The much-anticipated World's Best Awards has just been released by Travel and Leisure. In these 11th annual reader polls, the chic Singita Private Game Reserve scores at the top of the hotel list, after debuting as number 1 in the world in 2004. What makes the Singita such a hot property? Lions, tigers, and…elephants galore, and on top of that, some of the finest accommodations on the planet, consisting of 18 suites spread out within five lodges. The Sabi Sands is a wildlife mecca, and situated in the middle of this dramatic landscape, the lodges at Singita are internationally recognized as among the most exclusive in the world. After a daily expedition into the African bush, continue the wildlife viewing from the privacy of your own private deck. Or appreciate the gorgeous surroundings while indulging in a massage or beauty treatment at the excellent spa. Enjoy exceptional cuisine complemented by impressive wine cellars: each Singita lodge has a unique and comprehensive wine cellar, totalling approximately 35,000 bottles of the finest South African wines.
Gridskipper on the World's Best Awards, "This Just In: Tourists Love Touristy City"
In an incomparable setting on Baja's turquoise Sea of Cortes, Esperanza is a chic and alluring paradise created by Auberge Resorts. The sandstone villas are impossibly romantic: carved into the bluffs overlooking the sea, where the humpback whales migrate just offshore. The infinity pool seems to spill into the private cove beneath, with stunning views of the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. At the terraced Restaurant, enjoy a star-studded menu of local fish, like almond seared rare yellowfin tuna with warm avocado pie or grilled dorado steak with ricotta crepes and dark pasilla-huitlacoche mole. Or toss back a Piña Dorada at El Bar, watching the sun dip below the Pacific's horizon. The resort's 56 guest rooms and suites have oversized tubs, large outdoor terraces and handcrafted furniture. Unique spa treatments--like grated coconut and lime body exfoliation-- feature natural, indigenous ingredients. After a yoga or pilates class, relax in the warm soaking pool or the indoor steam cave. Other recreational activities include diving, sailing and kayaking trips.
Until September 30, guests can save up to 35 percent off with a special summer package at Esperanza: a five-night (midweek) getaway starting at $2,217 per couple. The "Baja Bliss" package includes five accommodations in an ocean-view terrace casita, two 60-minute Tropical Essence Spa treatments, complimentary yoga classes, nonalcoholic refreshments in a mini bar, complimentary DVD and CD library, and complimentary use of beach cabanas. Inclusive of taxes and service charges. The Baja Bliss package is also available for a five-night weekend package, starting from $2,697.
July 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The World Cup may be over, but the celebrations continue at Banyan Tree Phuket, where guests can take advantage of the Halftime escapade until the end of July. The promotion started at the World Cup kick-off—with half price on rooms and spa treatments (for the first five bookings of each day)-- but is available until July 31, 2006.
Stay in a luxurious villa, recuperate from the excitement of the previous night's game with a rejuvenating spa treatment, and start the next day of Halftime pampering with breakfast - all at half the price. Even if your favorite team doesn't win the World Cup, you may still be a winner. In the first week of August, Banyan Tree Phuket will conduct the Halftime Draw and treat one lucky couple to a complimentary 3-night stay in a Tibetan Suite at Banyan Tree Ringha in Shangri-La (Diqing), the highlight of China's stunning Yunnan province.
The Halftime Promotion includes: 50 percent discount on villa rates (no minimum length of stay is required), 50 percent discount on one a-la-carte massage session at Banyan Tree Spa per person per stay, 50 percent discount on daily American buffet breakfast (inclusive of champagne). Rates start at $275 for a Deluxe Villa. This package is only applicable for the first 5 bookings per day.
Voted to the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List of the World's Best Places to Stay, Banyan Tree Bangkok is located in the heart of the bustling commercial center of the city. With easy access to the shopping and entertainment access of Silom road, the all-suite Banyan Tree Bangkok is a rejuvenating sanctuary away from it all. Dining is a treat, both for the tasty gourmet meals and the superb views over the city. These fine dining establishments are the highest in the city (Vertigo Grill is on the 61st flooor!) The Spa--a heavenly oasis with the service and quality of treatments to be expected at Banyan Tree--is likewise situated high above the city: a whopping 54 floors above Bangkok. For the ultimate luxury, reserve the Presidential Suite (the preferred choice of presidents and business leaders), which consists of a two-storey glass dome with spectacular city views, and a loft style bedroom. The Spa Suites are similarly lavish, with their own private treatment rooms, and your choice of bath salts, scrubs, essential oils, and incense.
Splurge on a romantic getaway to Bangkok: immerse the senses with the incredible cultural stimuli of the city, and then retreat to your private urban oasis at the Banyan Tree where you can indulge in sumptuous spa treatments. The Romance in Bangkok Package includes: daily continental breakfast for two persons, one romantic dinner per stay at Bai Yun or Saffron restaurant, choice of one 2-hour 'Rejuvenation' or 'Renewal' spa treatment per person per stay, one 'Intimate Moments' suite decoration including one bottle of wine per stay, Banyan Tree Gallery gift, 10 percent discount at Bai Yun, Saffron and Rom Sai restaurant, and return transfer by Mercedes Benz limousine from the airport to the hotel. Starting at $305 per night. Valid until December 31, 2006. Minimum three night stay.
