Forget the full moon party. 2006 in Thailand is one year-long celebration, in honor of the King's 60th year on the throne. In early June, throngs took to the streets in parades and revelers enjoyed a week of work holidays, to commemorate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne on June 9, 1946. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest-reigning living monarch, and commands sincere loyalty and respect across the country, especially for his fight for the underprivileged classes. Now is the time to visit Thailand. Where to stay in Bangkok? Stake a suite at the riverside Peninsula Bangkok, and soak up the hotel's unparalleled luxury and panoramic views of the city and Chao Phraya River. At the hotel voted "World's Best Hotel" by Travel and Leisure readers, the service is legendary and the facilities-- three-tiered swimming pool, a Fitness Center with gymnasium, sauna, and steam rooms, tennis courts, and chic dining options-- are excellent. Related Articles, IHT, "Update: Royal Festivities Offset Seasonal Tourist Drop-Off"
A Bastille celebration at the Hotel Bel-Air is a jackpot for foodies, promising sumptuous French eats and bubbly, of course. On Friday, July 14, 2006, join Madeleine Sophie de Jean, Champagne Ambassador of Mumm, for a lively evening at this elegant LA establishment. Learn about the history of Bastille Day and Champagne Mumm and indulge in such flavorful dishes as seared foie gras with sauteed yellow peaches and black pepper caramel, seared Turbot filet with Champagne caviar sauce and asparagus and sorrel medley, and filet of beef with Bordelaise, roasted shallots, and gratin Dauphinois. Fireplace Courtyard Reception at 6:30 pm followed by dinner at 7:30 pm in The Palm Room. $225 per person.
Located in the center of Kowloon's lively Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, just a hop from the Star Ferry terminal, the Langham Hotel is an elegant oasis in a popular location. The recent $35 million renovation has transformed the hotel into a stylish delight, with lavish, contemporary guestrooms oozing state-of-the-art amenities (including the signature "blissful bed") and distinguished as one of the World's Top 10 Hi Tech Hotel rooms by the Sunday Times. As to be expected, facilities are top-notch: a gorgeous rooftop swimming pool and sundeck, excellent business center, a spacious Health Club, and excellent fine dining and hip bar scene. This summer, through September 10, this five-star sanctuary is cutting their prices and promoting a Summer Value Rate that you just can't beat. Starting at just $200 a night, which is 35 percent less than rack rates, including breakfast at Sun's Cafe, complimentary local phone calls, access to the pool and gym, and discounts on all the hotel's enticing restaurants.
In the heart of New Orleans, on the edge of the French Quarter, sits one of the world's best hotels. For over 20 years, the Windsor Court has pampered guests with its gracious Southern hospitality, elegant accommodations, and superlative amenities. The awards are numerous, bestowed by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure (among the top hotels in the US), Andrew Harper's Hideaway "World's Best Hotels", Mobil four-star, and AAA four-diamond.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, the hotel has been at the forefront in rebuilding the city of New Orleans with its Windsor Court Cares program, which makes charitable donations from room bookings and provides housing for volunteers. Their latest package combines tourism and civic responsibility for guests wishing to assist in reconstruction efforts. The two-night package (designed for groups of 10 or more) features a cooking class at Savvy Gourmet in Uptown New Orleans, followed by a visit to a city affected reconstruction site where participants serve foods prepared in class to volunteer workers. Part of the package price is also donated to the Slow Food New Orleans Relief Fund and to the Edible Schoolyard Project.
This elegant 140-acre resort offers an alluring array of recreational choices for the ideal summer getaway. Situated just 15 minutes from the Palm Beach International Airport, The Breakers is a legendary Florida resort with a premium oceanfront location, brand new $15 million beachfront experience, fabulous cuisine, extensive amenities, and an award-winning children's program. This summer at The Breakers, it's all about affordable luxury, with the Stay Longer and Save promotion, offering reduced summer rates based on length of stay. From June 1- September 30, 2006, summer savings are in full effect, both on room categories and recreational amenities. For example, for one or two nights, rates start at $259 per night for standard superior rooms, and for five nights or more, rates are an unbelievable $219 per night. The resort's top amenities are also available at reduced summer pricing: 20 percent savings at Spa services (Monday-Thursday, and 15 percent off on the weekends), 20 percent savings at select restaurants, including Sunday Brunch, 20 percent savings at the Coconut Crew kids camp, daily complimentary tennis court time and fitness classes, reduced Golf greens fees on the resort's two championship courses, and fabulous introductory pricing on daily rental fees for the new Luxury Beach Bungalows. Located along the newly transformed waterfront, the premium beach bungalows offer a private retreat by the ocean. Enjoy savings starting at $149 per day.
