December 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The cat's out of the bag about the white sand beaches and immense coral reef of the Turks and Caicos islands. As described by Outside Traveler:
Word of mouth helped establish TCI as a jet-set retreat. It started in 1998, when renowned hotelier Christina Ong built a private island resort on Parrot Cay... Now, with new nonstops from Boston and Fort Lauderdale, as well as flights from other hubs, TCI is no secret... and last February a new Carnival cruise-ship terminal opened on the southern end of Grand Turk.
But on the more isolated stretches of the archipelago, elite luxury hotels have staked their claim, dedicated to ecotourism, energy conservation, and preservation of the pristine natural environment. The stunning Amanyara resort opened in March 2006, nestled on the tip of a 5,000 acre nature reserve on the secluded western shore of Providenciales. Coming in 2008: the $300 million Ritz-Carlton Molasses Reef, a unique eco-conscious residential community and boutique resort situated on the unspoiled, uninhabited island of West Caicos. And in 2009, eco-friendly Fairmont Hotels is slated to open a 150-room luxury hotel on North Caicos.
Edinburgh is going off this holiday season. The traditional Hogmanay festival, a four day party filled with exciting events and traditional happenings, is one of the best New Year's parties in the world. The city itself is magical to behold during the festivities: charming cobblestone streets and squares, beautiful shop windows, sparkling lights and plentiful decorations. Things kick off with the Torchlight Procession on December 29; the revelry continues with the world-famous Royal Bank Street Party on New Year's Eve (along with The Concert in the Gardens, The New Year Revels, Seven Hills Fireworks, The Ceilidh in the Gardens, and the Candlelit Concert); the party concludes with the One O'clock Run on New Year's Day. Where to stay? Rocco Forte's award-winning Balmoral Hotel entices with roaring fires, seasonal lights, and luxurious accommodations and service. Overlooking the Edinburgh Castle, the hotel couldn't boast a more perfect location to enjoy the New Year's festivities. The Balmoral celebrates Hogmanay with a traditional Gala Ball, the most sophisticated and glamorous black-tie event in Edinburgh. Champagne and Canapés, a sumptuous four-course menu created by othe Michelin-starred Chef, Jeff Bland, dancing to a live band, and at the stroke of midnight-- the best views in town for the breathtaking fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle. The Gala Bala experience costs from GBP 555 per room, per night (two night minimum). Includes complimentary use of the Balmoral Spa.
December 11, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
During the holiday season, keep your kitchen clean by dining at the Conrad Chicago instead. The Conrad Hotel is located at the heart of Chicago's financial district on Michigan Avenue, also known as "the Magnificent Mile", connected to Nordstrom and Westfield North Bridge shopping centers. Make your reservations for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, or New Years Eve dinner now to avoid being turned away. Plus, if you make overnight room reservations with Five Star Alliance at the Conrad, you'll also get a welcome amenity, continental breakfast for two (2) daily, and a possible upgrade upon check-in based upon availability. Christmas Eve (December 24, 2006) 3 Course prix-fixes Menu $55 Adult + Wine pairing additional $24 Christmas Brunch (December 25, 2006) Hours: 11:30a-3:00p $65.00 Adult / $25.00 under 12 New Years Eve Dinner (December 31, 2006) 7 Course dinner Hours: 7:00p-12:00a $90 per adult, optional wine pairings $56
According to the International Herald Tribune, the isolated Midway Atoll-- located in the North Pacific Ocean one third of the way between Honolulu and Tokyo-- could be opened to visitors next year. An important naval base during WWII, the Midway Atoll is impossibly remote: just three small volcanic islands surrounded by coral reef and the vast turquoise Pacific. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is drafting a plan to bring tourists to this paradise as early as mid-2007 (probably 30 visitors at a time). As a National Wildlife Refuge, the islands provide habitat for thousands of seabirds. TravelWeekly points out that Princess Cruises will be sailing the 1,590-passenger Regal Princess to Midway in June 2007, for the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Midway (June 4).
It's here. Joining the likes of Eos, Maxjet, and Silverjet, the new French carrier, L'Avion, debuts its transatlantic flights on December 28th. But unlike the other luxury airlines, which serve London and the East Coast, L'Avion is the first of its kind to link Paris and Newark. The promised perks? World-class French cuisine, of course, with multiple courses served as if in the finest Parisian restaurant. Accompanied by stellar French wines and award-winning Champagnes. Not to mention excellent entertainment and music on-demand. Take advantage of a special inaugural sale; the first 1,000 tickets reserved, starting December 1, will go for a mere EUR 1,000 roundtrip. Effective for travel until March 31, 2007.
