queenstown winter fest kicks off today

June 21st, 2013

The 39th annual American Express Queenstown Winter Festival, the Southern Hemispheres biggest winter celebration, kicks off today. Thousands of locals and visitors alike will hit the streets and slopes of Queenstown, New Zealand to partake in more than 75 different events (most of which are free and fun for the whole family), such as firework showings, performances by major Kiwi musicians and comedians, and on mountain skiing and snowboarding.

Perfect for families attending the festival, Matakauri Lodge‘s “Family Heaven” package includes two nights’ accommodation with an interconnecting second bedroom, daily pre-dinner drinks, gourmet dinner, full breakfast and mini-bar, spa treatments for all family members, a four-hour babysitter with room service, and a private dining experience. Guests can attend the festival, exploring beyond the lodge, and then return back to luxury once the day is over.

Originating in 1975, the Winter Festival began when a group of locals decided to use the arrival of snow as an excuse for a party, bringing residents and visitors together. The tradition was born and, over the years, this little celebration has grown immensely, attracting people from all over the world to join the Kiwis in welcoming the winter. Now an iconic event, marked and circled on every local resident’s calendar, the festival attracts 45,000 attendees. The annual Winter Festival is all about celebrating the community, the mountain environment, and the start of the winter holiday season.

For more information on the Matakauri Lodge’s “Family Heaven” package visit:  http://www.matakaurilodge.com/family-heaven

For more Winter Festival Information visit: www.winterfestival.co.nz

lion tracks, snapshots, and kori bustards

March 13th, 2013

With more and more luxury travelers booking a safari as the choice, out-of-this-world experience, operators are upping their “game.”  andBeyond, the organization known for its pioneering eco-tourism, is now offering specialty, niche components to complement and personalize the traditional safari experience to match one’s interests. This includes private game drives focused on getting the perfect picture, learning how to track the Big Five in South Africa, or honing in on the kori bustards during a bird watching adventure in Tanzania. They have even created a yoga package. Add-ons start at $675 per day.

 

Animal Tracking

Gain the stealth and cunning of a lion and learn how to track wildlife with the help of a ranger and tracker team in a private, open 4×4 safari vehicle. Search for the elusive leopard, follow the warning cries of baboons to discover a pride of lions, look for clues, such as broken branches, to unearth a herd of elephants.

Rate: From R6,120 ($675), offered at Phinda, Ngala, and Kirkman’s Kamp

 

Bird Watching, African Style

Set out in a private 4×4 safari vehicle with a specialist birding ranger to enjoy the varied species found in the African bush. Most andBeyond lodges offer this opportunity to spot kori bustards, hornbills, secretary birds, and shining blue and red superb starlings – perfect for avid ornithologists.

Rate: From R6,120 ($675)

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Fashion Week Spotlight: Christian LaCroix-designed, Hotel du Petit Moulin

February 21st, 2013

As Fashion Week winds down in New York and continues on, escape to Paris, the city that is home to Chanel, Hermes, Dior, and Louis for your own Fashion Week experience.

Hôtel du Petit Moulin, designed by Christian LaCroix and located in Paris’ trendy Marais district, is offering the “Ooh Là Là Vintage Fashion Masterclass” package. This experience evokes a bygone era with custom-made vintage clothing matched with a decadent champagne and tea service. Ooh Là Là Vintage, a top purveyor of retro fashion, first consults with guests to pinpoint their favorite vintage looks. Then, following a fitting, dressed in their chosen attire, guests enjoy a grand afternoon tea. And for true fashion enthusiasts, sister company Madame Tra La La is on hand to custom-design vintage pieces to be taken home as a souvenir.

Rates from €335 (approx. $440) per night (minimum stay of two nights), including daily breakfast. The package is offered through December 31 (perfect if you want to avoid the hub-bub of Fashion Week).

To book visit www.hotelpetitmoulinparis.com or call 33 (0)1 42 74 10 10

 

wed your one-and-only at one&only

February 19th, 2013

With the mother-in-law overstepping her bounds, parents padding the invite list with long lost uncles and college friends, and the stress of keeping everyone happy – planning a wedding can be a little stressful. Enter One&Only. Outsource the wedding planning to their amazingly capable planners, and along with taking away the angst of planning a wedding, the guest list will automatically be strictly nearest and dearest for a destination wedding. Here are some dream wedding options, and tips for any destination wedding, from the experts at One&Only.

Out of Africa at One&Only Cape Town

One&Only Cape Town’s new Weddings Consultant has over 2,000 weddings under her belt and can arrange very personalized weddings in the Marina Room with views of the V&A Waterfront, an outdoor reception on the hotel’s spa island, or an intimate maritime celebration on the hotel’s yacht with Table Mountain in the background and the sun setting over the sea.

