put some H2O in your summer

May 19th, 2008

What’s hot weather without the beach? Three months of packed public transportation, overcrowded highways, and dripping air conditioners, that’s what. So beat the heat by heading for the coast and finding some surprisingly good deals in a few of the world’s most popular vacation spots.


Nantucket is the quintessential East Coast island experience, combining Ralph Lauren glamour with Norman Rockwell tradition. From the whitewashed, shingled houses to the cobblestone roads in Town, the island evokes a quaint yet luxurious ambience.

Enjoy a weekend at The Wauwinet, a premier American country house and Nantucket’s only Relais & Châteaux property. The Wauwinet is nestled in a stunning natural setting on the northeast tip of the island, featuring both ocean and bay views. Nine miles from the heart of Nantucket town, The Wauwinet is the island’s most luxurious hotel, with highly personalized service and elegant, private guest rooms. Newly opened in May 2007, The Wauwinet’s Spa by the Sea uses local and sea-inspired ingredients in the treatments. Holistic health can be achieved here through exercise (yoga, organized beach walks, and hikes), proper diet (a spa lunch menu has been designed by TOPPER’S Chef David Daniels) and the spa’s refreshing selection of massages, facials, and body treatments. (www.thewauwinet.com)

For the guest who would like an “urban” island vacation, the historic landmark White Elephant is nestled at the water’s edge and within walking distance of cobblestoned Main Street, where a wide selection of beaches, golf courses, and historic tours are just steps away. Welcoming guests since the 1920s, White Elephant has offered almost 90 years of superior accommodations along with its spectacular views of Nantucket’s bustling harbor. The lawn offers a relaxing locale to sip pineapple refreshments following a treatment at the recently added White Elephant Spa. Brant Point Grill, Nantucket’s premier seafood and steakhouse, adds the new BPG Oyster Co. bringing a new twist to the already seemingly endless seafood options, with more lobster and oyster combinations than you can shake a fist at. 53 large guestrooms offer a mix of single bedrooms and two-room suites, many are equipped with fireplaces and harbor views. The 11 Garden Cottages feature renovated one-, two-, and three-bedrooms with views of the surrounding lush gardens and are ideal for guests enjoying extended vacations. (www.whiteelephanthotel.com)

Seminyak, Bali

What could be a better place than Bali’s beaches to experience the best of the island’s offerings? Anantara Seminyak Bali is quickly asserting itself as the place to stay in Bali’s hottest place to be. With each suite measuring 800 square feet, the whole crew could bunk in one of these rooms. The extensive glass paneling façades of the resort’s buildings brings the vast waterscape into the interiors – even the bathrooms offer sea views. Guests can continue to enjoy the coastal views from their suite’s large wooden balconies with open-air terrazzo tubs for two. For even more views, venture to the resort’s stunning rooftop bar, Sunset on Six. During the day it’s the perfect informal spot to relax while sipping on the bar’s signature cocktail, but things kick up a notch when the sun sets as world-renowned DJs spin the latest in hip-hop and dance. Rumor has it as the new Ku De Ta. (http://bali.anantara.com/)

Anantara Resort, The Maldives

Anantara is true to its name (meaning “borderless waters” in Sanskrit) at its resort in the Maldives. Here Anantara Maldives offers both overwater and beachfront suites. Highlighting the boundless nature of water, glass panels are worked into the floors of overwater suites and overwater spa treatment suites providing a glimpse into the sea below. Anantara Maldives features the first overwater Thai restaurant in the Maldives, Baan Huraa, accessible only by dhoni (the traditional Maldivian boat). Activities abound and include the resorts’ PADI 5 diving school, sea-plane flights, cooking classes and deserted island adventures. (http://maldives.anantara.com/)

Cocoa Island, The Maldives

Cocoa Island, of COMO Hotels & Resorts, is located on its own house reef in the South Male atoll in the Maldives. Its own reef and completely natural beaches assures it as the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. The island is long and thin with sand snaking out into a perfect spit that disappears with the evening tide. At Cocoa, the style is deliberately restrained – a simple yet sophisticated mix of the contemporary and indigenous. Certain room types occupy converted ‘dhoni’ boats, as used by Maldivian fishermen and overhang the lagoon. Natural materials are carried through to the interiors, with high raftered ceilings and glossy teak flooring. The inside/outside space merges on the horizon-side, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows opening up to a substantial deck for slipping in and out of the water. These same decks ensure privacy for lounging in the sun, or a place for quiet, al fresco dining. (http://www.cocoaisland.como.bz/)

Naladhu, The Maldives

Ever dreamed of owning a private Island? For a private island experience in the already secluded Maldives, Naladhu is the perfect getaway. Consisting of just nineteen luxurious villas on its own private island surrounded by a coral lagoon, the resort is designed to be intimate like a favorite vacation home by the sea. It offers a timeless, comfortable elegance, with spacious wraparound terraces, semi-outdoor bathroom with terrazzo infinity bathtub, and an oversized plunge pool. All amenities, such as fine dining, spa and massage treatments, are available in-house (or on deck). Additionally, each house comes complete with a House Master who caters to the whims of guests and oversees that all amenities and activities are perfectly coordinated. Romantic options include dining on a deserted island surrounded by candles or a sunset excursion on a one-of -a -kind timber decked dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) accompanied by a local duo serenade. (www.naladhu.com)

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Like Palm Beach in the ’60s or Acapulco in the ’70s, the Riviera Maya has become the place that everyone wants to go now. There’s nothing like being in the very spot where the Caribbean coast of Mexico and the jungles and ruins of the Yucatán meet. Just fully open on March 1, Rosewood Mayakobá is a stunning addition to the area, and one of the very first true luxury resorts to open on the Riviera Maya. Of the 128 superb suites, sixteen are beachfront-a little more than a sandcastle’s length from the ocean-and the others are privately set around the deep green lagoons wind through the property, each with a private dock. In keeping with the stunning refinement of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts’ other properties, Rosewood Mayakobá boasts lots of flavorful extras like private plunge pools in all the rooms, and 40 majordomos, or butlers, ready to cater to every whim. To go above and beyond the basic margarita, there’s Agave Azul, the region’s first “tequila library,” where bottles replace the books and guests can sample over 100 varieties of tequila. The first privately-branded Sense, a Rosewood Spa, is set on its own private island within the resort, centered on a sacred cenote, one of the ancient Mayan water wells found throughout the Yucatán. (www.rosewoodmayakoba.com)

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