March 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
I dig the idea of a totally-democratized travel guide, written and edited by travelers like you and me. In the words of WikiTravel:
Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. So far we have 7,561 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe.But is it reliable and trust-worthy?
The new Four Seasons Silicon Valley may have staked its claim to the luxury market in Palo Alto, but now Rosewood's moving in:
Stanford University and Rosewood Hotels and Resorts announced that they are working on plans to develop a 120-room luxury hotel on a 21-acre site directly southeast of the Sand Hill Road/I-280 intersection in Menlo Park. The site, about one mile west of the Stanford campus, is adjacent to land where some of the nation's foremost venture capital firms and other prestigious businesses are situated.Looks like world-class luxury lodging galore for business travelers.
On the pristine white sand lapped by the sparkling turquoise sea of Mexico's Yucatan, here is an offer you just can't refuse. After Hurricane Wilma's widespread destruction, the five-diamond Paraiso de la Bonita will reopen in all its glory—with lavish improvements that make the resort better than ever. Starting March 31, the brand-new Paraiso will feature a new oceanside terrace bar, design upgrades to each of the suites, vastly improved beachside grill, and new "made-for-two" treatment room in its Thallaso Center. In celebration, the resort is offering one free night with a minimum five-night stay. The special offer includes luxury oceanview accommodations, a sunset cruise on the resort's catamaran, complimentary airport transfers, complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon tea, complimentary use of the tennis courts and Thallaso facilities, including steam room, Jacuzzi, and fitness center. Valid March 31- April 30.
Paraiso de la Bonita, Official Site
Paraiso de la Bonita, Five Star Alliance
Thank you, Forbes. Their list includes Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas—with its dazzling 14-acre water park; the most elegant Badrutt's Palace in St. Moritz, Switzerland, with excellent supervised actitivies for the kiddies; and the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with the impressive Fairmont Kids Club. But ClubMed in the DR? Come on, guys.
A ship is to sunk-- intentionally-- off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. As CNN reports:
If all goes according to plan, explosives will be placed throughout the largely hollowed-out shell of the USS Oriskany in May and it will plummet 210 feet to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.The ship that starred in films like "The Bridges of Toko Ri" and "The Men of the Fighting Lady," will play a new role as bait to lure serious divers and sport fishermen worldwide and help boost tourism to the hurricane-ravished local economy.
From the same chic LA hotelier that brought you the Viceroy Santa Monica, comes a new luxury residential property in the marvelous Mayan Riviera. The sister property to the new Viceroy Riviera Maya Resort—one of five exquisite luxury hotels built within the eco-sensitive Mayakoba Resort on the beautiful beaches south of Cancun— the Tides Playa del Carmen is a luxurious residential resort. The stretch of Yucatan coastline near Playa del Carmen has long been the hideaway for an international, travel-savvy crowd of cultured travelers. Now Kor brings "one-of-a-kind chic by the shore" with its new eight-acre retreat, reminiscent of the sophisticated Tides in South Beach. Construction is scheduled to begin this year and be completed in early 2008. The resort will include 190 luxury ocean-front residences with all the upscale amenities of the most exclusive resort: pool with destination bar-lounge, private Beach Club, fine dining, 10,000 square foot spa and fitness center.
Welcome to Fairmont, where new check-in desk computers are powered by the wind. For its hotels across North America, Fairmont has recently purchased Eco-Logo certified wind power for 249 computers. This translates to greenhouse gas reduction of almost 100 tonnes for the year! We applaud Fairmont for leading the pack with environmental initiatives and sustainable energy technology launched by its Green Partnership program.
Southern Florida's premier tourist attraction is back. After a large clean-up and renovation in the wake of Hurricane Wilma's wrath, the marine park opened its doors again on February 11. Located in a picture-perfect spot on Biscayne Bay, the Seaquarium offers a host of marine-life shows and exhibits. Sharks and Dolphins and Sea Lions, Oh My!
You may have missed Mardi Gras, but Jazz Fest is on the horizon. And both W hotels—which had sustained serious wind and water damage from Hurricane Katrina—have recently reopened in time for the best of spring festivals. W French Quarter is contemporary and full of sleek technology—as all W Hotels are—yet plenty romantic and old-world European at the same time. Plus, as its name suggests, it's in the heart of it all in the French Quarter. Its restaurant Bacco is considered one of the best in the city. Hot and hip, the other W New Orleans is equally well-located, a trendy and fashionable hotel that is the home of Rande Gerber's happening bar Whiskey Blue.
W New Orleans, Official Site
W New Orleans, Five Star Alliance
W French Quarter, Official Site
W French Quarter, Five Star Alliance
From Zanzibar to St. Lucia, the March issue of Travel and Leisure has found some incredible beach hot spots, including the DR's Sivory Punta Cana, which I've waxed poetic about before. In their words:
How do you know when a destination hasn't been trammeled by Americans? When it's a challenge to find locals who speak English. Such is the charm of the Dominican Republic, which has long been on the radar of A-listers (Oscar de la Renta, the Clintons); now, with low fares on JetBlue, it's even easier (and less expensive) to get to. The Sivory Punta Cana, a 55-suite property open since December and situated on a long expanse of untouched beach, offers visitors a low-key hideaway.