LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
March 21, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
These days, we're all about sustainable luxury. And this spot--5,000 acres of raw and gorgeous Colorado terrain-- will take your breath away. Devil's Thumb Ranch is a year-round resort and spa with rustically upscale accommodations, fine dining, year-round swimming pools overlooking the mountains, and winter/summer outdoor recreational activities galore. It's been dubbed "the eco-getaway that leads the way." Outside Magazine applauds the geothermal heating, low-emissions chimneys, and the organic menu with free-range antelope steaks. Located 65 miles west of Denver, the resort ranch sits at the foot of the Continental Divide in the spectacular Rocky Mountains. Thousands of acres of countryside means cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horse back riding, fishing, hiking, downhill skiing, river rafting, and more. After a day exploring this majestic wilderness, relax with a culinary feast and divine fine wines. (Check out the Barrel Room, a hand-crafted wine uncorking room, pictured at right.)
Shop til you drop in Windy City with a little help from the Conrad Chicago. Perfectly situated on the prestigious Magnificent Mile, Conrad Chicago is in the heart of one of the world's favorite shopping districts. Don't let the winter blues get you down; indulge in some retail therapy with the Conrad Shop Chicago Package. Rejuvenate with a $50 gift card, VIP savings passport to Westfield North Bridge shopping mall, and $30 for shipping items within the U.S. (so you won't have to worry about carrying all your bargains back home). After a day out on the town, return to the Conrad's luxury and chill out in the comfort of plush Pratesi linens, a 42" flat screen HD plasma televtion, and a Bose Home Theatre System, while sipping your choice of either a fiery spiced hot chocolate or a frosty Icicle Martini. Rates start from $225 per night.
That's right, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa is going luxe. Come the year 2010, a swanky new St. Regis Resort will open in the world's most highly elevated location in the Tibet Autonomous Region, a province in southwest China. Explore the stunning mountainous terrain (which includes Mt. Everest, located on the border with Nepal) while shacking up in the first internationally branded luxury hotel to open in Lhasa in over a decade. The recent completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has opened up the formerly isolated region and folks are starting to flock. (Never mind the heart-palpitating altitudes, the numbers are expected to reach three million tourists this year.) From the hotel's 169 guest rooms, enjoy views of the famed Potala Palace (pictured) while the signature St. Regis butler service attends to your every whim.
The weather outside is (still) frightful, though Spring Break is just around the corner. Tempt yourself with a last minute vaca to the tropical idyll of St. Bart's: splashy, chic, and utterly fabulous. At the award-winning Guanahani Hotel, guests find the ultimate retreat in colorful cottages (yellow, indigo, purple, bright green) nestled within bougainvilleas, hibiscus, and coconut groves. Heaven-on-earth wouldn't be complete without a sumptuous spa, and the hotel's Clarins Spa fits the bill: a sophisticated hideaway of pure indulgence. And for those seeking the ultimate sanctuary... check into the Wellness Suite, the former top-floor couple's spa suite which is now available for overnight accommodations. Talk about pampering! Enjoy 180 degree views of the turquoise sea from a covered terrace, plus private access to the spa's pool and relaxation area long after closing time. Since the spa is right downstairs, the therapists come to you for in-room treatments.
Gondola rides, The Guggenheim, and absurdly low spring rates at The Venetian. We're talking $180 a night at this luxurious Las Vegas landmark, centrally located in the middle of the action on The Strip. Take a ride on the quarter-mile Grand Canal, where performers entertain guests along cobble stone walkways. Take in a show by the Blue Man group, or browse the museums. (If the Guggenheim's too ambitious, there's always Madame Tussaud's wax museum.) Lounge by the five-acre pool deck on the fourth level of the Venetian tower. And then there's the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, the quiet, tranquil haven that I'm prone to go gaga over. 69,000 square feet of heaven. (There's even a rock-climbing wall.)
