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While Paris doesn’t have the upcoming Olympics to hurry hotel openings along (though we’re expecting many Olympics-attendees to tack on a few nights in the City of Lights to their London trip), the city is welcoming a handful of exciting newcomers at a respectable clip. And, boy, are they swanky.
Mandarin Oriental The luxury brand opened its much-anticipated Parisian outpost in the First Arrondissement (a stone’s throw from the Louvre and the Garnier Opera) in June 2011. Two restaurants are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Theirry Marx. Rooms range in style and color schemes, but are all tres chic and come with humungous bathrooms. Rates from €795/night. www.mandarinoriental.com Read more
The perfect location (on one of the island’s prettiest beaches), villa-style accommodations, and fantastic French-Caribbean fare make La Samanna St. Martin’s leading luxury hotel. White-washed Mediterranean villas perched above Baie Longue feature 83 newly renovated rooms and suites (since November 2011), complete with white travertine floors, marble bathrooms, shabby-chic furnishings, and oceanview balconies or terraces. The best suites come with their own private plunge pool or terrace with jacuzzi. A clubby colonial bar, impressive wine cellar, pool deck, and small spa round out the offerings. If you still need selling, a meal at Le Reserve is bound to dazzle. Alfresco seating on the oceanfront deck, bites of lobster ravioli, and a bottle of crisp Sancerre easily won me over. Rates are steep, starting at $845/night, but the resort’s More Paradise offer includes breakfast and $100 resort credit daily in peak winter season. www.lasamanna.com
For general trip-planning info, see our St. Martin Travel Guide.
Escape to the sunny Riviera Maya, Mexico, and stay at the luxurious, Five Diamond Fairmont Mayakoba from $199 a night. This Cyber Monday deal is valid for stays between November 28 and December 23, 2011 and includes the following extras:
• Free upgrade to the next room category, a value of $40 or more
• $50 spa credit per stay
• Daily breakfast buffet for two, a $50 value
• Complimentary margaritas for two when dining at one of two AAA Four Diamond restaurants
Nestled in the heart of Riviera Maya, the 401-room Fairmont Mayakoba is set on 45 acres within a private, luxury community surrounded by a lush mangrove forest intersected by crystal clear canals. The property features several dining options and bars, a spa, and a golf course. A dedication to a green philosophy has earned Fairmont Mayakoba verification as a Rainforest Alliance certified hotel.
THE VALUE: Stay at a luxe resort, located on 45 acres in the sunny Riviera Maya, at a 30% discount.
THE CATCH: This is a Cyber Monday special and can only be booked on Monday, November 28.
THE DETAILS: Visit the Fairmont Mayakoba Website to book.
Stay at The Sebastian, a luxury Vail resort this ski season and receive two free lift tickets on each day of your stay – an added daily value of $160! With this exclusive deal from ShermansTravel, you’ll also receive two spa treatments, daily breakfasts, and welcome drinks. Stays at The Sebastian start at $250 alone, meaning you essentially receive the lift tickets and amenities for free.
The Sebastian is Vail’s newest boutique hotel, a 4.5-star resort in the heart of Vail Village. It offers luxurious room accommodations, an indoor pool and hot tubs, a fitness and wellness center, a full-service spa, a variety of upscale and casual dining, and much more.
Book by November 30 to snag this exclusive luxury deal!
THE VALUE: Save hundreds of dollars on lift tickets, spa treatments and extra amenities from this luxury Vail resort.
THE CATCH: A minimum stay of three nights is required.
THE DETAILS: Call 800-863-2325 and mention ShermansTravel.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to Vail.
On October 14, the iconic Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills will reopen its doors after massive renovations that lasted two years. Now owner, Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, has upped the luxury ante with new villa suites, complete with private infinity pools and outdoor fireplaces; a La Prairie spa with spa loft guest rooms; and an over-the-top, 2,265-square foot presidential suite fit for a king . . . ahem, sultan. Its remaining 91 rooms and suites have been totally made-over with new limestone floors, roomier bathrooms with heated floors, and glamorous trimmings. Wolfgang Puck’s new onsite restaurant officially opens to the public November 1 but hotel guests will be privy to the first bites if they’ve been able to snag an overnight before then. Looks like the place is practically booked up through November. Rates for a deluxe guest room in December go for $595/night. Ouch. www.hotelbelair.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Los Angeles Travel Guide.
