Sunday, January 31, 2016

Inspiring Your Next Vacation (Part 3)

Congratulations, you've survived the season's first blizzard. Even though all the snow almost gone it's never too soon to start making getaway plans. While we love watching the new season's fashion emerge, few things are more thrilling than visiting a brand new luxury hotel.

The fresh linens, plush towels, eager staff and bragging rights are just a few aspects that make visiting a new hotel extra special. Good thing that the luxury boom has lead to a great crop of properties that just opened or are slated to open in 2016.

In a multi-part series we are highlighting some of the most exciting new destinations in the world. Click your mouse this way to read part one and part part two. For more information about these properties or any other travel related assistance email

Amanera (Dominican Republic)

In November, Aman opened their second resort in North America. Amanda overlooks the beautiful Playa Grande beach. It is the first golf-integrated Aman property and is distinguished by having the highest number of oceanside holes in the Western hemisphere.

The resort sits atop 60-foot cliffs and is set between the beach and golf course. It offers dining, spa and recreational facilities and 25 Casitas. Each of the one-bedroomed casitas enjoys unobstructed ocean vistas from an expansive terrace, outdoor seating and lounging area and a private garden. More than half of the Casitas feature their own 32-foot private swimming pools.

I specifically have my eyes set on the two-bedroomed ‘Bay View Casa,’ which has panoramic views of the ocean, Playa Grande beach and a 65-foot infinity swimming pool that stretches across a large terrace. The Casa has a spectacular glass-walled living and dining room that allows for seamless indoor-outdoor living. The common areas overlook the ocean, pool, a lush private garden and twin reflection pools. Rates start at $1400 a night.

Amanemu (Japan)

The Aman group is opening their second hotel in Japen this March. Amanemu is located in Honshu’s Mie Prefecture, which is a two hour high-speed train ride or a 25-minute helicopter ride from Nagoya. The property is on the picturesque shores of Ago Bay that's also known as the ‘Bay of Pearls.’

There will be 24 suites and four two-bedroomed villas --all of which have their own onsen (hot spring). Guests have access to an extensive Aman Spa, a lap pool, restaurant and lounge.

IAmanemu will offer bespoke Aman Journeys, for those looking to seek out the cultural nuances and the finest experiences of the region, such as the UNESCO-protected pilgrimage routes of Kumano Kodō and Ise-Jingū, Japan’s most sacred Shintō shrine. Rates start at $750 a night.

Six Senses Zil Pasyon (Seychelles)

If you're looking for something a little more secluded, you can direct your attention towards the Six Senses Zil Pasyon. This Summer, the luxury hotel group, Six Senses plans to open their newest resort on the one-square-mile private island of Felcite. The property will include 28 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom villas, all with private pools.

Getting to the private island is no less extravagant than the resort itself. Visitors can choose between a 20-minute flight which arrives at the resort’s own jetty helipad or a short boat trip from nearby La Digue and Praslin islands. I'm a always a sucker for a heli.

The spa is a resort highlight: It faces the ocean surrounded by massive granite rock formations and has an extensive menu of treatments and programs. Forget about massages with pre-recorded waves sounds. Here the sounds are live 24/7. Nightly rates from $1,200.

The Ritz (Paris)

Switching gears to another type of paradise-- Paris. After four years of restoration and renovation, The Ritz, Paris is slated to open in March 2016. The €200 million refurbishment includes a top-to-bottom update of rooms, suites, gardens, Bar Hemingway, Ritz Escoffier cooking school and L’Espadon restaurant.

Meeting the modern expectation of luxury is not easy. Each room has reemerged from its neoclassical setting enlarged, updated with the latest technologies and dressed in subtle silks. Some rooms even offer shaded private terraces overlooking the hotel’s magnificent French garden. Each room also has an en-suite bathroom with heated floors.

The most exciting addition is The Ritz Club, which will house a neoclassical swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath and the world’s first – and only – Chanel spa. The brand’s luxurious line of skin-care and beauty products will take center stage inside the palace of beauty..

Coco Chanel declared: “The Ritz is my home.” Now it can be yours too. Despite a reported fire earlier this week, reservations are being accepted starting March 14. Rates start at €900 or $1100 per night.

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