March 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The ancient trading port of Hoi An is graced with alluring soft sandy beaches and a fascinating history. (Long a closely-guarded secret amongst backpackers, who flocked to Hoi An to pick up some exquisitely-tailored suits.) Not far from the Royal Tombs of the UNESCO-protected city of Hue, this Vietnamese coastal town captures the imagination of sybarites and sun-seekers. Here, The Nam Hai Hotel has become a destination in and of itself. Brought to you by GHM, the luxury hotelier known for distinctive worldwide properties, like the gorgeous Setai in South Beach. Sprawling across 35 hectares, the spa resort opened in December 2006 to much fanfare (the press simply gushed about this spot). Nestled within landscaped gardens on a prime stretch of China Beach, 60 villas and 40 pool villas gaze out across the South China Sea to the misty Cham Islands. The Villas are contemporary, with traditional design touches; bedrooms are spacious with en suite baths, walk-in closets, and high ceilings. At this sumptuous spa resort, there are 40 (count em, 40!) private swimming pools. Resort facilities include gourmet restaurants, clubhouse, beautiful spa, and plenty of recreational facilities. This is also a residential enclave, meaning you can own your own piece of paradise here on China Beach.
The best thing about Key West, Florida? You can drive to the tropics! The southernmost point in the continental United States-- at the very tip of US Highway 1-- is closer to Cuba than Miami, and a world away from the mainland. In the Conch Republic, you'll find beautiful architecture and gardens, water sports galore, and a fascinating history (Ernest Hemingway's house is a must-see). Step off the tourist-tacky Duvall Street and you'll be charmed by the island's colorful neighborhoods. Looking for a luxe getaway in the US tropics? Book a room at the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, managed by Westin, in a secluded 27-acre island (studded with celebrity homes) just offshore from Mallory Square. The Westin provides shuttle boat service 24 hours a day. Johnny Jet raves:
The moment I stepped off the boat onto the island I felt like I was on vacation. No wonder it made Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List and Travel + Leisure's 500... The cottages are built in traditional Key West style and are cute. They all feature a fully-equipped kitchen, living and dining area, free high-speed internet (no wireless though) and CD and DVD players. The interiors are colorful with a Caribbean island feel and since it's a Westin, they all have Westin's signature Heavenly Bed which ensures a good night's sleep. A few small details that make a big impact are the bathroom toiletries that are made by the Key West Aloe company...
For more island info, check out Key West Magazine
How's this sound for Easter? Hop into The Berkeley and Claridge's between April 6- April 10, 2007 for as little as GBP 199 a night, including scrumptious, handmade Easter Eggs for the whole family. This is a sensational rate at two of the Maybourne Group's super-luxury London hotels. (The Connaught is currently under renovation.) Situated in fashionable Belgravia, The Berkeley is a true London establishment, home to the Michelin star rated Petrus restaurant, uber-cool Blue Bar, and the Caramel Room, where the celebrated afternoon tea (Pret-a-Portea) is a creative indulgence for fashionistas. The art deco jewel Claridge's is located in the heart of Mayfair, adored for its superlative service. It's no wonder Nota Bene calls it "London's most glamorous and celebrated hotel."
Get your groove on in South Beach at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Book a three-night minimum stay from March 25- May 31, 2007 at Loews Best Rate, and you'll get a $100 hotel credit to be used in the spa, restaurants, bars, and lounge. Lounge by the pool or soak in the Jacuzzi at the edge of the Atlantic, pamper yourself with a treatment at the spectacular new Elemis Spa, or sip a cocktail in the heart of South Beach's sizzling scene. (The hotel's award-winning restaurant, Emeril's Miami Beach, promises an unforgettable dining experience with an oceanfront view. Unfortunately, the $100 hotel credit can't be used at this hot spot.)
Via The Luxe 15 at Sherman's Travel
That's right. Banyan Tree Phuket has announced two new yacht cruises around Phang Nga Bay. Hop onboard the Sea Gypsy and Pi Marn and experience the glorious deserted beaches, crystal clear waters, spectacular underwater life, and majestic limestone cliffs that make Phang Nga Bay legendary. You'll even get a chance to see the best of Phuket's wildlife: chattering monkeys, flying fruit-bats, and eagles. Travel in style on the recently refurbished yachts and enjoy delicious gourmet meals and excellent service by a personal butler. The day-long private cruise, priced from $700 per couple, includes a kayaking expedition into a limestone cave at low-tide.
Say hello to the latest Rocco Forte masterpiece: The Charles Hotel, perfectly located in the heart of Munich, close to the historic square of Konigsplatz. Opening in Summer 2007, the city's latest five-star hotel was custom built, with the interior designed by Olga Polizzi. The luxury hotel will feature 160 guest rooms, including 28 suites, with views of the surrounding Lenbach Garden, the city's oldest botanical garden. (The Presidential Suite is stunning, and measures 200 square meters.) The split-level restaurant has its own bar and terrace area for summer dining. The spa and health club includes a fully-equipped gym, 15-meter swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and six treatment rooms. And business travelers, rest assured, this place promises to be the perfect setting for conferences and meetings. (It's decked out with seven conference rooms, a two-level ballroom, and two large dining rooms.)
Forget mildewed tents and crummy sleeping bags. Today's luxury travelers are opting for glamorous camping experiences, called "glamping" in a recent AP article. As I've oohed and ahhed about before, Four Seasons has opened a tented camp in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, where lucky guests are pampered with wifi and multi-line phones in their "tents," seductive spa services, five-course dining, and a free-form pool. Another example of this trend in "rustic luxury" travel: glamping it up at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, where tents are outfitted with Persian carpets, down duvets, antique dressers, pressed-glass oil lamps, heirloom accessories, and-- in addition to wireless Internet-- a remote-controlled propane wood-stove.
Spring is in the air on Lake Geneva. The stunning Beau-Rivage Palace, one of the most beautiful palace hotels in the world, is celebrating the arrival of spring with two special packages. Overlooking Lake Geneva, this iconic landmark boasts the cutting-edge Cinq Mondes Spa, rated by Forbes as one of the most luxurious spas in the world. Escape to Switzerland and frolic in the spring temperatures. With the Spring Promotion, available from April 1-June 30, 2007, guests enjoy a fantastic daily room rate of CHF 450 (double occupancy) which includes breakfast. Or head across the pond for a pampered Easter break, where the kids will go gaga over the elaborate Easter egg hunt. From April 6-April 10, 2007, rates are as low as CHF 395 per night including breakfast.
March 14, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Visit the Maroma Resort & Spa within 20 miles south of Cancun's international airport and 45 minutes from Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean, at the Riviera Maya and enjoy the 25 acres of jungle preserve this secluded, luxurious hideaway sits on.
Included in all Maroma room rates are:
- Full daily a la carte breakfast in the resort Restaurants or Room Service
- Welcome Margarita cocktail upon arrival (the famous Maroma Margarita)
- High-speed internet access in all the rooms
- One snorkeling trip per guest, per stay, to the world's second largest barrier reef
- Round-trip airport transfers for two (private transportation can be arranged at additional cost)
- Use of fitness center
Keep in mind (whether you have children or avoid them), that no children under 12 are allowed at the property year round, and between January 1 to April 30 and December 22 to 31, no children under 16 are allowed on property.
If you make reservations with Five Star Alliance, in addition to the amenities above, you will also receive a welcome fruit basket upon arrival and a surprise departure gift.
March 13, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Octagon Bar has been a favorite Dublin watering hole throughout the hotel's 15 year history. After all, this joint belongs to Bono and The Edge of U2. (They purchased the hotel in 1992 and restored it into the city's premier boutique hotel. The Clarence is now on Conde Nast's Gold List. It's got the U2 stamp all over it.) The hotel's chic bar, which features an octagon-shaped dome, is adored by both locals and visitors. The award-winning cocktails are flavorful and fun, and run the gamut from Bubbly to Clarence Cocktails. (Highly-recommended: the apple strudel martini.) Of course there are plenty of tasty nibbles to accompany the libations.