Here in Washington we're already going gaga over the annual flowering of the Cherry Blossoms. The festival doesn't get rocking until next weekend, but the flowers are a-blooming and travelers are enjoying the best time of year to visit the nation's capital. Below I've compiled some articles for your perusal and pleasure:
National Cherry Blossom Festival, Official Website
The Washington Post, "2006 Cherry Blossom Guide"
Fodor's Travel Wire, "Think Pink: Spring Cherry Blossom Festivals"
Fodor’s Travel Wire, "Essential Washington, D.C."
The Informed Traveler, "Luxurious DC Cherry Blossom Package at The Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington"
Holy week in Seville takes place in the eight days between Palm Sunday and Easter (April 9-16 this year): an incredible celebration and melancholy observance at the same time. The cloaked Cofradias (Brotherhoods)-- their eyes and faces hidden by huge conical hats-- process through the city's narrow, winding streets. Some barefoot, burdened with crosses, or huge fantastic floats of the Virgin Mary or Jesus, kneeling in penitence as they circle from their church to the Cathedral of Seville and back-- passing mobs of citizen revelers and eager onlookers. The streets are absolutely packed with extended families (from infants to grandmothers) who gather to watch the processions of 57 brotherhoods carry 116 marvelous floats through the streets. To witness this religious ritual is a once-in-a-lifetime must. Where to stay in the exquisite historical city of Seville? The Hotel Alfonso XIII, of course! Built in 1929, the posh royal palace was inaugurated by the King for which it was named. A fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, the hotel is the essence of opulence. (Hurry, rooms are still available! My pick are the Moorish-themed rooms, with their tasteful and elegant furnishings.)
Hotel Alfonso XIII, Official Site
Hotel Alfonso XIII, Five Star Alliance
Disney descended on Hong Kong last September, and-- in the ultimate symbol of China's newly (and increasingly) ravenous consumer hunger-- is now planning a park on the Chinese mainland as well. Indeed, Hong Kong Disneyland was so mobbed during the Lunar New Year that hordes were denied entrance to the park. As quoted by CNN:
"China has a very large population. We now have 1.3 billion people. The market is very large. As far as I know, Hong Kong Disneyland is now very crowded," said Shao Qiwei, director of China's State Administration of Tourism, whose comments were broadcast on Hong Kong's Cable TV.
The first new hotel to open in Monaco in 75 years, the $260 million Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel has reinvented Monte Carlo, bringing back the chic and legendary glamour of the Roaring Twenties on the Riviera. Set on the edge of the sea, with sweeping azure views, the hotel is elegantly situated within four hectares of Mediterranean gardens and lagoons. Just minutes from Nice. Lounge by the glass-domed indoor swimming pool, or relax in the adjoining spa, a contemporary and luxurious paradise complete with 12 treatment rooms, fitness center and Turkish baths. In the evening, watch the sunset from the sea-view bar, and then indulge in the gastronomic pleasures of four stellar restaurants, including one directed by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. And the nightlife—as expected—is exceptional.
Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel, Official Site
Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel, Five Star Alliance
South Florida's national historical landmark is renowned for its luxurious, Old-World European accommodations, and impressive resort amenities. Located in Coral Gables, the destination hotel features the 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed championship golf course, 10-lighted tennis courts, fitness center, fine restaurants and bars, private wine cellar club, and an enormous pool (the largest in the continental US!) with private cabanas. Reasons to go now? Besides the new and deliciously-luxurious Biltmore Spa--12,000 sq. ft. with spectacular views, wet rooms with hydrotherapy tubs and Vichy showers, connecting specialty suites for couples, exceptional men's and women's locker facilities with steam and sauna rooms, a signature line of Solarte of Provence amenities, and state-of-the-art treatments -- The Biltmore is currently offering a promotion for a free night! Make a booking for four nights, and pay for only three.
