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The other day we showed you our favorite shots from our favorite hotel at our favorite island in the South China Sea: Bagus Place Resort.
Comprised of seven hand-built villas, or "chalets" as the folks at Bagus like to call them, the resort is a true island paradise, with white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and dense forest cutting you off from any hint of civilization—at night, we could even hear the ooh-ooh-aah-aah of monkeys scurrying around in the treetops outside our room!
Checking In: Check-in is quite an experience here, as it entails taking a private boat from the Tioman Island airport (a tiny little strip of tarmac built on the northern part of the island). After a rollicking 15-minute cruise along the coast—which we mostly spent staring out at the island's gorgeous scenery—we finally pulled up to the Bagus Place jetty.
As we made our way slowly down the insanely-long wooden jetty (where a welcome cocktail awaited us), we took in all the sights, and thought to ourselves, "Oh, this is gonna be good…"
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Go with us as we escape on a private island about 75 miles off the coast of mainland Fiji that will make the shoulders of even the highest strung relax just a bit. We're talking about Tokoriki Island Resort in the outer surroundings of the Mamanuca Islands--where it takes a 90 minute catamaran ride and fishing boat transfer to reach. This boutique resort is the quintessential definition of Fiji-time because there is little to worry about since the only thing you might be late for is snorkeling.
One very important feature of Tokoriki is the staff. Arriving on the island to a hearty BULA!, wooden bead lei and a traditional island song made us feel like we had truly arrived somewhere special. Bordering a personal concierge, we were escorted to our hut and shown around the grounds. Mysteriously, it made us feel familiar, as if we had been here before; that's what Fiji does!
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Anybody catch last night's Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo? If so, you might have noticed the gals were far, far away from their Georgia digs, and kicking back at a luxury resort in the British West Indies.
Ani Villas in picturesque Anguilla was the stunning backdrop to last night's drama-packed episode. The luxury property is all private butlers, private chefs, and private speedboat transfers from the St. Martin airport. Name any amenity required for a luxury getaway, and they've got it.
But this is reality TV, so the minute the Hurricane Housewives touched down in the tropical paradise, the drama began to unfold.
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Anantara Resorts has begun to sell "naturally refined" coffee beans in some of their hotels in the Maldives and Thailand, but you're going to want to read the fine print on this one: They're made from beans that have been digested and pooped out by elephants. Anantara isn't the first with Bali's Ayana resort doing strange things with coffee, cat bladders and their bowels, but they're certainly the priciest. For $1,100 a kilogram, or approximately $50 a cup, travelers can enjoy what is currently the world's most expensive coffee. The digestion of the beans apparently breaks down the proteins that cause bitterness, claiming to make this cup of Joe go down as smoothly as it no doubt comes out of the elephants.
Anyway you slice it, Anantara Resorts gets the last laugh with this one. The irony in the fact that you are paying 50 times what a cup of coffee should cost in an effort to drink what comes out of the back end of an elephant cannot be overlooked. We had to chuckle when we saw that they decided to name it Black Ivory Coffee, as if we needed any spacial imagery for this one.
Are we down? In theory, yes, but not for that price - it's just ridiculous.
Does dunking a donut in elephant dung coffee do anything for you? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo: Anantara Resorts]
The über-luxury resorts of Anantara will now be pampering guests visiting the tropical vacation destination of Sanya in the Hainan province of China. The new hotel is a mixture of top-notch Asian service with the endless summer of Southern China.
Anantara guests are usually treated to lush jungle and beach front views all in a secluded paradise environment. This resort is no different. Sitting in the shadow of low-level mountains between the South China Sea, there is no doubt that your shoulders will relax once you step foot on the grounds. Of course, the signature namesake spa can help with that too.
The entire hotel is a purpose-built facility that offers guests the option of large rooms, suites, and private pool villas spread over 122 rooms. The pool villas face the ocean with individual access to a secluded pool and come with a personal host to ensure every need is met.
Travel is all about choice: do you splurge on a business class ticket, or settle in for a cozy ride in economy? Spend the morning on the beach or shopping in town? Or, better yet, go shopping first for a new bathing suit, which you can then wear on the beach?
Here's question for all you Caribbean jetsetters: on your next visit to Buccament Bay Spa & Resort, would you consider taking part in an all-inclusive boot camp program? Now, before you go diving under the covers picturing mean-faced drill sergeants screaming at you to do more push-ups than are humanly possible, just keep in mind this is actually a luxury boot camp. So while the goal is to work out, the parallel goal is also to pamper.
