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Hotel Openings / All Inclusive Hotels / Hotel News / Ikos Hotels / Greece Hotels / Halkidiki Hotels / Beach Hotels / → All Tags
Does the phrase “all inclusive” make you come out in hives? Do you shudder at the idea of ugly wristbands? Does your stomach heave when imagining a “five star buffet” three times a day?
Us too. But it’s always good to challenge one’s demons and confront one’s prejudices, so we’re intrigued by the idea of Ikos Resorts, a new upmarket all-inclusive group – or “Infinite Lifestyle”, as they call it.
Ikos is kicking off in Greece, with two beachside properties opening in Halkidiki next year: the Ikos Oceania in March, and the Ikos Olivia in May. They promise to “redefine the all-inclusive experience”, keeping the good side of all-inclusive (no extra bills to pay) and jettisoning the bad part (everything else). So instead of grubby buffets and poolside rubdowns, you’ll get Michelin-starred chefs overseeing four a la carte restaurants per property. No need for rainbow-colored cocktails, either – there will even be sommeliers!
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Mozambique Hotels / Anantara Hotels / Beach Hotels / Private Island Hotels / → All Tags
Is it Robinson Crusoe’s island? A previously undiscovered atoll in some warm ocean we just found on Google Earth?
No, it’s better than either of those. It’s the brand new Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa. Just that island. Just that hotel.
The hotel and its 1km-long, 300m wide private island form part of the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique. That’s a 45 minute flight from Pemba for you and the inhabitants of the other 11 thatched villas on the island. (And if you’re wondering, there are 32 islands in the archipelago, along with coral reefs and an aquatic national park (think dolphins and turtles as well as neon fish.)
The villas have private hammocks and pools, even though they’re bang on the beach. The design is posh rustic – nicely understated. You won’t want to move from your private space, of course, but if you do, there’s also a main pool, bar, lounge bar, spa and restaurant.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Phuket Hotels / Beach Hotels / Accor Hotels / Novotels / Novotel Hotels / → All Tags
One can never have too many hotels on Phuket, and for Accor, nine just isn’t enough. Hence the arrival of Novotel Phuket Karon Beach, which opened three days ago on Karon Beach (not exactly an exclusive location, but good if you want the feel of a resort).
The fourth Novotel on Phuket, it’s newly built with 224 rooms, which look rather nice, if not groundbreakingly original. There are three restaurants, two bars, a fitness center and sauna, and an outdoor pool (this rendering on the Facebook page looks nice, though we’re a little suspicious there’s no photo on the website yet).
There’s even a “video games area” (shudder) and a kids club.
Hotel packages are, of course, only worth doing if they’re really good value for money. And hotel packages, of course, are notorious for not providing good value for money. But here’s one that is.
The very specific Taste of the Bay Winter 2014/2015 package at the trendy Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall costs £249 per person (in a double room) for three nights. For that you get a room and breakfast, two dinners and a lunch.
But this isn’t just any old dinner. Cornwall is these days one of the top places in the UK for food, and Watergate Bay is one of the county’s foodie hubs – Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen is on site, the Beach Hut is famous for being a hut on a beach that serves upmarket, organic food, and the hotel has just opened a third restaurant, Zacry’s, which “combines Cornish attitude with a classic brasserie”.
Here’s what you should be paying, were you to take all those things on the package separately:
That’s because it’s a separate entity – done by Infinite Luxury, a Phuket-based, English-started design company. Kata Rocks will open November 28 on the southern end of Kata Beach, with a slightly different feel than Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks – it’s for grown ups, for starters. Think a bunch of those modernist houses from the Hollywood Hills transplanted onto the hillside (and beachside) of Phuket. In fact, there's more than a hint of Malibu to it, too.
The aim at Kata Rocks, rather than to get blasted and dance like Leo DiCaprio, is to indulge in “effortless and luxurious relaxation” – now that’s something we can get behind. Accommodation is in 34 individual Sky Villas rather than rooms – and they look fantastic, with bright white, modern interiors, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea, TVs set into the ceiling and – get this – their own private pool.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Design / Beach Hotels / Loews Hotels / Santa Monica Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
You can now stay warm while you chill out in front of your own personal fire pit at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s new Beachcomber Fire Pit Rooms and Suites, where temperatures December through February can plummet to a horrifying 50 F (that’s a shout-out to all of you tough northerners out there who can endure -20 F in January – we’re looking at you Fargo).
With direct access to the beach, these four stylin’ rooms all have terraces with private fire pits so that you can roast some wienies or pig out on s’mores in a more civilised way than backpacking with a tent in tow and searching for kindling (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Cornwall Hotels / Scilly Isles Hotels / Beach Hotels / Karma Resorts / → All Tags
Bali. Lombok. Mykonos. St Tropez. Isles of Scilly. WTF?
In what appears at first glance to be the most bizarre new opening on earth, Karma Resorts, which own three hotels on Bali, and one in each of Lombok, Mykonos and St Tropez, have just soft opened their newest property: Karma St Martin’s, in the Scilly Isles, with 30 rooms spread out in a row of little cottages, right on the beach.
