We can’t all be Issac Newton I suppose (although, I must say, I do love his fig bars) but here is an equation so rudimentary that even I can grasp it. If a single One&Only Resort is magnificent, then ipso facto two One&Only Resorts are twice as delightful, right? Unless, that is, you insist on dragging out that confusing expression “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” in which case you have me totally lost.
Setting mathematics quickly aside for something I do understand, let’s talk a little travel. As I trust you have noticed, I have been writing lately about my latest junket, the first stop of which was Dubai. While I was there, it was my privilege to visit not one but two amazing gems of the Middle East.
ONE&ONLY THE PALM, DUBAI
To give you a feel for the opulence, the picture below is me standing in my bathroom in the Presidential Suite drawing my bath. Just kidding! This is actually the lobby but you do have to admit it is quite breathtaking. (In point of fact, the sumptuous bathrooms do feature oversized freestanding bathtubs as you will learn below.) If you need a sense of perspective, I am six feet six inches tall and exquisitely sculpted not unlike the iron lattice-work in the background.
Every square inch of this property oozes stylish luxury. This is especially true of the public areas such as the dining rooms and bars. The resort features a marina (of course) and one of my favorite spots is the 101 Dining Lounge and Bar pictured below with a panoramic view of the marina and the Dubai skyline. When they told me the dress code was “smart casual”, I was a little concerned about flunking the entrance exam but they graciously let me in with a provisional pass.
The other two elegant dining venues are called Stay and Zest. Said together they sound to me a little like a command you might issue to an over-exuberant puppy, “Stay, Zest! Down boy!”. Setting aside the bizarre way my mind works, these are two extraordinary restaurants. To cite their website, “Different seating arrangements including a sharing table area as well as a unique Pastry Library concept are key to the restaurant’s DNA.” That works out extremely well for me since it appears consuming pastries in obscene quantities is deeply imbedded in my personal DNA. Zest is the primary dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I particularly like the outdoor seating by the pool in the midst of beautiful Moorish style gardens.
This amazing resort offers you your choice of accommodations in three locales: the Manor House, Palm Beach Mansions and Beach Front Villas with various categories within each. I started this post with one of my lame little jokes about the lobby. Just to prove that I was indulging in only a slight exaggeration, here are pictures of The Grand Palm Suite with its sumptuous bathroom in the Mansion section.
Be sure and spend some quality time in the world-famous One&Only Private Spa featuring every amenity you can imagine and several you probably couldn’t! I will return shortly for the second part of this post that will describe the One&Only Royal Mirage.
Before I go, however, I would like to invite you to visit this site where I have posted over 300 pictures from my Golden Circle 2013 travels. There will not be a test at the end so don’t feel obliged to look at all of them. The first link in this paragraph will take you to the picture album and the second link to all the posts in this category in case you would like to catch up with my most devoted (some might say, demented) followers who slavishly read every word I write.
Most people who know anything at all about Dubai have heard of or seen pictures of the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island. If not, you should watch this fascinating YouTube video about its construction. I find the accomplishment mind-boggling even taking into consideration that my mind stays boggled a fair portion of the time anyway.
The entire structure is an engineering marvel but considering my occupation (you know, travel savant) you won’t be surprised to learn that my favorite portion is the outer ring called The Crescent. As you look at this picture, the structure in the middle of the Crescent and dominating the landscape is Atlantis. I published a post about the resort a few days ago which can be read here.
On the extreme right (eastern end) of the Crescent is another great resort, Anantara, which I will tell you about in this post. On the extreme left (western end) of the Crescent is the One&Only, The Palm and at just south of The Palm is the One&Only Royal Mirage. I will tell you about the latter two in a subsequent post.
Whew! Now that we have north, south, east and west pretty much covered, let’s take a brief visit to the incomparable Anantara. As you will soon discover, I like pretty much everything about this hotel but among my favorite features are the villas out over the water.
