From Zanzibar to St. Lucia, the March issue of Travel and Leisure has found some incredible beach hot spots, including the DR's Sivory Punta Cana, which I've waxed poetic about before. In their words:
How do you know when a destination hasn't been trammeled by Americans? When it's a challenge to find locals who speak English. Such is the charm of the Dominican Republic, which has long been on the radar of A-listers (Oscar de la Renta, the Clintons); now, with low fares on JetBlue, it's even easier (and less expensive) to get to. The Sivory Punta Cana, a 55-suite property open since December and situated on a long expanse of untouched beach, offers visitors a low-key hideaway.
The art deco landmark and oceanfront South Beach destination is surrounded by tropical gardens and turquoise pools overlooking the Atlantic. Originally built in the 1930's as the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, Adrian Zecha's Setai opened to much fanfare in 2005. In the hot South Beach scene, The Setai stands out for its intimacy, impeccable service, and elegant Asian touches. 75 guestrooms and 50 suites are detailed with exquisite amenities: espresso machines, in-room bars, Bose surround-sound DVD/CD systems, deep soaking tubs and rain showers, luxurious bath amenities, and flat screen LCD and plasma TVs. Enjoy a deep therapeutic massage at the luxurious spa overlooking the sand and sea, and then savor the gastronomic delights at the Crustacean restaurant. With the South Beach Spring Special, take advantage of special rates starting at $675.
The Setai, Official Site
The Setai, Five Star Alliance
February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
With white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush, green landscapes, Maui has always appealed as a picture-perfect paradise and renowned destination for honeymooners and families alike. Thus we've been eagerly anticipating the April opening of the Wailea Beach Villas: its elegant private residences offering the intimacy of private homes, but with all the facilities and amenities of a grand resort. Daily housekeeping, concierge assistance, swimming pools, and a spectacular beachfront location overlooking the West Maui mountains. The villas are stocked with fine linens, signature bath amenities, and fabulous gourmet kitchens. And of course the island paradise offers a bounty of activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, kayaking, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, jeep and helicopter tours.
The only complaint? In a tropical island paradise like Maui, is a gated community-- touting serious 24 hour security and surveillance-- absolutely necessary?
February 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
From the New York Times to shiny glossies and guidebooks, the media is brimming with good tips about cruisin'. I've compiled some recent newsworthy articles for your planning pleasure: Conde Nast Traveler, Reader's Poll, The World's Best Cruise Ships 2006 Fodor's Travel Wire, "The Best of Cruising" Forbes, The World's Most Expensive Cruises Travel and Leisure Hot Deals, "Cell Phones at Sea" The New York Times Travel, "Bon Voyage to the Three-Bean Salad" The New York Times Travel, "Extreme Makeover: Taking High Style to the High Seas" The New York Times Travel, "Oman Anyone? More Ships, More Ports of Call" The New York Times Travel, "Mystery at Sea: Who Polices the Ships?"
February 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Making its debut in June, the new Discovery at Marigot Bay stakes its claim to fame with a location on the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean. A member of Small Luxury Hotels, Discovery is situated on the breathtakingly gorgeous island of St. Lucia, built into a lush hillside overlooking the turquoise bay near Castries. The boutique resort offers 67 luxurious guestrooms and 57 suites (30 of them with private plunge pools), featuring dark wood furniture, romantic draped netting over king size pillow-top beds, large balconies overlooking the bay, wifi internet and flat-screen TVs. The Lapli Spa is world-class, its treatment rooms each boasting a private deck with open-air shower. Luxurious treatments use all-natural, local products created by Caribbean herbalists. This is truly an intimate paradise in a yachting capital of the Caribbean.
Why limit yourself to just one luxury hotel in Bali? Amanresorts has designed a genius way to experience all that Bali has to offer—from the diversity and cultural spirit to the geographical enchantment of this island paradise—with a seven-day package that can be spread out between any and all of their three Balinese resorts. What could be more perfect for honeymooners?
Amandari: The best of Bali's hill country, perched high above the Ayung River gorge overlooking terraced rice fields, is designed as a walled Balinese village of 30 luxurious suites.
Amankila: Cliff-side beach resort with panoramic coastline views offers a three-level swimming pool, private beach with expansive Beach Club pool, and thatched beachside houses—surrounded by traditional villages.
Amanusa: Located on Bali's southern peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean, the resort boasts 35 thatched-roof suites surrounded by a bougainvillea-covered hillside. The fairways of the Bali Golf and Country Club lie just below the resort, while Amanusa's own Beach Club--10 bales each with plush mattresses and roll cushions-- is set on one of Nusa Dua's top surf and swim beaches.
