March 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The ancient trading port of Hoi An is graced with alluring soft sandy beaches and a fascinating history. (Long a closely-guarded secret amongst backpackers, who flocked to Hoi An to pick up some exquisitely-tailored suits.) Not far from the Royal Tombs of the UNESCO-protected city of Hue, this Vietnamese coastal town captures the imagination of sybarites and sun-seekers. Here, The Nam Hai Hotel has become a destination in and of itself. Brought to you by GHM, the luxury hotelier known for distinctive worldwide properties, like the gorgeous Setai in South Beach. Sprawling across 35 hectares, the spa resort opened in December 2006 to much fanfare (the press simply gushed about this spot). Nestled within landscaped gardens on a prime stretch of China Beach, 60 villas and 40 pool villas gaze out across the South China Sea to the misty Cham Islands. The Villas are contemporary, with traditional design touches; bedrooms are spacious with en suite baths, walk-in closets, and high ceilings. At this sumptuous spa resort, there are 40 (count em, 40!) private swimming pools. Resort facilities include gourmet restaurants, clubhouse, beautiful spa, and plenty of recreational facilities. This is also a residential enclave, meaning you can own your own piece of paradise here on China Beach.
The best thing about Key West, Florida? You can drive to the tropics! The southernmost point in the continental United States-- at the very tip of US Highway 1-- is closer to Cuba than Miami, and a world away from the mainland. In the Conch Republic, you'll find beautiful architecture and gardens, water sports galore, and a fascinating history (Ernest Hemingway's house is a must-see). Step off the tourist-tacky Duvall Street and you'll be charmed by the island's colorful neighborhoods. Looking for a luxe getaway in the US tropics? Book a room at the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, managed by Westin, in a secluded 27-acre island (studded with celebrity homes) just offshore from Mallory Square. The Westin provides shuttle boat service 24 hours a day. Johnny Jet raves:
The moment I stepped off the boat onto the island I felt like I was on vacation. No wonder it made Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List and Travel + Leisure's 500... The cottages are built in traditional Key West style and are cute. They all feature a fully-equipped kitchen, living and dining area, free high-speed internet (no wireless though) and CD and DVD players. The interiors are colorful with a Caribbean island feel and since it's a Westin, they all have Westin's signature Heavenly Bed which ensures a good night's sleep. A few small details that make a big impact are the bathroom toiletries that are made by the Key West Aloe company...
For more island info, check out Key West Magazine
Get your groove on in South Beach at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Book a three-night minimum stay from March 25- May 31, 2007 at Loews Best Rate, and you'll get a $100 hotel credit to be used in the spa, restaurants, bars, and lounge. Lounge by the pool or soak in the Jacuzzi at the edge of the Atlantic, pamper yourself with a treatment at the spectacular new Elemis Spa, or sip a cocktail in the heart of South Beach's sizzling scene. (The hotel's award-winning restaurant, Emeril's Miami Beach, promises an unforgettable dining experience with an oceanfront view. Unfortunately, the $100 hotel credit can't be used at this hot spot.)
Via The Luxe 15 at Sherman's Travel
March 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
That's right. Banyan Tree Phuket has announced two new yacht cruises around Phang Nga Bay. Hop onboard the Sea Gypsy and Pi Marn and experience the glorious deserted beaches, crystal clear waters, spectacular underwater life, and majestic limestone cliffs that make Phang Nga Bay legendary. You'll even get a chance to see the best of Phuket's wildlife: chattering monkeys, flying fruit-bats, and eagles. Travel in style on the recently refurbished yachts and enjoy delicious gourmet meals and excellent service by a personal butler. The day-long private cruise, priced from $700 per couple, includes a kayaking expedition into a limestone cave at low-tide.
March 14, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Visit the Maroma Resort & Spa within 20 miles south of Cancun's international airport and 45 minutes from Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean, at the Riviera Maya and enjoy the 25 acres of jungle preserve this secluded, luxurious hideaway sits on.
Included in all Maroma room rates are:
- Full daily a la carte breakfast in the resort Restaurants or Room Service
- Welcome Margarita cocktail upon arrival (the famous Maroma Margarita)
- High-speed internet access in all the rooms
- One snorkeling trip per guest, per stay, to the world's second largest barrier reef
- Round-trip airport transfers for two (private transportation can be arranged at additional cost)
- Use of fitness center
Keep in mind (whether you have children or avoid them), that no children under 12 are allowed at the property year round, and between January 1 to April 30 and December 22 to 31, no children under 16 are allowed on property.
