August 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Summer specials abound in the warmer climes. Case in point: Old Bahama Bay Resort, newly dubbed Old Bahama Bay at Ginn sur Mer, is offering an Endless Summer Package for a song. Enjoy deluxe accommodations, welcome drink upon arrival, round-trip airport transfers, and complimentary use of sail boats, kayaks, snorkel equipment, Hobie Cats, fitness center and bicycles-- starting from just $209 per night in an Ocean View Junior Suite. Three night minimum stay required; available until October 30th, 2007. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Old Bahama Bay has an ambiance of barefoot elegance with an out-island remote feel, though it's only 56 miles from the Florida coast. A new member of the Ginn Resorts family, the full-service resort has got it all: beachfront suites with luxurious touches, a 72-slip port of entry marina, three restaurants, and a host of activities including the 4,000 sq ft heated swimming pool with infinity edge, massage services, fitness center, fishing, snorkeling and boating.
Just an hour from San Francisco but worlds a part. The Carneros Inn, frequently featured in top travel magazines around the globe, is a beautiful oasis; relaxation incarnate. Designed to reflect its rural surroundings, The Carneros Inn combines local architecture-- barns, silos, ranchers' cottages-- with stylish, modern interiors. Brimming with the region's distinct charm, these rustic cottages are nestled among 27 acres of grape vines, unspoiled farmland, and apple orchards. These roomy accommodations don't skimp on the comfort; there are wood-burning fireplaces with polished concrete hearths, private patios, spacious bathrooms with soaking tubs, flat-panel TVs with DVD players, and high-speed Internet access. Enjoy a glass of California's finest wines in the private gardens, delicious dining at the Hilltop restaurant, outdoor showers under the stars, and decadent spa treatments inspired by local ingredients. Indeed, the Spa at The Carneros Inn is a destination in and of itself. Indulge in a Destination Spa Day and enjoy a full day in one of the cottages complimentary, when you purchase $300 worth of luxurious spa treatments. Please call (707) 299-4900 to make your reservations. Cottages offered from 10-6 p.m. on the day of spa services. Monday through Thursday only.
Bellhops? Pa-leese! The Diva of Ocean Drive, fresh from a glamorous redesign by trendsetting designer Kelly Wearstler, offers personal assistant services for guests. Upon arrival at The Tides South Beach, you are welcomed by your very own Personal Assistant who delivers advanced round-the-clock services: beachside amenity baskets with bottled water, magazines, and sunscreen, in-suite dining and catering, laundry, dry cleaning and shoe shine service as well as complete business services such as translation, transcription, desk-top publishing, postal and parcel service. Trained by Robert Watson from The Guild of Professional English Butlers, the hotel's PAs do it all. And with The Tides' Guest Recognition Policy, these personal assistants understand guests' preferences before they even arrive.
Stunning accommodations surrounded by some of the most sublime scenery on earth. Welcome to the Spa Hotel Jagdhof, situated in the midst of the Tyrolean mountains, just 30 minutes from Innsbruck, against the backdrop of the Stubai Glacier. This Relais and Chateaux property is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts-- country walks through the slopes of the Alps provide glimpses of chamois, stags, and dear-- and spa lovers, alike. The hotel's renowned Vital & Beautywelt Spa is a beautiful oasis that offers 17 different treatments in an area spanning 2,000 square meters. Exceptional cuisine includes hunted game and lamb from the hotel's own farm. With the Tyrolean Spa Experience package, enjoy four nights in a cozy 'Zwölfer' apartment including extensive breakfast, a six-course à la carte dinner, complimentary use of spa, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and steam rooms, one stimulating Tyrolean massage, one glacier massage with high-quality natural oils from the Alps and return transfers from/to Innsbruck airport. Rates starting from EUR 899 per person for four nights. Valid until September 30, 2007.
Stay at the Conrad Indianapolis, the luxury destination hotel in the heart of Indiana's capital, anytime until August 31, 2007 and you can earn double Hilton HHonors points and a continental breakfast for two at Vitesse. Since its debut last year, Conrad Indianapolis has been wowing its guests with its lavish, high-tech facilities. The 23-storey hotel tower houses the luxurious Spa Chakra, fitness facilities, two unique dining options (a brasserie-style restaurant and a lounge), and state-of-the-art meeting and event space.
