Maui’s Best Boutique Hotels

Paia Maui Paia Inn Boutique HotelWe’ve been looking forward to writing this piece for quite some time.  After visiting a few key boutique hotels around the great island of Maui, we had to share our findings on Maui’s best boutique hotels.  Sure to be a hot draw among honeymooners and hip trendsetters, is first on our list… The Paia Inn right in the heart of Paia town.  What can we say? We, along with Owen Wilson and Mick Fleetwood, heart Paia. In addition to our fondness for Cafe Mambo, Jacques, Flatbread, and all things Alice in Wonderland, we had to give a shout out to The Paia Inn, a quaint restored beachside boutique located in the heart of charming Paia Town, just steps from a 3 mile stretch of white sand beach on the stunning Northshore of Maui.

Paia Inn Deluxe Room

The newly renovated hotel, originally established in 1962, offers luxurious and comfortable rooms with modern amenities like complimentary WiFi (yay!), flatscreen TV’s, 500 thread count sheets, a chic lobby lounge, a garden patio, and private beach access. It’s not only one of the most fun spots in Maui, but with staff like beautiful Nina, you truly get some of that Aloha spirit.

Rates from $169/night

http://www.paiainn.com

Another Maui gem, tucked less than two blocks from the ocean, is one of our favorite hidden boutique properties.  The Plantation Inn is one of Maui’s secret retreats, a boutique bed and breakfast and sister property of Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel.

Plantation Inn - Maui

Most people opt for the easy chain resort holiday, but those in the know opt for something a bit more… intimate.  With turn of the century architecture and charm, combined with modern amenities such as air conditioning and soundproofing, this quiet, private, setting feels like a Southern mansion in the heart of Hawaii’s happening Lahaina town. With only 19 rooms and suites, each with its own unique custom interior design, The Plantation Inn is also home to Gerard’s Restaurant, one of the finest French restaurants in North America. Romantic and comfortable, Chef Gerard Reversade’s Contemporary Island French Cuisine consistently earns some of the highest ratings in Hawai‘i.  Daily deluxe continental breakfast is complimentary and includes Chef Reversade’s gourmet French toast, Eggs Basquaise, homemade yogurt and special blend mueslix, bagels, lox and cream cheese, along with fresh fruit, Gerard’s special-blend coffee and tropical juices. Guests also receive a special discount on the set-dinner menu at Gerard’s. Also worth mentioning, guests have complimentary access to all of the hotel amenities offered at its sister property, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel.

Rates from $179/night

http://www.theplantationinn.com

Honorable ‘Bed and Breakfast’ Mentions

Upcountry Bed and Breakfast

In Kula, otherwise known as ‘The Big Red House”

Rates from $125/night

http://www.upcountrybandb.com

Maui Moonlight Garden

Rates from $130/night

http://www.mauimoonlightgarden.com

The Aloha Pualani

Rated TripAdvisor’s 2008 Traveler’s Choice

Rates from $195/night

http://www.alohapualani.com

For other private cottages and B&B’s, check out the website below. There are a slew of small privately owned homes/cottages/bed and breakfasts around the island, particularly Upcountry (Kula area), as well as on the Road to Hana.

Maui Bed and Breakfasts

http://www.bestbnb.com/Maui.html

Happy Surfing!

Aspira: Berlin’s Latest Design Hotel

Berlin Hotel Room - AspiraOn November 6th 2009, a new and unique refuge from the bustling city of Berlin will open behind the trees and noble façades of Berlin’s affluent Charlottenburg district: The Aspria Hotel, a 42-room retreat connected to a renowned 14,000 m2 state-of-the-art spa and sporting club.

Berlin-based designer, Michael Brown of NAU, redesigned the former industrial space and all accommodation – 39 rooms, 3 apartments and 2 conferencerooms – bears the signature of this up-and-coming design team. The result is an innovative series of calming, highly modern spaces, full of light and thoughtful design touches.

The generously sized open plan rooms have nearly 30 m2 of usable space, 3.5 m high ceilings and elegant furniture by German designers, Vitra and Walter Knoll. Guests enter their accommodation with a clear view of a panoramic window and a tailor-made pedestal bed that seems to float in the middle of the room. Along the length of the window stretches a desk with the same grey surface as the bed. It varies in height and can be used as a writing desk, a bench or an area to open suitcases. In order to bring natural light into the bathroom, frosted glass has been used extensively, separating the shower area and toilet from the open sink and dressing room. The lighting design, featuring Moooi and Linea products, allows for flattering ‘mood lighting’ or brighter, concentrated light for working, playing off elegant Vescom ‘Brora’ wallpaper on one wall and, in a special touch, a gold shimmering bedhead upholstered in ‘Sudden’ fabric from Kvadrat. Even the television has not gone without a rethink: the cutting-edge Philips Ambilight screens are ceiling-mounted at an angle that corresponds perfectly with the bed’s backrest.

Berlin Hotel Aspira PoolEqually as important as the rooms, however, is the hotel’s setting: in place of a standard lobby and a tucked-away after thought of a gym, the Aspria Hotel allows guests to take advantage of an impressive 14,000 m2 of fitness and wellness space. The spa has been extended and refurbished, adding a hamam, a salt inhalation room and a wave dream installation relaxation room to the saunas, whirlpool, the lap poolkneipp baths, and the amazing rooftop terrace. Treatments and massages by the professional spateam complement this range of almost endless wellness opportunities.

The result: the ultimate city health and wellness resort for that jaunt to Berlin.