If you can pry your eyes off all the “beautiful people” in the foreground (and I use that term in the loosest possible way), you can see the majestic over-the-water villas in the background. In case you care to do a quick reality check on my judgment in this regard (never a bad idea), I direct your attention to a post on The New York Times Travel blog that was published just two days ago, can you believe it, on the very same subject. Those shameless bugggers over at the Times have spies everywhere trying to scoop me! (Note to Shivani Vora. I just linked to your post. A reciprocal link would be nice. Just sayin’.)
Now I want you to close your eyes (never mind, that won’t work unless you are a camel, and a literate one at that, and can read this post through your eyelids). OK, just imagine yourself floating aimlessly on a pool float in front of your swim up bungalow when you suddenly feel the need to slake your thirst. Do you paddle over to your domicile, clamber out and retrieve a drink?
Don’t be silly my pampered friend! You are on vacation and this is the Anantara, after all. See this little boat with the ice chest? Your boat butler will simply paddle over to you and offer you the refreshing beverage of your choice. How cool is that?
Another thing you are going to enjoy about this luxury property is the dining options. Crescendo offers international cuisine in a dazzling open air setting. According to their website, Mekong “evokes a feeling of the Far East with a melange of traditional Oriental ingredients . . .” It sounds inviting. It seems like forever since I had a really good melange. Perhaps most surprising of all is Bushman’s Australian Restaurant And Bar. This venue even features a Salt Guru (no, really) to help you select the perfect salt variety to compliment your meal. I don’t know about you but I have had a Salt Guru on retainer for years.
Sadly, the sun is setting, not only on another glorious day at Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, but also on another of these masterful posts. Wipe away that tear little buckaroo. I will return very soon with another thralling installment. That is sort of like thrilling but more captivating!
I trust you have been dutifully following my most recent journey at Golden Circle 2013. I have arrived in Dubai which is for me a brand new destination. As a widely traveled, highly skilled (if not particularly modest) travel professional, what do you suppose was the very first thing I chose to do upon arrival? Head straight for the world-renowned Dubai shopping mall? No, you must have me confused with Paris Hilton which isn’t easy seeing as how she weighs slightly less than my right leg and she carries more money in her coin purse that I have in my retirement account. Oops, that’s right, I don’t have a retirement account. Sorry!
No, to the contrary, I set off to do a series of hotel site inspections. I realize you lay travelers have trouble identifying with such odd behavior. You are normally slipping your swim suit on under your clothes in the airplane lavatory so your hotel transfer can bypass check in and take you directly to a waiting deck chair and a towering pina colada. You have to remember, we in the travel industry are consummate professionals who routinely put duty before personal gratification. (If you are buying that, could I interest you in Paraguay on the Dubai World Island? It’s a steal – this week only – and if you pay cash I will throw in Sri Lanka and a set of steak knives.)
As entertained as you no doubt are by my witty banter, we had best move on and take a look at the first two hotels I visited.
Just in case you think I write these blog posts from a cabin in northern Minnesota and all my travels are a figment of my imagination, here is a shot of me standing in the entry way of said resort. At first glance, you may suspect I might have appropriated a stock photo of Tom Cruise from the internet but, no, this is really me.
Everything about this hotel is both spectacular and colossal including its domination of The Palm skyline. Regrettably, there will be space here only to touch on a few of its amazing features. I promise to return soon to give Atlantis The Palm the robust treatment it richly deserves. I would love to talk about the decor, the vast array of room types, the selection of more than 20 restaurants and bars, shopping options and so forth. But for now, let me highlight just three features worthy of special attention:
Adults and children alike will enjoy exploring the underwater mazes and tunnels of the lost civilization of Atlantis. Along the way you will encounter sharks, eels, seahorses, and piranhas. The aquarium boasts over 20 remarkable marine life exhibits including a touch tank. That’s right and if you don’t believe me, just ask the director Nubs.
Aquaventure Waterpark is billed as “non-stop water, non-stop fun”. For the thrill seeker, they tout “the Leap Of Faith . . a 27 meter near vertical speed slide” and “other heart-thumping slides that catapult you through shark filled lagoons.” Just when I thought I was going to have to either up the amperage on my pacemaker or discretely check out and find a hotel for wusses, I discovered the option to relax on their private beach surrounded by lush tropical landscapes. To give you a sense of its scope, virtually everything you see in this picture I took is part of the waterpark.
