Villas - 5 Star Hotels

Bali's Cinnamon Private Villas - Kayumanis - We were assigned a team of butlers to assist us with any needs during our stay, INyoman (3rd born) Subagia took us down a cobblestone path and within seconds we found ourselves at the grand entrance to our lodging, otherwise known as the Villa Sandat.

The Villa Jardin on St Barts from Wimco - For those considering an escape to St. Barts, keep in mind that accommodations-wise hotel and villa rates are highest around Christmas; low season is from mid-April to mid-December. (For example, the weekly rate for Villa Jardin is almost 50 percent less in the spring, summer, and fall.)

Villa Villa Verano in Puerto Vallarta - “Verano”, the Spanish word for “summer”, aptly describes this secluded hideaway, for here it’s summer year-round. This is a fully-staffed private estate in Conchas Chinas, the most elite residential neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The main house at Villa Verano feels like an extension of the grounds and pool area. It’s as if there’s no formal “front door” through which to pass. Outdoor areas morph into indoor rooms. Indian throw rugs, potted ferns, original art, overstuffed sofas and chairs and round glass coffee tables inhabit this space between you and the sea.

Villa Buonvisi in Italy - I've experienced a new kind of Italian adventure—a weeklong stay at Buonvisi Estate, a family-run complex of villas in the Tuscan hills near Lucca. Now they're putting the final touches on Villa Buonvisi, built during the Renaissance as a focal point of the wooded estate.  With ten bedrooms, the magnificent manor house will be ready to receive guests—family reunions, wedding parties, business groups or other gatherings—in the spring of 2008.

The Caribbean's Best Boutique Hotel - Villa Nova - Villa Nova is a classic hotel outpost of considerable desideratum that is ensconced in the sugar hills of Barbados, recently capturing these awards: "Hottest Hotel in the World", from Conde Nast Traveler Magazine; Tattlers' "Prestige Hotel of the Year"; and in 2003, "Boutique Hotel of the Year" from the World Travel Awards.

5 -Star Hotels

Luxury On The Half Shell , Oyster Box Hotel and Spa - Oysters are a health food and with modern refrigeration they can be eaten year around.  But for truly fresh oysters check yourself into the Oyster Box Hotel and Spa on Lighthouse Road above the Umhlanga Rocks 15 miles east of downtown Durban, South Africa.

Leading Luxury Indicator - The Saxon Hotel Spa and Villas -
There will be no argument from me — as a luxury indicator The Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas, and Spa in Johannesburg is leading the way to superb suburbian relaxation; the resort has been voted the world's leading boutique hotel every year since 2001, and it is a member of the elite Leading Small Hotels of the World.

Carte Blanche in Capetown at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa - If there had been 13 Apostles God would have had to add an additional peak to the World Heritage Site  of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, and the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa would have to change its appellation to 13A.

Luxury Mantra at Sukhothai Bangkok - For the award-winning Sukhothai service begins, not at the hotel, but upon arrival at Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi International airport. As you clear customs a hotel escort greets you warmly with a wai (pronounced “why”) the traditional Thai greeting done by pressing your hands together and bowing slightly. He swoops in to take your luggage and lead you to your car, a Mercedes S320 CDI, one of eighteen identically-equipped limos in the hotel’s luxury fleet staffed by 27 full-time drivers.

Landmark of Luxury - The US Grant Hotel - The minute I entered the spacious first floor lobby, I felt the world class luxury of a cosmopolitan experience. The  polished mahogany woodwork, the grey veining of the Italian Carrara marble floors from the original 1910 lobby, glistened under the pristine and opulent crystal chandeliers that sparkled under the hand-carved ceilings  The old world elegance of the interior architecture mixed with contemporary rich cool Belgian blue accents, gives the property the prestige of the Presidential seal. 

Make It Soon To the Ritz Cancun - If you combine courtesy, efficiency, elegance, and impeccable service and professionalism you would come to the inescapable conclusion that these are the hallmarks of the Ritz Carlton Cancun, located in the heart of Mexico's Yucatan playground.

Glitter Bay, Barbados The Fairmont Hotel puts on a fair face in Barbados. Conde Nast Magazine ranks Glitterbay, on the west coast of Barbados, as one of the best resorts in the Caribbean. As the former mansion of the Cunard cruise line magnate, it is now your home for luxury, golf, horseback riding, watersports and tea and crumpets. West Indies cricket anyone?

Mr. Jefferson's Land - Keswick Hall - There are any number of choices for lodging in Charlottesville, from bed and breakfasts to modern motels and hotels. On my last visit, however, I decided to spend a few days being pampered at the beautiful Keswick Hall, close to downtown Charlottesville and just a few minutes’ drive from Monticello.

Vienna's Regal Residence - The Hotel Imperial When the Duke of Wurttemberg came back from a business trip, he was dismayed to find that his backyard, which was essentially a park at that time, had been bisected with a new road. Not one to cross the street to go to the park, the Duke decided that the road had ruined his Vienna palace and put it up for sale. Now you too, can stay at The Sheraton's Luxury Collection — The Imperial Hotel.

