Design Hotels – Christmas Travel Deal

We think there’s nothing quite like a hotel that can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a cleaner, better, sexier world; a world with great lighting where your wrinkles disappear and attractive majordomos cater to your otherworldly whims.

Whether that means an extraterrestrial haven created by Renzo Piano or Delphine Buhro and Michael Dreher’s Frankfurt den, the 25Hours Hotel (seen here). With that in mind, we’re always keen on sniffing out what the Design Hotels™ group is doing.

Design Hotels™, a group of chic design-oriented hotels from across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, offer just about everything for the design aficionado, the swanky lover of all things cutting-edge, hip, and sleek when it comes to modern hospitality design. So, for those longing for some style and festivity this holiday season, they’ve decided to fill our special Jaunt Magazine readers in on a little christmas travel deal not to be missed.

Check this out, but you better act fast!

This year, Design Hotels™ will be releasing its first annual gift guide to give away fantastic prizes worth up to €2,000/$2,991 each!

From December 1 to the 24th, visitors to Design Hotel’s website (www.designhotels.com) will not only receive a special holiday recommendation – from a themed weekend break to a Thai island-hopping adventure – but they can register to win free nights, designer bags, complimentary meals, and more.

A sneak preview of some of the prizes include:

A three-night stay in a pool villa at X2 KuiBuri, a seaside resort in Thailand, including a round-trip transfer to and from Bangkok airport

A two-night stay including breakfast in a suite at The Hotel – Lucerne, designed by French star architect Jean Nouvel

A €100/$200 voucher to spend on food and beverage at Sanctum Soho, London’s coolest Rock’n’ Roll hotel

Limited edition Raf Simons for Eastpak bags.

To join in the festive fun, participants only need to register their name and email address on http://www.designhotels.com/happyholidays and each morning from December 1-24th, 2009, a new calendar window will be opened to reveal an insider tip and prize.

Guests can then register within 24 hours to be eligible to win the gift shown. The winner will be chosen at random the following day and notified by email.

For the prize draw on December 1st, users can register from November 23rd onwards.

In addition, the Rock’n’Roll-inspired London-based Sanctum Soho is running it another brilliant (as those charming Brits would say) Christmas package. Fans and visitors of the Sanctum Soho include the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Joss Stone, Prince Harry, Natalie Imbruglia, and yes… your favorite tit trawler, Katie Price.

The Xmas at Sanctum Soho package includes:

A 3-night stay (Dec. 24, 25 and 26) with complimentary breakfast
Christmas Eve Dinner
Christmas Day Lunch
Boxing Day Brunch (“Boxing Day” is the day after Christmas)

Rates start at $815 per person, based on double occupancy.

For reservations: www.designhotel.com/sanctumsoho

The Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico

When one of our favorite journalists/artists/friends, Elliot V. Kotek, informed us of his recent jaunt to the Four Seasons Punta Mita, we had to hear the skinny. Kotek is the founder of The Nation of Artists (www.thenationofartists.com), the entertainment correspondent for ABC Radio, the former Editor-in-Chief of Moving Pictures magazine, and has served on film festival juries worldwide. He’s written for a slew of publications including C, The Book LA, DistinctionSanta Barbara, GQ, Style.com, and his stellar photography has been exhibited at galleries internationally.  This month, he’s here to tell us just why The Four Seasons Punta Mita in Mexico is a must.

A month ago, I headed down to the Four Seasons Punta Mita (Mexico) located on an idyllic stretch of peninsula just outside Puerto Vallarta.  The resort’s simply stunning and serene nature, coupled with the everything’s-easy hospitality that the Four Seasons staff is famous for, makes this a destination not only worth visiting, but worth re-visiting time and time again. There is no reason why a trip to the Punta Mita property shouldn’t become your family’s tradition.

The layout of the Four Season’s luxurious lodgings distinguishes itself from other modern resort properties that offer everything under the sun, by coupling the amazing amenities with less relaxing walks linking the facilities. Somehow, despite offering everything, nothing here seems too far away, and each destination delivers a welcoming statement of refreshment upon arrival, whether that be a small smoothie shot, a cupful of chilled tropical fruit wedges, or a complimentary foot massage. Mmmmmm… foot massages.

As with most other first class facilities, the spas at Punta Mita are GORGEOUS (and their signature treatment has two massage therapists working your knots out simultaneously – yep, that’s four hands!). For those preferring a walk around to a lie down, the five-star property also boasts a championship golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus with a dramatic water feature, a picture perfect green situated on its own tiny whale’s tail-shaped island just off the coast.