Another option is to upgrade your Atlantis experience with one of their up close marine animal adventures. For the uninitiated, “upgrade your experience” is hotel speak for pay a little more. But hey, in this case, it is well worth it. The options include feeding eels, groping groupers or petting piranhas (OK, I might have thrown in a couple of my own verbs there) in one of their Behind The Scenes Tours.
You can even do a ten minute photo session at the water’s edge where you can “hug, kiss and dance with dolphins”. Apparently, there are lots of lonely people out there finding it a challenge to to meet someone. If you are a certified scuba diver take the plunge into the largest open air aquarium in the Middle East.
My goodness how time flies when you are penning classic literature for the ages. I seem to have run out of space to tell you about the second spectacular “A” lister, the Anantara Dubai Palm. Please don’t be dismayed. I will be back in two shakes of a shark’s dorsal fin with a sequel to this post in which I will extol its equally impressive virtues.
If you are simply too famished to wait for the main course, sample this starter I wrote a while back to whet your appetite: Jumpin’ Jumeirah: The Anantara Dubai Palm. Stay tuned!
My business partner stoutly refuses to let any opportunity slip by without contorting the most innocently dropped term or phrase into some sort of twisted pun. His wife, with the obligatory spousal roll of the eyes heavenward, loves to remind him that puns are the lowest form of humor. I must warn those of you with the same affliction — and full disclosure compels me to admit that I too love to torture the language in similar fashion — are going to have to bite your tongues more that once when reading this post. You will understand why very shortly.
The name of the incredible isle (see list of categories on the right side of the home page) I have chosen to feature today is Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. The name, which means “fat virgin” in Spanish, is derived from the fact that the “island’s profile on the horizon looks like a fat woman lying on her side.” (OK, behave now. I told you this was going to test your restraint.) Honestly, I am not seeing the fat virgin myself but then I flunked college psychology because every Rorschach image they showed me looked like a Hostess Twinkie dipped in melted chocolate.
Virgin Gorda is the third largest and second most populous of the British Virgin Islands. One of the chief delights of the island is its numerous yacht clubs. I too would belong to a yacht club were it not for the unfortunate fact that I don’t actual own a yacht. I know, it seems grossly unfair to me too!
This is a picture of the Bitter End Yacht Club. (Your second opportunity to curb your not so punny instincts. Oops, there I go!) This is but one of several yacht clubs on the islands. Perhaps one of the most popular aspects of the island is an unusual formation known as “The Baths”. The BVI tourism site describes the area as “a geological wonder comprised of awe-inspiring granite boulders, which form sheltered sea pools on the beach’s edge.” Their site has a fascinating description of the geological process that produced this phenomenon.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay
I am just going to pause here and let you get every bad wisecrack, gag and chestnut (don’t even go there!) out of your system. . . . . Just thought of another one? . . . . Are you done? Okay, may I now please tell you about a truly amazing resort? Thank you!
All kidding aside, something I seldom set aside, this is one of the world’s great resorts in one of the world’s most breathtaking settings. It is situated along a crescent-shaped white sand beach in the midst of lush mountain foliage. If you get totally bored on your stretch of pristine beach (poor baby), just hop on a complimentary water taxi and motor off to any of seven other beaches.
If you love fine dining (do I really need to ask?), you will quickly decide you have landed in the middle of paradise. The Sugar Mill is set in an open air stone mill nestled along the beach. Every table has a sweeping view of the bay with nothing to obstruct either the sound of the gently lapping water or the caress of the lightly dancing ocean breeze.
You may recall my mentioning our friends at Island Destinations. Well, by a very fortunate . . .and of course completely random . . . confluence of circumstances, they just happen to have a most amazing offer of a guaranteed upgrade at time of booking, $100 Spa service credit + $150 Dinner credit. No, I am not stuttering. Yes, all three. Reach out to me and I will tell you about some other cool items such as included breakfast and airport greeting. Oh, and if you insist, we can also chat about the price although that seems so very gauche.
