August 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
When new rules were established requiring U.S. citizens to carry passports for all Caribbean destinations (then relaxed again, after the worst passport waiting lines in history), savvy travelers avoided all the passport mayhem and booked vacas in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were the only two paradisiacal Caribbean destinations not affected. Old San Juan has been luring and exciting visitors with a renaissance of sorts; one of the oldest cities in the Americas has gotten a dose of South Beach glamour. Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior have opened stores along the waterfront in the Condado neighborhood. With the opening of myriad trendy restaurants and clubs, there's a cool vibe in the air. Liquid, on the top floor of the Water Club hotel, is one of the hottest spots in town. Indeed, the Water Club, named one of the coolest hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, embodies South Beach chic. San Juan's only luxury boutique on the beach, the hotel boasts floor to ceiling windows with endless ocean views. Theatrical lighting brings the outdoors indoors; elevators have waterfalls (behind glass); corridor sounds are gentle surf. Doors are made of murano glass, and there are photographs of pebbles instead of corridor carpeting. For such a fabulous hotel, the rates are surprisingly modest. With the "Turn the Page" package at the Water Club, guests are spoiled with library benefits, book selection, free iPod using during their stay, and late check-out-- all for $149 per night. Valid through September 30, 2007.
August 3, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.
Helpful Hints:The fundamental link between water and life, Centuries Old Moorish Architecture...
Congrats go out to Martin Rusteberg who was the only one to correctly guess our Previous Hotel Contest:
The Naladhu Resort, South Male Atoll, Maldives
Describing a trip to the Galapagos as "stunning" or "mind blowing" is a serious understatement. It's more like the trip of a lifetime. Witness the most fascinating wildlife on earth-- giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, schools of colorful fish-- a living study of evolutionary science since Charles Darwin's first fateful trip through these waters. This September, plan a voyage to the only luxury hotel in Galapagos National Park, Royal Palm Galapagos, nestled in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Situated on 500 acres of unspoiled natural wilderness, with incredible views of the neighboring islands, this exclusive hotel was constructed of authentic local materials, in harmony with the natural environment. "You are as close to nature as luxury will allow." Enjoy a special promotional rate of 50 percent off the room rate this September 2007, which also includes breakfast, roundtrip transportation from and to Baltra Airport, and the use of the exclusive VIP lounge. Prices are a steal, starting from $173 per couple, per night.
Cowboy Up! From the same folks who run The Resort at Paws Up, comes a luxurious camping experience in the heart of Montana's high country. Experience magical Montana from the best seat in the house-- your saddle. The Luxury Equestrian Tour into the backcountry, offered by The Resort at Paws Up, is a spectacular 12-mile horseback ride which leads to a luxury wilderness camp just outside the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Encampment at Bull Creek isn't exactly hot dogs and s'mores; there are well-appointed tents with real feather beds, fine linens, and artwork on the canvas walls. Gourmet cuisine is served with fine wines in the midst of America's greatest natural treasures. The 3 day/2 night adventure is an all-inclusive experience, and rates start at $600 per person, per night, and include all meals, taxes, airport transfers and guided wilderness adventures (like fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding).
Looks like United and American are still in the running. Luxury airline favorites like Eos and Maxjet have been getting a lot of press (read: a lot of business), and the major U.S. carriers are taking notice. High-paying customers have flocked to the new all-business class airlines, where spacious seats, cutting edge technology, and truly decadent meals are run of the mill. Now United and American Airlines, the nation's largest air carriers, are preparing to enter the fray with costly makeovers to get a piece of the pie. On international flights, first-class and business travelers can soon expect big lie-flat seats, ample leg room, elaborate in-flight entertainment systems, and lots of pampering and perks. These changes to business and fist-class seats will start to take place late this year and early next year.
This August, surrender yourself to indulgence at one of America's most luxurious beachfront experiences, The Breakers in Palm Beach, and enjoy the exclusive amenities and services unveiled with the $15 million beachfront redevelopment. Now through September 30, 2007, enjoy guaranteed savings on regular room rates, plus complimentary fitness classes and tennis court fees, and value-added amenities, like reduced summer pricing on the magnificent new Beach Bungalows, the finest resort cabana experience in the U.S., 15 percent off dining in all resort restaurants, including the Breaker's famous Sunday brunch, 15 percent off Coconut Crew summer camp for kids, and specially priced treatments at the Spa. The Stay Longer and Save Promotion at The Breakers is priced from $229 per night (on stays 5 nights or longer), $259 per night (3-4 night stays), and $289 per night (1-2 night stays).
