Looking for a lovely, but inexpensive apartment in Paris? Who isn’t?

A Modern Apartment Rental – Paris

Looking for an apartment rental in Paris, but also desire a bit of personalized service? Let’s face it, current economic circumstances reinforce the necessity to make travel budgets stretch as comfortably far as possible.  That’s where ApartmentParis.fr comes on the scene. Already a respected player in the UK and Europe for short-term apartment rentals in Paris, they’re backed by an established apartment management company, with comfortable, well-located accommodations at below-hotel rates. A daunting task for any traveler.
We’re big fans of renting flats, but sometimes it can be risky directly dealing with owners, or, it can result in last-minute disappointment.  Likewise there is no continuity in experience (cleanliness, quality) from one location to another. In response, ApartmentParis has created an alternative solution positioned between these two extremes. Even though it is not a hotel, clients are guaranteed hotel standard services  such as decoration and furniture suited to the travellers’ needs, wifi access, housekeeping service, fresh sheets and linens.
Check out the view through the window!

Check out the view through the window!

While each apartment can be adapted to the traveller’s needs, they all come with a basic service: sheets, linens, cable & satellite TV, high bandwith internet and wifi. Prices start at… and here’s where we love it!

Around $75 night for a studio apartment in off-season.
ApartmentParis manages more than 100 apartments that can accommodate from two to eight people, perfect for single travellers, couple or families.  Business travellers can also benefit from apartments located close to the main Paris train stations. All flats are located near tourist attractions such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, Montmartre, and in charming neighborhoods like the Marais,  Buttes Chaumont,  Canal Saint Martin…
A bilingual (French/English) call centre is also available to assist travelers with their plans. So, in a nutshell, their positioning between a hotel and person-to-person rental service, combined with competitive prices and the flexibility of ApartmentParis’ flats, adds an extra dimension of comfort (economic and physical) to your Paris travel plans.

One of Thailand’s Best Spas: Chiva Som, Hua Hin

Chiva Som

Chiva Som

Seven acres of gardens, wellness programs, rooms with private balconies and butler service. This is Chiva Som, a luxury health resort facing the Gulf of Thailand, just south of Bangkok. In addition to 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 21 Day wellness retreats like Inner Wellness, Art of Detox, Weight Management, Natural Healing, and Yoga For Life, they combine classes on everything from daily massages and yoga to spa cuisine meals, meditation, aqua therapy, and holistic health. In short, they’re considered one of the best holistic spas in the world and we can’t wait to try them out to offer our personal review.

Gimme an 'OM'

Gimme an ‘OM’

Hydrotherapy treatments include aqua skin polish with spearmint and apricot to exfoliate the skin and a food philosophy that means “healthy cuisine but with so many flavours you will never notice it’s good for you!” Think: the freshest produce delicately mixed with fresh herbs and spices.

Chiva-Som chefs create daily menus to offer the widest range of dishes to suit a healthy lifestyle while satisfying your appetite. So, you won’t be deprived if you don’t want to be deprived, but you will have clean, delicious fulfilling healthy fare. They claim to have the tenderest steaks, the tastiest lamb, the softest chicken, the most delicate fish and the freshest vegetables combined with local herbs and spices to produce great tasting dishes.

We believe it. If Forbes says they’re top notch, we won’t be doubters this time.

$340/night

Retreats from 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 21 days

www.chivasom.com

The Explorateur’s Exclusive Getaways

Friends, families, freewheelin’ babes and badasses… our swanky friends at The Explorateur - an insider travel concierge of sorts – wanted me to share some sweet news about a few very exclusive trips they’ve added to their repertoire for the Fall. Tell them our Editor-in-Chief, Layla Revis, sent you if you sign up to their newsletter. That way, they’ll treat you extra nice ;)

Just Chillin in Tanzania

A bit about The Explorateur. We heard about them when we were working with Small Luxury Hotels of the World and their Founder came highly regarded. We needed some tips on Croatia and we were told that he was the guy who made an art of arranging yacht trips around the Croatian coast. So what is The Explorateur? A unique forum filled with fabulous insider information (sorta like us). They also arrange exclusive offers at the world’s most unique and interesting hotels, shops, and restaurants around the world much like the travel agent you *wish* you had. Their ever-globetrotting editorial team blends their collective decades of experience in the travel industry with savvy insider knowledge of the world’s most eclectic finds. Stylish, yet unpretentious, they help guide travelers with a hint of wanderlust.  The team has the scoop on anything and everything a traveler needs to know. And, if they don’t know, like us, they’ll travel to find out.

