In the very heart of the French Quarter, Hotel Monteleone is a historic gem, with a long history of exemplary Southern hospitality and a vibrant contemporary flair. Family owned and operated for over a hundred years, the newly-renovated hotel has earned a reputation for excellence in its extraordinary accommodations, world class cuisine, rooftop pool, fitness center, Carousel bar with live pianist, and private spa, Aria. Visit New Orleans before September 30, 2006 and take advantage of the hotel's "Suite Summer Deal." Book a suite for two nights, and the third night is free, with rates starting at $265 per suite, per night.
According to Zagat anyway. "There aren't enough superlatives to describe it," Zagat gushes about this elegant Grande Dame located in the Hotel Adolphus in downtown Dallas. The ambience of this French-American restaurant is decidedly romantic: with hand-blown crystal chandeliers and a soaring 18 foot high ceiling with hand-painted frescoes. The $72 fixed price, three-course dinner menu is spectacular, and features seared tuna, roasted Colorado rack of lamb, and vanilla and raspberry creme brulee. Jacket required.
On the elegant and exclusive island of St. Barts, Le Sereno is a beautiful hideaway designed by famous Parisian designer Christian Liaigre in a modern, minimalist style. Located seaside on the Grand Cul de Sac Beach, the fashionable hotel is an intimate and stylish refuge of only 37 suites. Formerly the Sereno Beach Hotel, Le Sereno reopened to much applause from discriminating travelers and press in late 2005. The makeover was exquisite: rooms are minimalist masterpieces with bare white walls and dark wood floors, and feature beautiful gardens with large daybeds, private terraces, private bars, and ocean views. As expected technology is superb: wireless Internet, plasma TV, two-line phones, personal iPods and iPod docking stations, and the amenities are luxurious: robes and towels especially made for Le Sereno by D. Porthault, Ex Voto Paris amenities, 310-Thread count linens. Enjoy the Beach Club, located on the hotel's 600 feet of palm-dotted white sand beach, and relax by the beachfront freshwater swimming pool. Or for those feeling more adventurous, numerous water sports are available, along with a fitness club. The Spa is currently under construction.
The Plaza Athenee's dazzling Eiffel Suite could be the best in Paris, with a 180 degree panorama of the city's skyline. Located on the 8th floor of the hotel, facing Avenue Montaigne, the suite boasts incredible views of Paris' most beloved landmark. The suite's 1,410 square feet are composed of a large bedroom, living room including enormous corner sofa, a bar and sitting room-- graced by two separate entrances. All rooms feature large picture windows with views of the Eiffel Tower—even the bathroom has a wall of glass to allow the magnificent view (though it can become opaque if desired, for complete privacy). By far the best part of the suite is the 301 square foot terrace, situated on the roof of the hotel just above the suite's living room. From here, lucky guests enjoy unsurpassed 360 degree views of the City of Light.
Escape to the private Hawaiian island of Lana'i at the new Four Seasons Lanai, The Lodge at Koele, a gracious retreat situated in the island's dramatic central highlands amidst manicured gardens and Hawaii's incredible natural beauty. After an extensive renovation, the resort will reopen on November 15, 2006. Guests enjoy activities such as horseback riding, hiking and world-class golf on two courses, including the new Greg Norman-designed championship course overlooking mountains, lush greens, and cascading waterfalls in awe-inspiring landscapes. Watersports, and a full service spa, are available at the companion resort, Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay, so pampered guests on Lana'i can experience the best of both worlds: highlands and ocean. Savor peaceful tranquility at the pool, surrounded by rolling hills and landscaped gardens, where Four Seasons poolside services include ice water, Evian spritzes, and chilled towels offered by pool attendants. The 901 square foot fitness center is state-of-the-art, with weight room, spa treatment room, and men's and women's lockers. Now taking ressies.
The beautiful Basque city of San Sebastien—situated on two sweeping beaches bathed by Atlantic surf—is a glorious combination of natural landscapes and urban treasures. Green mountaintops (one crowned by an enormous statue of Jesus, reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro) look down upon an awesome crescent of boat-dotted harbors and grand boulevards with tall art nouveau architecture. The Parte Vieja, its narrow alleys lined by packed tapas bars and beautiful boutiques – promises the liveliest and most entertaining nightlife in Basque Country (and possibly, in all of Spain.) Where to stay? The Hotel Maria Cristina—part of Westin's Luxury Collection—is a five star masterpiece overlooking the Urma River just minutes from the beach. Guest rooms boast ocean views from balconies, fine furnishings, marble, and all the modern amenities you'd expect in a world-class luxury hotel. After all, the Maria Cristina is a prominent fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Reader's Choice Awards. The spa is superb.
