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Oh, how I love New York in the spring! Well, maybe not so much this year: Like many areas in the U.S. and beyond, New York’s been hit by some extended cold weather, with a handful of luke-warm days thrown into the mix. The erratic weather has left me (and plenty of others), for lack of a better term, under the weather. While chugging gallons of orange juice to power through the workday can be frustrating, it’s not nearly as bad as being sick on vacation. Even the best vacation plans can go awry if you’re forced to spend the trip cooped up in your hotel room, hacking up a lung. But being sick while away doesn’t have to put an immediate damper on your journey. If you’ve got the energy, there are plenty of activities you can enjoy while ill.
Set smack dab in the midst of New Zealand’s North Island – and sitting squarely on the notorious Pacific Rim of Fire – Rotorua marks a steaming and bubbling cauldron of dynamic geothermal activity. Oozing with boiling mud, colorful mineral pools, steam-spewing geysers, ancient caldera-capped lakes, and an overall fantastical geography, Rotorua’s geothermal landscape ensures its firmly fixed place on the country’s well-trodden tourism circuit. Visitors here will discover abundant opportunities to contemplate the earth’s raw geothermal power and to ogle its otherworldly landscapes – and will also encounter a spa town culture that maximizes the natural spa features just underfoot.
In further proof that the world has not, in fact, ended, Karisma Hotels & Resorts has unveiled its Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series, a brand-new offering for 2013. Held at the adults-only El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Casitas each month, the weeklong program will highlight a different chef and winemaker from the Northern California winery, who will work together to create wine and dine experiences such as tasting and cooking classes, beachside wine parties, and a multi-course winemaker dinner prepared in a thatched roof “culinary theater.”
Sounds like a perfect backdrop for a Valentine’s Day getaway – or a reason to toast a trip to Mexico any other time of year. Read more
When I introduced myself here at ShermansTravel, I neglected to mention one very important fact about my travel expertise: I’m one of the world’s leading authorities on the SkyMall catalog. I’ve written about hundreds of SkyMall products over the years and cultivated a deep understanding of those gadgets and gizmos. Rather than hoard that information, I’m going to be sharing it with you every week. Many of the SkyMall products I’ll be covering are travel related, but others will just be some of my favorites from the pages of everyone’s favorite in-flight catalog. This week, it’s the Portable Infrared Sauna.
These six sexy properties have played home away from home to everyone from the Obamas to Madonna, providing the perfect respite for royalty, rock stars, and heads of state. So, whether you are looking to globe trot, celebrity spot, or simply live in the lap of luxury, you may want to hunker down in one of these world class properties for otherworldly accommodations and simply the best spa treatments on the planet. Enjoy…
Here’s a simple way to avoid those pesky airline baggage fees: Don’t pack clothes. Travel to clothing-optional destinations and events is on the rise, as more hotels, resorts, and even cruises are catering to guests who want to strip down. But the trend goes beyond aging hippies lounging around ’70s-style campsites or risqué resorts in the Caribbean: Nudist vacations are increasingly popular among all types of travelers, in some of the most unexpected places. Reasons for the uptick, according to the American Association of Nude Recreation: Nude vacationing is more relaxing, relieves stress, and offers travelers a welcome respite from the (fully-clothed) crowds.
Check out our new Top 10 Nude Vacations, (un)covering hotspots from Vegas to the Blue Lagoon, along with some bare facts about clothing-optional travel. You can also take a (safe-for-work) peek at the destinations with our Top 10 Nude Vacations slideshow. So grab a towel and get ready to let it all hang out – just make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen.
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In a similar vein to sister brand W Hotel’s Bliss spas, Sheraton now has its own exclusive spa concept it’s calling Shine. Guest feedback played a big role in developing Shine, which eschews the snobbish air of some spas while keeping the feeling of luxury. The announcement also follows a $6 billion revitalization effort of the Sheraton brand.
Each Shine spa offers five signature treatments – a massage, facial, body treatment, manicure/pedicure and a treatment for two – as well as a full complement of treatments unique to each location. Many spas will draw on local ingredients and traditions for treatment inspiration. Germaine de Capuccini was tapped as the product partner for Shine.
For now, most Shine spas are limited to Sheraton properties in Asia: Those with spas currently up and running include hotels in the Maldives (pictured), China, Vietnam, and Slovakia. Sheraton plans to roll out the concept at a dozen new hotels in China and India in the next year or so, eventually expanding into North America and Latin America.
