January 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Discover the "Lost City of the Incas" and the incredible natural beauty of the Amazon Basin while cocooned in luxurious comfort at this rustic boutique hotel. Located in the heart of Machu Picchu's Historical Sanctuary in the cloud forest (formerly known as Aguas Calientes), the hotel consists of 83 rooms and suites set in whitewash cottages spread over 12 acres of streams, waterfalls and lush forest, reached by stone walkways. The hotel itself is the setting for enormous biodiversity: the world's largest collection of native orchids (372 species) as well as wild hummingbirds and butterflies. Rooms are charming yet sumptuous, decorated with local handcrafted Andean architecture, alpaca bedspreads, and deluxe kits of handmade, organic amenities and aromatherapy products. Likewise, the utterly-divine spa incorporates a mystical Andean approach, with 100% natural botanical products.
Consider this. The Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame without the summer hordes. No line at Andre's in
Atlantic-facing La Rochelle for a sumptuous poisson feast (or other decadent items from the tempting menu du jour), while gazing at the ancient ramparts and centuries-old towers jutting over the sparkling sea, even the gargoyles seeming to smile down in languid contentment. Indeed the crowds have evaporated, leaving the majestic Loire chateaux and even Versailles empty for the taking (and gaping). The icing on the cake? A temperate climate that never sees the ghastly winter lows of Washington DC, so one could even score a bit of a sun tan basking in the sun (while bundled in a trendy winter coat, of course.)
Interested in the pictured Chateau? It's dreamy, and just a hop from Bordeaux and Cognac.
Courtesy of Forbes.com (and we are proud to say our very own Manager of Client Services-- Sarah Anderegg-- helped compile the domestic travel spending data), an interesting article on travel spends and hot spots for the new year:
With the new year comes the inevitable tide of resolutions, remorse (for overdoing it during the holidays), anticipation for the 12 months ahead and, for many people, a bad case of the winter blahs.Time to hit the road, to such sought-after locales as the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, Thailand or The Palms in Turks and Caicos, or the brand new Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
Imagine our delight at hearing the recent industry buzz. After all, the Hotel de Crillon is easily our favorite hotel in Paris, and maybe in the whole of Europe. The perfect location, awash in elegance and history, with dynamite service (these guys know how to take care of you) and pretty swell dining. I'd be happy camping out here for a few days, instead of that Canal St Martin apartment. And this marvelous Palace hotel is to be the flagship of the new Crillon brand, launched by Barry Sternlicht, the former chief executive of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Their mission is to bring Crillon style European elegance to hotels around the world. God bless.
Hotel de Crillon, Official Site
Hotel de Crillon, Five Star Alliance
You've got to be kidding me. But as CNN reports, HK is no longer just about glitzy skyscrapers, designer shopping and gourmet eats. Throw ecotourism in the mix; the city is one of the best spots to see Indo Pacific humpback dolphins, which just happen to be totally, completely bubblegum-pink. Sign up with tour operator Hong Kong Dolphinwatch, who normally spots these uncanny creatures 97 percent of the time on tours in the South China Sea.
Speaking of the devil... The Times UK reports that many British homeowners regret their decision to invest in Dubai. That terrible third-rate workmanship of "luxury" properties and poor management belie the slick, glossy brochures advertising the glittering sea, sand and skyscrapers of developments in Dubai. (Thanks Alex!)
The lush, unspoiled landscape of St. Lucia-- 238 square miles of empty beaches and tropical paradise-- is the setting for the new luxury condominium resort development called (naturally) Le Paradis with its ultra-hyped Greg Norman designed golf course. The center of it all will be the Westin St. Lucia, set to open in March of next year with 232 guestrooms. Bring it on.
You're invited... to the most fabulous, romantic Valentine's celebration in LA (after you pony up $275 per person, of course). At the Couples Champagne Dinner, served in the private garden room of the legendary Hotel Bel-Air, Veuve Clicquot will be featuring 7 of their high-end vintages, paired with each course. Divine menu items include Maine Lobster, Cream of Peas and Baby Mache, served with Veuve Clicquot la Grande Dame Rosé, 1995.
Hotel Bel-Air, Official Site
Hotel Bel-Air, Five Star Alliance
Why exactly is it so appealing? Since I'm a Dubai virgin-- passing through the airport on a Delhi-Moscow flight doesn't count for much-- I can only hazard a guess or two. Beaches, warm climate, awe-inspiring architecture that continues to push the envelope, underwater restaurants, the world's only seven star hotel... But Europeans calling it the new Côte d'Azur and buying up real estate like it's their job?! Proximity can't be the reason. Dubai is hot; it's been marketed as hot, and the incredible development continues to gather steam. Thus I implore you, dear reader... let's talk about Dubai. What makes it so damn hot?
The Alps are melting. According to an important feature in the February issue of National Geographic (RUN, don't walk, to the newsstand for this one), scientists are estimating that "the Alps have lost half their glacier ice in the past century, 20 percent of that since the 1980s; glaciers in Switzerland have lost a fifth of their surface area in the past 15 years." The glaciers are receding—driving some resort owners to drastic measures like buying white blankets to cover 15 acres of glacier during the summer—and the snow has stopped falling. Which isn’t helped by the 12 million trucks and 50 million cars that cross the Alps each year, their fumes trapped in a nasty greenhouse of emissions within the valleys. This is more than bad news for the region that worldwide symbolizes a wondrous winter playground for international jetsetters and local farmers alike. There are 600 ski resorts nestled in this dramatic mountain range that stretches across eight nations, half of which are predicted to close in the coming decades. For those passionate about Alpine adventures, this means adopting a philosophy of environmental sustainability while packing your bags ASAP for St. Moritz. Badrutts Palace Hotel, of course, here in the birthplace of the Alps winter tourism.