LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
May 2, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Check in to unrivaled luxury in the affluent enclave of Bal Harbour Village and score special seasonal rates at Regent's new flagship in the Americas. This ultra-luxury hotel-- the first to open in Bal Harbour Village in 50 years-- entices guests with privacy and exclusivity, the likes of which the area has rarely seen. Just 15 minutes from Miami's airport and a hop from the world-renowned designer shops at Bal Harbour, The Regent Bal Harbour boasts dramatic ocean views from each of its 124 guest rooms and bathrooms, never more than two guest rooms per floor; a $4 million, privately-commissioned art collection with works by established and emerging American artists; the first Guerlain Spa in North America, standing at 10,000 square-feet; as well as the signature 1 Bleu restaurant. Above all, The Regent is getting rave reviews for its highly personalized and anticipatory service. Experience The Regent Bal Harbour and enjoy The Regent Opening Rates starting at $375 per night on weekdays and $425 per night on weekends May 1 – September 30, 2008, including superior accommodations for two and breakfast in 1 Bleu. Considering that rack rates start at $750 per night, this is a hot deal.
May 2, 2008
By: Guest Writer
From Victoria Winters
This past April I attended my girlfriend's bachelorette party in Miami, and naturally we stayed in South Beach. I had been to South Beach once before (for a the World Adult Kickball Competition I was in ... I kid you not), but was looking forward to a more upscale and relaxing vacation this time around with just the girls. We booked 2 rooms (414 and 416 at around $500 total per room) at The Sagamore Hotel for 8 women, each room was equipped with two double beds and a pull out couch. We arrived on a Thursday and stayed through Sunday.
Known as "The Art Hotel" I have to begin with the hilarious art work in the lobby. My friend and I probably spent the first 30 minutes at The Sagamore looking at photos upon photos of naked people. Don't get me wrong this is tastefully done, but you would be amazed by how many people stripped down to their birthday suits for these photos….good way to avoid tan lines, I guess! Throughout the hotel (hallways, bathrooms, elevators…etc) you will constantly be engaging in new art mediums which makes for a really cool and interesting stay to say the least.
Besides staring at nudes... I also managed to experience the hotel restaurant, Social; lounge by the pool (and eat and drink poolside); go for a run at the gym; and take in some rays at the beach. The following is a list of pros and cons from my experience with the girls:
- Excellent location (close to Lincoln Ave and all the hot night spots)
Nice size suites (heard they are larger than the Delano)
Excellent beds and comfortable bedding
Pull out couch in each room
Large L-shaped couches in rooms great for large groups and entertaining
ipod docking station in each room with great speakers
Separate toilet from bathroom
Refrigerator with a good size freezer
Excellent kitchen space for entertaining
Excellent service all around
Relaxing pool environment, not a pool “scene”
Poolside bar & grill serves great drinks and food
Private/designated beach area for guests
Beach chairs (2 per room, additional chairs $15) and umbrella (1 per room)
Interesting artwork throughout the hotel
- Darks halls
Single and shallow pool
Odd layout of furniture in the rooms
Weak hairdryers, if traveling with 2 or more women bring an extra
Bad lighting in the bedroom near the mirrors which made getting ready with a group difficult
Small gym with little equipment
Good number of children at the pool (although if traveling with children this might be a pro)
Social – restaurant is very cool but over priced for the food they serve
Would I go back to the Sagamore Hotel with the girls? Definitely! We loved that it wasn't "the place to be seen" which was exactly what you want the morning after a bachelorette party.
By: Guest Writer
May 2, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
You'll find tranquility for the whole family with Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort Dubai's Pool Entrance Package. Located amongst the impressive sand dunes, guests can enjoy the 250 sunloungers available beside the luxury infinity pool. And don't worry about the kids! With entrance children have full access to the waterfall at the children's pool, complimentary camel rides, a falcon show and access to Sinbad's Kids Club. Parents can sit back and relax, in the sun or the shade and enjoy lunch from one of the hotel's fantastic restaurants, with all-inclusive soft drinks. In addition guests have access to the changing rooms, unlimited towels, and the variety of extra activities available at the pool, including putting green, tennis, volleyball and aqua aerobics classes. Open from 9am to 6pm, children under the age of 6 earn free admission, children 6 to 12 are AED 300, and adults 12 years or older are AED 500. (Rates subject to change on holidays.) The all day price includes: * All day access to the pool and sunloungers * Lunch of your choice from our superb restaurants, Al Forsan restaurant, Masala Indian restaurant and Pizzeria Le Dune, or a la carte service available at the pool-side. * All inclusive of soft drinks during meal time (juices and all other beverages are charged additionally) * Use of the changing rooms, showers and personal secured lockers, and unlimited towels * Cold towels and use of local newspapers and magazines * Camel, pony riding and falcon show available in the late afternoon * Use of Sinbad's Kids Club * A variety of games and fitness activities, including a 9-hole putting green, croquet, petanque, table tennis, volleyball, bicycle tours, aqua aerobics * Amenity services around the pool
By: Madelyn Giblin
It doesn't get much better than this. Santa Monica's swanky Viceroy Hotel, quite the happening hotspot, is available-- in its entirety-- for a two-night, two-day buyout celebration. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, this posh adult playground is the ideal spot for "Opulence Unleashed." With this Friday and Saturday night package, you'll get the entire 162 room hotel, fully stocked mini-bars in every room, and an ongoing schedule of extravagant dining events for up to 300 guests. It all starts Friday evening, with a poolside dinner orchestrated by Whist Restaurant. Executive Chef Warren Schwartz will man the outdoor grill, while personal mixologists take care of drinks. (There's also a cigar tent.) On Saturday, your guests will indulge in an all-day pool party, with DJ and dancing, on demand massage service and a fabulous brunch with an open bar. In the evening, guests are transported to the Getty Museum for a private, catered event that includes dinner and drinks. The weekend concludes with poolside brunch on Sunday. Guests will receive a Viceroy travel package, before being transported to LAX by luxury shuttle service. All for just $500,000. Plus tax.