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If snagging a West Wing guest room ranks in your top travel fantasies, we may have found the next best thing: Opt to follow the first couple to Asheville, N.C., where Barack and Michelle Obama will be getting away from it all this weekend. The Ten Presidents Package at the 97-year-old Grove Inn Resort & Spa (their lodging of choice) could be runner-up to a White House stay – though the hotel is fully booked overlapping their stay, the promotion is valid through August 31. The package, named after the 10 presidents who have retreated to the mountain resort – big shots William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower among them – recreates the executive lifestyle with an audio-guided walking tour; a free copy of Built for the Ages: A History of the Grove Park Inn; a $65 round of golf at the park’s Donald Ross course (rated the eighth best in North Carolina); one $25 Grove Park Inn gift card; daily breakfast for each adult; two nights’ accommodations; and 20 percent off a spa treatment. Rates start at $457 for a two-night stay, based on double occupancy.
2010 VANCOUVER OLYMPICS
Join our Vancouver stringer, Celeste Moure, for daily happenings from the host city.
When in Vancouver, the CHI Spa at the Shangri-La Hotel, the latest addition to the city’s luxury hotel scene, is a must! It features five individual treatment rooms outfitted with their own fireplace, relaxation lounge, changing and vanity area, and private bath and shower—basically a “spa within a spa.” Through March 31, the spa is offering Olympic-inspired treatments. My favorite is the Bronze Medal Body massage, which uses a rich mix of organic seaweed from the Pacific, pumpkin and olive oil. Read more
2010 VANCOUVER OLYMPICS
Join our Vancouver stringer, Celeste Moure, for daily happenings from the host city.
Opened just a week ago, Scandinave Spa Whistler is a 20,000-square-foot Nordic-style spa set on 3 acres on the edge of Lost Lake and Spruce Grove parks. Known as onsen in Japan and hamman in Turkey, the ancient practice of taking the waters dates back thousands of years. The Scandinavian baths experience – said to cleanse the body and skin and improve blood circulation and aerobic conditioning – occurs in three stages: heating, cooling, and relaxing, the last of which is done overlooking mountain vistas and ethereal valleys. With a $55 day pass guests get use of the Norwegian steam bath, wood-burning Finnish dry sauna, Nordic waterfalls, solarium, and relaxation areas with outdoor fireplace. Gold medal not required.
Barbados bound? Guests of colonial-style Coral Reef Club and its neighboring sister property, The Sandpiper, can expect a fresh perk. Just unveiled in December 2008, the spa at this premier island resort is the newest addition to the island’s wide array of attractions. Conceived by British designer Helen Green, it seamlessly blends a contemporary look with classic island charm amidst twelve verdant acres. Facilities include individual treatment rooms with private gardens; a hydro-pool with shaded cabanas for post-treatment relaxation; an outdoor pavilion for couples; a thermal suite with an experience shower; and a soothing spa lounge. Read more
Mexico may be getting a bad rap these days as the center of the swine flu epidemic, but the latest hotel opening on Riviera Maya is worth a stay nonetheless. Edging a protected nature reserve of freshwater lagoons, canals, and mangroves, five-star Banyan Tree Mayakoba echoes a traditional Asian village, except the perks it hides in its earthy-colored villas are contemporary to the rafters. Intimate and private, each villa comes with a spacious swimming pool; sun deck with loungers; a landscaped garden; and a hot tub or sunken bath. The décor is a seamless fusion of Mexican and Asian design, a balanced nod to the Phuket flagship of this Singapore-based hotel chain and the host country of their latest Banyan Tree opening. Mayan-inspired furnishings and black and white talavera bathroom sinks blend perfectly with the Far East-style courtyard design of each villa, enclosed with a verdant garden. Read more
After building up an appetite while in St. Petersburg, visitors unwind and renew with, of all things…caviar? At the ultra-luxe Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria, spa guests go for the caviar facial ($183), whose secret ingredient is Sevruga, which has anti-aging, therapeutic, and rejuvenating properties. Packed with vitamins and proteins these Florian Kerstin products smell, well…deliciously un-fishy and leave the skin hydrated and smooth. For more caviar and chilled vodka head to Davidov post-treatment, the hotel’s restaurant, and enjoy the view of St. Isaac’s Square.
- The Look: A 14,000-square-foot space on the 19th floor, swathed in a mix of white marble, silvery mosaic walls, and hanging crystal embellishments.
- Atmosphere: The place is serious about personal touches: Clients select their own scent for oils and lotions; first-timers get a complimentary wash in the fancy footbath lounge and can tailor their therapies.
- Selling Points: Instead of communal locker rooms, the 16 spacious treatment rooms (former hotel units) have en suite bathrooms and closet space, so guests can change and shower in private. Post treatment, patrons can come back down to earth in relaxation lounges, while taking in unparalleled city views.
- What to Get: The Waldorf Impériale signature treatment is a 2-hour combo of a body massage and refining facial. Treatments are on the pricey side (a 1-hour Swedish massage runs $255) but include gratuities.
From the Winter 2008/09 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine
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