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Think of Melbourne as Sydney’s shy but sexy little sister, who doesn’t scream out for the spotlight, but once you get to know her, va va voom. I tacked on a couple of days in Melbourne at the tail end of my recent Australian travels, and regretted not having more time to idly explore the subtle charms of this captivating cosmopolitan capital, pulsing with creativity and cultural flair.
While lacking the major blockbuster attractions that typically reel in the international tourists, Melbourne’s real allure is uncovered while exploring its city-within-the-city, on its tucked-away “laneways” that sneak away from the wide, well-ordered, and trafficked streets of Melbourne’s polished facade. Here, a rich-in-character back-door world of bustling back alleyways brimming with quirky bars, trendsetting boutiques, cozy cafes, edgy art galleries, and multicultural restaurants is unveiled, all overseen by a vibrant and unrivaled street art scene. Read more
The five-star, bronze-tinted tower of Encore Las Vegas and its neighboring big sister, The Wynn (just a corridor away), mark the de facto northern end of the Central Strip. The Encore’s swank rooms afford fabulous views through wall-to-wall windows and remote-controlled lighting and drapery. The resort’s casino gets great light, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto pools and greenery (a rarity in gaming destinations). There’s also a 60,000-square-foot beach club, a gorgeous spa, several trendy nighttime spots like Tryst and Blush, and topnotch restaurants like La Cave and Wazuzu. From now through March 23, you can knock an additional 25 percent off regular room rates when you book two nights or more at Encore Las Vegas. Rates start from $134/night. Reservations must be made 60 days in advance. Click www.vegas.com/resosrts/encore to book.
Since its opening on July 9, downtown Brooklyn’s trendy new Aloft, the 49th hotel to open in Starwood’s “style-at-a-steal” line of worldwide destinations, has had between 90 and 95 percent occupancy. Designed with the tech- and fashion-savvy demographic in mind, its 176 rooms and four suites have an openness that defies New York City’s notoriously cramped spaces. With retro, pastel-colored alarm clocks in each room, organic accents of Amazonian fauna, and pod-shaped swivel chairs in the re:mix lobby, guests can’t help but feel groovy, making the Aloft not only a place to spend the night, but a hip hangout that’s difficult to tear yourself away from. The 24-hour re:fuel café offers light meals, snacks, and complimentary coffee that guests can grab on their way out, while the signature w xyz bar’s back wall can be pulled out and flipped at sundown into a glass wall that reflects the galactic neon lights and creates a nightclub atmosphere. Located in a residential area of Brooklyn, this Aloft is an irresistible hideaway to return to after a day of business or leisure in tourist-packed Manhattan. Rates start at $150/night; www.alofthotels.com/brooklyn
For general trip-planning information, see our Brooklyn Travel Guide.
Book your room at least 21 days in advance and score savings of 20 percent at the Hudson New York. We ran through several dates in late July and August and found that prices remained in the $194–$230/night range. The Hudson Hotel still maintains bragging rights for its 15th-floor sky terrace and fantastical style, courtesy of Philippe Starck. Rooms are small, but it’s hard to beat the dreamy atmosphere in the library, with its sky-high bookcases, or the peaceful private park, especially in the warm summer months. The Midtown West location puts visitors in close proximity to Central Park. To get the deal, rate must be fully prepaid and can not be refunded. www.hudsonhotel.com
For general trip-planning info, see our New York City Travel Guide.
Score up to 60 percent in savings on a swank South Beach getaway, now through December 27. Hotel Victor is offering every third night free on top of discounted rates (slashed 35 percent off winter prices). Redesigned by Jacques Garcia, with its trademark jellyfish tank in the lobby, the Victor combines 1930s opulence with pure sophistication. The Victor is located right on Ocean Drive next to the former Versace mansion. Its acclaimed spa, Spa V, features South Beach’s first hammam. Rates start from $229/night with the free-night savings deducted at checkout. To book, call 305-728-6544 and mention promo code SUMV. www.victorsouthbeach.hyatt.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Miami Travel Guide.
