January 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Ringed by volcanoes, brimming with colonial charm, Antigua has become a hotspot for savvy travelers, who are enchanted by the pastel facades of churches and large Spanish houses, cobblestone streets lit by antique street lamps and Mayan markets. This town is the essence of romance. But finding a decent restaurant may prove difficult. Clinton may have dined at La Fonda de la Calle Real, but forget it— this place has gone to the dogs. Avoid Frida's at all costs, where overpriced Mexican fare is bland and mediocre. Near the Parque Central, Monoloco serves ghastly American-style bar food to a crowd of eager Norteamericano youth and Guatemaltecans from the capital who trek to scope Antigua's bar scene on the weekends. So what's a hungry gal to do? Head to the exquisite, romantic Panza Verde, set in a graceful colonial building with candle-lit walkways, garden courtyards with fountains, and a menu that includes such delightful dishes as tenderloin slathered in mushrooms and escargot.
The sights, the eats, the Turin Olympic transformation... CNN.com Travel's got it covered. (But the best time for experiencing the city's marvelous renaissance may be after the Feb 10-26 Olympic Games, when visitors can enjoy a year full of festivals sponsored by UNESCO, sin the crowds.)
Mark your calendars for January 27-January 31; you can't possibly miss this party. We're talking the premier winter action sports event in the world (!) and Aspen is going off. Over 200 bad-ass athletes compete for medals and prize money in the following sports: Moto X, Ski, Snowboard and Snowmobile. If you can't make it to Aspen to gawk and gape at their wondrous stunts (and thereby miss out on Aspen's hedonistic nightlife), you can still catch all the nighttime events broadcast live on ESPN and ABC.
Check out the great winter rates at Fairmont's Canadian hotels and resorts. Enjoy a 4th Night Free at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, or discover the charms of old Quebec at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac for $179 a night (and that's Canadian dollars, folks!) or indulge in the luxurious Willow Stream spa at The Fairmont Empress for a mere $129 a night. Fairmont's Only One Way Winter Rates are available through April 30.
And get this. For any travelers booking before January 31, Fairmont is offering a $50 food and beverage credit for bookings of two nights or more!
Looks like the Four Seasons Georgetown, of recent Mobil five star acclaim, is on the market for a mere $170 million (that's just $800,000 a room, folks). After injecting $25 million in renovations, the owners want a few pennies return on their investment... Apparently, this is the biggest price tag ever for a D.C. hotel. Good luck, guys. Via MSNBC
Imagine this. An all-star team of 19 architects comes together to create a sophisticated hotel masterpiece, each designing his/her own floor. This vision becomes a reality at the Hotel Puerta America, easily one of the top hotels in Madrid. Seductive, diverse, luxurious, this is a hotel with personality. Lots of them. It may be a little outside the city center, but who cares—the hotel itself is a destination. Opened since mid-last year, the hotel has great rates for standard rooms, starting at $250.
Enjoy a winter respite on the stunning beaches of Thailand, and help the economy rebound from the tsunami devastation. Take advantage of special rates at the Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, a steal at $175 a night. Soak up the sun on your room's private terrace overlooking the Andaman Sea, or enjoy a wide range of watersports activities. In the privacy of the luxurious Royal Spa—boasting spectacular treatment rooms with a large veranda, waterfall wall, and sweeping ocean views—indulge in the signature Spa Treatment. Le Royal Massage combines Thai and Swedish massage with aromatherapy and Shiatsu.
Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Official Site
Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Five Star Alliance
With the new year upon us, fitness is on the mind. And if you're prone to travel, the idea of dismal hotel fitness facilities may scare the bejesus out of you! But never fear-- the Fit Hotel Directory is here to help. In their words:
Find a quality hotel gym instantly! Gone are the days of searching for your hotel's tiny fitness room or gym, full of out-dated, bulky equipment simply to get a good workout. Guests have long been demanding quality, in-hotel fitness equipment and FitHotelDirectory.com is answering back resoundingly with our directory of the finest hotels with top-notch gyms and fitness rooms.
Cupids, lace paper doilies, elaborate pink cards with ornate trim... embrace the Victorian symbols of Saint Valentine. For those seeking a truly romantic, and truly Victorian Valentine's Day, head to the authentic, breathtakingly-restored Victorian inn in the heart of San Diego. The Britt Scripps Inn is all about decadent romance: each of its nine guestrooms have been individually designed and decorated with rich, hand-crafted period antiques. With such doting attention to the details of design, the owner didn't skimp on the technology: rooms are equipped with flat screen TVs, high speed internet, and heated towel racks in the bathrooms. Start the perfect day with the renowned complimentary full breakfast, a bountiful feast of freshly baked breads, omelettes with herbs picked from the garden, and french toast with caramelized apples.
The Britt Scripps Inn, Official Site
The Britt Scripps Inn, Five Star Alliance
Tah-dah. Here it is, though booking now for Valentine's Day may prove an impossible feat.