LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
In a city of hyperbole (and myriad over-the-top attractions), Madinat Jumeirah stands apart as a monumental destination that exudes the city's vibrant and exotic spirit. A self-contained sanctuary of Arabian style, this luxurious oasis is comprised of three grand hotels-- Mina A' Salam, Al Qasr and Dar Al Maysaf-- along with 29 stand-alone traditional summer houses and the region's first Six Senses Spa. This sun-drenched waterfront property sprawls over beautiful gardens and waterways. Translated as the "City of Jumeirah," the Madinat Jumeirah is so named because of the sheer variety of the resort; guests enjoy the Quay Healthclub, five tennis courts, and no less than 42 restaurants and bars. The heart of the resort experience is Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a unique retail and leisure hotspot with 75 shops and restaurants.
Surfing in the Maldives? Who knew?! One of the premier luxury travel destinations in the world, the Maldives is known for its spectacular diving. But now guests of the Anantara Resort, the five-star hideaway spread across five acres of tropical terrain on Dhigufinolhu (island) on the South Male Atoll, can hit the waves as well. As of August 2007, the resort has partnered with award-winning Australian company Tropicsurf-- to offer an exciting range of surfing options including a 4-day coached course. Offshore from the perfect white sandy beaches and tropical lagoons, the aquamarine ocean gives way to perfectly groomed waves, sweeping over curved coral reefs. Both novices and serious thrill-seekers will enjoy the surf breaks of the Maldives. Video analysis is even on hand at the resort to improve each surfer's technique. The Four Day Surfing Course is priced at $695.
September 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Helicopter tour of the city? A two-hour "Symphony of Lights" harbour cruise? Plus dinner for two at T'ang Court, rated one of the world's "top ten" hotel restaurants? Bring it on! The stylish Langham Hotel, fabulously high-tech after a lavish renovation, is offering the Decennial Celebration Package to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the mainland. To mark ten years after the historic transfer of sovereignty, the package features ten unique experiences and amenities to showcase the very best Hong Kong has to offer. Available until September 30, 2007 and fittingly priced at $1,997, the package includes: suite accommodation for two nights, airport transfers, a 15-minute helicopter tour, harbour cruise, daily breakfast, dinner for two at T'ang Court, daily HK $600 allowance for laundry, complimentary Internet, and complimentary use of the Langham Club lounge, featuring evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
September 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Here's some good news to cure the post-summer blues. Starwood recently announced that it will open a new W Retreat & Spa in Bali in 2009. This will be the fourth such Retreat for the brand, after the successful launch of the Maldives property which opened in September 2006. The atoll had never before seen such pampering and indulgence-- a luxury playground like no other. (The W Retreat will also open in Vieques next year, followed by the Koh Samui retreat in 2009.) Bali is one of the top-rated resort destinations in the world, and the new W Retreat will no doubt make a splash for honeymooners seeking something unique. Situated in the Seminyak area of the island, the 152-room resort will be surrounded by rustic villages, rice terraces, and beaches. 80 villas will be designed with traditional Balinese courtyards and private pools. Of course the W Retreat experience wouldn't be complete without a poolside destination bar and the signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service.
August 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Follow your bliss to Brazil, where a stylish eco-retreat on Bahia's Câcao Coast is making waves with its incredible setting and chic rooms. Fourteen bungalows-- outfitted with decks, gauze-netted beds, and sun terraces with open-air showers-- are surrounded by 1,500 isolated acres, overlooking an unspoiled, white sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Set within a large coconut palm plantation, Fazenda da Lagoa offers mesmerizing sea views or sunset vistas over the mangroves. There's AC, a direct dial phone, and a TV with DVD and CD player, so isolated paradise doesn't mean you have to kiss goodbye technology. Bathrooms have Casa Granado brand soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion-- all biodegradable products. Relax with a massage or spa treatment at the Wellbeing Lounge, where mineral-rich rainforest clays are used in special treatments like the Rainforest Mud Mask. Leisure activities include treks on the Maroin river and kayaking the lagoon, but you can always just lounge by the beautiful pool.