With an unbeatable location on prestigious Syntagma Constitution Square in the heart of downtown Athens, the storied King George II has played host to kings, presidents, and Athenians alike since 1936. (A true celebrity haunt, King George II lured the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.) From this posh palace, an opulent hideaway of crystal chandeliers, Italian marble, and lush fabrics, visitors enjoy views of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill. And this historical landmark is bursting at the seams with ultra-modern amenities like plasma-screen TVs, high speed Internet, advanced climate control and ventilation, and personal trainers at the state-of-the-art gym. The only hotel in Athens among the 75 Top Europe Hotels on the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, it has also been honored on the magazine's 2007 Gold List. Indulge with the new CARITA treatments at the Palace Spa and be sure to dine in Tudor Hall, the city's most acclaimed gourmet restaurant overlooking the Acropolis. The Weekend Shopping Package at King George II is priced from EUR 180 per couple, per night, and includes luxurious accommodations and breakfast.
Escape to the Caribbean this October for some sun and artistic inspiration, where art workshops with renowned artist Michelle Torrez will be held at Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort. You couldn't ask for a finer destination, as St. John's beauty has been luring artists for decades. Set on 170 pristine acres in Virgin Islands National Park, Caneel Bay has been a sought-after getaway for loyal clientele since its founding 50 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. And with its perfect beaches and lavish facilities (spa, tennis, four distinct restaurants), it's easy to see why. The art workshops with Torrez are the latest of several recent travel packages featuring notable personalities at Caneel Bay, like last January's Hot Type: Visiting Author Series with New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik, and May's wine tasting with Margaret Duckhorn, Co-founder of Duckhorn Wine Company in Napa Valley.
The three-day art workshops will take place at the Turtle Bay Estate House, an 18th century plantation house perched on a cliff high above the sea. Michelle Torrez is a talented painter whose highly collectable works have been featured in numerous publications; she has gained quite a following both in the U.S. and worldwide. At Caneel Bay, Torrez will focus on the human form, making extensive use of a female model over three days of instruction while inspiring students to take a fresh approach to expressing themselves. Torrez will work closely, personally and rigorously with serious artists and earnest aspirants. The four-night/three-day getaways are available at Caneel Bay October 15- 19 or 20- 24, 2007, and include accommodations in an Ocean View Room, a welcome reception, working breakfast, lunch and breaks daily, all the art materials sufficient for the workshop, as well as three full days of personal instruction from Michelle Torrez in the intimate setting of the Turtle Bay Estate House. Priced at $2,800 per person including all taxes.
Most visitors to the Boar's Head Inn (myself included), find themselves drawn to the Old Mill Room, quickly enchanted with the impressive wood beams lining the ceiling, the large fireplace and cozy ambience of the fine dining restaurant. The Inn has a long and impressive history, and the Old Mill Room is the heart of it all.
The Boar's Head Inn was built from the timbers of an abandoned gristmill, formerly located along the banks of the Hardware River. Dating back to 1834, the mill had survived burning despite the orders of Generals Grant and Custer during their Civil War march. The old mill, a treasured Virginian artifact, was carefully dismantled and reconstructed on the Inn's site. The original fieldstones, pine beams and planks, and massive grist stones are displayed throughout the Inn, prominent reminders of the past.
For 19 years running, the Old Mill Room has earned the AAA Four-Diamond Award for culinary excellence. The menu spotlights heirloom vegetables, wild game, Chesapeake Bay fish and seafood, and wines from the region's finest vineyards and wineries, as well as from around the world.
From the property's early days as the site of Terrell's Ordinary in the 1730's to its development in the 1960's as a quintessential Virginia inn, Boar's Head Inn has enjoyed a reputation as a welcoming place to stop (anything but ordinary!) Indeed, the Boar's Head Tradition has endured since Shakespeare's day, when London's Boar's Head Inn was synonymous with good food and warm hospitality, a tradition maintained in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.
Nestled in the gently rolling hills of a 573-acre estate just outside Charlottesville, Boar's Head Inn combines the grace and hospitality of a country inn, with the luxurious amenities of a full-service resort. There's championship golf, top-rated tennis, a luxury spa, sports club, swimming pools, and four restaurants. The meeting facilities-- newly revamped-- are unrivaled in the region. When I recently attended a conference sponsored by Whole Foods Market (regional summits encourage local growers to get their products on the stores' shelves), I was impressed by both the venue (beautiful ballroom) and the delicious lunch.
As a massive $70 million renovation comes to an end, the Grande Dame of New York has returned to her original splendor. Uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, Jumeirah Essex House is an internationally renowned urban oasis right in the heart of midtown Manhattan. A member of National Trust Historic Hotels, the 515-room landmark is part of Dubai-based luxury hospitality group Jumeirah and sister to the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj al Arab. The ambitious makeover project has enhanced the facilities and services of the hotel, rebuilding its status as one of New York's iconic luxury hotels. Here's the skinny on the exciting renovation. Come September 2007, guests will enjoy completely remodeled rooms and suites with the comfort and functionality of the 21st century, the latest in high-tech amenities, including an "electronic butler" system using LCD touch screens, and a more functional lobby where guests can enjoy Afternoon Tea and light fare. The completely renovated restaurant, transformed by Tony Chi, one of the world's top designers, is slated for the end of 2007, or early 2008. It promises to be one of the city's hottest culinary destinations.