The Caribbean resort of La Samanna is impossibly chic, a haven for discriminating international travelers seeking seclusion, relaxation, and attentive personalized service. Overlooking Baie Longue, a crescent-shaped, pristine white sand beach, La Samanna is St. Martin's most luxurious resort. The owners' inspiration came from the Greek Isles; the hotel's Caribbean architect designed the house based on sunny white-washed walls reminiscent of the Mediterranean. The resort is legendary for its Elyseé spa featuring indoor/outdoor tropical garden treatment rooms, Pilates studio, extensive wine cellar, and stellar cuisine (with provisions flown from France daily). Part of the famed Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises collection, the resort boasts 81 suites located on 55 acres of prime beachfront property. La Samanna has long been recognized as one of the finest hotels in the world. Now you can Shop to the Last Drop with Les Dames de Leisure package, designed as a girls getaway to enjoy paradise within paradise: the exclusive shopping of Marigot that was once the playground of Jackie O. Les Dames de Leisure package includes duty-free shopping in Marigot with a chauffeured car, two head-to-toe treatments at the Elyseé Spa, and a two-bedroom suite which includes spacious living room, two large bedrooms with king beds, terrace, and fully equipped kitchen. The day-long shopping spree includes special discounts in some of the most exclusive stores, and the services of the resort's personal shopping expert. Upon check-out, guests will receive VIP treatment as the concierge arranges to have guests escorted to the private airport lounge, far from the crowds. Priced at $2,450, per night for four people, minimum stay of four nights.
Convenient ski-in/ski-out access in Wyoming's incredible Teton Mountains, a dedicated Ski Concierge to simplify your planning and assist with all your needs, and incomparable Four Seasons lodging... Welcome to Four Seasons Jackson Hole, a luxurious mountain resort surrounded by unspoiled natural wilderness. Enjoy the ultimate ski vacation with the "Have It All" winter package, a four day all-inclusive extravaganza with lift tickets, ski rentals, unlimited dining and beverages, and as many spa treatments as your little heart desires (not to mention that impeccable Four Seasons service). Starting at $1,250 per night, the four-night package includes luxurious accommodations, three full-day lift tickets for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, three-day ski rental from the Ski Concierge, unlimited spa treatments (does not include salon treatments), and all meals in the Resort's restaurants (including beer, wine, and premium well drinks). Available from January 4 to February 14, 2007, and from February 25 to April 8, 2007.
The ultra-luxury beach resort of Montage is located on a coastal bluff in the arts community of Laguna Beach, Southern California. This retreat has it all, including a celebrated spa with breathtaking indoor/outdoor oceanfront facilities, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the gorgeous vistas. As featured in the Winter issue of Outside Traveler,
For more than three years now, the Montage has gone out of its way to lure men into these algae wraps and fluffy robes. They've even created a male-specific multi-day spa program appropriately titled Surrender. News to me and about 67 percent of my buddies: Apparently a third of Montage's spa customers these days are men.
The Gentlemen's Surrender Retreat is an individually customized package that begins with a pre-arrival phone consultation with your personal Surrender therapist and fitness trainer. With this full-day (or multi-day) immersion, the Retreat Menu features wine-and-cheese tastings along with the lavish body treatments, as well as cigar-and-cognac sessions, and consultations like The Art of Shaving.
We're stressed, spa directors like Raistrick tell us. We work too hard, we play too hard. We eat chili cheese fries with abandon. And, yes-- we're men. But if we can get past the robe fitting, the whale song, the rose-hip-and-cucumber water, a spa can undo a lot of off-road wear.
The only AAA five diamond hotel in San Diego, The Lodge at Torrey Pines occupies a dramatic setting perched on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, minutes from some of the most pristine beaches in Southern California and the picturesque Torrey Pines State Reserve. Just adjacent to the 18th green of the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course, the hotel features the 9,500 square foot spa (with 14 specialized treatment rooms), endless recreational activities, generously sized guest rooms with custom designed furniture, and the signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien. Views are sensational, but the food-- innovative California cuisine-- is even better. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson utilizes fresh, local ingredients to create menus that are ever-evolving depending upon the season, and what's on offer at farmer's markets. The restaurant is named for San Diego's great artist, Albert Robert Valentien, an early 20th-century Impressionist, whose works are now displayed at the restaurant (one of the largest collections of his early works in water colors and oils). Celebrate New Years Eve at A.R. Valentien and enjoy a five course meal and the Lodge's exquisite accommodations. The New Years Eve package, starting at $595 (tax and gratuity included), includes accommodations in a Signature room, pre-fixed five course dinner for two, complimentary parking for one night, and 2 pm late check-out. Includes tax and gratuity. Credit card prepayment required.
Need last-minute dinner reservations at the hottest restaurant in town? A new passport within a matter of hours? A dog sitter or private plane? Or a knowledgeable personal shopper? Hotel concierges at leading luxury hotels can handle all of these requests, and more. Though their services are often overlooked by hotel guests, concierges are the unsung heroes in the hospitality industry, the stylish and savvy superheroes, the ultimate insiders who can offer the best tips about the city. Forbes has the skinny on getting super star service from concierges during your next trip. Call ahead of your reservation and share your itinerary; the concierge will reconfirm your dining reservations, and perhaps score special discounts (on, say, lift tickets in Aspen). And, advises Forbes, if you want access to the best (whether that's Broadway tickets or nightclub access), "choose your hotel carefully: Your concierge may be only as powerful as the name on the towels." Don't forget to tip.