August 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Welcome to a world of sea breezes, reflecting pools, turquoise sea, and powder-fine white-sand beaches. Amanyara is nestled on the tip of a 5,000 acre nature reserve-- the Northwest Point Marine National Park-- on the secluded western shore of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos islands. Surrounded by the third largest coral reef system in the world, the stunning archipelago is known for its pristine beaches and some of the best scuba diving in the world. The destination resort of Amanyara is celebrated by beach lovers and water sport enthusiasts alike. With a fantastic oceanfront setting, the 40 timber-shingled Pavilions are spacious and luxuriously comfortable, with outdoor terraces and surrounded by large glass doors which open to the sea breezes. The attentive, understated service at Aman Resorts is world-renowned (even the most discerning clients can't stop gushing about it.) With some of the world's best scuba diving offshore, the fully equipped Dive Centre at Amanyara offers a range of courses suitable for both beginners and experienced divers. Excellent snorkeling is also available; a complimentary snorkeling trip departs daily from the Dive Centre. The Beach Club provides a variety of water sports equipment from Hobie Cats to ocean kayaks. And the resort has two flood-lit clay tennis courts, and spa and massage treatments can be enjoyed in the privacy of guests' private pavilions with Amanyara's team of skilled therapists. From June 15 to October 31, 2006, enjoy a Summer Introductory Rate of $950 per night at Amanyara, with a three-night minimum stay. Includes airport transfers, non-motorized water sports, use of tennis courts and equipment, mini bar, and all telephone calls.
French formal dining at its best. The award-winning Le Fountainebleau is a San Diego treasure, its focus on attentive service and artfully conceived menus incorporating fresh seasonal ingredients. The dining room is elegant, full of antiques and beautiful floral arrangements, with a grand piano setting the mood with background music. Named San Diego's most romantic restaurant by the San Diego Reader, the restaurant is also beloved for its Friday night seafood buffet. The Seafood Soiree features over 30 items: a sumptuous display of oysters, caviar, lobster, mussels, gourmet sushi and other favorites. Located in the Westgate Hotel.
Nestled among vineyards, olive groves, and Tuscan forest, the Villa Mangiacane is a majestic 16th century villa, overlooking the famous Duomo in Florence from its loggia. Once owned by the ancient and powerful Machiavelli family, the villa also bears the artistic influence of Michelangelo. The hotel has been completely and lovingly restored, with exquisite historical touches coexisting with luxurious modern details. The Villa boasts its own library, beautiful gardens, Renaissance frescoes, full-size infinity pool, and decadent Master Suite. Guests enjoy lavish treatments at the new spa, using homegrown ingredients such as grape seed and olive oil. Art exhibitions are frequent, featuring sponsored on-site artists and the proceeds go to African charities. Meals are divine, ranging from three to seven courses, served outdoors overlooking the Chianti countryside, or in the formal dining room. The Villa has just recently opened its Vineyard Villa wing, featuring 19 spectacular rooms. Enjoy an escape to Villa Mangiacane this summer—soaking up the Renaissance culture and art of Florence—with the Vineyard Villa Introductory Summer Rates. Classic room starts at EUR 250, based on double occupancy. Includes Continental Buffet Breakfast, and Villa Mangiacane wine and olive oil tasting. Valid until September 30, 2006.
There's Claridges: the London classic and epitome of grand English style that has been favored by celebs and illustrious families for over a century. (The 1999 designer renovation of the Victorian-Art Deco property is still talked about.) And then there's The Connaught-- located in the heart of Mayfair-- as famous for its winding majestic mahogany staircase as it is for its impeccable service. And of course there's The Berkeley, situated in the fashionable area of Belgravia, home to the Michelin star rated Petrus restaurant and hip Blue Bar. The Maybourne Group is offering an unbelievable summer deal at these three landmark London hotels, each boasting a superb location within walking distance of London's best attractions and museums. Talk about twice as nice. Reserve one room for a stay between July 22 and September 4th, 2006, and the second room is complimentary. An ideal offer for a family or two couples. Prices start from GBP 375 for two rooms, an unprecedented deal. Rates are subject to availability, and exclusive of VAT at 17.5 percent.
July 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Named to Fodor's Top Ten Luxury Resort Spas, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa sits high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. This beautiful resort is a sun-kissed landmark, inspired by the architecture of Tuscany. With its private beach club, world-class spa, oceanfront golf course, and personalized (ever attentive) service, this is the ideal spot for a luxurious escape. For a limited time, stay four nights but only pay for three! If you book three consecutive nights by December 15, 2006, your fourth night is on the house. This offer is available every day of the week.
Situated in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, the Harvest Inn is an intimate luxury retreat in St. Helena, California. Surrounded by rolling vineyards and a distant mountain backdrop, the Inn is an inspiring Napa hideaway amidst lush gardens and winding pathways through redwood groves. Guests enjoy the cottages with handcrafted fireplaces, intricate woodwork, and private terraces with intimate spa tubs. The heated outdoor pools and Jacuzzis are nestled within the gardens. This year, the Harvest Inn has partnered with Magnum Tours to offer guests a unique Napa experience with its Napa Confidential Package, allowing guests access to winemakers in the area's smaller, family-owned wineries. Included in the package are personal wine tasting tours at three such estates, chosen by the guest booking the package, as well as a picnic lunch with one of the winemakers. Additional amenities include one bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Noir wine, Woodhouse Chocolate Truffles, and an arrangement of red roses, two outdoor spa treatments in the Redwood Cove adjacent to the vineyard or in the privacy of the guestroom, and two personalized, monogrammed Harvest Inn robes. The two-night package is priced at $2,269 for Friday and Saturday night stays and $1,799 for Sunday through Thursday night stays.
