February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
With white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush, green landscapes, Maui has always appealed as a picture-perfect paradise and renowned destination for honeymooners and families alike. Thus we've been eagerly anticipating the April opening of the Wailea Beach Villas: its elegant private residences offering the intimacy of private homes, but with all the facilities and amenities of a grand resort. Daily housekeeping, concierge assistance, swimming pools, and a spectacular beachfront location overlooking the West Maui mountains. The villas are stocked with fine linens, signature bath amenities, and fabulous gourmet kitchens. And of course the island paradise offers a bounty of activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, kayaking, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, jeep and helicopter tours.
The only complaint? In a tropical island paradise like Maui, is a gated community-- touting serious 24 hour security and surveillance-- absolutely necessary?
Now is the time to plan a holiday to India: to discover the colorful culture and mythical history of the desert-state of Rajasthan, the pulsing nightlife of New Delhi, and get pampered like a maharaja staying at the glorious Taj Hotels. It doesn't get much better than this with Taj Royal Escapes. From May 1- September 30, stay at any participating Taj luxury hotel, in any combination, and the benefits are extraordinary. Stay for 6 nights, pay for 3; stay for 10 nights, pay for 5; stay for 14 nights, pay for 7. Hotels include Taj Mahal Palace and Tower (Mumbai), Taj Mahal Hotel (New Delhi), Rambagh Palace (Jaipur), Umaid Bhawan Palace (Jodhpur), and the most romantic and magical hotel in the world: the Taj Lake Palace, which appears like a brightly lit castle floating on water in Udaipur.
From the New York Times to shiny glossies and guidebooks, the media is brimming with good tips about cruisin'. I've compiled some recent newsworthy articles for your planning pleasure: Conde Nast Traveler, Reader's Poll, The World's Best Cruise Ships 2006 Fodor's Travel Wire, "The Best of Cruising" Forbes, The World's Most Expensive Cruises Travel and Leisure Hot Deals, "Cell Phones at Sea" The New York Times Travel, "Bon Voyage to the Three-Bean Salad" The New York Times Travel, "Extreme Makeover: Taking High Style to the High Seas" The New York Times Travel, "Oman Anyone? More Ships, More Ports of Call" The New York Times Travel, "Mystery at Sea: Who Polices the Ships?"
February 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The ultimate in pampering for the discerning traveler. The flagship of the global spa brand developed for St. Regis, the 15,000 sq ft Remede Spa is the premier spa in Aspen, oozing luxury, decadence and sophistication. The comprehensive spa menu boasts customized massage, facial and body treatments, based on the skincare of Laboratoire Remede. The Spa features 15 treatment rooms including a couples room and Vichy room, men and women's locker facilities, including steam room, vapor caves and whirlpool, the Confluence room with invigorating warm and cold waterfalls, and a Movement Studio. Indulgent amenities include chilled champagne, Jacques Torres truffles and Kashwere throws. Feeling the effects of this high-altitude destination? Head to the Oxygen Lounge, relax in a chaise and take a hit from the plentiful oxygen tanks.
St. Regis Resort, Aspen, Official Site
St. Regis Resort, Aspen, Five Star Alliance
Making its debut in June, the new Discovery at Marigot Bay stakes its claim to fame with a location on the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean. A member of Small Luxury Hotels, Discovery is situated on the breathtakingly gorgeous island of St. Lucia, built into a lush hillside overlooking the turquoise bay near Castries. The boutique resort offers 67 luxurious guestrooms and 57 suites (30 of them with private plunge pools), featuring dark wood furniture, romantic draped netting over king size pillow-top beds, large balconies overlooking the bay, wifi internet and flat-screen TVs. The Lapli Spa is world-class, its treatment rooms each boasting a private deck with open-air shower. Luxurious treatments use all-natural, local products created by Caribbean herbalists. This is truly an intimate paradise in a yachting capital of the Caribbean.
From tragedy to renaissance. The historic Clifton Inn, one of only 44 prestigious Relais and Chateaux properties in the United States, has re-emerged in all its glory after a devastating fire two years ago that killed two guests. The tragedy and heartache of that event-- and the lawsuits and settlements that followed—no longer linger over the historic 1799 property, built by Thomas Mann Randolph, the son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson and once governor of Virginia. Renovations are remarkable. Rooms in the main house are beautifully furnished with antiques, equipped with up-to-the-minute technology, and state-of-the-art bathrooms feature Waterworks fixtures and spa jet showers. Views from the newly renovated main house overlook Monticello Mountain, the pool's cascading waterfalls, the beautifully sloping lawns and flowering gardens. The garden rooms, reminiscent of a private cottage, feature exposed ceiling beams and more unique antiques.