Historic Luxury At The Crane Set high on a cliff above the Atlantic Ocean stands the magnificent "CRANE", Barbados oldest resort hotel. The original hotel, built in the 1700s, was integrated into the expansion of 1887, which was also integrated into the expansion of 2001 and features quite possibly THE most spectacular views on the entire island, from the world-renowned pool, framed by a row of classic Greek columns overlooking Crane Beach, to the ensuite private pools, Resort Apartments or Private Residences; magnificent views are de rigueur at The Crane.

Best Jamaican Spa - Round Hill Resort - Azure waters, pristine beaches, immaculate lawns and impeccable service combine to make Round Hill in Hanover Parish, Jamaica, not only a world class destination, but one that raises the bar in so far as resorts are concerned.

New Zealand's Remarkable Lodge - Matakauri - Be forewarned. When you drive up to the luxurious Matakauri Lodge south of Queenstown, New Zealand, drive a car with a low-roof. Why? Because the Matakauri is so private and exclusive, that you have to drive through the forest to get to their front door. The Lodge is set on nine acres of native bush, partially landscaped with rolling lawns, a meandering stream and surrounded by a pine forest, overlooking the spectacular Lake Wakatipu, creating an atmosphere of supreme privacy and enjoyment.

Superb Spa Resorts

The Costa With The Mosta - La Costa Resort & Spa - Rumor has it that three “Hombres”, from Carlsbad, Chicago and Vegas in the early 1960s, went horseback riding along the Southern California coast and dreamed up this hideaway and included every amenity imaginable. 

Where Heaven Meets Earth - I visited Miraval because I heard it was a spa experience unlike any other. It not only had awesome spa treatments but each activity taught their guests how to achieve a life in balance. With two teenage children, a husband, and a high powered executive position, I desperately needed to find ways to unstress and bring my chaotic life back into some semblance of balance and order.

Relais & Chateaux

Love Is In The Air at Rancho Valencia Resort - This magnificent resort is imbued with LOVE from the second you step onto the property. Set amidst 40 acres of hills and orange trees north of San Diego, it’s minutes away from the scenic beaches of La Jolla and the thrilling excitement of the Del Mar Race Track.

The Palette of Provence Painted in New England - Provence is a place both real and imagined and the Home Hill French Inn & Restaurant in Plainfield, New Hampshire easily embraces this idea. A real dream-come-true for owners Victoria and Stephane du Roure, it's a feast for the imagination of their international clientele.

Edwardian Elegance - The Charlotte Inn on Martha's Vineyard - The tranquility we observe does not happen by chance, but rather by a conscious effort to make the inn a place where guests’ desire for privacy and quietude comes first. In fact, the inn does not accept groups of any sort, nor children under 14, and as such, is not a place for everyone. The typical guest is a well-to-do, discriminating traveler who expects to be accommodated in a place that is an exemplar of elegance, refinement, and romance.

The Wauwinet - Nantucket's Most Intimate Hideaway
The Wauwinet is a Relaise & Chateau located on a strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Bay, tucked in next to a bird sanctuary. It is itself a sanctuary from the often frantic pace of the island's center and is the last commercial property on the road to Great Point Lighthouse and the nature preserve that surrounds it.

A Walk In Kay's Garden - Standing at the head of island studded Cashel Bay the only thing separating Connemara’s Cashel House in Ireland and North America is the North Atlantic.

eL Castell de Ciutat - We discovered El Castell de Ciutat (Castle of the City) by chance. An unplanned stop while traveling in Spain, this superb Relais & Chateaux hotel and spa became one of our fondest Iberian memories. The hotel is perched just over 2,100 feet on a hilltop dominating the most strategic point of the high Segre Valley in La Seu d’Urgell, a small village established during the Bronze Age.

Suite Luxury At Cobblers Cove Cobblers Cove features 40 luxury suites housed within 10 two-story cottages of four suites each. The main Great House features a sweeping "Gone With The Wind" staircase that leads to the two Specialty Suites: Colleton and Camelot, the ultimate in luxury, surrounded by lush gardens and well-manicured grounds. Cobblers Cove, one of only five Caribbean members of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux, prides itself on assuring their guests an intimate ambience that speaks the language of love.

Castle Hotels - Manor Houses

Ireland's Blue Book - Jetsetters Magazine visited many of the historic manor homes in Ireland that are open to the public as guest accommodations.  Many of these manses are located in rural, rolling countryside, mountain valleys, near national parks, and other remote Irish locales.  All of the properties are represented by Ireland Blue Book, a company that scrutinizes a manor home’s every detail, from historical significance, to fine dining, to attractions in the area, before it is listed and promoted by this service.

A Quiet Castle For The Quiet Man - The regal Ashford Castle core was begun by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family in 1228, but the ancient Celtics had lived in the area for over 1100 years before the castle was built.  The de Burgos defeated the native O’Connors of Connaught and they built several castles in Ireland , but Ashford was their stronghold. The grounds are recorded in Irish history from the 2nd century. Later generations expanded the castle buildings.

Cupid Castle Cures - When touring Ireland you can stay in a farmhouse, guesthouse, villa, secret hunting lodge, abbey, palace, or country manor house. But for romance you must stay in a traditional and authentic Celtic castle!

Romance In Stone - Here is an interactive list of ancient but modernized stone castles in Ireland for your next romantic interlude. Just click the photos for instant booking!

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