The opening of BLT Market in the Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park has generated lots of buzz. Savor the freshest seasonal ingredients at Chef Laurent Tourondel's newest BLT outpost. (It's short for "Bistro Laurent Tourondel.") The acclaimed chef brings the market to the table with locally sourced ingredients at the peak of their freshness. Monthly menus and weekly blackboard specials are updated to feature fruits and vegetables available in farmers' markets, paying particular attention to unusual, wild and locally grown items. BLT Market also sources seasonal fish, meat and cheese directly from local producers. Tourondel integrates French sensibilities into hearty American cuisine and the results are drool-worthy. The airy, light-filled space oozes chic, and there's also an outdoor patio. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch available.
Take a jaunt to the European capital to check out an extraordinary new exhibition, "Rubens-- A Genius at Work" which opened on September 14, 2007. After a four year research project by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the exhibition brings together 120 works of Belgium's best known Old Master. This is one of the most important retrospectives of Rubens' work ever to be staged and also shows works by the great Antwerp master produced with fellow artists including Jan Brueghel the Elder, Antoon van Dyck and Cornelis de Vos. Take advantage of a special overnight offer at the luxurious Conrad Brussels-- home to the largest, most sophisticated guest rooms in the city-- which includes breakfast at the hotel's Café Wiltcher, limousine transport to/from the exhibition and one two-day entrance ticket. Plus, earn 1,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points per stay. Rates starting from EUR 293.
At the beginning of October, this spellbinding blockbuster exhibit will head back across the ocean. (Next stop: London, where the exhibit opens on November 15, 2007 at the O2, Europe's newest and most advanced entertainment destination, the former Millennium Dome.) The 3,000-year old treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb were discovered in Egypt in 1922; this is the first time in 26 years that the treasures of the Boy King-- over 120 precious artifacts-- have traveled to America. This is your only opportunity to see King Tut at the last stop in the States. The Westin Philadelphia, in partnership with the Franklin Institute, has put together an exclusive package for the King Tut exhibit. You'll receive two VIP passes to the exhibit, shuttle service to the Franklin Institute, and great weekend rates starting from just $223. Conveniently located just two blocks from the museum in the heart of this historical city, the Westin Philadelphia boasts 290 beautifully-appointed guest rooms with the signature Heavenly Bed. Book now for stays through September 30, 2007.
For ten years, The Metropolitan Hotel has served as a landmark contemporary address on London's Park Lane. And the hotel still embodies stylish, cutting-edge cool. The hopping Met Bar continues to be a favorite for urban hipsters and fashionistas. The lobby, filled with light and accented with red and fuchsia and a striking carpet from Kappa Lambda that incorporates the Met's rich chocolate browns, is a hotspot for casual meetings. In this high design hotel, floor-to-ceiling windows look out over a glittering skyline. To celebrate these ten years, The Met has unveiled ten new packages. Embrace your inner hedonist with the Met's most decadent package, Party Like a Rock Star, Sleep Like a Baby. The two-night weekend package is priced from GBP 555 for two sharing a City Room. Arrive to a welcome "Classic Martini," prepped in your in-room cocktail shaker with two chilled glasses. (You'll also get a shaker and a box of rubber coasters.) Get into the swing with a "Metropolitan Party Box" which includes a Hedkandi CD and a "Hangover from Hell" eye mask and Firefly "Sharpen-Up" Tonic for later. Check in with the well-connected concierge to plan your night's revelry, with priority reservations at Nobu or Nahm. Enjoy complimentary chauffer service to a Central London club followed by a Champagne Breakfast for two back at the hotel, and a late check-out at 4 p.m.
Celebrate autumn at The Equinox and enjoy spectacular fall foliage, luxurious accommodations, and a host of activities the whole family will enjoy. This resort has served as one of America's most historically significant lodgings; it predates America's independence (!) since its first opening in 1769. Situated on 2,300 acres between the Green and Taconic Mountains, this Manchester Village resort has hosted legends like Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt. The setting is truly captivating: colorful landscapes and pristine countryside within minutes of the quaint boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops of the village. The AAA Four-Diamond resort offers an abundance of recreational activities. Relax with the rejuvenating treatments at The Spa. Test your game on the world-class golf course. Discover the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the resort on a mountain bike, on a hike, or while fishing. There's even a British School of Falconry.
