LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
November 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
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.
Step into a canoe, where you are transported to a private island in the middle of an azure lagoon. Candles flicker against the sand. Music plays. A dedicated butler brings champagne, and a message in a bottle-- your menu written on a scroll inside. Surrounded by lush tropical foliage, you taste a salad with hearts of palm, followed by yellow tomato gazpacho, before sinking your teeth into a magnificent plate of Mahi Mahi with garlic and chilli guajillo served with mashed potatoes and spinach. Between courses, vodka and lime sorbet cleanses the palate. For dessert? A warm chocolate volcano cake accompanied by macadamia ice cream. The Private Lagoon Dinner at the award-winning Tides Zihuatanejo is easily the most exclusive dining experience on Mexico's Pacific coast.
Experience paradise for a song. La Samanna, an Orient-Express hideaway in the French West Indies, is a chic, white-washed wonderland where restaurant provisions are flown in from France daily. And it recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, to boot. This beachfront spa resort has all-time low promotional rates of $395 per night during peak season. The catch? You must arrive on one of the following arrival dates: November 25 and 26, 2007, January 30, 2008, or February 26, 2008. As Travel + Leisure points out, this is a whopping 60 percent savings, as normal peak season rates start at around $1,000 a night. But hurry, this "Best Deal Days" promotion is bound to book fast.