The Ocean Club, Bahamas
The Ocean Club deservingly gets top accolades. It’s simply the perfect vacation resort for a weekend or a week for the well-heeled traveler. Set on an uncrowded beach running along Paradise Island’s north shore complete with Evian spritzing by the staff, this resort offers just over a hundred rooms, suites, and villas on 35 green acres. The new suites facing the ocean were spacious at 700 square feet and totally awesome. The Dunes Restaurant was excellent, and the service of the Butler and the rest of the staff superb. Proximity to the Atlantis was good for casino visits and shopping at Cartier, Gucci, John Bull, and more. The hotel caters to “the richest of the rich,” and privacy is a way of life on this slice of paradise. Guests are shuttled around in what the employees refer to as “Cadillac Jeeps,” better know as Escalades! The spa area offers the perfect pampering experience with each spa guest using an individual spa villa that has everything one needs and with privacy in mind.
JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, CA
The hotel is in Marriotts’s most elite brand, but it doesn’t compare to most of the other JW’s. Bottom line. It’s a massive convention hotel. Over 30-minute wait to get the car from valet, on two occasions, was annoying. Counting 267 steps from the hotel foyer to our room was enough of the turn-off to assure us never returning to that Marriott location. Best bets in Palm Springs: The Parker, The Lodge at Rancho Mirage, La Quinta Resort, The Westin at Mission Hills, or the boutique property “Viceroy” in the tennis club section of old Palm Springs.
JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson, AZ
I rate this an eight without ever staying here; I was quite bold on my part. I visited this stunning new hotel wearing a hard hat on a press trip. From all indicators, this is a winner. The backdrop and view of Old Tucson, just 5-10 minutes away, are spectacular. The golf course is beautiful complete with coyotes and the most impressive saguaro at a resort. Simply breathtaking.
American Club Koehler, WI
Whistling Straits Golf Course is the draw here; the course was tough and required walking with a caddy up and down hilly terrain, the golf experience was a “10.” The Immigrant Restaurant was exceptional. Our suite in the Carriage House above the Koehler Waters Spa was a “2”; the lamp had two burnt out light bulbs that were never replaced despite our requests, the room was old and worn, service was non-existent, the Koehler fixtures and tub were circa 80 “s maybe 70’s! Friends stayed in the regular hotel in the Vince Lombardi room, which was much nicer than our suite at a fraction of the price. American Club was still wonderful, and I plan to return. We flew a private jet into the Sheboygan Airport, less than 5 minutes from the hotel. Traveling there on a commercial airline is more difficult to Milwaukee, a city requiring connections from many places, then an hour or more drive north to Koehler. The spa is a little above average, but again, I am a “travel snob,” having been to over 110 resorts, it takes a lot to impress me.
Universal’s Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, FL
It was my 3rd stay at Portofino Bay Hotel, and it’s desirable to merit a return year after year. But if it weren’t attached to Universal Studios Theme Park, we would choose to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, or Gaylord Palms. The rooms are well maintained and nicely appointed. Service is excellent; restaurants are fair to good. The Palm across the street at the Hard Rock Hotel is a solid “10. The Mandara Spa is a “5”, I found the spa to be mediocre and overpriced, ordinary; the receptionists were poorly trained and couldn’t explain the services accurately.
Windows that open wide to the street below, legendary service, an attendant to sew on a button in a pinch, an on-call yoga instructor, a complimentary pass to the New York Sports Club, complimentary room service for breakfast. Chambers Hotel is a rare gem in the heart of New York’s Fifth Avenue shopping mecca. Soho in feel, uptown in location. The sight of the Chambers immense carved walnut double entrance doors set in a bronze canopied portal is impressive. It’s only the beginning.
Extraordinary describes this stylish hotel that could double as a fine arts museum. Guests inspired by art can doodle or draw using the array of colored pencils and rolls of tracing paper provided on the desk. Personal shopping service is available, and nearby stores, including Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada, Saks, and Trump Towers, offer steps away. Direct-dial shopping lines connect guests with Mario Badescu Spa, Bendels, and the elite Garren salon.
The hotel is so cool, so chic that it has hosted more than a few celebrities and celebrity parties, including VH-1 Divas Live, Bill Clinton, Pamela Anderson, Backstreet Boys, and an Anthony Hopkins film. Business travelers, leisure travelers, and celebrities and feel enveloped by this hotel’s creativity.
77 loft-like rooms and five suites which measure a minimum of 325 square feet allow guests to feel at home and indulged with full-size Bumble and Bumble amenities, free flip-flops, and wide high-pressure rain shower heads in the bathrooms. Art is everywhere from the 500 pieces of original artwork throughout the hotel and rooms to the artful décor, including the poured concrete walls painted in various hues. The furnishings are made of gray washed oak with details in hand-rubbed blackened steel. The wardrobe is upholstered in leather, inside is 2 Frette bathrobes; the bedside tables are artist’s canvases. The desk is made of two sawhorses with leather detailing topped with thick glass.
This hotel is worth your stay. When making a reservation, request a 56th street view and a room with a Japanese soaking tub.