March 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The weather outside is (still) frightful, though Spring Break is just around the corner. Tempt yourself with a last minute vaca to the tropical idyll of St. Bart's: splashy, chic, and utterly fabulous. At the award-winning Guanahani Hotel, guests find the ultimate retreat in colorful cottages (yellow, indigo, purple, bright green) nestled within bougainvilleas, hibiscus, and coconut groves. Heaven-on-earth wouldn't be complete without a sumptuous spa, and the hotel's Clarins Spa fits the bill: a sophisticated hideaway of pure indulgence. And for those seeking the ultimate sanctuary... check into the Wellness Suite, the former top-floor couple's spa suite which is now available for overnight accommodations. Talk about pampering! Enjoy 180 degree views of the turquoise sea from a covered terrace, plus private access to the spa's pool and relaxation area long after closing time. Since the spa is right downstairs, the therapists come to you for in-room treatments.
Gondola rides, The Guggenheim, and absurdly low spring rates at The Venetian. We're talking $180 a night at this luxurious Las Vegas landmark, centrally located in the middle of the action on The Strip. Take a ride on the quarter-mile Grand Canal, where performers entertain guests along cobble stone walkways. Take in a show by the Blue Man group, or browse the museums. (If the Guggenheim's too ambitious, there's always Madame Tussaud's wax museum.) Lounge by the five-acre pool deck on the fourth level of the Venetian tower. And then there's the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, the quiet, tranquil haven that I'm prone to go gaga over. 69,000 square feet of heaven. (There's even a rock-climbing wall.)
Orient-Express - famous for their luxury hotels, trains, and cruises - has also introduced a range of property developments linked closely with some of their most popular hotels and resorts. Cupecoy Yacht Club, Saint Maarten is a rare opportunity for 5-star condominium ownership on Saint Maarten and is linked with La Samanna - the luxury resort. The Cupecoy Yacht Club & Villas will feature 169 luxury condominiums, ranging in size from 750 to 3,000 square feet. Owners of these one to four bedroom homes can choose from a variety of styles designed by leading interior designers who have put their stamp on some of the most renowned luxury hotels in the world. At the Residences La Samanna, St. Martin, the first villa at La Samanna officially opened in December of 2006. The Residences will include eight Mediterranean style villas ranging in size from 4000 to 4500 square feet. When Orient-Express Hotels purchased the 600-acre Keswick Estate in 2000, they knew that it would be a great accompaniment to Keswick Hall. The Estate features two to eight acre wooded home sites in a secured, gated community - some homes with lake views, others nestled in mature woodlands, and many bordering on the Arnold Palmer signature golf course. The Villas at Maroma offer the unique opportunity to own one of 25 exclusive residences at Maroma. The 3 to 4 bedroom villas at Maroma will begin pre-sell in late 2007. Owners will enjoy all the luxuries of this boutique hotel including two restaurants, three pools, two bars and the award winning Kinan Spa.
Half Moon's Camp Half Moon program in Rose Hall, Jamaica is an exciting adventure camp for children age 6 – 12, filled with exciting competitions for the top prize of a return trip for a family of four. (Who knew you could use your kids to pay for family trips?)
The four-day Camp Half Moon, which runs from Mondays through Thursdays starting on June 4 until August 30, will see children grouped into teams with a team leader/supervisor at the start of the camp and presented with their team colours; then the fun begins. Camp Half Moon includes:
- a welcome social,
- scavenger hunt,
- kayak race,
- mini triathalon,
- log rolling and many other team and individual competitions.
There is a fee for participation, but includes all activities, team shirts, welcome social and farewell barbecue, and prizes.
Check availability for you and your clan at Half Moon Rose Hall, Jamaica >>
The ancient trading port of Hoi An is graced with alluring soft sandy beaches and a fascinating history. (Long a closely-guarded secret amongst backpackers, who flocked to Hoi An to pick up some exquisitely-tailored suits.) Not far from the Royal Tombs of the UNESCO-protected city of Hue, this Vietnamese coastal town captures the imagination of sybarites and sun-seekers. Here, The Nam Hai Hotel has become a destination in and of itself. Brought to you by GHM, the luxury hotelier known for distinctive worldwide properties, like the gorgeous Setai in South Beach. Sprawling across 35 hectares, the spa resort opened in December 2006 to much fanfare (the press simply gushed about this spot). Nestled within landscaped gardens on a prime stretch of China Beach, 60 villas and 40 pool villas gaze out across the South China Sea to the misty Cham Islands. The Villas are contemporary, with traditional design touches; bedrooms are spacious with en suite baths, walk-in closets, and high ceilings. At this sumptuous spa resort, there are 40 (count em, 40!) private swimming pools. Resort facilities include gourmet restaurants, clubhouse, beautiful spa, and plenty of recreational facilities. This is also a residential enclave, meaning you can own your own piece of paradise here on China Beach.
