Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Warming Winter Getaway's

With the relaxed hours of summer having all but past and the frigid winter weather setting in, our minds can’t help but wander to thoughts of a warm getaway. With so many warm destinations to choose from, and so few days to take off, we looked around the world to find some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts to escape to. So silence your BlackBerry, buy a new pair of shades and start pricing out airfare. Here are a few high end beach getways we'd love to take this winter:

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Spread over two islands that are linked together by a 500-meter walkway, the Conrad Maldives resort is surrounded by a blue lagoon and coral reef, making it the ultimate tropical paradise to indulge in. With accommodations on both Rangali and Rangalifinohlu islands, guests can choose to stay in a Beach Villa, complete with its own private garden and plunge pool, or in a Water Villa, built on stilts over the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Recently re-branded as a Conrad property, the resort offers seven restaurants and three bars on-site, not to mention two different spas including The Spa Retreat and the Over-Water Spa, both featuring a variety of holistic treatments to try. Guests at the Conrad Maldives also have access to different types of water sports, private yacht excursions, even a glass-bottomed boat ride. After a day at the spa or at the beach, check out the Wine Cellar, a restaurant with over 800 wines to choose from.

Flight Time from NYC: Approximately 15-18 hours
Must-Do: Make a reservation to dine at Ithaa, the resort’s all-glass underwater restaurant, the first of its kind in the world.

Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

As the first resort to open its doors in Dubai, Atlantis, The Palm is already setting the bar high. The 1,539-room resort is unlike any other — there are 17 on-site restaurants (including Nobu, opened by sushi mogul Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and Robert DeNiro), a variety of luxury boutiques to shop in and water entertainment that rivals an authentic deep-sea adventure. Guests will love the Aquaventure water park featuring seven water slides, two of which catapult riders through shark-filled lagoons. In addition to that, there is the Ambassador Lagoon, a marine habitat and underwater exhibit that is home to several hundred species of marine life; the Lost Chambers, a maze of underground tunnels that help bring the myth of Atlantis to life and Dolphin Bay, a dolphin education and conservation center.

Flight Time from NYC: Approximately 13 hours
Best Amenity: When making your reservation, ask to stay in the Lost Chambers Suites. The Suites are three stories high and offer mesmerizing views that look directly into the Ambassador Lagoon from the master bedroom, creating the illusion of being under the sea.

Fairmont Monte Carlo

Hey big spender, if an escape to Monte Carlo is calling your name, the Fairmont Hotel is the place to stay. Following an extensive refurbishment last year, the hotel’s original design has been completely updated, creating a tribute to the style of the Riviera, filled with glamour and Mediterranean colors. A landmark on the Côte d’Azur, the hotel features 619 rooms and suites, not to mention three restaurants and bars, a year-round heated swimming pool and the ever-popular, in-house Sun Casino. L’Argentin Restaurant is a can’t-miss, known for its South American cuisine and refreshing atmosphere. The hotel’s re-designed entrance is unique, accessible from one of the most famous hairpin bends in the world, and the renovated lobby features a suspension bridge that offers views over the Pointe de la Vigie, the open sea and the yachts that meet at the Port of Monaco.

Flight Time from NYC: Approximately 9 hours
Must-Do: Enjoy a drink at the new lobby bar Saphir, perfect for cocktails, a quick bite or a nightcap set to music.

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