March 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Palma de Mallorca-based Barcelo Hotels and Resorts recently acquired the five-star Karmina Palace Hotel along Mexico's Pacific Coast near Manzanillo. The 324 all-suite, all-inclusive resort has long been known as a world-class, premium destination, and the new Barcelo management will surely only enhance that reputation. (Barcelo operates 10 luxury properties throughout Mexico.) This baby-- for which they shelled out $48.2 million-- is rated AAA Four Diamond and offers an 18-hole golf course, swanky accommodations, three restaurants and four bars, eight swimming pools with waterfalls, children's club, fitness center and spa, and a theater. The Barcelo Karmina Palace Hotel is uber-family-friendly, and superior service is not abandoned with the convenience of the all-inclusive plan.
March 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Seriously, this is the hideaway. According to Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, anyway. Las Amandas was recently voted a "2006 Hideaway of the Year," and is the frequent haunt and luxurious retreat for celebrities galore. Halfway between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, the 70-acre resort is set in a lush ecological reserve chock full of exotic flowering plants, pristine beaches and lagoons. Its 14 suites and six villas-- beautifully designed with Mexican artifacts and antiques-- are linked by yellow mosaic-lined walkways winding through graceful gardens. Most are equipped with private terraces and verandahs. For a limited time this spring, get four nights for the price of three! The "Spring Escape" includes a welcome cocktail upon arrival, a fruit platter and flowers in suite, daily Continental breakfast and a romantic candlelit dinner for two on the beach. Unlimited horseback riding, tennis, gym and croquet are included. Rates depend upon the suite selected and range from $360 to $1,400 per suite, per night.
Will the Dubai building boom go bust? As hyped in the press, W Hotels has recently announced its plans to bring its signature, stylish brand to the Middle East. W will open its 350-room luxury hotel in 2008 as part of the Festival City Project: a massive "City within a City" with "Riviera-style scenery and lush green landscapes… and iconic towers and luxury hotels." And it's touted as "the Middle East's largest, privately funded mixed-use real estate development." The W seems its centerpiece, to be designed by a renowned architect and packed full of the W brand signatures like loft suites, open "Living Room," and Bliss spa. Can the booming hotel and resort landscape of Dubai become as packed as the Vegas Strip? Related Articles: The Lobby, "W Comes to Dubai" Luxist, "W Hotels Heads to Dubai" CNN Money, "W Hotels Arrives on Shores of Dubai, the Global Brand's First Location in the Middle East" TravelPost Insider, "W Hotels Plan 2008 Dubai Opening"
The first new hotel to open in Monaco in 75 years, the $260 million Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel has reinvented Monte Carlo, bringing back the chic and legendary glamour of the Roaring Twenties on the Riviera. Set on the edge of the sea, with sweeping azure views, the hotel is elegantly situated within four hectares of Mediterranean gardens and lagoons. Just minutes from Nice. Lounge by the glass-domed indoor swimming pool, or relax in the adjoining spa, a contemporary and luxurious paradise complete with 12 treatment rooms, fitness center and Turkish baths. In the evening, watch the sunset from the sea-view bar, and then indulge in the gastronomic pleasures of four stellar restaurants, including one directed by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. And the nightlife—as expected—is exceptional.
Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel, Official Site
Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel, Five Star Alliance
South Florida's national historical landmark is renowned for its luxurious, Old-World European accommodations, and impressive resort amenities. Located in Coral Gables, the destination hotel features the 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed championship golf course, 10-lighted tennis courts, fitness center, fine restaurants and bars, private wine cellar club, and an enormous pool (the largest in the continental US!) with private cabanas. Reasons to go now? Besides the new and deliciously-luxurious Biltmore Spa--12,000 sq. ft. with spectacular views, wet rooms with hydrotherapy tubs and Vichy showers, connecting specialty suites for couples, exceptional men's and women's locker facilities with steam and sauna rooms, a signature line of Solarte of Provence amenities, and state-of-the-art treatments -- The Biltmore is currently offering a promotion for a free night! Make a booking for four nights, and pay for only three.
