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Monday, May 17, 2010

On My Radar -- Luxury Hotel Destinations

Hey everyone,

I'd like to introduce a new feature on Hotel Hopper: On My Radar.  From time to time, I will highlight a few hotels that I have come across that I will make the effort to visit in the future and share my experience.  Hopefully, these will be places you will want to visit and share your experience as well.  Things may change as I discover new, exciting hotels, but these will always be hotels that I legitimately want to visit.  Here's the first On My Radar List:

Amangani, Jackson Hole, WY:  I readily admit that I am not a huge nature enthusiast, but Amangani is the type of hotel that will make me change my mind very quickly.  Amangani appears to have perfected the mix between modern design and the rustic characteristics that are common among lodges situated in close proximity to nature.  It is located in the near vicinity of the Grand Tetons, and thus offers the opportunity for an amazing outdoor adventure in addition to luxurious accommodations.  It also has a pretty extensive list of awards that have recognized its appeal.  This destination offers a new experience for me, inside and out, and will likely be the first off of this list for me to visit.  The impressive menu of suites starts at $565/night.

Wynn/Encore, Las Vegas, NV:  This destination also offers a special experience, but in a much different way than the Amangani.  The Wynn/Encore is the kind of place that appropriately makes you feel like a million bucks.  You may give some of that away in the casino, but you will also depart having stayed in an amazing hotel.  Even the most basic suite can provide a great experience, but this is one of those places where you probably want to spring for something even more special.  I have been through both the Wynn and Encore in person, and promised myself that during my next trip to Vegas, the Wynn/Encore will be where I set up camp.  Suites start at around $199/night, but consider a Parlor or Salon suite if you want to live it up in the City of Lights.  Las Vegas is also a destination where hotel deals run abundant, so be diligent in your search for the best rate.

Jade Mountain, St. Lucia: Okay, this is maybe the only hotel on this list that should be on EVERYONE'S radar, just because it offers a completely unforgettable experience.  Depending on what you do in Vegas, you may or may not remember.  Any place that offers panoramic views of a majestic landscape and in-room infinity pools deserves some serious consideration.  Consider combining the cost of multiple vacations for this one though, the price tag is quite high, with the most basic Sky suite starting at $900/night during the off-peak tourist season and prices are scheduled to increase next year.  Well worth it, I am sure.

The Setai, Miami, FL: This Asian-influenced, Art Deco gem of a hotel is possibly the best designed hotel of this group with maximum drool factor.  The Setai has two buildings, the Art Deco building which contains studio and junior suites, and the Tower, which contains the larger accommodations, including the specialty suites.  Suites, spa, pool, beach will all leave no doubt in your mind that you are on perhaps the best vacation ever.  Plus, anything that's good enough for Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian is good enough for me.  Rooms start around $575/night, but you can get the rates down through advanced booking.

Vdara, Las Vegas, NV: Okay, so apparently I like Las Vegas, but what luxury hotel enthusiast doesn't?  Vdara is one of the new CityCenter hotels, and probably not the most high-profile hotel of the group (see Aria and Mandarin Oriental), but the sleek, modern design is too much for me to resist.  There is not even a casino inside the hotel, but I don't think it would be too difficult to find one if you decide to stay there.  You still have access to a sleek spa and pool, which I think can do the job in satisfying any expectations.  Suites can start as low as $129/night, which is an awesome value, but consider going with a group of friends and splitting the Panoramic Suite or one of the two-bedroom penthouses.

These hotels will be added to the Gallery Links page.  What's on your radar?


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