July 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We've written about the Babymoon Packages at the Four Seasons Chicago and Peter Island in the Caribbean. And now it seems the trend is catching on. More and more expectant couples are choosing to travel before the baby's arrival-- to treat themselves to a few days of romance and pampering before the baby makes three. And more and more luxury hotels are organizing Babymoon packages to accommodate them. As highlighted in Newsweek International, Jamaica's Half Moon resort has organized an elaborate, five-day package where moms-to-be (in their first trimester) can even swim with dolphins, which use sonar to communicate with the fetus. At Las Ventanas in Los Cabos, the four-night maternity spa package offers prenatal yoga and exercises, and a special gift of a silver baby fork-and-spoon set.
Dating back to 1228, the luxurious Ashford Castle is set on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland's second largest lake, in the picturesque village of Cong. Once the home of the Guiness family, and a favorite haunt of presidents and Hollywood celebrities, this world-class resort is set on 350 beautiful acres. This is the ideal venue for a fun family vacation with its excellent recreational activities and facilities. The "Ashford Welcomes Families" package is designed to blend the luxurious Ashford setting with activities the entire family will enjoy. The package includes accommodations for two nights in a Deluxe Family Room with two queen-sized beds sleeping up to two adults and two children (12 years and under), breakfast daily, two dinners, horseback riding for one hour, a Falconry lesson (45 minutes) and one round of golf on the 9-hole Stableford golf course. The package is EUR 1,875 for the entire family (inclusive of taxes), subject to availability. Available until September 30, 2006.
At the end of a country lane near Damariscotta, at the tip of the peninsula jutting into the Atlantic, the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point is perched dramatically above the crashing surf, a quintessential image of Maine. Here, the landscape and beautiful summer cottages are part of a quaint Down East community that houses one of the best restaurants in Maine. The Bradley Inn is a century-old Bed and Breakfast that delights guests with gracious hospitality and charming accommodations. Its 16 gracious guest rooms feature four poster cherry beds, fireplaces, New England period furnishings, and garden or ocean views. Guests enjoy biking through the area's great natural beauty, croquet on the lawn in the afternoons, and canoeing the local coves and waterways. In the evenings, guests are spoiled at the exceptional dining room, winner of the Wine Spectator award of excellence. As described by Food and Wine Magazine:
(Chef) Carinhas has an eclectic take on local products that lifts them to another level altogether—like big-bellied Maine clams that she fries until crisp and serves with an anchovy mayonnaise, or Atlantic halibut, seared and presented with a Tuscan contorno of white beans and bitter greens.
The city by the bay offers an unforgettable summer getaway: boutique hopping in Union Square, soaking up the sun at Dolores Park, sipping an espresso at Cafe Trieste in North Beach, touring SOMA's exciting museums, strolling through the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. And San Francisco is always noticeably cooler in the summer months, a soothing change from the broiling heat waves on the East Coast. While exploring San Francisco's many charms, stay at the Four Seasons and get a fourth night free! The hotel is ideally located in the heart of downtown, just two blocks from Union Square, the Financial District, the Moscone Convention Center, and the Museum of Modern Art. The building features floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase stunning views of the city and San Francisco Bay. Dine at Seasons Restaurant and catch a glimpse into the art of California cuisine with the open display kitchen. Pamper yourself with a green tea and ginger wrap at the Spa. Or work out in the world-class fitness facility at Sports Club/LA, the best health club in the city. And of course the hotel offers all of the luxury and impeccable service that one expects at a Four Seasons.
We've been waiting with bated breath. (Well, that's not entirely accurate. Some are aghast at the changing face of Tahoe.) But the day has arrived at Northstar-at-Tahoe: construction for the area's first five-star ski-in/ski-out resort is now underway. The new $300-million resort project, which will also include residences, is scheduled to open in 2009. The Ritz-Carlton Highlands will have 173-rooms and a 20,000 square foot spa, featuring pool and treatment rooms with mountain views, and oodles of meeting space.
The world-famous Broadmoor—adorned with AAA's five-diamond award for 30 consecutive years, and Mobil's five-star award for even longer-- has been a vacation destination for its long and distinguished history. Since 1918, The Broadmoor has charmed guests as one of the world's premier resorts, the darling of presidents and celebrities. Located at the foot of the Rockies, surrounded by miles of hiking and biking trails around Cheyenne Lake, this Grand Dame offers the finest accommodations, services, and recreational facilities, including three championship golf courses, nine plexi-pave tennis courts, the excellent spa, and award-winning dining at Charles Court. This summer, take advantage of Summer Escape Rates as low as $250 a night (double occupancy), with added discounts of 10 percent in the spa, 20 percent on golf fees, and 35 percent on suites. This is a steal, as summer rates normally fall between $350-400 a night.
Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals
Nestled in hundreds of acres of jungle in the Yucatan Peninsula's Riviera Maya, Maroma is a secluded hideaway on the edge of the turquoise Caribbean. An Orient-Express Hotel, Maroma reopened in February 2006 with many luxurious renovations, including the addition of eight Sian Nah Suites and a new restaurant. Though only 20 minutes from the Cancun International Airport, the resort is tucked away in a nature reserve, with extensive coral reefs located just offshore from the long stretches of sugary white sand. The 65 elegant rooms and suites are situated within lush gardens, each with open-air terrace, just steps away from the beach, pool, jacuzzi, and the lavish Kinan Spa—where guests are pampered with specialty spa services in open-air palapas with private gardens. From now until November 16, 2006, stay four nights, but only pay for three! This special package includes welcome cocktail, a snorkeling trip to the beautiful reef, use of fitness center, airport transfers and daily a la carte breakfast. Special offer rates start at $1,290 for a Garden Room.
Maroma is also offering a series of Yoga retreats, comprised of daily progressive yoga classes, meditation sessions, spa treatments, a healthy gourmet cooking class, and a menu which includes healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These six-day Yoga Retreats include accommodations for five nights, Holistic Health Advisor Consultations, welcome reception and dinner, daily meditation, daily spa breakfast, daily yoga classes, daily spa treatment, one Healthy Spa gourmet cooking class, trip to Koba, snorkeling excursion, and farewell reception and dinner. Double occupancy rate is $4,475 in Garden Room. Yoga retreats are limited to a maximum of ten people in order to ensure personalized attention. Maroma is now taking reservations for the August 24 to 29, 2006, October 19 to 24, November 9 to 14, 2006, May 3 to 8, 2007, and June 7 to 12, 2007 retreats.
Ritz-Carlton is expanding its portfolio of award-winning luxury properties in the Caribbean, with its eight hotel in St. Lucia slated to open in 2009. And the island destination isn't a shabby choice; St. Lucia is celebrated for its unspoiled natural beauty and verdant landscape marked by the Piton volcanoes. Situated on Half Moon Bay with spectacular views of the Piton peaks, the new Ritz-Carlton will be an exclusive haven of 275 oceanfront rooms. The resort will be enhanced by a 20,000 square foot spa and two 18-hole golf courses overlooking the Atlantic, including one designed by Arnold-Palmer. Dining venues will include a specialty restaurant with pool grill, 30-seat lobby lounge, and a clubhouse restaurant and bar next to the golf course. Ritz-Carlton is already anticipating the St. Lucia resort to be a hot spot for destination weddings and meetings.
It doesn't get much better than the stunning Amalfi Coast. Dotted with pictureseque hill towns and sun-kissed vineyards and olive groves, the cliffs soar above the azure waters of the Mediterranean. In this spectacular landscape, the Hotel Caruso commands the ultimate location, situated 350 meters above the sea, hugging the cliffside. The entrance is magical: wind your way between tiny alleys lined with white stucco houses. The hotel's 50 rooms are individually decorated with 18th century antiques, and have terraces and sea views, while some boast a private garden. Each spacious room is equipped with satellite TV, DVD (movies are available at reception), private bar, separate bath and shower in the bathrooms, deluxe amenities from Bulgari, and Play Station available upon request. The infinity pool is among the most beautiful in the world, sitting high atop the cliff overlooking the sea. A variety of massage and spa services are available in-room, including traditional massage, Shiatsu, Senritsu: Firming and Toning Body Treatment, and Sensai Beauty: Premier Facial Treatment. The town of Ravello is a delight to discover, though the hotel also provides a complimentary shuttle service to the neighboring towns of Amalfi and Positano.
In early July, The Stein Group announced that the 19th century palatial hotel, located between Nice and Monaco on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Med, has joined its gorgeous collection of luxury hotels. Located in Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is surrounded by lush gardens draped with bougainvillea and wisteria, the deep blue of the Mediterranean, and the pink facades of villas in the French Riviera's charming villages. As one of the area's most renowned boutique hotels, with only eight rooms and 12 suites, Cap Estel has hosted royalty, politicians, and celebrities from all over the world. Guests are delighted by the personalized service and excellent facilities: private beach, indoor heated pool, outdoor salt water infinity pool perched over the Mediterranean, state-of-the-art gym, and extensive gardens. All rooms have a balcony or terrace with sea view, and are equipped with cutting edge technology: LCD or plasma screen TVs, DVD/CD player, individually controlled A/C and heating units, and internet connections. The property has just emerged from a meticulous, three-year restoration. The Stein Group now boasts 17 prestigious hotels in its portfolio, many of which dot the Mediterranean.