The Lodhi Adds Stamp on Style to Luxury Hotels in New Delhi

The top luxury hotels in New Delhi are precious indeed. Demand often outstrips supply in the great capital city of India. But those visiting India on business or in search of pampered adventure will know exactly where to find the best accommodations in New Delhi, and no doubt of The Lodhi will be on top of the list.

1Guests accustomed to staying at Aman Resorts will want to stay at The Lodhi, as this was an Aman Resort until last year. A lift here, paint there, and a new youthful do, The Lodhi is its own property now, as luxury minded as ever but with a chic persona that is making waves in Bollywood and beyond.

Raj-sized Rooms at The Lodhi

Rooms here Raj-sized. Even the smaller choices come as spacious as a house with an ample terrace opening over quiet park views in central Delhi. Calming pastels paint the interiors and private plunge pools complementing most accommodations make striking additions amid the hotel’s rooms and suites.

IMG_1802The hotel traded traditional, overstuffed classic decor for light, airy, contemporary themes using local materials, such as Khareda stone quarried in northern India, for the flooring protected throughout the property by handmade rugs. The Lodhi’s 40 rooms and suites, and 28 pied-a-terre apartments spread over seven acres abutting some of the rare and most venerated green space in New Delhi: Lodhi Gardens.

Looking over Lodhi Gardens

The park is opposite the hotel, a ring of peace created in 1936 by Lady Willingdon (wife of the Viceroy of India) around three tombs and a ruined mosque. Within those wooded 90 acres find herb gardens, rose gardens, even a bonsai park. The grand 14th century, octagonal tomb of Mohammed Shah Sayyid makes a haunting centerpiece and often serves as location for morning yoga in the park.

Guests of The Lodhi are also guests of India and to that point, are offered some rare regional experiences to make the stay that much more memorable. Through a variety of guest programs at The Lodhi, visitors can have guided explorations of nearby Lodhi gardens or visit neighboring Nizamuddin Village, a historic and mysterious area surrounding Humayan’s Tomb. Also available are shopping tours of traditional area markets, such as the Khan Market, Meher Chand Market, Sunder Nagar, Connaught Place, Old Delhi, the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid. Hotel guides can assist in locating Indian designers and perfect souvenirs of local crafts and textiles, shawls, jewelry, decor items and artifacts.

3Cycling or rickshaw tours through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi are a must for anyone who wants to experience the essence of local life in Delhi. Home-cooked dinners in Indian homes and tours of the local food markets are all on the table as well and guests can get lessons in perfecting paneer during cooking lessons in The Lodhi Kitchen.

OTW Interiors-142 copy copyRespite from the din and dust of New Delhi gets a boost from The Lodhi’s aromatic Hammam Steam Baths and Bamboo Garden relaxation areas. A signature deep tissue massage employing sandalwood oils with vetiver and pomegranate can melt away any jetlag or travel tensions. An Olympic-sized swimming pool, gym and Pilates studio come handy for on the spot workouts. And guests can always soak in their own private terrace pool and lose all notions of place and time.

IMG_7069Aman Journey Lets India Unfold

But the journey that starts at The Lodhi is only one piece of the path for visitors traveling to India. India is a country that is peeled off in layers, digested in small doses and The Lodhi makes the journey just right with its Aman Journey, a six-night circuit that exposes guests to the vibrant culture of India, through two-night stays at The Lodhi, the Amanbagh and the Aman-i-Khas, in mysterious Rajasthan. It includes daily breakfast for two and one activity per resort per stay.

The Amanbagh Resort, a desert oasis some 230 kilometers from New Delhi, is tucked within a walled compound that was once the staging area for the Maharajah of Alwar’s royal hunts. The grounds evoke a certain palatial grandeur emblematic of the Moghul Era, and the resort includes such royal amenities as a pool and spa. The hills surrounding Amanbagh are enchanting sets for private picnics in marble gorges, camel and horse safaris, excursions to ancient forts and ruins and visits to colorful rural villages.

The next days bring further explorations into the wilderness of Rajasthan with nights at Aman-i-khas, a tented camp in the heart of Rajasthan’s starkly beautiful wilds, near Ranthambore National Park. Guests spend mornings and late afternoons on tiger hunts and while elusive tigers rarely show, chital deer and marsh crocodiles abound. Guests can cool off at a traditional stepwell that serves as a dipping pool, or head to the spa tent for some magical healing treatments. Dusk falls in a spectrum of earth tones over rustic Rajasthan. Quiet and mystical it is celebrated with thali dishes featuring fresh organic produce and roti with piquant relishes, and then toasted in appreciation around the bonfire witnessed by the night stars.