Spending a night in one of 18 newly redecorated and redesigned one-bedroom apartments at London’s Athenaeum – just a few blocks from Buckingham Palace in Mayfair – made this pond-hopping New Yorker feel like a bona fide part-time Londoner (i.e. friend of the queen).
Plush, spacious, and homey, the apartments are located in a three-story Edwardian building adjacent to the main hotel. As you might expect, they don’t come cheap (starting at $979 a night, the rate includes tax, a full English breakfast, Wi-Fi, and minibar snacks), but if you have the budget for one big “smart splurge” on your next London vacation, this should be it. The kitchen comes fully stocked with drinks, snacks, and fresh fruit (but save room for the sponge cake that comes with the traditional English tea service) and the expansive living room, accented with fresh flowers, features sofas that convert into bunk beds at the press of a button, so parents can enjoy some privacy in the distant bedroom. Two more tips for families: Children 12 and under get complimentary room service if ordering from the kids menu; and a team of in-house nannies is available for babysitting.
If you want to feel like a visiting dignitary, extending the fantasy even further, take advantage of the Athenaeum’s new partnership with “Heathrow by Invitation,” the London airport’s new concierge service that “allows guests to bypass the main terminals and relax in a private suite while all check-in requirements are handled by a personal concierge, plus limo transfer between the private suite and the aircraft on the runway.” The cost for Athenaeum guests is about $666 for one person (the service normally costs about $2,445 for six people, not including limo service to and from London).
Punta Tragara sits high on the rocky cliffs of Capri across from the Faraglioni Sea Stacks, about a 10-minute walk from Capri Town. The splashy 44-room villa-cum-boutique hotel has hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Eisenhower, Churchill, and, more recently, Jonathan Adler and Trina Turk. I checked in a few weeks ago and am happy to report that our few nights here were a highlight of our Amalfi trip. Read more
This spring I found myself in Manila, perhaps an unlikely choice for a city vacation, but the obvious first stop if your ultimate goal is to loll on any of the Philippines’ 7,107 islands, as mine was. Most visitors to Manila spend a layover night at the better-known chain and luxury hotels in the Makati commercial/financial district, but I opted for the city’s grande dame, the Manila Hotel. It sits on Manila Bay across from Intramuros, the 158-acre walled settlement the Spanish built in 1571, and Rizal Park, named for José Rizal, the national hero the Spanish then executed by firing squad in 1896. Overlooking both, the hotel is testament to the end of Spanish occupation two years later, and the start of American influence in this part of the Pacific. It’s also a pretty comfy place. Read more
From the rooftop of the new Rosewood San Miguel del Allende, we could see clear across the city. It was springtime and the flowering Jacaranda trees punctuated the rows of colorful colonial villas and cobblestone streets. The neo-Gothic Parroquia de San Miguel with its pink spires and sandstone facade rose above the city like a mythical beacon and accented the sky’s dusty pink hues as the sun set behind it. It’s no wonder San Miguel de Allende is such an arts community. It’s beauty and relaxed pace is inspiring, and I sat there thinking how easy it would be to fill a blank canvas with this view: purple puffs of paint for the Jacarandas, yellows and reds for the haciendas, blue accents for the doors, window frames, and quickly turning sky. From this perch, we sat evening after evening, sipping fresh tamarind margaritas, snacking on warm tortilla chips, chatting with our waiter-friend – all the while watching the sun disappear behind Central Mexico’s oldest town. Read more
Hard to believe, but the swanky Four Seasons Austin is slashing rates and offering crazy discounts and freebies on the 25th of every month through December in honor of the resort’s 25th birthday and the brand’s 50th anniversary. Lucky guests can snag rates of only $89 a night on April 25 (the original cost of rooms when the hotel opened in 1986), save 60 percent on 50-minute massages, priced at $50, on October 25, sip 50-cent cocktails for a hot 25 minutes on July 25, and, well, you get the idea. Check out the details and mark your calendars to cash in on these once-in-a-quarter-of-a-century travel deals. www.fourseasons.com/austin
For general trip-planning information, see our Austin Travel Guide.
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