January 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Discover the "Lost City of the Incas" and the incredible natural beauty of the Amazon Basin while cocooned in luxurious comfort at this rustic boutique hotel. Located in the heart of Machu Picchu's Historical Sanctuary in the cloud forest (formerly known as Aguas Calientes), the hotel consists of 83 rooms and suites set in whitewash cottages spread over 12 acres of streams, waterfalls and lush forest, reached by stone walkways. The hotel itself is the setting for enormous biodiversity: the world's largest collection of native orchids (372 species) as well as wild hummingbirds and butterflies. Rooms are charming yet sumptuous, decorated with local handcrafted Andean architecture, alpaca bedspreads, and deluxe kits of handmade, organic amenities and aromatherapy products. Likewise, the utterly-divine spa incorporates a mystical Andean approach, with 100% natural botanical products.
January 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
You're invited... to the most fabulous, romantic Valentine's celebration in LA (after you pony up $275 per person, of course). At the Couples Champagne Dinner, served in the private garden room of the legendary Hotel Bel-Air, Veuve Clicquot will be featuring 7 of their high-end vintages, paired with each course. Divine menu items include Maine Lobster, Cream of Peas and Baby Mache, served with Veuve Clicquot la Grande Dame Rosé, 1995.
Hotel Bel-Air, Official Site
Hotel Bel-Air, Five Star Alliance
Located on the Big Island's Kohala coast, the AAA five-diamond resort is surrounded by a lush volcanic landscape chock full of waterfalls, rainforests, active lava flows and even snow-capped mountains. And Mauna Lani is a destination even among these wonders, recognized worldwide (almost suffocating with accolades) for its 25,000 sq ft spa, top tennis facilities at the Sport and Fitness Club, and white sand beach, where lucky guests can witness the whale migration just offshore. Escape this winter to an ocean view room or private bungalow, and get a fifth night free! In addition, the hotel is offering a $100-$200 per room per night resort credit (depending on room type) for stays March 1-May 30. But hurry! You must book the "Springtime Early Bird Special" by the end of Jan.
Mauna Lani, Official Site
Mauna Lani, Five Star Alliance
27 holes of championship golf in the sultry desert heat at The Phoenician. Nine gorgeous pools overlooking Camelback mountain and the red rock desert landscape. A phenomenal spa. And the city's dazzling culinary display and rockin nightlife. Now couldn't be a better time to visit Scottsdale. If those aren't reasons enough: the legendary destination resort recently completed a $20 million makeover. Guestrooms and casitas are all newly furnished (bed linens, wall hangings, artwork all in earthy desert tones), with divine new beds, and loads of new technology and upgraded bathroom fixures (lighting, floor-to-ceiling Italian marble, oversized tubs.) Of course the lobby, lounges, restaurants and public areas weren't overlooked, and the Spa and Fitness Facility was injected with a healthy $250,000 of new stairmasters, ellipticals, Life Fitness strength training machines and 15" individual televisions in all cardio equipment. The best part of the makeover? The Oasis swimming pool complex with new poolside cabanas, all new surfacing and decking, teak outdoor furniture, and underwater sound.
Via Travel and Leisure February issue
The Phoenician, Official Site
The Phoenician, Five Star Alliance
Rumor has it that Acqualina-- the exquisite new boutique resort from Rosewood-- will open its doors for guests in February. Located in Sunny Isles, Florida, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Acqualina is billed as a European architectural masterpiece (everybody's talkin!). Indeed, the resort's got it all: two-storey oceanfront spa, private beach club, superb dining, poolside cabanas and three gorgeous pools to choose from-- depending on your mood (will that be the infinity pool or tranquility?) The long-awaited debut was originally scheduled for November 2005, so I'm not holding my breath for an ontime opening.
Acqualina, Official Site
Acqualina, Five Star Alliance
The award-winning hotel is back and (almost) ready for action. After Hurricane Wilma took out most of Cancun's hotels and sweeping white sand beaches, construction and renovation has been nonstop, and this gem is set to open on May 1. Luxurious oceanfront suites with balconies, an elegant spa, rooftop tennis, and plenty of golf nearby... located smack in the middle of Cancun's Hot Hotel Zone. Welcome back.
January 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In the tiny town of Irvington in rural Tidewater Virginia, nestled between the banks of Carter's creek and other graceful tributaries that feed the Chesapeake Bay, the townsfolk used to talk. The goss was that The Tides Inn had fallen into disrepair, its guestrooms, restaurants and facilities disgraced beyond the pale. But that was before the new management company committed over $10 million to wide-sweeping renovations, including the gorgeous modernization of all guestrooms and the hotel exterior. Now the not exactly tight-lipped town is abuzz about the recent hire of a new, world-class chef. Though closed during the winter months, The Tides Inn commands a superb location overlooking its own award-winning marina on Carter's Creek, and beautifully manicured golf course. Other recreational facilities include tennis courts, swimming pools, sand beach, fishing, biking, not to mention river cruises on the National Historic yacht, Miss Ann.
The Tides Inn, Official Site
The Tides Inn, Five Star Alliance
January 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Situated in perhaps the most stunning city on earth, perched above the Atlantic with dramatic views of the Twelve Apostles mountain range, the hotel and spa is often deemed the best in Africa (sure Leading Hotels may be a teensy bit biased in their choices, but mags like CNT also rave that the Twelve Apostles is pretty darn hot...) Swim in the rock pool overlooking the ocean, enjoy prime diving spots nearby or head out on whale and dolphin watching excursions. In the afternoon, relax in the exceptional Sanctuary Spa (the treatments are beyond lavish), or imbibe a few drinks on the terrace. Though tearing yourself away from the luxury of your room may prove difficult. Further enticements include some sweet special packages, i.e. Stay Four Nights For the Price of Three! Along with the complimentary 4th night, you'll score some fun amenities: welcome drink on arrival, full South African breakfast daily, luxury shuttle transfers within a 13 km radius, and daily wine tastings.
Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Official Site
Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Five Star Alliance
Discover the ultimate in luxury and seclusion at this elegant 17th century hacienda on the mesmerizing Mediterranean isle of Mallorca. Dating from 1672, the Gran Hotel Son Net features an exquisite patio, terraces, the original interior beams, beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, and walls graced by an awesome collection of modern art. And with only 25 rooms and suites, guests are ensured the utmost in privacy and the most attentive of service. The perfect Valentine's retreat includes two nights accommodations, two Son Net breakfasts, a bottle of cava and fresh fruit arrangement in-room, and a romantic candle-lit dinner at L'Orangerie restaurant. Prices starting at EUR 225 per person, valid Feb 10-28.
Gran Hotel Son Net, Official Site
Gran Hotel Son Net, Five Star Alliance
Happy 5th to the Mandarin Oriental Miami! What's in store for this year's big birthday bash? Why, lucky guests can pamper themselves with a free night at this most luxurious and swanky of Miami's oceanfront properties. With the "Fifth Anniversary, Fifth Free Night" package, reserve five nights and get the last one free. Even better, if you too are celebrating a fifth anniversary, book the "Five Year Celebration" package and receive all kinds of goodies. Accommodations for two nights, a five-year anniversary gift made of wood, five-piece gift box from Norman Love Chocolates, and a $50 resort credit to use in the restaurants, bars, beach club, and spa, starting at $915.
Mandarin Oriental Miami, Official Site
Mandarin Oriental Miami, Five Star Alliance