Rates for the 2015 high season, which runs through March, start at $431. Rates for the Aman Journey for two start at $4,820, including activities and most breakfasts.

 

The Lodhi 
New Delhi
(011 91) 11 4363-3333
reservations@thelodhi.com
www.thelodhi.com

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Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com

KAA News Roundup

Big news from Puerto Rico, where the remodeled and re-imagined Condado Vanderbilt opened in San Juan on December 8th.  Read about the fascinating history of this iconic hotel here.

Gold List: The World’s Best Hotels from the editors of Conde Nast Traveler is out and we are proud Six Senses Zighy Bay, Halekulani, and Estancia Vik have made the list.  Read the full list here. And a big congrats to Halekulani on Oahu for making Travel + Leisure‘s 2015 “The Word’s Best Hotels” list.

To inspire your 2015 travel plans, Travel + Leisure magazine has compiled a list of 50 of the “Best Places to Travel in 2015.”  Places we love receiving a mention are Istanbul, Chile, Milan, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Queenstown New Zealand, Chengdu China, Dominican Republic, and Bali. Read the full list here.

Many great hotels make this list from The NY Post, “22 Don’t-Miss Travel Destinations for 2015″ including The Lanesborough in London, Baccarat Hotel in New York, Vina Vik in Chile, Milan and Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, China.

More awards from AFAR, and the Mag’s “11 Most Beautiful Places to Stay in the World” here featuring Fivelements in Bali and The Siam in Bangkok.

It is not too early to plan a wellness trip for the New Year, to jump start your resolutions, calm frazzled nerves, or just sit in silence in a warm yoga room. All of our wellness retreats can offer all of this and much more. A great list here features SHA Wellness and Kamalaya in an article, “5 Best Recovery Holidays for Stress & Burnout.”

Lahra Tatriele from Fivelements in Bali was featured in Just Breathe Mag’s How to Meditate in 7 Simple Steps. Fivelements was also featured in the Huffington Post, “Cultivating Weightless Simplicity” and in Time Out Dubai’s article, “Stylish Eco Retreats.”

Learn more about Ananda in India from this review in Travel Weekly by Beth Adler. A great article here in UT San Diego described the program at VeraVia in Carlsbad in great detail.  VeraVia was also mentioned in an article by Pravassa in the Huffington Post on Top Wellness Trends for 2015. Lastly, congrats to the team at Armani/SPA, winner at the prestigious Condé Nast Johansens Spa Awards for Excellence.

As if a villa on the beach or over water is not enough, Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives has added private plunge pools to many of their villas, plus many additional improvements.  Read more here.

Another Six Senses Resort wins Smith Hotels Sexiest Bedroom award for 2014: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam.

The newly opened Norman Hotel in Tel Aviv is receiving praise from guests and press, read more here and see some stunning photos in Hotel Chatter’s article, “Historic Roots and Cool Rooms at the New Norman Tel Aviv.”

Down to Uruguay, where we can see a sneak peek of the new Bahia Vik in Jose Ignacio in the Robb Report here.

Up to Nicaragua where Mukul is featured in Recommend Mag and then over to The Galapagos, where Pikaia Lodge is featured in Forbes and in an article “25 of the Coolest Green Trips.”

Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia is a sexy island getaway, and Bride’s Magazine agrees in their article “Sexiest Private Island Honeymoon Resorts” here and in Martha Stewart Weddings “10 Picture-Perfect Private Island Resorts to Travel to for Your Honeymoon.”

Zita Cobb, founder of Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn, was awarded Hotelier of the Year at the Pinnacle Awards in Toronto. The stunning Newfoundland furniture pieces from the property are now available online here. AFAR named Fogo Island Inn among the best hotels in Canada here and The National Post featured Fogo in their article here on 5 fun spots to enjoy winter.

Dubai is a hot place to be for New Year’s and some award winning hotels are ready to bring the action. Armani Hotel Dubai recently won World’s Leading Landmark Hotel at The World Travel Awards, and The Address Downtown Dubai was named World’s Best Individual Hotel.

