A Room with a View at Sea

Apreamare’s new 82 Maestro combines the nautical heritage of the 150-year-old shipyard with a modern Italian interior. Unveiled at the Cannes boat show in September, the Italian shipyard maintained a classic-looking, expedition-style exterior while inside it’s designed with a surprising sense of openness achieved with details such as a picture window in the master suite and sleek, off-white furnishings.

Depending on engine choice, the blue-water hull can deliver a top end of 31 knots and cruising range of 400 nautical miles. It’s a yacht that is designed for ocean running but is faster than many other explorer yachts in its class.  In addition to spacious interiors, the designers also maximized the exterior three decks: The bridge has three lounges, sun platform, Jacuzzi, and wet bar, while the teak-laden cockpit area below is a good spot for al fresco dining. The new Maestro series will include 51 and 65 models. (www.apreamare.it)

Michael Verdon

Beverly Hills Montage

Nestled in the heart of Beverly Hills, the new Montage Hotel, which officially opens on November 17, is likely to attract locals as well as out-of-towners to its three dining venues. The intimate Muse restaurant, which seats 44, features a chef’s menu that changes nightly, while the more casual Parq has a chef’s table inside its European-designed kitchen, and the Conservatory Grill has rooftop garden dining for both lunch and dinner.

The hotel’s terra-cotta roof and tiled floors were inspired by Spanish revival architecture, and the room’s interiors and arched doorways are reminiscent of the Art Deco era. The eight-story hotel has 201 guest rooms, more than a quarter of which are suites, including two, 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suites that can be combined with adjacent, smaller suites to create four-bedroom residences. A 20,000 square-foot spa incorporates a mineral pool, mud room, and herbal steam room, with a yoga studio for personal classes. Rooms start at 5; the Presidential Suite is ,500. (www.montagebeverlyhills.com)

Alexandra Foster

Study Abroad

The International Wine Academy of Rome is offering private wine courses set in the luxurious and historic Il Palazzetto, an estate built in the 1500s that overlooks the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome. The courses will educate visitors about wines from the more popular Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino varietals to little-known, rare local grape varieties Petit Rouge and Malvasia Puntinata. Following the Friday evening course, the estate’s restaurant will host a dinner prepared to accompany the wines studied―and the teachings continue as the instructor introduces and explains the pairings of each wine and dish. And if all the wine finally goes to your head, you are invited to stay at the Hotel Hassler, just a stumble across the road from the academy. The wine excursion is offered on weekends from October 31 to November 30, 2008, and from January 4 to March 12, 2009. (www.wineacademyroma.com, www.hotelhassler.com)

Alexandra Foster

 

Mother Nature’s Gift

The Hotel Casa de Sierra Nevada, a boutique Orient-Express Hotel in the city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, draws on its natural surroundings to create a distinct experience at its newly unveiled Laja Spa. Named for the river that runs through the city, the Laja Spa offers specialty treatments such as the Detox Herbal Wrap, which uses heated sheets of pure cotton infused with locally grown herbs to draw out toxins from the skin, followed by a honey and salt exfoliation. Each spa treatment utilizes herbs, oils, and natural resources from the area―even stones from the Laja River are heated and used in massages. The spa’s dining room has also fashioned a healthy menu using ingredients grown in San Miguel, so you can continue experiencing the local flavor at your dinner table. (+52.415.152.70.40, www.casadesierranevada.com)

Stephanie Mazursky

South Pacific at Its “Peak”

If you still haven’t decided how to spend New Year’s Eve 2009, consider an intimate dinner in Hong Kong, hosted by an expert in local cuisine, followed by a private cruise in Victoria Harbor, complete with a rooftop pyrotechnic show involving more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor. The evening’s festivities are part of the premier stop on Abercrombie and Kent travel company’s private jet trip through Asia and the South Pacific, leaving Seattle on December 27, 2008, and returning to Los Angeles January 19, 2009, with stops in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Bora Bora, Australia, and Tahiti, feasting on local cuisine along the way. The “Southward from the Peak” trip offers 52 guests a seat on the 757-200ER jet, which flies from city to city. Abercrombie and Kent will tailor activities at each destination, arranging access to ruins from the Khmer Empire, a private botanical garden in Australia’s tropical rainforest, and a performance of classical Apsara dancers during a poolside feast in Cambodia. Accommodations throughout the trip include Hanoi’s Metropole Hotel, the Oriental in Bangkok, the St. Regis in Bora Bora, and the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. The trip is ,350 per person, assuming double occupancy. (800.554.7094, www.akprivatejet.com)

—Alexandra Foster

Living Like Royalty

The Four Seasons opened its newest location in a former 15th-century palazzo that once housed Florentine nobility.  Located in the heart of Florence, the Four Seasons Firenze has maintained its historical heritage while at the same time providing all the modern luxuries expected at a Four Seasons hotel. The Renaissance-art filled hotel features works in bas-relief, stucco, and silk wallpaper dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, and each room displays original frescoes. While appealing to the historian in each of us, the Four Seasons possesses luxurious facilities that include the largest private garden in Florence, a spa, outdoor pool, and fitness center. Prices range from approximately 5 to ,600. (39.055.2626.1, www.fourseasons.com/florence )

Stephanie Mazursky

Encantado Enchants Santa Fe

Auberge Resorts, whose properties include Auberge du Soleil in Napa and Esperanza Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, brought its signature quiet luxury to the Southwest when it opened Encantado resort outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, this month. The 57-acre resort is home to 65 casitas, a full-service spa, signature restaurant, and lounge. The 1,125-square-foot one-bedroom casitas, with separate living, dining, and outdoor patio spaces, start at 5 per night. The 10,000-square-foot spa, fitness center, and yoga studio is influenced by the area’s Native American heritage. The signature treatment ―dubbed the Ojo Caliente Purification Ritual―is inspired by the mineral-rich waters from the local Ojo Caliente natural hot springs. Terra, the resort’s restaurant, features seasonal produce and herbs grown in an on-site biodynamic kitchen garden and prepared by chef Charles Dale, whose training includes an apprenticeship at New York’s Le Cirque. (www.encantadoresort.com)

Alexandra Foster 

Laps of Luxury

Get a seat trackside at the world’s first-ever twilight Formula One Grand Prix from the rooftop viewing decks of the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore. Guests staying in suites will have access to the hotel’s rooftop viewing platform, which offers sweeping views of the Singapore River as well as the entire 61-lap F1 circuit. Other extras include a champagne and cocktail reception on the roof on qualifying and race days, access to the hotel’s full-service spa, limo transportation to and from the hotel to Singapore’s Changi Airport, and a daily champagne buffet breakfast at the hotel’s Town restaurant. Packages from September 25 through the 28―race days―require a minimum stay of four nights, inclusive of both dates, and start at ,500 per person, per night. (www.fullertonhotel.com)

Alexandra Foster

Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya

Located 26 miles south of Cancún, the Mandarin occupies a one-mile-long, 150-yard-wide sliver of land that stretches from the region’s main highway to the Caribbean Sea. Reflecting pools line a thatch-roofed pavilion at the front of the property, where guests board golf carts for a ride through the jungle, past a cenote (a freshwater sinkhole), and along canals to their rooms.