Zagat swoons. This sumptuous hotel oasis is professed a "culinary gift to the city by high-end foodies wowed by its "exquisite" Louisiana-influenced Contemporary American cuisine." And it's true: the New Orleans Grill has long been recognized as one of the country's finest restaurants. The elegant setting surpasses the expectations of even the most exacting of critics; the Windsor Court Hotel is a haven of Old World refinement and gracious Southern hospitality. The restaurant's walls have been transformed by beautiful murals by local artist Auseklis Ozals-- each detailing a different New Orleans scene. The menu is exceptional, with mouth-watering items like ravioli of jumbo lump crab, salad of roast quail and porcini with Boudin Noir, seared Hudson Valley foie gras, and tartare of scallops and cappaccio of tuna. Simply divine.
The folks at Grace Bay Club do Mother's Day right. In fact, they make a month long celebration of it, honoring moms with a fantastic package that includes a custom-tailored portrait session. Just a short hop from Miami, Grace Bay Club offers some of the best accommodations in the Caribbean. The all-suite luxury resort-- comprised of 38 family-friendly suites at the Villas and the 21-suite-adults-only Hotel-- offers a slew of amenities and activities: swimming pools, Spa and fitness center, yoga on the beach, Kid's Town, tennis, snorkeling, sailing and fishing. Needless to say, the resort is consistently ranked at the top of all the "World's Best" lists. Just what doesn't the Picture Perfect Package include? This unbeatable Mother's Day Package is available until May 31, and includes: four nights oceanfront accommodations in a new Villa suite, chilled champagne and fruit basket in room on arrival, daily continental breakfast, daily three-course candlelit dinner at the Anacaona Restaurant, one hour massage at the Anani Spa, airport meet and greet, welcome rum punch, and a personalized one-hour photo session for the family or couple. Starting at $2,974 per couple. Grace Bay Club, Five Star Alliance
April 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The world-renowned architect's new landmark is stunning. Following in the footsteps of his extraordinary Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the new hotel incorporates the same materials in its exquisite design, comprised of layered ribbons of colored titanium. As described by the Guggenheim Organization, "his ebullient structure is a response to the unbroken landscape of lush vineyards surrounding the building, while the hues of the colored metal are inspired by the rich tones of the sky and vineyard." The hotel is located in the heart of the Rioja wine region in Basque country, and will debut on July 1. Each of the 43 suites are uniquely designed by the architect, and equipped with luxurious amenities and the latest in technology. Other features to anticipate: the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa (featuring "wine therapy"), rooftop bar and lounge with open fireplace, wine bar, swimming pool, and a large banquet hall converted from an ancient cellar. Starwood's Luxury Collection-- in joint management of the place with the leading wine company Vinos de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal-- touts its signature restaurant as "set to become one of Spain's leading centers for fine gastronomy, combining traditional Rioja cuisine with modern influences by the well-known Echaurren Restaurant (1 Michelin star)." Bring it on.
Tis the season. You just can't beat New York in the springtime. The Big Apple is brimming with film festivals (TriBeCa runs through May 7, followed in the summer by Bryant Park's free evening screenings), superb museum exhibits (if you haven't yet seen MOMA after its extraordinary renovation, now is the time), dining options galore, the world's best shopping, and of course the much talked about theatrical debut of Julia Roberts in "Three Days of Rain." Where to stay when you hit the Big City? The Hotel Plaza Athenee, of course, with its superb location within walking distance to Central Park, Madison Avenue shopping, museums and theater. After soaking up the buzz of the city that never sleeps, you'll appreciate the quiet retreat that's very much a part of the scene, but tucked away on a quiet tree-lined street. This European-style haven of calm is known for its stellar, personalized service, fantastic contemporary restaurant Arabelle, and famed (and very romantic and exotic) Bar Seine. Book a suite with a balcony and you'll be swooning (they're gorgeous).
Hotel Plaza Athenee, Five Star Alliance
So maybe there's no availability for the Cannes Film Festival. This baby's been booked for months. But after the film festival struts its stuff from May 17-28, the Hotel Martinez is yours for the taking. This is the French Riviera at its most chic, where you can take in the rays in style (after all, Cannes boasts 300 days of sunshine per year). The legendary Art Deco hotel commands a perch overlooking the largest private beach on the Croisette, though its octagonal pool-- surrounded by towering palm trees-- is an equally inviting spot. The finest accommodations in this award-winning establishment are on the 7th floor: terrace apartments and exceptional Junior suites that offer panoramic views of the sea from private teakwood decks with sunken Jacuzzis. Almost like a personal spa, the marble bathrooms are a heavenly space to relax and unwind. Enjoy the hotel's acclaimed Givenchy Spa--filled with natural light from its solarium-- with a specially designed Spa Package 2006. Starting at EUR 305 per night, the Spa Package includes luxurious accommodations, continental breakfast in room or restaurant buffet breakfast, one 50-minute massage per person, and free access to the fitness center and sauna.
