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Rendezvous Bay Hotel & Villas is going all upscale ownership on us, jumping on the increasingly crowded market for fractional second homes and retirement villas in sunny places.
According to a press release, the resort is planning "an unparalleled luxury resort with full ownership residences ranging from $3 to $20 million and fractional apartments from just $250,000." Yes, that means you pay a minimum of $250,000 but still have to work out when you are and are not allowed to stay there. And don't forget the maintenance fees!
But of course ownership here is "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" and this is a "beyond-five-star project." It is slated for completion in early 2009 and will have a signature restaurant, a world-class spa, yada yada yada.
Book a room before this fall to get in before the hotel shuts down and it becomes a construction zone.
[Ed. Note: Welcome to our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature where we look at hotel prices in the same city and decide which is better worth your hard-earned benjamins. Rates quotes here were valid on February, 20 2007 and are subject to change. Enjoy.]
It's never all that easy to find a bargain in the Caribbean, but on the island of Anguilla you're as likely to find a hotel room for $800 a night than one for half that. So we were happy to see one from here in Travel & Leisure's new rundown on affordable beach resorts--Rendezvous Bay Hotel.
The magazine's capsule review just says, "Spotless rooms with a funky B&B vibe," but with rates for a double starting at only $140 (for a garden view), we had to dig a little more to see if there's a catch. There may be one in the future--more on that later--but for now you get the real deal on their web site. They link directly to their reviews on TripAdvisor and they even post photos that their past guests have sent them. No high art shots of dining room plates set up by a food designer, thank you very much. And you've got to admire a hotel confident enough to list "an ever-present bridge game" as an amenity.
The place sits on 60 acres and has a two-mile stretch of beach. So that's incentive enough to either put up with minimal style and no A/C in the standards or to spend $295 to $315 for a villa room with a view. Larger units are available, including a 5-bedroom villa for $1,290 per night. All these rates are high season--they drop from May on.
Go visit soon though: the resort will be closing for a while come August 14. We assume it has something to do with the "Rendezvous Ownership Contact Form" link on the site...
[Ed. Note: This is the Bad Rate in our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature. The rates quoted here were valid on February 20, 2007 and are subject to change. Enjoy.]
Cap Juluca immediately showed up on all the lists of "the world's most expensive beach resorts" when it opened back in 1988 and it's still in the running today, with rates starting at $520 per night at this time of year for a room with no sea view and going up to $1,785 for a suite. But how long can a hotel go between renovations before the phrase "coasting on its reputation" comes up?
It looks like it might be hitting that point as the negative reviews are starting to become more frequent. According to some guests, while the rates have kept climbing, the tired-looking resort is falling further behind similar places around the world. Take one look at their amateur hour web site and it's obvious that the lack of investment goes beyond grubby fixtures and cheap lounge chairs at the pool. (Hey guys, if money is tight, trade out with a web designer who needs a tropical break. Use your assets!)
Guests complain about the last refurbishment being nine years ago and note that "You will not get Four Seasons service here, but expect to pay the same amount." Most guests would put up with some service transgressions at a $140 room at Rendezvous Bay--this week's Good Rate--but customers get grumpy more easily when the nightly tab with meals easily runs into four figures.
Yeah, we know it still pulls in some celebrities and it still makes some of those predictable annual "best of" hotel lists in magazines. But though old reputations die hard, the raves are tapering off. Of course the place has an undeniable advantage: one of the prettiest stretches of sand on the planet, one where a waiter comes around and brings you drinks and sorbet. That and a big dose of privacy are enough to keep the money crowds coming back.
Some hotel promotions we hear about sound downright goofy, but many are probably good fun when you're there, actually doing them. Take the current "Dinner and a Bath" package from Las Ventanas al Paraíso in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Here's how this works. When you sit down for dinner you receive the resort's new after-dinner bath menu along with the dinner menu and wine list. In case this isn't enough of a choice overload, you can also request the bath to be accompanied by cigars, champagne, or sipping tequila. Then word is dispatched and staffers scurry around in the background getting this all ready in the room. When your meal is done, you head back to the room and go soak in your preferred setup. Since Las Ventanas al Paraíso is a well-regarded luxury hotel, we assume it'll all look quite pretty, with candles and the works.
Bath oils and fragrances vary with the menu choices. "Stress Relieving" features lots of seaweed products and bath salts but the "Rejuvenating" one really piles it on: "Thermal Salts Muscle Soak with salts from 250-million-year old sea water deposits in Germany; Inspiring Wild Indigo Gel to pamper the skin; and Refreshing Facial Micro-Exfoliator with papaya enzymes, jojoba micro-beads and meadowfoam oil."
Since we would feel like the world's biggest loser ordering this all alone, the "Sensual & Romantic" bath experience sounded like the ticket for a party of two. Until we got to this last ingredient: "Gentle Refine Papain Exfoliator with fruit enzymes and flower extracts to soften blocked pores and sweep away dead cells." Yeah, nothing like the sweeping away of dead skin cells to get your partner in the mood--glad we found this post Valentine's Day.
[Photo: jen clix]