April 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Zagat swoons. This sumptuous hotel oasis is professed a "culinary gift to the city by high-end foodies wowed by its "exquisite" Louisiana-influenced Contemporary American cuisine." And it's true: the New Orleans Grill has long been recognized as one of the country's finest restaurants. The elegant setting surpasses the expectations of even the most exacting of critics; the Windsor Court Hotel is a haven of Old World refinement and gracious Southern hospitality. The restaurant's walls have been transformed by beautiful murals by local artist Auseklis Ozals-- each detailing a different New Orleans scene. The menu is exceptional, with mouth-watering items like ravioli of jumbo lump crab, salad of roast quail and porcini with Boudin Noir, seared Hudson Valley foie gras, and tartare of scallops and cappaccio of tuna. Simply divine.
The world-renowned architect's new landmark is stunning. Following in the footsteps of his extraordinary Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the new hotel incorporates the same materials in its exquisite design, comprised of layered ribbons of colored titanium. As described by the Guggenheim Organization, "his ebullient structure is a response to the unbroken landscape of lush vineyards surrounding the building, while the hues of the colored metal are inspired by the rich tones of the sky and vineyard." The hotel is located in the heart of the Rioja wine region in Basque country, and will debut on July 1. Each of the 43 suites are uniquely designed by the architect, and equipped with luxurious amenities and the latest in technology. Other features to anticipate: the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa (featuring "wine therapy"), rooftop bar and lounge with open fireplace, wine bar, swimming pool, and a large banquet hall converted from an ancient cellar. Starwood's Luxury Collection-- in joint management of the place with the leading wine company Vinos de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal-- touts its signature restaurant as "set to become one of Spain's leading centers for fine gastronomy, combining traditional Rioja cuisine with modern influences by the well-known Echaurren Restaurant (1 Michelin star)." Bring it on.
Imagine experiencing stunning landscapes and unspoiled villages on a deluxe bike trip catered to your every whim and desire. After sun-filled days of discovery, devour gourmet cuisine and the world's best wines at the charming inns and chateaux that serve as your luxurious accommodations. For ten years, DuVine Adventures has led the pack in offering specialized luxury bike trips in France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland. The leading tour operator provides the "insider" perspective to regions such as Tuscany, Burgundy, Provence, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland. Guests stay in distinctive and unique hotels, ranging from stately 18th century chateaux to intimate country inns-- all equipped with the most luxurious of amenities for some rest and pampering after a day on the road discovering the countryside. Dinners are as pleasurable as the surrounding scenery, often at top-notch Michelin-starred restaurants and chic, but comfortable, bistros. What a way to see Europe.
April 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In the heart of Virginia's picturesque Shenandoah Valley in a storybook setting, The Inn at Little Washington presents a dining experience that is hailed "the gastronomic equivalent of sex." (Thank you, Zagat.) At this splendid country inn, somewhere between the first course of Carpaccio of Baby Lamb with Rosemary Mustard, the second course of Pecan-Crusted Soft Shell Crab Tempura with Italian Mustard Fruit, and the main course of Filet Mignon of Rarish Tuna Capped with Seared Duck Foie Gras on Charred Onions with a Burgundy Butter Sauce, it's not hard to see why this is the country's most exulted culinary destination. Even Alice Waters licks her chops over these entrees. The restaurant's 30 intimate tables are spoiled with an award-winning wine list (the 14,000 bottle cellar includes the finest selections from France and California) and plates that are devised by the legendary Chef Patrick O'Connell, dubbed the "Pope of American Cuisine."
And if you should harbor any doubts about the Inn's gastronomic excellence (God forbid), let's take a quick run through the award list. The first place ever to receive Mobil's 5 stars for its restaurant, and 5 stars for its accommodations. Likewise, a double whammy with AAA: the first joint to earn the prestigious 5 Diamond Award for both room and board. Top 10 Best Restaurants in the World by IHT. Zagat #1 restaurant in the fifty United States. And Travel and Leisure jumped on the band wagon with another #1 in America rating.
from Julie A. Skrei, Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa & Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa
Exactly 12 Hours from this moment (12 noon EST), The Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas will host it's Grand Opening (and grand offers) in the master-planned community of Summerlin, Las Vegas. And the newest good news to hit this $925 million resort is the "CHERRY" night club operated by Rande Gerber and his brother Scott, founders of After Midnight Company (and of course family to Cindy Crawford).