Hotel Martinez, Five Star Alliance
For a world-renowned and fashionable joint such as the St. Regis Resort Aspen-- booked solid through the winter and summer months-- this spring special is unheard of. Your jaw will drop, your eyes will pop… surely this rate is too good to be true? For a limited time, from May 12 to June 13, rooms start at $195 a night, with a third night free. So you can enjoy the perfect springtime temperatures while the Rockies are abloom with color, and the town hot spots (without the crowds) are yours for the taking. With hiking right out the front door, luxurious rooms, restaurant and Spa that are consistently ranked among the top in the nation, what more could you ask for?
St. Regis Resort Aspen, Five Star Alliance
Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals
Twist my arm. Fine. I'll let you in on a little secret. After a packed winter season with scarcely any availability, the Four Seasons Maui is welcoming the summer with plenty of rooms available-- and tons of value added packages, like Bed and Breakfast, Room and Car, and Romance For All Seasons. Why would this award-winning hotel-- considered one of the world's finest resorts--give us such a break? Well, most folks don't realize that June is an ideal time to visit Hawaii, with days in the mid 80s kissed by delicious ocean breezes and cool, pleasant evenings. But now you can enjoy all the services and amenities that have distinguished this pad as one of the best in the world-- with an even better value. Championship golf, white sand beaches, delicious cuisine, and the largest guest rooms on the island with beautiful views of this Pacific paradise. But shhhh! Mum's the word. Space is filling up fast.
How do we love The Homestead? Let us count the ways. Historic hot springs that have rejuvenated travelers since the 1700s. An obscene amount of recreational activities (want to indulge your inner sportsman? Take to the hills for falconry or fly fishing. Prefer to take it easy? Relax in the Spa and naturally-heated pools). Ten dining options--from the dressed-down casual to elegantly formal. Dazzling guestrooms with oodles of amenities. The scenic setting and surrounding countryside of Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. A superb Children's Program. Golf, tennis and all that jazz. Overall, the best kind of digs to bring your mom to celebrate Mother's Day. Over the weekend of May 12-14, mothers are honored and adored. The Homestead's special Mother's Day Package, starting at $219 per person, includes luxurious accommodations, breakfast daily, afternoon tea and nightly movies in the historic theater, choice of manicure or pedicure, photograph sitting, use of sauna and steam room, and of course the spectacular Mother's Day Brunch. Two night minimum stay required.
The Homestead, Five Star Alliance
A craggy volcanic shoreline jutting up from the deep Atlantic blue. Fields of flowers, lush semi-tropical vegetation, and grapevines. Days defined by balmy breezes and cloudless skies. Welcome to Madeira. The beautiful Atlantic outpost celebrated for its centuries-old wine making tradition, sea-faring days of old, and temperate, therapeutic climate. Here in Portugal's prestigious paradise, discover the legendary-- and newly refurbished-- Reid's Palace, which reopened on April 13 after a multi-million dollar renovation. This is Madeira's creme de la creme of luxury hotels-- situated on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Funchal for over a century. The new Reid's Palace is distinguished by its fresh and salt water swimming pools, brand new Spa (with four treatment rooms, dry saunas and steam rooms, fitness area, and sea-side terraces), conference room, and renovation of 70 hotel rooms in the Garden and Main building. While you're checking out the awesome refurbishment, don't miss Madeira's May Flower Festival. For your enjoyment, the hotel has arranged a five-night package with lots of additional goodies, starting at EUR 934 per person. The package includes five nights accommodations in a classic room, daily buffet breakfast, fruit basket and 5-year old Madeira wine in room upon arrival, one traditional afternoon tea, excursion to Palheiro Gardens and Botanical Garden, visit to Orchid Farm, Dinner Dance at The Dining Room, and flowers on departure.
April 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In the heart of Virginia's picturesque Shenandoah Valley in a storybook setting, The Inn at Little Washington presents a dining experience that is hailed "the gastronomic equivalent of sex." (Thank you, Zagat.) At this splendid country inn, somewhere between the first course of Carpaccio of Baby Lamb with Rosemary Mustard, the second course of Pecan-Crusted Soft Shell Crab Tempura with Italian Mustard Fruit, and the main course of Filet Mignon of Rarish Tuna Capped with Seared Duck Foie Gras on Charred Onions with a Burgundy Butter Sauce, it's not hard to see why this is the country's most exulted culinary destination. Even Alice Waters licks her chops over these entrees. The restaurant's 30 intimate tables are spoiled with an award-winning wine list (the 14,000 bottle cellar includes the finest selections from France and California) and plates that are devised by the legendary Chef Patrick O'Connell, dubbed the "Pope of American Cuisine."
And if you should harbor any doubts about the Inn's gastronomic excellence (God forbid), let's take a quick run through the award list. The first place ever to receive Mobil's 5 stars for its restaurant, and 5 stars for its accommodations. Likewise, a double whammy with AAA: the first joint to earn the prestigious 5 Diamond Award for both room and board. Top 10 Best Restaurants in the World by IHT. Zagat #1 restaurant in the fifty United States. And Travel and Leisure jumped on the band wagon with another #1 in America rating.