If you make reservations with Five Star Alliance, in addition to the amenities above, you will also receive a welcome fruit basket upon arrival and a surprise departure gift.
March 13, 2007
By: Courtney W. May
"I have a hobby. I have the world's largest collection of sea shells. I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen some of it." - Steven Wright Coastal Living Magazine has come up with their list of the top 10 shelling beaches in North America - "Winter storms stir up a bounty of prize specimens. Here's where to hunt." See if you agree with their assesment: 1. Sanibel Island, Florida 2. Ocracoke Island, North Carolina 3. Bandon, Oregon 4. Galveston, Texas 5. Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii 6. Flag Ponds Nature Park, Lusby, Maryland 7. Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia 8. Eleuthera Island, The Bahamas 9. Great Peconic Bay, Long Island, New York 10. Stinson Beach, California Read more about each location over at Coastal Living or leave us your own thoughts below.
By: Courtney W. May
Exciting news from the exclusive private island-resort of Peter Island. The newest addition to Peter Island's luxury private villa collection, Falcon's Nest, will open in May 2007. And there is still availability for the Year-End Holidays! The Villa Estates provide the ultimate, self-indulgent get-away at one of the world's finest resorts. Nestled on the hillside in an idyllic location overlooking White Bay Beach, the six-bedroom Falcon's Nest boasts breathtaking views (you can even see Norman Island and St. Croix!) and unparalleled luxury. Features include wrap-around verandah, Media room, outside bar, cabana, infinity-edge pool, dipping pool, and large outdoor whirlpool. Consisting of three separate residences connected by winding stone paths, Falcon's Nest is designed with indigenous stone, massive wooden beams, and hand-trawled stucco walls. A stay at Falcon's Nest means the best possible service; the personal staff includes a valet, chef, housekeeper, and grounds-man.
Experience the magic of a tropical forest. Trek below the leafy canopy as howler monkeys swing overhead. Spot hummingbirds from your treetop verandah. Explore two unspoiled beaches just steps from the resort. Drift off with a massage in the beautiful, indigenous spa. Soak up the mesmerizing views from the comfort of your generously-sized guest room, which blends luxurious indoor and outdoor living spaces. At the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, enjoy life as a pampered species. Get a complimentary fifth night when you pay for four consecutive nights. Rates begin at $470 per room, per night. Available from April 21- November 16, 2007.
March 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Celebrate Easter traditions at Kiawah and treat your family to a memorable stay at the AAA Five Diamond-rated Sanctuary Hotel or in a spacious private home or villa. The weather is spectacular, the variety of activities is endless, not to mention the fantastic Easter Dining and fun holiday festivities. (Sand sculpting contest, fabulous food and wine bar, live music, Easter Egg Hunt, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!)
Take advantage of the Sanctuary Easter Package starting from just $639 per room, which includes one night accommodation in a garden view room, buffet breakfast for two, and the Grand Easter buffet for two adults. With the Villa Easter Package at Kiawah, enjoy buffet breakfast for two, and Easter Buffet at Osprey Point (for two), along with the luxurious accommodations in a one bedroom scenic view villa. Starting from $382 per night, seven-night minimum stay required.
March 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Sir Richard Branson has scored another one. A gem of a Caribbean island, that is. The founder of the Virgin group of companies (including Virgin Atlantic airline and Virgin Galactic) purchased Mosquito Island in the British Virgin Islands for $13.2 million and plans to convert it into a luxurious, eco-friendly resort. Accessible by boat from Virgin Gorda, the 124-acre Mosquito Island sits in North Sound about a mile from Necker Island, Branson's other Caribbean paradise, a favorite celebrity hideaway. Plans are in the works for the resort to be environmentally-savvy: the resort will be powered by renewable energy sources (wind, wave, and solar power); the Balinese style guest buildings will be built from sustainable materials; electric buggies will serve as the transportation. Branson aims to make his resort island carbon-neutral, providing an example for other resort properties in the Caribbean.
Never fear: the island was named for the Indian tribe, and not the pesky insect.