We're constantly scouring the earth for the best luxury hotels. When we stumble across hotels with views this breathtaking, this heartstoppingly beautiful, we can't help but get lyrical about them.
Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the ultra-luxurious Amangani is set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, offering panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park.
Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Soaring 350 meters above the sea, hugging the cliffside over the Mediterranean, the Hotel Caruso commands the ultimate location. White stucco houses draped with brilliant bougainvillea, this is sun-kissed Italy at its most charming. With views like this, the infinity pool is easily among the most beautiful in the world.
Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan, India
Sitting high above Udaipur's fabled lake, the Oberoi Udaivilas looks across to the floating City Palace, gleaming white in the sunshine, and Aravalli Hills beyond. Named the best hotel in the world in Travel and Leisure's 2007 reader's poll, the Oberoi Udavilas has rooms fit for a maharajah in India's romantic desert city.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Japan
Occupying the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-story Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo features 360-degree panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji. When it debuted in April 2007, the hotel dazzled Tokyo with its over-the-top service and amenities (like the $16,000 Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini with its very own Bulgari diamond).
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Along the stretch of mythic California Highway 1, Big Sur enchants visitors with its awe-inspiring landscapes. Smack dab in the middle of this dramatic coastline, the Post Ranch Inn offers rustic elegance and incredible views. Dine above the Pacific at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant, guaranteed to be one of the most romantic dining experiences of your life.
Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Located on the southwestern side of Hayman Island just beside the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island Resort boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by coral fringed beaches and the lapping waters of the Coral Sea. The resort has a style as special as its setting, and boasts the largest swimming pool in the southern hemisphere.
Jumeirah Essex House, New York
The Grande Dame of New York is uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, just across the street from 843 acres of parkland. An internationally renowned urban oasis, the Jumeirah Essex House has an excellent location right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.The 515 guest rooms and suites-- fresh from a $70 million renovation-- boast breathtaking views of Central Park. Plus, the hotel has a camera on the roof which scans the city and broadcasts live to a channel in the guest rooms.
Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa
Situated where earth, sea, and sky meet, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town.
Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro
Looming over the world-famous Copacabana beach, the Copacabana Palace is legendary, a glamorous piece of Rio's history. Like a sumptuous white wedding cake on the sand, the hotel has hosted royalty, film stars, and world leaders.
Cap Estel, Eze-Bord-de-Mer, French Riviera
Located between Nice and Monaco in the charming clifftop village of Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is situated on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean with a 180 degree view of the coastline. All the guest rooms at this renowned 19th century hotel have a balcony or terrace with a sea view.
Heralded as the "first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years," the sleek Four Seasons opened in September 2005. Easily the top location on Hong Kong Island, the hotel is located on the waterfront of the Central neighborhood, with the Star Ferry just steps away. Its 399 spacious guestrooms have wall-to-wall windows offering views of the Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak. From the outdoor infinity pools, heated in winter, guests enjoy sweeping Harbour views.
Hotel Hassler, Rome
The Eternal City's most luxurious and romantic hideaway, the Hotel Hassler is perched above the Spanish Steps in an unbeatable location. Hands down the best views over Rome (while working out at the health club, you can check out St Peter’s Cathedral!)
The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, one of the world's major heritage sites. Managed by Orient-Express, the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge can arrange visits to Machu Picchu with experienced guides.
Escape the family get-together (or take the fam with you) to the fabled city of Venice, where you'll lose yourself in its sparkling perfection. The uber-luxury palaces, Bauer Hotel and Bauer Il Palazzo, have put together an excellent package deal which includes one complimentary night, a five-course Thanksgiving feast, piano concert, and full buffet breakfast daily. Valid from November 22- November 25, 2007, the Venice Thanksgiving Getaway starts at EUR 1,740 per room for a four-night stay at the Bauer Il Palazzo. For a suite at the legendary Bauer Hotel, which has its own private dock on a small canal, the getaway is priced from EUR 2,160 per room.
PS. Check into the spellbinding Bauer Il Palazzo, one of the year's hottest new hotels located on the exclusive island of Giudecca, and buzz around to Venice's other islands in a solar-powered boat.
Get lost in luxury at the Hix Island House. There's been a lot of buzz about this eco-chic hideaway on the nature lover's island delight of Vieques. Formerly the home of environmentally-minded architect John Hix, the spacious lofts of Hix Island House showcase mind-blowing views of sea and sky. Set on 13 acres, the concrete building was designed to reflect the gray granite boulders of the island. The hotel does a lot more than blend gracefully into the surrounding environment; Hix Island House champions eco-friendly practices. Solar heated outdoor showers return water to the gardens, and the swimming pool is kept clean without the use of excess chemicals. From now until December 19, 2007, take advantage of the Fall Escape Special. Stay two nights and take a third night at half off. Stay three nights and get your fourth night for free. (Excludes the Thanksgiving holiday, November 19- November 25, 2007.) Now is the time to GO! (Any doubt in your mind-- just check out the reviews on TripAdvisor.)
Sir Rocco Forte will unveil a splendid new resort in 2009. Lapped by Mediterranean waters, Sicily is a land of ancient history, a cultural crossroads of temples and fortresses, overshadowed by the volcano Mt. Etna. Here, in a small village called Verdura (near Sciacca on the southern coast), the Rocco Forte Collection is building a EUR 129 million hotel and golf resort. Centered around the restoration of several historical buildings, the hotel will no doubt reflect the history and character of the region. Overlooking the sea, the 200-room Verdura Golf and Spa Resort will boast two championship golf courses, a hydrotherapy spa, and recreational facilities.
