May 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Announcing an offer you just can't refuse. Book a stay at participating Preferred Resorts with your American Express Card, and receive a gift. With the "I Prefer Spa" package, guests indulge in a signature spa treatment, and get a welcome amenity. Luxurious spas include Napa's Carneros Inn-- nestled in the grapevines of California's exquisite wine country, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows-- the AAA five-diamond winner on Hawaii's Big Island, Las Vegas' Red Rocks Casino, Resort and Spa-- which recently opened to much fanfare and glowing reviews, and the Caribbean's Peter Island-- the luxurious private island in the BVI that is consistently ranked as one of the world's best places to stay.
Ahhh, Round Hill: the elegant Jamaican hideaway, a favorite for Town and Country fashion shoots, a former pineapple, allspice and coconut plantation, where the elite and moneyed few escape for their tropical respites. The legendary resort, not far from Montego Bay, is an oasis of gardens, secluded beaches, private villas and horizon-edge pools. There's a Spa, tennis, diving, and fine dining, a vacation experience enhanced by the best, most discreet service.
The 36 guestrooms in the Pineapple House were recently renovated and designed by Ralph Lauren, with white stone floors, four poster bamboo beds draped in a white net, 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, and upholstered furniture from the Ralph Lauren home collection. The rooms are all-white, evoking tropical beach living, and with ocean or garden views. The bathrooms were also redesigned by Lauren, with deep soaking tubs, freestanding rain showers, and double sink vanities.
The Conch Republic-- so named in 1982 when Key West seceded from Florida with the motto "The People Who Seceded Where Others Failed"-- is a quirky and magical place. At the southernmost point in the US, charming, white Victorian houses bask in the sun. There's diving and snorkeling, sailing and sunning, deep-sea fishing, and more bars per capita in (possibly) the entire world over. Needless to say, this was a favorite haunt of Hemingway, whose legendary residence still houses the offspring of his six-toed cats. In celebration of the city's most famous resident, Key West hosts an annual "Hemingway Days Festival." From July 18 to July 23, the 26th annual event celebrates Hemingway's work and lifestyle. A week of literary readings, a theatrical premiere, short story competition, a museum exhibit, and fishing tournament. And as highlighted by the Washington Post "What’s the Deal?"-- from now until October 15, the city of Key West is offering half price admission to many of its major sites, including sightseeing tours on the Conch Train and Old Town trolley, Hemingway Home and Museum, and Aquarium. Coupons are available here.
Discover the remote private islands of the Philippines. Accessible only by private charter flight, Amanpulo is surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters and pristine coral reef just 300 meters offshore. The diving is fantastic. And the resort offers an abundance of other watersports, additionally. Enjoy the views from the treetops or from the water's edge: Amanpulo's 40 casitas are heavenly hideaways with generous space, divine amenities, and spellbinding views. From April until October, Amanresorts' resident tennis professional, David Bush, will be offering private tennis tuition at Amanjena, Amandari, Amanpulo, and Amanpuri. A former NCAA Division 1 player, David coaches all levels of sporting ability, from beginners to serious competitors. Therefore, Amanpulo has designed a special Tennis package available from September 1 to October 31. Over a three night stay on the private island of Pamalican, guests can enjoy daily breakfast, a complimentary one hour private tennis session with David Bush, and a one-hour massage per stay. Starting at $1,960 for a Beach Casita.
Just south of Cancun on a stunning and isolated Caribbean coast, the Yucatan's prized Riviera Maya, lies a dazzling, eco-friendly resort community. Surrounded by lush forest canopy and beautiful waterways, Mayakoba is a luxury destination with golf, tennis, fine dining, and world-class snorkeling and diving. After the destruction caused by Hurricane Wilma last year, Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula have made a courageous comeback. The Fairmont Mayakoba had to delay its original opening because of hurricane damage, but has finally opened its doors and is welcoming guests to paradise. In addition to its luxurious accommodations overlooking beaches and lagoons, the resort offers a huge free-form pool with swim-up bar, superb Spa, children's programs, excellent dining outlets, and access to Mayakoba's fine golf and tennis facilities. Take advantage of the Only One Way Summer Promotion, starting at an unbelievably low $199 per night (double occupancy). Available from May 15- September 5, 2006.