TANZANIA-  6 Days, Stunning Explorations- starting at US $1500 per person, double occupancy

Itinerary includes:  Begin at Kilimanjaro for an overnight at Kia Lodge and option to explore the mountain, followed by  a drive the next day for a visit to Lake Manyara, game drive for phenomenal animal viewing + 1 night at Migunga Tented Camp including all meals, transfer to Serengeti for an early morning game drive and visit to Olduvai Gorge + 2 nights at Ikoma Tented Camp including all meals, transfer to Ngorongoro Crater for a gorgeous crater exporation tour and overnight at Crater Forest Lodge, all  meals, followed by early morning transfer back to Arusha.

My Chateau or Yours?

FRANCE - Spectacular New Years Experience at Chateau de la Barre- 1295 Euro per person, based on 12 sharing.

Mingle with royalty and get treated as such when you round up 12 friends to share the chateau as guests of Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay in their Loire Valley chateau.

30 Dec- Get treated to a champagne reception and visit of the chateau followed by cheese and vintage wine tasting supper in the billiard room in front o fthe monumental XIVth century fireplace- enjoy chocolate and port wine in your room.

31 Dec- Explore the remarkably restored old city of Le Mans, stage set to many films followed by festive New Year’s Eve dinner in the XVIIth centrury grand dinign room of the chateau with all the family silver and crystal- usher in the new year at midnignt with champagne in the Grand Drawing Room underneath the ancestral portraits

01 Jan- Renaissance day- visit famous Chenonceau castle with a new year’s day lunch feast at Leonardo da Vinci’s home served as if you were in 1530- or a private lunch in XVIIth century Chateau Chene de Coeur hosted by the owners

02 Jan- Depart with a special present from Chateau de la Barre

PLUS- Daily English breakfast and afternoon tea, fresh flowers in room, wine tasting at nearby winery built into a Xth century limestone cave

Kda-oo naH, pray-uhH 'euy (Translation: "Oh God, It's Hot")

CAMBODIA  Hotel de la Paix – Siem Riep’s most stylish hotel set against some of the world’s most spectacular ancient sights

Explore this incredible land in the comfort of this stunning art deco hotel starting at US $275 per night- and receive the following lovely treats to enrich your stay:

- Welcome drink and cold towel on arrival
- Daily gourmet hot breakfast buffet
- Wireless Internet access in all guestrooms
- Daily turn-down service with treats
- Pre-loaded iPod with music and narratives on Cambodia, which may be taken on outside excursions
- Access to undercover Khmer inspired swimming pool
- Access to award winning Spa Indochine

So take a jaunt, check out The Explorateur, and let us know what you think (just don’t make us too jealous when you go on and on about that trip to Chateau de la Barre or Tanzania!

 The Explorateur 

Couples Therapy in Paradise

Villa Milagro at Sunset

We’re excited to announce that Villa Milagro, a secluded retreat on the Pacific coast of Mexico, has expanded into a full-scale wellness resort and spa. In addition, Berta Davis, PhD, couple and sex therapist and owner of Villa Milagro, in collaboration with the managing director, Peter Petersen, will offer workshops in meditation, couples therapy, qigong, dance, yoga, surf and other forms of holistic healing. And really… who better to offer such things than a sex therapist??

Sitting solo on a secluded beachfront cove, Villa Milagro is a fully enclosed paradise that is as serene as it is secure. The Villa consists of three spacious thatched-roof buildings open to the Pacific Ocean in the sexy little fishing town of Zihuatanejo. Scenic vistas include the ever-changing sea, acres of untouched tropical landscapes and the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains. Gentle waves are the ultimate backdrop for meditation or the perfect night’s sleep. Gated and enclosed with twenty-four hour security, Villa Milagro is also perfect venue for romantic hideaways, family vacations, destination weddings, and group workshops.