Forbes includes Micato Safaris in their roundup of the Seven Most Luxurious Safaris. The company’s dedication to giving back continues to amaze, read more in this article here from Crains New York.

May exciting travel plans, wellness, and adventure find you in 2015.  Happy Holidays from Kurtz-Ahlers!

 

 

Chinese New Year Package at The Siam, Bangkok

Celebrate the year of the sheep with a very special offer from The Siam in Bangkok. From Feb 19 – 28, 2015 when booking 2 consecutive nights, 3rd night is complimentary.  Rates from THB 14,950 per night ++ for a Siam Suite

Package includes:

  • Breakfast for 2 persons
  • Welcome Chinese New Year welcome gift in the room
  • Private walking tour of 200 year old Chinese temple in the vicinity of The Siam
  • Butler Service
  • Wifi and local calls
  • Shuttle boat service to Taksin pier

Please quote when booking: CNY and contact reservations at reservations@thesiamhotel.com for further information.  Offer subject to availability and can’t be combined with any other available package.

Travel to Turkey as an Insider with Sea Song

You can visit Turkey for the food, the sun and the color. You can visit Turkey for the ancient history, alive and alluring in every city and village. You can visit Turkey for the festivals, celebrating traditions in their fullest glory. And you can visit Turkey simply for the ambience of being there, comfortably ensconced within some of the best hotels in the world. But if you visit Turkey, you should see it through a top destination specialist, such as Sea Song.

Sea SongVisiting Turkey can be vexing at best and frustrating at worst while you wander through some of history’s most precious treasures without knowing what you are seeing. The inscrutable land that bridges Europe and Asia, reaches deep into the story of man and mind and serves as the bedrock of modern civilization.

Sea Song, which consistently earns Condé Nast’s attention each year when top honors in travel are given, gets those honors because of a singular approach to travel in Turkey: Individual.

531146_447071408684560_1299818869_nThe visitor that wants to spend balloon time over Cappadocia or wine time in Izmir overlooking the Aegean, may not be the same visitor who wants to visit Tomb of Rumi at dawn, raft the Coruh River or trek the Lycian Way. Special interests are on the table at Sea Song. Cookie-cutter bus tour experiences are not. That means visitors, whether individuals, families, friends or groups, are given the chance to see Turkey their way.

Sea Song can arrange visits to local carpet weavers or Iznik potters. Sea Song guests can pass through places Paul once walked on his missionary journeys to Asia Minor, or touch temples of Jewish life in Anatolia dating back to 700 B.C. Local spice markets, exotic hammams, even museum treasures in private audience with prominent curators – it’s all available for the asking through Sea Song.

485646_343740739017628_152820878109616_984287_1762007489_nDining is given its own menu with Sea Song. There are street foods to try, unusual seafood to sample, kabob cultures to explore, Anatolian village cooking to discover, and hip and sophisticated dining scenes to scope out along Sofyali Street in Istanbul.

Sea Song focuses on four visitor types and manages to cover the range of travel desires in Turkey. Sea Song caters to the private FIT traveler; the cruise passenger looking for special travel experiences in Turkey during or as a pre/post add-on; families and small groups that want to travel together on a customized tour through Turkey – whether just for a day in Istanbul or for a full adventure through the whole of the country; and special event guests, VIPs or special clients looking for a specific type of experience that only a knowledgeable and flexible operator could manage.

Gulet “You can have (a private) lunch in Ephaseus or dinner in Topkapi palace. You can have a meal or an event in an underground cistern or a special cultural site,” Sea Song CEO, Karen Fedorko-Sefer told travel agents during an interview with Signature Travel Network.

With Sea Song, tours are not tours. They are journeys and they can be journeys through archeological waves or adventures on bike and foot through ancient and historical, and superbly scenic, mountain passes. They can be journeys by luxurious Turkish gulets to hidden beaches and caves along the Turquoise Coast, or floats up the Emerald River to the ancient city of Kaunos.

In a land of so much history, beauty and culture there is no sky – no firmament in the realm of possibility during an immersive discovery of Turkey.

Bosphorus 2Festivals in Turkey

Festivals are another colorful part of the land and culture scape of Turkey. Here’s a list of festivals and celebrations to check out while visiting Istanbul and the countryside in 2015.