“I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away.
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wasting time.”
Nestled among the leeward islands of the West Indies is small slice of paradise called Antigua. Those of you who have not obliterated your cerebral cortex with a few too many Cuba Libres across the decades will recall from first year Spanish that the word means “ancient”. The island was named by Christopher Columbus who, were he still around, would be nearly six hundred years old so it’s not as if Chris has a lot of room to talk himself!
One of the most appealing aspects of this incredible isle is the climate which pretty much makes it the poster boy for the word temperate. Try the mid-seventies in the winter (break out the parkas) to the mid-eighties in the summer (break out the piña coladas). The 45 inches of annual rainfall is the perfect amount to keep the island lush without spoiling too many outdoor activities. Throw in nearly constant northwest breezes and low humidity and it’s a minor miracle that the entire island is not one big nudist colony. Clothes? Who needs clothes? (I do, for one. Don’t dare smirk like I’m the only one!)
If you are terminally ADHD and “wasting time” sitting on the dock of the bay seems like, well . . . wasting time, not to worry. Here is a page where you can fill up every empty nanosecond with land or water activities and excursions of every stripe imaginable.
Such an incredible isle begs for a complementary resort of equal quality. Fortunately for visitors to Antigua, Carlisle Bay fits the bill quite nicely. That is, if you happen to belong to that select circle of people (pretty much called humanity) that favors white sand, swaying palm trees and turquoise water all set in the midst of an emerald green rainforest. If not, I am thinking of a radio-active, mosquito infested atoll in the Pacific that should be perfect for you.
For a small property, the dining options are quite liberal. There is a brand new restaurant Ottimo featuring Italian cuisine served by the pool. OK, technically it is not served by the pool but by a very nice waiter in the pool area. Don’t be pedantic!
Another option is Indigo on the Beach with a nice selection of grilled seafood and sumptuous salads. A third option is East which, by some uncanny coincidence, serves food from the Far East. Weird, huh? “Make it a point to enjoy an incredible meal at Carlisle Bay’s restaurant East. The venue offers a complementary mix of Japanese, Thai, and Indonesian cuisines that you can experience all at once.” –Laurie Palumbo, Chief Operating Officer at ID Travel Group.
If you are not craving a jumbo honey prawn right now, I have lost my magical touch. I know, what touch would that be?
You must know by now, avid reader, you are not going to get out of here without a mention of their famous Blue Spa. After perusing the offerings, I am thinking seriously about signing up for the Lomi Juma Massage Ritual if for no other reason than I haven’t the foggiest notion what that is. But since the description mentions fusion, it has to great for my back, right?
Here are two final reasons you should call me in, oh I don’t know, say the next ten minutes and book this property. It is represented in marketing by Pineapple-Hotels (incredible customer portfolio) and it is represented in sales by ID Travel Group (a stunning stable of properties). Those two affiliations, in my book (and, need I remind you, I am the author here), automatically bestow credibility. Oh, a final and clenching consideration: you can get expert assistance booking your travel plans from the great team at Travel Leaders.
Any flimsy excuses you might have had for “wasting time” have been blown away. It’s decided then. You’re headed to Carlisle Bay, Antigua for your next vacation. Congratulations!
Prestige, for any luxury hotel, begins with a distinguished name and quite often encompasses a noteworthy address. Waldorf Astoria, 301 Park Avenue. The Peninsula Beverly Hills, South Santa Monica Boulevard. Anantara Dubai The Palm, East Crescent.
Somehow, One Aldwych has managed to marry both in one succinct name. Let’s be honest, you are not going to mistake their name for a small motor lodge on the outskirts of Topeka, Kansas. The fact that the hotel is located in the heart of Covent Garden adds additional luster to anyone longing to find ground zero in the pulsating heart of London.
There are so many good things to say about this luxury hotel I hardly know where to start (which is unusual for me because normally I don’t know when to stop!) I will let you judge the exterior for yourself by this image. Does this not look like the sort of welcome sight you would long to return to after an exhausting day of trudging around London?. To me it screams home away from home which is strange, I suppose, since it looks nothing like my recently downsized domicile.