Prices start at an über-reasonable  €89/night

http://www.aspirahotel.com

Siena, Italy: Castel Monastero’s Fine Food & Wine

Siena, Italy Castel Monastero

There’s something sexy about an Italian hotel in Tuscany where you can learn how to cook and get a good rubdown.  Opening just a few months ago, in July 2009, Castel Monastero is a one luxury Tuscan resort not to be missed. Located just 14 miles east of Siena in the historic medieval village of Monastero d’Ombrone in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, the resort occupies a collection of stone buildings on a hilltop, dating back to the 11th century.

With two restaurants by multi-Michelin starred Chef Gordon Ramsey (and our personal favorite on the cooking show circuit), Castel Monastero is poised to take its place among the top destinations for Tuscan cuisine. A regular schedule of course in gastronomy taught by renowned chefs and wine experts is all part of the resort’s culinary experience.

In conjunction with Urban Retreat, The 10,000 square foot Castel Monastero Spa is dedicated to instilling calm through treatments and detoxification (and you’ll need it after all that great food and wine). The resort has one indoor and two outdoor swimming pools, as well as meeting space perfect for business events and weddings.

So we say, “Get thee to Tuscany!”

Gordon RamseyOr, as Gordon would say, “Why the f@-k are still sitting there for? Stop it with your pathetic excuses! Do you care about your life or not?”

And no one, and we mean, no one, wants to disappoint the master.

Starting at €380/night

www.castelmonastero.com

St. Croix, Virgin Islands: Fall Travel Deal!

Virgin Islands Truck Bay

This just in from the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism for travelers interested in an affordable Fall vacation in St. Croix (home of one of Jaunt Magazine’s closest cohorts, the illustrious Mundi Morning Male).

“St. Croix Fantastic Flight” Promotion

Perk: $150 per-person airfare credit and a fourth night free at participating hotels

Booking deadline: October 5, 2009

Travel deadline: November 15, 2009

Participating hotels: The Buccaneer, Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Club St. Croix Beach & Tennis Resort, Colony Cove Beach Resort, Company House Hotel, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Hibiscus Beach Resort, Hotel Caravelle, King Christian Hotel, The Palms at Pelican Cove and Sand Castle on the Beach

How to book: Promotion must be booked through one of the participating tour operators – AA Vacations, CheapCaribbean.com, Delta Vacations, Expedia, GoGo Worldwide Vacations and Travelocity

About St. Croix – St. Croix is a unique island with a rich culture and colorful past, as evidenced by its Danish architecture, historic landmarks, vibrant botanical attractions, diverse culinary landscape, music and traditions. Visitors may choose to explore Frederiksted – a town replete with historical significance, embark on a culinary tour of Christiansted ’s outstanding restaurants, visit the island’s museums and public gardens, or sail to Buck Island, rated one of the world’s best snorkeling spots. The island also boasts the region’s only certified organic farm – The Creque Dam Farm – which hosts an array of fun culinary and sustainable-agriculture programs for visitors and popular “slow down” BYOB dinners.

For more information visit:

www.VisitUSVI.com

The Renaissance Re-Brand: Luxury Savings & Romantic Escapes

Paris Arc de Triomphe Luxury Hotel RoomFinally!  Renaissance Hotels, part of the Marriott group, is celebrating the launch of two incredible new hotels and a whole new look for the Renaissance brand.

On September 17th, they’ll be holding a simultaneous launch event in NYC & Paris to celebrate the opening of Renaissance NY Hotel 57 and the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe, along with 9 days of exclusive packages at Renaissance hotels around the world.

These amazing packages are for purchase and bid, offered at a savings of 50% off, and include things like a holiday package in both Paris and New York with NYE in Times Square, elephant trekking in Thailand, backstage access at Oprah, tracing your ancestry in Ireland, celebrity chef experiences, and riding on a float during Mardi Gras, “These fun, incredible deals,” as Elizabeth Caminiti, Marriott’s PR Manager for International Relations, says, “speak to what Renaissance is all about… incredible experiences and discovery.”

Sample packages:

Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel

Sweet Suite in Paris, offered at $2,500, includes:

Three nights in a luxurious suite, VIP welcome including a bottle of Champagne upon arrival, in-room Indonesian massage for two, private cooking lesson with chef of Makassar restaurant, exploring Paris’ hidden treasures with insider’s tour with hotel Concierge, two tickets to “The Lion King”, and, get this… an unlimited in-room mini-bar!

Must stay before December 30th

New Orleans Luxury HotelsRenaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette HotelMardi Gras Spectacular in the Big Easy auction package includes:

3 nights in deluxe suite, a tasting menu at the Chef’s Table in the kitchen at MiLa, an exclusive viewing of the parades on St. Charles Street’s Intercon Stage with Bourbon Street balcony passes, a ride in the Krewe of Endymion Parade, ending the evening at the Endymion Ball in the Louisiana Superdome with limo transport. Not to mention… a couples massage at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, dinner at Le Cote Brassierie at the Renaissance New Orleans Art Hotel with a parade view, the Krewe of Bacchus Parade, front row seats at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, and breakfast for two each morning plus brunch at the famous Brennan’s restaurant!

Package available February 12-15, 2010

Other packages include:

The Blackstone Renaissance Chicago HotelBE Blackstone VIPs – Auction Package

Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & SpaRomantic Bliss at Koh Samui is offered at $950

The Shelbourne Renaissance Dublin HotelRoots in the Old Country: An Irish Special is offered at $950

Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & SpaA Hollywood Red Carpet Treatment is offered at $900

La Concha Renaissance San Juan ResortLiving LA VIDA: San Juan Style is offered at $1350

Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach Resort & SpaSun and Fun, In Miami Beach is offered at $2,700

http://www.renaissancehotels.com