August 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Many Caribbean hot spots have been booked solid for months for the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. Though a few luxurious resorts in Jamaica—including the Jamaica Inn, Ritz Carlton Rose Hall, and Half Moon—still have a few rooms available (some resorts require a minimum night stay of 4+ nights). Soft white sand beaches dotted with palms, lush forests and tropical nature reserves with waterfalls, orange sunsets over the turquoise sea… Jamaica is the stuff of postcards. And the third largest island in the Caribbean boasts the best golf. The courses—like the White Witch at Rose Hall-– are known worldwide for their awesome challenges and stunning natural beauty. To ensure a sunny Caribbean vacation over the holidays, act fast!
What could be better than a summer Caribbean getaway? The sugary white sand beaches are yours for the taking (hurricanes are not always on the forecast), the days are marked by cool ocean air breezes (as opposed to abundant East Coast humidity), and other-worldly resorts like Cap Juluca offer awesome discounts. Located on the island of Anguilla, just minutes from St. Maarten, Cap Juluca is an award-winning paradise of Moorish-style villas, five-star restaurants, tropical gardens, unparalleled service, and pristine beaches. The party doesn't stop there; Cap Juluca's got an amazing array of recreational facilities, including fitness center, bicycles and private golf carts, aqua golf driving range, putting green, croquet lawn, swimming pool, tennis courts, and endless water sports. The snorkeling and wind surfing are excellent. This luxurious resort is beloved by readers of Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, who routinely rank it within the Caribbean's top three resorts. Until the end of August, pay for three nights at Cap Juluca and get a fourth for free! The offer includes continental breakfast served on your private terrace or full breakfast in the restaurant, use of the tennis courts and recreational facilities, afternoon tea and a bottle of rum.
The best kept secret in Paris is the Hotel Lancaster. Tucked away in a small alley off the Champs Elysees, this luxurious hideaway is housed in a 19th century nobleman's mansion. It is an elegant and intimate place, with the feel of a private residence. The furniture in the house is part of an extensive and continuously evolving antique collection of over 1,000 pieces. And with impeccable service—the staff have truly perfected the art of hospitality—the Hotel Lancaster is still run like the private home of a connoisseur. Each of the 60 rooms, graced with traditional furniture and paintings by old masters, embody a style of Parisian chic, mixing the historical and the contemporary. The attention to detail and excellent standards have service have led the hotel to become a particular favorite with royalty and society figures. As featured recently in Forbes:
In the 1930s, Dietrich, the German screen idol, made it her home for months at a time. In the 1980s, Jagger often crashed there. Nowadays, it's the preferred Paris hostelry of Almodóvar, as well as director David Lynch, opera star Barbara Hendricks and a mix of discerning business and leisure clients, all of whom love the Lancaster's unique charm.
The Hotel Lancaster is currently offering a Special Weekend Promotion, valid for a minimum two-night stay on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The offer for a Standard room with queen bed, inclusive of continental or English Breakfast daily and a welcome amenity, is EUR 374 (excellent savings from the usual EUR 470 per night). Subject to availability.
Ski with the wind! Vail Resorts announced on Tuesday that it is switching to wind power. By purchasing 152,000 megawatt-hours of wind energy, Vail Resorts will offset 100 percent of its company-wide energy use. According to the New York Times:
The announcement makes Vail the second-largest corporate buyer of wind energy in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, after Whole Foods Market Inc., the big supermarket chain that went to all wind power earlier this year.
Vail Resorts will buy their wind power credits from a Boulder company called Renewable Choice Energy. Vail is leading the pack in bringing alternative energy to the mainstream. Other resorts, like the Aspen Skiing Company, are following suit. And with global warming threatening to reduce much of the mountain snowpack in the West, this is excellent news.
Ahhh, the Hotel Bel-Air. Discriminating Los Angeles hot spot, Mobil five-star award winner, the most prestigious address in the city, and the embodiment of Hollywood glamour and luxury. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Hotel Bel-Air has recently completed a $20 million, four-year renovation to several public areas and private guest suites. These upgrades include a new technology-equipped boardroom, state of the art equipment in the fitness center, new banquettes on The Restaurant's Terrace, new teak furniture at the pool, and in-room workstations for those workaholics who set up camp in their suites. The most interesting new feature? The customized suites for long-stay guests, who often stay at the hotel for several months of the year, and consider it their home away from home (lucky ducks). Specific examples include The Chalon Suite (150)—with hardwood flooring, custom-painted mural on the ceiling, new lighting, different color scheme for the bedding, drapery and upholstery, and a wet bar—and the Herb Garden Suite (264)—with reupholstered furniture, a new color scheme for paint, wallpaper and drapery, lighted make-up mirrors in the bathroom, new carpet in the living room, and hardwood flooring in the foyer. Fourteen of these rooms and suites were updated with suggestions by Hotel Bel-Air's long-stay guests.