 

Hacienda Style Ceremony at  One&Only Palmilla

One&Only Palmilla’s on-site chapel makes the perfect spot for an intimate ceremony, or a larger blow out if it takes place on the steps outside. A chapel ceremony package includes floral arrangements for the altar, an array of candles, and a horse-drawn carriage with a coachman and footman – a Mexican fairy tale!

 

Classic Destination at One&Only Ocean Club

Say ‘I Do’ with the views of the Nassau Harbor from the top of the Versailles Gardens. One&Only Ocean Club offers wedding ceremonies under the arches of a 12th-century Augustinian cloister, a romantic and whimsical setting for ceremonies and receptions. A five-night package includes private airport transfer, photographer, complimentary spa treatments, and catering by Ocean Club’s signature restaurant, Dune by Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

 

Tips for the Destination Bride:

Adele Bennett, Personalized Wedding Consultant at One&Only Cape Town

  • Try to arrive at least four days before your wedding to familiarize yourself with the surroundings, climate, etc.
  • Be daring when doing a wedding menu tasting – you are in a foreign destination so really enjoy the local flavors, which may be a delicious surprise for you and your guests.
  • Check with your resort’s spas, which may have tailor-made packages like One&Only Cape Town’s De-Stress Bridal Spa Wedding Packages to keep you relaxed and calm until you’re down the aisle. (more…)

take time in tokyo

August 2nd, 2012

It’s already August, and you still haven’t planned that much needed summer vacation? Well, worry not, because Park Hyatt Tokyo (hyperlink) has just what you need!  Available until September 30th, Park Hyatt Tokyo is offering an All-inclusive package that happens to be coinciding with some of the most popular events and festivals happening in the city.  On the last Saturday and Sunday in August, around 1.2 million spectators will flock to the city’s shotengai (shopping promenades) for the 53rd Annual Koenji Awaodori Festival. Over 12,000 participants from 188 groups of choreographed dancers and musicians will parade through the city streets in traditional obon dance costumes, accompanied by traditional Japanese instruments such as the shamisen lute, taiko drums, shinobue flute, and the kane bell.  For some more competitive action, attend the 2012 Grand Sumo Tournament. Happening from September 9-23, wrestlers young and old from across Japan will come to Tokyo to partake in the event. Hakkeyoi!

Park Hyatt Toyko’s package will offer you the serenity and laid-back luxury you will crave after all the excitement.  With your choice of a Park Deluxe Room, Park View Room, or Park Suite, the package includes:

-Lunch with a glass of sparkling wine at New York Grill per person per night

-Daily breakfast at Girandole or via Room Service

-Complimentary access to Club On The Park fitness & spa facilities

-15,000JPY credit per room per night (Park Suite only)

Rates are for two people with a Park Deluxe Room from 55,440JPY, a Park View Room from 68,145JPY, and a Park Suite from 148,995JPY.

*Above rates are inclusive of tax and service charge, and are subject to a 200JPY accommodation taxes per person per night
*Rates are subject to change on a daily basis.

taste america’s ‘best for food’ city with the welcoming inn on the alameda

July 30th, 2012

Images courtesy of Inn on the Alameda and FarmShareStories.com

On the heels of the Rand McNalley/USAToday “Best of the Road” contest, where Santa Fe, New Mexico was voted the city in America “Best for Food”, there is no better time than now to visit the City Different. To experience all the culinary options Santa Fe has to offer, head to the inviting Inn on the Alameda, offering food lovers the opportunity to sample the best of Santa Fe with the Fresh Santa Fe package.

As one local chef told “Best of the Road” competitors, “Santa Fe cuisine is unique because of the vibrancy of the city and the tapestry of cultures – Native American, Hispanic, and European – represented in the city.”  It is this that makes the city stand out from the rest of America, and guests who book this special package get to experience it all at the Santa Fe Farmers Market.  Recognized as one of the top ten farmers markets in the country, Inn on the Alameda guests are able to wander through the Tuesday morning market at leisure after enjoying the Inn’s lavish continental breakfast. And they’ve tossed a few extra goodies into the market basket to make this experience even more delicious:

- A three-night stay in cozy accommodations of one’s choice, based on double occupancy, available Sundays through Wednesdays, May through November.

- $20 per person in Farmers Market tokens to stock up on fresh greens, savory cheese, sweet jams, or even lavender soaps! Due to the nature of the harvest, produce and products change weekly.

- A gift certificate for $40 for two to enjoy lunch at Il Piatto, a downtown trattoria committed to using local and organic ingredients whenever possible.

