March 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Visitors to the southernmost point in the United States are often so enchanted with Key West that they never leave. A favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, the sunny island has diving and snorkeling, sailing and sunning, deep-sea fishing, elegant dining, and a rowdy nightlife scene. All connected to the mainland by an impressive island-hopping roadway-- possibly one of the prettiest roads on earth. There's never a bad time to visit, but Key West's Conch Republic Independence Celebration is a real hoot. Key West has called itself the Conch Republic since it "seceded" from Florida in 1982 with the motto: "The People Who Seceded Where Others Failed." With drag races, parades, food fests, and the "Conch Crawl," the celebration promises to be a rip-roaring good time. Residents are calling it: "The Conch Republic's own 4th of July, Bastille Day & Cinco de Mayo all rolled into one!"
Looking for some hotel recommendations? Scroll through the photos in our hand-picked collection of Four-Star and Five-Star hotels, and be tempted to plan your getaway. Pictured at right: The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.
March 29, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
Have you heard about the Five Star Alliance giveaway contest? We're giving away a 3-night stay at The James New York, the sexy new hotel already famous for its rooftop pool deck that has 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline. Simply sign up for our free monthly newsletter by May 31, 2011, and you’ll be automatically entered to win! All new subscribers, aged 18 or older, will be eligible for a chance to score a 3-night getaway in a Deluxe Guestroom at the hotel everyone’s talking about.
Opened this month, the glamorous new W Retreat & Spa Bali- Seminyak is the fourth W Retreat in an exotic location worldwide, joining properties in the Maldives, Koh Samui, and Vieques Island. W Hotels Worldwide debuted the property after cutting the ribbon on the buzzed-about W London- Leicester Square in February. The "Retreat" concept is an enticing one; take the signature W touches (like "Whatever/Whenever" service and trendy destination bars) and transplant them to idyllic beach settings, and you've got a taste of pure, unadulterated luxury. Comprised of 237 Retreats and Villa Retreats on Petitenget Beach, the new resort boasts a 24-hour spa and three-storey beach bar. Be one of the first guests to check out the W Retreat & Spa Bali - Seminyak and save up to 30% on stays between March 31 and May 30, 2011, with rates starting from $240 per night for two people in a Wonderful Garden View Retreat. Also includes: complimentary Wifi, unlimited access to SWEAT (the fitness center), and use of the hot stone bath and cold plunge at AWAY Spa. This limited time special offer must be booked by April 4, 2011! Subject to availability, minimum five-night stay required.
If you saw the wonderful article on Paris in The New York Times Travel section this past weekend, you might be pining for a trip to the City of Light. And you couldn't have picked a better time. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and there's not a cloud in the sky. In fact, the temps have been in the 70s and it feels almost balmy. Take a stroll through the city's glorious gardens and you'll find the air fragrant with flowers, the sidewalk cafes packed with people-watchers. For some insider tips on Paris, book a private tour with Eye Prefer Paris. A transplanted New Yorker, Richard Nahem delights visitors on tours through his Marais neighborhood and other prime spots around town. Each three-hour walking tour is individually tailored, so if you're interested in jewelry and fashion, Richard can point out secret addresses and cutting-edge boutiques; if you're a die-hard foodie, he's got the skinny on local food shops, markets, and restaurants. Price for the private tour is 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each individual person. Check it out! www.eyepreferparistours.com Photo of "Spring Flowers in Paris" courtesy of Eye Prefer Paris
It's that time of year again. Tax season is upon us, and with the April 15 deadline just around the corner, you may be desperate for a little tax relief. Duane Street Hotel to the rescue! The stylish 45-room hotel-- located in New York's red-hot TriBeCa neighborhood-- is offering the "Crunch Time" package so you can take a "tax break." Starting from $370 per night, the package includes chic accommodations, unlimited in-room coffee, a complimentary Taxes for Dummies book, and access to an iPad loaded with TurboTax, along with a round of celebratory cocktails when you've done the deed.
This design-driven boutique hotel is the result of a successful industrial recovery project. After thirty years of total neglect, the property-- first built as an important radio factory and later used to print La Settimana Enigmistica (an established Italian weekly)-- was totally refurbished and rebuilt. Opened in 2002, this trendy four-star hotel has 123 guest rooms decorated with refined fabrics and materials, some of which were custom made for Enterprise by acclaimed brands Flos and Cassina. These contemporary rooms were designed in a minimalist style with comfort in mind and they have all the latest technology, including free wireless Internet access.