August 1, 2006
By: Guest Writer
By Alex Rose
If you want a sexy weekend away in London, book Room 101, the Four Poster Suite, at the Covent Garden Hotel. Why the Four Poster Suite, you ask? Because it has the largest four-poster bed in London which measures 8-ft x 8-ft. The Covent Garden is recognized as one of London's finest boutique hotels. It belongs to the Firmdale Group, which is owned and operated by Kit and Tim Kemp. They've created a contemporary and eye-catching English feel throughout their hotel with antiques, richly textured tapestries and rugs, and oriental art. Each of the hotel's 58 rooms is individually different and each has an intimacy which makes you feel right at home. The staff is very accommodating and fantastic, and personally knows which plays to recommend in the theatreland district (which is within walking distance of the hotel).
For dinner, make reservations at the exquisite Yauatcha, on the corner of Broadwick and Berwick Streets. For the main course, try the delicacies such as native lobster in black bean sauce, and the cakes and pastries afterward. For the evening nightcap, try the bar at the hotel. The tables are arranged discreetly so you can talk without fear of being overheard as you share a drink together. In the morning, room service is a great way to start the day because it's quick and easy so you can enjoy breakfast in bed together.
By: Guest Writer
Welcome to a world of sea breezes, reflecting pools, turquoise sea, and powder-fine white-sand beaches. Amanyara is nestled on the tip of a 5,000 acre nature reserve-- the Northwest Point Marine National Park-- on the secluded western shore of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos islands. Surrounded by the third largest coral reef system in the world, the stunning archipelago is known for its pristine beaches and some of the best scuba diving in the world. The destination resort of Amanyara is celebrated by beach lovers and water sport enthusiasts alike. With a fantastic oceanfront setting, the 40 timber-shingled Pavilions are spacious and luxuriously comfortable, with outdoor terraces and surrounded by large glass doors which open to the sea breezes. The attentive, understated service at Aman Resorts is world-renowned (even the most discerning clients can't stop gushing about it.) With some of the world's best scuba diving offshore, the fully equipped Dive Centre at Amanyara offers a range of courses suitable for both beginners and experienced divers. Excellent snorkeling is also available; a complimentary snorkeling trip departs daily from the Dive Centre. The Beach Club provides a variety of water sports equipment from Hobie Cats to ocean kayaks. And the resort has two flood-lit clay tennis courts, and spa and massage treatments can be enjoyed in the privacy of guests' private pavilions with Amanyara's team of skilled therapists. From June 15 to October 31, 2006, enjoy a Summer Introductory Rate of $950 per night at Amanyara, with a three-night minimum stay. Includes airport transfers, non-motorized water sports, use of tennis courts and equipment, mini bar, and all telephone calls.
French formal dining at its best. The award-winning Le Fountainebleau is a San Diego treasure, its focus on attentive service and artfully conceived menus incorporating fresh seasonal ingredients. The dining room is elegant, full of antiques and beautiful floral arrangements, with a grand piano setting the mood with background music. Named San Diego's most romantic restaurant by the San Diego Reader, the restaurant is also beloved for its Friday night seafood buffet. The Seafood Soiree features over 30 items: a sumptuous display of oysters, caviar, lobster, mussels, gourmet sushi and other favorites. Located in the Westgate Hotel.
Nestled among vineyards, olive groves, and Tuscan forest, the Villa Mangiacane is a majestic 16th century villa, overlooking the famous Duomo in Florence from its loggia. Once owned by the ancient and powerful Machiavelli family, the villa also bears the artistic influence of Michelangelo. The hotel has been completely and lovingly restored, with exquisite historical touches coexisting with luxurious modern details. The Villa boasts its own library, beautiful gardens, Renaissance frescoes, full-size infinity pool, and decadent Master Suite. Guests enjoy lavish treatments at the new spa, using homegrown ingredients such as grape seed and olive oil. Art exhibitions are frequent, featuring sponsored on-site artists and the proceeds go to African charities. Meals are divine, ranging from three to seven courses, served outdoors overlooking the Chianti countryside, or in the formal dining room. The Villa has just recently opened its Vineyard Villa wing, featuring 19 spectacular rooms. Enjoy an escape to Villa Mangiacane this summer—soaking up the Renaissance culture and art of Florence—with the Vineyard Villa Introductory Summer Rates. Classic room starts at EUR 250, based on double occupancy. Includes Continental Buffet Breakfast, and Villa Mangiacane wine and olive oil tasting. Valid until September 30, 2006.
There's Claridges: the London classic and epitome of grand English style that has been favored by celebs and illustrious families for over a century. (The 1999 designer renovation of the Victorian-Art Deco property is still talked about.) And then there's The Connaught-- located in the heart of Mayfair-- as famous for its winding majestic mahogany staircase as it is for its impeccable service. And of course there's The Berkeley, situated in the fashionable area of Belgravia, home to the Michelin star rated Petrus restaurant and hip Blue Bar. The Maybourne Group is offering an unbelievable summer deal at these three landmark London hotels, each boasting a superb location within walking distance of London's best attractions and museums. Talk about twice as nice. Reserve one room for a stay between July 22 and September 4th, 2006, and the second room is complimentary. An ideal offer for a family or two couples. Prices start from GBP 375 for two rooms, an unprecedented deal. Rates are subject to availability, and exclusive of VAT at 17.5 percent.