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Who says beer-drinking beach bums can't be productive? Jimmy Buffett continues to turn his passion into a profitable career, one that looks like it will outlast his singing voice (love the guy, but man, he's really going on reputation now, don't you think?).
Buffett announced on his website last week that he has teamed up with Wyndham to open a 262-unit timeshare resort on the USVI island of St. Thomas, at the former location of the Renaissance Grand Beach Resort in Smith Bay. While Buffett has two other properties - the Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola and one coming in Louisiana - this will be his first in an area that has been the bread and butter of his image: The Caribbean.
And it makes sense, essentially since Buffett specifically said that it was all about appealing to his fan base, aka his "Parrot Heads." "We sell escapism," he told the Virgin Island Daily News. "(Fans have) been escaping through our music for so long, this is a real place on the beach, Margaritaville. It's about appealing to the people who've been fans for so long."
Hotel Deals / Hotel Promo Codes / Passover Hotels / Viceroy Hotels / New Orleans Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Legoland Hotels / → All Tags
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· Passover Pick in Miami: Last week we focused on some Easter hotels. This week we have a spot for Passover which begins on March 24-The Alexander Hotel in Miami Beach. The all-suite hotel Passover package includes two lavish seders, three upscale meals and tea daily, late night buffet, a BBQ extravaganza, a daily minyanim, a Shabbat elevator and more. You can see the entire breakdown of rates and dates (especially what it will cost if you have kids) on this helpful PDF. Once you've made up your mind, go here to book.
· Viceroy Hotels Flash Sale: The Viceroy Hotel Group is in the midst of a seven day sale for nearly all of their properties from Anguilla to Beverly Hills, San Francisco, New York, Maldives and even Abu Dhabi. Most deals start with 15 percent off the best available rate and include varying amounts of hotel credits per night. The sale ends at 11:59EST on March 24. Go here to book.
· $83 April Fool's Rate at Sheraton New Orleans: No kidding, the Sheraton New Orleans is dropping its pants, er, rates to $83 a night on April 1. For real! Why the $83 rate? That's because the hotel first opened to guests on April 1, 1983. Now the Canal Street hotel is sporting a grand new look thanks to a recently completed a $50 million renovation. To get your $83 room rate, call 1-888-627-7033 and mention promotion code NOFOOL. Regular rooms start at $129. Oh and if you somehow saved your receipt from your stay at the hotel in April 1983, you will get a three-day stay at the $83 rate. You must show your historic receipt upon check-in to redeem the offer.
· Soft Opening Discount at New Caribbean Resort: Las Verandas Hotel and Villas on the Western Caribbean island of Roatán (off the coast of Honduras) just opened on March 1 with 60 luxury rooms, 32 free-standing villas and a 6,000-sq.ft. spa. The resort will fully open in July but from now through May 31st, you can score a 30 percent discount. Rates for golf course rooms start at $295 a night before discounts. Ocean view rooms are $325 a night, also before discounts. So when you call 1-855-224-6620 to book, ask for the soft opening rate to get the 30 percent off. 30% off all rack rates for stays during March 1 to May 31, 2013.
Hotel News / Caribbean Hotels / Sandals Resorts / Beaches Resorts / Turks and Caicos Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / → All Tags
We pumped up its waterpark and appeal to children in our , but now the family-oriented Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa is continuing its expansion, opening a new Key West Luxury Village on May 22nd, just in time for the summer-vacation set.
The new area will join the already existing Caribbean, French, and Italian villages, and add approximately 150 rooms, suites, and villas along with three additional restaurants. Given the three other themes, one thing that jumps out is that 'Key West' is a pretty specific location.
If Beaches Turks & Caicos keeps this up, it'll be the Caribbean version of Dubailand in no time. They opened the Italian Village in 2009 and the French in 2000. Beaches said families are still its target with Key West's multi-bedroom villas that "can accommodate growing families, multi-generational travel, and trends of friends vacationing together with their family."
Here are a few first-glimpse photos of the new Key West Village.
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Last week we started a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Cooking classes
What’s In: Creative classes
Not so very long ago, we realized that more and more hotels the world over were bringing in art concierges to help guide you through their hotel’s art collection, or to steer you in the right direction if you wanted to take in the local art scene or perhaps buy a couple of noteworthy pieces from local artistes. Well some hotels have taken this further and are hooking their guests up with local artists to give them a hands-on experience with the added bonus of giving you a pretty nifty souvenir to bring home.
Here are some prime examples:
Readers of Jaunted know that Maho Beach in St. Maarten is well known for being an aerial playground of sorts, for giving visitors a close encounter with aircraft unlike any other thanks to Princess Juliana Airport's short, beachside runway. First-time visitors flock to see it for themselves, and most tend to return because it is, truthfully, a really amazing experience.
Last week, we set out to find the best spot to "plane spot" in the area. While standing on the beach as a 747 lands on your head is thrilling and a must-do (as well as standing behind one as it takes off), it turns out the best place might be the least social: Our room at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.
As you see, the view from our 8th floor room was more than incredible. Not only could we see the entire property (great people watching), but Maho Bay and the incoming planes were also right in our line of sight. Don't even get us started on the sunset -- ridiculously epic.
Photo Gallery / HotelChatter Reviews / Island Hotels / St. Maarten Hotels / Sonesta Hotels / All-Inclusive Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / → All Tags
For travelers who seek to scratch the Caribbean island of St. Maarten off their bucket list, and see the planes flying over the beach for which the island is most famous, there's only one hotel option. This is the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, an all-inclusive property with the distinction of being the only large hotel within walking distance of Maho Beach; the other buildings around all all time-shares or private condos.
