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.
Have some romantic recs for Valentine's Day? (Don't be jaded, now....) Bursting at the seams to share your favorite romantic destination, story or restaurant? We'd love to hear 'em. Send in your stories or hotel suggestions and we'll publish them here or in our monthly newsletter.
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
January 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
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
January 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Escape the arctic temperatures to one of Fiji's most sublime and sought-after hideaways. This exclusive island retreat-- its solitude and seclusion the ultimate in tropical bliss-- offers 16 secluded villas, overlooking white sand beaches and the Beqa lagoon. What's in store for privileged guests? The villas are outfitted in mahogany floors, thatched roofs, sea-grass ceilings, and Jacuzzi spa tubs, with spellbinding views. Private terraces open onto the dramatic clifftop, with infinity-edge plunge pools completing the perfect setting. After a sea-soaked day of superb diving or snorkeling—most of these dive sites on the resort's living barrier reef have never been dived before– enjoy a four-course meal featuring fantastic fresh seafood.
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
The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is the site of some of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest. It is also the site of the 1,000 acre private nature preserve of the Lapa Rios resort. The rainforest resort is not only a model Ecotourism Project, it is also a fixture on CN Traveler's Gold List and winner of Andrew Harper's Hideaway Award. This isn't exactly roughing it. The main lodge and bungalows are built 350 feet above the sea, with breathtaking ocean vistas, the structures designed in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape. Enjoy rainforest wilderness adventures in Corcovado National Park, appreciate the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica, while indulging in gourmet dining, superb spa services, plush accommodations and a sparkling pool…
Smack in the middle of London's fashionable Mayfair district, the Athenaeum is privately-owned and family-run, and it shows. The family atmosphere, reinforced by a long-standing staff, ensures impeccable service. Pleased guests are known to return time and time again, tickled pink by their luxurious experience at the Athenaeum (40% returning clients is pretty impressive). Easily one of the top hotels in London, featured on the CN Traveler Gold List, the Athenaeum launched a special promotional rate this past year, which has been wildly popular. The Pound for Dollar rate is a savings of more than 40% on the hotel's luxurious accommodations. The good news for us? The hotel has decided to continue this rate into the spring season and beyond.
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Official Site
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Five Star Alliance