LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
This article about having the perfect destination wedding or honeymoon at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Puerto Rico was originally posted in our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, and was written by Nanci McArdle.
Once a plantation, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, located in Puerto Rico, gives couples an option to celebrate their big day a quick plane-ride away. The private estate resort offers a variety of venues to exchange vows, including the Surf Room, a 4,558-square-foot luxury ballroom streaming with natural daylight provided by floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto an outside terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; Su Casa, an 8,000-square-foot private waterfront Spanish-Colonial hacienda; and several outdoor venues that highlight the lush grounds and ocean views. (Note: Su Casa, referred to as "the crown jewel of Dorado Beach," is a historic seaside home that was once owned by Clara Livingston and comes with five bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, vast outdoor space, wraparound verandas with oceanfront views and its own private pool, perfect for families and friends looking to share accommodations.)
After the last toast is given and the final dance takes place, honeymooners can retreat to the popular Tranquility Suite, which has a rooftop lounge area with a private plunge pool. Each room is designed to cater to the bride and groom's individual wishes, so they can choose which accommodation suits them best.
Learn more about Dorado Beach, a private estate resort >>
This article about Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach, where couples can celebrate their special day with a perfect destination wedding, was originally posted by our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, and was written by Nanci McArdle.
Always a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, Hawaii offers myriad options. Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach near Kauai's southernmost point is one of the many options for couples to spend their honeymoon. Although wedding ceremonies and receptions are not currently available at Ko'a Kea, discounted accommodations are on offer for groups celebrating elsewhere on the island.
Among the most popular retreats for honeymooners is Room No. 376, an oceanfront suite closest to the water on Kauai. The 624-square-foot room has a separate living room, wooden-beamed ceiling and large soaking tub (one of just 12 on property). A patio with chaise lounges is ideal for taking in 180-degree views of Poipu Beach.
For family or friends traveling together to celebrate their loved ones' special day, the resort presents 29 sets of connecting rooms located in various areas of the property. They range from two Partial Ocean View Rooms (Nos. 269 and 271) to an Oceanfront Deluxe Room and Oceanfront Suite (Nos. 378 and 376). And good news for those traveling with their furry friends: the hotel permits dogs 25 lbs. or less. The pet fee is a non-refundable $100 per day, and a bed, food, water bowl and toys are supplied. (Note: Due to limited availability of oceanfront and suite rooms, it is advisable to book at least two months in advance. During high demand periods such as summer and winter holidays, booking three, or more, months before is recommended.)
Romantic dining can be found in the resort's upscale seafood restaurant, Red Salt, where they can enjoy the Red Coral Martini, Ko'a Kea's signature cocktail made with Stolichnaya vanilla and raspberry vodka with a splash of pomegranate juice. Tables 22 or 27, next to the windows overlooking the property and ocean, are the most romantic seats in the house. Reservations are recommended one week in advance.
Couples or groups can enjoy some down time at The Spa at Ko'a Kea, which has five treatment rooms, plus a seaside cabana. Why not live like the natives and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage before taking a walk along the seaside path that runs in front of the hotel or directly on the sand. More vigorous oceanfront hiking is located nearby on the bluffs of Mahaulepu. Bicycle rentals are available at Outfitters Kauai, about four minutes from the hotel.
Discover more about Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach >>
May 9, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara is one of our World's Best Destination Wedding Resorts for 2016. Find out why ...
Couples can celebrate their special day at the seaside sanctuary - Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara - that offers both romance and relaxation for newlyweds and their friends and families.
Bacara Resort & Spa is an ideal destination for couples that are California dreaming. The resort can accommodate wedding requests ranging from a private ceremony in one of the Mediterranean-style guestrooms to a ballroom wedding, hosting up to 1,250 guests and many options in-between.
The 11,300-square-foot Bacara Ballroom features 23-foot-high ceilings and six balconies and can be divided into three separate areas, each accommodating up to 350 wedding guests. The ballroom also has 8,700 square feet of additional event space, including a vaulted foyer with fireplace, an adjacent ocean-view terrace and an expansive lawn, where guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prior to the ceremony.
Pictured: The Ocean Lawn at Bacara Resort & Spa affords panoramic ocean views for a wedding ceremony and is surrounded by the resort's lush landscaping.
