April 28, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Conde Nast Traveler recently scoured the globe to come up with picks for the "world's sexiest hotel pools." On the mag's top 10 list? The Beverly Hills Hotel, aka The Pink Palace, situated on 12 lush acres just off Sunset Boulevard smack dab in the center of Beverly Hills. Hollywood types have long flocked to this Tinseltown institution, and continue to enjoy the hotel's old-school glamour. The Polo Lounge has been a watering hole for generations of stars, and the pool is not any less of a hotspot. The poolside cabanas are the "main attraction," Conde Nast Traveler dishes:
Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe once showed off their assets in them, and they're still prime territory for fledgling celebrity romances and power deals. The lower poolside cabanas are $225 per day; $100 for those farther from the action. Famous regulars request their favorites well in advance, confident that no embarrassing shots of cellulite will show up on the pages of Us Weekly, thanks to the hotel's tight security. Amenities include secluded sunning spots, private phone lines, and attendants with chilled towels. Chaise longues are on a first-come, first-served basis. And movie tunes are piped in through an underwater sound system.
It doesn't get much better than this. The Somerset on Grace Bay opened at the end of 2006 and has been turning heads ever since. The resort is both a romantic island hideaway and beachfront family haven. (Where else would you find a Sand Castle University for kids to learn to build awesome sand sculptures?) A member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Somerset on Grace Bay offers pure indulgence on 4.6 acres of pristine beach. There are 54 residence suites equipped with living, dining and entertaining spaces. You'll even find a fully stocked gourmet kitchen with Viking appliances and a wine storage fridge. All suites offer balconies with jaw-dropping ocean views (and the exclusive Estates boast wrap-around terraces with hot tubs). On the manicured croquet lawn, play Somerset eXtreme Croquet (the series of cut-throat challenges includes "Water Slaughter" when a player roquets an opponent's ball into the ocean). Soak in the huge infinity pool, which seems to flow into the Atlantic itself. There's a state-of-the-art underwater sound system, to boot. Recreational pursuits run the gamut from bone-fishing to snorkeling. Discover a piece of paradise in the islands of Turks and Caicos.
April 25, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
Climbing a simple step could change a person's life. Climbing 1,334 steps, 52 floors, 265 meters will help even more.
Put your running shoes on for the sixth Vertical Marathon at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Dubai - hosted in association with The Big Apple and take this challenge in the shortest time. In aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres (also known as Doctors without Borders) and those in need around the world, conquer the Office Tower of Jumeirah Emirates Towers on Friday, 16 May 2008.
To take part in this event - register with MSF along with your pledge of a minimum of AED 500 per person. Individuals and teams of 3 to 4 persons are welcome.
Can you reach the top?
By: Courtney W. May
Spoil Mom with a stay at Florida's Legendary Pink Palace over Mother's Day weekend. An ultra-luxurious Gulf playground on St. Pete's Beach, Don Cesar has been pampering its elite clientele since its debut in 1928. Complete with sugar-white beaches and the fabulous new Spa Oceana, Don Cesar Beach Resort knows a thing or two about taking care of guests (F. Scott Fitzgerald was a fan). Here's what's in store with the Mother's Day Package: two nights in a partial Gulfview room, two spa treatments, moisturizing and remineralizing every inch of the skin with 24K golden mineral dust and oils, pink roses upon arrival, and cookies and milk turndown. Starting at $294 in a Bay View Room.
Enjoy an enchanting stay in Paris this summer at the elegant 45-room Sofitel Trocadero Dokhan's, situated near the Arc de Triomphe. 'Déjeuner sur l'herbe' with a delicious picnic basket provided by the hotel. Packed with hors d'œuvres, main courses like salads and sandwiches, desserts, mineral water, soft drinks, and a bottle of Champagne, the picnic promises to be both irresistible and refined. Take your picnic to some of the most romantic spots in Paris, like the flower-filled Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardins des Tuileries overlooking the Louvre. With the "Chic Picnic" offer, you'll also get late check-out, and four nights for the price of three. Minimum stay of three nights required; available June 1- August 31, 2008.
Explore Australia's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest with a certified eco-guide at the Angsana Resort Great Barrier Reef. At the Banyan Tree Bintan (situated on an island just off Singapore), take off on a nature walk amongst 100-year-old trees and other fascinating flora and fauna, followed by a rejuvenating foot massage. You can also plant a tree. At the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru in the Maldives, which houses the first-of-its-kind Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, you'll have the opportunity for guided snorkeling and coral planting under the watchful eyes of dedicated Marine Biologists. You can also take part in a reef survey, take a manta tow ride, learn the technique of measuring and weighing endangered green sea turtles, and enjoy a special dive to the Lotus, an artificial reef. Angsana Velavaru, located in the South Nilandhe Atoll, and Angsana Ihuru in the North Male Atoll, offer similar packages including a marine biology and ecology session, coral planting and guided snorkeling trip to house reefs, and a dolphin cruise led by the respective Marine Lab's resident Marine Biologist. The Banyan Tree Group has launched these earth-friendly activities to celebrate Earth Day, and the "Better World" packages will be available until the end of the year.