Boca Beach Club in Boca Raton, FL, must get a lot of good kite-flying weather. Because, as part of its new beefed-up roster of activities, the hotel is launching a beachfront kite-flying program, helmed by master kite-flyer (and former math teacher) Randy Lowe (pictured, top right).
If you've ever been curious about the world of kite-flying, this is the guy to talk to. Randy not only loves flying kites, but a rep for the hotel calls him a "true performer"; plus, he's invested over $100,000 on a private specialty kite collection, which he keeps at his home in Delray Beach. Wanna catch this guy in action? Read on to find out how.
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If You Like Golf, Fresh Veggies, And the Caribbean Sea, You'll Definitely Like CuisinArt Golf Resort
Though we inundated you on Wednesday with a couple of delicious-looking island getaway destinations in our HotelChatter 2012 Caribbean Hotel Guide, here's one more to consider: the picture-perfect CuisinArt Resort, where Bachelor-seeking ladies get their hearts broken, and golf-lovers while away the hours in blissful oblivion.
In between all the golf and the stilted courtship, guests can all unite at the resort's two new signature restaurants: Tokyo Bay and Italia, both of which debuted last month. Located in different parts of the resort, and featuring two distinct cuisines—in case the names didn't clue you in—the view from both spots is pretty much the same, and pretty much awesome.
Our mouths are watering already, and we haven't even read the menu.
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In case you didn't know, Leap Year is a big deal to lots of hotels. For some reason, that one little extra day thrown into the calendar sends them all into fits of benevolent joy, and results in all kinds of cool deals and packages. We mentioned a few last week, but here's another round for you February jetsetters to take into consideration.
Possibly one of the best deals out there is at the Inn on the Alameda in Santa Fe, which is offering complimentary one-night stays to anyone born on February 29. Sadly, that doesn't include us, but if you're one of the chosen ones, consider a longer stay with their foodie-centric packages like "Muy Sabrosa Cooking School" and the awesome-sounding chocolate sampler.
Not that we have anything against nudity. Nor do we disapprove of unconventional wedding ceremonies. It's just, well, after all the Fashion Week madness here in New York, it's kind of refreshing to see guests who just don't give a darn.
Over 100 couples sent in detailed reasons as to why they should be picked for the clothes-optional getaway. And we're guessing the reasons had to be something other than "to save money on a wedding gown." Once they arrived, each couple was treated to a four-night stay at the resort, in exchange for agreeing to be filmed for an upcoming documentary. Which means they get to save money on a wedding photographer too. Good deal!
Any Panamanians who were still unclear about that gigantic white tower that recently went up on a quarter-mile stretch of beach outside of Panama City had their doubts removed this weekend, when Westin Playa Bonita, a 650-room, Pacific Ocean-facing resort with three pools, six restaurants, and a forthcoming spa, officially opened.
Drawn by a few awesome firework displays, an open bar, and a steady stream of live music (salsa, merengue, reggaeton—you name it, they played it), an estimated 3400 people turned up to celebrate Westin's grand arrival in the city (though Starwood's Le Meridien Panama has been around for a few years now). And with yet another Westin set to open later this year, Panamanians aren't likely to be forgetting Westin's name anytime soon. Nor, for that matter, will the 700 (mostly US) guests who received a taste of Carnival-style partying that lasted well into Friday night/Saturday morning, during the hotel's grand opening event.
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In the wonderful world of hotel promotions, the elusive weekend rate slash hasn't been so slippery these days. Chalk it up to January sales, a.k.a. the veritable Black Friday of travel shopping. Only instead of a day, deals are rife through the month, and instead of Tickle Me Elmo, you're looking for an available King suite.
Those too good to be true deals usually come with a caveat or two, though. "Book by [blank date]," "Exclusions may apply," blah, blah—we've heard it all before. We were weary when we heard that Marriott was kicking off a Global Rate Break of 20% off weekend stays, and up to 40% off at select resorts, especially in light of Hilton's similar—and so-so—weekend sale.
Here are the rules of the game: you have to book by January 22nd for stays from the 22nd through March 21st of this year, the deal applies to select locations worldwide, and a Friday or Saturday stay is required. Promo code: F5X. Let's do this.