The ancient trading port of Hoi An is graced with alluring soft sandy beaches and a fascinating history. (Long a closely-guarded secret amongst backpackers, who flocked to Hoi An to pick up some exquisitely-tailored suits.) Not far from the Royal Tombs of the UNESCO-protected city of Hue, this Vietnamese coastal town captures the imagination of sybarites and sun-seekers. Here, The Nam Hai Hotel has become a destination in and of itself. Brought to you by GHM, the luxury hotelier known for distinctive worldwide properties, like the gorgeous Setai in South Beach. Sprawling across 35 hectares, the spa resort opened in December 2006 to much fanfare (the press simply gushed about this spot). Nestled within landscaped gardens on a prime stretch of China Beach, 60 villas and 40 pool villas gaze out across the South China Sea to the misty Cham Islands. The Villas are contemporary, with traditional design touches; bedrooms are spacious with en suite baths, walk-in closets, and high ceilings. At this sumptuous spa resort, there are 40 (count em, 40!) private swimming pools. Resort facilities include gourmet restaurants, clubhouse, beautiful spa, and plenty of recreational facilities. This is also a residential enclave, meaning you can own your own piece of paradise here on China Beach.
The best thing about Key West, Florida? You can drive to the tropics! The southernmost point in the continental United States-- at the very tip of US Highway 1-- is closer to Cuba than Miami, and a world away from the mainland. In the Conch Republic, you'll find beautiful architecture and gardens, water sports galore, and a fascinating history (Ernest Hemingway's house is a must-see). Step off the tourist-tacky Duvall Street and you'll be charmed by the island's colorful neighborhoods. Looking for a luxe getaway in the US tropics? Book a room at the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, managed by Westin, in a secluded 27-acre island (studded with celebrity homes) just offshore from Mallory Square. The Westin provides shuttle boat service 24 hours a day. Johnny Jet raves:
The moment I stepped off the boat onto the island I felt like I was on vacation. No wonder it made Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List and Travel + Leisure's 500... The cottages are built in traditional Key West style and are cute. They all feature a fully-equipped kitchen, living and dining area, free high-speed internet (no wireless though) and CD and DVD players. The interiors are colorful with a Caribbean island feel and since it's a Westin, they all have Westin's signature Heavenly Bed which ensures a good night's sleep. A few small details that make a big impact are the bathroom toiletries that are made by the Key West Aloe company...
For more island info, check out Key West Magazine
How's this sound for Easter? Hop into The Berkeley and Claridge's between April 6- April 10, 2007 for as little as GBP 199 a night, including scrumptious, handmade Easter Eggs for the whole family. This is a sensational rate at two of the Maybourne Group's super-luxury London hotels. (The Connaught is currently under renovation.) Situated in fashionable Belgravia, The Berkeley is a true London establishment, home to the Michelin star rated Petrus restaurant, uber-cool Blue Bar, and the Caramel Room, where the celebrated afternoon tea (Pret-a-Portea) is a creative indulgence for fashionistas. The art deco jewel Claridge's is located in the heart of Mayfair, adored for its superlative service. It's no wonder Nota Bene calls it "London's most glamorous and celebrated hotel."
Get your groove on in South Beach at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Book a three-night minimum stay from March 25- May 31, 2007 at Loews Best Rate, and you'll get a $100 hotel credit to be used in the spa, restaurants, bars, and lounge. Lounge by the pool or soak in the Jacuzzi at the edge of the Atlantic, pamper yourself with a treatment at the spectacular new Elemis Spa, or sip a cocktail in the heart of South Beach's sizzling scene. (The hotel's award-winning restaurant, Emeril's Miami Beach, promises an unforgettable dining experience with an oceanfront view. Unfortunately, the $100 hotel credit can't be used at this hot spot.)
Via The Luxe 15 at Sherman's Travel
March 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
That's right. Banyan Tree Phuket has announced two new yacht cruises around Phang Nga Bay. Hop onboard the Sea Gypsy and Pi Marn and experience the glorious deserted beaches, crystal clear waters, spectacular underwater life, and majestic limestone cliffs that make Phang Nga Bay legendary. You'll even get a chance to see the best of Phuket's wildlife: chattering monkeys, flying fruit-bats, and eagles. Travel in style on the recently refurbished yachts and enjoy delicious gourmet meals and excellent service by a personal butler. The day-long private cruise, priced from $700 per couple, includes a kayaking expedition into a limestone cave at low-tide.