The beautiful Basque city of San Sebastien—situated on two sweeping beaches bathed by Atlantic surf—is a glorious combination of natural landscapes and urban treasures. Green mountaintops (one crowned by an enormous statue of Jesus, reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro) look down upon an awesome crescent of boat-dotted harbors and grand boulevards with tall art nouveau architecture. The Parte Vieja, its narrow alleys lined by packed tapas bars and beautiful boutiques – promises the liveliest and most entertaining nightlife in Basque Country (and possibly, in all of Spain.) Where to stay? The Hotel Maria Cristina—part of Westin's Luxury Collection—is a five star masterpiece overlooking the Urma River just minutes from the beach. Guest rooms boast ocean views from balconies, fine furnishings, marble, and all the modern amenities you'd expect in a world-class luxury hotel. After all, the Maria Cristina is a prominent fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Reader's Choice Awards. The spa is superb.
During the summer months, the Atlantic coastal resort town becomes a mecca for the fashionable, who flock to the casinos and trendy bars, and surfers, who catch awesome waves ranked as Europe's best surfing spot. In the mid 19th century, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie frequently vacationed in Biarritz, and the high-roller vacationers soon followed suit. Near the border of Spain in the heart of Basque Country, Biarritz is not far from the quaint riverside town of Bayonne, known for its chocolate, ham, and fascinating Basque culture and customs. Hang with the surfers on the beach, enjoy a coffee on the seaside promenade, and come dusk, hit the happening bars along the Rue du Vieux Port. Standing proud above la grande plage, the stately Hotel du Palais is the place to stay in Biarritz. Built in 1854 for Empress Eugenie, the luxury hotel delights guests with its unsurpassed elegance and tradition ofart de vivre. The gorgeous outdoor pool overlooks the sea and the hotel's many comfortable beach cabanas.
August 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The hottest, trendiest place on the So Cal coast, Tower 23 opened in July 2005 to much fanfare and celebration. Overlooking long stretches of golden sand, the three-storey all-glass hotel is a stylish, contemporary urban resort, taking its name from the Lifeguard Tower 23 positioned on Pacific Beach in front of the hotel. Billing itself as San Diego's "only luxury, lifestyle hotel on the beach," Tower 23 is a celebration of contemporary architecture and design. The 44 guestrooms reflect the oceanfront setting—the environment of sun, sand, surf, and sky—with minimalist design, private balconies and patios to contemplate the sea, and teak furnishings. (And with names to match; the rooms are divided into three types: Spirit, Sky and Surf Pads.) Of course the rooms are brimming with all the latest technology: LDC flat-screens, XBoxes, wifi Internet, and Tempur-Pedic beds. Hipsters flock to Jordan, the sleek restaurant and bar (pictured) where fresh California cuisine is served in a happening environment.
This award winning, glass-walled restaurant is, by far, the ritziest resort restaurant in Carmel. Terraced on an ocean bluff overlooking the dramatic seascape of the Big Sur coastline, at the Highlands Inn Park Hyatt, Pacific's Edge provides incomparable ocean vistas. As guests dine on spectacular French-New American fare and savor bottles from the 1,700-label wine list (a perennial Grand Award winner from Wine Spectator), they can watch whales and sea otters playing just offshore, and the sunset dip below the Pacific's horizon at the most picturesque spot on earth. And to top it all off—the staff is elegant and attentive, ensuring a fantastic dining experience.
Halfway between Miami and Key West in the heart of the Florida Keys, Tranquility Bay is a 12-acre hideaway of palm-dotted white sand beaches overlooking the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Opened in January, the resort features 87 charming two-story cottages on the ocean, surrounded by lush landscaping and towering coconut palms. The pristine sandy beach is one of the largest in the Keys, with endless watersports and activities (including Hobie Cats for rent), and the nearby Tilden's Scuba Center outfits divers keen to explore the sunken Thunderbolt wreck. Other fantastic Keys attractions are also nearby, including Bahia Honda state park, convenient shopping, great dining, and awesome sports fishing outlets. Pamper yourself at Island Spice Private Spa, or relax by the lagoon-style pool, tropical drink in hand. In addition to the luxurious accommodations, beach houses are also available for rental and ownership.
August 25, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
from Jennifer Ehrman, Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour
Old Bahama Bay Resort and Yacht Harbour is one of only 3 luxury hotels that Five Star Alliance has chosen as the best hotel luxury in the Bahamas. The resort features all beachfront suites, a full-service marina, 3 restaurants, and a host of events and boating activities. In addition to the resort's 67 oceanfront and oceanview junior suites, they offer 6 spectacular oceanfront 2-bedroom suites.
Why You Should Go Now
1. You can make last minute reservations and be there in time for check-in because the resort and yacht harbour is located just 56 miles from the Florida coast, on the westernmost tip of Grand Bahama Island. The 228 acre resort is 26 miles from Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport which is serviced by American Eagle, Continental Connection, Bahamasair, AirTran, Delta, as well as several charter operations. Direct service to Freeport is available from Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando, the New York area, Atlanta and Charlotte, NC.
