April 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Another luxury ship with permanent ocean residences is a good thing, as rumor has it that the Four Seasons Cruise Ship is almost sold out. The Magellan-- to be completed by the summer of 2008-- will be limited to 200 private homes, including 16 penthouses. The exclusive $650 million ship claims it will "redefine luxury for the discerning traveler":
The facilities and services of the world's finest resorts are part of everyday life aboard the Magellan. On-call housekeeping staff, a world-class spa and marketplace, a 24-hour concierge staff, indoor and outdoor pools, six restaurants, a 450-seat theatre featuring Broadway-quality entertainment, a casino worthy of Monte Carlo and a 8,000 sq.ft greenhouse with onsite horticulturists are just a few of the conveniences that make living aboard the Magellan a unique experience.
Add to that the luxury of visiting 300 unique ports of call as you circumnavigate the globe. Now that ain't too shabby.
As featured in the April 2006 Travel and Leisure, Gaia Hotel and Reserve, located near Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park, is Costa Rica's newest luxury hotel. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels, this tropical boutique property is situated among the lush coastal rainforests of the Pacific coast. The terraced suites and villas overlook these incredible natural surroundings, a pristine nature reserve packed with exotic wildlife and chattering white-faced monkeys. This is a luxurious retreat, appointed with modern amenities, spa, gym, pool, and private butler service to attend to guests' every need. Gaia presents eco-tourism at its best, a project designed for the preservation of the natural reserve and protection of local flora and fauna for future generations. For a limited time, the resort is offering the "Soft Open Special" during the construction of their new Clubhouse, which will house the spa, gym, conference room, business center and game room. Take advantage of rates up to 20 percent off, starting at $240 per night (studio for two people), minimum three night stay, valid until April 30.
Follow the likes of Trista and Ryan (of Bachelorette fame) and countless celebs on this elite private island resort that Andrew Harper's calls "as close to heaven on earth as you're likely to get." 500 acres of bliss for only 14 couples at one time, and a staff of 150 to provide for and pamper them. Turtle Island is truly one of the world's finest and most romantic resorts. Settle into your elegant "bure," a traditional hand-crafted thatched cottage with outdoor verandahs overlooking blue lagoons. Rates are all-inclusive, including all gourmet meals, all drinks including alcohol, massage, deep sea fishing, horseback riding, private picnics, scuba diving, and countless other activities. And now is the time to fly free to Turtle Island, as the resort is offering two free coach tickets from Los Angeles and free seaplane transfers, with a seven night stay. Nightly rates start at $1,975 per night, per couple (Grand Bure accommodations). Travel must be completed by May 11, 2006.
Turtle Island, Official Site
Turtle Island, Five Star Alliance
April 5, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
from Mary Phillips, General Manager, Jamaica Inn
Where can you find a beach resort with snorkeling equipment available free to guests; where each suite has a private balustraded balcony or large verandah overlooking the water; where balconies and verandahs come complete with a full sized sofa, wing chair, breakfast table, writing desk and coffee table; and a 700-foot private white sand beach? Ocho Rios and right now you can go for cheap. The Jamaica Inn is offering a last-minute, early April special - summer rates as low as US $255 per room, per night (double occupancy) - starting April 1, 2006.
And if you are trying to decide whether or not you want to book a room for this summer and risk getting stuck at home because of Jamaica's hurricane season, the answer is the Hurricane Guarantee. In the event of a hurricane on the island of Jamaica, and if the hurricane interrupts the use of the all included services at Jamaica Inn - the resort will offer a free replacement vacation. Of course there is some fine print, which you should ask about when you give them a call at 1-800-837-4608 for reservations.
Jamaica Inn, Official Site
Jamaica Inn, Five Star Alliance
April 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Change is afoot in Ft. Lauderdale, where the Intracoastal Waterway will be transformed with a new megayacht marina and five-star hotel. Just when we thought southern Florida couldn't get any more developed (satiric novelist Carl Hiassan is no doubt rolling his eyes at this one), the $100 million project will double the docks in size, adding three-phase power, WiFi and broadband, water, and pump-out stations. The adjacent hotel--the old Marina Marriott-- will get a $50 million infusion to debut as the Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel and Yacht Club. LXR Luxury Resorts aims to create the country's leading marina resort, stocked with 579 guest rooms, 33 yacht slips (for boats up to 300 feet), and 20,000 sq ft of meeting space. Spring specials are as low as $109 a night.
At the crossroads between East and West, built upon layers of history of ancient civilizations, Bodrum sits on Turkey's breathtaking Aegean coastline overlooking beaches framed by olive groves and the blue sea. Majestic ancient ruins, some dating from 5,000 years ago, imbue the city with culture and mythology. The Castle of St. Peter, built by the Knights of St. John in 1406, stands near remains of the Ottoman empire, and the grand Mausoleum of King Moussollos is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sun-seekers, history buffs, and yacht owners alike flock to the gorgeous seaside port of Bodrum-- especially in the summer months. In this magical place, the Ada Hotel offers a luxurious respite cloaked in traditional culture and romance. The 14 guestrooms have balconies opening into the garden or overlooking the sea; the 90 sq-meter Executive Suite is equipped with a fireplace and separate Jacuzzi, and the Presidential Suite shares a private pool with the Penthouse Suite. The health center boasts an enormous Jacuzzi, luxurious Turkish Hammam, sauna and therapeutic treatment rooms.
