Skip to main content

Real-Time Retreats

Hotel Hotties Part 3: Best New Hotels of 2020

Hotel Bennett and Castle Hot Springs

divider pattern

As Part Three of our ‘Hotel Hotties’ series, we see why two distinctive properties have been honored by being included among the world’s most exciting new hotels on Condé Nast Travelers’ 2020 Hot List.

We travel to Hotel Bennett in Charleston, SC, and Castle Hot Springs deep in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, for unique experiences at both properties.

Carol & Whitney think pink

For this week’s virtual trips we’re going to ask you to Think Pink! Not only does the Hotel Bennett have the most petal-soft pink champagne lounge, and Castle Hot Springs offer views of the pinkest Arizona sunsets... but it’s October, darlings! That means it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re honoring that as well!

If you are walking, running, biking, or otherwise using your skills to raise money for breast cancer research this month, email us so we can support you!

So wear your hottest hues or your softest baby pinks this week, ladies- and you too, gentlemen- as we will be sipping pink champagne, baking pastry with an award winning pastry chef, and exploring a legendary hot springs resort tucked into a desert canyon. We say “Cheers!” to all that!

The first five at 3:55pm (no earlier than 3:55, please) to log into the call and be ready to bake, will receive a special gift from the Executive Pastry Chef at Hotel Bennett, to help you perfect your skills!

As an added bonus, each week we’ll award a planner who goes “all in” a special gift from our sweet friend, Kelly McAlister with Maui Jim... so join us this week for the Retreats Resources version of the Great British Baking Show!

Real-Time Retreats - Hotel Hotties Part 3: Best New Hotels of 2020 - Hotel Bennett and Castle Hot Springs
Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Video Replay

Steven Lewis, Sales Manager - Hotel Bennett

Steven Lewis

Sales Manager - Hotel Bennett

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
M: 843-505-1676

Born and raised in Southern Ohio, Steven began his hospitality career in Hilton Head Island, SC over 10 years ago. Steven will be representing Hotel Bennett in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets after holding sales positions with multiple brands throughout Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston.

The low country will always hold a special place in his heart, meeting his wife and eventually welcoming their two sons throughout the area.

Hotel Bennett - Charleston, SC

The dreamy Camelia’s Champagne Lounge, Hotel Bennett

Hotel Bennett

Charleston, SC — The south’s grandest new luxury hotel, Hotel Bennett is inspired by native Charlestonians and European classic design. Located on the fashionable King Street, the prominent entrance opens upon the corner of historic Marion Square. Style and elegance come to life throughout with unique appointments to the accommodations and guest amenities. Custom furnishings and local artwork complement the exquisite dining experiences in Gabrielle, La Patisserie, Camellias, and Fiat Lux. The hotel perfectly blends unparalleled luxury with an unmatched setting of the country’s most beloved city. Hotel Bennett is part of the Salamander Hotel Group.

Rave Reviews!

No need to look any further for validation that this is a one-of-a-kind hotel, than these reviews:

“The hotel’s design and interior finishes evoke European grandeur with extravagant use of marble, limestone, copper and tile but it’s the local touches that impart a unique dose of Carolina Lowcountry soul.”

Hotel Bennett lobby

“My room, genteel and bright, felt like one of the tony homes south of Broad Street with its built-in-bookcases, deep soaking tub, and serene palate of dove gray and pale blue. Only the modern touches—drapes that close with the touch of a remote; a rooftop pool, the largest in town—betray the hotel’s newness.”

Travel + Leisure

“Service at Hotel Bennett definitely distinguishes the property as a luxury destination, with an entire valet team and front desk staff that commits your name to memory and goes above and beyond in making every wish their command.”

Travel Channel

“On the northwest corner of Marion Square, the city’s central park, Bennett has pulled off an elegant Southern spin on a grand European hotel, one that skillfully fuses an old-world glamour with Lowcountry touches.”

Garden & Gun

“The newly opened Hotel Bennett, which is located on Marion Square, is a European-inspired property with a heated pool on the roof and a pink Champagne bar, Camellias, that’s the talk of the town.”

