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Perhaps you’ve heard the hype: the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort on Poipu Beach in Kauai has kind of an “It” status as a cool boutique alternative to the larger resorts on the island. In Hawaiian, koa kea translates to "white coral,” and the name is a tribute to the life-giving power of the coral reefs. We recently went to check it out for ourselves to see if the buzz was well-deserved and here’s what we learned:
Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Renovations / Mozambique Hotels / Vietnam Hotels / Maldives Hotels / Beach Hotels / &Beyond Hotels / Avani Hotels / → All Tags
Can’t stop dreaming about Mozambique. Can’t stop dreaming about Mozambique. Can’t stop dreaming about Mozambique…
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Another day, another smashing hotel opening. Today it’s the turn of the Murat Reis in Ayvalik, Turkey - a project so new that the website is still under construction.
The hotel has opened with 91 rooms for a look that it describes as “modern with a Mediterranean accent”. And it’s pretty lush and beach-ready – look at those Travertine floors and matching headboards, the striped linen (why do we never see striped linen in hotels?) and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the beach.
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Laguna Beach has always been a favored destination for quick weekend getaways along the California coast. Yes, even before LC and her crew made the laid-back surf town infamous. And now that summer has (unofficially) arrived, there's no better time to seek out a little R&R by the beach.
While Laguna is home to some pretty fabulous resorts such as Montage, St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton, the newly renovated Laguna Beach House perfectly captures the "Endless Summer" vibe you might be looking for.
Designed to reflect a funky beach cottage, the Laguna Beach House has skate and surf decor accents throughout from the surfboards mounted above the guest beds, to the vintage-inspired Laguna Beach travel posters hanging on the walls, the giant framed California flag near check-in, the G&S skateboards that serve as towel racks to the daily surf reports written on a chalkboard in the lobby. A sure sign of a redesign done well? Every nook and cranny of the hotel is Instagrammable (even the parking garage has been prettied up with string lights.)
And with only 36 rooms, the "house" is able to give guests an intimate inn experience yet in a totally updated way.
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View from oceanfront master suite at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
The Grand Residences Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos, Mexico has one of those lobbies that have you at hello. Its wow factor includes a historic bar from the United Kingdom circa 1860, vibrant Mexican accent pieces, an airy feel and stained glass structures representing the mangrove prevalent throughout the Yucatan. Those features coupled with views of the ocean in the distance make for a grand entrance:
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It’s partly housed in a 19th-century UNESCO-listed building that was once the British consulate. It sits on Shangani beach on the Indian Ocean. And it has an ocean-facing infinity pool.
Those are the stats for Park Hyatt Zanzibar, the brand’s first hotel on the island, which just opened. It’s taken over the historic Mambo Msiige mansion – a typical Zanzibari mansion set around a courtyard – and built another connecting building, the Zamani Residence.
Bodrum is one of Turkey’s best loved beach resorts. As such, it’s full of hotels – sleek hotels. Remember the Mandarin Oriental that opened last summer? Those dreamy pics are burned on the back of our eyeballs. And now Jumeirah is jumping into the mix.
The hotel that’s currently the Golden Savoy will become the Jumeirah Bodrum Palace Hotel on May 1 this year. There will be 135 rooms – or, rather, suites and villas rather than rooms. All have views over the Aegean Sea – the resort is laid out in a semicircle around headland 10 minutes from Bodrum proper. (Probably not a bad thing, since Bodrum proper is a busy place.) No pictures yet, but this is going to be a place that’s all about the views. Oh, and the pools – all 57 of them. Though “the majority” are private ones for the villas.
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While the average American consumer may have never heard of Aruba’s Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, those in the sustainability segment of the hotel industry will certainly recognize the name. Despite existing and competing in a market traditionally scorned for its boundless consumption of local resources, this Caribbean island resort will receive a Green Globe certification for the 15th year in a row in 2015.
The success all starts with owner Ewald Biemans, who has been recognized with more than two dozen environmental awards and certifications. That resume was further garnished earlier this year when he was named the “Green Hotelier of the Year” in the Caribbean Journal’s Caribbean Travel Awards.
To be honest, I was surprised to learn all that, because when you're at the hotel, you wouldn't know it unless someone told you. That's because Biemans’ approach to environmental friendliness is mostly done behind the scenes, without consequence to the consumer. It's a long list: Waste water is reused for irrigation, beach cleanups occur monthly, energy-saving appliances do their thing in the administrative offices, and so forth. The only things felt by the guest are minor. The soap is put in dispensers, for example, and in-room motion detectors automatically turn off the lights when you're out of the room.
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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!
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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.
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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: