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Jimmy Buffett's brand new Margaritaville casino is probably the biggest news in Atlantic City this summer (Governor Christie is even scheduled to attend the opening event tomorrow.) But further down the boardwalk, there's another hotel celebrating a grand opening of its own.
Revel knows how much its guests like to, er…..revel, so to keep the party going from dawn till dusk, they've decided to open up HQ Beach Club, a day-time sequel to their popular HQ Nightclub. Located at boardwalk-level, the club will be open to guests and non-guests (cover charges will vary depending on the day), and doors will open as early as 10am.
That's right: you can show up straight after breakfast and start off your day drinking in a cabana by the pool. Ain't life grand?
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We've started a 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: Windsurfing and jet skis
What’s In: Stand up paddle boarding (SUP)
As synchronized swimming fell out of favor after the 1950s and windsurfing mania waned in the 1990s, another wet trend has emerged: Paddle boarding. And with so many hotels getting in on the action and upping the game (yoga paddle boarding, anyone?), we think it may just be here for awhile.
For the luxury crowd, Raffles Praslin Seychelles offers complimentary stand up paddle boarding so guests can take in the stunning Indian Ocean scenery. If your main goal is to simply enjoy the Seychelles' waters aboveboard and not below, the resort also launched hourly lessons for new users, with an expert teaching you the proper way to stand on the board, keep balance and paddle (what -- all at the same time??).
Another luxe resort, the Paresa Resort in Phuket, Thailand offers straight-up SUP, but then raises the challenge level by combining stand up paddle boarding with yoga. Their “Yoga on the Ocean” program begins at sunrise or sunset when you paddle your board out on the indigo Andaman Sea and enjoy a yoga class floating on your watery yoga mat.
But if the hotel's $1,200/night price tag is making you uneasy, consider this: for just a quarter of the price (and probably a tenth of the snobbery), Mina A'Salam offers an impeccable beach that sits right next to the Burj, so you can bask in the sail-shaped hotel's glory without ever having to break the bank. It's what we like to call "Dubai DIY."
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Less than an hour's drive from the little Liberia Airport near Costa Rica's west coast sits the exotic oasis of the Peninsula Papagayo. It is an exclusive area, mostly dedicated to upscale resorts, vacation condos and the pristine beaches they face. Alas, there's also an Arnold Palmer golf course in the middle of the action, owned and operated by the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica.
What this means is the area is extraordinarily lush; just a drive down the hill to the entrance of the resort yielded us surprise spottings of white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, a family of Coatis (omg baby Coatis!), and an iguana here and there. Once you've entered the lobby and checked in, however, the Four Seasons is a definite playground for more than just its natural environment.
You know how it is with vacation photos. Sometimes you forget to turn off the flash and that expensive five-star hotel room of yours ends up looking cheap in the harsh lighting. Or the pool water isn't the blue of your dreams or a topless sunbather ruins the background of your beachy family photo. Regardless, everybody retouches vacation photos a little here and thereit's got to look great for Flickr, right?
Well, we found one hotel where retouching is not needed, where the waters of the pool, the beach and the bay are that blue that sews jealousy into the hearts of your Facebook friends. We're speaking of the Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. We've just returned from a weekend there and, upon flipping through our shots of the place, realized that they needed nothing more than a crop or two.
The famous red-roofed Hotel del Coronado may have quite the storied historyThomas Edison dealt with the electrical installation, Marilyn Monroe's Some Like It Hot was filmed here and author L. Frank Baum wrote much of The Wizard of Oz on one of the roomsbut these days some of the coolest creativity is happening outside of its walls down on the beach.
While wandering barefoot in the smooth sand, watching the nearby navy base's helicopters fly over, we stumbled upon a sandcastle. It's not just any sandcastle, however; this is a work of art by Billy Pav, aka "The Sandcastle Man." For over thirty years, he's been building intricate designs solely from the sand, water and shells of San Diego beaches. According to his website, Coronado is his favorite spot, and it's fortunately where we found him this weekend. This particular sandcastle instantly made us think of architect Howard Roark from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.