September 24, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Escape to South Africa and discover "a world in one country": dramatic landscapes teeming with wildlife, caves etched with ancient rock art, a beautiful, timeless wilderness. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat is a five-star ecological oasis, a stunning hideaway that happens to be a sanctuary for many endangered species of flora and fauna. (It's hard to contain one's exuberance when writing about a property this extraordinary.) Situated 270 kilometers from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof is recognized as one of South Africa's Natural Heritage Sites. A proud member of Relais & Chateaux, the resort boasts an impressive list of accolades. Here you'll find luxurious guest rooms, a pampering spa, swimming pools, wilderness excursions and activities aplenty. Plus the dining is out-of-this-world. Pictured: Imagine a breathtaking dining experience under the starlit sky, where a traditional South African barbeque is served in a unique setting: an ancient, natural sandstone amphitheater of giant boulders overlooking time-worn cliffs and valleys.
PS. This time of year is simply magical. After the winter rains, an abundance of wildflowers dots the landscape.
Sometimes the best things come for those who wait. Having sustained significant damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the storied Fairmont Hotel-- the elegant, marbled New Orleans landmark-- closed for serious renovations. The 2006 reopening date was pushed back after estimates of the damage were discovered to be grossly underestimated. But rumor has it that this beautiful and beloved Grande Dame may have a second chance after all. The hotel was purchased in late August 2007 and happy guests may see the comeback of The Roosevelt, the hotel's former incarnation. This is good news for those who also mourn the loss of the hotel's Sazerac Bar, the successor to Huey Long's favorite barroom hangout. If luck should have it, we may even see this illustrious hotel join the ranks of the premium hotels in the new Waldorf Astoria brand.
No honeymoon or Polynesian vacation on the horizon? No matter. Try this for a little Friday diversion. Discover the digital postcards of the gorgeous InterContinental Moorea, set on two acres of lush gardens backed by mountains on the island's north coast. Click away, and share with your buddies. French Polynesia conjures images of brilliant deep water lagoons edged by stunning white sand beaches; over-water bungalows from where you can slip into the crystal clear waters. And the InterContinental does not disappoint. You'll find a spa, plenty of water sports, tennis courts, outdoor pool, Kids Club, a turtle sanctuary, and a large Lagoonarium for snorkeling. You can even swim with dolphins at the on-site Dolphin Centre. Tempted? Splurge on a romantic getaway at the InterContinental Moorea.
September 21, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints: Dignified, exciting, contemporary, hip Axis ...
Ante correctly guessed our Previous Hotel Contest:
Hotel La Perouse , Nice, France
Come tomorrow, Munich's Lord Mayor will tap the barrel and thereby open Oktoberfest, the largest, beer-swigging funfair in the world. (At 12 noon, to be exact.) Join the German revelers for some serious beer-fueled fun until October 7, 2007. You don't need to go to Hofbräuhaus, the world's most famous beer hall (aka Disneyfied tourist delight), to experience traditional music, tasty Bavarian dishes, and a stein full of beer. Tents and beer gardens are set up all over the city. Don't miss the Costumes and Marksmen's Procession on Sunday, September 23, 2007. Book a room at the latest European five-star hotel from the Rocco Forte Collection, The Charles Hotel, and experience the elegant comfort and excellent service one would expect to find at a Rocco Forte property. Distinguished by its original, personalized design, the custom-built hotel boasts a top-notch health club. (Rooms are available at this brand new hotel beginning October 4, 2007.)
Luxuriate in style at Toronto's fashionable Windsor Arms Hotel, easily one of the most desirable places in the world to stay. A favorite hideaway for celebs visiting the city, the Windsor Arms is a contemporary boutique hotel that embodies elegance and sophistication. Though located in the heart of Toronto's lively Yorkville district, the hotel is tucked away on a quiet street-- a haven of tranquility just steps away from trendy restaurants and designer boutiques. And how's this for five-star fabulous? Enjoy 24-hour butler service, along with stellar spa treatments at the luxurious Darphin Spa, unique in all of North America. The fireside pool (pictured) is magnificent. Bromine salts are used as a substitute for chlorine, thereby preserving the skin from chlorine's harsh properties.