Southern Living


Stay in unparalleled luxury with the Hotel Bennett. Their distinguished service and meticulous attention to detail create the getaway of your dreams. 179 stylish guestrooms and suites transcend traditional upscale accommodations with custom furnishings and design that authentically reflect Charleston’s famed elegance and grace. Indulge in designer pedestal tubs, separate showers, luxurious bedding and locally inspired artwork, among many intricate and thoughtful nuances that embody the Hotel Bennett experience.

Hotel Bennett citadel suite


Blessed with gorgeous rooftop vistas, Hotel Bennett offers a few ways to live ‘above it all.’ This Presidential Suite terrace (pictured above) is just one of them.

The King’s Club provides a private oasis for guests seeking exclusive comfort and ease throughout their stay. Guests who reserve a room or suite with King’s Club access are pampered from the moment they check in with meticulous service, distinctive amenities and exclusive access to the city. VIP treatment includes customized itineraries, a dedicated concierge, King’s Club access with stunning terrace views of King Street, and the Chef de cuisine’s food and beverage presentations throughout the day and evening. The King’s Club is an intimate retreat befitting Hotel Bennett and their most discerning guests.

Hotel Bennett presidential suite


With attentive service, state-of-the-art conference facilities and both indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, the hotel is poised to host conferences, board meetings, fundraisers, galas and incentive trips. Planners will discover a Charleston venue with everything to host their event including:

  • Over 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space
  • 6,600 sq. ft. ballroom
  • Customizable catering menus and exceptional restaurants offering private dining experiences
  • Meeting services including event management and design, audiovisual expertise and destination assistance
  • Group activities and team-building

Here’s a little light reading for you before our trip: Hotel Bennett Group Offer.

Hotel Bennett fiat lux


Remy Funfrock, Executive Pastry Chef, will lead us through the creation of French Madeleines.

Because we know you’re wondering...

The original French madeleine is a small, traditional cake from two communes of the Lorraine region of northeastern France – Liverdun and Commercy. ... It is said that a girl named Madeleine had been given these little cake-like cookies during her pilgrimage, and she brought the recipe back to France with her.

Remy Funfrock, Executive Pastry Chef at Hotel Bennett

Interactive Pastries! Oui, oui!

Break out your aprons, and use the following shopping list to join chef Remy Funfrock as we learn to make the classic French Madeleine!

  • Whole Eggs – 3 each
  • Brown Sugar – 15 grs or 1 TBS
  • Sugar –  112 grs or ½ cup
  • All-Purpose Flour –  135 grs or 2/3 cup
  • Baking Powder –  4.5 grs or 1 tsp
  • Salt –  1 pinch
  • Lemon Zest –  1 each
  • Melted Butter –  135 grs or 2/3 cup
  • Vanilla Extract –  2 grs or ½ tsp
  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Bar (or choice of chocolate or colored chocolate for dipping)
  • Whisk
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Madeleine Tray (or cupcake tray with paper cups for tray)
  • Pastry Bag
  • Cooking Spray


  • Mix the eggs and all sugars together until it reaches light ribbon stage.
  • Add salt, vanilla, and zest and mix to combine.
  • Add the sifted flour and baking powder, mix well.
  • Add melted butter in a thin stream.

    *For best results please make the above mix up to this stage the day prior to the event

  • Fill pre-buttered madeleine molds
  • Bake 375ºF for approximately 12 minutes or until golden color.
  • Unmold while still hot.
  • When cool dipped madeleines in your choice of colored chocolate.
  • Madeleine will stay fresh for a week when stored in an airtight container.
  • Makes approximately 12 madeleines
French madeleines
Tina Newman, Director Of Sales And Marketing - Castle Hot Springs

Tina Newman

Director Of Sales And Marketing - Castle Hot Springs

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
O: 602-761-4582
C: 480-815-6991

Having more than 30 years of venerable experience in the travel industry, Tina is known for her well-established network of relationships as well as her ability to create and promote unparalleled brand standards.

Thrilled to be part of the Castle Hot Springs experience, she says, “it has been an amazing year as we have presented this unique resort to market and worked on refining the brand.”

Previously Tina was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Enchantment Group and its award-winning properties, Her career started in the food and beverage industry before joining a small group of luxury hotels in Mexico where she changed her focus to sales with an emphasis in the incentive market. A member of HSMAI’s Resort Marketing Best Practices group, her passion for data and analytics marketing are what truly inspire her!

