LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
We've got the scoop on a unique Labor Day special that doesn't come around that often. La Samanna Resort, a chic Orient-Express property in St. Maarten, French West Indies, is consistently named one of the world's best places to stay. This gorgeous gem is usually closed for the season over Labor Day weekend, but this year, La Samanna will stay open so you can celebrate the Dog Days of Summer in style. Finish off your summer with a three-night Labor Day weekend package starting at just $995 in an Ocean View Room. You'll also get buffet breakfast daily, a welcome bottle of champagne and a car rental for the day (tax, gas and insurance not included). Upgrade to a spacious One Bedroom Suite for just $100 more per night.
Soon you'll be able to have lunch on the equator aboard a 69-foot luxury yacht, an exclusive offering from the brand new Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa, the first luxury resort in the southern Maldives (on Addu Atoll). This equatorial dining experience is billed as a "first-of-its-kind seaborne adventure." Step aboard the boat at the resort, and you'll cruise 46 miles north to the point where the northern and southern hemispheres collide. Here you'll sip some wine and chow down on a gourmet lunch while lounging on a sun lounger on the spacious timber deck. No doubt you'll see a school of spinner dolphins. Afterwards, take a siesta, or snorkel and fish-- over the equator. You'll also be able to visit the country's third biggest island, Fuvahmulah, on a full-day cruise aboard the beautiful yacht. Opening later this year, Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa will feature 142 villas with views of the ocean or the island's natural lush vegetation.
We liked the Hotel Andalucia when it opened in 2004, but now we like it even better as the Canary Hotel. Renovated and renamed by the folks behind its sister properties, Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, the Canary is fun, fashionable, and a touch exotic. (It's supposed to reflect the Spanish Islands and North Africa, hence its name.) The only full-service luxury boutique hotel in downtown Santa Barbara, the Canary boasts an outstanding rooftop pool and perch, plus a spa, and gym next door. You'll love the Spanish tiles, four-poster beds, and in-room binoculars. Travel + Leisure recently sang its praises in the August 08 issue, citing the hotel's "low-key glamour and easy access to both the city's bustling Old Town and beautiful beaches" as key reasons why the Canary will become "one of Southern California's favorite haunts."
Lucky ducks. Thailand's Phuket Island will soon be getting an all-villa boutique resort at Kalim Bay. And check out that view from the pool, overlooking the Andaman Sea! The Langham portfolio has been expanding rapidly in Thailand, and the announcement of this boutique resort-- Langham Place Miora Resort + Spa, Kalim Bay-- means the luxury hotel operator is on track to operate five properties in Thailand within five years (including this eco-resort on Krabi). Langham has an outstanding collection of five-star hotels around the world, and this sexy new boutique resort promises to be all that and more. Slated to open in early 2010, this Langham Place will boast 78 designer villas including a penthouse set onto a hilltop. Apartment-style amenities will include private bars, contemporary entertainment centers, and private plunge pools with retractable floating dining tables as well as day beds and barbecue grills. And the best part of all? The cantilevered swimming pool that extends from the hill to create an infinity-style effect with a Chuan Spa located directly below.
August 12, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Itching for a getaway? Hop over to Hawaii's big island for a little slice of heaven and score a fourth night free at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (and bring the fam- the resort is family-friendly and the kids will love the "Surf, Sand and Stars" night on the beach with s'mores, campfire, and telescope.) Named No. 1 Resort in Hawaii on the Travel + Leisure Top 500, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai offers gorgeous ocean views from every single one of its rooms. Nestled on the Kona-Kohala Coast, this opulent, tropical oasis recalls Hawaii's golden age. Play a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus signature course, lounge in a beachfront bungalow, chow down on some excellent cuisine while listening to the pounding surf, and indulge in some relaxing spa treatments in the gardens or spa. Normal room rates start at $725 per night in the late summer- but you'll get a real deal with the "Fourth Night Free" special, bringing down the average room cost per night significantly.