The Jane New York is a West Village landmark home to cool little “cabin-style rooms” and the remade Jane Ballroom, a trendy Victorian-style lobby bar with three spaces brimming with old-world ambience and overflowing with hipsters. One claim to fame is the hotel’s affordable teeny-tiny rooms (50 square feet) with communal baths, priced from $99/night. The larger Captain’s Cabins (250+ square feet) come with ensuite bathrooms, wainscoting, and vintage furnishings, and typically go for $350/night. The deal: Save $100 off this June 27 through September 6 with discounted rates from $250/night. Room amenities include free Wi-Fi, LCD TVs, and iPod docks. www.janenyc.com; 212-924-6700
Anyone for tennis? Table tennis that is. Last week, Mondrian Los Angeles launched the new outpost of SPiN, a hip brand of ping pong club owned in part by actress Susan Sarandon.
At SPiN Hollywood, the two ping pong tables in Mondrian’s ADCB lounge are available for guests and visitors from 11am to midnight (2am on Thursday through Saturday), with a fee of $20 per half hour of play starting at 6pm. Cocktails and snacks from the hotel’s Asia de Cuba restaurant are always on hand, and players can look forward to regular tournaments and special events.
The original SPiN opened in 2009 in New York City’s trendy Meatpacking District (spunky staff t-shirts read “Balls are My Business”). Mondrian’s tables represent the brand’s first expansion; a new club will debut in Milwaukee in August.
Summer may be off-season in Miami, but thanks to stellar events like July’s Spa Month and a year-round party vibe, the city definitely loses none of its sizzle. As an added incentive to nonstop fun-in-the-sun, Four Seasons Miami is giving guests the third night free when they book two nights, now through the end of the year. It’s the perfect excuse to spend an extra day lounging by the pool – and an extra night at trendy lounge 14Thirty-Five.
Rates at the hotel normally start at $250/night in summer, but this special offer brings that down to $167/night once the free night is applied. Want to extend your Miami getaway just a little longer? The “third night free” promotion can be booked back to back so that you stay six nights but only pay for four. Offer is subject to availability.
Miami isn’t the only Four Seasons property with sweet deals this summer. The brand’s hotels across the U.S. from Boston to Austin to San Francisco – and even as far afield as Sydney and Mumbai – are offering the third, fourth, or fifth night free. See individual hotel websites for rates and specifics.
For more sweet savings this summer, check out our Hotel Deals.
These luxe Miami hotels are offering steep discounts just for Sherman’s Travel readers.
Palm Beach The inimitable Brazilian Court Hotel now has even more to offer: its own beach club. A car service will whisk guests a quick 5 minutes away to the seaside spot, which offers a pool, a spa, and beach- or poolside dining and cocktail services. Sherman’s readers can save as much as 50 percent since discounted rates start at just $199/night for stays from April 1 through October 31. This special price includes a complimentary upgrade to a King Studio with a private terrace or balcony, a $25 credit, and free parking. Call to reserve the Exclusive Getaway and mention Sherman’s Travel; 561/655-7740; thebraziliancourt.com.
South Beach The Betsy, a 63-room boutique hotel on Ocean Drive, blends elegant charm (plantation shutters, walnut floors, four-poster beds) with slick SoBe style (bathroom mirrors with built-in LCD TVs and Bose speakers, a rooftop spa and wellness garden, trendy eatery BLT Steak). From April through June, weekend rates for Sherman’s readers start at $299/night for a Classic City or Pool Room. (Regular rates can reach $465/night in April.) The special price includes a glass of wine, a Malin + Goetz candle, and the daily resort fee. Call or book online with code BWDN; 866/531-8950; thebetsyhotel.com.
From the Spring 2010 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine.
I recently had the pleasure of overnighting on St. Barts to review its jewel-box hotel, Eden Rock. (Ah, yes, I love my job.) While it’s hard to go wrong with accommodations on St. Barts – the island is filled with glitzy boutique hotels polished to perfection – the Eden Rock stands out from the gang for a few reasons.
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