Discover the world's top eco-tourism destination with some of the highest biodiversity on the planet. Costa Rica's Guanacaste Peninsula is jam-packed with breathtaking national parks and stunning beaches. (Erupting volcanoes, tropical cloud forest filled with chatty monkeys, orchid-blooming rainforest canopies…) Located in the midst of this lush landscape, on its own pristine paradise of 2,400 acres, the Paradisus Playa Conchal offers a luxurious, family-friendly environment from which to explore all that Costa Rica has to offer. Enjoy Central America's largest free form pool (the spectacular freshwater pool is set in a 1,800 square meter garden and has two jacuzzis), the endless choice of water sports (running the gamut from windsurfing to scuba), play a round of golf on the 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones designed golf course, or indulge in the spa. The kids will be happy at their own paradise (aka Kids Club)—comprised of playgrounds, climbing wall, mini disco, table games, movies, and eco-recreational team.
The Paradisus Playa Conchal, Official Site
The Paradisus Playa Conchal, Five Star Alliance
Bobos in Paradise. The latest and greatest "it" neighborhood in Paris, a magnet for chic trend-setters, artsy creatives and bobos alike, recognizable to movie buffs as the setting for Audrey Tatou's stone-skipping-antics in Amelie. The 10th Arrondisement's Canal St. Martin is the place to be, and Chez Prune, the place to be seen. (Chez Prune, 71, quai de Valmy) A buzzing, convivial ambience, complete with brooding bearded artists and haute couture-clad fashionistas. The plates of charcuterie and fromage, accompanied by peche kir, are simply divine.
The beautifully restored 15th century mansion makes its debut this month, the second luxury hotel on the island of Mallorca for the Stein Group. Close to Palma de Mallorca and the Mediterranean Sea, in a prime location overlooking the surrounding countryside, the Gran Hotel Son Julia offers 25 guestrooms, equipped with state-of-the-art features (marble bathrooms and giant plasma TVs) while still preserving many of the original historical details. Also on the premises: spa and wellness area, gym, indoor and outdoor pools and a choice of restaurants. Take advantage of the special opening rate of EUR 75 per person during the entire month of February, when the island is covered in flowering almond blossoms.
The coach of the country's Number One tennis player is now heading up the program at the Ritz Carlton Dubai. Zeeshan Ali has oodles of awards and titles under his belt—experience that he's now bringing to all tennis enthusiasts at the hotel in both private instruction and group lessons. Not really into tennis? The Ritz Carlton Dubai has got it all—from fitness classes, squash, golf, shopping, stunning pools, beach, and idyllic Balinese Spa. Situated on prime beachfront along the snazzy, exclusive Jumeirah Beach area of Dubai, the Ritz Carlton basks in the year-round sunshine of Dubai's perfect climate. Luxurious rooms have private balconies overlooking the tropical gardens and the Arabian Gulf. Plus, the Kids Club has loads of fun daily activities to keep the 'liluns happy and smiling.
The Ritz Carlton Dubai, Official Site
The Ritz Carlton Dubai, Five Star Alliance
In the dark, dismal throes of winter it's easy to fantasize about the antithesis: St. Pete's lively White Nights of Summer, when sunlight dances over the pastels of the city's buildings, lingering late into the night and inspiring people to flood the streets in understated celebration. A journey to St. Pete's is a once-in-a-lifetime must. The time to go? During the last 10 days in June, when darkness never falls, and the White Nights festival showcases ballet and dance. The city is aesthetically marvelous and steeped in culture, history and romance. Footbridges grace winding canals, framed on either end by majestic statues, and haunted by musicians drinking beer and playing guitar under the stars (or—in the case of the summertime—the endless waning sunlight).
Sites to see: With its huge dome standing proud over the Petersburg skyline, St. Isaac's Cathedral is even more extravagant on the inside: its interior a mix of marble and mosaic. The Hermitage Museum rivals the Louvre, with its overwhelming collection of art housed in the grand imperial palace on the banks of the Neva river. The Russian Museum, located in the former Mikhailovsky Palace, offers a breathtaking collection of works by Russian artists. Or follow the steps of famed Russian novelist Dostoyevsky, or his character Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. The city is rich in the literary haunts of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy.