- Two Santa Fe Farmers Market caps to shield the eyes while searching for the best tomatoes.

- Two Inn on the Alameda tote bags to collect one’s goodies.

- The Inn’s sumptuous continental breakfast daily.

- A relaxing afternoon wine hour each afternoon.

Rates for the Fresh Santa Fe three-night package range from $531 to $1041 plus tax, depending on dates and the room-type selected. The package is subject to hotel availability, and no other discounts apply. Additional persons, after two per room, are welcome with a $40 per person fee. The package is not available to book online, so please call 888-984-2121 for reservations and more information.

 

the height of relaxation

June 20th, 2012

Located on the scenic shores of Lake Lucerne and surrounded by the idyllic Alpine landscape, the legendary Palace Luzern is now offering the SPAtacular Rooftop Experience – just for the ladies. Available everyday from 11:00am to 3:00pm, up to four women can book the Palace rooftop terrace for an afternoon of pampering, complete with a bottle of champagne, strawberries, and a total of three wellness treatments per person. As it is the only spa in the area offering this type of experience, indulge in the breathtaking views and fresh Alpine air along with a preparing facial mask, full body peel, and comforting after-sun treatment.

Price: Total of 790 Swiss Francs (approximately US$820) for up to four women.

 

take your mama out

April 30th, 2012

Forget the Hallmark card or the flowers and take Mom away for a real treat. We’ve put together some suggestions for a Mother’s Day she won’t soon forget.

Where: One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico

What: Get Mom a weekend of spa treatments in paradise.

When: Mother’s Day Weekend

Why Mom will love it: Mothers and daughters can unwind in the privacy of a double Spa villa at the ESPA spa complete with private garden, rain showers, outdoor Mexican daybeds, and whirlpool baths to relax in after a treatment. Special for the weekend are Mother-Daughter Soul-to-Soul moments ($640 for two) that include a Mother-Daughter yoga or salsa experience, an ESPA age-defying radiance facial or intensive facial, a spa lunch, and full use of the heat experience and relaxation area, or the Enduring Memory Mother’s Day Experience ($355) with a two-hour holistic body ritual, an in-villa 30-minute experience including a foot ritual, bath, and relaxation time, a spa lunch, and full use of the heat experience and relaxation areas. And all of this with her now favorite child.

Where: Inn on the Alameda, Santa Fe, New Mexico

What: Show Mom how much you care by sending her to the welcoming Inn on the Alameda for a weekend of adult-only relaxation.

When: Mothers Day Weekend

Why Mom will love it: With the Please Your Parents Package, Mom and Dad can enjoy a weekend away from the kids in Deluxe Accommodations at the Inn, including the Inn’s signature continental breakfast, afternoon wine hour, and one box of yummy bizcochitos, the official New Mexico state cookie.

Rate: Nightly rate is $220 plus tax per room per night. With a regular rate of $270 plus tax, this package has $50 nightly savings and applies to the Inn’s Deluxe Rooms only. The stay must include Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13, 2012, but there is no minimum night stay requirement. The offer is subject to hotel availability.

Where: The Peninsula Spa, New York

What: An amazing ESPA “Spa-Cation” without leaving the island

When: Perfect for the week before or after Mother’s Day

Why Mom will love it: Play hooky and take your mama out! Without hopping on planes trains, or automobiles, have a spa-cation right in the city. You and mom can indulge in a 60-minute treatment, a special lunch, and complimentary use of the pool and fitness center. It’s available Monday-Thursday for $285 per person.

Where: White Elephant and Brant Point Grill, Nantucket, Massachusetts

What: Breakfast in bed is a nice gesture, but we bet Mom will enjoy the “Best Brunch on the Island” even more!

When: Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Why Mom will love it: From the Benedict Burger to the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, a Sparkling Station for mimosas, and a brand new tapas station, this brunch is complete with all of Mom’s favorites.

Rate: Brant Point Grill’s Mother’s Day Brunch is $55 for adults, $25 for kids ages 6-12 and $5 for kids ages 3-5. Combine your brunch with a stay at White Elephant and enjoy special Hot Dates Cool Rates, starting at $195 per night.

Where: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Avon, Colorado

What: Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, this luxury chateau-style resort features many amenities, including the 30,000 square-foot Allegria Spa, with a full-service fitness center, slopeside pool and hot tubs. This world-class spa is offering the “Her Day, Her Way Mother’s Day” package, an exceptional package for moms to unwind on their special day.

When: Mothers Day, Sunday, May 13, 2012.