A view from the pool at Villa Milagro

Throughout the year, they’ll offer spiritual, emotional, and educational retreats, including couples and sexuality workshops under the guidance of Dr. Davis, who has been a leader in the transformation process for over 30 years. Structured in collaboration with Peter Petersen and his “moving meditation” practice, Villa Milagro will approach healing with a new and exciting approach. In addition, they’ll also be hosting other healing professionals who combine mind, body, and spirit to help facilitate our mission for holistic healing and education.  Rates are below, so what are you waiting for? Your love life to improve on it’s own. I don’t think so. Perhaps it’s time someone admits that it’s time for a spontaneous retreat, no?

Si.

www.mexicovillamilagro.com

Master Suite per night $450 $275
Sunrise Suite per night $250 $200
Sunset Suite per night $250 $200
Zen Room per night* $200 $175
Garden Room per night* $175 $150
Entire Villa per week $7,500 $5,000

Nicaragua: Private Island Pilates Retreat

Nicaragua Beach Pilates Retreat: Jicaro Island Ecolodge

This just in, kiddos.

Now who’s taking me?

Jan. 29 – Feb. 4, 2011

Alycea Ungaro, celebrated author, celebrity trainer and wellness expert, will host Real Wellness, a private island retreat in Nicaragua. Real wellness will take place at Jicaro Island Ecolodge Nicaragua, a tranquil, 500 square meter private island in the Granada Islestas from January 29 to February 4, 2011.

Developed by Ungaro, the retreat is based upon her signature Principles of Wellness. Attendees will experience an immersion of healthy eating, exercise and wellness training. Known for motivating some of the world’s leading A-list celebrities at her Tribeca studio, Real Pilates in New York City, in addition to twice daily Pilates practice, each day, students will be guided through the teachings taken from her soon to be released book, The Pilates Practice Companion. Since the program was created to forge a foundation for sustainable and realistic lifestyle changes, customized take-home workouts and nutritional planning will be created for each participant. Through a combination of nutrition and learning, the group will gain knowledge that translates to life-changing possibilities for health and well-being. Jicaro, a secluded getaway,named in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 Hot List, the private island is ideal for relaxation or an out of the ordinary wellness vacation. Jicaro’s Eco-luxury accommodations offer the perfect refuge for relaxation and renewal designed in harmony with nature. Guest suites also provide an exceptional experience within the lush tropical forest.
I could really use an eco-luxury private island pilates retreat, couldn’t you?
 
Alycea Ungaro, Pilates Instructor Extraordinaire

Package Includes:

 
6-night accommodations at JICARO ISLAND ECOLODGE

Roundtrip ground transportation (Managua Airport to AQUA)

2x Daily Group Pilates Sessions with Alycea

All organic meals

Guided nature walk, lake kayaking, visit to local school

Package Pricing:

Single (Master Studio Accommodation) – US $2795

Double (Penthouse Accommodation) – US $2450

http://www.bigworldsmallplanet.com/ALYCEA_UNGARO_PILATES_RETREAT_2.html

Tasmania’s Latest Little Gem

Tasmania's Hazard Mountains

When we saw the latest images from Australia’s newest luxury hotel, Saffire, located on the breathtaking East Coast of Tasmania near Freycinet, we dropped our jaws (and our laptops).

The news came from one of the top hospitality PR firms in New York City just to let our luxury loving readers know… Saffire is open for business (and they mean business!)

Considered an iconic development for the Australian tourism industry, Saffire is – in both concept and design – like no other hotel in the country.  Capturing the essence of the unique region to connect with the exotic environment, it’s the “culmination of years of market research and careful planning,” says Greg Farrell, Pure Tasmania Managing Director.  And, judging by the looks of it, they’ve done a stellar job. Ultra-modern design, expansive windows, beautiful woods, and plenty of natural light, Saffire is delivering a new world-class Tasmanian experience to showcase the best of their sexy island state.

Saffire Suite - Tasmania's Latest Luxury Digs

Set apart by its approach to individually tailored experiences and service; not constrained by traditional five-star ratings and standards, but instead, creating a new direction for holidays and accommodations in Australia, the luxe property features 20 suites, each offering sweeping views of Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountains (hint, hint: with complete privacy from the neighboring suites). Tasmania’s freshest produce and finest wines and beers will be available in their Palate restaurant and The Lounge bar, while lucky guests can pamper themselves in their premium spa or work up a sweat in the gym.

We hear that their Exclusive Signature Experiences have been “developed accessing little-known areas of the Freycinet Peninsula with a range of other activities tailored to suit guests’ desires.”