The public areas inside are, if anything, even more impressive. Animal lovers take a deep breath. This is not some unfortunate canine papered over with comic strips by an eccentric dowager from Stow On The Wold. It is simply The Beano dog (for 75 years Britain’s number one comic) “Spencer” who patiently lingers at reception to greet you.
If you at first found this picture unsettling, I have no idea what you will make of some of the other great art scattered throughout the hotel such as this piece called, fittingly I suppose, “The Oarsman”. We have a saying in Texas about braggarts that they are “all hat and no cattle”. I guess you would have to say that this poor chap is “all oars and no boat”. The hotel has original artwork throughout wych you can view here. (Sorry, just too easy.)
One of the many great things about this property is its location. And trust me, as someone who has been to London almost twenty times and has walked the shoe leather off a couple of pair of shoes, location is extremely important. The tube (subway) system is great (get a pass from your trusty travel agent before you leave) and taxis are ubiquitous (and very dear, as the Brits like to say) but even so, if you are the adventurous sort, you will find yourself doing a lot of walking.
The hotel has the neatest little online map pointing out fifteen great things to do, one for each year of their history, don’t you see? Some are interesting restaurants, some shopping suggestions, others are exhibitions running this summer and they even offer theatre (British spelling) suggestions. As a quick aside, as a lover of words, one of my favorite aspects of British life is the not so subtle differences in language. As George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have said, “The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.”
Let’s do one more thing right and splurge a little on one of the signature Studio Suites. These are stunning circular rooms at the apex of the hotel. Check out (before you check in) a list of features and amenities of this room category.
A couple of other quick items before I conclude. They do a marvelous afternoon tea with a twist. Not a twist of lemon . . . it curdles the cream . . but a theme inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You simply must take a look at this unique presentation. For those compulsive personalities for whom walking ten miles a day is simply inadequate to maintain their obnoxious state of buffness, there is a very nice fitness center and 18 metre (there they go again) chlorine-free swimming pool.
In a previous post, I wrote, quite eloquently might I suggest, about various things to do once you arrive in Cabo San Lucas. Working backwards (my normal orientation), it might be worthwhile to give some serious thought as to where you are going to reside during your upcoming holiday in Cabo San Lucas.
I should warn you at the outset that even with my vaunted (or is it taunted?) descriptive powers, after reading this post it will not be an easy selection. That is because I intend to lay before you the five most luminous objects in the entire Cabo San Lucas panoply.
Whether your intent is to impress a partner, indulge a passion, or ingest a prawn the size of a West Indian manatee, you can’t possibly go wrong booking your stay at any one of these little gems. OK, there is one way to go terribly wrong – booking with another travel company – but let’s not even go there!
Here are my recommendations in no particular order. I am already destined to offend all those resorts who failed to make this short list so inflaming the passions of hotel partners who were selected by ranking them seems both provocative and ill advised.
Las Ventanas Al Paraiso
As fate would have it, I have already written a captivating little treatise about the first of our five resorts which you can read here. Another aspiring blogger, Larry Olmsted, who writes for such obscure publications as Forbes, USA Today and Golf Travel also contributes his modest insights. By some miracle, should you find your thirst for knowledge still unslaked after reading my mesmerizing piece, I suppose you could trundle over here and read Larry’s workmanlike article. Don’t blame me if it pales in comparison to mine. Just lower your expectations and you should be fine.
You will search long and hard to find any resort in the world with a more impressive setting. The picture you see above is your first view after exiting a long tunnel cut through the heart of a mountain. The infinity view framed by the dancing tongues of fire elicits an audible gasp from most first time guests.
I was a guest there a couple of years ago and several fond memories still float like dainty lily pads on the tranquil surface of my memory. The Auriga Spa was a spectacular setting to relax and rejuvenate. One of my favorite recollections is taking a cooking class from the well-known chef Marco Bustamante on ways to prepare three unique varieties of ceviche, one of my favorite delights.