The Biltmore, Official Site
The Biltmore, Five Star Alliance
March 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This Easter experience the renaissance of the cool and cultured in Berlin, and the luxurious bliss of Germany's most famous hotel. Leveled during the war, the Hotel Adlon was reconstructed in 1997 by Germany's renowned hotelier, Kempinski. Located in the heart of Berlin, next to the famous Brandenburg Gate, the Adlon is a grand and storied hotel. The seven-room Presidential Suite-- its window the notorious scene of Michael Jackson's baby-dangling antics-- is as elegant as befits the royalty and heads-of-state who frequently stay here. The Easter Package includes two nights accommodations in a deluxe room, a welcome gift upon arrival, gourmet breakfast buffet daily, one special four-course dinner with champagne, a guided cultural tour, and free entrance to the Adlon Spa. Starting at EUR 498, valid from April 14- April 17.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, Official Site
Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, Five Star Alliance
Hot off the press! A fabulous limited offer brought to you by Leading Hotels of the World. With this four night vacation package at the exquisite Cuisinart Resort and Spa, book three nights and get a fourth night for free! Accommodations include a beachfront junior suite with daily continental breakfast. Available from March 26- March 30, April 23- April 27. With some of the Caribbean's most beautiful white sand beaches, gorgeous infinity pool, world-class spa, and white-washed Mediterranean style villas surrounded by tropical gardens, it's no wonder that the Cuisinart is such a sought-after Caribbean destination.
Cuisinart Resort and Spa, Official Site
Cuisinart Resort and Spa, Five Star Alliance
Take a jaunt to Puerto Rico for a few days of girls' pampering and beachfront luxury. Who can resist an offer like this? Especially with Jet Blue's easy and affordable flights to San Juan. The Water Club is San Juan's only luxury boutique hotel on the beach, oozing Latin sophistication and chic elegance. Home to San Juan's hottest bar, Liquid, and the exotic open-air rooftop lounge, Wet, boasting the island's best sushi bar. The two-night package includes luxury accommodations in an ocean front room, dinner for two (champagne and sushi, of course!) at Wet and VIP list privileges at a local night club, in-room manicures and pedicures, massages at Wet, and a private dinner for two on your second night (Chef Nelson Rosado will cook tableside and then you'll receive 2 rum guns to get things going.) $999, based on double occupancy. Package valid for travel Sunday-Thursday only March 1-April 16, and 7 days a week April 17- September 30, 2006; blackout dates may apply; reserve by March 31, 2006.
The Water Club, Official Site
The Water Club, Five Star Alliance
Now is the time for an end-of-season hurrah. The biggest ski resort in North America may also be the most fabulous. Whistler boasts the biggest vertical rise in North America (a whopping 5,280 feet) and the most terrain (we're talking 8,171 acres). Additionally, there's a meager 100,000 acres of Heli and SnowCat backcountry skiing on the surrounding Coast Mountain range. Where to stay? The Pan Pac is where it's at, consistently rated the best, most luxurious spot in Whistler. Here's why: the suites offer full kitchens, balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. Resort amenities are world-class: outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs with spectacular mountain views, fitness center, spa and steam room.
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, Official Site
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, Five Star Alliance
Arguably the world's best spa resort, the Banyan Tree Phuket is an exotic spa paradise facing Thailand's turquoise Andaman Sea. These exquisite tropical surroundings have recently become the sought-after setting for Banyan Tree's Destination Spa program: a series of fitness, wellness and cultural activities available in three, five and seven-night packages. The program includes accommodation for two in award-winning villas at Banyan Tree Phuket, daily breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner, two 90-minute massage sessions, an Intimate Moments experience, complimentary participation in daily fitness and wellness program and a special gift from Banyan Tree Gallery. In addition, guests are provided their own personal resort host to assist and recommend the best spa treatments. Rates begin at US$1,980 for a three-night package in a Deluxe Villa.
Banyan Tree Phuket, Official Site
Banyan Tree Phuket, Five Star Alliance