In just a few weeks, the Venetian Macao Resort will host a historic tennis match. Catch the action as the former World No. 1 tennis legend Pete Sampras goes head-to-head with the current World No. 1 tennis champ Roger Federer. There's been a lot of hype about this match between two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Called the most sought-after tennis event of 2007, the Venetian Macao Tennis Showdown will be played on Saturday, November 21 at the hotel's stunning event center. Fittingly, the Venetian Macao has put together some impressive packages for the event: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The three-day/two-night Platinum Package, available for November 23-25, 2007, includes tickets in the Reserve A section for the match along with a slew of add-ons: complimentary drink at the Bellini Lounge, daily buffet breakfast, a 15-minute gondola ride down the Grand Canal, and your choice of fine dining experiences at the resort's superb restaurants. Priced at HKD 4,888 per person, assuming double occupancy.
November 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Get luxury for less at the brand spanking new Verandah Resort & Spa. Opened on October 19, 2007, this Caribbean gem is an all-inclusive paradise nestled on Antigua's pristine northeast coast. Encompassing 30 beachfront acres bordered by Devil's Bridge National Park, Verandah is an eco-friendly luxury resort with "Green Hotel Certification." Unwind at the free-form swimming pool, rejuvenate with an exotic treatment at the Spa Tranquility, or go kayaking or snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the resort's reef-sheltered beaches. There's even a dedicated Kid's Club and mini-cinema. The 200 rooms have water views and lots of high-tech amenities. The all-inclusive introductory rate is $243 per room, per night. The price for kids ages 2-11 is $60 per night. Available until December 20, 2007. In January, the rate jumps to $580 per night.
The Kor Hotel Group manages some swanky properties, its Viceroy label encompassing all that's cool, inventive, and provocative in the luxury hotel business. The glamorous experiences found at the Viceroy Santa Monica and Viceroy Palm Springs will soon be matched by the stylish Viceroy experience in new locations: Miami, the Riviera Maya, and-- hot off the press-- Zihuatanejo. This new Mexican property, to be situated on the Playa La Ropa Beach, will open in 2010. This is the second Zihuatanejo property for the Kor Hotel Group, along with the dreamy Tides Zihuatanejo, recognized as one of the world's best resorts. Kor knows good real estate when it sees it. And guess what: award-winning architect Jean-Michel Gathy and his design firm, Denniston International, will create the interior and exterior experience for Viceroy Zihuatanejo. That's music to our ears.
Just across from the isle of Nevis in the lower Caribbean, St. Kitts hasn't defined its own tourism niche the way neighboring Nevis has lured well-heeled travelers. Until now, anyway. There's a new high-end development in store, and it promises to dazzle. Christophe Harbour, the 2,500-acre development, will boast luxury hotels from Mandarin Oriental and Auberge Resorts. And if Auberge's new Sandy Bank Bay is any bit as exceptional as its other properties (Auberge du Soleil, Esperanza, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff), we're in for a treat. Situated on a peninsula, the resort site features seven miles of sandy coastline facing both the turquoise Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. There will also be a spa and a Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Auberge's resort is slated for 2009, with the Mandarin Oriental following in 2010.
October 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
So you've committed some ugly etiquette atrocities. Elbows on the table isn't the worst of it. You've written Miss Manners hoping for her unfailing wisdom on correct behavior. But really, what you need is a dose of the South: a weekend of elegance and etiquette at one of the top resorts in the U.S. After all, Charleston-- only a short drive from the island-- is considered the most mannerly city in America, where etiquette is considered an important part of everyday life. And the resort's AAA Five-Diamond Sanctuary Hotel prides itself on having class, composure, and elegance. To help you and your family learn the etiquette of the south, The Sanctuary has designed a special Elegance and Etiquette Weekend to be held on November 9-11, 2007. The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette will help you refine your social skills: both in the business environment and social arena (the art of dining, and host/guest etiquette). Meanwhile, your kids will learn all sorts of useful tips: setting the table, dining in style, writing thank-you notes and invitations. The two-night event package includes accommodations, welcome tea reception, Etiquette Program sessions, one lunch and dinner, one brunch, and a thank-you cards amenity. Priced from $2,169 for one adult and one child at The Sanctuary (oceanview accommodations).
October 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
How to improve on perfection? Open a splendid, new spa called Fern Tree. The timelessly elegant Half Moon, a favorite Caribbean hideaway, has opened the doors to a new facility that will knock your socks off. Celebrated as "a destination within a destination," the spa is housed in the resort's signature Fern Tree House; the conversion retained the original colonial design of hardwood floors and white-washed verandahs situated in beautifully-landscaped gardens. Choose an individual spa treatment or experience a customized, step-by-step program developed by the Spa Elder, your experienced guide who is trained in the use of local indigenous ingredients. Upon arrival at this 68,000 square foot oasis, each guest enjoys a ceremonial foot bath. Treatments utilize premier skincare lines from Jamaica and Europe, highlighting the indigenous botanicals of Montego Bay (Pevonia, Thalgo, and pure essential oils from Jamaica's Blue Mountain Aromatics). Choose a luxury VIP suite and bask in the posh amenities: full bath, private patio and garden with hot tub and shower.