This signature Four Seasons property offers unique treats like, in addition to running cooking classes for guests at Bahia, a beachside grill that takes full viewing advantage of the sculpted rocks jutting out of the peninsula (bordered by sandy shorelines below and water-fed sunsets above), the resort’s chefs also run a “Catch of the Day” experience that actively engages resort residents in an educational culinary encounter.

Gathering on the beach, the chefs display the morning’s haul – parrot fish, mahi mahi, several types of snapper, Pacific spiny lobsters – and tout each species’ specific tastes and textures, tempting guests to choose the time and place (“I’ll take it on the balcony of my suite at seven,” for example) for their fantastically-fresh feast.

While the ocean life is vivid and vibrant, and iguanas can be spotted warming a rock or two, the most dangerous life-force on the resort is clearly Raymundo Vasquez. Vasquez is an accredited tequila sommelier and his tastings will have you appreciating the alcoholic agave in a whole new way.

Throughout the grounds, gorgeous sculptures punctuate the landscape. Complementing the artistic focus, the Four Seasons Punta Mita has its own cultural center showcasing regional Nayarit art and artisans.

In a smart move, the Four Seasons also caters to couples and cavorting parents, addressing their needs with an adults-only pool and cabana corrale (with its own menu and distinctive music mix) to provide peace, privacy and romance away from the fray. Oh, and there’s a Four Seasons yacht available for charter, too.

Testament to the complete package this resort provides is that I’ve managed to highlight so many facets of the place without yet touching upon the magic infinity pool set overlooking the beaches, without mentioning the individual plunge pools that privately service each of the suites, and without spotlighting the kid-friendly lazy river rides and childcare facilities with activities that adults would be proud to partake in.

Like I said, this is one place that could easily become a Christmas tradition.

Why else Mexico makes sense:

1. The US dollar is at lows against a deluge of currencies but delivers a whopping 13 pesos for each piece of the little green monster. Taking in fresh coconuts or local tacos (at 10 pesos a piece), means Mexican deliciousness can be delivered for less than a dollar.

2. The rate of incidence of swine flu is preoccupying more physician hours outside of Mexico than in the country of the flu’s origin. With shortages of vaccine causing queues and confusion in the pending winter cold, you couldn’t be smarter than to the warm seas of the Pacific.

3. A direct three hour flight from LAX to Puerto Vallarta’s international port d’air makes flying to 75-degree humidity-free paradise way too easy. In fact, flying to Chicago, or spending an extra couple of hours on a plane to Manhattan just to experience the piercing chill of east coast Christmas season seems downright illogical!

http://www.fourseasons.com/puntamita/

Last Minute Deal: The Peninsula Spa NY

This just in… a Last Minute Deal from The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, New York!

Until the end of the year, spa-goers can enjoy a full day of pampering for only $250; included are two treatments, lunch, yoga and core classes, full use of the facilities, and two ESPA products to take home.   The offer is even valid on those slow days between Christmas and New Year’s – so when the city shuts down, it’s time for a OM-centered massage fest shut-in at the Peninsula.

“Spa-cation” at The Peninsula Spa by ESPA

  • 60-minute treatment of choice (Holistic Massage, Intensive Facial, or Organic Sunless Tanning Treatment)
  • 15-minute “Deeper Relaxation” treatment addition, with choice of Express Facial or Scalp Massage
  • Naturally Peninsula Spa Cuisine “bento-box” Lunch
  • Complimentary use of the sundeck, pool, fitness center, all yoga and core classes
  • Two ESPA products to continue your spa experience at home

The program is valid through December 31, 2009. Cost: $250 (valued at $404). Yes, that’s a savings of nearly 40%.

For more packages and deals, visit the website here.

To secure treatments, call 212 903 3910 or e-mail spany@peninsula.com.

Most Stylish Winter Coat in the World

Eden-LBlack-MackageLookBook-00190_HRWe’re obsessed with Mackage. Before we took off for Europe, we said to ourselves, “Selves… you need an amazing coat. Something that doesn’t go out of style. Something that says ‘unique’… and ‘chic’.” What we found (after sifting through countless Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney and Prada coats (surprisingly made in Bulgaria) was Mackage.