Who would've thought that the heart of Scottsdale would become the center of hip? And in this newly-glamorous and fashionable city, the Mondrian Hotel Scottsdale stands out as the sexiest thing around, much like its sister hotel in West Hollywood. Morgans Hotel Group (with its luxurious design-focused boutique hotels) has done it again. This 200-room "Urban Resort" is sophisticated and exciting, conveniently located overlooking the Scottsdale Mall gardens. Guest rooms are sleek and comfortable, with Wireless Internet, 42-inch plasma TVs, 300-thread count luxury bedding and European pillow top mattresses topped off with six pillows, Agua bath products, 200 movies on-demand and a deluxe CD sound system with an iPod connection. The suites boast deep tubs and wrap-around patios. Of course the Mondrian Scottsdale features signature design elements such as the Indoor/Outdoor Lobby, the Bar with large, open fireplace, and two beautifully designed swimming pools and jacuzzi. Morgans Hotel Group is planning the hotel's re-launch for later this year, with the opening of the legendary Skybar and Jeffrey Chodorow's Asia de Cuba. Rock on.
Gas prices hovering at obscene highs put a damper on your travel plans? Fear not, a dose of summer sunshine and gorgeous scenery may still be in the cards, with the "Free Gas and Deals on Wheels" package offered by the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado. The National Register Landmark is the quintessential Aspen hotel, just minutes from downtown and surrounded by the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Guest rooms are individually decorated, with luxurious amenities; guests gratefully retreat to their elegant and comfortable haven after a day spent exploring the surrounding countryside (or lounging by the beautiful pool).
The "Free Gas and Deals on Wheels'' package includes a voucher for $50 in gas, free parking, two passes to the Aspen Recreation Center ($30), two bus rides to the Maroon Bells ($14) and two free one-day bicycle rentals. Rates start at $380 for a deluxe king, through Labor Day. Valid through Labor Day.
This summer, the award-winning Half Moon resort will begun work on a new $4 million spa facility. The resort's signature villa, Fern Tree House, will be converted into a 68,000 sq ft sanctuary to debut in early 2007. The colonial styled treatment rooms will be set within lush gardens, and the ultra-private couples massage room will include a private dipping pool. The extensive treatment menu will draw from Jamaica's ancient healing remedies and will incorporate native herbs, fruits and botanicals.
The Fern Tree Spa Complex will also house a spa cottage (for families and wedding parties), relaxation lounge, yoga pavilion, hydrotherapy swimming pool, sculpture garden, and six beachfront spa suites. These signature suites, located adjacent to the Spa, will provide all of the traditional hotel amenities along with added spa features, including oversized bathrooms, private patio with outdoor soaking tub and shower overlooking the Caribbean, personal studio for yoga and en-suite treatments, and organic refreshment bar.
The Fern Tree Spa is the third in a series of major refurbishing projects to be undertaken by Half Moon in last five years. Other upgrades included the rebuilding of the resort's beachfront Hibiscus Suites, adding a children's play area, the renovation of the 41-year old Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed golf course, and refurbishing of the Oleander deluxe suites.
The resort and its spa have been acclaimed worldwide as the premier five-star experience in North America. And now Las Ventanas brings its clients a fundamentally new way to experience a resort spa, with is three new Spa Suites that offer a self-contained "total spa lifestyle" within the privacy of your own ultra-lavish suite.
These suites feature a dedicated Spa Butler who coordinates your personalized spa program, a state-of-the-art, in-suite treatment room, and a spa ambiance that includes organic mini-bar, magnetic mattresses, infrared sauna, Infinity-edge Jacuzzi (with a breathtaking view over the Sea of Cortez), and iSqueeze Reflexology Boots for daily foot massages. The 3,893 sq. foot suites offer two full bedroom suites (master and guest) with full baths, oversize jet tubs, living room, full kitchen, two patios, adobe fireplaces, and telescopes for whale-watching.
The individualized spa activity program-- built around health, fitness, nutrition, and beauty-- is results-oriented, with multi-faceted activities (bodywork, meditation, nutrition, facials, herbal remedies, swimming, saunas, etc.) Starting at Las Ventanas, guests achieve measured results, and then continue an at-home program for a lasting lifetime impact.
Rates for Spa Suite Programs start at $13,425 for a four-night program for two.
Hurray for downtown LA. Developers and urban planners are on a mission to revamp the city's downtown, and remake it as an attractive travel and business destination. Long devoid of a viable city center, LA has now pinned its hopes on the revitalization of downtown. Thousands of condos and apartment units have been constructed recently, restaurants and shops are springing up in their wake, and downtown may actually be evolving into a noteworthy destination.
Indeed, developers just unveiled their plans for a ginormous 1,000-room, 54-storey luxury hotel complex for the Convention Center, which will include downtown's first five-star hotel, a 124-room Ritz-Carlton, and a four-star Marriott Marquis, with the largest ballroom in the city. The $750-million project, slated to open in 2010, will be one of the city's largest buildings, with a whopping 2 million square feet. The chic, glass high-rise will center around L.A. Live, the 27-acre sports-entertainment complex that has everybody talkin'.
Photo Credit: LA Times