The Bilbao Guggenheim is nothing short of magnificent. Frank Gehry's incredible construction-- composed of glass walls, limestone, and titanium-- glimmers like a giant fish in the sunlight next to the Nervion river. Since it's opening in 1997, the former industrial city of Bilbao has become a showcase of art and culture. The Guggenheim is the most dynamic kind of architectural setting to contemplate and appreciate modern art. Current exhibitions include Russia!—the most comprehensive and significant collection of Russian art sent abroad since the end of the Cold War. From the 13th century religious icon painting to the present. Until September 3. Also on view: Max Beckmann, The Watercolors and Pastels, the first exhibition of its kind (a few watercolors have been displayed in surveys of his work, but never together.) Until September 17. Don't miss the permanent collection, including Richard Serra's groundbreaking The Matter of Time. Museum hours: Tuesday- Sunday, 10 am- 8 pm. EUR 12.50, adults.
August 30, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Good news for spa clients, bad news for spa media From our friends the SpaQuest spa professionals It is always interesting to us when magazines create ‘top’ lists for spas, because for us the perfect spa vacation cannot be defined by general criterion, but instead by whether or not an individual’s specific set of needs has been fulfilled. There is no cookie cutter mold that fits all spa experiences, or clients. A spa vacation that is rich in holistic immersion, for example, might be intentionally meager on luxe amenities in order to encourage guests to focus on achieving intrinsic goals without distractions. Likewise, pampering spas with endless arrays of treatment options and mega facilities tend to soft pedal a focus on goal attainment in favor of the delight of almost instant gratification. Of course both have their place in the spa industry because they cater to very different types of clients, or even the same clients seeking different experiences at different times. Luckily for die-hard spafanatics, in recent times the industry has been undergoing a form of upgrading of spa retreats. Destination spas, the holy grail of holistic experience, have been melding age-old philosophies of weight-loss, detoxification and stress management with modernized spa facilities and engaging outdoor activities. The latest destination spa to enter the category we fondly refer to as ‘holistic luxury’ is the Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. Founded in very strict dietetic/fitness philosophies – older clients will remember it as the National Institute of Fitness, a spa that would have fallen into the boot camp category years ago – the ages old spa is always in flux in order to meet the demands of the new, more discerning spa consumer. The holistic resort’s new Sage Stone spa is a haven of treatments that incorporate elements of the local minerals and flora. Spas such as Miraval located in Tucson, and the Canyon Ranches (Lennox, Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona) had the foresight to offer holistic luxury for years now. As industry leaders, both properties have not only become brands, but also usually top those lists we mentioned earlier. And each of these experiences is tailored to appeal to different types of clients with the Canyon programs fulfilling a Type A demand while Miraval cultivates a “balanced” vacation. Newer spas added to our roster, such as the Lakeview at Fontana, North Carolina and Sivory Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, were created with this amalgamation of mind, body, spirit and sensuality in mind. They are destination spas with a pleasing balance of philosophy and pampering. We embrace this evolving model of spa experience, one that is sure to throw a wrench in the cogs of print media machines and their fanciful ‘top’ lists, because it will prove increasingly difficult to determine which spa is ‘best’ when the delineations are less black and white. The lists may also prove irrelevant with the new and newly upgraded spas and also better educated and sophisticated spa clients that understand that spa experiences cannot be judged simply by star rating or celebrity sighting, that the intangible benefits are just as important as the physical ones, if not more so. Visit SpaQuest at http://spa-quest.com/
During the summer months, the Atlantic coastal resort town becomes a mecca for the fashionable, who flock to the casinos and trendy bars, and surfers, who catch awesome waves ranked as Europe's best surfing spot. In the mid 19th century, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie frequently vacationed in Biarritz, and the high-roller vacationers soon followed suit. Near the border of Spain in the heart of Basque Country, Biarritz is not far from the quaint riverside town of Bayonne, known for its chocolate, ham, and fascinating Basque culture and customs. Hang with the surfers on the beach, enjoy a coffee on the seaside promenade, and come dusk, hit the happening bars along the Rue du Vieux Port. Standing proud above la grande plage, the stately Hotel du Palais is the place to stay in Biarritz. Built in 1854 for Empress Eugenie, the luxury hotel delights guests with its unsurpassed elegance and tradition ofart de vivre. The gorgeous outdoor pool overlooks the sea and the hotel's many comfortable beach cabanas.
August 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Excellent location. Panoramic views of the city and bay from the guest rooms. Superb business facilities and health club. Highly personalized service. The Conrad Centennial Singapore has it all... a luxurious respite for both business and leisure travelers in the heart of the city. And for a limited time, the hotel is offering two fun special offers. With the "Night Safari Weekender" and "Zoo Weekender" packages, receive luxury accommodation, buffet breakfast and a choice of admission to either the Singapore Zoological Garden for 2 people or 2 tickets to the Night Safari, where visitors check out an awesome array of nocturnal wildlife. Guests are also hooked up with complimentary tram rides around the zoological gardens or safari park. Rates for the "Zoo Weekender" offer start at $233 per room per night, and the "Night Safari Weekender" starts at $243 per room per night. Valid alid until December 30, 2006, over weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Two-night minimum stay required.