January:
New Year’s Day (Yılbaşı; closures); Camel Wrestling Festival in Selçuk

April:
Istanbul’s Tulip Festival; Istanbul Film Festival; Easter Sunday (western and eastern); International Music Festival in Ankara

May:
Labor Day (closures); Atatürk Commemoration and Youth Day (sports events, closures); Orthodox Ascension; Festival of Culture and Art in Selçuk

June & July:
Istanbul Music Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival; Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournament in Edirne; Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival in Antalya, at the ancient site of Aspendos

August:
Bodrum’s International Ballet Festival in St. Peter’s Castle; Victory Day (closures); Assumption of the Virgin Mary mass (at the House of the Virgin Mary at Ephesus), led by the Archbishop of Izmir

September:
Sacrifice Feast Days (Kurban Bayramı; closures)

October:
Republic Day (national holiday)

November:
Istanbul International Short Film Festival; Efes Pilsen Blues Festival; Contemporary Istanbul Art Festival

December:
Festival of the Whirling Dervishes in Konya; New Year’s Eve (fireworks, etc.)

 

Contact:

Sea Song
Istanbul, Turkey
(+90 212) 292 85 55
seasong@seasong.com
www.seasong.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com

KAA News Roundup

Welcome Winter.  It may be time to make some beach vacation plans, and our portfolio is full of tropical locales.  Read on for the latest, and may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Six Senses Resorts & Spas has several new openings planned for 2015 including Portugal and The Seychelles. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam was awarded  “Sexiest Hotel Bedroom by Smith Hotel Awards.

Vik Retreats has exciting news this month with both Bahia Vik and Vina Vik set to welcome guests. Read about the new properties as well as Estancia Vik and Playa Vik in some great press this month from W Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.

To the west, Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos continues to receive great press and rave reviews after their recent opening. Read about it in The Financial Times

The new Condado Vanderbilt will be re-open Dec. 8 after an extensive renovation. This legendary hotel in San Juan Puerto Rico is almost ready for it’s first guests!

Gansevoort Turks + Caicos on Grace Bay Beach is the perfect spot for a destination wedding and View the Vibe agrees.

Musha Cay was featured in The Telegraph’s article, “Top 10 millionaires’ paradise islands: where the rich and famous go to get away from it all.” View this video interview with Island Director Cathy Daly with Superyachts from the Monaco Yacht Show.

Over to Nicaragua, where Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa continues to receive great press. Mukul was featured in  Forbes Travel Guide’s “5 Wedding Packages We Love For 12-13-14.” They also made the list from Travel + Leisure of the Hottest New Beach Hotels. Vogue features Mukul in their “10 Amazing Winter Wedding Destinations Near and Far.” EOnline features the crown jewel of Mukul, Casona Don Carlos in their roundup of “World’s Most Expensive Hotel Rooms.” The man this suite is named for, Carlos Pellas, is interviewed by Bloomberg News in their article, “Nicaragua’s First Billionaire Is Country’s Sugar King.”

Forbes writer Ann Abel featured three properties on her list of “The Most Luxurious Beach Vacations: 12 Tropical Ways To Escape Winter.” Song Saa Private Island, The Wakaya Club, & Mukul all make the cut.

Spa Finder announced the winners of their Wellness Travel Awards, and a big congratulations to Song Saa, the winner of readers “Favorite Wellness Travel Property in Cambodia.” The private island also received a visit from His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco this month, read more here.

The Siam in Bangkok was featured in an article in this month’s Vanity Fair on Thailand, writing “The Siam is a remarkable hotel, a luxuriously serene escape from Bangkok…” Full article is available here.

Luxury Travel Magazine wrote a review on  The Lodhi in New Delhi, entitled “A Perfect Sanctuary.” More on India where Ananda in the Himalayas was featured in Travel Age West’s article, “Traveling Like the Beatles in India.”

Down to Bali, where The Urban List writes on “Where To Eat, Play And Stay In Bali” highlighting the award-winning Fivelements healing and wellness retreat. For more wellness, look no further than Conde Nast’s list of 6 Top Fitness Vacations featuring The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu.

Fogo Island Inn is definitely something special, and the below news and press is in total agreement.  You can also now buy the Newfoundland furtiture you see at the inn online soon. Vogue writes on, 5 Winter Wonderland Vacations That Are Better than the Beach.” NUVO magazine writes on architect Todd Saunders in an article entitled Raw Beauty. And, Fogo Island Inn is a finalist for a National Geographic award.  Read more here.

More great news this month from New Zealand where the Owner’s Cottage at Matakauri Lodge was featured on EOnline’s World’s Most Expensive Hotel Rooms.

