LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
June 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The cat's out of the bag about Punta Cana, the celebrity favorite hot spot in the Dominican Republic known for its white sand beaches edged by the crystal clear Caribbean sea. Located on the eastern-most tip of the DR, the region has been quietly edging out the other Caribbean destinations as the best beach bargain. Luxury boutique hotels-- like the fabulous, all-suite Sivory Punta Cana-- are now getting some competition. Recent growth has been staggering, with new hotels including the Golf Suites in Punta Cana, Agua Resort & Spa, and the Hotel Bavaro Real Arena and Hotel VIP Real Arena, two luxury properties to be launched by the Spanish NH Hoteles chain. That's more than 1,100 rooms to be added to the market in the next two years.
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has joined the fray. His new development venture, the 30,000 acres called Cap Cana, will be one of the largest in the Caribbean. The $2 billion project will feature four luxury hotels, three Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, a mega yacht marina with 1,000 slips, and 5,000 residential units.
Numerically perfect, and truly rare, dates like July 7th (07/07/07) only occur 12 times a century. So best to live it up and celebrate-- especially when the digit is the lucky number seven. Red Carnation Hotels has put together two fun packages at Summer Lodge in Dorset and The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Take a Date with Destiny and enjoy a slew of "7" themed amenities: from a seven-course dinner to a seven minute helicopter ride to the beach... Get the deets after the jump.
At the award-winning Twelve Apostles, perched above the ocean at the foot of the dramatic Twelve Apostles mountain range, the "Three Lucky Sevens break" offers seven (you guessed it!) special amenities:
*7 scratch cards (so you can win back the price of your stay!)
*A tasting of 7 wines selected by Sommelier Luvo Ntezo
*A 7 course dinner in the Azure restaurant
*7 pm Movie screening of Casino Royale in the hotel's own cinema
*7 minute heli-flip to the V&A Waterfront
*7 hours free car hire
*75 minute Moya Crystal massage at the fabulous Sanctuary Spa, consistently ranked as one of the world's best
*Plus 70 minutes in the hydrotherapy pools, aroma sauna and floatation tank at the Sanctuary Spa
*Breakfast daily from 7 am
Before you check into your guest room (the number of which will end in a "7"), you'll be greeted with 007's favourite drink-- vodka martini, shaken not stirred. The price? A magical R7777 for two people sharing for two nights. You must arrive on Saturday, July 7th.
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, the charming boutique hotel in Evershot in Dorset, is likewise offering a weekly stay dedicated-- not to the "seven deadly sins" but to "septual healing." Book a visit for at least three nights including Saturday, July 7th, and you'll enjoy:
*A bouquet of 7 roses upon arrival
*7-item full English breakfast daily
*7-course dinner prepared by inspirational chef Steven Titman
*A tasting session of 7 wines selected by sommelier Eric Zwiebel, recently ranked fourth in World's Top Sommeliers category
*70 minutes of spa treatment
*DVD of your choice: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Se7en, or The Seven Samurai
*Seven Lucky 7 scratch cards per couple
*A room with a number seven in it, subject to availability
*A map outlining a comfortable 7 mile walk through the beautiful countryside
The price? GBP 777 per person for three nights.
Get busy inside the kitchen this summer at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, where the seasonal culinary series, Inside the Kitchen, showcases the best celeb chefs, cookbook authors, and sommeliers of the industry. Learn tempting recipes while indulging in some tasty dishes and fine wine. (Plus, the Ritz-Carlton even donates a portion of the proceeds to Meals on Wheels.) From June 1 through August 31, 2007, the AAA Five Diamond resort offers an array of themed weekends with cooking classes, dinners, and seminars.
The summer's instructors include Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, Marcel Vigneron of Bravo's Top Chef, Jairemarie Pomo of The Hog Island Oyster Company, and Gayle Pirie and John Clark of Foreign Cinema. First up: Treasures of Asia: Far East to West on Friday, June 1 with Tim Luym of Poleng Lounge, named Rising Star Chef 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Next: High Style in Lowcountry on Saturday, June 9 with Kevin Johnson from Anson restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, described as the "the city's best example of high class Lowcountry cooking" by Wine Spectator.
Weekend package rates at the Ritz-Carlton start at $759 per night for one night accommodation and registration for two to any class.