January 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Check out the great winter rates at Fairmont's Canadian hotels and resorts. Enjoy a 4th Night Free at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, or discover the charms of old Quebec at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac for $179 a night (and that's Canadian dollars, folks!) or indulge in the luxurious Willow Stream spa at The Fairmont Empress for a mere $129 a night. Fairmont's Only One Way Winter Rates are available through April 30.
And get this. For any travelers booking before January 31, Fairmont is offering a $50 food and beverage credit for bookings of two nights or more!
Looks like the Four Seasons Georgetown, of recent Mobil five star acclaim, is on the market for a mere $170 million (that's just $800,000 a room, folks). After injecting $25 million in renovations, the owners want a few pennies return on their investment... Apparently, this is the biggest price tag ever for a D.C. hotel. Good luck, guys. Via MSNBC
Imagine this. An all-star team of 19 architects comes together to create a sophisticated hotel masterpiece, each designing his/her own floor. This vision becomes a reality at the Hotel Puerta America, easily one of the top hotels in Madrid. Seductive, diverse, luxurious, this is a hotel with personality. Lots of them. It may be a little outside the city center, but who cares—the hotel itself is a destination. Opened since mid-last year, the hotel has great rates for standard rooms, starting at $250.
Enjoy a winter respite on the stunning beaches of Thailand, and help the economy rebound from the tsunami devastation. Take advantage of special rates at the Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, a steal at $175 a night. Soak up the sun on your room's private terrace overlooking the Andaman Sea, or enjoy a wide range of watersports activities. In the privacy of the luxurious Royal Spa—boasting spectacular treatment rooms with a large veranda, waterfall wall, and sweeping ocean views—indulge in the signature Spa Treatment. Le Royal Massage combines Thai and Swedish massage with aromatherapy and Shiatsu.
Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Official Site
Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Five Star Alliance
With the new year upon us, fitness is on the mind. And if you're prone to travel, the idea of dismal hotel fitness facilities may scare the bejesus out of you! But never fear-- the Fit Hotel Directory is here to help. In their words:
Find a quality hotel gym instantly! Gone are the days of searching for your hotel's tiny fitness room or gym, full of out-dated, bulky equipment simply to get a good workout. Guests have long been demanding quality, in-hotel fitness equipment and FitHotelDirectory.com is answering back resoundingly with our directory of the finest hotels with top-notch gyms and fitness rooms.
Cupids, lace paper doilies, elaborate pink cards with ornate trim... embrace the Victorian symbols of Saint Valentine. For those seeking a truly romantic, and truly Victorian Valentine's Day, head to the authentic, breathtakingly-restored Victorian inn in the heart of San Diego. The Britt Scripps Inn is all about decadent romance: each of its nine guestrooms have been individually designed and decorated with rich, hand-crafted period antiques. With such doting attention to the details of design, the owner didn't skimp on the technology: rooms are equipped with flat screen TVs, high speed internet, and heated towel racks in the bathrooms. Start the perfect day with the renowned complimentary full breakfast, a bountiful feast of freshly baked breads, omelettes with herbs picked from the garden, and french toast with caramelized apples.
The Britt Scripps Inn, Official Site
The Britt Scripps Inn, Five Star Alliance
Tah-dah. Here it is, though booking now for Valentine's Day may prove an impossible feat.
Forget the Burj al Arab. Istanbul's getting a make-over with the help of Dubai Holding's international subsidiary, Dubai International Properties. The pair of 150-meter high towers will be the tallest buildings in Istanbul-- a grand, ever-present symbol of foreign investment in Turkey. In renewed negotiations to become the first muslim state in the EU, Turkey has become a hot ticket for Arab investors. The $500m Dubai Towers will include a five-star hotel, luxury residences, office and retail space.
Discover the most elegant chateau in the heart of Reims. What could be a more romantic destination than Champagne country!? The historic, award-winning Chateau les Crayeres, set in a 7-hectare park, is known for its phenomenal restaurant. This is the ultimate gourmet retreat, guaranteed to be some of the best damn cuisine you will taste in your life. The menu is simply extraordinary; you'll start salivating immediately at first glance. And the rooms aren't so shabby either. (Conde Nast, T and L and all those folks seem to think this place worthy of their top awards.)
Chateau les Crayeres, Official Site
Chateau les Crayeres, Five Star Alliance
January 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
I fell asleep on the cold deck of the ferry from Naples, my bag as a cushion for star-gazing at the endless vault above, the night furious with wind, and awoke at dawn to the sight of the looming volcanic island of Stromboli, its conical peak sputtering with ash and red flaming rock. (There are easier and faster means of transportation to these remote islands- namely, the ferry from much-closer Sicily). What a welcome! The Aeolian Islands had long conjured a mythical image in my head; after all, the ancient Greeks described this small string of islands as the home of the God of Wind. (And Homer described the voyage of Odysseus passing through these islands with the help of a favorable wind.) Craggy cliffs covered in vegetation, dotted with white-washed houses draped in brilliant fuchsia bougainvillea, the islands in this volcanic archipelago have a dramatic setting in the clear blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Each island is different, with a distinct personality. And it's easy for visitors to island-hop, as smaller boats and hydrofoils connect between the islands a few times daily. Lipari is the most developed of them-- though hardly bustling-- with a charming town full of cafes and shops. Among the other sites are the ruins of the ancient Greek settlement, the long stretches of beaches, and white cliffs of pumice. On Stromboli, hike to the volcanic crater to see small eruptions of red lava at twilight. Tour the vineyards on the green island of Salina, or escape with the international jet-set to the gorgeous seclusion of Panarea.