There's a lot to love at the InterContinental Hong Kong: the large outdoor heated swimming pool and unique trio of infinity spa pools, the luxurious I-Spa (with its feng shui inspired ambiance), prime waterfront location in Kowloon, unparalleled dining, not to mention the spectacular views. But one of the best things about the hotel is the stunning Presidential Suite, one of the most beautiful in Asia, and the city's priciest and largest. The price tag is $10,000 a night for 7,000 square feet of pure luxury. The 2,500 square ft terrace boasts its own infinity pool overlooking the sparkling lights of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. The wrap-around terrace can easily seat 50 folks for dinner, and 24-hour room service from Alain Ducaisse's Spoon Restaurant is a perk enjoyed only by guests of the Presidential Suite. Of course this five-room facility has made the roster of Forbes' most expensive hotel rooms in the world.
Thailand's highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns to the hills of the Golden Triangle in 2008. Mark your calendars for March 31-April 6, for some serious fun in the sun. Event organizer, Anantara Resorts, describes the event as wildly entertaining, ranked as the 6th largest on the Thai tourism calendar. And it's easy to understand why. A charitable event that raises money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang, King's Cup Elephant Polo is chock full of celebrities, seasoned elephant polo players, colorful parades and elephants. Plus, it's location in spectacular northern Thailand showcases the natural beauty of the Golden Triangle region, home to Thailand's elephant population. Indeed Anantara Resort has its own Elephant Camp, an on-site sanctuary for these peaceful pachyderms. Located 60 kilometers north of the Chiang Rai airport, perched on a ridge overlooking the hills of Myanmar and Laos, Anantara is all about laid-back luxury. Here you can experience the refreshing chill of a Northern Thai sunrise shrouded in mountain mist; the rush of a longboat ride up the Mekong to Laos; the exhilaration of riding an elephant through bamboo jungle along the border of Burma.
PS. The sport of Elephant Polo poses no threat to the participating creatures, says the World Wildlife Fund.
First stop: Costa Rica. Steve Case is launching a new luxury resort company, Revolution Places, with an eye on environmental and cultural preservation. Only natural for a guy who grew up in Hawaii and feels passionately about not paving over paradise. The first environmentally-friendly project is an $800 million, 650-acre development in Cacique, Costa Rica, on the northwest Pacific coast. What's in store? A 120-villa One&Only resort by Sol Kerzner, who developed Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; a 180-unit Miraval: Life in Balance-branded destination spa resort; a Tom Doak-designed golf course; and a tennis and fitness center designed by Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf. Expected to open in 2010, the resort will be designed to reduce water and energy waste, with renewable energy sources and on-site treatment facilities to reuse waste water.
The moment we've all been waiting for. The Raffles experience has arrived in the Middle East. When Raffles Dubai opens its doors in October 2007, visitors will be blown away by what's been called "the hottest hotel of the year." It's not just the exciting architecture, inspired by the great pyramids of Egypt. Raffles promises an over-the-top, high octane dose of luxury: 11 distinctive restaurants and bars with culinary delights from all over the world, 248 opulent state rooms and suites, the one-hectare Sky Garden (perfect for outdoor celebrations), and the seriously decadent RafflesAmrita Spa. Located in Wafi City, adjunct to Wafi Mall, just 10 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Raffles Dubai offers the latest technology and blissful pampering. In a city that changes by the minute, Raffles Dubai is a prominent landmark, built to last.
Ritz-Carlton Dallas isn't the only luxury hotel to get a cutting-edge new restaurant designed and branded by a celebrity chef. (Dean Fearing's been getting a lot of press for the new $6 million Fearing's Restaurant, celebrating farm-to-market.) Ritz-Carlton is also launching a fancy new eatery in their hotel on 22nd Street in Washington D.C., overseen by Michelin three-star chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York. This Fall, he will launch West End: A Bistro by Eric Ripert, which will feature casual French-American fare. (And all the bloggers-- from the Metrocurean to Zagat Buzz-- are paying heed. The true foodies, those readers of Chowhound, are also taking note.) This is part of a trend identified by USA Today. Ornate dining rooms, in all their stiff formality, are a thing of the past, as luxury hotels are looking to open brand-name restaurant concepts led by popular, super-star chefs. Examples abound:
Ritz-Carlton just opened Jeroboam restaurant with Michelin three-star chef Heinz Winkler at its Moscow property and is working with Gordon Ramsay on a restaurant for Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt near Dublin.