Tina lives in Scottsdale, AZ with her husband where they enjoy summer boating and as much experiential travel as schedules will allow.

Castle Hot Springs

Castle Hot Springs

Following a dusty dirt road you will find the lush and magical oasis of Castle Hot Springs. Whether you’re looking to unwind in the hot springs or go on an adventure in the Sonoran Desert, their inclusive experience takes you on a memorable journey and you’ll leave there feeling better than when you arrived.

This may very well be the most interesting resort you never heard of! If you have 30 minutes to take a virtual journey back in time, check out this Emmy award winning documentary which traces it’s days as a legendary wellness retreat from the early 1900s to it’s present rebirth as a luxury resort perfect for this moment in time! It’s called “Oasis of Time” and you can watch it here.


Daily Meals + Gratuity

Experience five-star dining with farm fresh ingredients sure to spoil you during your stay, all included.

Access to the Hot Springs

Take a dip knowing that you’re one of the lucky few to float in these waters and emerge feeling refreshed.

Daily Activities to Entertain

From pickleball to guided hikes, there are endless activities to explore during your stay at this oasis.

Castle Hot Springs


You’re invited to revive your soul in the deep rock waters that have for centuries lent their restorative properties to pilgrims willing to trek into the Bradshaw Mountains. Today, these waters are yours to encounter. Nestled in a secluded Arizona canyon, time feels like it stops when you enter the hot springs pools and everyday worries evaporate. The crisp desert air and serene sounds envelope you and you emerge from your soak renewed and revitalized.

Long before the resort at Castle Hot Springs existed, those needing restoration and care — from Native American tribes, to frontier ranchers and explorers, to celebrities and dignitaries — found their way to these hot springs.

hot springs at Castle Hot Springs Resort


All of the beautiful, finely crafted, and well-appointed rooms at Castle Hot Springs were designed to envelop you in unparalleled luxury that anticipates your each and every need. You’ll begin to unwind the moment you open the door to your private oasis. Their rooms are fashioned to deliver complete relaxation, sparing nothing to ensure you are completely at ease. Fall into a deep, uninterrupted sleep in the rich and luxurious bedding. Wash away your worries in their deep soaking tubs. Enjoy a world free from electronics and reconnect with what is truly important. Best of all, dine with delight knowing that three farm fresh gourmet meals will be covered with each night’s stay.

Castle Hot Springs rooms


These Bungalows are designed for pure luxury and relaxation. Bathe in the healing properties of the natural spring waters in a private, custom Sonoma stone tub as you gaze on the quiet peaks around you.

Luxurious king beds complete with Red Flower bath amenities, robes, luxurious bed linens, Nespresso machines, reading books and board games. A creek originating from the hot springs meanders down the gentle hill slope past these individual buildings. An inviting outdoor covered deck with comfortable lounge furniture and a fireplace provide comfort year round.

Castle Hot Springs rooms courtyard


The Stone House is a gracefully restored building that was carefully constructed from original historic structures. This setting has encouraged decades of business giants to recharge and prepare for the future. Sharpen your vision and harness inspiration from this one of a kind location.

A plethora of outdoor options are available for events and meals. Harvest Restaurant is available for groups and is warm and inviting, with a wall of glass that opens to a terrace showcasing charming fire features plus an interactive outdoor kitchen. Bar 1896 provides an indoor/outdoor social experience, the perfect gathering spot for refreshments and offering a spacious deck with sweeping views of the property and surrounding Sonoran landscape.

Castle Hot Springs was purposely built to be a tranquil wellness retreat only for adults (16 and older), focused on reconnecting by digitally disconnecting.


Here are a few things to get you into the mood of these two destinations:



Castle Hot Springs aerial
Castle Hot Springs - hot springs
Bennett Hotel presidential suite

Some virtual backgrounds for you to use on our Zoom call, provided by Hotel Bennett and Castle Hot Springs

Kelly McAlister, Maui Jim Corporate Gifts

Kelly McAlister, Maui Jim

Kelly McAlister of Maui Jim will be with us on the calls each week as judge and jury to see which planner really goes all-in with the theme. So engage, be creative, and have fun... and you may be the winner!

She’ll be doing some gifting that will surely lift your shelter-in-place spirits!

Maui Jim

divider pattern