Of all the tax rebate packages offered by hotels right now, this has got to be one of the best deals. Rosewood's sumptuous Acqualina Resort, situated on the white sand between Ft Lauderdale and Miami, was one of the hottest hotel openings of 2006. Guests are lured by the ESPA oceanfront spa, acclaimed Il Mulino New York restaurant, marine-biology based kids' program, and glorious swimming pools overlooking the Atlantic. Here's the skinny on the tax rebate package: A couple can take their $1200 and splurge on a two night stay in an oceanfront room, daily continental breakfast for two, and a 60-minute spa treatment per person. Considering that the rack rate for 2008 is $1050 per night, lucky guests are getting a good value. Valid from May-September.
April 30, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We're big fans of the aquatic education program at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, run by Jean-Michel Cousteau, the son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Emphasizing education and respect for ecosystem sustainability with "hands-on" activities, the program was recently awarded "Best Children's Program for 2007" by Virtuoso. Participants explore coral reefs by snorkeling on the ocean floor, discover the critical role of mangrove trees in the ecosystem on pontoon expeditions, and participate in the breeding programs of rare species like the Blue Iguana. Now this collaboration between Ritz-Carlton and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society will be expanded to other select destinations around the world, including Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui and Sanya, which opened April 24th, 2008.
The stunning Caribbean property of Cap Juluca was recently acquired by an investor syndicate led by travel industry executive Adam M. Aron (the former chairman of Vail Resorts and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. was named to Travel Weekly's "Club 33," as in the 33 most influential folks in travel and tourism worldwide), and an $80 million renovation is in the works. Nestled on two miles of pristine white sand on the little island of Anguilla, an isolated enclave just minutes by air or motor launch from St. Maarten, Cap Juluca is heralded for its unparalleled luxury. A fixture on lists of the best resorts in the world, Cap Juluca will be getting an all-new spa and resort pool, in addition to a top-to-bottom renovation of all 18 guest villas.
Book a summertime stay at this intoxicating Caribbean resort and you'll get a real bargain. While winter rates start at $825 per night, the summer means serious savings-- starting at $400 per night at Cap Juluca, plus a seventh night free with six paid nights. Available for stays from May through August, including daily breakfast, afternoon tea, bottle of rum in-room, and all water sports, tennis and croquet.
Guests of The Breakers, take heed! We love us some beachfront luxury and The Breakers, the exclusive Palm Beach getaway, epitomizes the very best. From now until the end of May, you'll get a free 25-minute spa service-- choose a reflexology foot massage, sea salt scrub, classic manicure, or a soothing eye treatment-- when you treat yourself to an 80-minute massage or facial. Plus, if you book a summer vacation from June 1 to September 30, 2008, you can take advantage of the Stay Longer and Save promotion-- guaranteed savings and a room upgrade-- and get increased savings based on length of stay. [Map]
The Somerset on Grace Bay: Sand Castle University, Extreme Croquet, and Orchid Gardens on Turks and Caicos
It doesn't get much better than this. The Somerset on Grace Bay opened at the end of 2006 and has been turning heads ever since. The resort is both a romantic island hideaway and beachfront family haven. (Where else would you find a Sand Castle University for kids to learn to build awesome sand sculptures?) A member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Somerset on Grace Bay offers pure indulgence on 4.6 acres of pristine beach. There are 54 residence suites equipped with living, dining and entertaining spaces. You'll even find a fully stocked gourmet kitchen with Viking appliances and a wine storage fridge. All suites offer balconies with jaw-dropping ocean views (and the exclusive Estates boast wrap-around terraces with hot tubs). On the manicured croquet lawn, play Somerset eXtreme Croquet (the series of cut-throat challenges includes "Water Slaughter" when a player roquets an opponent's ball into the ocean). Soak in the huge infinity pool, which seems to flow into the Atlantic itself. There's a state-of-the-art underwater sound system, to boot. Recreational pursuits run the gamut from bone-fishing to snorkeling. Discover a piece of paradise in the islands of Turks and Caicos.
Spoil Mom with a stay at Florida's Legendary Pink Palace over Mother's Day weekend. An ultra-luxurious Gulf playground on St. Pete's Beach, Don Cesar has been pampering its elite clientele since its debut in 1928. Complete with sugar-white beaches and the fabulous new Spa Oceana, Don Cesar Beach Resort knows a thing or two about taking care of guests (F. Scott Fitzgerald was a fan). Here's what's in store with the Mother's Day Package: two nights in a partial Gulfview room, two spa treatments, moisturizing and remineralizing every inch of the skin with 24K golden mineral dust and oils, pink roses upon arrival, and cookies and milk turndown. Starting at $294 in a Bay View Room.