The capital of tech gets its own snazzy Four Seasons. Rooftop pool, walls of contemporary art, floor-to-ceiling views, full-service spa and of course the signature Four Seasons doting service. Welcome to East Palo Alto, the edge of suburban sprawl and office park strip malls just minutes from the ivory towers of higher learning at Stanford. The 200 room hotel is "the centerpiece of the prestigious new University Circle complex" (or is this just a euphemism glorifying another Office Park?) But if you're on business in Palo Alto, what could be better than the classic luxury of Four Seasons with a high tech touch? Where in-room and poolside spa treatments are available after a long day of meetings. And guestrooms are spacious, full of light, and loaded with technology.
Four Seasons Silicon Valley, Official Site
Four Seasons Silicon Valley, Five Star Alliance
February 9, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Michael Winfield, President & CEO, Cambridge Beaches Here is the inside scoop about this classic bermuda resort from the CEO ...
20 cottages were totally refurbished in 2005 and this winter Allspice, Sunset, Sunrise, Turtle Cove South and Turtle Cove Suite will all receive new bathrooms, new flooring, new furniture and new decor. 15 other unites will receive all new devor as well. We are planning to replace existing televisions with new flat screens. High Speed Internet access is now available in all cottages. We are waiting to hear from contractors, but I can tell you that we are very excited about creating a brand new experience at Cambridge Beaches. A multi-level pool with waterfalls and terraced seating areas overlooking Mangrove Bay is proposed. This will create an incredible atmosphere around the Main House, not only for recreation but also for another incredible dining experience. We hope construction will begin soon and plan to have this open by March. As I said, this is not confirmed quite yet, but stay tuned!In addition to the message we received above from Mr. Winfield, we want to make sure that you know that this winter, after the success of the infinity pool at "North Rock", Cambridge Beaches will be renovating "Sunset" and "Bay Grapes" to become pool suites as well! Cambridge Beaches, Official Site Cambridge Beaches, Five Star Alliance
The French are supersizing it. In the small, historic seaside port of Rochefort, near La Rochelle on the country's Atlantic coast, expert craftsmen have undertaken an enorme project: the reconstruction of the 65 meter ship that carried the legendary General La Fayette to join General Washington and the American leaders in their fight for independence in 1780. When it was first constructed, the Hermione required 11 months of work by hundreds of skilled workers; its reconstruction will take 10 years, and cost $10 million. This is the ultimate symbol of Franco-American fraternity, and an emblem of France's past naval strength. And a brilliant museum to visit, off the beaten path in France.
Party like a rockstar, or just get pampered like one, at the Sunset Marquis Hollywood hotspot, that's not exactly below the radar, but very much a hidden sanctuary in a tree-lined street just off Sunset Strip's main drag. Where else could you relax in your own magnificent Mediterranean style villa in the heart of the City of Angels? And surrounded by lush gardens, private landscaped terraces, and heated pools, to boot? As befits the hotel of choice for the international jet set and music industry clientele, villas and suites are bountifully equipped with oversized whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, private fax lines and high-speed internet access. And of course there's the on-site private recording studio and buzzing LA hotspot Whiskey Bar (talk about a rock n roll social scene).
Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas, Official Site
Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas, Five Star Alliance
February 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The biggest, baddest party of the year (leaps and bounds better than Mardi Gras) has been announced, and this is the year to go. Proudly emerging from reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Katrina, NOLA is as enticing as ever, though there's still a long way to go. And tourism's the ticket to get there. Following its historic tradition, 2006 Jazz Fest promises to be an awesome show, with Fats Domino already signed on to the line-up of legendary musicians. In fact, organizers have announced the show will take place over two weekends, April 28-30 and May 5-7. Advance tickets are $30 per day, and if you act fast, there might still be room at the stunning Windsor Court, consistently awarded as one of the world's finest hotels.
Windsor Court Hotel, Official Site
Windsor Court Hotel, Five Star Alliance