For the ultimate safari experience "down under," head to Bamurru Plains, named one of the hottest new hotels on the planet by Conde Nast Traveller UK. Located just to the west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains, just two and a half hours from Darwin, Bamurru Plains exudes understated luxury in a breathtaking setting. With a host of birds and wildlife right at its doorstep, this remote camp brings a touch of decadent style to the beautiful Australian wilderness. Here guests can experience excellent safaris, crocodile cruises, and airboat trips into the surrounding savannah woodland teeming with wildlife. With no TVs or phones, each individual safari suite is designed to blend with the environment, exposing guests to incredible sights and sounds: the haunting call of a Whistling Kite, the sound of a full grown buffalo splashing its way through the floodplains, the morning chorus of tens of thousands of Magpie Geese. Raised on timber platforms, these nine free-standing rooms are filled with creature comforts: blissful beds, 100 percent cotton linens, extra-large, soft bath towels, and high pressure showers. Guests gather for excellent meals in the main lodge, where the small number of guests ensures a superior level of attention. Rates start from AUD $850 per person, per night (double occupancy), including meals, beverages, and scheduled activities. The camp is closed from November 1- January 31.
Take a break this fall with the popular Stay and Play Golf Package at everyone's favorite, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort-- and enjoy overnight accommodations and a free round of golf on the PGA-tested Mystic Rock course. Or choose the Stay and Spa Package, which includes a complimentary 50-minute Hot Stone or Swedish Massage at the indulgent Woodlands Spa. Both packages are available from $299, when you book Sunday-Thursday.
This Saturday, October 6, 2007 Paris will remain open all night for its annual cultural extravaganza. What a way to pull an all-nighter! From sun-down to sunrise, the grand museums, churches, historical sites (and even swimming pools) of Paris will remain open and free to the public. Visitors can even enjoy the palace of Versailles under moonlight. The city obliges with free transport (shuttle buses, and there's always the cool, free bike service). Night owls will go gaga over the nocturnal contemporary art exhibitions and music concerts in these exciting venues. This year's Nuit Blanche is dedicated to Ingrid Betancourt, the politician and activist held hostage by the FARC in the Colombian jungle since 2002.
How about a free night on the Grand Canal in Venice? In the sumptuous surroundings of a magnificently restored historic building just steps from Piazza San Marco? With the End of Summer Sale at the Westin Europa & Regina, your third night is free when you book a three night stay between now and December 28, 2007. Plus, you can arrive any day of the week. Housed in five buildings which date from the 17th to 19th centuries, the award-winning hotel offers the perfect combination of traditional beauty and contemporary conveniences-- like the signature Heavenly Bed and Westin WORKOUT room. (Rates start from EUR 330 per night. Book online before October 31, 2007. Promotion code is Z3R.)
PS. Get a bird's eye view of this magical city with a helicopter tour arranged by the hotel.
Falling temperatures in this hemisphere means sweet sunshine in South Africa, and what better time to take a jaunt to Cape Town? Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa offers insane luxury-- "where earth, sea, and sky meet," poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town. Camp out in the pool gardens overlooking the ocean and soak up some rays. Hit the Sanctuary Spa and gape at the endlessly seductive sea views from the Outdoor Gazebo. (Sublime treatment packages make use of the world-class facilities: Cape Town's only Rasul Chamber, brine pool and hot and cold plunge pools, both dry and wet treatment rooms, along with sauna, vichy shower and hydrotherapy bath.) Enjoy a picnic-- packed to your liking from a selection of gourmet treats-- on Cape Town's incredible beaches. After a day exploring the area, return to the award-winning hotel to catch the sunset over the sea, cocktail in hand. After dinner, watch a classic movie in the hotel's 16-seater theater. Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa continues their wildly popular promotion, Four Nights for the Price of Three, until December 18, 2007.
Taste la dolce vita-- the sweet life-- at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, a little piece of seaside Italy at Universal Orlando Resort. This luxurious Loews hotel recreates the charm and romance of cobble-stoned Portofino, Italy-- from the picturesque harbor piazza and colorful pastel buildings to the fine Italian furnishings and exceptional Italian cuisine. Book a fall package at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and score rates as low as $279 per night, breakfast included. Or choose the Mandara Spa package, starting from $339 per night-- and enjoy a massage, facial, body wrap, or manicure/pedicure-- daily! Or book the popular Free Theme Park Tickets package, from $269 per night, and get two free Universal Orlando tickets with a four-night stay. Available November 25- December 20, 2007.
The construction work may not yet be finished, but Manhattan's storied hotel is ready for its big birthday bash this evening. The fête promises to be a dazzling affair, as befits the 100th anniversary celebration. Think fireworks, music (the song "My Way" has been reworked with original lyrics devoted to The Plaza), and cake slices for all-- carved from a "meticulous model birthday cake made by the society baker Ron Ben-Israel based on architectural drawings of the Plaza, with a facade of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and windows of crystallized sugar."
Say hello to the first luxury eco-retreat in Mozambique. Built and operated in partnership with the local community, Azura is situated on an unspoiled island within a National Park-- fringed by deserted beaches, sparkling seas, and swaying palms. The 15 villas, each with their own infinity pool, are just steps from the beach. Showcasing traditional artwork beneath a local thatched jekka roof, the villas are stacked with luxurious contemporary amenities. But Azura boasts more than just creature comforts; here you can enjoy the service of your own private butler. If you can tear yourself away from your private deck and beachside Sala, you'll find a sumptuous spa, superb wining and dining (fine vintages are flown direct from the owner's Loire Valley chateau), and a vast range of activities (fishing, sailing, scuba diving, swimming with the dolphins...) Take advantage of a special introductory offer, from now until November 14, 2007, of $300 per person in a Luxury Beach Villa. The Infinity Beach Villa is $375 per person, while the Presidential Villa is yours for just $550 per person.
Craving some tropical sun? Escape to one of the most indulgent resorts in the Caribbean, and treat yourself to some super savings in the off-season. As the dollar continues to slide to an all-time low against the euro, the chic Hotel Guanahani has guaranteed a dollar-to-euro match so lucky guests can avoid the frightful exchange rate. Nestled within coconut groves and tropical gardens, the colorful cottages at this award-winning resort offer a sophisticated hideaway in a blissful setting. There's nothing like soaking up 180 degree views of the turquoise sea (while getting pampered at the spa) to cure the post-summer blues. The three-night Blissful Guanahani package, identified by Sherman's Travel Magazine as a top luxury value deal for the fall, is a seriously smart splurge. Available until October 31, 2007, the package includes a host of add-ons: daily breakfast, two lunches and dinners per person, one-day car rental, four spa treatments for person, and even a cooking class-- all for $2,025 per person.
September 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A Hong Kong institution, the Mandarin Oriental got a glam makeover last year. The $140 million overhaul has delighted both the press and the hotel's passionately loyal clientele. The restaurant from epicurean maestro Pierre Gagnaire is the crown jewel, perched on the 25th floor. Indeed, the October 2006 opening of Pierre, high atop the landmark hotel, has been the talk of the town for almost a year. Three-star Michelin chef, Pierre Gagnaire, serves up dramatic dishes in a magnificent setting with oversized windows framing Victoria Harbour. The extravagant French influenced cuisine is innovative and bold. A highlight from the menu is La Bretagne: Wild seabass carpaccio, endive-farm cider sorbet. Black wheat pancake filled with sea urchin and cauliflower florets in a noisette butter. Mako artichoke velouté, crab meat mayonnaise and purple artichoke.