The AAA-Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is nothing short of magnificent. Let me count the ways. Breathtaking surroundings of mountains and sun-splashed desert. A vast network of five swimming pools, including the Sonoran Splash pool with waterslides. A premier tennis facility with seven hard courts and a 6,300-seat capacity Stadium Court. Two 18-hole championship Golf courses, one of which is home to the Annual PGA Tour FBR Open (formerly the Phoenix Open). Award-winning restaurants. And the 44,000 square foot Willow Stream Spa, one of the best in North America. Useful tip: In the Spa's MVP room, men find the quintessential spa escape for guys, with plasma screens with wireless headsets, leather and wood decor, the "Bentley" of multi-tasking massage beds, authentic spa treatment menus that are easy-to-understand, the latest issues of sports magazines and business journals, and even tasty home-baked cookies. After a full day on the Tournament Players Club Stadium Course, treat yourself to a 60-minute Golf Performance Treatment Massage ($169 USD), which targets sore muscles after exercise.
The delightful port city of Charleston—brimming with historic charm-- was ranked the fourth best city in the nation by readers of Travel and Leisure magazine. The Golf courses are beloved by readers of Golf Digest magazine. Additionally, Charleston was named a top art destination by American Style Magazine, for its lovely art galleries and exhibits. And come October, Charleston will host the Southern Living Cook-Off 2006, the largest annual cook-off in America, at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, where finalists will prepare their recipes for judges prior to the main event.
Plus, Charleston is home to some of the country's top-ranking hotels, like The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, an oceanside resort celebrated for its incredible natural beauty, championship golf courses and excellent recreational activities, and the stunning Charleston Place, where guests are treated to the finest Southern hospitality in elegant surroundings. (Not to mention the incredibly lavish European-style Spa, with clay tennis court, and a horizon edged swimming pool with retractable glass roof.)
Good Morning America and Travel and Leisure think so, anyway. The Mayflower Inn is a grand Relais and Chateaux country house, less than two hours from New York City. Nestled in 58 acres of gardens and parkland, it's the ideal setting for hiking, kayaking, or playing tennis. The five-star accommodations are luxuriously romantic, 30 different rooms that are billed as the "antidote to urban stress." These finer details include feather topped mattresses, Tabriz rugs, enormous marble bathrooms wainscoted in mahogany, with brass and Limoges fittings, fireplaces, well-stocked mini-bars, flat screen televisions, down comforters, oversized pillows, linens by Frette, four-poster canopied antique beds, and all the modern conveniences including Wi-Fi and cable TV.
The rooms may be heavenly, but for the ultimate pampering experience, head to the destination spa. Newly opened on July 16, 2006, the 20,000 square foot facility includes treatment rooms, fully equipped exercise studios, pool and whirlpool, and moonflower scented Thermal Sanctuary. With its selection of Acitive Body and Mind-Spirit activities along with its full spa menu of restorative treatments, the Mayflower Spa is the ultimate relaxation resource. And Good Morning America isn't the only one to go gaga. Time Out New York calls it "Edenic." The New York Post calls it the "region's sexiest spa." And Vanity Fair gushes to its readers: "Imagine being transported to a kind of heaven on earth..."
July 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Ahh, Capri. Favorite haunt of hedonists, undercover movie stars, and loony Roman Emperor Tiberius, who used to indulge in wild orgies (and was also know to hurl virgin maidens and boys to their deaths over the cliffs). It's little wonder why so many visitors flock to the island. Home of the famous Blue Grotto, and fantastic Roman ruins including Tiberius's many villas, Capri juts up from the deep blue waters of the Bay of Naples overlooking Italy's scenic Amalfi Coast. The landscape is simply gorgeous, and the cuisine is divine. The place to stay? The Hotel Caesar Augustus commands a magnificent view, perched on the clifftop in Anacapri 1,000 feet above the sea, at the very pinnacle of the island. The hotel boasts the most extraordinary vistas to be found on all of Capri, and its infinity swimming pool seems to overflow into the sea of Capri below. For a stay fit for the emperor, book the Suite Cesare; the beautiful light-filled space has superb panoramic views from its private terrace and bathroom jacuzzi. In Spring and September (an ideal time to visit with its plentiful sun-kissed days without the crowds), the hotel offers the Best of Capri Package which includes three nights accommodation in Deluxe room with sea view and buffet breakfast, romantic dinner for two at the restaurant "La Terrazza di Lucullo," tour of the island in a convertible taxi or by private boat, and transfer from/to the port of Capri on arrival and departure. Starting from EUR 1,500. (Quite the steal. Normally you'd pay over $2,000 just for the three-night stay, without the additional amenities.)