Kick off those ugg boots and give your cold, scaly, winter feet a break at the Cheeca Lodge and Spa. After all, their motto is "Barefoot Elegance." The resort is set on 27 lush acres on Islamorada, the most perfect little island in the Florida Keys archipelago. Besides its proximity to the only tropical coral reef in the continental U.S., the island is plugged as the sport fishing capital of the world, with 600 species of fish in the surrounding turquoise waters. But this is not just a paradise for anglers and snorkelers; Cheeca's got a heavenly spa with lap pool, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, six lighted tennis courts, saltwater lagoon stocked full of fish, a myriad of water sports, brand new Deluxe Beachfront Bungalows with private balconies and gardens, and award-winning dining.
Hawaii's luxurious Princeville Resort—the gorgeous destination hotel on the north shore of the paradise of Kaua'i—touts their customized Hawaiian Sensory Room Experience, designed to "enhance smell, sight, touch, sound and taste to create a harmonious environment." This means your room is flooded with Maile Mist, an in-room aromatherapy program derived from the Maile vine indigenous to Hawaii, while a CD of traditional Hawaiian music floods your ears. Isn't it enough to be surrounded by some of the most exquisite natural scenery on the planet? Why have to recreate the Hawaii experience in the guestroom too? You might as well be at home in Tucson blasting Hawaiian tunes and slathering Maile lotion after a shower.
Since 1766, The Homestead has provided a luxurious escape for Princes, heads of state and sports fanatics. Located in Virginia's Allegheny mountains, the National Historic Landmark is now ranked among the world's top Spa and Golf resorts. (The Spa is still fed by the bubbling hot springs that have attracted travelers since the 1700s!) In the winter months, The Homestead is transformed into a winter wonderland, with ice skating, sledding, snow-mobiling, cross-county skiing and lots of downhill and snowboarding. From now until March 31, kids ski free! The "Perfect Winter Days" package includes accommodations, lift tickets for the kids, bountiful breakfast daily, traditional afternoon tea, and nightly movies in the historic theater. $119 (Sunday through Thursday), $159 (Friday and Saturday), per person, per night. Up to two children stay complimentary in same room with adults. Travel by January 24, and receive a complimentary upgrade to deluxe accommodations.
The Homestead, Official Site
The Homestead, Five Star Alliance
So it may be impossible to score a room for the most fabulous of film festivals—alas! the Stein Eriksen has been booked for months—but what about planning a jaunt to the fabulous, legendary lodge for the next year? Let this be a lesson, and book early at America's most celebrated ski-in, ski-out resort. The AAA five-diamond, Mobil four-star rated Stein Eriksen is the ultimate luxury ski destination. We're talking immediate access to some of the best slopes in the world at Deer Valley (with warmed up boots and a hot drink awaiting your return), champion service, gorgeous outdoor pool and fitness facility, and head-to-toe pampering at the Spa. Hurry up and get on it!
Stein Eriksen Lodge, Official Site
Stein Eriksen Lodge, Five Star Alliance
Take that, Amanresorts. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts announced yesterday a new luxury hotel opening in 2009. The Fairmont Turks and Caicos will include 150 condos, along with 150 luxurious guestrooms. Also planned: a championship golf course, tennis courts, marina, and the signature Willow Stream Spa. Looks like the Turks and Caicos is fast becoming where it's at in the Caribbean.
Those in the know have booked rooms well in advance of the March 1st opening of Amanyara in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is the newest of the Amanresorts, and the company's first luxury hotel in the Caribbean. Preliminary reports are more than enticing: 40 private villas and pavilions overlooking dreamy secluded beaches on a 2,025 hectare nature and wildlife reserve. Enjoy easy access to the reefs of the Northwest Point Marine Park just offshore for some of the best diving anywhere. Or soak up the sun on the pristine beach, grab a Hobie Cat for an afternoon sail, followed by a spa treatment in the privacy of your own villa. Excellent golf is available 30 minutes away at the Providenciales Golf Club, rated among the top ten in the Caribbean. It's just a short hop from Miami for spring break in Paradise...
Amanyara, Official Site
Amanyara, Five Star Alliance
Named to Luxury Travel Magazine's "Top 10 New Caribbean Resorts," Carlisle Bay is the essence of chic. The owners of the award-winning One Aldwych in London have succeeded in bringing contemporary luxury to the Caribbean. Since the hotel's opening in 2003, enraptured guests have raved. A stunning beach. Enormous ocean-view suites. To-die-for restaurants. An outstanding Spa with state-of-the-art gym. A tantalizing array of water sports and boat excursions. And the only private screening room in the Caribbean (with movie showings nightly). How's that for the perfect winter getaway?
Carlisle Bay, Official Site
Carlisle Bay, Five Star Alliance
Now open. The Mandarin Oriental scores a perfect location in downtown Tokyo, in the historical district of Nihonbashi, within walking distance of the Ginza entertainment and shopping district and the Imperial Palace. Why does this hotel rock? Let me count the ways. A 38th floor Sky Lobby with vistas of the city behind a sheer wall of glass. Guestrooms that are some of the largest in Japan. A kick-ass spa: 9,500 sq ft devoted to luxurious relaxation through Heat and Water Experiences. 9 treatment rooms, 5 luxurious private Spa suites, steam and sauna, vitality pool and bubble pool, and the Ice Fountain arctic refresher. Superb gourmet dining in several establishments. And highly sophisticated technology: widescreen TVs with surround sound, connected to multi-standard DVD players (you can output your laptop onto the LCD TVs), and 100 Mbps broadband data network that delivers high speed Internet access and high-definition digital video.
January 3, 2006
By: Guest Writer
By Alex Rose
Would you like to know how royalty is treated? Then make plans to stay at The Peninsula Hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. You'll notice its distinctiveness as the doorman greets you and you enter the lobby. Once you reach the main level, you'll be welcomed to the hotel lobby by the beautiful mural commissioned to artist Gerard Coltat of Nice, France. The Magnificent Mile provides world-class shopping only minutes away, and at nighttime, you can see the beautifully-lit Chicago Water Tower. For epicureans, treat yourself to some true Chicago treasures such as Everest, Gibson's, Charlie Trotter's, and Japonais. And during your stay, treat that special person in your life to the Peninsula Essential Massage at the Spa. (Note: The internet rates offer a nice discount for online reservations.)
The Peninsula Chicago, Official Site
The Peninsula Chicago, Five Star Alliance
By: Guest Writer
December 23, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Ritz in London is commemorating its centenary in 2006 with lots of celebrations. Starting with an over-the-top Grand Gala Dinner Dance on New Year's, complete with seven course gourmet dinner, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne, fireworks and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force regimental marching band and a lone Scottish piper.
In honor of this special year, the Ritz has ordered a brand new 2006 Rolls Royce, "Ritz blue" in color with custom fitted interiors in smoke grey leather and walnut trimming. Equipped with the latest satellite navigation system, two DVD screens and crested door handles, the car will be driven by Rolls Royce trained chauffeurs and available as a guest service throughout the centennial celebrations.
Starting in January, guests can book the Centennial Celebration Package, from GBP 1,500. Includes two nights lux accommodation, airport transfers in that bad-ass Phantom, complimentary membership to The Ritz Club, theater tickets to a London production of the guests' choice, and dinner in the classic Ritz Restaurant.
Too bad the hotel couldn't go the extra mile with their new spa addition, a paltry treatment room on the hotel's seventh floor, with just one full-time therapist. Guests can choose a range of beauty treatments including massages and facials, but this isn't exactly a full-service spa.
The Ritz in London, Official Site
The Ritz in London, Five Star Alliance