Friday, April 29, 2011

Destination Weddings in America

Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your lives. But once you start planning, it seems more like work (seating charts and a budget) than fun. So Jetsetter has help you turn the event into what they do best — a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Jetsetter have got three dream destination wedding packages to suit your taste, whether you’re after a classic Manhattan affair, a decadent South Beach party or a chic gathering in the Rockies. Get married on the rooftop at The Peninsula New York; host 100 of your closest friends and family at Villa by Barton G, the former Versace mansion in Miami; or hit the slopes for the ultimate in alpine romance at Sebastian Vail.

Famous for its do-or-die attention to service, Fifth Avenue's The Peninsula New York is one of Midtown’s loveliest and most discreet hideaways. MoMA, Bergdorf Goodman, Broadway’s theaters and a parade of city buses are steps away, but the noise stops at the door. And so do the crowds. 

This package at The Peninsula New York is made for those brides who are far too busy to plan that big day. Known for its timeless white-glove service and Beaux Arts elegance — not to mention the fantastic rooftop where you’ll be married — The Peninsula New York covers all the important details on any busy bride’s list, like the flowers, the food, the photography, the entertainment and guestrooms. And by keeping things simple with one booking, discerning couples can get down to the business at hand — simply enjoying the big day.

Sebastian Vail, Vail, Colorado

For down-to-earth couples looking to combine the splendor of the outdoors with a low-key country celebration, this wedding package takes care of all the details and leaves you to enjoy Vail with your closest friends and family. And from your perch at Sebastian Vail, you’re set to spend the weekend taking in city’s best, from immediate mountain access to a quick stroll to downtown’s shopping and dining.

Say “I do” in the shadow of towering, pine-lined peaks at Sebastian Vail, a brand new hotel that puts a sparkling new twist on Rocky Mountain luxury. Join your guests (up to 75 of them are included in this destination wedding package) hiking the surrounding terrain by day before getting ready for your dramatic mountainside ceremony. All the details (flowers, officiant, photographer, DJ and more) are taken care of by the Sebastian’s team and wedding co-ordinator. So all you’ll need to do is take a deep breath of that fresh, alpine air and take in the memories.

Villa by Barton G, Miami, Florida

There are as many types of weddings as there are types of brides: traditional, contemporary, bohemian, high-strung. But it takes a particularly stylish wedding party to make the big event happen at South Beach's Villa by Barton G. Once the home of fashion icon Gianni Versace, the space has been re-imagined and renewed, though trademark Versace touches, like the 24-karat gold-tiled pool, are of course still here.

The reception takes place in the gardens, with dinner and dancing for 100 lucky guests.
Couples marrying at the Villa by Barton G and their guests can expect one of the most fashionable weddings available: a ceremony in the Mosaic Gardens & Pool, a cocktail hour in the Moroccan-style courtyard and a reception with a seated dinner and music by a hot Miami DJ. The package also includes two nights' rental of the villa, with access to all of the grounds during the stay.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alila Manggis Resort, Bali

This laid-back 55-guestroom beachfront resort beckons those who want a break from Bali’s increasingly crowded southern shore. En route to the property, a smooth new highway takes you past the water palace of Tirtagangga and traditional Balinese temples into the hotel’s own verdant valley. Alila Manggis Resort has made a rigorous environmental commitment, buying locally, recycling actively and minimizing energy use — all without compromising the guest experience.

Shaded by palm trees, the tranquil swimming pool looks out to the remote island of Nusa Penida. Organic fibers and neutral colors keep the guestrooms minimalist but comfortable. The piles of pillows on sofas and on the outdoor daybed encourage daytime lounging. All guestrooms have panoramic views of the coconut grove and central swimming pool or out to the Indian Ocean. Enjoy the scenery on a private patio in a Superior Room or the breezy terrace of an upstairs Deluxe Room.

Visit Alila Manggis Resort or Jetsetter for a great deal on this resort.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mondrian Soho, New York


With the opening of the latest addition to its eminent Mondrian brand, Morgans Hotel Group enchants guests with yet another innovative vision by Benjamin Noriega Ortiz, inspired by Jean Cocteau’s cinematic interpretation of the tale of “La Belle et la Bête”. With Mondrian’s design, Noriega awakens the imagination and invites guests into a fantasy that offers an escape. 

