July 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
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.
Situated on Vancouver Island's rugged western shore, the Wickaninnish Inn is a prestigious getaway, an exclusive Relais and Chateaux property voted "One of the Top Ten Hotels in North America" by Travel and Leisure readers. Just minutes from the picturesque town of Tofino, the Inn is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific, nearby islands, and Chesterman Beach, not far from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Clayoquot Sound. From your guestroom's private balcony, take in the panoramic views, and fall asleep in luxury each evening, listening to the sounds of the surf. Indulge in a massage at the Ancient Cedars Spa, delight in a delicious meal at the award-winning Pointe Restaurant, and savor the countless recreational activities to discover the region's heartstopping beauty: explore the wide sandy beaches, go fishing or whale-watching, kayak or canoe the waterways, or hike through the old-growth forests.
Dole Food Company to Open California Wellbeing Institute and Four Seasons Westlake Village, California
In the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, adjacent to its world headquarters, Dole Food Co. has completed a $250 million project in Westlake Village that includes a 270-room Four Seasons Hotel, state-of-the-art wellness center, and 58,000 sq-ft spa and fitness center. Located just 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the landmark complex sprawls over 20 acres of waterfalls, rose gardens, and bamboo groves. This destination is all about health and well-being: the Four Seasons offers a tranquil spa retreat and the wellness center pioneers cutting-edge systems to improve quality of life with focuses on food and nutrition, fitness, recreation and emotional health. There is also a Health and Longevity Institute staffed with physicians and boasting excellent medical services and facilities. And lastly, there is a TV production facility that will be used to develop "food network" cable TV programs, instructing people about eating well and living healthier lives. Dole is playing a leading role in educating its consumers on these important health issues.
At the Four Seasons, enjoy a treatment in a private spa suite, enroll in a lifestyle program at the California Wellbeing Institute, or relax by the pool. After a healthy sushi dinner, retreat to your luxurious, and generously sized guest room, overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains. Other features of the hotel include more than 40,000 square feet of function space, including conference center with eight meeting rooms, grand ballroom (capacity of 350 guests), and business center.
The newest chic spot on Mexico's Riviera Maya, Esencia is a small boutique hotel which was once the home of a European duchess. Located on one of the best white sand beaches on the Yucatan, Esencia has been recognized for its elegant cuisine, personalized butler service and modern amenities. The 29 rooms and suites offer exquisite views, private gardens and pools, and in-room bathtubs. The luxurious Aroma Spa prides itself on its organic focus, with plant extracts and botanical essences used in the treatments. From now through August, Esencia is offering a five-night "Family Fun in the Sun" package with discounts of more than 30 percent. The package includes a garden suite with plunge pool, daily breakfast and transfers, for two adults and one child under age 12. Starting at $1,725. (Nightly rates usually start at $475) Via Washington Post "What's the Deal?"
The Pan Pac Whistler Mountainside, nestled in the beautiful mountains of British Columbia, is a tempting destination in both winter and summer. Excellent skiing is complimented by sunshine-filled days of hiking and swimming during the summer months. The luxurious boutique hotel has recently launched its Desperate Housewives Package, a clever and fun summer getaway designed for women seeking a little r and r with their girlfriends. To quote the Pan Pac:
For women who find work, the kids, the spouse or any other of life's challenges making them desperate for the ultimate girlfriend getaway, Pan Pacific Whistler has designed the perfect solution... the property's 2006 "Desperate Housewives" package.
Valid until November 23, 2006, the package rates start from CAD$375 (US$325) per person (based on quadruple occupancy), and includes accommodations in a luxurious Two Bedroom Valley View Suite as well as the following components: Beauty Boot Camp for four women at Vital Spirit Spa which includes a 45-minute massage, 30-minute Essential Facial and mini manicure and mini pedicure; breakfast for four in the guest exclusive Pacific Suite; welcome martini basket; and complimentary Mountain View upgrade when available.
June 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Located just minutes from Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Fearrington House Country Inn is situated on an 18th Century Dairy farm surrounded by acres of stunning gardens. Each of the 33 guest rooms are distinctively decorated with European antiques, Southern artwork, rich fabrics, canopied beds, hand-painted mantels, and pine flooring. The bathrooms are luxurious and comfortable, with marble vanities, plush robes and slippers, Molton Brown bath products, and heated towel racks. Guests enjoy traditional southern hospitality and fine dining at the restaurant. Stroll the expansive grounds and admire the water sculptures and manicured English gardens, browse the unique Village shops, or relax on the front porch in a rocking chair gazing at the pasture full of cows. Traditional English afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and scones, and a full gourmet breakfast-- with hearty choices such as shrimp and grits and eggs bendict-- are included in the room rate. The Fearrington House Country Inn has devised some exciting Summer specials. The "Summer Getaway" package includes one nights accommodations, English afternoon tea, gourmet dinner for two, hearty breakfast, and a $25 gift card. From $295, limited availability through August. And with the "Fearrington Escape Package", stay two nights and receive the third for free! Includes daily English tea, daily hearty breakfasts, a bottle of chilled Champagne in the room for arrival, gourmet dinner for two, casual dinner at The Market, a picnic in the Gardens, two one-hour massages. From $895.
June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The award-winning, classic Dukes Hotel, tucked in its own courtyard in a quiet corner on St. James's Place between Mayfair and Green Park, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the special exhibition in honor of the Queen's 80th birthday. On display at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace in honor of Her Majesty's birthday, the extensive exhibit showcases the Queen's evening dresses (80 of them! from the 1940's to the present) and personal jewelry, including private gifts and historic pieces, such as the Vladimir Tiara, the Cambridge Emerald Necklace, two brooches set with stones from the famous Cullinan Diamond, and a pair of Boucheron aquamarine and diamond clip brooches given to then Princess Elizabeth by her father, King George VI, for her 18th birthday. Visitors to the exhibition see the Palace's 39-acre garden, and appreciate rare views of the Palace's garden façade and the 19th-century lake. As part of Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration, Dukes Hotel is going over the top (try this for British pomp and pageantry) with a special package. "Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration" includes a two-night stay in a Classic Double room including daily breakfast and afternoon tea and two tickets to the "Special Exhibition" with entrance to Buckingham Palace. Priced at GBP 525, inclusive of VAT, available from July 26 to September 24, 2006.
(Guests will also enjoy Duke's luxurious spa and the world-famous Dukes Martini at the bar.)