October 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The annual CNT Reader's Travel Awards have been released, so now we can ogle these gorgeous properties to our hearts' content. Perusing the list, you may wonder: Just why did the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah get top honors, scoring the number one position on the chart? Conde Nast Traveller readers voted this the top hotel in the world, with a score of 96.45 percent out of 100 (the magazine's index of satisfaction). So what makes this spot so special?
Blissful spa? Check. A truly dreamy tropical setting? Check. Decadent cuisine? Check. Sleek over-water villas from where you can go for a dip in the crystal clear sea? But of course. But more than the standard fare at luxury hotels, the One&Only Maldives offers a level of privacy and exclusivity which is truly unprecedented. In other words, this resort is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.
You've seen the ads. Impossibly good-looking couple disembarks from a private plane, while the grinning One&Only staff greet them, gracefully balancing designer luggage and trays of chilled cocktails. Enough said.
October 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
When the new Regent Bal Harbour opens its doors in January, it will be the first hotel in a half-century to be built in glamorous Bal Harbour, the shopping and people-watching mecca in North Miami Beach. As upscale and chic as its surroundings, the exclusive hotel promises to up the lux factor with its vibrant modern design and stunning museum quality art collection. Located on a pristine white sand beach, the hotel affords inspiring views of the Atlantic, Intracoastal Waterway, and Miami's bright lights. Expect to find sublime guest rooms, accessible via private elevators to ensure privacy, with terraces, 52-inch plasma screen TVs, Anichini linens, and free-standing bathtubs set before 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. Other perks at the Regent Bal Harbour: the expansive infinity-edge pool, poolside cabanas with private Roman hot tubs, fully-equipped fitness center, water sports, and private cars to whisk you away for a day of shopping. While you relax on the 750-foot private beach, attendants will provide sunscreen, portable DVD players and iPods, iced towels and beverages. But perhaps what we are most excited about is the Guerlain Spa, the first of its kind in the U.S. South Florida's new ultra-chic destination is now accepting reservations for its January 2, 2008 opening. Special opening rates for Superior Bay View Rooms start at $475 a night from January 2 -April 30, 2008.
After a $140 million renovation, La Costa has emerged as one of the most celebrated luxury hotels along the Southern California Coast. They've revamped the spa, smartened up the accommodations, and added a whole slew of fun-filled family activities. In fact, La Costa was named the second "Most Family Friendly Resort" in the U.S. by the Travel Channel. With in-room family amenities, the supervised kids' programs at Kidtopia, the Vibz lounge for teens, and the new Splash Landing Pools and Slides, La Costa is the ideal spot for a family getaway. (Plus, there's championship golf, memorable dining, and soothing spa services to lure Mom and Dad.) As warm days give way to cool nights, fall is the perfect season to experience this newly renovated gem. Enjoy the cozy comfort of a luxurious La Costa guest room with great fall rates, starting from just $249 a night (Plaza Room). Book Sunday -Thursday and get 25 percent off spa and golf.
It's not too late to score a room for the grand opening of The Landings St. Lucia, the latest luxury resort from RockResorts. On December 14, 2007 the oceanfront resort will open its doors on the Caribbean island du jour: the paradise of St. Lucia. You'll find sea-facing guest rooms, a dazzling 800-foot beach, a sumptuous spa, and an 80-slip marina. If you book by December 14, you'll receive a free upgrade to a plunge pool suite. Plus you'll get a framed picture of you and your suite guests. Rates start at $466.65 per night.
Hong Kong may be the world's hottest culinary destination. We've waxed poetic about the new Nobu at the InterContinental and Pierre Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, but there's another player on the scene in this culinary capital. What other luxurious establishment has attracted a superstar chef? The Four Seasons, widely hailed as the first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years. You'll find the city's best contemporary Cantonese cuisine at Lung King Heen (View of the Dragon). Using only the freshest local ingredients, renowned chef Chan Yan Tak creates innovative dishes which combine French and Southeast Asian touches. Commanding spectacular harbour views, the environment is modern and stylish. Silver and glass accents replicate the glitter of Hong Kong's skyline at night. Dim sum here is not to be missed.
Once again the good folks at Kor Hotels are recognizing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with October's Think Pink campaign at posh properties like Viceroy Santa Monica and The Tides South Beach. When you book the special Think Pink rates, 10 percent of the revenue will be donated to The Revlon/UCLA Breast Center. Sip a luscious Pink Martini at La Marea (the hot, new destination restaurant in South Beach), and feel good knowing that 20 percent of Pink Martini sales go to Saks Fifth Avenue's Key to the Cure, benefitting the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. At other Kor Hotels, you'll find gift bags, Think Pink fleeces and throws, and pink-themed welcome drinks.
Most folks think of InterContinental Hotels as the first truly international hotel brand in the world. So it's no wonder that InterContinental-- as it continues to define glamorous global travel-- goes the extra mile to provide guests with unique experiences to enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. Case in point: the "In the Know" program that provides online destination videos and Internet communication with the hotel concierges. Today's savvy, worldly guests are pickier about what they expect from hotels, and InterContinental is on hand to point the way to authentic and local destination experiences.
At the InterContinental Grand Stafford in Hong Kong, for example, you'll find maps created by the concierge with suggestions for the best shopping and dining spots in the area. (The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus service to the Star Ferry area, to boot.) And at the Athenaeum InterContinental, the best hotel in Athens, the multi-lingual concierge can do a lot more than arrange tours of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Local insider tips include favorite neighborhoods, new exhibits, and what's new on the city scene. Even suggestions for the best Greek gifts to take home with you. Check out this video from the concierge.
Billed as the world's sexiest hotel, the trendy Adam and Eve Hotel-- located along the Belek coastline near Antalya in southern Turkey-- also boasts the world's largest swimming pool. (It's got a fancy design award to back up its claims.) Floor-to-ceiling windows provide endless views of the Mediterranean. Guest rooms boast state-of-the-art lighting systems and walls of mirrors. The sleek restaurant promises the finest cuisine from cultures around the globe. There are bars aplenty. Plus, there's a cute little promotional ditty, to boot:
a room in paradise
for every adam and eve
a heaven on earth
you'll never want to leave...
Enjoy a very special Thanksgiving, Breakers style. From November 21- 25, 2007, The Breakers Palm Beach will offer a bountiful harvest of good eats and fun-filled activities the whole family will enjoy. Think late-night laser tag, catamaran cruises and snorkeling trips, cooking demos, children's bedtime stories, and drive-in movies. After the Thanksgiving Day parade, savor a sumptuous feast in one of three locations-- the Ballroom, Flagler Steakhouse, or L'Escalier Restaurant—followed by Bingo & Bonfire on the beach. (There will be s'mores and prizes aplenty.) The revelry doesn't stop there; the weekend will be jam-packed with entertaining amusements. Standard Superior Rooms start at $399 per night.
October 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
How about a free night on the Grand Canal in Venice? In the sumptuous surroundings of a magnificently restored historic building just steps from Piazza San Marco? With the End of Summer Sale at the Westin Europa & Regina, your third night is free when you book a three night stay between now and December 28, 2007. Plus, you can arrive any day of the week. Housed in five buildings which date from the 17th to 19th centuries, the award-winning hotel offers the perfect combination of traditional beauty and contemporary conveniences-- like the signature Heavenly Bed and Westin WORKOUT room. (Rates start from EUR 330 per night. Book online before October 31, 2007. Promotion code is Z3R.)
PS. Get a bird's eye view of this magical city with a helicopter tour arranged by the hotel.