The best hotel in New Zealand? According to Conde Nast Traveler's 2008 Gold List, Huka Lodge wins that honor. In fact, scores of 100 percent for Service, 97.3 percent each for Rooms, Food, Location and Design and 86.1 percent for Activities means that Huka Lodge is among the best in Asia, Australia and the Pacific nations. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, Huka Lodge is situated in Taupo in the central North Island. The crystal clear waters of Lake Taupo are fed by mountain streams and are home to some of the most sought-after Rainbow trout in the world. Just a short walk from the lodge, guests discover the spectacular cascades of Huka Falls on the banks of the Waikato River. Easily one of the top retreats in the world, Huka Lodge delights its discerning clientele with its top-notch recreational activities (petanque, anyone?), exquisite cuisine, and superlative accommodations. (For a true VIP experience, book the Owner's Cottage.) Just check out the guest book to see all the celebs who flock to this place. Plan a visit to Huka Lodge between May 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008, and you'll find the lowest rack rates of the year, starting from NZ$730 per person, per night. All rates include pre-dinner drinks, superb five-course dinners, full breakfast, use of all Lodge facilities, and Taupo airport transfers.
Experience the legendary hospitality of The Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa, a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, with summer rates starting at just $149. Set on more than 463 acres in the Sonoran Desert, The Wigwam has been a favorite Arizona destination resort for nearly 80 years. Home to 54 championship holes of golf, the brand new, state-of-the-art Red Door Spa, three sparkling pools, and nine plexi-paved illuminated tennis courts, The Wigwam is the recipient of numerous accolades. Check into this desert oasis between May 21 and September 5, 2008 and you'll also get a food and beverage credit: $50 for a two-night stay (Endless Summer Package), and $100 for a three-night stay (Gift of Luxury Package).
April 24, 2008
By: Courtney W. May
Located on the beach, past fields of pineapple and coconut which is a pure, simple and elegant resort - Aleenta Resort and Spa - where you can relax, enjoy and discover. The resort's concierge recently took some time to answer a few of our questions below.
What activity do you recommend the most often?
Private Yacht Charter on Ferretti 680 (which is simply the most luxurious charter vessel on offer in Phuket; featuring air-conditioning 2 LCD satellite TVs , jet ski and scuba equipment) to Phi Phi Islands, Krabi or Phang-Nga Bay.
Do you have any Do's and Don'ts for travelers to the hotel and the city?
Do experience the Thai Culture, food and the turtle conservation at Aleenta. Don't go to the beach without sun block.
What types of things have you been unable to do for guests?
We weren't able to do a sunset blessing wedding by the monks, due to the fact that monks only bless weddings before 11am.
What is the funniest request you've gotten from a guest?
A male guest requested to have his privates waxed.
What is the strangest request you've gotten from a guest?
Because you are in a major international tourism destination, what kinds of language problems come up?
When two cultures meet and neither of them speaks English, it becomes a challenge.
Which restaurant do you recommend the most often and why? Who is it best for?
We have several recommendations for restaurant first and for most is our Aleenta main restaurant which has Thai cuisine, than we have our Chefs' Table fine dining Restaurant which has French and European cuisine. Apart from our restaurant we have small local beach shack located 10minutes drive from the Resort which gives an authentic Thai meal eating experience.
What are the things that you wish guests knew about the Concierge?
The time and effort that goes into ensuring that our guest's leave with not only a positive image of our Resort, but also of Thailand.
How big is the Concierge staff at the hotel?
1 concierge staff and 2 front office agents
Are there any specialty concierges or all generalists for everyone?
Generalists for everyone, concierge is an area of expertise for all our Front Office staff.
What is the average number of requests a day?
20 per day.
What is your personal favorite part of the hotel?
Our Aleenta Ka Spa and the view from the outdoor dining area of our Chef's Table fine dining restaurant.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I love to interact with the guest and teach them about the Thai culture.
Visit the Aleenta Resort and Spa in Phuket
By: Courtney W. May
April 24, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin
Summer in St. Moritz with several ways to save at Badrutt's Palace Hotel. This summer take advantage of the multiple packages the luxury hotel in the Alps has to offer. Enjoy a two night package with the "Alpine Summer Feeling" which includes two night accommodation for up to two people in a Superior room, with complimentary breakfast and one set meal at "Chesa Veglia" and a Palace Restaurant, as well as free tickets on all mountain railways, cable cars and public transportation. The room also comes with a complimentary mini-bar, daily newspaper, movie channels and internet access. Rates start at 640 CHF for single occupancy.
For the more globally conscious guest, enjoy the "Go Green in St. Moritz" package, treating guests to a three night stay in a Superior room, along with a horse driven carriage ride to the Roseg Glacier, tickets to a self guided Clean Energy Tour, and a tour of the ecologically conscious heating system in Badrutt's and hiking map of local trails to try out. The package also comes with dinners at Chesa Veglia or Palace Restaurants and an organic picnic lunch basket. Rates start at 1,440 CHF for single occupancy.
Enjoying a family vacation to the Alps? Make sure to book Badrutt's "Family Summer Indulgence", a seven night stay in one of the hotel's Superior rooms with free tickets for all mountain railways and cable cars, child care services, a complimentary picnic basket for each adult, a boat ride on Lake Sils, horse drawn carriage ride into Fex Valley, and dinner at Chesa Veglia or a Palace Restaurant. Rates start at 2,040 CHF for double occupancy.
This summer, guests may also enjoy the "Golfy Delight" package, a three night stay in one of the hotel's Superior rooms, which comes with a complimentary golf gift upon arrival and two green fees at either the Zouz Madulain or Samedan golf courses. Package comes with complimentary breakfast, and dinner at either Chesa Veglia or a Palace Restaurant, and free tickets for all mountain public transportation. Rates start at 1320 CHF for single occupancy.
By: Madelyn Giblin