LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Escape to Hawaii's Big Island for some serious fun in the sun. The Kohala Coast boasts the most sunshine, gorgeous white sand beaches and impressive resorts on the island. Swim with sea turtles, discover incredible marine life on deep-water dives, play a round of golf on the world-renowned greens, and check out the posh digs at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The recipient of multiple accolades from top travel magazines, this oceanfront resort is nestled into the bluffs above the silky-soft sands of Hapuna Beach, and offers much better rates than some of its neighbors. The "Spring into Summer" promotion means rooms starting at just $265 per night, with a daily resort credit of $50 thrown in for good measure. Or choose the "2 for 1" promotion, and get two rooms for the price of one, starting at $500 per night in a Partial Oceanview Room. (Valid April 1, 2008 until September 30, 2008.) Frequent shuttle service is provided to the Mauna Kea, the sister resort.
The South Beach branch of the celebrated New York hotel has officially opened its doors, but HotelChatter advises that a lot of facilities-- like the 42,000-square-foot David Barton Gym and Spa--are still closed during the soft opening phase. What's so cool about this place? A sprawling rooftop retreat with bar, lounge, and 110-foot long pool is billed as "the largest rooftop playground in the country." Beachside infinity pool, classy eateries, and an enormous shark tank in the lobby... And the coolest part of all? The celebratory opening for the Gansevoort South featured celeb tennis stars playing a match on the rooftop pool. Like, literally, *on* the water. Check out the pic on HotelChatter.
With a superb location in the historic Rocks district between the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel offers the city's largest accommodations along with stunning views. Here you can also chow down at some of Sydney's finest restaurants: the award-winning Altitude, and Blu Horizon Bar, both perched on the 36th floor with sweeping views over the harbor. Any stay here is a magical one, and special occasions can be made even more memorable with an indulgent five-star experience at the Shangri-La Sydney. Priced from AUD 398 per night, the Occasions offer includes overnight accommodation, breakfast for two at Café Mix, bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne, strawberries and hand-made chocolates on arrival, nightly turn-down service, late check-out at 4 p.m., complimentary use of the Health Club, and complimentary valet parking. Includes 10 percent goods and services tax. Valid until December 30, 2008.
How's this for some mind-blowing indulgence? Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts offers a $100,000 gift card, and as Forbes Traveler points out, why not give the gift of around-the-world travel? With some stays at seriously luxurious digs, no less. You can hit up the Four Seasons Miami for the rowdy South Beach nightlife, taking advantage of the newly-appointed nightlife concierge, before hopping across the Atlantic to the Provence property with its sexy new spa, and then heading over to Asia for some luxury camping in the Golden Triangle of Thailand. Or, as the company recommends, why not start the trip with three nights in the Beverly Wilshire penthouse, followed by two nights at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche, then 11 nights in Thailand? (Two at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, three in a one-bedroom residence at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, three in a luxury tent at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle, and three in a two-bedroom estate at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.) The grand finale? Three nights in the chairman's suite of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi.
Looking for an end-of-winter celebration? Think Caribbean. Your own private island in the Caribbean, where sugary sand beaches and turquoise waters await. Peter Island Resort seduces visitors with its unparalleled facilities and beautiful setting. Experience barefoot elegance in paradise with a slew of activities, water sports, and heavenly spa. Book the Paradise Now Package and you'll find the most economical rates plus lots of included amenities with a five-night stay. You'll enjoy epicurean delights from the award-winning culinary team with the Full American Plan (breakfast, lunch, Afternoon Tea, and dinner). Plus, you'll get unlimited resort launch to/from Tortola, private lunch on one of the secluded beaches, and unlimited use of waters-ports equipment, mountain bikes, library tennis courts, windsurfing, snorkeling, fitness center and swimming pool. Prices in April start from $3,190 in an Ocean View room (double). From May 1- October 31, 2008, the rates drop to $2,785. Availability is limited.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World-- the exclusive brand of more than 440 independent properties in 70 countries-- recently launched its inaugural worldwide photography competition with some incredible prizes. The idea is for travelers to share their most inspired moments and experiences "caught on film" during their trips-- whether biking through the Tuscan hills or watching the sunset over a beach in the Indian Ocean. The possibilities are limitless! Running from March 17, 2008 through July 31, 2008, the contest will take place completely online via a dedicated competition website. You can register with the site and then upload up to 10 of your favorite photos that capture a sense of place and experience. All submitted photos will be viewable in an online gallery. Four overall winning photographs will be chosen by a panel of judges including celebrity photographer Andy Earl (who shot Madonna, Prince and Pink Floyd for their album covers). And get this: anybody who registers and submits at least one photo will be automatically entered into a prize draw for a five-night stay at any of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.