CHERRY was designed with NYC's Rockwell Group, featuring art such as the 7-foot sculpture of red cherries from Takashi Murakami. The club encompasses 8,500-square-feet with an indoor nightclub and outdoor pool deck, electric red leather walls, translucent crimson glass doors and mirrored entranceway leaging to the oval shaped venue. Guests can find the club directly off the casino and pool where there are hanging domes and beaded chandelier.
Some of CHERRY's coolest/strangest/weirdest features include:
• Snakeskin tile mosaics in the bathrooms
• Glass, red hot, pouting lips from Holland for the "gentleman's" urinals
• VIP areas overlookign the dance floor with banquette seating, flat screen TVs and steel cocktail tables
• Pool deck seperate from the casino pool, with rotating sun beds and individual daybeds in private areas
• Eight large VIP cabanas with plasma TVs, stereos, refridgerators, fans and private bars adjacent to the pool
• Exclusive house DJs featuring eclectic mix of music, with occasional celebrity DJs (no woner they need the VIP sections)
• The most advanced lighting and sound system ever created for a club worldwide - which took more then a year to develop and months to program
Five Star Alliance still has rates available for the Red Rock Casino these next few months, including Deluxe Canyon Rooms with Red Rock Canyon Views and a Special Breakfast for 2 in the Feast Buffet for as little as $149.00 a night, double occupancy.
For Gentlemen Only: A Luxury Grooming Tradition Returns March 3, 2006
New Las Vegas Hotels: Red Rock Station December 19, 2005
George Clooney’s Las Ramblas, Las Vegas November 10, 2005
from Jonathan Critchard, General Manager, Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments
Last summer Five Star Alliance did a big push to make sure people were aware of the popular £ for $ rate, and once again many of the London hotel's are including it in their special offers. The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London's fashionable Mayfair district is continuing the program through the city's busiest travel period. The rate represents a substantial savings of more than 40% on the hotel’s most popular room categories. Add that to the hotel's August offer of guaranteed upgrades for travelers booking their stay during the month of August, and you really are getting a deal. Guests booking a traditional guest-room get bumped to an executive, booking an executive guest-room gets you a park-view and any category of suite (park-view or studio) gets you one of the Classic British Collection apartments (see below). Under the £ for $ rate – valid weekdays as well as weekends -- a traditional guestroom that usually cost £295 is now $295; an executive guestroom costing £350 is now $350; a Parkview room costing £395 is now $395; and suites that usually are £500 are now $500. These special rates are subject to availability, based on double occupancy and exclusive of taxes. To get this deal, make sure your rate description includes the term "Pound for Dollar Rate" or something similar.
Classic British Collection -- This collection of 19 apartments are designed in a classically British style with plush furnishings, traditional wall-coverings and fabric from British interior design stalwarts such as Colefax and Fowler, Osbourne & Little and Nina Campbell.
P.S. The image above is of the brand spankin new Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments logo. What do you think?
Starting Friday June 16, gourmands unite in Aspen for three days of pure hedonistic cooking pleasure: wine tastings, cooking demos, and loads of special events. Food and Wine's Aspen Classic is orchestrated by leading star chefs like Mario Batali, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, and Wolfgang Puck, and oenophile/wine extraordinaires like Steve Olson, Joshua Wesson, and Daniel Johnnes. Cooking demonstrations vary from preparing day-to-day dishes to perfecting culinary masterpieces: "Del Posto Favorites" with Mario Batali, "Sunday Suppers" with Suzanne Goin, "Easy Entertaining" with Jacques and Claudine Pepin, "Spago Classics" with Wolfgang Puck, "Real Creole" with Emeril Lagasse, "Shrimp Master Class" with Ming Tsai, "Rib University" with Steven Raichlen… (drooling, yet?) The wine-tasting seminars are equally as enticing, showcasing wines from Southern Italy to Washington State, New Zealand to Chile.
