June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Vogue applauds the newest boutique on the "beach-blessed east coast of the Dominican Republic," its glamorous villas designed by Dominican-born Oscar de la Renta. Travel and Leisure describes a gorgeous tropical oasis, where "the only contact to the outside world is a golf cart, a satellite TV hookup, and a cell phone connection to a concierge." Tortuga Bay is located within the Puntacana Resort and Club, which boasts extensive facilities: two golf courses (the one designed by Pete Dye and the other by Tom Fazio), eight restaurants, five bars, and glorious stretches of private white sand beaches. Yet Tortuga Bay is blissfully private and quiet. The 50 suites (situated within 15 villas) were designed by Oscar de la Renta, both inside and out, graced with locally crafted mahogany and rattan furniture. Guests enjoy use of a golf cart (to navigate the awesome facilities, including Puntacana's spa), and are pampered by impeccable service from the personal villa manager who organizes all details of their stay. Needless to say, the stars are flocking to the DR to be pampered with Tortuga Bay's low-key luxury. Summer rates start at $650 for a one-bedroom suite. Related Articles: Vogue, "Travel: Bathing Beauties" Travel and Leisure, "The New Gold Coast" (June 2006)
"Uniquely for a museum this has become the hottest table in Edinburgh"-- AA Gill, The Sunday Times
"....food so sublime it eclipses the wine. Almost" --Iain Banks, The Observer
Atop the Museum of Scotland, perched above the city with spectacular views of the castle and Edinburgh's defining landmarks, the Tower Restaurant has become one of the world's hottest dining destinations since its opening in 1998. Located on the roof of the striking 20th-century sandstone-clad building, the Tower has developed a reputation for the finest seasonal produce in the country. Open every day for lunch and dinner, the restaurant woos with superlative dining (featuring fresh local produce), signature service, and breathtaking views. The extensive menu highlights Argyll oysters, lobster, Fife crab, and platters of seafood, with the grill providing the Tower's signature Aberdeen Angus (proudly hung for 21 days) served with potato scone and Portobello mushrooms.
As if you needed an excuse to jet to Hawaii. The 25th annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival, Hawaii's most prestigious and exciting festival of its kind, kicks off on July 6 with a "Silver Salute" four-day culinary extravaganza. Look no further than this for pure gastronomic bliss. World-renowned winemakers, top master sommeliers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders lead themed tastings, seminars, and gala evening events. Cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars and winemaker dinners are but a few of the highlights of this event. The festivities begin with the Grand Tasting on Friday, July 7th and culminate with the popular Seafood Festival on Sunday, July 9th.
After an extensive renovation, the National Portrait Gallery celebrates its grand reopening July 1 with fourteen new exhibitions. The National Landmark Historic Building that houses the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum now has 30 percent more exhibition space, redesigned galleries, a conservation lab, and an enclosed courtyard. The gallery's 20,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings portray the individuals who have made signature contributions to the history and culture of the US. All exhibitions will open July 1, and include "Americans Now," which showcases individuals prominent in sports, entertainment and other fields in the last 25 years, and "Eye Contact," which will feature masterpieces of 20th century portraiture from the National Portrait Gallery's drawing collections. Folks can even "Adopt-A-Portrait" in celebration of the reopening.
The coolest hotel in Vegas is also home to one of the best hotel pools in the US. At the Hard Rock you'll find a hip party atmosphere, a Nobu restaurant, and a rocking Beach Club swimming pool with swim-up blackjack tables. This is the hang-out in Sin City, where there's always a hopping pool party with plenty of people watching. The seven acres of pools are connected by a lazy river and enhanced by actual sand beaches, palm trees, and a stage with live music. And of course you can play blackjack in your bathing suit. Swim up to the wooden gazebo with its blackjack and craps tables and don't worry about sopping wet bills-- the good folks at the Hard Rock hand out plastic pouches to protect your money.
