Check out this exceptional article in The Trib. The European travel guru highlights major changes and trends he's noticed in updating the new "Europe Through the Back Door" and other guidebooks. Planning a trip to Versailles? It's undergoing major renovations from 2006-2010. (Who knew? Rick Steves is the man.) Dreaming Dalmatia?
A new expressway and a sleek new "tilting train" with banked tracks connect Zagreb to Split in six hours or less, and budget flights remain a viable option. A speedy new catamaran also now connects Split to the popular Croatian island Koreula four mornings each week.And the biggest news for 2006: Germany's hosting the June World Cup Soccer Tournament. (Get cracking on reserving your hotel rooms!)
February 2, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Rob Wilder, CEO, Proximo Restaurants Our friend Rob Wilder (the Food & Wine Editor of The Informed Traveler Newsletter) recently traveled to Madrid and on his 9 hour flight back, sent us "The Scoop" about his travels. Read about Rob's Experiences in Madrid Proximo Restaurants, Official Site
Brokeback Mountain was filmed in Canada? (Ang Lee pulled a fast one on us with this Hollywood cost-cutting maneuver.) This fact doesn't seem to deter the hundreds of callers who have contacted the Wyoming tourism office, who want a little piece of that scenery. The phones are ringing off the hook and callers don't seem to give a hoot when they learn the truthful location for the set. The mountains and rugged wilderness of the "cowboy state" are just too tempting. Do you too want a piece of that scenery? The elegantly rustic cabins of the Jenny Lake Lodge, set beneath the glorious Teton range, are a good bet; satisfy your inner cowboy with trail rides, flyfishing and hiking around the Old Western style ranch. Of course you could always take it up a notch at Jackson Hole's Rusty Parrot, which is one of the country's great luxury stand-outs.
All the paparazzi images of celebs frolicking in the surf has got me thinking about St. Barts. Ah the pangs of separation after a brief jaunt a year ago. If I could have it my way, and winter the entire long, insufferable, light-less winter at this Caribbean hotspot, life would be so grand. I think I would choose Le Toiny as my camp, earning top honors on Conde Nast's 2006 Gold List (93.3 overall isn't a half-bad score, considering the rooms, service and cuisine all score perfect points). The self-contained villa-suites, influenced by the old French plantation houses, are loaded with high-tech amenities: two satellite TVs, stereo, DVD player, Bang and Olufsen telephones, CD player and fax, and fully-equipped kitchenette. From your own private plunge pool, gaze over the hilltop at the rolling green of the island and the sea beyond. Or watch a DVD from your Jacuzzi, before dining at the most magnificent restaurant on the island, Le Gaïac.
Le Toiny, Official Site
Le Toiny, Five Star Alliance
Check out the miraculous "Snow Show"-- at least in the NYT feature today. A team of artists and architects suffered frost-bitten fingers and sub-zero temps to construct a series of exhibitions out of snow in the village where most of the Alpine Olympic events will be held. The six projects were created by the artist Daniel Buren and the architect Patrick Bouchain; Carsten Höller with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien; Yoko Ono and Arata Isozaki; Paola Pivi and the firm Cliostraat; Jaume Plensa and Norman Foster; and Kiki Smith and Lebbeus Woods. Budgeted at $1.33 million, the works are grandiose and fantastic.
February 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Michael Winfield, President & CEO, Cambridge Beaches Our friend Mr. Winfield recently sent us an update on the goings-on at his property in Bermuda. Here are a few of the more interesting 'Did You Know' facts:
- Bermuda's first and only private luxury pool suite opened at Cambridge Beaches in May. Guests love 'North Rock' with panoramic waterfront views and the new infinity pool. - Based on 'North Rock's success, two more pool suites are planned. - The previous five-night minimum from June-August changed to four nights. - Jacket and tie are no longer required in the restaurants. - There were the highest number of weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, couples and family visits in 2005 then ever before. - For the first time, family programs were in place not only at Christmas and Easter, but between May-August as well (this will continue throughout 2006). - Couples loved the private beach dinners for 2 and the romantic island interlude. These were SOLD OUT throughout the summer. The proposal/romance concierge (yes, there is one) was kept busy! - 98.2% of guests responding to comment cards said they plan to come back.Cambridge Beaches, Official Site Cambridge Beaches, Five Star Alliance
You can't beat the Washington Post "What's the Deal?" for superlative Weekly Travel Specials—this week's highlight a much needed Winter Spa Renewal package in the heart of California's magical Sonoma wine country. The elegant Hotel Healdsburg, set on the historic town plaza, is the setting of the much-acclaimed Dry Creek Kitchen, where famed chef Charlie Palmer goes Sonoma-fresh with local, organic ingredients. Enjoy this brilliant cuisine, gardens and pool with jacuzzi, luxurious spa, and the tranquility of Sonoma's surrounding wine country with discounts of $220 for a two-night stay. The Winter Spa Renewal package includes two nights accommodations, $500 worth of spa treatments, and breakfasts. A steal at $876 for two people, available Sunday-Thursday through March 31.
Hotel Healdsburg, Official Site
Hotel Healdsburg, Five Star Alliance
Head west from the Cancun airport, away from the glass and glitz of Mexico's cheesy Caribbean resort capital, and colonial Mexico will hit you smack in the face. The less touristed towns of Merida and Campeche—with cobblestone streets lined by palms and colorful pastel facades and ornate wrought-iron lampposts—are just a few hours drive from the more crowded Disney-esque capital of booze, surf and sun. Here you can discover the exquisite culinary delights (tacos al pastor are my absolute fave), rich history and stunning and secluded Mayan ruins of the Estado de Campeche. The ruins at Palenque and the jungle-shrouded Calukmul are empty compared to Chichen-Itza and sea-facing Tulum. Where to stay? The Hacienda Uayamon is a gracious colonial masterpiece, its ten villas and two suites complete with terraces overlooking the lush jungle gardens, stone plunge pools and day-beds for dreamy afternoon siestas.
The Hacienda Uayamon, Official Site
The Hacienda Uayamon, Five Star Alliance
That's right, the travel industry has its own Internet domain name. How cool is that?! .travel was launched recently with 16,000 registered dot-travel sites. Often deemed the largest business in the world, the travel industry will probably all move over to dot-travel sites in the future. After all, the organization of dot-travel makes things a lot easier for consumers to find info and make bookings. Via TravelWeekly
January 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The all-suite Conrad London, in a choice spot overlooking the Chelsea Harbour and River Thames, has the perfect solution to banish the winter blues. Give yourself the "Luxury Gift" package, which includes a night in a suite, a 3-course dinner with a glass of champagne, plus a full English breakfast for 2 people and a plush bathrobe for each guest to take away. Available until March 31, 2006; Prices are GBP270 for a city view suite and GBP300 for a marina view suite.