April 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Halfway between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale lies the pristine Atlantic beachfront of Sunny Isles. Here, situated within lushly landscaped gardens, Trump's ginormous skyscraper of luxury greets you with an incredible slew of activities for the whole family. Frolic on the beach, take to the sea with jet skis, catamarans and kayaks, or recline in one of the 25 air-conditioned beach cabanas, each with entertainment units, restrooms, and sun chaises. The $6 million grotto-style pool complex will knock your socks off: think waterfalls, whirlpools, tropical foliage and cabanas, all overlooking the beach. Take to the 8,000 sq-foot Aquanox Spa for some much needed R and R, knowing that the kiddies are having a blast at the Just Us Kids club, where specially trained counselors lead all sorts of beach and pool games and arts and crafts. Retire to an elegant guestroom with its private balcony offering panoramic views of the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway.
April 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club is a Carmel legend, the beautifully renovated resort property of The Peninsula Hotels, from where guests experience the charm of Carmel-by-the-sea, the magical Monterey Peninsula, and Pebble Beach. Situated on 850 scenic acres, the resort offers spectacular vistas from its guestrooms overlooking the fairways. But beyond the championship golf and luxurious spa, the Lodge further enhances its elegant reputation as the host of The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, celebrating the luxury motorsports lifestyle. The August 16 event showcases the world's rarest automobiles, fine wines and cuisine in a garden party setting. This year's event commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Targa Florio (one of the world's oldest open-road endurance races) and the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Seca Raceway. Additionally, the event honors the Italian car designer Zagato. This is one of the classic events of the Monterey Peninsula's Classic Car Week, where guests can view 100 legendary sports and racing cars, test drive some Bentleys, and head off-road at the Land Rover Experience Driving School. Tickets are $150 per person, including wine tasting, cuisine, a collectible poster, and access to the Bonhams and Butterfields auction of historic cars, fine jewelry and art.
Located on the sun-drenched Kohala Coast of Hawaii's Big Island, the Mauna Lani Resort is surrounded by some of the world's most breathtaking topography: five majestic peaks, volcanoes, lush rainforests and waterfalls. This is definitely one of the most romantic spots in Hawaii: a tranquil, natural paradise with endless beaches and the ideal Hawaiian haven for your honeymoon. The amenities at this award-winning resort include a Tennis Club, two championship golf courses, water sports, children's camp, Sport and Fitness Club, and five dining venues. The 25,000 sq ft spa offers almost as much outdoor treatment space as it does indoor space; of the 17 treatment areas, nine are unique outdoor thatched huts. The Spa is a unique and luxurious space, including a naturally heated lava rock sauna, Aquatic Body Therapy facility and a relaxation hut situated in the healing garden.
Mauna Lani Resort, Five Star Alliance
The folks at Grace Bay Club do Mother's Day right. In fact, they make a month long celebration of it, honoring moms with a fantastic package that includes a custom-tailored portrait session. Just a short hop from Miami, Grace Bay Club offers some of the best accommodations in the Caribbean. The all-suite luxury resort-- comprised of 38 family-friendly suites at the Villas and the 21-suite-adults-only Hotel-- offers a slew of amenities and activities: swimming pools, Spa and fitness center, yoga on the beach, Kid's Town, tennis, snorkeling, sailing and fishing. Needless to say, the resort is consistently ranked at the top of all the "World's Best" lists. Just what doesn't the Picture Perfect Package include? This unbeatable Mother's Day Package is available until May 31, and includes: four nights oceanfront accommodations in a new Villa suite, chilled champagne and fruit basket in room on arrival, daily continental breakfast, daily three-course candlelit dinner at the Anacaona Restaurant, one hour massage at the Anani Spa, airport meet and greet, welcome rum punch, and a personalized one-hour photo session for the family or couple. Starting at $2,974 per couple. Grace Bay Club, Five Star Alliance
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