July 18, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May for the Editorial Advisory Board Just in case you needed another reason to visit New York City this month, The Bryant Park Hotel - which is a best romantic hotel winner - has rates starting as low as $249! Visit the weekend of the 21st - 23rd and get a room for the Deanna Witkowski's Piano in the Park Performance, or maybe come the weekend of the 28th-30th and see Kuni Mikami's Piano in the Park Show. Get their early on Friday mornings and you can see the Good Morning America Concert Series in the Park - with Taylor Hicks or Huey Lewis and News. Check for rates at Bryant Park for July 21st-23rd Check for rates at Bryant Park for July 28th-30th
July 18, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In early July, The Stein Group announced that the 19th century palatial hotel, located between Nice and Monaco on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Med, has joined its gorgeous collection of luxury hotels. Located in Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is surrounded by lush gardens draped with bougainvillea and wisteria, the deep blue of the Mediterranean, and the pink facades of villas in the French Riviera's charming villages. As one of the area's most renowned boutique hotels, with only eight rooms and 12 suites, Cap Estel has hosted royalty, politicians, and celebrities from all over the world. Guests are delighted by the personalized service and excellent facilities: private beach, indoor heated pool, outdoor salt water infinity pool perched over the Mediterranean, state-of-the-art gym, and extensive gardens. All rooms have a balcony or terrace with sea view, and are equipped with cutting edge technology: LCD or plasma screen TVs, DVD/CD player, individually controlled A/C and heating units, and internet connections. The property has just emerged from a meticulous, three-year restoration. The Stein Group now boasts 17 prestigious hotels in its portfolio, many of which dot the Mediterranean.
The clock is ticking. Just a few more weeks until one lucky winner is chosen. Enter our luxury hotel Giveaway for a chance to win a two-night stay in a sumptuous Junior Suite at the historic Hay-Adams hotel. It's totally free to enter (simply sign up for our free monthly newsletter), and the prize is valued at $2,400. So what are you waiting for? Enter the contest!
The best restaurant in Philly, according to Zagat, is also acclaimed as one of the best dining experiences in the county. The elegant 107-seat Fountain Restaurant also received top honors from Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and AAA. The menu is heavenly. Start with the pan-seared foie gras with grilled black Mission figs or the poached jumbo sea scallop with cauliflower ravioli and paddlefish caviar, and then indulge in the venison saddle with stone fruit compote, sauteed veal tenderloin with jumbo lump crab meat, or the Maine lobster with exotic mushroom galette and truffled beets. (Mmmmm.) At this grand culinary mecca and Philadelphia favorite, guests experience the most sublime dining, arguably, in the entire nation. Located at the Four Seasons Hotel. Jacket required.
Labor Day weekend is a mouth-watering affair at the legendary Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. Phoenix Cooks! is Arizona's premier culinary event, developed by Clear Channel Radio, The Biltmore, and Food and Life Magazine to showcase the Valley's top chefs and their talents. Foodies indulge in a weekend of culinary adventures at the Biltmore, including the Parade of Chefs reception on Friday, September 1 (eight local celebrity chefs do their thing and cook up signature dishes, paired with fine wines), Saturday's Gourmet Food and Kitchen Show (interactive cooking demonstrations and food forums with top chefs, wine tastings, gourmet kitchen displays by Dacor and Viking, a beer garden, and a chef's marketplace), the Wine Maker Dinner (a five-course extravaganza with specialties from five different chefs), and the Chef's Champagne Brunch (simply divine). Individual tickets may be purchased for the events, though the Arizona Biltmore has designed an exceptional VIP package specifically for the event.
The Phoenix Cooks! package includes two nights luxurious accommodations, a VIP chef's amenity, and admission to the Parade of Chef's Reception, the Gourmet Food and Kitchen Show, the Wine Maker Dinner and the Chef's Champagne Brunch. Package price is $399, which is a real deal, considering individual ticket prices range from $55 per person (Champagne Brunch) to $95 per person (the Parade of Chefs).
An urban retreat by the sea, the Viceroy is a happening Santa Monica hot spot, known for its fusion of classic sophistication and contemporary style. This beach boutique is boldly designed and utterly luxurious, its 163 guestrooms featuring ocean views and the finest quality amenities: custom beds with down comforters and pillows, over-sized showers, fully-stocked minibars, entertainment center with 27" flat screen TV, music and video games, in-room CD-DVD player and 2-line telephones with speaker capability. And the Monarch Suite rocks; the Penthouse has a balcony, living room with wet bar, and whirlpool tub. Relax in a poolside cabana, head to the beach, shop the nearby Third Street Promenade, or work out in the 24-hour fitness facility. In the evening, grab a cocktail at the chic Cameo bar, packed nightly with the city's trendsetters, and savor the California-French cuisine at Whist, rated one of the top hotel restaurants by Travel and Leisure. Until December 30, 2006, the Viceroy Santa Monica is offering the "L.A. A La Carte" package, which includes accommodations in a viceroy or ocean-view room, breakfast for two, and a late check-out at 3 pm. Starting at $389 per night (taxes and tips additional).