The award-winning Chicago hotel caters to expectant couples who seek a weekend of pampering, and a few days of revelry as a couple, before the baby's arrival. Babymoons are all the rage these days; USA Today reports that 60 percent of new parents opt for a babymoon these days. And at Four Seasons Chicago, they do it right, with the ultimate in lux accommodations and lots of fun amenities. Here's the scoop on the Expecting You Package: includes plush accommodations (with sweeping views of the city and Lake Michigan and body contour pillows to keep comfortable the mother-to-be), a copy of the book "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" with a book light for late night reading, complimentary manicure from the Spa when booking a pregnancy massage, complimentary "Toast to Fatherhood" in Seasons Bar for the dads-to-be, complimentary Midwest breakfast from Room Service or in the Cafe, complimentary visit from The Ice Cream Man, and special savings from premier shopping partners (for example, receive a complimentary bassinet at Neiman Marcus with any $200 purchase in Layette clothing). Rates begin at $480 per night.
Jack Nicklaus raved about the award-winning course: "If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. I've loved this course from the first time I saw it. It's possibly the best in the world." Ranked the number 1 golf resort by Golf Digest Magazine, Pebble Beach offers four unique courses of breathtaking beauty, including the Scottish links-style Links at Spanish Bay. Perched dramatically on the Pacific coastline, nestled within groves of tall Monterey pines, The Inn at Spanish Bay offers more than just world-class golf. The 269 luxurious rooms and suites feature a private patio or balcony view over the Monterey Peninsula, along with a cozy fireplace. Outstanding facilities include The Spanish Bay Club, Oceanside Beach and Tennis Club, outdoor pools and Jacuzzi, and full-service spa and salon.
How's this for a romantic retreat: a weekend at the legendary Lodge at Sea Island devoted to cooking classes and culinary delights (of course there's superb golf and relaxing spa treatments, too!) The award-winning resort-- rated number one small hotel and number 1 for top dining in the 2006 Zagat survey top US hotels, AAA five-diamond award, Mobil five-star award three years in a row-- pampers its guests with genuine Georgia hospitality and unparalleled personal service. This summer, The Lodge at Sea Island has plans for great food, fine wine and good times with its weekend Cook Together Package. The package includes luxury accommodations for the weekend, private reception and dinner with Chef Johannes Klapdohr in The Lodge Wine Cellar, Cooking School with lunch prepared by the participants, "How To's" of wine tasting with Lodge sommelier Jane Rate, and monogrammed Chef's jackets. The July Cooking School Themes are Grilling and Smoking, including barbecue shrimp and fallen'-off-the- bone baby back ribs, on July 8-9, and Summer Soups and Salads, featuring heirloom fruits and vegetables, on July 21-22. From August 2-5, the theme is Grilling and Smoking. And on August 18-19, the class focuses on Tailgating Octoberfest Style, with lessons on cooking schnitzels, sourbraten, spatzle and more. Cook Together Package starts at $825 per room per night, with a two-night minimum stay required.
July 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Just 17 miles from the Vegas strip, the AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas is close enough to enjoy all that Vegas has to offer, and yet far enough away to experience the beautiful seclusion of the Nevada desert and surrounding mountains. The Tuscan-inspired lakeside resort has a breathtaking setting; its 349 guestrooms enjoy panoramic views of the high-desert mountains. The facilities are in a category all their own: 36 holes of championship golf designed by Nicklaus and Weiskopf, the award-winning spa and fitness center (one of the top in the country), beach and lake sports, indoor and outdoor dining, heated outdoor pool, lakeside entertainment and concerts, excellent kid's program and activities. This is the ultimate family retreat, with something to please the whole family. From now until September 4, 2006, the luxurious resort is offering an unbeatable Vegas Family Vacation Package. Starting at $249 a night, the package includes complimentary breakfast and lunch for kids under 12, 50 percent spa savings for parents, and a fourth night free of charge. (Kids under 12 can share a room with their parents with no extra cost.)
The Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will be the first new property under the Waldorf-Astoria Collection Brand. Hilton announced the new brand as a strategy to increase its share of the profitable luxury hotel market. The new luxury line includes the original Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The 500-room Orlando hotel will be part of a development including a 1,000-room Hilton, located next to the Walt Disney World Resort. Slated for a summer 2009 opening, the Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will feature many of the restaurants and bars as the Manhattan original: Peacock Alley, The Bull and Bear, Sir Harry's Bar, and Oscar's. Combined with the new Hilton, the two hotels will share a 25,000 sq ft spa, 145,000 sq ft of meeting and event space, and a golf course designed by Rees Jones. Via TravelWeekly
Starting July 1, 2006, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is slated to take over management of Scotland's destination golf resort. The 209-room resort has a spectacular location in the renowned "home of golf," just two miles from the medieval town of St. Andrews and the acclaimed Old Course, and surrounded by 10 golf courses in the vicinity. Overlooking the River Tay estuary and the North Sea, the hotel and its two clifftop championship courses—The Torrance and The Devlin—boast panoramic views. St. Andrews Bay Golf Resort also features five dining outlets, a 3,500 sq ft spa and health club, and excellent conference facilities. The new management anticipates a GBP 10 million refurbishment, which will renovate the existing facilities over a few years time.