Other options include the Rotunda and Rotunda Terrace, a 1,734-square-foot circular area atop Bacara's main lobby offering views of the ocean, along with an outdoor area perfect for an al fresco celebration. For a more intimate wedding, Bacara's wine cellar features a display of 12,000 wines from around the world, along with a private dining room that can seat up to 40. Those looking to take in the natural beauty of the resort can choose from The Bluff, an expansive lawn area with ocean views that can accommodate up to 300 guests for a seaside wedding ceremony or reception; the Ocean Lawn, which affords panoramic ocean views; or the Residence Lawn, a more intimate, oceanside venue that can be reserved in conjunction with The Residence, Bacara's 3,700-square-foot retreat. This option can accommodate up to 120 guests for outdoor wedding receptions and includes a two-night stay in The Residence. Finally, the Oval Lawn offers couples a private and enclosed garden area, accommodating up to 300 guests.
After the tying the knot, newlyweds can retire to one of the rooms right on property. The Residence, which is the closest accommodation to the ocean on the bluff and includes ocean views, three wood-burning fireplaces, a patio for private dinners and its own workout area, is one of the top two options for honeymooners. The other is The Terrace Suite, which features ocean views, a master bedroom area with a fireplace, a wrap-around terrace overlooking the ocean and a relaxing soaking bathtub.
When the new couple is ready to venture out, many options are right at their fingertips, including a visit to the 4,200-square-foot, 36-room spa that offers private treatments, or they can reserve the roof deck area, where they can host a group get-together with their wedding guests, enjoying treatments such as a private mud bar and private massages, overlooking the ocean. While it is recommended to make reservations as far in advance as possible, the spa will do its best to make last minute arrangements.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Bacara offers a variety of ocean sports, including surfing, body boarding, ocean kayaking and sailing. Also available is horseback riding, cycling, mountain biking and hiking. Those looking to hit the links are in luck. There are three nearby 18-hole championship golf courses: Sandpiper Golf Club, Glen Annie and Rancho San Marcos.
For those with kids, Monarch Kids' Club offers fun activities and exploration options for children ages five through 12. The program was designed especially to reflect Bacara's surroundings and rich Chumash history.
Click here to learn more and check availability at Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA >>
May 5, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
On the banks of the Vilcanota River and at the foot of Macchu Picchu, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers travelers 60 guest rooms: 3 Sumaq Suites, 11 Junior Suites and 46 Superior category rooms.
As of May 2016, new Deluxe Junior Suites are available. Sleep deeply with hypoallergenic pillows, goose feather comforters, spring mattresses, and modern thermal heating. The rooms measure approximately 29 to 34 square meters. Services and amenities include a King Bed, 47 inch LED tv, mini-fridge, coffee maker, cradle, small living room, DVD player, radio with MP3 player.
All guest rooms at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel feature the following:
- 100% goose-feather blankets
- 100% cotton sheets
- Cable television
- National/International Direct Dialing
- Thermal Heating
- Electronic Safe
- 110V/220V power
- Bathrooms with tub and shower
- Black-out curtains
- Fire alarm
- Soundproof windows
- 2 bottles of water complimentary per night
- Turndown service
Click here to learn more and check rates at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel >>
May 3, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
On the tip of the Baja Peninsula, discerning travelers now have a new villa accommodation to choose from when traveling to the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos. Villa One is complete with four bedrooms and an additional Butler Suite (for that top-notch service). By day, the guests will have 14,000 square feet of both indoor and outdoor space to venture through, complete with an infinity-edge pool and fire pit. Seeking a wellness experience? We suggest making an appointment with the villa's dedicated fitness trainer or spa therapist, who will, of course, provide treatments onsite.
For a taste of adventure, the Villa Team can plan custom experiences, including deep sea fishing excursions, full-day surf lessons and cruising on One&Only Palmilla's Catari Yacht. In fact, travelers that stay at least four nights in Villa One will get to choose between a complimentary private yacht cruise or art walk tour. During the cruise, guests will explore the Sea of Cortez complete with a spin to Medano Bay - the view of the coastline will amaze. Meanwhile, an Art Walk takes guests to San Jose del Cabo to check out the Gallery District from the months of November to June. Guests will peruse different galleries like La Sacristia and Galeria Corsica.
Back at Villa One, the culinary staff can create custom meals to fit all tastes. We suggest asking for a themed dinner like taco night or barbeque. Tip: Complimentary sunset margaritas and Mexican canapés are served daily.