The hotel boasts a mesmerizing ambiance that captures the sparkling charm and romance of New York. Imperial No. Nine is a modern sustainable seafood restaurant by chef Sam Talbot, Mister H is an intimate downtown nightlife concept and the hotel has 270 guest rooms, each with stunning views wrapping around the island of Manhattan, custom-designed bath fixtures, and a clever nod to the tale here and there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Paresa Resort, Phuket

Paresa means heaven of all heavens. It sure feels that way, when you arrive and settle into these villas perched high on the Kamala cliffs, on the west side of Phuket. Lying on one of the daybeds on your own private balcony, looking out at the gorgeous blue Andaman Sea and the green rain forest below, you feel as if you’re floating above it all.

With 49 guestrooms and private villas, built into the cliffs and looking out toward the sea, the property blends so well into the surroundings that it feels more like a secret sanctuary. Authentic arts and crafts fill the suites, along with native wood floors and large bathrooms that incorporate local stone. 

Rooms have balconies with private infinity pools and 270-degree sunset views. There are indoor and outdoor showers and kingsize beds. The Aqua Suites are an enormous 1,500 square feet, while the Cielo Residences are like private manors, at an unbelievable 7,100 square feet.

Paresa Resort’s three restaurants all have ocean views. Diavolo serves Italian food, like a seafood and truffle risotto. Talung Thai, an alfresco spot high atop the cliffs, serves traditional Thai food in the shade of Banyan trees. And Recipe, a private dining room that guests can rent, also hosts Thai cooking classes and trips to the local markets.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Banyan Tree, Bangkok

Towering above Bangkok’s city center, the 327-room Banyan Tree Bangkok takes luxury and pampering to new heights. After checking in, take the elevator straight to the 61st floor, where you’ll find the most amazing rooftop lounge in Southeast Asia. Shaped like the front of a giant ocean liner anchored high above a sea of neon and steel, the open-air Moon Bar has 360-degree views. It’s an intoxicating introduction to Thailand’s titanic capital.

Located in the central business and embassy district on South Sathon Road, the hotel is 40 minutes drive from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Its accessibility affords guests great ease for conducting business, shopping, entertainment and sightseeing. Step into Banyan Tree Bangkok Spa for a rejuvenating retreat, dine at one of its 12 superb outlets.

The 327 rooms and suites are done up with soothing Thai silks that cover the beds and drape the huge windows, are decorated in a traditional Thai motif of dark wood against deep earth tones. Thailand is renowned for the warmth of its people, and the service here exemplifies the country’s celebrated standard for hospitality. And guests won’t want for options at mealtimes; in addition to the signature Thai restaurant, Saffron, and the Cantonese menu at Bai Yun, there are more than 10 spots on the property to eat or drink, and that’s not counting room service.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pietra e Mare, Mykonos, Greece


Far from Mykonos’s crowds, this tranquil couples-only resort peers over one of the best beaches on the isle. European honeymooners flock to its heart-fluttering panoramas, where space and time seem to stop. Bathed in cool Aegean blues and whites inside and out, the hotel may be more than 10 years old, but you’d never know it from its meticulously modern vibe. 

Resting on a cliff on the southeastern shore of the island, Pietra e Mare gazes over Kalo Livadi, one of the largest and most gorgeous beaches on Mykonos. The isolated Kalo Livadi beach is a hub for those who make an effort to avoid the more common and crowded beaches on the island. Fifteen minutes from the congested and mazelike main town, it might as well be light years away, since most tourists here don’t have rental cars and taxis are pricey. 

The immaculate rooms are all large, with the blinding Greek sunlight reflecting off white walls and white sheets. Dashes of blue are found in elegant candle holders, pillows and vases. All rooms come with satellite TV and 24-hour room service.

The hotel’s open-air restaurant also makes full use of the beach and the ocean views, serving a limited menu of traditional Greek fare. Be aware that the restaurant closes at 10 pm, which for Mykonos might as well be 5 p.m., since no one seems to dig into dinner until the early hours of the morning.

Visit Jetsetter for a great deal on this hotel.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

The Fairmont Orchid is an elegant, classic American resort located on a pristine beach, perfect for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. Here you can have tee time on the 36-hole oceanfront golf course or tea time at the Luana Lounge, which has water and sunset views. Throw in the unique Spa Without Walls, an ocean-view pool, four restaurants, world-class tennis facilities and the Fairmont’s famously friendly service, and you’ve got a Hawaiian getaway to dream about.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Gourmet Weekend in Maleny, Queesnland

If delicious cuisine is high on your holiday wish-list, check out these sumptuous short break destinations from Holidays For Couples, where wining and dining is just as important as luxurious accommodation.

The Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Just 20 minutes by car from Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills could be another world away. These undulating hills are dotted with picturesque villages interspersed with market gardens, orchards, long-established formal gardens and myriad vineyards producing quality wines. Stay in new apartment-style accommodation and dine at the very central and stylish Stirling Hotel – a cross between country classic and city chic. 

Pick your own cherries on a ‘cherry trail’ of orchards and farm-gates in the hills – plus raspberries, figs, strawberries, apples, peaches, plums and apricots in season. Learn how to make your own home-style cheese with an interactive cheese-making class at Udder Delights in Hahndorf (includes lunch with wine) or book into a gourmet cooking class at the Sticky Rice Cooking School in Stirling with perhaps Christine Manfield, David Thompson or Kurma Dasa. Stroll in the beautiful Botanic Gardens at Mt Lofty, enjoy a flight of wines at Shaw & Smith winery and book Sunday lunch at The Lane with fabulous vineyard views.

Launceston, Tasmania
Book a luxurious suite at beautiful colonial Quamby Estate with its lofty ceilings, deep spa baths and open fires. Enjoy a round of golf on the estate’s nine-hole course, then reward yourself with fabulous coffee and a luscious raspberry and chocolate Le Framboise cake at Tant Pour Tant.

Let Wursthaus at Olivers pack a picnic hamper to enjoy in the grounds of local vineyards Goaty Hill or Brook Eden where you can savour their wine. Or make up your own picnic with home-made goodies, local smoked trout, cheese and more from chef Daniel Alps’ fabulous new Alps & Amici foodstore and kitchen. Take a cooking class at the Red Feather Inn cooking school in Hadspen, dine at the beautiful upmarket steakhouse Black Cow Bistro, go Chinese at Me Wah (one of the best on the island) and dine on contemporary fare at romantic Stillwater housed in an old 1830s flour mill overlooking the Tamar.

Maleny, Queensland
On a spur of the Great Dividing Range, the Sunshine Coast hinterland around Maleny has the lot – a gentle country lifestyle, idyllic climate, a vibrant food scene and great views across fertile farmlands to the state’s famed white sandy coastline.

Commune with nature in a Falls Pavilion at Spicers Tamarind, sip a Spicers Sunset cocktail and dine in the intimate on-site restaurant of former Darley St Thai and Chilli Jam Café chef Paul Blain’s exemplary Thai cuisine. Book into one of his classes so you can replicate the gourmet experience when you get home. Tour Maleny Cheese factory, savour their great triple brie and le blochon cheese, then share a fondue in the café. 

Try the divine award-winning hazelnut roche or decadent passionfruit cheesecake ice cream from Colin James Fine Foods and dine on modern Australian fare at acclaimed Reserve Restaurant and Cellar. Indulge in a pampering spa treatment at nearby Spicers Clovelly Estate at Montville and enjoy excellent French-inspired food at The Long Apron on-site.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort & Ayurveda Spa, Phuket

The Golden Tulip Mangosteen Boutique Resort is located in the South of Phuket on a private hillside, offering spectacular ocean views over 4 bays and many surrounding Islands. The location is ideal for travelers looking for peace and tranquility but is still not too far from the more busy beaches. Nearby attractions include, Big Buddha of Phuket, Chalong Temple, Promthep Cape Sunset Viewpoint, Chalong Seafood Restaurants, Rawai Beach.

There are 41 beautifully appointed villa style rooms ensure privacy and tranquility. The Villas are designed as a 'home away from home' to ensure guests have a most enjoyable stay. Surrounded by tropical gardens, each Villa feels like a piece of private paradise. Private Villa's feature magnificent gardens with Jacuzzi tub and outside showers. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea and Phuket Island from your own private balcony. 

The centre of the resort consists of the 680sqm free form pool with 14 water falls and inbuilt jacuzzis. The extra-large pool with its beautiful sea views is treated without chemicals and open 24 hours. The Mangosteen Restaurant with its well-tempered underground Wine Cellar, serves a fine blend of Asian and Western cuisine, using mostly organic ingredients grown in small organic local farms.

