April 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
So maybe there's no availability for the Cannes Film Festival. This baby's been booked for months. But after the film festival struts its stuff from May 17-28, the Hotel Martinez is yours for the taking. This is the French Riviera at its most chic, where you can take in the rays in style (after all, Cannes boasts 300 days of sunshine per year). The legendary Art Deco hotel commands a perch overlooking the largest private beach on the Croisette, though its octagonal pool-- surrounded by towering palm trees-- is an equally inviting spot. The finest accommodations in this award-winning establishment are on the 7th floor: terrace apartments and exceptional Junior suites that offer panoramic views of the sea from private teakwood decks with sunken Jacuzzis. Almost like a personal spa, the marble bathrooms are a heavenly space to relax and unwind. Enjoy the hotel's acclaimed Givenchy Spa--filled with natural light from its solarium-- with a specially designed Spa Package 2006. Starting at EUR 305 per night, the Spa Package includes luxurious accommodations, continental breakfast in room or restaurant buffet breakfast, one 50-minute massage per person, and free access to the fitness center and sauna.
Hotel Martinez, Five Star Alliance
Twist my arm. Fine. I'll let you in on a little secret. After a packed winter season with scarcely any availability, the Four Seasons Maui is welcoming the summer with plenty of rooms available-- and tons of value added packages, like Bed and Breakfast, Room and Car, and Romance For All Seasons. Why would this award-winning hotel-- considered one of the world's finest resorts--give us such a break? Well, most folks don't realize that June is an ideal time to visit Hawaii, with days in the mid 80s kissed by delicious ocean breezes and cool, pleasant evenings. But now you can enjoy all the services and amenities that have distinguished this pad as one of the best in the world-- with an even better value. Championship golf, white sand beaches, delicious cuisine, and the largest guest rooms on the island with beautiful views of this Pacific paradise. But shhhh! Mum's the word. Space is filling up fast.
A craggy volcanic shoreline jutting up from the deep Atlantic blue. Fields of flowers, lush semi-tropical vegetation, and grapevines. Days defined by balmy breezes and cloudless skies. Welcome to Madeira. The beautiful Atlantic outpost celebrated for its centuries-old wine making tradition, sea-faring days of old, and temperate, therapeutic climate. Here in Portugal's prestigious paradise, discover the legendary-- and newly refurbished-- Reid's Palace, which reopened on April 13 after a multi-million dollar renovation. This is Madeira's creme de la creme of luxury hotels-- situated on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Funchal for over a century. The new Reid's Palace is distinguished by its fresh and salt water swimming pools, brand new Spa (with four treatment rooms, dry saunas and steam rooms, fitness area, and sea-side terraces), conference room, and renovation of 70 hotel rooms in the Garden and Main building. While you're checking out the awesome refurbishment, don't miss Madeira's May Flower Festival. For your enjoyment, the hotel has arranged a five-night package with lots of additional goodies, starting at EUR 934 per person. The package includes five nights accommodations in a classic room, daily buffet breakfast, fruit basket and 5-year old Madeira wine in room upon arrival, one traditional afternoon tea, excursion to Palheiro Gardens and Botanical Garden, visit to Orchid Farm, Dinner Dance at The Dining Room, and flowers on departure.
April 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Why stay with the mobs in crowded Cannes when Nice's most luxurious seaside palace is just a helicopter ride away? The Palais de la Mediterranee—the historical Art Deco masterpiece (and casino) situated on the Promenade Des Anglais-- has devised an unbeatable Cannes Film Festival Package for movie-buffs, critics, celebrity gawkers and star-gazers. Available from May 14 to May 24, the package includes accommodations in a Superior Room, full American breakfast, round-trip helicopter transfer from Nice to Cannes for up to four people, and unlimited access to the heated swimming pool (with panoramic views), fitness room, sauna and Hammam. Starting at EUR 340 per night. Sea View room upgrade available for an additional EUR 50. (The film festival runs from May 17-28 this year.)
April 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Surf in Europe?! You betcha. Complete with bros and babes and board(ie) shops galore. Forget the Cote d'Azur-- in the summer months, Biarritz is where it's at. Europe's surf mecca is also a chic Atlantic resort town, steeped in the rich history and culture of the Basque country, just ten miles from the border with Spain. Before surfers discovered Europe's best break and catapulted Biarritz to the world's top ranking surf spots, 18th century doctors recommended the seaside climate as therapeutic for sick patients, who made the haul from all over Europe. The cat was out of the bag, and royalty and high-rollers inevitably followed the herd to this Atlantic paradise. In 1854, the wife of Napoleon III-- Empress Eugenie-- constructed an elegant and stately Palace on the beach, where guests continue to descend today for unparalled luxury. Following the tradition of art de vivre, the Hotel du Palais continues to indulge its privileged guests with elegant refinement, luxurious touches and impeccable service.
