February 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
At the Restaurant at the Setai, trans-ethnic cuisine is crafted from the finest, freshest ingredients in an impressive exhibition kitchen. This is the pinnacle of haute dining in South Beach, the new "Vegas by the Ocean," so called by NYT critic Mark Bittman. The article “Is South Beach Growing Up?" identifies The Setai's restaurant as "visually stunning," with "competent, and actually warm, service":
The sheer scale of the Restaurant at the Setai-- South Beach's most opulent dining spot, and perhaps one of the most interestingly and arguably perfectly designed restaurants in the world-- is astounding. An enormous courtyard is dominated by a huge reflecting pool, and there are 20-foot ceilings, domes of 500 tightly grouped roses and an elaborate array of materials used to build the minimalist but intricate walls and floors: pressed metal, carved wood, imported antique brick, slate, stone, tile and fabric. Down the hall is a strikingly long bar, whose top is mother-of-pearl.
The price tag? A mere $120 per person with the prix fixe tasting menu.
Rack of Venison (with sweet yams and foie gras) or Sautéed Northern Halibut with Dungeness crab ravioli? The choices are sensational at The Wildflower, Vail Valley's only restaurant to be awarded both the AAA Four Diamond Award and Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence." The Lodge at Vail's signature restaurant serves creative American cuisine, under the supervision of newly appointed Executive Chef Randy Belanger. Rated the #1 restaurant in Vail in the Zagat survey, The Wildflower boasts views of the snow-capped mountains from the dining room. Enjoy the epicurean delights from the area's only tasting menu, which changes daily-- depending on the availability of the finest quality seasonal fruits, vegetables, and meats.
From your own private infinity pool, you gaze out over the turquoise Indian Ocean to the lush green peak of Tamarin in the distance. Behind you, wide glazed doors open invitingly into the luxury of the Presidential Suite's spacious living room. From the crescent shaped beach, you can snorkel and scuba dive the nearby coral reefs, spectacular in their colorful marine life. After an afternoon sailing serene waters, you retire to the Taj Spa for a massage and a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor. The setting is magical: spa pavilions and water courtyards surrounded by gardens and reflecting pools, overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. As the sun dips below the horizon, you sip a cocktail and anticipate the fine cuisine that awaits. You pinch yourself. Just another day in Paradise.
This could be the most exciting setting on earth. Situated in the world's only inhabited volcano crater-- I kid you not-- On the Rocks is blessed with staggering views of the Aegean Sea and Santorini's world famous sunsets. The hotel is comprised of a complex of traditional Greek buildings: white-washed walls, dramatic blue furnishings, bougainvillea-draped terraces (and all that jazz). Situated above the charming village of Imerovigli, the hotel's exclusive apartments boast private verandahs overlooking the cusp of the volcano crater, with the brilliant blue sea beyond. Set to open April 1, 2007, this unique hotel will feature an impressive spa, inviting pool, and gourmet poolside restaurant serving traditional Greek fare. Noteworthy: one of the newest members of Small Luxury Hotels.
A luxurious weekend in Chitown, plus a $100 credit (per night) for incidental spending at the Conrad Chicago? Bring it on! Escape for an exclusive weekend getaway at Conrad Chicago and enjoy the charm of the Windy City combined with the unparalleled luxury of the hotel. From one of the most prestigious addresses on the Magnificent Mile, take in incredible views over the city skyline. Within walking distance of The Loop, The Merchandise Mart, and Lake Michigan, the Conrad is a perfect urban oasis, with the best restaurants and shopping experiences at its doorstep. The 311 spacious, contemporary guest rooms are stacked with state-of-the-art technology, while the bar and restaurant offer a stylish respite at the very heart of the city. Take advantage of this special weekend offer, valid for Friday and Saturday nights only, with rates starting from $245 per night. With your $100 credit, dine at the excellent restaurant or indulge in the small luxuries that are often forgotten. Available until March 31, 2007.
Dinner and a... bath? Yep, that's right. Rosewood's world-renowned Las Ventanas al Paraiso, the only Five-Diamond property in Los Cabos, is once again leading the pack with
peculiar innovative amenities. From the ultra-luxury resort that brought you pre-loaded poolside iPods, Mini Cooper S Convertibles and Porsche Boxsters on property, in-room telescopes for star-gazing and whale-watching, pool-side services like sunglass-cleaning, sewing kits personalized to each guest's wardrobe, and the Hot Type author program (whew!), comes another cutting-edge service. When guests sit down to dine at the upscale dining room for an unforgettable meal at The Restaurant, they are presented with the dinner menu and the after-dinner bath menu, which offers a choice of a "Stress Relieving," "Rejuvenating" or "Sensual & Romantic" bath experiences. Choose from the lists of Champagnes, premium tequilas and Cuban cigars, to enjoy in the bath. So while you gobble down your Baja-Mediterranean cuisine, overlooking the pool and the Sea of Cortez, your bath will be prepared for a luxurious experience en-suite.