The deets of the Aman Bali Experience? The unique settings of each of these resorts can be enjoyed in a seven night offer with guests' choice of stay between a minimum of two of these listed Amanresorts. Until March 31, rates start at $3,850 for a suite. From April 1- March 31, 2007, rates start at $4,025 for a suite. (Based on seven nights' double occupancy.) Included in the offer are airport and inter-hotel transfers and one specially tailored activity per day, chosen by each resort's manager.
February 22, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Marcia McLaughlin, Public Relations Manager, Half Moon
Apart from the huge $2million dollar renovation of the Half Moon Golf Course (it is dubbed "one of the best walking courses in the Caribbean") which now boasts improved features for both the avid and casual golfer, Half Moon has two other winter developments.
#1. American Airlines now has non-stop service from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Montego Bay (cutting back even more on your excuses for not visiting).
American Airlines has launched its new non-stop service from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Montego Bay four times weekly; the service offers easy connections from the West Coast and feeder cities such as Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and more. This service now makes weekend getaways easier today than ever before and is just one of many ways vacation seekers across the globe can get to Montego Bay. More flight schedules to Montego Bay.
#2. Anancy Children's Village - themed after Jamaica’s fabled children’s character Anancy the Spider.
Anancy Children's Village
Children visiting the resort will enjoy the charming new Anancy Children's Village. Borrowing from the witty spider made famous in Jamaican folklore, the new children's play area has been modeled around a village concept with buildings ablaze with a mosaic of brightly coloured hues guaranteed to enlighten the senses of young visitors. Find Out More.
The Anancy Children’s Village at Half Moon includes shaded play areas, activity rooms, a wading pool, sand box, expansive outdoor play area with each activity supervised by a well-trained coordinator.
A note to remember about Anancy's - they accept "only children that are fully potty trained aged 3 - 12. Families with children who are not potty trained can take advantage of our Nanny service and have nannies escort children to the Anancy Children’s Village."
Have kids older then 12? Don't worry, there is also plenty for older children too including tennis clinics, volleyball, nature walks, golf, squash, horseback riding and water sports galore.
Half Moon, Official Site
Half Moon, Five Star Alliance
Kimpton, of course, is the mastermind hotelier behind this delightfully quirky, luxurious and fun hotel hotspot in the heart of San Diego's happening Gaslamp district. Decorated in vibrant pink and green tones, energetic and modern furnishings, and a very pretty clientele, the Hotel Solamar also stocks its minibars with fun and original amenities like flip-flops and art supplies. Jbar, located on the 4th floor rooftop deck of the hotel, has become a trendy urban oasis complete with fire pits, poolside cabanas and awesome views of downtown San Diego and the bay. In an exotic setting, Jsix restaurant specializes in Coastal California cuisine, with a menu showcasing innovative, regional flavors inspired by the region's Baja coastline.
Hotel Solamar, Official Site
Hotel Solamar, Five Star Alliance
February 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
When the grey and dreary February days drag on (could this really be the shortest month of the year?), it's easy to dream of greener pastures. And with spectacular special packages like this one, it's easy to act and make those dreams happen. At the sun-drenched resort of Casa de Campo, the days are long, lively, or languorous, rooms are luxurious, the spa is heaven-on-earth, and the activities are plentiful. Horseback riding, tennis, water sports, golf, fishing, sailing… whatever your little heart desires. Truly. Now through April 16th, guests who book four nights, receive the fifth night free. Starting at $1,476 per person, all-inclusive. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner; unlimited drinks in resort restaurants and bars; horseback riding; tennis; non-motorized water sports; one round of skeet-shooting; one four-passenger touring cart for duration of stay. Now that's a deal.
Casa De Campo, Official Site
Casa De Campo, Five Star Alliance
February 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Private luxurious beach bungalows are now available for daytime rental at The Breakers. Enjoy a secluded day retreat on the ocean with loads of ultra-luxurious conveniences. Situated next to the Ocean Grill across from the new Active Pool, the five cabanas are 300 square feet in size with outside patio surrounded by lush tropical landscaping. The Breakers has done it right with its new $15 million beachfront makeover. Along with the casual dining at the new Ocean Grill overlooking the Atlantic and the expansive Active Fun Pool (free-form zero entry pool on the beach, designed for families), 15 more Beach Bungalows will be available for some lucky folks come end-of-March. These cabanas will be situated next to the new luxury relaxation pool designated quiet area (more chill-out zone than people-watching hub).
The Breakers, Official Site
The Breakers, Five Star Alliance