June 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The cat's out of the bag about Punta Cana, the celebrity favorite hot spot in the Dominican Republic known for its white sand beaches edged by the crystal clear Caribbean sea. Located on the eastern-most tip of the DR, the region has been quietly edging out the other Caribbean destinations as the best beach bargain. Luxury boutique hotels-- like the fabulous, all-suite Sivory Punta Cana-- are now getting some competition. Recent growth has been staggering, with new hotels including the Golf Suites in Punta Cana, Agua Resort & Spa, and the Hotel Bavaro Real Arena and Hotel VIP Real Arena, two luxury properties to be launched by the Spanish NH Hoteles chain. That's more than 1,100 rooms to be added to the market in the next two years.
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has joined the fray. His new development venture, the 30,000 acres called Cap Cana, will be one of the largest in the Caribbean. The $2 billion project will feature four luxury hotels, three Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, a mega yacht marina with 1,000 slips, and 5,000 residential units.
Numerically perfect, and truly rare, dates like July 7th (07/07/07) only occur 12 times a century. So best to live it up and celebrate-- especially when the digit is the lucky number seven. Red Carnation Hotels has put together two fun packages at Summer Lodge in Dorset and The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Take a Date with Destiny and enjoy a slew of "7" themed amenities: from a seven-course dinner to a seven minute helicopter ride to the beach... Get the deets after the jump.
At the award-winning Twelve Apostles, perched above the ocean at the foot of the dramatic Twelve Apostles mountain range, the "Three Lucky Sevens break" offers seven (you guessed it!) special amenities:
*7 scratch cards (so you can win back the price of your stay!)
*A tasting of 7 wines selected by Sommelier Luvo Ntezo
*A 7 course dinner in the Azure restaurant
*7 pm Movie screening of Casino Royale in the hotel's own cinema
*7 minute heli-flip to the V&A Waterfront
*7 hours free car hire
*75 minute Moya Crystal massage at the fabulous Sanctuary Spa, consistently ranked as one of the world's best
*Plus 70 minutes in the hydrotherapy pools, aroma sauna and floatation tank at the Sanctuary Spa
*Breakfast daily from 7 am
Before you check into your guest room (the number of which will end in a "7"), you'll be greeted with 007's favourite drink-- vodka martini, shaken not stirred. The price? A magical R7777 for two people sharing for two nights. You must arrive on Saturday, July 7th.
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, the charming boutique hotel in Evershot in Dorset, is likewise offering a weekly stay dedicated-- not to the "seven deadly sins" but to "septual healing." Book a visit for at least three nights including Saturday, July 7th, and you'll enjoy:
*A bouquet of 7 roses upon arrival
*7-item full English breakfast daily
*7-course dinner prepared by inspirational chef Steven Titman
*A tasting session of 7 wines selected by sommelier Eric Zwiebel, recently ranked fourth in World's Top Sommeliers category
*70 minutes of spa treatment
*DVD of your choice: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Se7en, or The Seven Samurai
*Seven Lucky 7 scratch cards per couple
*A room with a number seven in it, subject to availability
*A map outlining a comfortable 7 mile walk through the beautiful countryside
The price? GBP 777 per person for three nights.
Get busy inside the kitchen this summer at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, where the seasonal culinary series, Inside the Kitchen, showcases the best celeb chefs, cookbook authors, and sommeliers of the industry. Learn tempting recipes while indulging in some tasty dishes and fine wine. (Plus, the Ritz-Carlton even donates a portion of the proceeds to Meals on Wheels.) From June 1 through August 31, 2007, the AAA Five Diamond resort offers an array of themed weekends with cooking classes, dinners, and seminars.
The summer's instructors include Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, Marcel Vigneron of Bravo's Top Chef, Jairemarie Pomo of The Hog Island Oyster Company, and Gayle Pirie and John Clark of Foreign Cinema. First up: Treasures of Asia: Far East to West on Friday, June 1 with Tim Luym of Poleng Lounge, named Rising Star Chef 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Next: High Style in Lowcountry on Saturday, June 9 with Kevin Johnson from Anson restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, described as the "the city's best example of high class Lowcountry cooking" by Wine Spectator.
Weekend package rates at the Ritz-Carlton start at $759 per night for one night accommodation and registration for two to any class.
June 1, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: Exclusively small, Quintessentially helpful, Individual design ...
