Sunday, August 14, 2011

Under the Stars

Penthouse suite terrace, AKA Central Park, New York City (© Halkin Photography LLC/Courtesy of AKA Central Park)

How many travelers can peer at the legendary Manhattan cityscape from their outdoor beds? My guess is that the number is small, perhaps restricted to those who stay at AKA Central Park, a New York apartment hotel that offers the option of outdoor terrace beds for those who book penthouse suites. The hotel also has indoor bedrooms for nights when the weather is inclement. The package includes the loan of a telescope, helpful for spying on stars in the neighborhood, if not the ones in the sky; too much light in midtown Manhattan for the latter.
Star bed, Loisaba Wilderness, Nanyuki, Kenya (© Loisaba Wilderness)
Camping out is fun, but it’s also possible to eat and sleep under the stars in comfort and style. Here are some hotel and restaurant options from New York to Kenya.

“Star beds” — the name says it all. At this combination resort and working cattle ranch at
Loisaba Wilderness Lodge in Kenya, guests retire each night to open-air beds set on platforms 10 feet above the ground and about 100 feet from the next guest to guarantee privacy. You’ll sleep extremely well; the beds are cushy and the days are highly active with camel safaris, game drives, mountain biking and visits to nearby Masai villages, some of which are home to the staff here. Profits from the resort go to support conservation efforts in the area.

Ocean-view yurt, Treebones Resort, Big Sur, Calif. (© Treebones Resort)

I highly recommend visiting the Pavillion Rooftop Bar in Charleston SC, lovely panoramic view of Charleston and the harbor. It is located on the top of the Pavillion Hotel near the market.
Make like a bird and sleep in a human-sized nest at Treebones Resort, Big Sur, Calif. Or go Mongolian in a yurt, a tentlike dwelling of wood lattice and fabric that allows guests to enjoy the stars through sky domes. Those are two of the options, along with regular camping, that this very "green" resort, set on one of the most glorious stretches of the California coast, offers its guests. Visitors spend their days sea kayaking, trekking through redwood forests, attending concerts, dining at the resort’s organic restaurant or kicking back with in-yurt massages. A haven of tranquility.
Casa Triangular, Hix Island House, Vieques, Puerto Rico (© Hix Island House)
“The outdoors become indoors,” promise the folks at Hix Island House, an innovative Caribbean resort in Vieques, Puerto Rico, which offers chic, minimalist concrete lofts with rolling metal doors to allow nature unfettered access to the rooms. Beds are swathed in mosquito netting and Frette linens to keep guests comfortable; showers are open-air.  Located in a serene nature preserve on this lightly developed island, this isn’t the place for partiers. But if your idea of big excitement is a yoga class in the morning and bird watching in the afternoon, you’ll enjoy the vibe here.
Outdoor movie & dining, Foreign Cinema, San Francisco (Courtesy of Foreign Cinema)
You don’t have to worry about keeping your date entertained when you dine at Foreign Cinema, a hip Mission Dolores neighborhood eatery in San Francisco. Instead you can watch one of the movies, complete with subtitles, being screened on the wall of the outdoor garden. You may find it hard, however, to peel your eyes from the food which is terrific and includes fine local vegetables and seafood. This is one of California’s most fun and most gourmet outdoor eating experiences.
Chris, I want to go here the next time we are in SF, have you been here Son?
Sky Terrace, Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah (Courtesy of Amanresorts)
Not only will you gaze at the moon from the comfort of your open-air bed, you’ll feel as if you’ve landed on the moon itself, so austere and stark are the striated rocks and mesas that surround this opulent resort. Those who book an Amangiri suite have the option of sleeping on the “sky terrace,” which features beds protected by three walls and covered with comforters thick enough to take on the desert chill once the sun has set. Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah, is within driving distance of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante national parks, as well as Lake Powell.
Open roof bedroom, L'Albereta Relais & Chateaux, Erbusco, Italy (©  L'Albereta Relais & Chateaux)
It’s the height of romance: a four-poster bed covered with fine linens and above it, a sliding ceiling that can be opened for a view of the stars. For those who book this resort’s Honey suite in L’Albereta, Erbusco, Italy, the starry sleep is just the end of an aesthetically pleasing day spent enjoying treatments at the on-site spa, wandering the resort’s vineyards, tasting the superb wines created here and dining at L’Albereta’s Michelin-starred restaurant. The resort is approximately an hour’s drive from Milan.

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