Oh Mackage… we hunted you down and now we can’t get enough of you. So, as you consider shelling out some clams for a winter coat (that will surely get all the attention it deserves), we say… “Get thee to a store near you or order a Mackage coat online!”

The truth is… we didn’t even want to share this insider coat tip. We wanted to be the rare beauty in our Mackage coat languishing on a Parisian street corner sipping our double espresso. The good news is that we’re sharing this with you – our loyal readers – because we think… if you’re good enough to search our pages, you’re good enough to know our secrets.

Pictured above in the Eden jacket. A Bolero with 3/4 layered sleeves and large pockets in lace bonded wool. Just one of their many hot coats.

Retails for $680

http://www.mackage.com

Thanksgiving in St. Barths

St. Barts - Boutique HotelsAs the warm weather of summer fades into the cool breezes of autumn, planning has already begun for the Thanksgiving holidays.

So, in case you haven’t already figured something out and want to take off for the succulent beaches of the Caribbean, we salute you!

Hotel Carl Gustaf, located in St. Barths, French West Indies, rests atop a hill overlooking the glittering lights of the picturesque town of Gustavia and the brilliant blue waters of the city’s harbor. This charming little boutique hotel has 14 amazing one and two bedroom suites and one junior spa suite. For a truly indulgent experience, we say, book the four-bedroom, 2,600 square foot Royale Suite, artfully decorated to create an air of grace and sophistication. All suites offer panoramic views of the city and harbor, private terraces and plunge pools, marble flooring, tiled bathrooms and convenient kitchenettes. In addition to chic amenities, Hotel Carl Gustaf has the Boutique Spa by Carita, a 1,600-square-foot sanctuary of tranquility; the Carl Gustaf Lounge,  one of the world’s best spots for sunset cocktails; and Victoria’s Restaurant, the resort’s signature dining outlet that garners global acclaim. Last year, the hotel also completed an extensive, multimillion dollar refurbishment.

St. Barths - Luxury Boutique HotelsCurrently running a Thanksgiving Holiday Escape where you’ll finally be able to let go of all that annoying holiday stress, you’ll get your own suite with a private plunge pool, spacious living room, separate bedroom, fully-equipped kitchenette and a marble-floor bathroom with a multi-jet shower. Yippee! Stroll to the best beach in town, Shell Beach, just a few minutes walk or sink into the high-thread-count linen sheets on your king-sized bed as you curl up under a plush blanket and listen to soothing music on the i-Pod player. Need we say more? It’s all right there, spelled out for you.

In addition to a six-day, five-night stay in the one-bedroom suite, the Thanksgiving Holiday Escape includes:

  • Chilled bottle of wine served in your suite upon arrival
  • Daily continental breakfast served in your suite
  • 5-day car rental (excluding insurance and fuel)
  • Dinner for two at the Carl Gustaf Lounge (excluding beverages and caviar)
  • One-hour massage ‘tete-a-tete” in the Boutique Spa by Carita
  • Round-trip airport transfers
  • Free access to the fitness center and hydrozone “Blue Spa”
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in your suite

The Thanksgiving Holiday Escape starts at 2,525 Euros about $3,641.40 US.

www.hotelcarlgustaf.com

Meet Me in Monaco: Black Legend!

Monaco  Jazz - Black LegendWe once knew a man who lost his life savings in Monaco. He said, “It was the best experience of my life.” We laughed and then said, “Why’s that?” and he smiled and replied, “Because it forced me to work as a fisherman; instead of wasting my years buying collectibles in Boca.”

Though we’re certainly not suggesting you blow your load in Monaco, we are suggesting you visit the new hotspot created by Antoine Chevanne, CEO of Groupe Floirat (owners of the famous Saint-Tropez and Saint-Jean-de-Luz hotspots: Les Caves du Roy, La Reserve Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and Hotel Byblos).

The Black Legend Monaco, one exceptional and innovative concept, is simultaneously a restaurant, bar, lounge, live music venue and nightclub. Opening on October 31st, 2009 from Noon until 5 AM, it offers something a little different in Monaco –  a musical atmosphere with live Motown entertainment early in the evening.  Later, it transforms into a nightclub that remains open into the early morning hours (just for all you chic party-hounds). Similar to Les Caves du Roy in Saint-Tropez , The Black Legend Monaco is a part of the ‘private club’ dimension of the group… so be prepared for flights of champagne and plenty of hot sax.

The Black Legend Monaco

Quai Albert 1er

Route de la piscine

MC 98000 Monaco

http://www.black-legend.com/