The best thing about Key West, Florida? You can drive to the tropics! The southernmost point in the continental United States-- at the very tip of US Highway 1-- is closer to Cuba than Miami, and a world away from the mainland. In the Conch Republic, you'll find beautiful architecture and gardens, water sports galore, and a fascinating history (Ernest Hemingway's house is a must-see). Step off the tourist-tacky Duvall Street and you'll be charmed by the island's colorful neighborhoods. Looking for a luxe getaway in the US tropics? Book a room at the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, managed by Westin, in a secluded 27-acre island (studded with celebrity homes) just offshore from Mallory Square. The Westin provides shuttle boat service 24 hours a day. Johnny Jet raves:
The moment I stepped off the boat onto the island I felt like I was on vacation. No wonder it made Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List and Travel + Leisure's 500... The cottages are built in traditional Key West style and are cute. They all feature a fully-equipped kitchen, living and dining area, free high-speed internet (no wireless though) and CD and DVD players. The interiors are colorful with a Caribbean island feel and since it's a Westin, they all have Westin's signature Heavenly Bed which ensures a good night's sleep. A few small details that make a big impact are the bathroom toiletries that are made by the Key West Aloe company...
For more island info, check out Key West Magazine
How's this sound for Easter? Hop into The Berkeley and Claridge's between April 6- April 10, 2007 for as little as GBP 199 a night, including scrumptious, handmade Easter Eggs for the whole family. This is a sensational rate at two of the Maybourne Group's super-luxury London hotels. (The Connaught is currently under renovation.) Situated in fashionable Belgravia, The Berkeley is a true London establishment, home to the Michelin star rated Petrus restaurant, uber-cool Blue Bar, and the Caramel Room, where the celebrated afternoon tea (Pret-a-Portea) is a creative indulgence for fashionistas. The art deco jewel Claridge's is located in the heart of Mayfair, adored for its superlative service. It's no wonder Nota Bene calls it "London's most glamorous and celebrated hotel."
Get your groove on in South Beach at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Book a three-night minimum stay from March 25- May 31, 2007 at Loews Best Rate, and you'll get a $100 hotel credit to be used in the spa, restaurants, bars, and lounge. Lounge by the pool or soak in the Jacuzzi at the edge of the Atlantic, pamper yourself with a treatment at the spectacular new Elemis Spa, or sip a cocktail in the heart of South Beach's sizzling scene. (The hotel's award-winning restaurant, Emeril's Miami Beach, promises an unforgettable dining experience with an oceanfront view. Unfortunately, the $100 hotel credit can't be used at this hot spot.)
Via The Luxe 15 at Sherman's Travel
That's right. Banyan Tree Phuket has announced two new yacht cruises around Phang Nga Bay. Hop onboard the Sea Gypsy and Pi Marn and experience the glorious deserted beaches, crystal clear waters, spectacular underwater life, and majestic limestone cliffs that make Phang Nga Bay legendary. You'll even get a chance to see the best of Phuket's wildlife: chattering monkeys, flying fruit-bats, and eagles. Travel in style on the recently refurbished yachts and enjoy delicious gourmet meals and excellent service by a personal butler. The day-long private cruise, priced from $700 per couple, includes a kayaking expedition into a limestone cave at low-tide.
Say hello to the latest Rocco Forte masterpiece: The Charles Hotel, perfectly located in the heart of Munich, close to the historic square of Konigsplatz. Opening in Summer 2007, the city's latest five-star hotel was custom built, with the interior designed by Olga Polizzi. The luxury hotel will feature 160 guest rooms, including 28 suites, with views of the surrounding Lenbach Garden, the city's oldest botanical garden. (The Presidential Suite is stunning, and measures 200 square meters.) The split-level restaurant has its own bar and terrace area for summer dining. The spa and health club includes a fully-equipped gym, 15-meter swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and six treatment rooms. And business travelers, rest assured, this place promises to be the perfect setting for conferences and meetings. (It's decked out with seven conference rooms, a two-level ballroom, and two large dining rooms.)