 

 

Wakaya Club & Spa: Luxury and Freedom on a Private Island in Fiji

Wealth has its privileges and one of them can be found on a private island in Fiji. Wakaya Club & Spa is an Eden of sustainable luxury to some and an exotic getaway in a far island paradise to others. But to all it is an answer to a those seeking a romantic, sun-drenched isle amazing enough to attract some of the wealthiest travelers in the world and humble enough to harness the waves and the stars as constant company.

 

Wakaya4-small

The private island resort is the work of David and Jill Gilmour, perhaps better known for putting Fiji Water on the map. But their values for purity and earth-friendly living has made the Wakaya Club a place where dining well and as organically as possible is as important as the clear waters, sumptuous cottages and fine hospitality details to be found.  The island is in Fiji’s Lomaiviti Archipelago, a quick hop from Suva and a 40-minute private Cessna jaunt from Fiji’s international airport at Nadi.

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Once there, find in island of peaceful green, about five square miles in area with some 16 miles of road, an air strip, marina, village and church – and 10 magnificent bungalows by the water served by a staff of some 300 souls. Only 28 guests can share this privilege at one time – a making for a very comfortable 12-1 staff/guest quotient.

wcs-history-ceremonyIt’s not hard to imagine Captain William Bligh passing this island as he did in 1789, set aloft after the famed mutiny on the Bounty. Nearly a century later the island marked Fiji’s first foray into the cultivation of sugar. But it was left more or less alone for over a century after that time until the Gilmours purchased the island and, in 1990, opened 10 bures, two villas and a sprawling hilltop mansion that all became the Wakaya Club & Spa.

Wakaya (1)
A Vacation’s Vacation

A vacation at Wakaya is at once as close to the earth as one can possibly get and as close to heaven as can be found on earth. The island has four beaches, each offering its own reason for staying, swimming and indulging in lavish picnics in the sand, alone on the edge of the Koro Sea.

Vale_O_Tennis_BK
There is a golf and tennis (with lessons from pros); guided nature walks, watersports, yoga, croquet, even a fully outfitted gym for guests who want to stay active. Guests can scuba or snorkel the marine preserve directly in front of their bure. And, of course, hammocks strung between coconut palms wait for those moments that call for a good book and a snooze. The Breeze Spa caps the indulgences with treatments geared for individuals and couples, complemented by dips in a body-temperature serenity pool while relaxing on a lanai overlooking the sea. Mango wraps and sugar glows get the good chi flowing.

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Sprawling 1,650-square-foot bures (private cottages) opening onto the beach each provide the kind of retreat that invites dreaming. Following Champagne on arrival, guests find their island lair to be a temple of cathedral ceilings, woven bamboo wall coverings and indigenous yaka timber flooring. Two- and three-bedroom villa estates surrounded by acres of privacy provide vacation perfection for families, CEOs and heads of state alike.

 

GB-Bed-smallAll rooms at The Wakaya Club have a living room area with fully stocked wet bar and CD stereo. The bedroom brings a four-poster king size bed draped in 100% cotton Filli D’Oro sheets from Italy. The bathroom comes with an open-air lava rock shower stall plus an oversized soaking tub, three sinks, a bidet, and Aveda bath products.

 

Matsuhisa and Trotter: Two Chefs, One Island

Organic ginger grows wild on Wakaya and the pungent root finds its way into the signature “Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Margarita” sipped during quiet sunsets or enjoyed by the freshwater pool. And it finds its way into menus created by master chefs Nobu Matsuhisa and Charlie Trotter who trained the island resort’s chefs. The kitchens use organically grown ingredients where possible, much of it culled from the island’s untainted, super-rich volcanic soil.

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A Wakaya Vacay: No Wants, No Worries

Much is included in a Wakaya vacation. Guests are met at Nadi International Airport and guided to their island flight. Early arrivals are guaranteed early morning check-in and all guests can have a late afternoon check-out. All meals and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are part of the fare, as are unlimited use of the generously-stocked mini bar, unlimited wireless Internet access throughout, personal laundry service, two scuba tank dives per person per day, and unlimited use of all other sporting facilities and equipment– including private beach picnics, golf, tennis, snorkeling, sea kayaking, Fitness Bure, and croquet.

A Getaway Package that offers the fifth night free with a booking for four consecutive nights is a popular and ongoing value at Wakaya Club & Spa.