You are invited to a fabulous gastronomic celebration of Argentina at the Park Hyatt Washington. Under the patronage of His Excellency, José Octavio Bordón, Ambassador of Argentina to the United States, the Park Hyatt Washington celebrates the Masters of Food & Wine USA Tour with a wine tasting from the vines of Mendoza. Beginning with a reception in the lounge on Wednesday, September 19th (6-8:30 pm), the event continues with a five-course wine dinner in the award-winning Blue Duck Tavern (7-8:30 pm) prepared by renowned Argentine chefs. The price is $250 per person, which includes the reception, dinner, wine, tax and gratuity. Call 202-419-6755 for reservations.
Fall is upon us. In Paris, blue skies, lots of sunshine, and cool autumn breezes make for delightful days strolling the city as a stylish flaneur. The city's chic and elegant Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the glamorous hideaway where the pleasure of luxury is celebrated, has launched an Autumn/Winter Pastry Collection. The hotel's Pasty Chef, Christophe Michalak, welcomes the season with truly drool-worthy pastries that are bound to blow the winter blues away. In a city known for its fabulous patisseries, these delicate creations will knock your socks off. For those who feel nostalgic for sultry summer days, the exotic flavors of citrus fruits will hit the right note. Of course the strong, rich chocolate aromas will appeal to those who prefer the winter season. Tempting treats include: Le Finger Pamplemousse Allégé (a light grapefruit delicacy), Le Vacherin Paradisiaque (a combination of pineapple cooked 'à l’étouffée, meringue and exotic fruit sorbet), Salambo façon pomme d'amour (roast apples, choux pastry, Calvados, chantilly and crunchy caramel) and Brownies à la Pistache (brownies with pistachio, creamy bitter chocolate and fine layers of crunchy chocolate.)
PS. These pastries are as pretty to look at as they are to taste.
Rugby fans can have a ball in Dublin at The Merrion, the fine five-star hotel whose Cellar Bar is the perfect spot to cheer on your team with friends and fellow fans. The atmosphere couldn't be better: vaulted ceilings, cozy surroundings, and the fabulous big screen for all to view the Rugby World Cup. The full menu is available from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the expert bartenders serve up plenty of celebratory cocktails along with creamy pints of Guinness and their signature Irish Coffee. (This is the spot where the entire French rugby team once camped out for an hour and a half and slurped down 150 of the tasty beverages.) Watch Ireland take on France on Friday, September 21.
Discover the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul (not Constantinople!), where modern meets ancient and East meets West in a vibrant cultural collision. As capital of the Ottoman Empire, the city was the center of it all. And to this day, Istanbul remains a lively and exciting city, enticing travelers with spice markets, excellent restaurants and nightlife, and the signature minarets and domes of numerous architectural wonders. Stake your claim to a room at the glamorous Ciragan Palace Kempinski, formerly a grand palace for the sultan, now lovingly restored with marvelous historical details intact. Right on the banks of the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Palace offers the pinnacle of Turkish elegance. (Make sure to choose a room with a waterfront view.) Luxurious facilities are matched by impeccable service, including a personal butler for all guests. After a day exploring the mystical city, enjoy a swim in the infinity pool and feel like you're floating on the Bosphorus. Relax in the authentic Hammam, as the sultans once did, before indulging in the hotel's award-winning cuisine.
Escape to Santa Barbara wine country and the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, where the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort welcomes you to the romance and majesty of the old west. Set on a 10,000 acre working cattle ranch, California's premier guest ranch transports you to a bygone era. Surrounded by wide open spaces and unspoiled natural beauty, Alisal has served as a hideaway for generations. Leave behind your cell phone (guest cottages are telephone and TV-free!), and hit the 50 miles of horseback riding trails which surround the ranch. Or play a round on one of the two eighteen-hole championship golf courses. There's also tennis, and lots of water sports on the 100-acre spring-fed lake (like fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking.)
And coming soon (May 2008): a spectacular new fitness center, with weight/cardio room, five massage therapy rooms, group fitness room (with yoga and Pilates classes), and locker rooms with steam saunas, and a spacious lobby with a fireplace and fresh juice bar.