August 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
We just got word about a stellar Caribbean package that offers savings of 45 percent, with breakfast included. Situated on a half-mile crescent-shaped beach on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, Rosewood's Little Dix Bay is a blissful resort offering elegant villas and guest rooms with recently renovated bathrooms and outdoor rain showers. Little Dix Bay has announced a new "Rosewood Escapes Extra" Package so that guests can own the beach for the price of a garden. With this four-day upgraded holiday package, you can save $1100 in an ocean cottage from September 1- November 20, 2008. When guests book a garden view room at the rate of $425 per night, they will automatically receive a triple upgrade to an ocean cottage, never more than 25 steps off the beach, with buffet breakfast included each day (normally priced at $758 per night). 17 percent tax and resort fee are additional. Founded by visionary philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1964, Little Dix Bay has water sports, tennis courts, three excellent dining venues, Sense, A Rosewood Spa (with treatments utilizing indigenous botanicals plucked from the resort's grounds), and a great kids program at the Children's Grove. Psst. This promotion is in addition to the already discounted "Rosewood Escapes" package currently offered this summer and fall.
August 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Need a beach break? Washingtonians can take advantage of a special two-night package at The Inn at Perry Cabin, situated on the Chesapeake Bay in the charming town of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. With this deal, your second night is 50 percent off. As recently highlighted by Forbes as a "Luxury Travel Bargain Close to Home," The Inn at Perry Cabin offers the ultimate East Coast Escape for folks in the DC area. The package also includes two tickets to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and a bottle of house wine upon arrival. After a stay in this beautiful hideaway, we promise you'll be lured back for another retreat at their stunning new spa, and some more mouth-watering meals at the hotel's acclaimed restaurant.
Jet south of the border and check out the hottest new resort to hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is situated on 36 acres of beaches and tropical forests in one of the prettiest settings on earth. Since its opening, the resort has been getting rave reviews, and scored a spot on the Travel and Leisure "It List":
If ever you had any doubt about the arrival of the Riviera Maya, a once-sleepy stretch of sand 40 miles south of Cancún, then try booking a room at the new Mandarin Oriental, one of the most anticipated hotel openings this year (we had to put our name on two waiting lists to get in). Hassle aside, it’s easy to see why the property is red-hot. The winning Mandarin formula—exemplary service, forward-reaching design, a first-rate spa—has taken root in a pristine Mexican coastal environment. Acres of mangrove forest, including an on-site cenote, surround a lovely—albeit small—stretch of powdery sand. The 128 boxy white villas give beach chic new meaning, with polished stone floors, rough limestone walls, spare four-poster beds, and sculptures by prominent Mexican artists.
For a limited time, you can enjoy summer rates at the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya from just $459 per night, including breakfast. (Available until September 30, 2008). The "Seasonal Choices" rate also offers late check-out until 6 pm, and a complimentary extra bed for children under 12 sharing the room. Plus, until October 31, 2008, you can get a complimentary fourth night when reserving three consecutive nights!
Snag a room at Florida's landmark luxury hotel, Don CeSar Beach Resort, for just $159 per night! Proudly poised over St. Pete Beach, the legendary Pink Palace has been luring well-heeled travelers since it opened in 1928 (including the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lou Gehrig and Al Capone). And with such fabulous facilities, it's little wonder why. The sprawling new spa is a big draw, in addition to the sugar-white beaches, award-winning dining, pools with under-water sound systems, and excellent Beach Club and kids' program. Rooms usually go for over $300 a night at this opulent property, but until September 30, 20008, you can stay in luxury for a song. Weekdays are on sale for $159 per night, and weekends can be had for just $30 more per night.
August 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The food at Hong Kong's hippest hang-out is to-die-for, but the views are even better. The sleek, contemporary space on the 28th floor of The Peninsula, the "Grande Dame of the Far East," looks out over Hong Kong's glittering skyline and the harbor. Felix was recently highlighted by Travel and Leisure as one of the World's Best Restaurant Views, a top spot for "harmonizing amazing vistas with delectable victuals":
The Big Apple is hardly alone in providing winning skyscraper meals. At Felix, on the 28th floor of Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel, guests soak in the city's striking setting from a slick dining room designed by Philippe Starck while feasting on dishes like Tasmanian salmon with parsnip gratin and seared duck breast with blood oranges and duck confit.