Why Mom will love it: Spoil Mom with an extra luxurious spa escape with the “Her Day, Her Way Mother’s Day” package that includes a 50-minute Swedish Massage; choice of one of three select treatments (25 minute Sweet Lavender Body Scrub, 30 minute Custom Facial or Express Manicure & Pedicure); champagne; take-home spa gift; and access to Aqua Sanitas, the health club, the pools and hot tubs.

Where: Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos

What: Max and relax with Mom for a stress-free weekend away

When: Mothers Day Weekend

Why Mom will love it: Stress is a fact of life for mothers and daughters alike, which is why Parrot Cay has designed a Stress Management Wellness Package to target and relieve sources of tension and worry. Professional consultants will take things down a few notches with deep relaxing therapies, enlightening outdoor pursuits, and smart tips to put some of the carefree “island life” of Turks & Caicos into the home routine. Let the experienced personal fitness trainers convert pent-up stress into a productive mother-daughter workout, and follow it up with mind- and body-balancing yoga and meditation.

try out a roadster at la réserve geneva

April 23rd, 2012

In 2011, La Réserve Geneva added a fleet of five Tesla roadster’s to its list of hotel amenities. The exclusive partnership between the hotel and motor company allows guests to either rent one of the cars for a day or purchase the Tesla Break Package – including a two-night stay at the hotel and full day’s use of the car. Guests agree that touring luxurious Lake Geneva is twice as fun when done in the eco-friendly and similarly luxurious vehicle.

Recently, Tesla expanded their line to include the Model X, a new all-wheel-drive SUV that boasts the performance of a sports car. The most impressive and unique aspect of the vehicle is it’s “falcon wing” doors, which open up instead of out – almost reminiscent of angel wings. Production of the first consumer-ready Model X vehicles won’t begin until late 2013 but its initial debut was met with enthusiasm. Although La Réserve has no plans as of yet to introduce the new addition to their fleet, you can still go for a spin in one of their five roadsters.

Rates for the two-night offer begin at 1,850 (about $2,294) for a Superior Room; day rates start at 790 CHF (about $984).

a seaside paradise nestled in a tranquil corner of vietnam

April 13th, 2012

Spring is here – time to start planning your summer travels! Check Vietnam off your bucket list, with many international air carriers now servicing select U.S. gateways with only one stop, Vietnam is now closer than you think. Check out Anantara’s first property in the country, Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa, located four hours outside of Ho Chi Minh City, for a visit to the rolling sand dunes and quaint fishing villages on the South China Sea coast.

The newly transformed Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa features 89 luxurious rooms, suites, and villas, five restaurants and bars, and fully-equipped fitness facilities. Located 120 miles from Ho Chi Minh City on the Southeast corner of Vietnam on the South China Sea, the resort offers a secluded escape in this coastal fishing village with a tropical landscape. The hotel’s design reflects its time and place in traditional Vietnamese style. Spectacular views of lush gardens, the infinity-edged swimming pool, freshwater lagoon, and the sea make this resort exceptionally peaceful and picturesque.

Known for its experiential approach to hospitality, Anantara offers guests opportunities to delve into the local culture both at the property and on excursions. Vietnamese culture is threaded throughout, from the locally-grown dragon fruit incorporated into spa treatments at the Anantara Spa to guests picking fresh vanilla from a local plantation to use in the resort’s cooking classes. Anantara’s signature private “Dining By Design” concept includes dinner for two prepared by a private chef on a traditional Thung fishing boat. During the day, guests can bask on pristine beaches lined with towering, desert-like sand dunes or venture out for a morning snorkel or sail. Golf lovers can practice their swings at the exclusive nearby Sea Links Golf and Country Club or at the Ocean Dunes Golf Club, named one of the “Best 500 Golf Holes in the World” by Golf Magazine.

The resort’s various dining options offer authentic Vietnamese cuisine as well as international favorites. Highlights include fresh seafood specialties, signature cocktails in locally-crafted Cham pottery mugs, and cool refreshments at the swim-up bar. At night, the bar evolves into a poolside torch-lit terrace complete with live entertainment.  Bespoke opportunities abound in the form of a degustation menu in the chic Wine Room, whose menus expertly pair fine wines with specialty cheeses and charcuteries.

Anantara is offering a special Mui Ne Discovery Package that provides a 20% discount on accommodation in either a Deluxe Room or Pool Villa. Rates begin at $184 for a single and $159 for a double, before taxes and service charges, and include daily buffet breakfast for two, complimentary in-room cable Internet access and public area WiFi, and a half-day tour of Mui Ne. A minimum two-night stay is required (three-night stay in March and April). All rates are subject to 5% service charge and applicable 10% government tax. Offer valid through December 25, 2012.

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