It's being called the "largest development in the hemisphere." The O Property Collection has announced its development of 2.24 sq-mile Dellis Cay, a breaktakingly beautiful island in the Turks and Caicos. With stunning tropical beaches and lagoons, the islands are also known for their spectacular diving and snorkeling, as the third largest coral reef system in the world is located just off-shore. This flagship project is located just 20 minutes from Providenciales. According to Travel Weekly:
Scheduled to open in 2008, the project is estimated to generate a billion dollars worth of sales within the next five years… The development will be divided into lifestyle zones, each designed by a different architect. OPC, which also has projects planned in the Mediterranean and Asia, will partner with hotel management companies to run the individual properties worldwide. Although each property development will be different, Kinay said that they will all "bear the marks of the OPC signature brand -- timeless architecture, sleek design, a fit with the natural surroundings and the finest in amenities and services."
But the company's website is remarkably vague about a project of this magnitude:
The Project involves building infrastructure and about 70,000 square meters of construction within the next three to five years. On the island, which will be divided into "lifestyle areas" designed by the world's foremost architects, the focus will be on creating an upscale, exclusive private island serving the needs of affluent travelers.
Another reason why Abu Dhabi is shaking things up: the Guggenheim Foundation has recently announced plans to open a museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The new museum will be the biggest and most ambitious yet: 300,000 square feet designed by super-star Frank Gehry, 25 percent bigger than the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.
The museum, to be called the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, would house Modern and contemporary art and serve as the linchpin of a sprawling development in a new cultural district of Saadiyat (Arabic for "isle of happiness"), a 10-square-mile natural island just off Abu Dhabi.
The new museum is slated to open in 2011.
New York Times, "Guggenheim Foundation and Abu Dhabi Plan Museum There"
The Informed Traveler, "Move Over Dubai: the Marvelous Makeover of Abu Dhabi"
July 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Jack Nicklaus, Vijay Singh, John Daly and Stephen Ames called it home during the 2005 Telus Canadian Skins Game. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers guests the same thrill of world-renowned golfing, four-diamond dining, and luxurious accommodations. The Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is nestled at the foot of Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains with a spectacular mountain backdrop. The par 72, 18-hole course has accumulated its share of awards: four and a half stars from Golf Digest, rated the number one Golf Resort Hotel in Canada by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine, rated one in Golf Resort Canada, and Links Magazine calls the course "mountain golf at its finest." This dramatic course was carved from the slopes, overlooking rugged terrain of creeks, ponds, and pockets of Douglas fir, and with elevation changes of more than 400 feet. Notably, the on-site Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club is home to Canada's only David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
The Play Where the Pros Stay Package includes accommodation at the resort plus two individual rounds of golf at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club. Plus, all Fairmont Chateau Whistler guests enjoy the privileges of 'unlimited golf' and unlimited, free access to the Practice Facility.Valid until September 24, 2006, rates start from $249 CAD per person, per night. Stay midweek and the savings are considerable: starting at $149 CAD per person, per night, based on double occupancy for stays on Sunday through Thursday.
July 13, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
from Rob Wilder, Food & Wine Editor and Member of the Five Star Alliance Editorial Advisory Board In the US, great views usually are accompanied by mediocre food. Fortunately in Athens a different rule applies. Three of the better restaurants in town treat you to spectacular views. The menu at Pil Pil is only marginally Greek, but the location reminds you why you came to Athens. The dramatically lit Acropolis literally soars above this romantic patio, atop a small townhouse by the ancient agora. It is an "only in the movies" kind of setting! While somewhat pricey, Pil Pil delivers with fine Greco-Mediterranean dishes and excellent service. For an equally dramatic but very different panorama, ride the funicular to the top of Mount Lycavetus to Orizondes, a highly respected modern Greek restaurant perched atop this 1,000 foot cliff. With the chaotic jumble of Athens way below you, Orizondes produces wonderful food and service. Both restaurants have good selections of high quality Greek wines... look for any by Gerovasiliou or Kyr-Yianni. Finally, for a Michelin one-star experience with an almost equal view, head to the rooftop at Varoulko. Creative interpretations of every kind of Greek seafood are excellent. Perhaps the best overall dining experience in Athens? During our meal a summer lightning storm crashed around us, and our Greek friends coolly told us not to worry, the storm would miss us. Even when a few drops started falling, not a single diner budged from their open air seats- too enthralled with their dinners. The storm miraculously passed us by - Another magical evening in Athens! On the hotel front, we have had two good experiences at the St. George Lycabetus, perched on a hill over the upscale shopping area of Kolonaki. Fine rooms, great views (and rooftop pool), and an excellent location. Friends have also loved the Grand Bretagne, but it is both more expensive and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Syntagma Square. The shops and restaurants of Kolonaki are big draw - our favorite is Papadakis, a youthful and modern take on the Greek Taverna with wonderful food and service. 9 Luxury Hotels in Athens from Five Star Alliance