Prepare for Adventure in the New Year

Prepare Yourself

To get the most out of your vacation, it is always best to do some advance work. For example, while a wine class can hardly be considered work, understanding varietals and vintages will make a trip to Italy’s wine region even more enjoyable.
for haute couture before checking-in to this chic Parisian hotel beloved by fashionistas.
for the strenuous climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, and reward yourself with a post-hike stay at this serene property in Zanzibar.
the history of Russian ballet before heading to St. Petersburg, home to a rich dance tradition and this wonderful hotel.
your scuba diving certification to take full advantage of the teal blue waters and tropical fish at this far-flung Maldivian oasis.
a table far in advance at Noma, one of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, near this palatial hotel in Copenhagen.
your inner sommelier by taking a wine class in preparation for a stay at this urban retreat, an easy drive from the Italian wine country.
ahead for spring break, and bring the whole family to this seaside Spanish resort with a spectacular kids club.
Edith Wharton’s In Morocco before heading to this opulet hotel in Marrakech.
how to stomp and tap—traditional aspects of Flamenco—so you can dance like a pro at this luxe Andalusian hotel.
As 2013 comes to a close, many take time to think back on all the experiences the year has brought—and use them to inspire future travels. The coming years bring with them a number of worldwide events that are sure to be spectacles, and in-the-know travelers are already planning their attendance. Sports are the star of 2014, with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the World Cup in Brazil. Art-lovers are planning even further ahead to the 2015 Hong Kong Biennale.

Lotte Hotel Moscow

Moscow, Russia

The award-winning Lotte Hotel Moscow is an Asian export in the heart of the Russian capital’s shopping and financial districts, close to the Garden Ring. All the rooms and suites have a sleek, contemporary feel with soft colors, bold patterns and a hint of the Far East. The spectacular Royal Suite is the largest in the city at over 490 square meters, with special amenities including a 62–inch plasma screen and meeting table for up to fourteen guests. The MENU restaurant offers progressive European cuisine that combines the best classical Mediterranean dishes with a modern twist. New York export, MEGU, treats diners to traditional and modern Japanese dishes in a sumptuous setting of brightly colored kimono fabrics and an enormous suspended bonsho bell.

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Hotel Emiliano

São Paulo, Brazil

Cosmopolitan São Paulo is Brazil’s largest and richest city, as well as a vibrant cultural center, with a film festival, a contemporary-art biennial, fashion week and carnival. One way to escape the bustle is to book a room at the sleek Emiliano. Located in the central Jardins district, on boutique-lined Oscar Freire Street, the property ushers guests into a calm haven, starting with a complimentary fifteen-minute massage at the fullservice spa. Rooms have contemporary Brazilian furnishings mixed with iconic Eames pieces, LCD televisions, Hungarian goose-down pillows and fine Egyptian-cotton linens. For a culinary treat, the Champagne & Caviar Bar offers a selection of rare caviar and European roes.

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Hullett House

Kowloon, Hong Kong

Housed in a magnificent colonial building dating back to 1881, Hullett House is a celebration of Hong Kong’s rich “East meets West” heritage. Guests can stay in a Chinese Imperial suite with hand-painted Qing dynasty murals and a bed fit for an Emperor, an elegant English pastoral suite decorated in restful greens with 26 hand-painted native songbirds or a vibrant China pop-art suite. There are ten individually-designed suites, each with its own terrace and modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, rain-head showers and surround sound. The bespoke Hong Kong experience extends to the dining table with the House’s five fine restaurants including St. George with its dining room reminiscent of a 19th-century gentlemen’s club and fine French cuisine.

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Every once in a while after a draining workweek, a weekend escape is just what the doctor ordered. Luckily, with Leading Hotels of the World nearby these major cities, a Friday-afternoon decision can land you a relaxing weekend—exactly what you needed to recharge and refuel.

Leading Spa Leading Golf Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa

Los Cabos, Mexico

Located near the tip of the Baja peninsula where the desert mountains meet the Sea of Cortes, the Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa features a dream combination of gorgeous setting, pristine accommodations and superb amenities. Foodies can relish the nightly menu comprised of the freshest local ingredients from the Michelin pedigreed executive chef; while artistes browse the resort’s extensive collection of Latin American sculptures and paintings on display. Sybarites will prefer to book a treatment at the newly re-envisioned Spa Marquis, while sunseekers flock to one of three infinity pools overlooking the water that offers glorious sightings of dolphins, jumping rays and whales. A dream destination for golf aficionados as well, six 18-hole courses are within ten miles of the resort.