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Contact:

(+011 679) 34 48128
reservations@wakaya.com.fj
www.wakaya.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com

 

 

 

 

 

Twin Farms Winter Wellness Package

logcabin5_galleryVisit Twin Farms this winter and enjoy the new Winter Wellness Package. Stay at Twin Farms midweek and receive a pair of Hunter Boots, daily yoga class, daily group hike or snowshoe, daily cooking demo, breakfast juice bar, and more. Reserve a cottage and in addition to the above activities, choose from a private yoga session in your room or a Tata Harper facial!
Winter Wellness Package is available midweek until March 17, 2015, subject to availability, blackout dates apply.

Contact info@twinfarms.com for reservations or more information.

Wyoming’s Brush Creek Ranch Ranks #1 in the US, #2 in the World by Condé Nast Traveler

The lodge at Brush creekThe 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards from Conde Nast Traveler ranked The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch the #2 Hotel & Resort in the World, the #1 Resort in the USA, and the #1 Dude Ranch in the USA.

The magazine writes, “The Lodge in Saratoga, Wyoming is our readers’ favorite U.S. resort, bringing an extra dose of luxury to the rugged West.” The Ranch is ideal for families, weddings, couples, groups and anyone looking for a true western experience where luxury meets adventure. The all-inclusive resort offers gourmet food, spa and a vast array of outdoor experiences delivered by a passionate staff to create memories to last a lifetime.

Top 100 Hotels in the World

Top 25 Resorts in the USA

 

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch
66 Brush Creek Ranch Road
Saratoga, WY 82331
Tel: +1-307-327-5284
Email: GuestServices@BrushCreekRanch.com
Website: www.brushcreekranch.com

 Brush Creek rock and pasture

Once Upon a Time in Puerto Rico: Condado Vanderbilt Reclaims its Glory

If its walls could talk they would probably sing. The Condado Vanderbilt in the fashionable Condado district of San Juan has accommodated kings, captains and stars through most of the last century and as it rounds its 95th birthday, is reopening December 8, 2014 as a buffed up version of those glory decades.

lobby area
The upcoming close-up for this grand dame marks the completion of a $200 million remake that has re-imagined 319 guestrooms, including 108 suites, and preserved the nostalgia – though now infused with 21st century amenities.  Newly constructed Suite Towers offer one- and two-bedroom villa-like residences, many with dramatic ocean views, ranging in size from 750 – 1,500 square feet. Expect exquisite accents here: spacious living areas with nine-foot ceilings, white Carrera marble flooring, cozy Euro-style kitchens with granite counters and touches of mahogany woods, Jacuzzi tubs and separate rainshower stalls. All suites have round-the-clock butlers in attendance.

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Condado Vanderbilt: Long Shadows of History

Not lost in the shine is the original Spanish Revival grandeur from the firm Warren and Wetmore (think New York’s Grand Central Station and the New York Biltmore) carefully blended into the new presentation by Wilson & Associates. The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel stays worthy of bearing the title of its original owner, Frederick Vanderbilt, who created this icon on the sea in 1919, two years after Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory under the Jones Act. Since then the hotel has welcomed such guests as Charles Lindberg, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and countless CEOs and celebrities.

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Condado Vanderbilt’s Menu of Amenities

On its perch above the Atlantic on the north side of the island, guests still have those inspiring views of the ocean but receive a strong whiff of modern luxury in the mix. The hotel’s signature restaurant, 1919, has Michelin-starred chef Juan Jose Cuevas at the helm. The Puerto Rico native has cooked for Alain Ducasse and won a star of his own at Blue Hill in New York.

Veritas Wine Bar 9401The hotel’s spa brings a dash of Middle Eastern culture to the island with Puerto Rico’s first hammam, featuring a traditional marble-slab heated massage bed, along with marble benches, and walls of mosaic marble. Indoor and open-air pampering experiences include two remineralizing natural clay treatments with outdoor showers for guests to rinse off. Quiet areas allow spa guests to enjoy the ocean views while sipping refreshing mocktails.

The Condado Vanderbilt’s spa veers to beauty in a space for consultation services and a spot at the Aroma Blending Bar where visitors can mix their own fragrances. Pampered relaxation extends to the hotel’s two pool lounging areas: a mirrored pool with waterfall on one side and an infinity pool on the edge of the Atlantic on the other, both with butler attendants at the ready.