The Sonesta towers over the small town of Maho, and the 537-room property is one of the first things visitors see as their plane touches down to the tarmac at SXM, St. Maarten's Airport which sits just off of Maho. As it's all-inclusive, nightly rates during winter peak season aren't cheap ($450 is average), but having everything taken care of and being on Maho Beach is a huge perk to justify the rate. If you're just on St. Maarten for the excellent plane spotting, you wouldn't even need to rent a car; just take a taxi to the hotel and all necessities are within walking distance.
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Not to state the obvious, but it’s winter and you’re in need of some TLC to bring you out of your dark-day doldrums. We get it. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most authentic local spa treatments to kick-start your spring recovery.
Fairmont Mayakoba -- Riviera Maya, Mexico Well the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 as the Mayans predicted, but don’t give up on them yet. They still got game. In a private canopy overlooking the mangrove forest, guests of the Willow Stream Spa can enjoy treatments that utilize Mayan ingredients such as Conchera, fossil stone and wood from the local Zapote tree. For a bliss-out treatment, try the Mayan Clay Purification which incorporates local Mayan clay and involves a massage using sage oil and Mexican obsidian stones.
Four more blissful, all-natural spa treatments after the jump!
There's no other way to say it: There's a huge freakin' project going down right now in the Bahamas.
Self-described as the “Bahamian Riviera,” the Baha Mar Resort will add 2,200 rooms across four resorts to the already existing Wyndham Nassau Resort's and the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort's combined 1,250 rooms.
In total after this new construction is finished in Decmber 2014, Baha Mar will have a total of 3,450 rooms compared to the 3,950 of the infamous Atlantis on Paradise Island.
Caribbean Hotels / HotelChatter Guides / Family-Friendly Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Winter Getaway Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The weather outside is still frightful (is that snow on the ground we see?) which is why we found it necessary to drop our annual Caribbean Hotel Guide for you today. Whether you want to explore islands wearing nothing but a bathing suit and flip-flops or if you'd rather sip fruity drinks by the beach all week long, we've got the right hotel for you. We found a few places that both parents and kiddies can enjoy! So take a break from whatever you're doing right now and read on through our 2013 Caribbean Hotel Guide. Reggae music is optional but could greatly enhance the experience.
SYBARITES: If you're vacation requirements involve a villa, these are the places for you.
LOVERS: Where you want to go and be all hugged up with your boo.
ESCAPISTS: Wanna forget the world for a while? Yeah, we do too so follow us here.
THE FAMILY BROOD: Where to take the kids, but also where mom and dad can have fun too.
TYPE As: These places won't force you to ditch the iPhone or the laptop but you'll be able to relax on your own terms.
ADVENTURISTS: Can't stand laying by the pool all day? These resorts are more than just bum around spots.
For reasons we can't fully explain, we've decided to tune into the completely staged reality dating show that is "The Bachelor" on ABC. And we're obsessed. From the first rose ceremony shenanigans to the tense two-on-one dates and awkward make-out sessions, we love it all. We'll even watch it live, with commercials. But the show also has another important element we love--hotels. The Bachelor, Sean, is taking his hot body and so-so personality around the world as he tries to find a wife. Each Tuesday, we'll be recapping the hotels Sean and the ladies stay at and the drama that ensues. We'll do our best not to make it all about Tierra.
After last week's four-hour, two-day "The Bachelor" viewing extravaganza, which took place at the Fairmont Lake Louise in Banff, Canada, we were so relieved to hear that Sean has finally decided that the six remaining ladies were the "six for him." But lest this turn into a show about sister wives,
the producers Sean has decided to whisk the girls off to the island of St. Croix to further determine who is the one he is going to spend the rest of his life with. Or at least the next few months trying to score trashy tabloid covers.
After arriving on the island by seaplane, Sean takes his harem to The Buccaneer Resort, a beachfront pink palace that is one of the island's longest-running resorts.
Since a lot of the scenes were shot in the hotel rooms, we're pretty sure the girls we're shacked up in the Ficus and the Frigate suites. Those specialty rooms, which are way more modern than the basic room categories, start at around $1,100 a night. But even if you don't stay in these rooms, you can still live it up "Bachelor"-style during your trip as the resort has put together their own "Bachelor" package.
Hotel News / Necker Island / Richard Branson / Virgin Hotels / Luxury Hotels / All-inclusive Resorts / Beach Resorts / Beach Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Island Hotels / Eco-Hotels / Eco-Friendly Hotels / → All Tags
Well, now the world is saved! Okay, we’re being facetious, of course: It’s a noble thing to take a stand and do some good for the planet and, after all, we all need to do our part.
But we do have to ask: Just how much bottled water are they consuming over there on Necker Island? There are only six houses (aka rooms) holding a maximum of 28 guests. And at a cool $29,000 (single or double) for a seven-night stay during “Celebration Weeks” (the only time you can book individual rooms; otherwise it’s the whole island or nothing for $42,500 per night.
Is his British Virgin Island's nirvana really fully booked all the time to need to make a big deal of letting us know Sir Richard is trying to get green while collecting that green? Forgive us if we smirk just a tad.
Sometimes HC editors get in little tiffs. Nothing serious, we just roll our eyes at each other’s choices when it comes to hotel fun. Some of us would hole up in a hostel in a blink of an eye, where others gave up that option when we became eligible to rent a car.
That’s when we like to play a little game of “Which Would You Rather…” and we state our case hoping to prove our pick is better.
Today's Episode: Ice Hotel vs. Caribbean Resort
WakeandWander, HotelChatter Contributing Editor
“This is a shot from an artist's suite at the Ice Hotel near Kiruna, Sweden. It was the first and initial ice hotel in the world. The room is called The Flower, can you see why? I’m out here dogsledding, looking at pine trees covered with snow. It’s incredibly beautiful. Wait ‘til you see the pictures when I do the round-up on ice hotels next week!”