 days in advance.
The legendary "Pink Palace of the Pacific" has temporarily closed its doors through December 31, 2008 for a complete makeover. The 528-room resort is getting $110 million in enhancements. Come January 1, 2009, the Royal Hawaiian will usher in a new era of luxury. After all, this is the spot where the Shirley Temple drink was invented for the visiting star, and served as the playground for Hollywood A-listers and the world's elite for many decades. The Royal Hawaiian has remained an icon of luxury, romance, and the glory and grandeur of Waikiki since its opening in 1927, and after this renovation, the Royal Hawaiian will be at the top of its game. To quote the Mercury News:
The hotel's distinctive rosy exterior and eye-catching Spanish-Moorish architecture won't change. But the interior is slated for a major facelift and—gasp—will become less pink. Gone will be the pink tablecloths, pink napkins, pink towels, pink bed sheets and even the trademark pink-and-white umbrellas at the Mai Tai Bar will become history.
But don't worry. They're not getting rid of all the pink, just "accentuating the pink they have"-- while also upgrading the hotel's service, and adding hip, contemporary touches to all the rooms.
With the sky-rocketing price of gas (read: impossibly-high airfares to Europe) and the falling U.S. dollar, many travelers are looking closer to home for a summer vacation. Kiawah Island, the award-winning resort just outside Charleston, South Carolina, is an ideal East Coast destination with a slew of activities the whole family can enjoy- from tennis to kayaking. The resort's on-site five-star hideaway, The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, offers sophisticated accommodations and a fabulous spa. If you book a two-night stay in June, July or August at The Sanctuary or The Villas at Kiawah Island, you'll receive a one category upgrade at time of booking.
June 10, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Now's your chance to make your very own Hollywood movie. The only AAA Five-Diamond and Mobil Five-Star hotel in Southern California for 15 consecutive years, The Peninsula Beverly Hills has launched some very special guest experiences as part of its Peninsula Acadamy-- everything from surfing to playing film star. These Academy programs reflect the Beverly Hills lifestyle, and are available within a few days' notice. (Of course, you may just want to relax and enjoy the newly-renovated Rooftop Garden Pool, Restaurant and Bar at this iconic luxury hotel.) Choose to create your own Hollywood movie and an Emmy-nominated producer and crew will film guests and their families sightseeing, shopping, surfing, relaxing by the pool-- or whatever suits your fancy while in Tinsel Town. The footage will be edited into a professional-quality movie that they can watch on DVD at home. Prices start at $2,500 per day. You can also "Discover Your Inner Surfer Dude," and learn to surf with Rod Samper, the surfer dude who taught Tom Cruise, Cindy Crawford and Harrison Ford and their families to surf. The hotel will transport guests by town car to Malibu for their private lesson, which will be followed by a picnic prepared by The Peninsula Beverly Hills' team of chefs. Prices start at $225 per person per hour.
Or learn to "Sound like a Star," and work with Bob Corff, the voice coach who taught Cate Blanchett to sound like Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator," and Jake Gyllenhaal to sound like a cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain." Bob Corff also coaches top executives for Oscar-winning performances in the boardroom. Prices start from $185 for a one-hour session at The Corff Studio. The Peninsula Beverly Hills also offers the "West Coast Wellness Workout" so that you can get in shape with SHAPE magazine's "Best New Trainer of 2008"-- Alonzo Cannon, who has shaped up celebs including Colin Farrell. She will create customized fitness regimes for guests, and then lead them through it on the beach, on a trail in the Santa Monica Mountains or in the hotel's fitness center. Prices from $200 an hour.