Terrace East Sunset

Savoring Old San Juan

Condado Vanderbilt is just off the isthmus from Old San Juan, a spectacle of New World history and a colorful mecca for shopping and dining. When seeking out what there is to do in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is ready to oblige with art and history museums, hip art galleries, cobbled narrow streets flanked by colorfully preserved Spanish Colonial facades – all leading to the tip of the island that houses the ghostly 500-year-old walls of the El Morro fort.

 

Browsers with an eye for bargains will want to hit the El Alcazar, probably the top spot for antiques in the Caribbean. The treasures overflow to surrounding warehouses. Adventurers will want to explore the nearby rainforests, rivers and waterfalls of El Yunque or the amazing underground caves of Río Camuy Cave Park.

 

Mosquito Bay is where to go – and glow – at night. These waters make up one of the world’s brightest bioluminescent bays, causing organisms – and swimmers – to light up in the dark due to high concentration of dinoflagellites, small incandescent microorganisms that illuminate the entire bay when the sun goes down.

 

But nightlife in San Juan is legendary. From romantic sunset spots to swank cocktail stops to hot gay scenes, rumba and salsa palaces, live music just about everywhere. Dancing in the streets is not uncommon and barhopping is a must.

 

A stay at Condado Vanderbilt can be packed with value with a roster of packages – from family to romantic — now available. A Discover Old San Juan package starts at $478 per night for two and includes ocean view accommodations, daily full breakfast, a walking tour through Old San Juan (with transportation) and lunch at Patio del Nispero Restaurant at Hotel El Convento (three-night minimum required). Best available nightly rates at Condado Vanderbilt Hotel vary but currently run around $350 mid week.

 

Contact:

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
1055 Ashford Avenue
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
(1-787) 721-5500
info@condadovanderbilt.com
www.condadovanderbilt.com

 

KAA News Roundup

Big news from Conde Nast Traveler 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards:  The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch wins #1 in the USA and #2 in the World! Congratulations!

Congrats to Twin Farms  in Vermont as well, coming in at #61 in the world. Travel + Leisure agrees, listing them in their article, “Most Romantic Fall Getaways.” The Inn at Dos Brisas in Texas also made the list.

Exciting news from Fogo Island Inn, the modern outport furniture found throughout the Inn is now available for sale.   The inn established a retail partnership with Toronto-based residential furniture and accessories shop Klaus by Nienkamper. Read more in Architectural Digest.  From the Robb Report, read about Newfoundland’s nautical island tradition of punting here.

More from the Robb Report, featuring Musha Cay in the “Top 10 Ultimate Winter Beach Getaways.” One more Caribbean resort in our portfolio, Gansevoort Turks + Caicos, is featured in Live Fast Magazine here.

Coming in at #36 on Conde Nast Traveler 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards is Rancho La Puerta, the original destination spa.

From the New York Times, read about VeraVia in Carsbad, California in their article, “Health Spas Aimed at Teaching Stressed Executives to Unwind.”

“The 3 Best Luxury Detox and Slimming Hotels” from New York Smash features both Ananda Spa and SHA Wellness.

More wellness from Uruguay, where there are a few spots left for Vik Retreats yoga retreat on November 3oth. Download information here.  From Fathom, “Everything You Need to Know to Have a Perfect Beach Vacation in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay.” Read article. From Architectural Digest, the Vik Vineard in “The Best Vineyard Designed by Starchitects.” From Absolute Travel’s Robyn Mark, a candid review on her visit to Vik retreats here.

Great press this month for the newly opened Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos. Read the article from The Telegraph and The New York Times on this new eco luxe gem.

Great news from Nicaragua, a new airport is scheduled to be complete on the coast, making travel seamless for guests of Mukul.

Learn more about our new client Ol Jogi Ranch in Kenya and their conservation efforts from this video courtesy of Lonely Planet.

More awards from Conde Nast Traveler 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards, The Lodge & Spa at Kauri Cliffs  in New Zealand makes the Top 100 in the world, congrats!  Congratulations are in order for the Armani/Amal at The Armani Hotel Dubai, #1 of 5,600 restaurants in Dubai from Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards 2014.

Lastly, The Siam Hotel in Bangkok was featured in CNN’s article, “11 urban resorts that will make you forget you’re in the city.”

Enjoy the last bit of fall, may travels be in the near future.