The Enterprise Hotel Milan also has a Congress Centre with eight meeting rooms filled with natural light, where companies like BMW, Coca Cola, Estèe Lauder, and Hugo Boss have held events. The hotel has hosted its fair share of photo shoots, art exhibits, and fashion shows, too. Last summer, the Lounge bar presented "Kama Karana," a special aperitif combined with massages and wellness therapies. Sound interesting? The hotel also gets props for its lively "happy hour party" every Thursday.
Take a long weekend in Charleston, and it's guaranteed that you'll return home with a spring in your step. A good dose of history, lots of art, flower-filled gardens, and all kinds of good grub (from elegant fare to Southern comfort food that's finger lickin' good). Not to mention the comfortable climate. Charleston Place-- the Orient-Express hotel that's famed for its true Southern hospitality-- is celebrating the arrival of spring with a fabulous package where you get to choose from a memorable variety of experiences, one for each day of your stay. Available from April 1- June 4, 2011 and priced from $370 per night, the "Spring Selections" package includes luxury accommodations, complimentary Internet access and daily newspaper, plus your choice of one of the following (per night):
* $100 Food & Beverage Gift Card for use in the Charleston Grill, Palmetto Cafe, Thoroughbred Club or In Room Dining
* $100 Spa Gift Card for use in The Spa at Charleston Place
* Schooner Pride two hour Sunset Sail for two, including two drinks per person
* Carriage ride for two from Palmetto Carriage Works
Calling all sun-seekers. Ditch the frigid temps on the East Coast and get thee to the golden shores of Puerto Rico, where sandy beaches and fruity cocktails await. As if you needed more enticing, Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa-- nestled between the El Yunque National Rainforest and a mile-long stretch of Atlantic beach-- has rolled out the "Farewell to Frost" promotion until May 31, 2011. Embrace the warm weather with rates starting from $267 (single occupancy) and get sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, and peppermint lip balm upon check-in to help ease your winter-weary body back into warm weather mode. Included in your package: a complimentary buffet breakfast at Marbella restaurant.
March 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter, we're privy to a fun cocktail recipe from The Connaught Bar. In the St. Patrick's Day edition, GP tracked down recipes from some of her fave watering holes around the world. Among them? One of our top spots for libations: The Connaught Bar, designed by David Collins at the hotel of the same name in London town. "Their mixologist, Italian Agostino Perrone, is famous for revamping the bar’s cocktails, and making this one of the best spots in London for an impressively well crafted drink." And without further ado:
For one cocktail:
* 25ml Apple Juice
* 35ml Berneroy fine Calvados
* 15ml Galliano Ristretto Liqueur
* 15ml King’s Ginger Liqueur
* 15ml Homemade Vanilla Sugar
* 15ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
* 60ml Top With Cider
Stir all the ingredients over ice and pour in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon zest and mint.
March 24, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
In the Middle Ages the Venetians who ruled the Ionian island of Zakynthos named it “Flower of the East”. Centuries later, it is flowering in all its glory at the boutique five-star Porto Zante Villas & Spa, which has combined the privacy of world class private villas with the amenities and services only seen in top five star hotels.
Standing majestically on a private sandy beach of a secluded bay, this tiny all-villas resort has proven a hit with well-known clients from political and business leaders to artists.
Each of Porto Zante’s luxury villas offers unparalleled privacy & seclusion. Villas range from one to four bedrooms, all of them with private heated pool, and some with private spa and private beach area.
Dining at the resort’s restaurant or at the privacy of the villas is a true authentic Greek experience. All the products used by the Chef is organically grown in the island or at the estate of the villas. The meat is from the island’s mountains and the fish is fresh delivered every morning by the resort’s fisherman.
Young guests can enjoy a kids’ entertainment service that includes supervised fun activities, decorated luxury villa guest rooms and specially created dining menus by the resort’s chef.
Porto Zante offers more than 20 spa and thalassotherapy Therapies – all in the privacy of the private spa areas of the villas - using products by Greece’s Apivita Natural and Italy’s Bulgari.
Should you wish to have some action, Porto Zante can organise a range of outside activities. Watersports, scuba diving, a helicopter ride over the island or a private boat excursion to the breathtaking Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach and the Blue Caves on the north shore. Or maybe you want to explore the island of Zakynthos, with its dramatic coastline and enchanting villages, or the vibrant nightlife of its capital – before returning to your private little haven at Porto Zante.