If you don’t know where the Scillies are – and why should you? – they’re a tiny archipelago of islands 28 miles off the southwest tip of Cornwall – which is itself the southwest tip of England. There are 145 islands, but only five are inhabited. St Martin’s, which earned its Karma on 1 August, is the third highest populated island, with 142 people living on its two square-kilometer area. Karma is the former St Martin's on the Isle hotel, sitting plum on Tean Sound and overlooking another island, Tresco.
Of course, there are similarities with Bali – the Scillies have white sand beaches, their own microclimate, and are a bugger to get to (ferry or a tiny plane from various points in Cornwall). But Karma is gunning for the same clientele, too – according to big Karma man John Spence, who talked to Scilly Today, they’re going after “affluent adults” who backpacked their way around Bali etc a while back, but now want spectacular scenery, beaches and high standard accommodation closer to home.
No cute hotel doggy to share this week; instead we’ve got cute hotel sealions, the guests of honor at the Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach, where we stayed the week before last.
We’d been warned about the sealions before our arrival – apparently, it’s mating season at the moment, and they’re right outside the hotel – and LOUD. In fact, the hotel even provides earplugs to drown out their racket in every room:
Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / Borneo Hotels / Malaysia Hotels / Sarawak Hotels / Beach Hotels / → All Tags
View from our Superior Poolside Room at the Damai Beach Resort
The Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers, especially the area surrounding the city of Kuching. A short drive outside the city sits the Sarawak Cultural Village and Mount Santubong, where you can learn about Iban longhouses and explore the exotic wildlife of the rainforest.
There are a number of hotels in Kuching that are very affordable and within a 45-minute drive, but if you want to stay on the coast, the area's flagship resort is the Damai Beach Resort in Sarawak. It recently underwent a series of refurbishments that included upgrades to the main pool, children's pool, and dining areas, and further renovations are taking place as we speak.
Damai is in the midst of adding a new ballroom and parking facilities, which it hopes will attract more events to the property. One other addition that's not being advertised but we saw while on site is the addition of a swim-up bar in the main pool.
Caramel: It’s not normally the color we’d like for our sand, but we’ll let that slide, since the Caramel Boutique Resort, which opened yesterday in Rethymno, Crete, looks like the kind of place to make all our vocabulary neuroses disappear.
Rethymno is, thankfully, the least boisterous resort in Crete (for anything approaching mamading exploits, try Chania), and the Caramel is Grecotel’s latest addition to the scene, sitting on an eight-mile beach (the longest in Crete).
First interesting thing about Caramel: its 71 ‘rooms’ are made up of suites and villas, some of which sleep up to 10 people, which should give an interesting feel to the place. Second interesting thing: the food in the restaurant is all locally sourced, and there’s a farm nearby, also owned by Grecotel, where you can pretend to be a farmer for the day. Third, and most importantly, the toilets come with self-heating seats and self-flushing mechanisms.
The vibe is very Greek island – all bright, white walls and gauze curtains – yet they’ve done a good job in giving it a boutique, rather than a resort, feel – think handpainted tiles on the floor. The palm-fringed pool looks spectacular, but we’re rather more excited about the beach, complete with gazebos and fruit-serving staff. Warning: at night, they’re planning parties on the beach.
Hotel Beaches / Hotel Beach Clubs / Hotel Bars / Rovinj Hotels / Croatia Hotels / Adriatic Hotels / Beach Hotels / Design Hotels / → All Tags
Nothing says summer like a beach club – at least, that’s what Hotel Lone in Croatia thinks. A trendy hotel (it’s a member of Design Hotels) in Rovinj, the Lone opened its pool area last summer, and has now launched a club, Mulini Beach, to join it.
As you’d expect from the kind of joint that has a concept store selling the work of local artists, it ain’t your bog standard beach club. Instead, there’s almost a lido feel to it, with a white stone and concrete platform arcing out into the water, surrounding a manmade pebble beach – the first in Rovinj, no less (not that Croatia exactly needs manmade beaches, having one of the greatest coastlines in Europe).
Turndown Service / Hotel Turndown / Hotel Packages / Viceroy Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Beach Hotels / Beach Resorts / Riviera Maya Hotels / → All Tags
If you’re looking to heat things up at night, this may just be the turndown service for you.
The Viceroy Riviera Maya is now offering a new Plunge Pool Romantic Turndown that involves aromatherapy, candles and lanterns, music, food, and drink – all set under the stars on your private terrace with its own plunge pool.
At the prescribed time, the hotel’s Concierge arranges for the turndown with the options you’ve pre-selected:
• Aromatherapy choice includes Relaxation, Romance and Rejuvenate
• Mood music may be anything from love songs, Latin rhythms or your own iPod playlist
• Lanterns and flower petals rim the perimeter of the pool, and candles are floated in it
• Choice from the special turndown food and beverage menu, from champagne and fruit to after-dinner drinks and dessert creations by the pastry chef
• Plush robes and towels to cozy up in
The Plunge Pool Romantic Turndown is $99. Other romantic options are available for an additional cost, such as a bouquet of three-dozen red roses for $105.00 and Chocolate Fondue for $25.
The 41 villas at the Viceroy Riviera Maya start at $393 in July for a Sun, Sea and Solitude package in a Deluxe Villa, which includes breakfast and a $100 resort credit.
[Photos: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts]