February 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Think Spring. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, and the ultimate country house inn from which to witness nature's reawakening. Named one of the Top 50 Romantic Spots in the World by Travel and Leisure, Kingsbrae Arms is Relais and Chateaux's only Eastern Canada property. And though this country inn is a perfect hideaway, it’s not much of a secret—this spot is a two-time Andrew Harper Hideaway Grand Award winner, Mobil Four-Star, and listed in Fodor's Top Twenty Hotels in the World. Overlooking the sea, harbor and the historic seaside resort of St. Andrews, Kingsbrae Arms is surrounded by historic, salt-air gardens. Sumptuously appointed suites are the essence of romance. But the best part of a stay at the inn is the unforgettable evening dinner party, where gorgeous organic cuisine is paired with selections from the Wine Spectator Award winning cellar. These evenings are legendary. Available throughout the month of May, the Spring Indulgence Package includes two nights luxurious accommodations with spring flower bouquet, full country breakfasts each morning, and four-course dinner for two with Champagne cocktail reception. Starting at $750 per couple, standard guestroom.
Kingsbrae Arms, Official Site
Kingsbrae Arms, Five Star Alliance
February 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Private luxurious beach bungalows are now available for daytime rental at The Breakers. Enjoy a secluded day retreat on the ocean with loads of ultra-luxurious conveniences. Situated next to the Ocean Grill across from the new Active Pool, the five cabanas are 300 square feet in size with outside patio surrounded by lush tropical landscaping. The Breakers has done it right with its new $15 million beachfront makeover. Along with the casual dining at the new Ocean Grill overlooking the Atlantic and the expansive Active Fun Pool (free-form zero entry pool on the beach, designed for families), 15 more Beach Bungalows will be available for some lucky folks come end-of-March. These cabanas will be situated next to the new luxury relaxation pool designated quiet area (more chill-out zone than people-watching hub).
The Breakers, Official Site
The Breakers, Five Star Alliance
As the New Zealand Herald reports, luxury travel in kiwi territory is booming. Lodges like Kauri Cliffs, Wharekauhau, Blanket Bay and Huka Lodge are glam destination resorts that play host to celebs (laying low), oil tycoons, and the international jet-set. The cat's out of the bag about the remote Pacific islands whose breathtaking scenery played center stage in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings flicks. Our pick? The luxurious hideaway of Blanket Bay, with its magnificent setting next to Lake Wakatipu, beneath snow-capped peaks. Earning top accolades from CNT, Forbes, and the Sunday Times UK, Blanket Bay offers 12 secluded rooms and suites, constructed of timber and stone and filled with sumptuous furnishings. The suites boast exquisite views from large private terraces. Likewise, the mountain and lake vistas are phenomenal from the outdoor heated lap pool. Activities range from the adrenaline-pumping (jetboating and heli-skiing) to the calm and relaxing (excellent health and spa facilities).
Blanket Bay, Official Site
Blanket Bay, Five Star Alliance
Top-quality spas abound, but the Aji Spa is sublime. Named for the Pima word for "sanctuary," the 17,500 sq ft spa features treatments derived from the ancient Native American cultural tradition. Specifically, treatments like the Blue Coyote Wrap and the Blue Bird Facial are inspired by longstanding Pima lore and utilize ingredients like red clay from the Gila River and Cholla cactus bud to help purify the body. Additionally, the Ho'dai (or River Rock Massage) uses the hot river stones (naturally smooth) that the Pima and Maricopa have used for centuries to alleviate pain. With 17 treatment rooms, fitness center, relaxing watsu pool and a traditional roundhouse, the Aji Spa is surrounded by Arizona's stunning natural scenery, only 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix.
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Official Site
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Five Star Alliance
Now is the time to discover the legendary Nice hotel, the architectural masterpiece and national historic monument that has dominated the Promenade des Anglais for over a century. Its pink dome a symbol of the French Riviera, its name evokes the essence of "art de vivre." Situated on the seafront promenade overlooking the Mediterranean, the hotel is filled with a fantastic collection of antiques, oil paintings and contemporary works of art. In this living museum, each of the 121 guestrooms and 24 suites are individually decorated in styles spanning the historic spectrum from Louis XIII to Art Deco. The award-winning restaurant The Chantecler is celebrated as one of the best in Nice. Take advantage of this special offer celebrating the first days of spring. For a limited time—from now until March 31-- when you book a three night stay, the third night is free! (Breakfast included.)
Hotel Negresco, Official Site
Hotel Negresco, Five Star Alliance
Just in time for the World Cup Championship I've been obsessing about. Following an extensive restoration, the Villa Kennedy will be ready to dazzle (and show off that stunning neo-gothic architecture) on March 1st. Originally built in 1904, the hotel has extensive gardens and a sweet central courtyard. Located on the southside of the River Main, the Villa features luxurious rooms with state-of-the-art technology, mosaic-tiled bathrooms, pool and three-level-Spa. Book the gigantic presidential suite (300 sq meters) and enjoy a separate kitchen and turret dining room.
It's music to our ears. A 230-acre private island, Ritz-Carlton's deluxe spot in the Bahamas, is scheduled to open in 2009. Just four miles off Nassau and Paradise Island, Rose Island will be accessible by boat or helicopter. Guest rooms are planned to average 550 square feet with large balconies overlooking the beach.
The Le Meridien Pattaya Resort will be part of one of Pattaya's foremost upscale beachfront resort developments, which comprises unbranded condominiums and the resort. The development is strategically located in a prime position, only 150 km or 1.5 hours' drive from Bangkok and less than an hour's drive from Bangkok's new International Airport when it officially opens in 2006.Pattaya's foremost upscale development? Perhaps because you'd be hard-pressed to find anything upscale about the place. Has anyone at Le Meridien actually checked out this truly world-class beach? The only prime position about Pattaya is its leading spot as the world's number one destination for prostitution and reckless hedonism. Rock on, dudes. (To each their own.)
Dating back to 1228, situated on the shores of Lough Corrib on a private estate of 350 acres, Ashford is one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland. The former estate of the Guinness family, the picturesque castle was the chosen spot for the wedding of Pierce Brosnan (and 007's got the world's pick). For avid anglers, Ashford Castle has recently designed a deluxe fly-fishing package. After all, the castle is strategically located on one of the most famous fisheries in all of Ireland. (The lake is known for its wild brown trout and salmon.) Available from Feb 15-Sep 30, the package includes accommodations, guided fishing (shared guide/boat), all breakfasts, a ghillie's lunch on fishing days, and complimentary use of tennis courts, the 9-hole golf course, and walking trails throughout the 350-acre estate. All fishing gear is provided at no additional cost on fishing days. Prices start at $785 for two nights, and one day fishing. $2,241 for five nights, four days fishing. For the non-anglers in the family, the castle's got all sorts of activities—tennis, golf, equestrian, and even falconry.
Ashford Castle, Official Site
Ashford Castle, Five Star Alliance
February 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Opening in June, the next Hard Rock Hotel will debut—where else?—but Madrid. How's that for a nonsequitur. So when the lovely Prado Museum shows off its new extension later this year filled with the zillions of masterpieces that had been idly collecting dust in storerooms, you can check out the exhibits while a guest at the happening Hard Rock, located on the lively Plaza Santa Ana, surrounded by bars galore. Noteworthy features? The Tower Suite, with its terrace offering 360 degree views of the city and "chillout zone." Along with the private outdoor jacuzzi, guests get personalized concierge service (talk about rockstar treatment) and a bottle of champagne.