Perched on top of Nob Hill, the glorious Fairmont, where Tony Bennett premiered "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," is celebrating its centennial come April 18. The landmark hotel is beloved by visitors and locals alike for its views (you'll gasp at the panorama of the city and bay), spacious guestrooms (that epitomize elegance), and the wonderfully kitschy bar, The Tonga Room. As recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle:
The United Nations charter was written there. Mick Jagger partied in the penthouse there... It's all in 100 years' work for the Fairmont Hotel... Although the Fairmont's birthday isn't until April 18, the hotel isn't waiting for formalities. It's rolling out a yearlong series of events: public tours, special teas and centennial cocktails, and a penthouse centennial package that goes for a mere $100,000 to mark the hotel's first century in business.
The world-renowned hotel first opened on April 18, 1907, exactly a year after the earthquake and fire ravaged the city. Standing proud on top of the city, the Fairmont became "a symbol of the city's rebirth," the favored haven for "the rich, the royal, and roaming heads of state."
Marrakech... fabled city of gardens, souks, alluring red buildings, and the home of the first Amanresort on the African continent. Overlooking the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, Amanjena is the ideal base for exploring the ancient city. With the Medina Winter Break, enjoy three nights of luxury in your own private pavilion, a delicious daily breakfast, massage, and guided tour of Medina. Experience the excitement of the ancient quarter of Medina on a walking tour, where the smells of cumin, mint tea, and freshly baked barley bread waft through the bazaars. Set in an oasis of palm and olive trees, the 32 rose-colored pavilions at Amanjena are the crème de la crème of accommodations, boasting outdoor soaking tubs and private courtyards. The luxurious spaces are appointed with Berber carpets and elegant Moroccan furnishings, reminiscent of a sultan's palace, and are equipped with all the technology comforts one expects in a five-star hotel. Facilities include two restaurants, a green-tiled swimming pool, two hammams, tennis courts, a gym, and a spa. The three-night Medina Winter Break at Amanjena is valid until March 15, 2007, with rates starting from $3,050 in a pavilion. Pavilion with a private pool is priced at $5,050.
In the fast-paced City that Never Sleeps, Loews Regency provides an enclave of quiet elegance and indulgence. Here, it's the exceptional service, luxurious amenities, and attention-to-detail which distinguish this refined Park Avenue address among the plethora of NYC hotels. (Though the devoted regulars, head-over-heels for their preferred hotel in Manhattan, would rather keep it a closely guarded secret getaway). Leave it to the award-winning Loews Regency to devise the perfect night out on the town. You are invited to a "Wicked” night out to hit Broadway and take in the fabulous musical, "Wicked," winner of fifteen major awards, including a Grammy, three Tonys, and six Drama Desk Awards. Available until March 31, 2007, the "Wicked" package at Loews Regency includes luxurious accommodations in a magnificent one bedroom-suite (you'll swoon at the Park Avenue views from your balcony), two tickets to "Wicked," a welcome amenity of an autographed Charles Palmer cookbook and "Wicked" CD, car service to/from the Gershwin Theater, and three course pre-theater dinner at Charlie Palmer's Aureole. Total package cost is $1,399. To book, call 1-800-233-2356, and press 2.
February 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
What will $1,000 buy you? A pretty fantastic deal at New Orleans' most luxurious boutique hotel. Situated in the heart of the romantic Old Quarter, Soniat House exudes Old World elegance. Here, there are honor bars stocked with premium liquors, and daily breakfast is a favorite tradition: Creole café au lait and hot southern biscuits slathered with homemade strawberry preserves. The historical hotel, comprised of three large and gracious townhouses, is filled with striking antiques and the warm hospitality of an excellent staff. Imagine: spiral stairs, balconies, patios, and lush courtyards filled with olive, magnolia, guava, and ginger. Not just one of the best hotels in New Orleans, the award-winning Soniat House is considered one of the best in the world. After all, this spot is listed in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, which describes the hotel as quintessential New Orleans, the most beautiful hotel in town. The Thousand Dollar Escape package at Soniat House includes three nights accommodation in a premier room, complimentary breakfast each day, dinner for two at a famous New Orleans restaurant and champagne on arrival. Minimum three nights stay required; the $1,000 rate does not include tax.