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San Ysidro Ranch

Santa Barbara, United States

Nestled among 500 acres in the Montecito foothills of Southern California's wine country, San Ysidro Ranch has provided a tranquil vacation destination for discriminating travelers for over a century. Guests are drawn to the Santa Barbara hideaway for its blend of natural beauty, romantic heritage and classic luxury. Individually decorated private cottages and suites wind along San Ysidro's hillside creek and tree-lined paths. Built in classic bungalow style, guest accommodations feature hot tubs on private outdoor patios with outdoor rain fall showers, hand-cut stone or Old World masonry fireplaces, radiant-heated bathroom floors, and hand-selected antique furnishings. Myth and history mingle in the lush gardens where Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier exchanged vows; in the setting of John and Jackie Kennedy's honeymoon retreat.

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Bellagio Towers

Las Vegas, United States

Inspired by the villages of Europe, Bellagio overlooks a Mediterranean-blue lake with fountains performing a magnificent ballet. Within Bellagio are award-winning dining experiences including two AAA Five Diamond restaurants, Julian Serrano's Picasso and Le Cirque from the renowned Maccioni family. The resort’s retail promenade, Via Bellagio, includes the luxury shops of Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Prada, Fred Leighton, Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Fendi and Bottega Veneta. A world-class art gallery, exquisite Conservatory, Cirque du Soleil’s stunning performance of “O”, sumptuous spa and salon and elegant casino add to the extraordinary Bellagio experience.

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Leading Spa The Legian Bali

Bali, Indonesia

Mystical Bali, the most storied of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, conjures up images of brilliant sunsets, Hindu temples and emerald-hued rainforests. The Legian, occupying one of the best stretches of Seminyak beach, captures this otherworldly charm with Zen-like interiors and a relaxed vibe. The all-suite property was created by acclaimed designer Jaya Ibrahim, brilliantly infusing Indonesian style with a contemporary feel. The setting, complete with a striking two tiered infinity pool, is undeniably romantic, but the resort also warmly welcomes families, introducing young guests to the local culture with Balinese dance lessons and flower-necklace making. For those seeking ultimate serenity, there's the adjacent Club at the Legian, a cluster of freestanding villas, all of which offer butler service and private pools.

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Leading Golf Santiburi Beach Resort & Spa

Koh Samui, Thailand

In the early 1970s, it was mostly backpackers who ventured to Koh Samui, drawn by the expansive beaches and laid-back lifestyle. Today, the island's boho-chic vibe persists, but a dose of luxury has been injected into its hotels, including the stunning Santiburi Beach Resort & Spa, located on the unspoiled northern coast. Traditional steep-pitch villas are scattered across twenty-three acres of tropical gardens that border Mae Nam beach. Its calm, shallow water ensure a safe haven for families; there's even an area reserved exclusively for Santiburi guests. Food and activities center around the sea: the grill restaurant serves freshly caught specialties, and water sports are plentiful and complimentary. Golfers flock to the 18-hole Santiburi Samui course built on the cliff's edge with spectacular vistas.

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Leading Spa Leading Golf The Datai Langkawi

Langkawi, Malaysia

Pulau Langkawi, in the Andaman Sea off the northwestern tip of Malaysia, is one of just four inhabited islands in an archipelago of 100. Its remoteness makes it a nature lover's dream destination, with lush rainforests and pristine beaches. The Datai Langkawi celebrates this spectacular setting. The Asian-minimalist design blends beautifully into the landscapes, and the sleek guest rooms are equally sophisticated, with tropical wood floors, shantung-silk wall panels and sprawling marble baths. Families and couples on a romantic getaway happily co-exist here, while golfers can play the challenging, award-winning course, which has a unique 19 holes. Active types can partake in sailing, sea kayaking and snorkeling.

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The Merrion

Dublin, Ireland

The Merrion encompasses four meticulously restored Georgian Townhouses that imbue it with a touch of Irish history. Popular with art lovers, the property is located in the heart of Dublin city and close to the National Gallery and National History Museum. It also contains the largest private collection of 19th-and 20th-century art in Ireland, including works by Post-Impressionist painter Paul Henry and Impressionist William Leech. Guests can enjoy lunch or afternoon tea during the summer in the hotel’s landscaped gardens and dine all year round in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Merrion Drawing Rooms, or under the vaulted ceilings of The Cellar Restaurant & Bar. The Tethra spa has an 18-meter swimming pool plus a gymnasium, steam room and treatment rooms.

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Leading Spa Leading Golf The Grove

Hertfordshire, England

The Grove, Queen Victoria’s country retreat, is still at the forefront of decadence and luxury after all these years. In fact, it has served as the home-away-from-home for the cast during the filming of the Harry Potter movies. The real sorcery, however, lies in transporting guests to the peace and quiet of this sprawling country estate, just eighteen miles from London. The 18th-century mansion was the seat of the Earl of Clarendon and occupies 300 acres of parkland, with an ancient Walled Garden, a private beach and beautiful bluebell groves. An ideal escape for families, the property offers an OFSTED registered kids club, Anouska’s, with an indoor swimming pool and a large playground. Adults, meanwhile, can play the championship golf course or relax at the award-winning spa Sequoia.

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