Hotel du Palais, Five Star Alliance
After three years of construction and $350 million spent on resort redevelopment, Georgia's exclusive Sea Island hot spot is ready to dazzle. The elegant 1928 hotel-- regularly hosting royalty and international dignitaries through the 20th century-- was ready for some work, and the new Mediterranean style main building (with the meticulous restoration of the legendary Spanish Lounge) is absolutely stunning. Guests are already shelling out the dough for coveted guest rooms, the summer season promising to be booked solid. And who can blame them? The epitome of Old World elegance, these rooms feature wood beamed ceilings, 500-thread count Italian sheets, Turkish stone baths, Bulgari White Tea toiletries, antiques and original art, and are draped in custom-designed hand-loomed Turkish rugs. Of course, there's also the appeal of the attentive private butler service and impeccable Southern hospitality. Additional developments are in store for this award-winning resort: the construction of a new Spa at Sea Island is slated to open in October, and the Beach Club is expected in Summer 2007.
The Cloister at Sea Island, Five Star Alliance
In a week, Westin is opening the doors to luxury in its first property in the South Pacific. Say hello to the new Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa, Fiji. A five-star oasis surrounded by tropical gardens and long, palm-graced sandy beaches. The old Sheraton got a $15 million makeover and morphed into a brand-spanking-new Westin, its style and architecture designed to reflect Fiji's cultural heritage. The resort's new Heavenly Spa is the largest in Fiji. Set within a 1,350-square meter meditation garden, the Spa features eight Fijian-style treatment bures and two suites, a Vichy shower treatment room, a hydrotherapy room, a wet-edge lap pool, and Jacuzzi. Hit the gym (Westin's WORKOUT Powered by Reebok fitness center is packed with state-of-the-art equipment), soak up the rays by the three-tier swimming pool, enjoy the beach and extensive water sports program, or play some tennis or golf. The introductory rate of $183 a night is almost too good to be true. The special promotional offer includes luxurious accommodations, full breakfast, a spa credit, complimentary dinner for two, and complimentary champagne in room upon arrival. Available through June 30, 2006. But keep in mind that from April 20-October 2006, the resort is still undergoing minor construction, refurbishing the remaining guestrooms.
Truly the first of its kind, Shangri-La's newest venture in the Middle East is three-hotels-in-one, and it single-handedly ups Oman's luxury hotel rooms by 60 percent. Set within 124 acres of landscaped gardens, overlooking the mountains and gorgeous waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is just 20 minutes from downtown Muscat. The destination resort is comprised of three hotels (Al Waha, Al Bandar, and Al Husn), 19 restaurants and bars, three private beaches, 6,000 sq meters of swimming pools, and a CHI spa. And don't fret; this oasis hideaway isn't without its own nightclub. With the third hotel (Al Husn) now opened, the resort counts 680 sea-facing rooms with private balconies, terraces or patios. The separate Chi Spa Village will be fully operational in May, consisting of private villas for rejuvenating treatments, three freshwater swimming pools, 19 (count 'em!) food and beverage outlets, meeting rooms and an open-air amphitheater. Did I mention the Oman Dive Center, Kids Club, Dolphin and Whale-watching trips, and marina? O- Man!
April 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Take your pick between Ritz-Carlton's two, sun-kissed Naples hotels and get fantastic discounts this summer. From your guestroom balcony in the AAA Five Diamond Award Golf Resort, gaze out over the rolling green of the 36-hole Greg Norman-designed Tiburon Course. Or if golf isn't your thing-- take a room with a Gulf View at the elegant Ritz-Carlton Hotel Naples, a grand seaside resort with exceptional amenities including spa, pool, and gorgeous beach with watersports. Between June 1 and September 30, the "Summer Sand and Sun" package starts at a mere $159 per night at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort and $199 at Ritz-Carlton Naples. Additionally, they're giving out resort credits left and right: stay for three nights and get a $100 resort credit (for dining, spa treatments, resort apparel in the gift shop, go wild!), five night stays score $200 credits and when you stay a full week: $300.
Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Naples, Five Star Alliance
Ritz-Carlton Naples, Five Star Alliance
April 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This summer, Spain's Costa del Sol and the French Riviera promise to be packed--the stretches of sand back-to-back (or butt-to-butt?) full of sun-worshippers from colder climes. Why not look further west for a European holiday, far from the traditional (and well-worn) tourist circuit? Portugal, rich in history of mighty ocean navigation and past epochs of sprawling international empires, is an undiscovered delight. Outside of the capital city of Lisbon, the Costa de Lisboa is marked by gleaming white sand beckoning beach lovers and surfers alike. At the town of Sintra, surrounded by lush forests and the geyser-like eruptions of waves breaking at Boca de Inferno, discover the pastel Palacio Nacional da Pena. Or head to the fantastic southern coast; the Algarve is dotted with splendid coastal resorts and quaint fishing villages lined with brightly colored wooden boats.