If you go to this resort’s website, which I strongly suggest you do, you will find this rather immodest description, “One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos Resort, a retreat of gracious splendour, where exhilaration and serenity thrive in blissful harmony.” Bear Bryant, longtime head football coach at Texas A&M and the University of Alabama famously said, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” This property has every right to extol its virtues however loudly it cares to.
Every stay includes complimentary welcome Tequila, golf, a bottle of wine, spa and more. As for accolades honors and awards, if these were medals and ribbons, the entire resort would be draped like the chest of a tin horn Generalissimo from some third world military junta. Let’s just say if Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure are singing your praises, there must not be too many flys buzzing about!
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
Let me share a little insider secret I have learned from extensive personal experience. There are no bad Secrets Resorts. I have stayed at Secrets the Vine, Secrets Vallarta Bay, Secrets Silversands, Secrets Wild Orchid and Secrets Maroma Beach and visited a couple of others.
Each and every one of them exhibited the same exemplary personal service and luxurious accommodations. AMResorts, the parent company and a division of Apple Vacations, has every reason to be proud of what they are quietly crafting from the Caribbean to the sun-drenched shores of western Mexico. As a bit of a wordsmith myself, a personal tip of the hat to whoever creates these incredibly alluring names: St. James, Wild Orchid, Aura, the Vine, etc. Their very names are siren calls to serene settings.
Esperanza, an Auberge Resort
Auberge is truly more than just an incredible string of resort pearls. It is not an exaggeration to say it is a lifestyle. If you question that assertion, just spend a little time dawdling over the pages of their iconic blog, The Art Of Living. The blog itself is a destination! The resort in Cabo, as do all their resorts, reflects the worldly charm of the CEO Mark Harmon. You might enjoy this interview with him in the May issue of Robb Report.
One of the nicer features of the dining experience is the fact they showcase ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. As followers of this blog well know, I am a great aficionado of spas. You should know that The Spa At Esperanza has been named the number one spa in Latin America by Travel & Leisure magazine.
OK, the table has been set. Five glorious, unique, stunning slices of paradise. For most of my readers, devouring all five courses is impractical due to lack of time or financial resources. As a quick aside, if you don’t possess those two limitations, we really should get to know one another better!
Given those limitations for us mere mortals, which resort will you choose?
For those people who remember the 1950′s (not me, of course, other than what my grandparents have told me), one of the distinguishing features was the inordinate number of abrasive and annoying commercials on television. Who can forget, even with therapy, the Wisk laundry soap ad with its “ring around the collar” jingle that can still bring zombies out of their graves on moonless nights.
The commercial that inspired the title of this post is the Certs commercial that always involved a spirited argument between two dweebs as to whether Certs is a breath mint or a candy mint. Mercifully, the announcer eventually intervenes to declare the both are right because Certs is “two (click), two (click), two mints in one”. If you need some enamel removed from your teeth, just click on the video link above and revisit yesteryear.
For some reason that not even my therapist can seem to fathom, my recent visit to Secrets Vallarta Bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico brought back memories of those Certs commercials. Certainly not because the resort was abrasive or annoying. Quite the contrary, it was wonderfully soothing and relaxing. I think it was because on several levels, the property is really two resorts in one.
Take the two pictures above. When you drive into the property from the airport, you would never guess the property sat on a mammoth, picturesque bay. The picture on the left is the view of Puerto Vallara from one side of the property. The picture on the right shows the view from the lobby with the bay stretching out across the horizon.
Granted the proximity to town produces some early morning rooster crowing and the occasional dog barking, not something you will hear at most resorts. On the other hand, it is within ten minutes walking distance of the Malecón. To quote my friend Suzanne Barbezat, “This wide waterfront promenade is lined with palm trees and dotted with bronze sculptures and other art.” I encourage you to read her excellent article here.
Secrets Resorts are famous for their Pevonia Spas. On this occasion I spent two very idyllic hours there. The first hour, I was guided through various stations (steam bath, sauna, ice bucket shower) which was not unlike being transported from Hell to Sweden to the polar caps over a fifteen minute span. This session culminated with a hydro therapy session consisting of jet-propulsed streams of water pummeling me with such force I found myself desperately clinging to my swimsuit with both hands. This area of the spa is co-ed and I had no interest in sparking an international incident over accusations of gringo exhibitionism.