Maybe last week's 'contest' was a little too easy ... since part of the hotel's name was on the awning in the image, but to anyone who didn't guess correctly, Last Week's Hotel:
May 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This year, Grace Bay Club emerged from a serious renovation: the 58-suite luxury boutique hotel has morphed into a world-class resort on 11 beachfront acres. With both an adults-only hotel and family-friend Villas, Grace Bay Club is the ideal Caribbean destination for both couples and families. (Adults and families each have their own swimming pools and Jacuzzis, dining venues, beachfront lounges, bars and beach.) The most prestigious address in the Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay Club offers a slew of activities and a lavish European spa. What will $20,800 get you at this destination resort? A premium Penthouse Luxury Package for four nights in an oceanfront three-bedroom Penthouse with fabulous amenities. Get the royal treatment with a personal chef and concierge throughout your stay, unlimited meals, and unlimited Anani Spa treatments. Also included: limo transfer from the airport, welcome fruit or rum punch with cold scented towel, champagne and fruit basket en suite upon arrival, daily continental breakfast in the restaurant, and signature Turquoise Daiquiri at sunset. Available until December 20, 2007.
May 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
...brought to you by the good folks at Travel and Leisure, who just published their "It List" of hot new hotel properties. Of the 25 chosen elite, the luxurious newbies include Trailblazers like Frank Gehry's architectural masterpiece, a sparkling mass of twisting metal in the midst of the Rioja's celebrated vineyards, Beachcombers like Vietnam's gorgeous Nam Hai hotel, New Urbanists like the dazzling Mandarin Oriental in Prague, and Healers, like the swanky Bauer Il Palladio Hotel & Spa in Venice and our favorite Four Seasons Westlake Village, created in partnership with the California WellBeing Institute.
Move over, Wynn. Mandarin Oriental has plans for another property in Macau, the world's gaming capital. This means not one, but two, luxury hotels in the former Portuguese colony located just outside Hong Kong. Opening in 2009, the new Mandarin Oriental will be part of a luxurious, mixed-use complex (2.6 million square feet) on the waterfront with residences, upscale shopping, and dining. From here, the views are stunning. In the meantime, check into the existing Mandarin Oriental, Macau, the only resort hotel situated in the city center near the Jetfoil terminal. It's a cool mix of Asian and Portuguese styles, just like Macau itself.
Angsana Resort and Spa Maldives Velavaru has announced an irresistible offer: one complimentary night for every three nights booked at Angsana Treats rates. Experience the beautiful beaches and dive sites of the unspoiled South Nilandhe Atoll and also enjoy a complimentary 90-minute Body Massage session for two at the Angsana Spa. Discover your own private paradise in one of the most sought-after destinations for marine enthusiasts and honeymooners. Valid until September 30, 2007.
May 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The World, the impressive private yacht owned (or rented) by folks from over 40 different countries, is a floating residential community that circumnavigates the globe, checking out diverse ports of call for 2-5 days at a time. Managed by ResidenSea in Miami, The World is outfitted with state-of-the-art facilities including a full-sized tennis court, jogging track, gym, five restaurants, move theater and library, and beautiful spa. Banyan Tree Spa has recently announced a collaboration with The World and will soon launch its Sanctuary of the Senses onboard the cruise ship. Banyan Tree's signature Asian-inspired treatments will be available at sea for the first time. Located on Deck 5 in "The Village," The World Spa by Banyan Tree features four single treatment rooms and a Beauty Garden that incorporates a Hair Salon and Manicure Station.
May 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Monte Carlo is buzzing with the Grand Prix 2007, which will take place Thursday, May 24- Sunday, May 27, 2007. The place to stay is the Hotel Hermitage, the belle époque landmark just a short walking distance from the most prestigious shopping in Monaco and the glamorous casino. When you check in to the hotel, you will receive a Carte d'Or which allows complimentary admission to the Casino and the incredible Beach Club, with an additional 50 percent discount at the Monte Carlo Country Club. The hotel's award-winning restaurant offers gorgeous views over Monte Carlo Harbor and the winter garden is exquisite, with a dome designed by Gustave Eiffel. Guests enjoy direct access to Monte Carlo Spa by Les Thermes Marins, one of the most stunning spas in Europe which spans 66,000 square feet of fitness facilities, saunas, hammams, and a heated indoor pool.
Looking for a place to watch the most famous motor racing event? There are a few places available at Hotel Hermitage's sister hotel, the Mirabeau. Enjoy the Grand Prix 2007 from the private terrace of the Hotel Mirabeau where you can indulge in an extravagant buffet lunch (appetizers, main course, and a selection of desserts and beverages). Prices, which include grandstand seat and lunch, are as follows: May 24 Practice Day Package is EUR 90 per person, May 26 Qualifier Tests Package is EUR 200 per person, and Sunday, May 27 Grand Prix Package is EUR 500 per person.