Of Islands Magazine recent picks of the Best Snorkeling Spots Worldwide, Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia shines as an unspoiled natural paradise with awesome snorkeling right out the front door. Overshadowed by the landmark green peaks--the Gros and Petit Pitons--that provide the lush and dramatic backdrop for this island nation, the resort sits on 600 acres of rolling hills and tropical gardens overlooking the soft sparkling sand of the Caribbean's best beaches. The resort's rooms are each individualized: white-washed cottages with wrap-around-balconies, deluxe suites with enormous interiors and walls opening to extraordinary vistas, other rooms boasting verandahs framed by flowering blossoms, while the premium suites offer sublime showers-with-a-view. Besides the snorkeling on the pristine coral reef just offshore, the resort offers a world-renowned, first class SSI Platinum Pro/PADI dive facility. And after a day on the water (or playing tennis or mountain biking), the therapeutic delights of the Kai Belte Spa await.
Anse Chastanet, Official Site
Anse Chastanet, Five Star Alliance
March 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
So close to Puerto Vallarta (42 kilometers), and yet so isolated in a pristine, tropical paradise. Surrounded by long stretches of white-sand beaches and the turquoise Pacific, Four Seasons Punta Mita offers an unrivaled vacation destination, with luxurious spa and Jack Nicklaus golf. But perhaps the coolest thing about the Punta Mita is the new five-bedroom beachfront Arena Suite, a breathtaking beachfront villa perfect for a family reunion or gathering of friends. The $2.8 million retreat is 13,000 sq feet, with complete privacy, butler service, and magnificent sunset views and whale-watching from a hacienda patio. Amenities include flat screen televisions, high speed internet access, and full marble bathrooms each with a deep soaking tub, separate glass-enclosed shower, and double vanity. Reservations for this suite also includes a daily poolside cabana in the new, adult-oriented Tamai pool complex, complete with 42" plasma tv, DVD, iPod, Bose Wave sound and wifi.
Four Seasons Punta Mita, Official Site
Four Seasons Punta Mita, Five Star Alliance
The moment we've all been waiting for. The glorious Sunny Isles beach resort we've been raving about for months, is officially accepting ressies for April 28th arrivals. The setting couldn't be more perfect: 400 feet of gorgeous Florida coastline halfway between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. This luxurious haven features 97 suites, all with private terraces, the Il Mulino New York restaurant, the first ESPA Spa in the US, three swimming pools and the marine biology inspired AcquaMarine children's program. We've been excitedly anticipating this one for months. Enjoy.
Acqualina, Official Site
Acqualina, Five Star Alliance
So you missed your chance to get tickets to this year's matches in Germany, not to mention the impossible task of booking a hotel room in any of the hosting cities. But you-- a diehard and devoted football fan-- are not about to miss the games on telly. Enter Banyan Tree, with their creative packages designed for fans who want to watch the games in peace (tranquil surroundings with nary a beer-guzzling heckler in sight!) and their partners/spouses who may have escaped infection with that football fevered frenzy. For a limited period from June 1 to July 31, Banyan Tree is offering exclusive World Cup 2006 Escape packages at its resorts worldwide. All packages are inclusive of daily bountiful breakfasts and a surprise gift from Banyan Tree Gallery.
At Banyan Tree Bangkok, the World Cup 2006 Escape package rates begin from US$270 per night for a Deluxe View Suite (minimum two-night stay). The package includes a Banyan Tree Spa Back Reviver session per person as well as a Shopping Companion Service for hunting out the city's treasures.
At Banyan Tree Bintan, package rates start at US$465 in the Valley Villa (minimum two nights stay). All guests taking this package will receive a choice of a two-hour Renewal or Rejuvenation spa session, as well as a welcome drink and fruit platter on arrival.
At Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru, guests can enjoy the World Cup Escape Package with rates starting from US$680 per night for an Oceanview Villa. This package includes daily breakfast and dinner, a choice of a two-hour Renewal or Rejuvenation spa session, and an unforgettable private sunset sail on a catamaran, complete with a guide.
At Banyan Tree Phuket, the package is priced from US$495 per night in a Deluxe Villa, with a minimum stay of three nights; includes a body massage per person, an intimate High Tea session for two, and cooking lessons with lunch for two.
Lastly, at Banyan Tree Seychelles, the World Cup Escape package rates start from EUR 855 per night (four night minimum), including a Renewal or Rejuvenation Spa session for two, as well as a one-day tour of Mahe with a beach picnic lunch included.