Did someone say… desires?

Well, we say, “Tres chic.”

www.saffire-freycinet.com.au

Sleep It Off: Personalized Pillows & Conradtinis

It’s a good thing the Board ‘o Hiltons listened to their marketing department because the Hilton name has sadly become old tired news. However, Conrad Hotels, the newly re-vamped contemporary luxury hotel brand, is upping the ante by delivering properties everywhere from Australia’s Gold Coast to Punta del Este. Those under development include properties in Koh Samui and Dubai. Just to give you a taste, that up there… is the underwater restaurant at Conrad Hotel Maldives.

Now, I’m not one to shamelessly plug Hilton, but back in the day Hilton was synonymous with quality. Many years later (and many upgrades undelivered), their properties fell into a state of dis… well, let’s just say Paris wouldn’t be so proud. Thankfully, they’re pulling themselves back from the 80′s, introducing new amenities that sound downright fresh and fun. We’ll start with a bespoke cocktail service called the ‘Conradtini,’ which enables guests to become a master mixologist by creating their own cocktail.

While most restaurants and bars offer standard martini and cocktail menus, this modern bar alternative allows guests to order and mix their cocktails exactly as they wish without worrying about finding the best combination of their preferred ingredients or sacrificing their interest in a peach martini because of their aversion to lime juice. Furthermore, each hotel and resort has created its own Conradtini menu to reflect the cultural preferences of location and local customs.

That’s the part that I really like.

Whether guests prefer a gin base or vodka, juice or carbonation, nectars, syrup, a martini shaken or stirred, Conradtini offers guests the luxury of choice. So take a seat at the bar and create an individual concoction with as much – or as little – assistance from Conrad’s own talented mixologists.

Will it be caramel, watermelon juice, banana nectar, cidona or Lucozade? From capers and cucumber to honeydew and snakefruit, you’ll pick your own glassware (and prepare to get loopy).

Richard Blamey, Senior Vice President Brand Management, Conrad Hotels & Resorts says of the new Conradtini, “At Conrad we’re always looking for ways to extend our commitment to providing options and personalised luxury experiences for our guests. This new bar concept, which we believe is the first of its kind… celebrates each guest’s individual preferences. We want everyone to feel comfortable ordering their cocktails the way they enjoy them most, rather than for each guest to alter an already-existing menu.”

Thanks, Richie. We appreciate the concern (and the attention to detail). Speaking of details, listen to this one:

A Global Pillow Menu!

Conrad Maldives

In line with their motto ‘Luxury for Every Guest,’ and for those of us with discerning pillow tastes, you can order up a speciality pillow depending on your needs. Whether I’m cramming the pillow between my legs or smashing it down to make it less bulky, this idea is clever customization at it’s best.

Here’s a sampling of pillow options (keep this in mind… when I was sent The Pillow Menu for the entire range of Conrad properties, it was several pages long!)

Bangkok Shogun Pillow – Igusu grass of Japan
Small holes inside the mat absorb humidity and heat. Tatami fiber massages feet and stimulates blood circulation when walked on.

Bangkok Miracle Pillow Polyester – 100% The “Anatomic Pillow”
In hygienic vacuum-packing, it’s warm, shape retaining, springy, insulated, antiallergenic and antibacterial.

Chicago Cold and Flu Pillow
Infused with eucalyptus, tea tree, bergamot and sandlewood, Clear congestion and breath easier. The refreshing scents of eucalyptus and tea tree help relieve and clear noses. Bergamont eases headaches
and soothes a troubled stomach, while sandlewood relieves sore throats.

Chicago Romance Pillow
A relaxing fragrance stimulates and inspires a romantic ambiance with vetivert, patchouli, ylang-ylang and
sandlewood oils. This combination of scents is an essential for romance.

Chicago Snore No More Pillow
At last, a pillow designed by a doctor to help reduce snoring while improving sleeping posture to provide luxurious comfort for a better night’s sleep. Designed to help reduce airway obstruction.

So, after downing my own personalized Cocktinis, I mean… Conradtinis, I can snooze it off in style. After all, who really NEEDS a lover when you can catch a cat nap in the Windy City with a Romance Pillow?

PS. If you’re married, just throw your husband the Snore No More and watch some late night hotel programming.

Nighty nighty.

http://www.conradhotels.com