As the New Zealand Herald reports, luxury travel in kiwi territory is booming. Lodges like Kauri Cliffs, Wharekauhau, Blanket Bay and Huka Lodge are glam destination resorts that play host to celebs (laying low), oil tycoons, and the international jet-set. The cat's out of the bag about the remote Pacific islands whose breathtaking scenery played center stage in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings flicks. Our pick? The luxurious hideaway of Blanket Bay, with its magnificent setting next to Lake Wakatipu, beneath snow-capped peaks. Earning top accolades from CNT, Forbes, and the Sunday Times UK, Blanket Bay offers 12 secluded rooms and suites, constructed of timber and stone and filled with sumptuous furnishings. The suites boast exquisite views from large private terraces. Likewise, the mountain and lake vistas are phenomenal from the outdoor heated lap pool. Activities range from the adrenaline-pumping (jetboating and heli-skiing) to the calm and relaxing (excellent health and spa facilities).
Blanket Bay, Official Site
Blanket Bay, Five Star Alliance
They're open! And there's plenty of snow. Just in time for President's Day Weekend. The Wash Post has the skinny.
Top-quality spas abound, but the Aji Spa is sublime. Named for the Pima word for "sanctuary," the 17,500 sq ft spa features treatments derived from the ancient Native American cultural tradition. Specifically, treatments like the Blue Coyote Wrap and the Blue Bird Facial are inspired by longstanding Pima lore and utilize ingredients like red clay from the Gila River and Cholla cactus bud to help purify the body. Additionally, the Ho'dai (or River Rock Massage) uses the hot river stones (naturally smooth) that the Pima and Maricopa have used for centuries to alleviate pain. With 17 treatment rooms, fitness center, relaxing watsu pool and a traditional roundhouse, the Aji Spa is surrounded by Arizona's stunning natural scenery, only 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix.
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Official Site
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Five Star Alliance
February 17, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Pascale Adoner, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hotel de Crillon
Whether you live in Paris or are just visiting, there are two great reasons to visit the Hotel de Crillon's restaurant Les Ambassadeurs.
The restaurant Les Ambassadeurs proposes a menu particularly adapted to those who seek an elegant place to organize their business lunches. Based on a choice of two entries, two dishes and two desserts, the tasting is accompanied by mineral water, matching wines chosen by the sommelier and coffee. The menu is all inclusive: 100 euros. Lunch served from Tuesday to Friday, from noon to 2pm.
Wanna set it up? Your privileged contact: Patrice Willems, phone: +33 1 44 71 16 16 or through e-mail at email@example.com.
The second reason to visit Les Ambassadeurs even if you are living in Paris or staying somewhere else (which we don't recommend), is because this restaurant is winning all of the awards.
Soon after the Michelin Guide and the Pudlo Guide Paris 2006, the Bottin Gourmand awards the Ambassadeurs. In February 2005, the gastronomic restaurant the Ambassadeurs obtains a second star with the Michelin Guide. This new 2005 edition of the Guide awards the hard work of Jean Francois Piege and his team just one year after his arrival in the kitchens of the Hotel de Crillon. Les Ambassadeurs is one of the three Parisian restaurant to have been awarded with a second star and one of the 15 Parisian establishments to be 2-starred.
In October 2005, the Pudlo Guide Paris 2006 also awards the Ambassadeurs and more specifically Jean Francois Piege as it distinguishes him as Chef of the Year. The launch of the Pudlo Guide Paris 2006 was a real event on October 24th in the Ambassadeurs and the Jardin d'Hiver.
And on November 15th, the famous gastronomic guide the Bottin Gourmand awards the Ambassadeurs with the best note possible being 4 stars.
Almost seems worth a trip to Paris just for one lunch at the Hotel de Crillon ...
Hotel de Crillon, Official Site
Hotel de Crillon, Five Star Alliance
Now is the time to discover the legendary Nice hotel, the architectural masterpiece and national historic monument that has dominated the Promenade des Anglais for over a century. Its pink dome a symbol of the French Riviera, its name evokes the essence of "art de vivre." Situated on the seafront promenade overlooking the Mediterranean, the hotel is filled with a fantastic collection of antiques, oil paintings and contemporary works of art. In this living museum, each of the 121 guestrooms and 24 suites are individually decorated in styles spanning the historic spectrum from Louis XIII to Art Deco. The award-winning restaurant The Chantecler is celebrated as one of the best in Nice. Take advantage of this special offer celebrating the first days of spring. For a limited time—from now until March 31-- when you book a three night stay, the third night is free! (Breakfast included.)
Hotel Negresco, Official Site
Hotel Negresco, Five Star Alliance
Decadent, daring, delicious. This is one of the country's premier culinary extravaganzas, with a star-studded lineup of celebrity chefs and renowned wine and spirits producers ready to entertain and delight over the three-day-weekend. Hosted by Food and Wine magazine, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival will boast 75 restaurants and 150 wineries under tasting tents overlooking the beach. Starring chefs include Wolfgang Puck and Nobu Matsuhisa. Feb 24-26 (though Veuve Clicquot's Bubble Bath, at the Hotel Victor, is on the 23rd). Buy your tix online.
On vaca and you forgot the video camera? Don't fret. The newly- and greatly-improved US Airways mag has found the answer. A disposable videocam. I kid you not. $30, weighs a mere five ounces, and on sale at the ubiquitous CVS pharmacy. The little thing captures up to 20 minutes of video and sound, which the CVS photo lab will happily put on DVD for you. ($13 processing fee)
Just in time for the World Cup Championship I've been obsessing about. Following an extensive restoration, the Villa Kennedy will be ready to dazzle (and show off that stunning neo-gothic architecture) on March 1st. Originally built in 1904, the hotel has extensive gardens and a sweet central courtyard. Located on the southside of the River Main, the Villa features luxurious rooms with state-of-the-art technology, mosaic-tiled bathrooms, pool and three-level-Spa. Book the gigantic presidential suite (300 sq meters) and enjoy a separate kitchen and turret dining room.
It's music to our ears. A 230-acre private island, Ritz-Carlton's deluxe spot in the Bahamas, is scheduled to open in 2009. Just four miles off Nassau and Paradise Island, Rose Island will be accessible by boat or helicopter. Guest rooms are planned to average 550 square feet with large balconies overlooking the beach.
The Le Meridien Pattaya Resort will be part of one of Pattaya's foremost upscale beachfront resort developments, which comprises unbranded condominiums and the resort. The development is strategically located in a prime position, only 150 km or 1.5 hours' drive from Bangkok and less than an hour's drive from Bangkok's new International Airport when it officially opens in 2006.Pattaya's foremost upscale development? Perhaps because you'd be hard-pressed to find anything upscale about the place. Has anyone at Le Meridien actually checked out this truly world-class beach? The only prime position about Pattaya is its leading spot as the world's number one destination for prostitution and reckless hedonism. Rock on, dudes. (To each their own.)