March 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Arguably the world's best spa resort, the Banyan Tree Phuket is an exotic spa paradise facing Thailand's turquoise Andaman Sea. These exquisite tropical surroundings have recently become the sought-after setting for Banyan Tree's Destination Spa program: a series of fitness, wellness and cultural activities available in three, five and seven-night packages. The program includes accommodation for two in award-winning villas at Banyan Tree Phuket, daily breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner, two 90-minute massage sessions, an Intimate Moments experience, complimentary participation in daily fitness and wellness program and a special gift from Banyan Tree Gallery. In addition, guests are provided their own personal resort host to assist and recommend the best spa treatments. Rates begin at US$1,980 for a three-night package in a Deluxe Villa.
Banyan Tree Phuket, Official Site
Banyan Tree Phuket, Five Star Alliance
March 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
My home town is getting a makeover and I couldn't be happier. Kimpton-- that most delightful hotelier-- has bought the aged, decrepit Holiday Inn in Old Town, Alexandria and plans a complete overhaul. At long last: the return of glamour and class to this prime real estate in the heart of Old Town's cobblestone streets, flickering gas lamps and gorgeous colonial homes! Kimpton is pumping in $22 million in its conversion; the new Hotel Monaco, Alexandria will have 241 colorful and unique guest rooms, a pool, fitness club, and fine dining. Bring it on.
March 9, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications, Small Luxury Hotels of the World In the last 18 months, SLH has received over 1100 enquiries for membership. In 2005 alone, the brand received over 650 membership enquiries via its website, of which only 17 hotels met the standards and earned membership for 2006. Regionally, SLH received 23 requests for membership from hotels in Thailand but only 5 became members for 2006. 91 requests were received from the U.S.A. but only 6 became members. A total of 55 requests from Italian hoteliers lead to the biggest grouping of 11 new members; finally, 30 requests from the UK and 26 from France both only delivering two members each. Although Small Luxury Hotels of the World continues to receive requests for membership in the traditional markets, the brand is making a concerted effort to expand into newer, emerging markets. This effort has already paid off for 2006 with the addition of hotels in Laos, China, South Korea and Russia. Areas of interest for future growth in 2007 are Dubai, South America, Eastern Europe, China and Japan where the brand is already in serious discussion with luxury boutique properties. The total collection now stands at 359 hotels in 59 countries, and for the first time includes a presence in South Korea, Laos, St Lucia, Russia and Estonia. See the list after the jump.
In The Americas 1. Adara Hotel at Whistler; Canada 2. Le Chateau du lac Sacacomie; Quebec, Canada 3. Dolphin Bay Hotel & Residences; San Louis Obispo, CA 4. The Inn of the Five Graces; Sante Fe, NM 5. Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate; Huntington, NY 6. Goodstone Inn & Estate; Middleburg, VA 7. Marina Inn at Grande Dunes; Myrtle Beach, SC 8. Castle Hill Resort & Spa; Ludlow, VT 9. Sivory Punta Cana; Dominican Republic 10. Discovery at Marigot Bay; St Lucia 11. Gaia Hotel & Reserve; Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica In Asia Pacific 1. Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant; Katoomba, Australia 2. The Country Club Sydney; Nr Sydney, Australia 3. Island Hideaway Spa Resort & Marina; Dhonakulhi Island, Maldives 4. The Fortress; Galle, Sri Lanka 5. The Beach Negombo; Negombo, Sri Lanka 6. Banyan Tree Lijiang, Lijiang, China 7. Fuchun Resort Hangzhou; Hangzhou, China 8. Losari Coffee Plantation Resort & Spa; Central Java, Indonesia 9. Maison Souvannaphoun Hotel; Luang Prabang, Laos 10. Eros Spa & Resort Club Parthenon; Chungnam Province, South Korea 11. Hotel Hera Club Parthenon; Chungnam Province, South Korea 12. The Baan Thai Wellness Retreat; Bangkok, Thailand 13. D2hotel chiang mai; Chiang Mai, Thailand 14. The Racha; Phuket, Thailand 15. Nakamanda Resort & Spa; Krabi, Thailand 16. Aleenta Resort & Spa; Phang Nga, Thailand In Europe 1. Hoteldorf Gruner Baum; Salzburg, Austria 2. Manos Premier Hotel; Brussels, Belgium 3. Padaste Manor; Muhu Island, Estonia 4. Estate Hotel Schwarzer Adler; Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany 5. Brandenburger Hof; Berlin, Germany 6. De Hoefslag; Utrecht, The Netherlands 7. Dwor Oliwski Hotel & Restaurant; Gdansk, Poland 8. Savoy Moscow; Moscow, Russia 9. Royal Park Hotel; Bernese Oberland, Switzerland 10. Chateau de Cely; Ile de France, France 11. L’Hermitage Gantois; Lille, France 12. St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel; Crete, Greece 13. Villa Le Scale; Isle of Capri, Italy 14. Albergo San Montano; Isle of Ischia, Italy 15. Townhouse 12; Milan, Italy 16. Townhouse 31; Milan, Italy 17. Townhouse 70 Suite Hotel; Turin, Italy 18. Masseria Torre Coccaro; Puglia, Italy 19. Inn at the Roman Forum; Rome, Italy 20. View at the Spanish Steps; Rome, Italy 21. Relais la Suvera; Tuscany, Italy 22. Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte; Tuscany, Italy 23. I Casali di Monticchio; Umbria, Italy 24. Selenza Thalasso Wellness Hotel; Andalucia, Spain 25. Hotel Club Maritimo Sotogrande; Andalucia, Spain 26. Vincci Seleccion La Plantacion del Sur; Canary Islands, Spain 27. Mas Passamaner; Tarragona, Spain 28. The El Rodat Hotel; Alicante, Spain 29. The Goring; London England 30. Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island; Argyll, Scotland 31. La Stampa Hotel & Spa; Dublin, Ireland 32. La Sultana Hotel & Spa; Marrakech, MoroccoOur question? Who dropped out ... Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Official Site Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Five Star Alliance
March 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Did they neglect to read National Geographic's damning assessment of the Costa del Sol? In Traveler's yearly Destination Scorecord-- ranking the integrity of places by creating an index of Destination Stewardship-- Spain's coast has gone to the dogs. The pressures of development, pollution, globalization, and mass tourism have held sway:
...[in] Spain's Costa del Sol—the overbuilt "Costa del Concrete," which caters to package tours from northern Europe... you can hear more English or German than Spanish. As with many uncontrolled seashores, a nonstop line of characterless hotels blocks off the coastline.The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has assumed management of one of these hotels: the 112-room luxurious Villa Padierna. Though the place has got a golf course, spa, Beach Club, and rooms full of antiques, I'm still skeptical. Good luck, Ritz-Carlton. Let's see if they can turn the tide and bring back the glamor.
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.