February 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Dating back to 1228, situated on the shores of Lough Corrib on a private estate of 350 acres, Ashford is one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland. The former estate of the Guinness family, the picturesque castle was the chosen spot for the wedding of Pierce Brosnan (and 007's got the world's pick). For avid anglers, Ashford Castle has recently designed a deluxe fly-fishing package. After all, the castle is strategically located on one of the most famous fisheries in all of Ireland. (The lake is known for its wild brown trout and salmon.) Available from Feb 15-Sep 30, the package includes accommodations, guided fishing (shared guide/boat), all breakfasts, a ghillie's lunch on fishing days, and complimentary use of tennis courts, the 9-hole golf course, and walking trails throughout the 350-acre estate. All fishing gear is provided at no additional cost on fishing days. Prices start at $785 for two nights, and one day fishing. $2,241 for five nights, four days fishing. For the non-anglers in the family, the castle's got all sorts of activities—tennis, golf, equestrian, and even falconry.
Ashford Castle, Official Site
Ashford Castle, Five Star Alliance
Opening in June, the next Hard Rock Hotel will debut—where else?—but Madrid. How's that for a nonsequitur. So when the lovely Prado Museum shows off its new extension later this year filled with the zillions of masterpieces that had been idly collecting dust in storerooms, you can check out the exhibits while a guest at the happening Hard Rock, located on the lively Plaza Santa Ana, surrounded by bars galore. Noteworthy features? The Tower Suite, with its terrace offering 360 degree views of the city and "chillout zone." Along with the private outdoor jacuzzi, guests get personalized concierge service (talk about rockstar treatment) and a bottle of champagne.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, indulge yourself in a perfectly pink paradise of fun. St. Pete's Loews Hotel—the palatial pink icon otherwise known as "Florida's Pink Palace"-- is offering a Pink Panther themed vacation package. So even if the movie sucked (Steve Martin and Beyonce just couldn't redeem it), your whole family will be tickled pink by this clever and fun package that includes pink milkshakes and Pink Panther Gift Bags. Starting at $1,174, the package includes three nights accommodations for four, two pink milkshakes for the kiddies, "Who Stole the Pink?" Treasure Hunt, Two Pink Panther Gift Bags, and one full-day admission to Camp CeSar for two kids. Available from Feb 10- April 22. Rates are slightly higher during the weekends.
The Don CeSar Beach Resort, Official Site
The Don CeSar Beach Resort, Five Star Alliance
The Economist has created a "business-trip index" for 127 cities worldwide, ranking the best and worst destinations for business, which includes factors like crime, climate, transport and recreation along with the usual suspects (convention facilities, corporate meetings and seminars). At the top? Canadian cities like Vancouver kick some serious booty, while cities to avoid include Lagos, Nigeria (it's hard to pity the oil tycoons that are doomed to conduct business in this dirty town.)
February 14, 2006
By: Guest Writer
By Alex Rose
The first thing you'll notice about the JW Marriott Resort is the luxurious, oversized suites. The next thing you'll notice is the amazing view of Red Rock Canyon from your balcony, especially as afternoon crosses into evening. Even though the resort is located in Summerlin (which is about 40 minutes from the airport), it is exceptionally secluded, quiet, and very private... away from the energy of downtown. JWM offers an exceptional and enjoyable PGA 18-hole golf course. The recommended spa treatments for couples are the "Green Tea and Ginger Ultimate Body Facial" for the ladies, and "Herbal Spice Body Treatment" for the men, which are recommended before venturing downtown for the evening. For dining pleasure, the Wing Lei restaurant, located in the Wynn downtown, is recommended. Wing Lei's name has a pedigree too... Wing in English is Wynn and Wing Lei's English translation is "forever prosperous." The chef is Richard Chen, from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Try the crisp prawns with black beans, asparagus, onions, and mushrooms for dinner and lychee sorbet as your finale.
By: Guest Writer
Delighted, fashion-savvy guests are stocking up on the unique, luxurious items featured at various Kimpton Hotels—everything from plush organic towels to Hibiscus Bath Bloomers to furniture as whimsical and eccentric as the boutique hotels themselves. The octagonal, Moroccan table (pictured)— its floral pattern hand-painted by skilled artisans—is showcased at the Hotel Monaco, New Orleans. Yours for only $850. The lynx throw at D.C.'s Hotel Palomar that you didn’t want to part with? Or regal Jefferson bust (that absolutelybelongs in your front hall!), on display at the same Washington landmark? Just one click away on KimptonStyle.com.
Discover the world's top eco-tourism destination with some of the highest biodiversity on the planet. Costa Rica's Guanacaste Peninsula is jam-packed with breathtaking national parks and stunning beaches. (Erupting volcanoes, tropical cloud forest filled with chatty monkeys, orchid-blooming rainforest canopies…) Located in the midst of this lush landscape, on its own pristine paradise of 2,400 acres, the Paradisus Playa Conchal offers a luxurious, family-friendly environment from which to explore all that Costa Rica has to offer. Enjoy Central America's largest free form pool (the spectacular freshwater pool is set in a 1,800 square meter garden and has two jacuzzis), the endless choice of water sports (running the gamut from windsurfing to scuba), play a round of golf on the 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones designed golf course, or indulge in the spa. The kids will be happy at their own paradise (aka Kids Club)—comprised of playgrounds, climbing wall, mini disco, table games, movies, and eco-recreational team.
The Paradisus Playa Conchal, Official Site
The Paradisus Playa Conchal, Five Star Alliance
Bobos in Paradise. The latest and greatest "it" neighborhood in Paris, a magnet for chic trend-setters, artsy creatives and bobos alike, recognizable to movie buffs as the setting for Audrey Tatou's stone-skipping-antics in Amelie. The 10th Arrondisement's Canal St. Martin is the place to be, and Chez Prune, the place to be seen. (Chez Prune, 71, quai de Valmy) A buzzing, convivial ambience, complete with brooding bearded artists and haute couture-clad fashionistas. The plates of charcuterie and fromage, accompanied by peche kir, are simply divine.
The beautifully restored 15th century mansion makes its debut this month, the second luxury hotel on the island of Mallorca for the Stein Group. Close to Palma de Mallorca and the Mediterranean Sea, in a prime location overlooking the surrounding countryside, the Gran Hotel Son Julia offers 25 guestrooms, equipped with state-of-the-art features (marble bathrooms and giant plasma TVs) while still preserving many of the original historical details. Also on the premises: spa and wellness area, gym, indoor and outdoor pools and a choice of restaurants. Take advantage of the special opening rate of EUR 75 per person during the entire month of February, when the island is covered in flowering almond blossoms.
The coach of the country's Number One tennis player is now heading up the program at the Ritz Carlton Dubai. Zeeshan Ali has oodles of awards and titles under his belt—experience that he's now bringing to all tennis enthusiasts at the hotel in both private instruction and group lessons. Not really into tennis? The Ritz Carlton Dubai has got it all—from fitness classes, squash, golf, shopping, stunning pools, beach, and idyllic Balinese Spa. Situated on prime beachfront along the snazzy, exclusive Jumeirah Beach area of Dubai, the Ritz Carlton basks in the year-round sunshine of Dubai's perfect climate. Luxurious rooms have private balconies overlooking the tropical gardens and the Arabian Gulf. Plus, the Kids Club has loads of fun daily activities to keep the 'liluns happy and smiling.
The Ritz Carlton Dubai, Official Site
The Ritz Carlton Dubai, Five Star Alliance