This accommodation is ideal for multigenerational families - the bedrooms come in several configurations, including an 870-square-foot master suite, a second bedroom with a king size bed and a secluded sun deck, a third room with two queen size beds and private patio and a fourth guestroom with bunk beds. When it comes time for those special family moments, convene in the great room. There, the doors open 30 feet wide to reveal views of the infinity-edge pool, the gardens and the sea. The prime views continue throughout the guesthouse, thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
Click here to learn more about One&Only Palmilla >>
May 2, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
As if a stay at Tower Club at lebua wasn't enough...
When you book your stay through Five Star Alliance, you'll get complimentary cocktails (up to two) at Distil, the highest bar in Bangkok. You can toast your stay against the backdrop of one of the world's most exciting cities.
Tower Club at lebua is a luxurious five-star hotel that was named the World's Leading Luxury All-Suite Hotel at the World Travel Awards. Located on the 51st through 59th floors of the State Tower building, the views from the 221 gigantic suites are extraordinary, and the separate bedrooms, living room, and kitchenette are complemented by the infinite thoughtful touches that reflect the personalized, intuitive service that pervades every floor.
Located on the 64th floor, Distil is home to mixology magic like the new season of Aged Cocktails, for which the ingredients, including premium and exclusive Havana Club 3 Year Old rum and Plymouth gin, are aged in French oak barrels for several weeks, then shaken and muddled with nectars, spices, purees, and liqueurs. There's also a collection of Ice Cocktails, where standard ice has been replaced with spheres or cubes of completely unexpected flavors frozen at minus 1.9 degrees Celsius.
A wide selection of premium authentic malt whiskies, vodkas, and brandies are also stocked, and a walk-in wine cellar features the finest wines and champagnes from around the world.
Book your stay at Tower Club at lebua>>
Anantara Phuket Layan Resort and Spa offers guests a chance to learn to cook authentic Thai cuisine. Much more than just a cooking class, Spice Spoons offers a rich and interactive immersion in Thailand’s world famous gastronomy, renowned for its artistry and unique four flavor balance of salty, sweet, spicy and pungent. For the more adventurous the journey begins early in the morning with a chef guided tour of the market to select fresh ingredients and sample a popular local snack. In the afternoon cooking class, held in the open kitchen of the Thai restaurant La Sala, guests will learn about Thai cuisine's cultural significance and health benefits, indigenous ingredients and cooking equipment, as well as convenient replacements to use at home.
Book a stay at Anantara Phuket Layan Resort and Spa >>
Lucy LeTourneau has been a member of the Five Star Alliance family since 2006 after working in travel agency arena since 1986 where she started out selling vacations at a storefront office and moved into corporate travel and management positions for many years in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA. Lucy entered the industry as a way to see more of the world after finishing college.
At Five Star Alliance, she oversees day to day operations across a variety of facets of the site and has enjoyed seeing the digital world of travel evolve since coming onboard.
Farthest Place Traveled: Te Anau, New Zealand
What does your office/desk look like: laptop, pen, notebook, dog treats , water and coffee; always coffee.
One thing most important when picking a destination: Not too picky--there are too many places to go!
One thing most important when picking a hotel: Location
Weirdest "special request" on a reservation: Helping a groom-to-be fix the dates on his reservation when he accidentally booked the wrong ones.
Dream travel destination: Too many to list but South Africa, Greece, Switzerland, Ireland and Costa Rica are currently high on the list...
Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile, but whatever the situation warrants, I'm happy with.
Best travel experience: Toss up between the Galapagos Islands, Venice, Italy and Queenstown, New Zealand.
Worst travel experience: Losing my traveling companion in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Favorite Hotel: Set on its own secluded island, the Constance Moofushi Resort Maldives is a combination of luxury and simplicity.
Favorite Hotel Image: View from the terrace and lounge at the Aigialos Hotel in Santorini, Greece
Connect with Lucy LeTourneau on LinkedIn >>
April 30, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
The outdoor swimming pool at The St. Regis Mumbai, overlooking the cityscape, is the piece de resistance of the wellness floor. With a lounge area, a deck with private cabanas and a pool bar, it is a haven for calm and repose on a lazy afternoon or even for an easy sundowners.
Book a stay at The St. Regis Mumbai >>
April 29, 2016
By: Five Star Alliance
The heated outdoor pool at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve overlooks the tranquil Homestead patio, with views of the staggering rock formations. On cooler days splashing around in the warm water is the perfect way to work off some energy in the heart of winter.
Book a stay at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve>>