The Biltmore, Official Site
The Biltmore, Five Star Alliance
March 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Now is the time for an end-of-season hurrah. The biggest ski resort in North America may also be the most fabulous. Whistler boasts the biggest vertical rise in North America (a whopping 5,280 feet) and the most terrain (we're talking 8,171 acres). Additionally, there's a meager 100,000 acres of Heli and SnowCat backcountry skiing on the surrounding Coast Mountain range. Where to stay? The Pan Pac is where it's at, consistently rated the best, most luxurious spot in Whistler. Here's why: the suites offer full kitchens, balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. Resort amenities are world-class: outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs with spectacular mountain views, fitness center, spa and steam room.
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, Official Site
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, Five Star Alliance
March 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
My home town is getting a makeover and I couldn't be happier. Kimpton-- that most delightful hotelier-- has bought the aged, decrepit Holiday Inn in Old Town, Alexandria and plans a complete overhaul. At long last: the return of glamour and class to this prime real estate in the heart of Old Town's cobblestone streets, flickering gas lamps and gorgeous colonial homes! Kimpton is pumping in $22 million in its conversion; the new Hotel Monaco, Alexandria will have 241 colorful and unique guest rooms, a pool, fitness club, and fine dining. Bring it on.
March 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
March is upon us, and for serious skiers (but those who prefer not to jet to the Southern Hemisphere during the other half of the year), this means the last days of the season on the slopes. And for some of the finest skiing in Europe-- away from Turin's still dissipating crowds-- the French Alps beckon. And the elegance and exceptional location of Hotel de Charme Les Airelles prove temptingly attractive. A grand chalet of the past, this place still embodies the prestigious old-world days of opulence and grandeur. During the 1992 Winter Olympics, Les Airelles served as home to the International Olympic Committee. Basking in its beautiful setting, with ski runs at the door, the hotel boasts an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam and Turkish bath.
Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, Official Site
Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, Five Star Alliance
March 7, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Gary Stram, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Regency, A Loews Hotel
Continuing our theme of highlighting luxury suites in New York City (see posts for the Taipan Suite at Mandarin Oriental and The Royal Suite at The Carlyle) we present to you the 'Park Avenue' Suite at The Regency, A Loews Hotel.
Park Avenue Suite
Rate: $3,500.00 per evening, plus applicable taxes
Sq. Footage: 1625 sq. ft.
Rooms (not including bath): 4
Bathrooms: 1 and 1/2
Interior Designer: Connie Beale
Note Bene: The suite offers views of the city on its private outdoor terrace.
The Park Avenue Suite offers views of the city with a private terrace. Connie Beale, Interior Designer, used aqua and red schemes throughout the suite for a traditional feel like a Park Avenue apartment. The main doorway enters into a lovely living room overlooking the private terrace with a custom-made mahogany desk and beautifully appointed matching chairs, coffee tables and couch. The den has a more clubby and cozy feel featuring comfortable leather chairs with a matching couch. Book cases filled with the Classics as well as a built-in television and entertainment center are highlighted. The dining area is large and has a kitchen attached for those who would like to entertain on their own. The outdoor terrace is also ideal for entertaining due to its size and furniture with a gas grill. The bedroom also looks out on the terrace with authentic artwork. The room is very spacious with its own bathroom, seating area, and private outdoor balcony.
The Regency, A Loews Hotel, Official Site
The Regency, A Loews Hotel, Five Star Alliance
March 6, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Carole Muller, Sungate Port Royal
There are a lot of hotel and resort spas out there claiming to have the "Best Male Spa" or the "Best Spa for Men", but we think you might find Sungate Port Royal to be a better fit. The resort, which covers a large expanse of 250.000 square meters in the heaven-like town of Beldibi in Antalya, Turkey, must know their audience - they offer a 'beer bath' for men. Sungate claims to be the largest holiday and entertainment complex in Turkey and the Mediterranean and the second largest hotel spa center. With those kinds of claims, Sungate is the new star of the Mediterranean.
Examples of the new spa care methods (for men and women) after the jump.
NEW CARE METHODS UNIQUE TO PORT ROYAL
Ying & Young Body Massage With Reiki Initiation:
This massage is applied to the whole of the body by a specialist with the purpose of removing stress with harmonic and rhythmic movements. At the end of the massage, the aim is to make the person to re-discover his own skin and to love himself.