Take advantage of this special offer, designed to beat the winter blues. From now until March 31, these luxurious accommodations-- with breakfast and daily afternoon tea included-- are only $225 a night. Valid Sunday-Thursday.
The Washington Post, "The Comeback Inn"
February 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The new Four Seasons is the shining star of the prestigious International Finance Centre, the awesome business and shopping complex located on the waterfront of the Central neighborhood. This is easily the top location on Hong Kong Island, with unrivalled links to Hong Kong Station, and the Star Ferry just steps away. Described by the IHT as the "first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years," the Four Seasons Hong Kong opened its sleek, modern doors in September. Its 399 spacious guestrooms—with wall-to-wall windows offering views of the Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak—are well-equipped with the latest in technology, including 42-inch plasma screen TVs. Additionally, there are five excellent restaurants and bars, a fully-equipped health club, and an incredible, 2,043 sq meter spa with 18 treatment rooms including two VIP suites. The outdoor infinity pools, heated in winter, offer a pool-deck whirlpool and sweeping harbor views.
Four Seasons Hong Kong, Official Site
Four Seasons Hong Kong, Five Star Alliance
Why limit yourself to just one luxury hotel in Bali? Amanresorts has designed a genius way to experience all that Bali has to offer—from the diversity and cultural spirit to the geographical enchantment of this island paradise—with a seven-day package that can be spread out between any and all of their three Balinese resorts. What could be more perfect for honeymooners?
Amandari: The best of Bali's hill country, perched high above the Ayung River gorge overlooking terraced rice fields, is designed as a walled Balinese village of 30 luxurious suites.
Amankila: Cliff-side beach resort with panoramic coastline views offers a three-level swimming pool, private beach with expansive Beach Club pool, and thatched beachside houses—surrounded by traditional villages.
Amanusa: Located on Bali's southern peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean, the resort boasts 35 thatched-roof suites surrounded by a bougainvillea-covered hillside. The fairways of the Bali Golf and Country Club lie just below the resort, while Amanusa's own Beach Club--10 bales each with plush mattresses and roll cushions-- is set on one of Nusa Dua's top surf and swim beaches.
The deets of the Aman Bali Experience? The unique settings of each of these resorts can be enjoyed in a seven night offer with guests' choice of stay between a minimum of two of these listed Amanresorts. Until March 31, rates start at $3,850 for a suite. From April 1- March 31, 2007, rates start at $4,025 for a suite. (Based on seven nights' double occupancy.) Included in the offer are airport and inter-hotel transfers and one specially tailored activity per day, chosen by each resort's manager.
Kimpton, of course, is the mastermind hotelier behind this delightfully quirky, luxurious and fun hotel hotspot in the heart of San Diego's happening Gaslamp district. Decorated in vibrant pink and green tones, energetic and modern furnishings, and a very pretty clientele, the Hotel Solamar also stocks its minibars with fun and original amenities like flip-flops and art supplies. Jbar, located on the 4th floor rooftop deck of the hotel, has become a trendy urban oasis complete with fire pits, poolside cabanas and awesome views of downtown San Diego and the bay. In an exotic setting, Jsix restaurant specializes in Coastal California cuisine, with a menu showcasing innovative, regional flavors inspired by the region's Baja coastline.
Hotel Solamar, Official Site
Hotel Solamar, Five Star Alliance
February 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Imagine a luxurious home-away-from-home in the heart of Manhattan, featuring designer furnishings by rock-star designers Robert Kuo, Martha Sturdy, Barbara Berry and Bill Sofield. The two-bedroom Taipan Suite is a dreamy 1,210 sq feet, with floor-to-ceiling views overlooking Central Park, the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline from the 54th floor of the Mandarin Oriental. The decor? The best of urban chic, with Asian and Art Deco influence. The bathrooms—equipped with heavenly bath products by FRESH—are unique and luxurious: an oversized marble bath with LCD flat panel TV and separate shower, and the other featuring a soaking tub with picture window overlooking Central Park. Take care of some business—your suite converts easily to an office with three multi-line telephones, high-speed internet access, laptop connections to LCD TV, and printer and fax machine upon request. Or relax with a drink from the wet bar with Bisazza tiles, and enjoy a flick from the home theater set-up.
Mandarin Oriental New York, Official Site
Mandarin Oriental New York, Five Star Alliance