Summer is fast approaching in sunshine-soaked Sydney. Stake your claim to some stylish digs on the Wharf at Woolloomooloo, where BLUE Sydney showcases fun and modern accommodations, including 36 stunning Loft Rooms. Managed by Taj Hotels, BLUE enjoys beautiful views of the Sydney Central Business and Shopping District, the harbour and Royal Botanical Gardens. Housed in a historic wharf building, the boutique hotel retains all the charm and authenticity while offering all the latest in luxurious comfort and cutting-edge technology. The Ultra Loft Suite boasts a spacious lounge with sofa downstairs with a deluxe bathroom and King bed upstairs. Located on the 5th floor, the two Ultra Loft Suites have unimpeded Bay and City views.
Coming this winter 2007: the hotly anticipated Guerlain Spa at the sophisticated Regent Bal Harbour Hotel. With this spa opening, The Regent Bal Harbour unveils a new spa brand in the U.S.-- one which exclusively offers Guerlain therapies and products in a luxurious environment. Located near the prestigious Bal Harbour Shops in North Miami Beach, the oceanfront luxury hotel features exquisitely appointed rooms, outdoor pool with private cabanas, and two gourmet restaurants. Boasting a beautiful oceanside location, the 15-room, 10,000 square foot Guerlain Spa joins other notable destinations in Milan, Paris, and Shanghai and utilizes the complete line of Guerlain's world-renowned skincare products in its customized treatments. Upon arrival at the Guerlain Spa, guests will be asked to complete a comprehensive Spa Therapy Questionnaire, which therapists use to create a personalized beauty and wellness strategy. Plus, the questionnaire's results are transferable to any Guerlain Spa worldwide so clients can continue their well-being journey anywhere in the world.
August 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Things are simply sizzling in Vegas. Now's the time to hit the beach at Mandalay Bay, with a special getaway package starting from just $109 per night in a Deluxe Room. Enjoy the only premier wave pool in Vegas with lots of pristine sand-- 11 acres of tropical poolside bliss. But that's not all. Mandalay Bay has improved upon this fantastical fun-in-the-sun Vegas experience with the $30 million Beach expansion, which includes the new air-conditioned beachside casino, just steps from the crashing waves. (Sliding glass panels provide the ultimate indoor-outdoor comfort). There's a new Beach Bar & Grill, along with the exclusive new sun villas overlooking the Beach, which feature day beds, wet bars, 50-inch flat-screen televisions, MP3 players, changing areas and private decks. The Surf N Sand package includes $300 in Mandalay Place Savings Certificates and $20 in exclusive "Sand Dollars" to use anyway you like at Mandalay Beach.
Since September 1999, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita has wowed its discriminating clientele with its unrivaled facilities and level of personal service. Not to mention the breathtaking setting at the edge of a white sand beach lapped by the blue Pacific. This is a magical place, oozing romance. It's only natural that a spot like this one should put together the ideal romantic escape for couples seeking a little r & r. The sparks will fly with the "Fall For You" package, where guests receive a $100 resort credit for each day of their stay, with which they can indulge in a slew of romantic resort activities. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the resort's private yacht, sipping champagne and feasting on gourmet aps. Choose a nighttime, after-dark spa experience, like a poolside Watsu massage with a butler served, candle-lit dinner in a private cabana; an oceanfront Thai massage and picnic of gourmet finger foods; or chocolate-themed body treatments in the spa couple's suite followed by champagne and chocolate fondue. Indulge in nightly champagne and caviar at the Tamai Pool Bar, as the sun sets over the Pacific. And don't miss Dinner on The Rock, a private dinner on a grassy outcropping overlooking the waves. Consult with the chef to create your very own personal menu served under the stars. The "Fall For You" package is available at Four Seasons Punta Mita until December 15, 2007.
It's official. The Venetian Macao Resort, the sprawling, $2.8 billion, 3,000-suite mega hotel from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, opens today at 7:18 p.m. Special introductory rates start from just HK 1,088-- about $140 per night! This is just the beginning for the Sin City of China, which will see a bumper crop of luxury hotels sprouting up in this former Portuguese enclave on the mouth of the Pearl River, including a St. Regis, a Shangri-La, a Raffles, and a Conrad. And let's not forget the Wynn, which opened last year in this booming gaming capital.