LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Kick off those ugg boots and give your cold, scaly, winter feet a break at the Cheeca Lodge and Spa. After all, their motto is "Barefoot Elegance." The resort is set on 27 lush acres on Islamorada, the most perfect little island in the Florida Keys archipelago. Besides its proximity to the only tropical coral reef in the continental U.S., the island is plugged as the sport fishing capital of the world, with 600 species of fish in the surrounding turquoise waters. But this is not just a paradise for anglers and snorkelers; Cheeca's got a heavenly spa with lap pool, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, six lighted tennis courts, saltwater lagoon stocked full of fish, a myriad of water sports, brand new Deluxe Beachfront Bungalows with private balconies and gardens, and award-winning dining.
Hawaii's luxurious Princeville Resort—the gorgeous destination hotel on the north shore of the paradise of Kaua'i—touts their customized Hawaiian Sensory Room Experience, designed to "enhance smell, sight, touch, sound and taste to create a harmonious environment." This means your room is flooded with Maile Mist, an in-room aromatherapy program derived from the Maile vine indigenous to Hawaii, while a CD of traditional Hawaiian music floods your ears. Isn't it enough to be surrounded by some of the most exquisite natural scenery on the planet? Why have to recreate the Hawaii experience in the guestroom too? You might as well be at home in Tucson blasting Hawaiian tunes and slathering Maile lotion after a shower.
January 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Act fast. The Sofitel Lafayette Square just announced record-low rates for January. Like $175 low. (That's a whopping 65 percent off!) But hurry- there's a limited number of rooms available! A gorgeous historic landmark building in a killer location, luxurious comfort, and superior service: this is the spot for your next business meeting in DC.
Sofitel Lafayette Square, Official Site
Sofitel Lafayette Square, Five Star Alliance
January 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Since 1766, The Homestead has provided a luxurious escape for Princes, heads of state and sports fanatics. Located in Virginia's Allegheny mountains, the National Historic Landmark is now ranked among the world's top Spa and Golf resorts. (The Spa is still fed by the bubbling hot springs that have attracted travelers since the 1700s!) In the winter months, The Homestead is transformed into a winter wonderland, with ice skating, sledding, snow-mobiling, cross-county skiing and lots of downhill and snowboarding. From now until March 31, kids ski free! The "Perfect Winter Days" package includes accommodations, lift tickets for the kids, bountiful breakfast daily, traditional afternoon tea, and nightly movies in the historic theater. $119 (Sunday through Thursday), $159 (Friday and Saturday), per person, per night. Up to two children stay complimentary in same room with adults. Travel by January 24, and receive a complimentary upgrade to deluxe accommodations.
The Homestead, Official Site
The Homestead, Five Star Alliance
January 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Taking the kids to Disney World for Spring Break? Head to the Peabody Orlando, one of only two Mobil four-star hotels in the city. No need to compromise on luxury before you sweat in line at Epcot—the Peabody has prime accommodations (including two magnificent Presidential Suites), loads of facilities, and excellent service. And plenty to amuse the kids, especially the pool with cascading waterfall and world-famous Peabody ducks who parade through the lobby twice daily.
The Peabody Orlando, Official Site
The Peabody Orlando, Five Star Alliance
The Ritz in London is commemorating its centenary in 2006 with lots of celebrations. Starting with an over-the-top Grand Gala Dinner Dance on New Year's, complete with seven course gourmet dinner, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne, fireworks and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force regimental marching band and a lone Scottish piper.
In honor of this special year, the Ritz has ordered a brand new 2006 Rolls Royce, "Ritz blue" in color with custom fitted interiors in smoke grey leather and walnut trimming. Equipped with the latest satellite navigation system, two DVD screens and crested door handles, the car will be driven by Rolls Royce trained chauffeurs and available as a guest service throughout the centennial celebrations.
Starting in January, guests can book the Centennial Celebration Package, from GBP 1,500. Includes two nights lux accommodation, airport transfers in that bad-ass Phantom, complimentary membership to The Ritz Club, theater tickets to a London production of the guests' choice, and dinner in the classic Ritz Restaurant.
Too bad the hotel couldn't go the extra mile with their new spa addition, a paltry treatment room on the hotel's seventh floor, with just one full-time therapist. Guests can choose a range of beauty treatments including massages and facials, but this isn't exactly a full-service spa.
The Ritz in London, Official Site
The Ritz in London, Five Star Alliance
The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is the site of some of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest. It is also the site of the 1,000 acre private nature preserve of the Lapa Rios resort. The rainforest resort is not only a model Ecotourism Project, it is also a fixture on CN Traveler's Gold List and winner of Andrew Harper's Hideaway Award. This isn't exactly roughing it. The main lodge and bungalows are built 350 feet above the sea, with breathtaking ocean vistas, the structures designed in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape. Enjoy rainforest wilderness adventures in Corcovado National Park, appreciate the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica, while indulging in gourmet dining, superb spa services, plush accommodations and a sparkling pool…
Smack in the middle of London's fashionable Mayfair district, the Athenaeum is privately-owned and family-run, and it shows. The family atmosphere, reinforced by a long-standing staff, ensures impeccable service. Pleased guests are known to return time and time again, tickled pink by their luxurious experience at the Athenaeum (40% returning clients is pretty impressive). Easily one of the top hotels in London, featured on the CN Traveler Gold List, the Athenaeum launched a special promotional rate this past year, which has been wildly popular. The Pound for Dollar rate is a savings of more than 40% on the hotel's luxurious accommodations. The good news for us? The hotel has decided to continue this rate into the spring season and beyond.
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Official Site
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Five Star Alliance
December 21, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Bring along your preferred pooch and favorite feline to the uber-pet-friendly Madison Hotel to experience the luxurious pampering of the capital's premiere address. The "Paw Paw" special, starting at $259 a night, includes a host of amenities along with luxurious accommodations for two: Pet Welcome Kit listing local dog-walking routes and pet-friendly restaurants, Welcome Basket with doggie treats and chew toy, doggie beds and in-room doggie dining menu available upon request. The "Purrfect" Washington Hotel Special Offer, starting at $259 a night, includes kitty treats, litter box, and a stuffed toy. How's that for VIP treatment.
The Madison, Official Site
The Madison, Five Star Alliance