Visit Golden Tulip Mangosteen Boutique Resort

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Springtime in Paris... and Beyond

It’s no wonder that April in Paris has been captured in everything from Hollywood films to iconic photographs to the eponymous jazz standard. Indeed, all of France is lovely this time of year: the weather is balmy, cultural festivals abound and gardens everywhere are in bloom. Jetsetter have collected memorable experiences in the City of Light and beyond, whether you’re looking for a sleek fashion hotel on the Left Bank or a 15th-century castle in the Loire region. Bon voyage!

Hotel Keppler from $367 per night
Tucked away on a quiet street in the fashionable Golden Triangle, the Hotel Keppler offers a dose of color and warmth during the drizzly season in Paris. It’s an intimate place, run like the private home of a connoisseur. Interiors by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon channel pure high-style Paris.

Hotel & Spa de la Bretesche $208 per night
Set on the boundary between Brittany and the history-rich Loire region of France, this Relais & Chateaux hotel and spa feels like a castle from a fable. The stone buildings of this 32-room property stand stately and formal, though inside all is lively, contemporary design, with vivid reds, chocolates and golds playing against ancient dark woods. Everything has a history: The bar was once a stable, and the restaurant was once a coach house. And outside, an archway in the courtyard leads to a gorgeous 18-hole golf course that frames the 500-acre property.

Hotel du Louvre $1163 per night
The Hotel du Louvre — one of the oldest luxury hotels in France — surely has the best location in Paris. It’s surrounded by icons: the Opera Garnier, the Comedie Français, the Palais Royale and the Louvre itself. The balconies are so close to the facade of the Louvre, you’ll believe you could reach in and touch the Mona Lisa. That may be impossible, but art lovers can nevertheless peer through the museum windows from their rooms, making their stay feel like an impromptu viewing at an intimate gallery.

Visit Jetsetter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Palm Island Resort, Caribbean

The 135-acre Palm Island Resort is at the southern tip of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines chain of islands in the Caribbean and has just one place to stay: the intensely peaceful and secluded Palm Island Resort, which has just 43 cottage-style rooms. Surrounded by pristine white sand beaches, coconut palms and coral reefs, the property also draws travelers for its many activities, which include swimming in the snake-like pool and snorkeling off the coast.

Besides being a resort, Palm Island Resort is a tranquil place that invites guests to slow down, recharge their batteries and gradually rediscover the wonders of nature. Iguanas and interesting birdlife are natives along the panoramic walking trails, while authentic island life is portrayed through yachts and traditional beach homes. Furthermore, you can drift away on boat trips to the world-famous Tobago Cays to ensure a great sense of place.

The property’s 43 rooms and suites are housed in cottages crafted from indigenous stone and South American hardwoods. All have bamboo and rattan furniture, deep soaking tubs, exposed beams and lots of windows, but no telephones or televisions for absolute peace and tranquility.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tortuga Bay, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


Find yourself in the jewel of the Caribbean. The AAA Five Diamond Awarded Tortuga Bay offers responsible luxury, impeccable service and villas designed by the world-renowned Oscar de la Renta. As a Tortuga Bay guest, the friendly, professional staff has every detail taken care of from the moment you touch down at Punta Cana International Airport. After a brief ride through the lush and vibrant Dominican scenery, your personal concierge will welcome you, check you in at your villa and provide you with your own golf cart for convenient travel throughout the resort.

The Tortuga Bay experience extends well beyond unparalleled service. Oscar de la Renta has infused his Dominican heritage into the design of each villa, creating an artful harmony between simplicity and elegance. But with nine world class restaurants minutes away and numerous in-room dining options, the choice of whether to go out or stay in may be difficult.

Tortuga Bay is all about discreet pleasures. Go on an early-morning swim with only the sound of rustling palms around you. Come evening, enjoy a romantic cocktail in the warm, tropical air and listen to the lapping waves. In between, you’ll be taken care of by a villa manager — a personal concierge of sorts — from 7am to 11pm.
Oscar de la Renta’s flair really comes through in the chic and airy villas. Large window-doors open onto the deck to maximize the tropical light, while inside there are tan-and-black wicker chairs and vases of fresh flowers on dark wood end tables. The villa views are quintessential Caribbean: palm trees, sparkling sea, white sand beach.

Visit Totuga Bay or Jetsetter for a great deal on this hotel.