June 13, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
by Courtney W. May for Bryant Park Hotel, New York City Situated directly across from New York City's storied Bryant Park, and steps away from the media, fashion, retail and transportation centers of Manhattan, the Bryant Park Hotel's midtown address alone renders it prime accommodations for the business or leisure traveler alike. Get the most out of your trip by reserving their Penthouse Suite (pictured). Make sure you do it when something exciting is happening in Bryant Park or when you can devote some time to park and people watching on your balcony. P.S. The Bryant Park bathroom - the actual Park's bathrooms aren't just outhouses - was awarded the title of "best in America" by Citysearch users in 2002 so make sure you check that out too. Penthouse Suite Details Location: The Bryant Park Hotel is 25 stories tall with only 128 guest rooms. The Penthouse Suite occupies the entire 24th floor with surrounding views of the New York City skyline. Size: 1,100 square feet (better then all of Manhattan's apartments) Rooms: The Penthouse features 1 and a half baths, a dinning area for up to 6 people, living room, bedroom and balcony. The Living Room: Notable aspects of the living room include one of the Suite's two 32" High Definition LCD flat screen televisions and a desk equipped with internet access is available for any business needs. Bathroom: A sleek double-headed shower, as well as an oversized bathtub, provides a luxurious bathing experience plus you can hoard Molton Brown products in your suitcase and keep asking the housekeeping staff and front desk to send you more. Balcony: Accessible through the Bedroom, the balcony provides amazing views which include the lawn of Bryant Park and the Manhattan skyline (make sure you bring binoculars). Note Bene: Through floor-to-ceiling windows, you can enjoy the view of the Empire State Building illuminated at night, all the while immersed in a flower-petal-infused bubble bath with your BOSE Wave Music System and a BOSE SoundDock Digital Music System for Apple iPod playing that hip music kids these days are listening to. Too cheap to get the Penthouse Suite? The Bryant Park Hotel does also have 16 suites, 10 park-view terraces, and a rooftop loft space with 360-degree skyline panoramas. They all have a fresh contemporary decor and signature room appointments that include authentic Tibetan rugs, goose-down duvets, and travertine marble bathrooms, even without shelling out the Penthouse nightly rate. Other New York Suites: Plaza Athenee's Penthouse Suite, "Park Avenue Suite at The Regency in New York City", "The Carlyle Hotel in New York City (Re)Opens The Royal Suite", "The Triplex Penthouse at the Time", and "Suite Escapes: the Mandarin Oriental New York Celebrates its Taipan Suite".
When in Venice, do like the locals (or visiting celebs) and head to the outdoor terrace at the 18th century Bauer Il Palazzo hotel. It's extraordinary. The cleverly named Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven) is a rooftop lounge on the 7th floor, with spectacular panoramic views over the city and lagoon. Here, breakfast is served exclusively for lucky guests, and the entire terrace and rooftop jacuzzi are available to rent for private functions. The hotel has the best spot in the floating city after all, in St. Mark's Basin, with its own private dock on the Grand Canal. In the heart of Venice, the Bauer Il Palazzo is an intimate boutique hotel with a stunning Gothic facade and opulent Venetian aura. The guestrooms likewise boast impressive views of the best of Venice. Many of the 44 luxurious rooms and 38 suites--lavishly appointed with fine furniture, fabrics, and Murano glass chandeliers-- offer balconies and terraces overlooking the beautiful city of canals. (Never mind that it's sinking.)
That's right. The opulent Parisian hotel has a new Culinary and Lifestyle Academy for folks to learn (and hopefully master) the art of French savoir-vivre. The landmark Hotel Meurice has always been ranked one of the most elegant hotels in the world, so we can trust that this fashionable new school will provide the best kind of expertise in subjects such as flower-arranging, wine-tasting, and pastry-making. Saturday classes include morning and afternoon sessions, with 12 students max. a class. Starting at EUR 105 per person.
On exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Degas to Picasso: Modern Masters. This survey of European art from 1900 to 1960 is ambitious and fascinating, showcasing 280 paintings, sculptures, drawings, watercolors, prints, and photographs. From the late works of Degas, Gauguin, Munch and Rodin through Giacometti and Picasso, this exhibition explores the major masters in 20th century Europe on an individual artistic basis, while also highlighting the rise of new artistic movements, from late impressionism and symbolism to mid-century modernism. Don't miss this one. Through July 23.
June 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago debuted the Teen Concierge program last year in an effort to cater to older children and teens who have different expectations for a fun vacation. Cynthia Waldmeir, the Teen Concierge, knows Chitown inside and out: the coolest boutiques in Lincoln Park and the trendiest restaurants in the city. Equipped with iPod fix-it kits, lip balm, and popular DVDs, Cynthia's got her list ready for the Top Picks for visiting teens and tweens:
Where to eat:
1. Best Place to Enjoy Sushi: Kamehachi, 240 East Ontario Street
Cynthia says: "They have a really cool underground atmosphere. It's like you are going into this cave where you sit down to enjoy delicious sushi rolls."
2. Best Sweets in City: Sweet Mandy B's, 1208 West Webster Avenue
Cynthia says: "The vintage cafe is so cute and their cupcakes and sweets are to die for."
3. Best Place for Something Different: L'Appetito, 875 North Michigan Avenue.
Cynthia says: "They have great panini-- but leave room for the gelato, an Italian favorite."
4. Best Place for a Chicago hot dog: Downtown Dogs, 804 North Rush Street
Cynthia says: "A trip to Chicago is not complete without a Chicago hot dog. Downtown Dogs has a great menu and is within walking distance for our guests."
5. Best Place for Chicago-style Pizza: Giordano's, 730 North Rush Street
Cynthia says: "At Giordano's you can place your order while you wait for a table-- which is important for young eaters who are low on patience."
Where to Shop:
1. Best Place for Jeans: The Denim Lounge, 940 N. Rush Street
Cynthia says: "They carry all the popular brands as well as fun T-shirts."
2. Best Place for Sunglasses: Active Endeavors, 935 West Armitage Avenue
Cynthia says: "They have a great selection and carry a lot of trendy, hard-to-find styles."
3. Best Place for CD's and DVD's: Virgin Megastore, 540 North Michigan Avenue
Cynthia says: "They have their own deejay and listening stations-- not to mention three floors of the hottest music, latest movies and even those rare titles you can never find."
4. Best Place for Jewelry and Handbags: Francesca's Collections, 2012 North Halsted Street and 1154 Lill Studio, 904 W. Armitage Avenue
Cynthia says: "Francesca's has a wall-to-wall jewelry collection of fun and sophisticated styles. If you can't find it there, it's not going to happen. At 1154 Lill Studio, you can design your own handbag which is something different and a fun activity for teens and their moms."
5. Best Place for Cosmetics: Sephora, Water Tower Place/Shops at Northbridge
Cynthia says: "They have free samples of just about everything so that you and your girlfriends can give one another makeovers."
Where to Play:
1. Best Scenic Beach Spot: Oak Street Beach
Cynthia says: "Right behind you is Chicago's awesome skyline."
2. Best Recreational Beach Spot: North Avenue Beach
Cynthia says: "Here you can join in a volleyball game or rent a bike for a scenic lakefront tour."
3. Best Cultural Spot: The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue
Cynthia says: "It may not sound like kid-pleaser, but the guys love the Arms and Armor collection and the girls love The Thorne Miniature Rooms. Plus the gift shop has posters of their popular art. Teens will also enjoy the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum and the U-505 Submarine exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry."
4. Best City Park: Millennium Park, 222 North Columbus Drive
Cynthia says: "Where else can you get soaked by interactive fountains of faces that spew water?"
5. Best Snapshot Spot: Outside the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive
Cynthia says: "It's a picture-perfect spot with a spectacular view of Chicago's skyline and Lake Michigan."