A new luxury hotel has located in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech, the oldest quarter dating back to the 11th century. Almost impossibly chic, the new Riad Meriem is comprised of five opulent suites, individually designed to perfection. (Expect state-of-the-art technology, like sound systems with iPod and Bose speakers, and free broadband WiFi Internet access.) The New York-based owner and designer, Thomas Hays, created this high-end boutique with the art lover in mind; the property showcases marvelous oriental textiles and paintings. Centered around a patio with an oriental plunge pool, the Riad Meriem was magically restored by Marrakechi artisans with lush gardens and cool running water to create an intoxicating oasis. The bougainvillea-draped terrace-- surrounded by olive trees, jasmine, and pomegranate bushes-- is ideal for sunbathing. Watch the sun rise over the Atlas Mountains while enjoying a lovely breakfast, and in the evenings, dine by candlelight. In the chimney lounge, sip an aperitif by an open fire. You can score introductory rates of $210 per night (through December 14) if you book by November 1, 2007.
There's a swanky new hotel on the scene in San Diego. Set to open on October 6, 2007, The Grand Del Mar is billed as a world class resort experience, surrounded by the picture-perfect coastal communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe. This much anticipated resort spa is situated in the pristine Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve-- a 4,100-acre, boulder-studded sanctuary with the area's only natural waterfall-- and has been designed to harmonize with the beautiful surrounding habitat. Inspired by the design style of 1920's architect, Addison Mizner, The Grand Del Mar combines Old World Mediterranean elegance with Venetian and Moroccan elements in a tranquil So Cal setting. Think arched doorways, rotundas, colorful tile, wood-beamed ceilings, and lots of garden fountains. The menu of recreational activities and resort amenities is pretty extraordinary; you'll find San Diego's only Tom Fazio-designed golf course, 37 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, four sparkling swimming pools (including an adults-only pool), two outdoor tennis courts, spectacular spa, state-of-the-art fitness facility, and dining for all appetites.
This could be heaven on earth. The best place to stay in the trendy Mayan Riviera (the stretch of perfect beaches sweeping south from Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula) is Maroma Resort. Hands down. Nestled in the secluded jungle of a 200-acre nature preserve next to sugary beaches and lapis blue sea, Maroma dazzles guests with its excellent service and lavish facilities. There's a beautiful spa, three swimming pools, two ocean-facing restaurants and al fresco bar. To the delight of Maroma guests, there are myriad inclusive amenities. Think daily breakfast (and pots of coffee delivered to your room beforehand), welcome cocktails, and snorkeling trips to the colorful coral reefs off-shore. Maroma also receives glowing reports about its cuisine, and the special dinners arranged for couples on the beach. Celebrate a special occasion with an unforgettable dinner on the sand. In selecting your dinner choices, talk with Executive Chef Guilliermo Gomez-- who prepares innovative Mexican cuisine blending flavors of the Yucatan, Maya and Creole cultures-- and choose anything your heart desires. At the appointed time, stroll to the beach and discover a manicured path of sand leading to a magical spot lit by candles.
The opening of BLT Market in the Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park has generated lots of buzz. Savor the freshest seasonal ingredients at Chef Laurent Tourondel's newest BLT outpost. (It's short for "Bistro Laurent Tourondel.") The acclaimed chef brings the market to the table with locally sourced ingredients at the peak of their freshness. Monthly menus and weekly blackboard specials are updated to feature fruits and vegetables available in farmers' markets, paying particular attention to unusual, wild and locally grown items. BLT Market also sources seasonal fish, meat and cheese directly from local producers. Tourondel integrates French sensibilities into hearty American cuisine and the results are drool-worthy. The airy, light-filled space oozes chic, and there's also an outdoor patio. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch available.