Storytelling teas, Easter baskets, premium chocolate candies, Easter Egg Hunt and Roll, and an epic Easter Brunch. The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago is positively hopping with merriment this weekend. Of all these festivities, here's a taste of what's in store: On both Friday and Saturday, at 3 pm, children will be delighted with a magical storytelling tea where "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is brought to life with decorations and delicious delights ($40 per person). The classic Easter Egg Hunt takes place on Sunday morning at 10 am on the 8th floor landing, hosted by the Easter Bunny, and his assistant Chickie. The Egg Roll takes place at the same time in the State Room. While the kids are having the time of their lives, their parents can indulge in chocolate-tasting at ethel's chocolate lounge in the hotel lobby. And even learn the art of premium fondue. The best part of the weekend? The traditional Easter Brunch at Seasons Restaurant, where the award-winning chef and staff devise over 100 specialty brunch items to dazzle the palate. At the six different stations, enjoy dishes like Leg of Spring Lamb with Mint Pesto, Tomato Crusted Filet of Halibut or a Salad of Chilled Green and White Asparagus with Aigrellette Sauce. Seatings begin at 11:00 am and reservations are $85.00 per adult and $20.00 per child 12 and under. Take advantage of the special Easter Weekend rate, with your prepaid purchase of Easter Brunch or the Storytelling Tea. Rates begin at $305 per night, and include lovely children's Easter baskets, stuffed to the brim with goodies.
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, Official Site
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, Five Star Alliance
Shake or stir up the perfect weekend at Dukes Hotel, renowned worldwide for its marvelous Martinis, and of course the best Dry Martini in town. Located in a quiet spot on St. James's Place, Dukes is a charming, privately-owned luxury hotel set in a flowering gas-lit courtyard, just minutes from London's finest restaurants, theaters, galleries and exclusive shops. This luxurious boutique-- with its 89 rooms and suites individually decorated like a private home-- prizes its reputation for its happening Cocktail Bar. Brace yourself for the launch of the new Martini Menu, which will add clever concoctions such as a Filthy Dirty Martini, a Dukes Chocolate Martini, a Balsamic Vinegar Martini, a Saffron Martini, and a Rose Petal Martini, along with the traditional house specialties. In celebration of these libations, Dukes has introduced a special Martini Madness package, for Friday night arrivals throughout 2006. Priced at GBP 920 for three nights (double occupancy), the package includes: luxurious accommodations for two, full English breakfast daily, a private tasting with the bartender, a lesson on making the perfect Martini, and at-home presentation tips, two martinis at the happening bar, dinner for two at Dukes restaurant, and a special Recovery Massage for two. Top that off with a complimentary Dukes Martini set in a beautiful gift box that includes two Martini glasses, a bottle of gin, a miniature bottle of Vermouth, a lemon peeler, and a Dukes Martini leaflet with instructions on how to make a Martini. Cheers to that.
Dukes Hotel, Official Site
Dukes Hotel, Five Star Alliance
While visiting family and friends in Nashville, head to the city's treasured landmark, the Hermitage Hotel, for its famous Easter Brunch set in the historic lobby. Located in the heart of downtown, across the street from the State Capitol and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the luxurious Hermitage has racked up numerous awards, including AAA Five Diamond status and Robb Report's Best of the Best. Take advantage of the Easter Brunch package, starting at $279, and relax in splendor in a richly-furnished guest room, with its sumptuous fine thread count fabrics and all marble bathrooms.
In addition, the hotel is offering a Mother's Day Brunch Package that is sure to delight the most discriminating of guests. Brunch for two in the historic lobby features selections from the Capitol Grille. During mother's overnight stay, she will be spoiled with the hotel's Contemporary Bath Service, prepared by the Bath Concierge, with oversized plush towels, a bottle of fresh spring water, seasonal fruit, candles, rose petals, slippers, a luxurious robe, and a selection of aromatic bath salts and bath gels. Rates start at $349.
The Hermitage, Official Site
The Hermitage, Five Star Alliance