2. Fall into Old Bahama Bay for Free 4th Night Package
Between now and September 30th, 2006 - guests making brand new reservations to stay during this time period will receive a 4th night free on any type of suite or on a dock slip. (This offer cannot be combined with other packages).
August 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Just 55 minutes from Singapore by high-speed catamaran, the Banyan Tree Bintan is situated on a spectacular island in the Riau archipelago, its Balinese style villas overlooking the South China Sea. Private outdoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis complement the exquisitely modeled villa-accommodations. And this world-class resort also boasts two adjacent world-class 18-hole golf courses. The Banyan Tree Bintan has just unveiled its signature Double Tee Off package for golfing enthusiasts to enjoy a weekend of relaxed island golfing. Available until December 21, 2006, the package comprises one round of 18-hole golf at Laguna Bintan Golf Course and one round of 18-hole golf at Ria Bintan Golf Course, both inclusive of green and buggy fees. Guests can enjoy attractive rates, starting from $405 for the Bayfront Villa and $485 for the Villa-On-The-Rocks. Includes return land transfers from the ferry terminal, VIP Express Clearance upon arrival and departure at the Bintan Ferry Terminal, and one complimentary Golf Massage session, located at the Laguna Bintan Clubhouse and specially tailored for every golfer's pre-game conditioning and post-game therapy. Two night minimum stay required.
August 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Clear turquoise water, lush tropical gardens, white powdery sand on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean… Located on Providenciales in the beautiful Turks and Caicos islands, Grace Bay Club is an all-suite luxury resort comprised of 38 new family-friendly suites at the Villas and the 22-suite adults-only Hotel. A winner of the Five-Star Diamond Award, Grace Bay Club has been a fixture on Travel and Leisure's "World's Best" awards, the "T and L 500" and Conde Nast Traveler's "Gold List." This island getaway promises the best kind of family vacation in paradise. And the new "Portrait in Paradise" package captures the beauty of your Turks and Caicos family holiday with a custom-tailored professional portrait session that will make this year's holiday memorable for the entire family. The four-night package includes a gorgeous professional portrait, accommodations in an oceanview suite at the resort's new Villas, airport meet and greet as well as roundtrip transfers, welcome amenity of chilled champagne and fresh fruit basket, daily continental breakfast, daily three-course, candlelight dinner, in the newly renovated Anacaona Restaurant (children over 12 only) or the family-friendly Grill, and a soothing massage for each adult at the new Anani Spa. Offered through December 19, 2006. Pricing starts at $2,681 per suite, based on double occupancy, and category of suite selected. Additional family members can be accommodated depending on suite type for an additional charge; children under 7 stay free.
August 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
You are invited to the big birthday bash for Travel and Leisure magazine at the exclusive One and Only Palmilla in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the luxury beachfront resort is considered the "Jewel of Baja." Situated on a secluded beach overlooking the Sea of Cortez, the One and Only Palmilla features elegantly appointed rooms in hacienda-style buildings, a gorgeous pool with swim-up bar, fitness center, tennis, and world-class golf course. The birthday weekend getaway is October 26-30, and includes a slew of exciting events: Gourmet dinner hosted by celebrity chefs Charlie Trotter and Tetsuya Wakuda (Australia's most acclaimed chef), Golf tournament on a T and L Golf World's Best Resort Course with T and L Golf's Editor in Chief, Tastings with Baja's premier boutique winemaker, Don Miller of Adobe Guadalupe, and expert tequilier Julio Bermejo, Walking tours and kayaking and snorkeling expeditions with a T and L's World's Best Outfitter Butterfield and Robinson, Daily mind-body principles with yoga master Maya Fiennes, Travel conversations with your favorite T and L editors, and Artisan shopping expedition with T and L's Style Director. The four-night celebration is priced starting at $3,250. At one of the world's best resorts, get the inside scoop on luxury travel. This weekend promises to be a fun, stylish, and memorable experience.
August 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Off-peak destinations—a glamorous Fall holiday in the Caribbean-- provide a world of savings for the savvy traveler. One such steal is a five-day escape to Eden Rock, one of the hottest hotels on the fashionable island of St. Barts. The award-winning boutique hotel is situated on a heavenly stretch of sand in a secluded spot next to the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean. The individually designed accommodations are breathtakingly beautiful—the height of luxury and design. Guests enjoy the latest addition to the hotel: a well equipped fitness center where personalized fitness programs, yoga, and pilates can be arranged for guests. At the restaurant On the Rocks, enjoy delicious dishes such as the home-made terrine of fois gras with a quince and lime chutney, lasagna of mushrooms and tiger shrimp served with tempura vegetables and black truffles, and the sea-bass glazed with soya and served with potato and leek parmentier. Or sip a cocktail and dine beachside at The Sand Bar. Take advantage of the "Good As New" package for a five-nights stay at Eden Rock, with a savings of up to 33 percent until November 14, 2006. The package includes five-night accommodations, a daily breakfast, a five-day car rental, and airport transfers. Package prices are based on double occupancy and range from EUR 1,900 for a cottage to EUR 3,750 for a Premium Ocean View Suite.