The entire second hour I was stoned. Whoa, Nellie. Don’t jump to conclusions. I had a fifty minute spa treatment that included being pummeled by hot stones. I know, it sounds like an antiquated form of capital punishment but somehow it was quite soothing . . . in a barbaric sort of way.
The other aspect of the resort’s duality is quite literal. When you gaze at the picture at the very top of this post, you are actually looking at two separate resorts: Secrets Vallarta Bay and Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. The Now brand within AMResorts (the parent company of both properties) permits families and is a little more trendy / hip / chic than Secrets which probably explains me being discretely escorted back to my hotel where I was told I would “feel more comfortable”. (And here I thought my plaid shorts, stripped shirt and sandals with white socks were quite dapper.) I will save a more detailed description for another post.
To further confuse matters, the picture above was not taken at either property but at an offsite event at the Dreams Villamagna (another AMResorts brand) located a little further north in Riviera Nayarit. AMResorts has more brands that a Texas cattle ranch although I have yet to find one called , an actual Fort Worth cattle brand having nothing to do with the TV show Dallas. I have included the picture because it captures perfectly, for me at least, the exuberant hospitality that is Mexico. If you are looking for a stellar resort in a magnificent destination, Secrets Vallarta Bay is a great choice!
In case you have been too busy rearranging your sock drawer lately to notice, there is a brand new five-star luxury resort coming to Dubai on September 15th called the Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa. Whew, let me catch my breath. That’s a mouthful. Apparently words flow as freely as petrodollars in the United Arab Emirates. Let’s take a moment and dissect this rather elongated name.
Those of you, like me, whose TV’s are set to automatically open on the golf channel probably recognize the word Jumeirah, even if you have no clue how to pronounce it or what it references. That would be because the word is emblazoned across the cap and various other clothing articles worn by Rory McIlroy, the young Irish golf phenom, as one of their chief celebrity spokespersons. Rumor has it . . . admittedly a rumor I have tried to ignite . . . that I was a close second on their “short list” for a lucrative endorsement contract. No easy jokes about my stature, please!
Jumeirah is the name of a world-wide luxury hotel chain based in Dubai with resorts in such illustrious and exotic settings as Abu Dhabi, Bali, Baku, Kuwait, Maldives, Mallorca, Shanghai, Phuket and everyone’s all-time bucket-list favorite Xishaungbanna. According to their abbreviated website, “The word Anantara in Sanskrit means “without end” and evokes the freedom, movement and harmony that are the spirit of the Anantara Experience.”
One of the upcoming dining options will be an Australian Grill restaurant. I am impressed that they know how to “throw another shrimp on the barbie” even in Dubai. The Mediterranean beach restaurant sounds a little more to my taste. Indulge me for a moment as I picture myself slowly twirling my pita bread in plates of succulent tzatziki and hummus and popping Greek olives like buttered popcorn all while an attentive waiter makes sure my wine glass never dips below half full.
The room types are particularly intriguing. Imagine having to choose between a one bedroom beach pool villa with a personal infinity pool, a one bedroom over water villa poised over the ocean, or a generous Anantara two bedroom beach pool villa that offers the pinnacle of luxury and is ideal for families and friends. Decisions, decisions.
One of the best known features of this resort is the Anantara Spa which is designed to restore balance and harmony between body and mind. They might have their hands full in my case trying to balance my wobbly body while simultaneously harmonizing it with my rather disjointed mind. But hey, if they are up for the challenge, I am more than willing to submit myself to as many “intoxicating aromas” and “exotic elixirs” as my paltry wallet and their strained patience can endure.
Our friends at Emirates are standing by to whisk you away to the grand opening. Don’t let some A-list celebrity or overpaid sports figure beat you to the punch. If you have always dreamed of staying at a hotel located at the crescent of the iconic Palm Jumeirah surrounded by lush gardens and tranquil lagoons (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?), this is your opportunity. Should I book you the room with the personal infinity pool or the villa over the ocean?