The top prize winners will all receive a brand new Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 Camera with an 18-135mm zoom lens, plus, choose one of four incredible prize getaways including two round-trip tickets on American Airlines. The available prize packages are:
* A four-night Mexican Escape at Esencia on the Riviera Maya
* A three night Big Apple Experience in New York City at The Iroquois New York
March 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Delano has long symbolized South Beach cool. Sitting directly on the ocean, the urban resort is a trend-setting icon. It all started with that fabulous Indoor/Outdoor Lobby. Then Lenny Kravitz opened the Florida Room, the "modern-day piano lounge inspired by a classic period of South Floridian glamour." And now Morgans Hotel Group has just announced the expansion of the rooftop spa, Agua. With the renovation by Tim Andreas of BANJO Architects, the spa was expanded to 3,500 square feet and includes a 500 square foot solarium with tropical landscaping. The private terrace-- decked out in pristine white-- has infinite 360 degree views of the ocean. Custom-designed white terrazzo floors are complemented by a mosaic of hand-cut Brazilian glass tiles-- all in white. And white glass chandeliers from Murano are suspended above. There are 8 private treatment rooms, and cabana-inspired lounges for relaxing before and after the spa treatments. Try the signature Milk and Honey Treatment, which uses a blend of honey and organic sesame oil, or go for the medical-grade oxygen facial. New on the treatment menu: special facials and skin treatments designed just for men.
March 20, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Australia's third largest island is a paradise of spectacular natural attractions, home to an abundance of native wildlife such as New Zealand fur seals, koalas, kangaroos, Australian sea lions, ospreys, echidnas and much more. Perched on top of a secluded cliff on this rugged coast, the Southern Ocean Lodge offers an eco-friendly luxury travel experience against a peerless natural backdrop. With incredible views of the pristine wilderness of "Australia's Galapagos," the Southern Ocean Lodge is a sophisticated sanctuary like no other. Distinguished by a contemporary environmental design and commitment to locally-sourced food and beverages, the lodge has a nifty clifftop spa that uses the acclaimed Australian-made Li'Tya range of spa products. Gaze out over the Southern Ocean while chowing down on fresh seafood and tasting some of the best wines of South Australia. Retire to your luxe suite-- there are only 21 of them at the lodge-- and continue to gape at the views from your dramatic glass-walled bathroom and outdoor terrace with daybed. You'll appreciate the signature design elements: sandblasted limestone floors, recycled spotted gum feature walls, contemporary bespoke furnishings and artwork commissioned from local Kangaroo Island artisans.
March 19, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Hands down the finest hotel in Santiago, San Cristobal Tower is arguably one of the best hideaways in South America. A member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, San Cristobal Tower is situated just minutes away from the Providencia business district. Guest rooms are outfitted with carved mahogany chairs, elegant drapes and gold-rimmed mirrors, and boast spectacular views of the snow-capped Andes. If you book one of the two Terrace Suites, named after the great Literature Nobel Prize winners from Chile, "Gabriela Mistral" and "Pablo Neruda," you'll enjoy the views from spacious terraces. San Cristobal Tower is offering an exclusive getaway with a car rental included so that you can create your own tour of the world-famous Chilean wineries, beaches at Viña del Mar, and Andes mountains. Priced from $289 per night (3-night minimum required), the package includes complimentary buffet breakfast, a bottle of Chilean wine in-room upon arrival, free admission to Neptuno Spa Pool and Fitness Center, late check-out at 4 p.m, and parking for your rental car!
March 18, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Billed as the premier resort destination on Egypt's Red Sea coast, the new Port Ghalib development, just 2.5 hours from the Valley of the Kings, is home to Sun International's 5-star citadel of indulgence. The Palace at Port Ghalib has made quite the stir since its debut last November 2007. Surrounded by fountains, terraced gardens and a kilometer-long swimming lagoon (the second largest saltwater lagoon ever made!), The Palace is truly spectacular. Each of the 309 premier rooms has butler service and a private balcony and terrace overlooking the Red Sea. For the ultimate indulgence, the 13 Royal Suites pamper guests with spa-like bathrooms and elegant surroundings (intricate architectural details and luxurious furnishings). In addition to the Palace, there are two other hotels on-site at Port Ghalib: the Sahara Sun Oasis and the Sahara Sun Sands. From here, try your hand at any number of activities-- from scuba diving and fishing to jeep treks and camel rides.