Chinese Toe Massage:
How would you like to have friendly Chinese specialists apply a relaxing massage from your chakra points to your face and head and then exhibit a magical dance with a ballerina's fingertips in a specially-prepared Chinese atmosphere?
Kohala Marmor Therapy Massage:
Are you ready to meet with specially-heated stones of 7 separate colors and aromatic oils to embrace your whole body in your 7 chakras?
Hualalai Oil Therapy:
In this massage constituting the most exotic application of the Pacific islands, the particular aromatic oil selected on the basis of the person's current mood is heated beside the person and then causes the muscles to relax in an unprecedented manner in the knowledgeable and soft hands of our therapist.
Astrological Face Care:
The individual's zodiac element is established and a mask constituting of fresh fruits and vegetables in harmony with the said element is used to make the skin gain all active ingredients and vitamins.
Thai Herbal Pack - Thai Hot Steam Pack :
In this massage constituting Thailand 's most traditional heat therapy, small pouches made of cotton cloth including a mixture of therapeutic herbs are heated with steam and applied for one minute each on the required parts of the body.
Floating Bali Massage:
Dream of yourself lying on the floor of a floating raft while sipping real Chinese jasmine tea. Dream of yourself laying on your back while your therapist recreates the magic of your relaxed body accompanied by the aromas of the Far East and high quality music under stark while curtains fluttering in the cooling evening wind ...
Mauna Kea :
Thanks to the rich content of cacao particles, mineral salts, vitamins and anti-oxidants, our specialists aim to moisturize your skin and make it as smooth as velvet.
Honey Moon For Two :
Rediscover your honeymoon in a romantic atmosphere in special double suits accompanied by candle light and a soft music. After spreading the honey mask over the couple's bodies, the therapist then silently leaves the room to let them rest for half an hour. Afterwards, the couple is allowed in the Jacuzzi containing fresh flower leaves with the accompaniment of a glass of champagne.
A must for men :
Sweet Stimulus For Men:
The body is stimulated, is revived and refreshed with honey, coarsely-ground coffee and energetic massage movements. The enlivening light and aromatic odors are in the service of men wishing to stay young.
Oriental Body Peel :
A mast comprising of honey and sesame particles is applied by rubbing on those wishing to stay young and to have a moist and velvety skin. The dead laLocation of the skin is removed without irritating and thus the skin is allowed to nourish deeply.
Swedish Herbal Steam Bath:
The unequalled magic of the scent of linden leaves in a special Swedish steam bed penetrates the soul through respiration and the skin through its pores.
Tmc Paradise For Body:
The peeling with fresh seaweed extract serves to remove the dead laLocation of cells on the body. Then the skin is prepared by spreading the concentrate with intensive active ingredients all over. Fat-dissolving and cellulite-reducing ampules are applied by the therapist along with aromatic creams and special massage movements. The body feels like in heaven.
Fresh Laminaria Treatment
The breasts are enlivened thanks to the active ingredients of algodermia seaweeds serving to increase collection and elasticity. During this treatment, the stimulating and refreshing effects of the massage come together with the cell-rejuvenating properties of oceanic seaweeds.
This bath is exclusively reserved for businessman who desreve a deep relax momont.Remineralization with Green Marine Bath salts, vitamins and stimulation with fresh seaweed extracts, relaxing with melissa and Lemon essansial oils and finally sensual with yılang yılang.
This is an experience unique to Port Royal Sungate Spa. A 20-minute bath in a very special, massif wood bathtub imported from China and filled with beer..
Watermass - Vakuum Massage :
A risk-free slimming massage thanks to the Palper-rouler vacuum massage technique as well as the slipperiness of water and aromatic oils.
In order to ensure that the oxygen therapy is risk-free and enjoyable, steam within capsules and heated water droplets are provided at your favorite temperature.
Sungate Port Royal, Official Site
Sungate Port Royal, Five Star Alliance