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.
Just when I thought there was no more real estate available on the strip. Shangri-La announced plans today to manage a new 400 room hotel scheduled to open in 2010. To quote their regional Vice President:
We believe that Las Vegas offers great potential for us. It is a market that is evolving quite rapidly and radically [and] we are beginning to see brand name hotels coming to Las Vegas.Hmm. But just when will the boom go bust? Can Vegas really sustain this kind of growth? (Hell- where is the water coming from in the middle of the desert? Will LA really continue to put up with this pillaging of water rights? Let the battle begin.)
Act fast. The Sofitel Lafayette Square just announced record-low rates for January. Like $175 low. (That's a whopping 65 percent off!) But hurry- there's a limited number of rooms available! A gorgeous historic landmark building in a killer location, luxurious comfort, and superior service: this is the spot for your next business meeting in DC.
Sofitel Lafayette Square, Official Site
Sofitel Lafayette Square, Five Star Alliance
Is Aujourd'hui really all that? Sure, it's got a choice spot as the dining room for the old-world-elegant Four Seasons Boston, views of the Public Gardens, a French menu as decadent as the decor. And it's one of only two in Massachusetts to receive the AAA Five Diamond Award, Zagat drools over it (#1 in Boston in almost every category), and both Food and Wine and Gourmet magazines claim it's the best restaurant in Boston. I still need convincing.
Bye, bye Fairmont Kansas City. Intercontinental's taking over the AAA four-diamond property. Consistently rated as KC's best hotel, the name-in-transition hotel is opening soon as the Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza. The team at IC hotels group has planned all sorts of marvelous upgrades to the property, including room renovations, which will take place throughout 2006 and 2007. It's got a kick-ass location in the Country Club Plaza area, just minutes away from the city's entertainment district with outdoor museum and oodles of boutiques and restaurants. Additionally, the hotel boasts a fantastic fitness center with spa treatment rooms, outdoor pool, fine dining at the Oak Room, and balconies on all 366 guestrooms.
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
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
January 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Taking the kids to Disney World for Spring Break? Head to the Peabody Orlando, one of only two Mobil four-star hotels in the city. No need to compromise on luxury before you sweat in line at Epcot—the Peabody has prime accommodations (including two magnificent Presidential Suites), loads of facilities, and excellent service. And plenty to amuse the kids, especially the pool with cascading waterfall and world-famous Peabody ducks who parade through the lobby twice daily.
The Peabody Orlando, Official Site
The Peabody Orlando, Five Star Alliance