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There's travel talk everywhere about how expensive it'll be to fly and drive this summer, so there has to be some savings somewhere, yes? The most obvious place will be in hotel rates, and so our gift to you this week was one hotel a day under $100 a night. Now, we're not saying every place is of Ritz quality, because then it would be...well, the bloody Ritz. But the places are nice enough for you to sleep at night.
Our Last Pick: Alta Lodge
When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt need a romantic getaway, they head to Utah. Yes, Utah. Hey, sometimes you have to go to someplace remote for peace and quiet when you live with six kids. The couple cleared their schedules and left the kids with a sitter for some nookie at the Amangiri resort.
There, the two embarked on a 27-hour romantic rendezvous in the desert. After checking into the hotel, the lovebirds had a late dinner and jetted off on their private plane over Lake Powell the next morning. Maybe Angelina has found her latest kinky sex hotel?
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It's been almost two months since Hilton's contemporary Home2 Suites brand launched in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the second hotel just opened March 10 in Layton, Utah. So we figured it was a good time to check in to see what people have been saying about the stylish all-suite hotels, which comes with free WiFi, iPhone and iPad iHome docking stations and a complimentary continental breakfast.
We checked in on TripAdvisor to see what the buzz is. But there's only one TripAdvisor review, likely because the hotels aren't in major cities.
Did you watch That Martha Stewart Show yesterday? If not, you missed all the usual hilarity of Martha inviting over a guest who isn't all that adept at cooking, and this time it was American fashion designer Michael Kors.
Kors and Stewart baked his grandmother's pineapple upside-down cake and chatted about various things, from horses to must-have items for fall. But perhaps the biggest revelation was Kors' influence for his Resort 2011 collection.
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Vogue fashion spreads have been shot in some of the world's most glamourous locales: Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Utah. Wait a sec—Utah? Before you poo-poo what might seem like a strange location choice, take a look at one editorial layout in the magazine's January issue.
It features Canadian model Daria Werbowy in various designer states of dress (and undress), sporting YSL dresses and practicing yoga inversions with the desert's Amangiri resort providing the backdrop. As we previously reported, Amangiri is an uber-zen retreat whose rooms run upward of $3,300 for the most cushy accommodations.
Essentially, it's buried deep in the middle-of-nowhere, but if you're a socialite whose grown tired of skyscrapers and the nightlife, horses and hydrotherapy sound pretty darn appealing.
In the world of dog-friendly hotels, there are the ones that let you bring your own pup, ones that want to pamper your pup with toys and fancy room service, and there are ones that have their own furry friends on hand at the concierge desk. We love all of these incarnations, but here’s yet another spin on getting your doggie fix on the road. At Utah’s Quail Park Lodge, dog-loving guests can volunteer at the nearby Best Friends Animal Society, and, once they’ve fallen in love with one of the adoptable dogs there, they can bring them back to the hotel for a sleepover date.
This “Puppy Therapy” package goes beyond getting your very own furry bed warmer for the night—spending time with your temporary charge helps socialize him for adoption. So don’t feel like you’re teasing the doggie with hotel-life luxury only to send him back to the shelter—you’re actually helping him develop the nice behavior that will speed up his transition to his forever home.
Mention zen meditation and Sanskrit names, and canyon country (the Utah-Arizona border, to be exact) isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But when it comes to choosing between an ashram and pilates classes at a resort, we'll take what's behind door number two, thanks.
With last week's opening of the Amangiri (which in Sanskrit means "peaceful mind"), the choice between East and West has become non-existent. The 34-guest suite resort has landed smack dab in the middle of towering rock formations and national parks, made possible by an Act of Congress that legally allows for the swap of private and Federal land.
The Amangiri belong to the Amanresorts family of Singapore, also known for operating hotels in East Asia. For those looking to do big thinking—or no thinking—amidst a natural backdrop, there's an entire menu of OM-inducing activities to choose from. Hydro and color therapy? Check. Yoga? Check. Stargazing on secluded sky terraces? Check.
Red Mountain Resort & Spa wants you to go the natural route. Considered "alternative" to many in the West, Eastern medicine techniques have long been used to prevent and heal various illnesses. This month, Red Mountain is championing various alt-approaches in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While we don't advocate one mode of healing over another, we do support awareness-raising efforts, and Red Mountain's approach just happens to translate into zen-inducing programs for guests. Just listen to the music on their homepage for a taste of the vibe they're going for.
Since there's a certain contingent that's dubious of chanting "Om" and being pricked by chakra-balancing needles, Red Mountain's programs are meant to educate as much as they are soothe your stressed out nerves. You can sign up to be led in a session of Preventative Meditation, learn more about "A Chinese Medical Perspective on Healing From Cancer", sit in on a lecture about Prevention, Detection and Nutrition, or partake in a Healing Fire Ceremony with a certified shaman.
Alright, we're stuck for words on this one: NBC's show The Biggest Loser has expanded its franchising to include a full-on fitness resort in Utah, only 90 minutes away from the capital of gluttony: Las Vegas. The Biggest Loser Resort Fitness Ridge is everything you could ever hope for from what is essentially a "fat camp" for adults: a secluded location, a big pool, in-room DVD players, a class called "living drums," and a gift shop.
Of course, since it is a fat camp, you'll be jogging around in the desert, treading water in that pool, watching DVDs on nutritional eating, and pounding the heck out of fitness balls in your "drumming class." And there's not a single Snickers bar to be found in the gift shop. Oh man, we are shaking in our spandex pants at the thought.
The swinging '60s have been revived at The Quail Park Lodge in Kanab, Utah, bringing what the hotel calls mid-century "nostalgia" to the hotel, not obsolete throwbacks. We'll be waiting to hear from readers who have stayed at the newly restored property to see if it lives up to their promise of bringing cozy "retro Americana" to this millennium.
If you're traveling off the beaten path and are looking for an equally distinct hotel experience, then consider turning down expansive log cabin-like lodgings in favor of Quail Park's quirky environs. In the photos we've seen, curved furnishings, what appear to be Jonathan Adler (or, at least, Jonathan Adler-esque) pottery pieces in the lobby, and bright yellow and blue splashes of color all give Quail Park a mod feel, though it seems pretty tame and not too kitschy.
You might say we’ve got it bad for puppies. So pardon our excitement over the adorableness of the Red Mountain Resort & Spa’s new partnership with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. The Utah resort is offering guests the chance to volunteer at the neighboring sanctuary — AKA play with rescued animals (not just puppies!) and help maintain the sanctuary.
The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Experience begins with a short hike to an overlook in Zion National Park, followed by a tour of the sanctuary, which sits on a 33,000-acre ranch in Angel Canyon. After the tour is lunch overlooking the canyon, then an afternoon hanging with some new furry friends. Volunteer activities range from brushing and walking dogs to scooping poop and cleaning trails.
Best Friends is home to nearly 2,000 rescued dogs, cats, horses, pigs, and more and is a short drive to Red Mountain Resort & Spa. You can read more about the sanctuary over at Jaunted.
The eight-hour volunteer experience is offered weekly and can be added to any available Red Mountain package for $129 per person (group rates available).
All Aman Resorts properties tend to be noteworthy, and their new place, Amangiri, is no exception. Located at Canyon Point in Utah, it really is a small resort set in the wilderness: it's in the middle of an area that used to be Federal land for Navajo and Hopi tribes, but was claimed by Aman Resorts through a 2005 Act of Congress that swapped some private and Federal lands.
That puts Amangiri in the middle of an incredible desert of rock formations and gives you the kind of bedroom window views that really look like they're photoshopped in and it's just a stone's throw to the Grand Staircase, Escalante National Monument.