March 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It's hot. It's hip. Welcome to the new Strand Ocean Drive Hotel, a chic and stylish boutique hotel on Miami's South Beach. The unique hotel is comprised of four different historical structures (and one new building) with each suite featuring a unique design theme so—and get this!— you can change the style and ambience each time you visit the hotel. Whatever your whim. Thus, at 1024 Ocean Drive, you can savor the Retro style of the 1960s. Next door at 1036 Ocean Drive, you can join the martini-set in the classic Art Deco style of the 1930s. At 1052 Ocean Drive, get a taste of the contemporary, with the hip new five story structure. And at 1060 Ocean Drive, you can soak up the Mediterranean Tropical style of Miami. Now through April 7, 2006, the hotel is offering a cool giveaway. If you sign up for The Strand Ocean Drive mailing list, you are entered to win an iPod shuffle. They're giving one away each week for a month. Hop to it!
March 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Amidst the rowdy hordes of spring-break revelers, tacky t-shirt stands and shops spilling flamingo kitsch, wary sun-seekers may despair: where is the colorful, whimsical Key West of old?! But step away from the mobs on Duvall Street, the wet t-shirt contests and "clothing optional" bars and tacky sunset scene of Mallory Square-- where the shadow of an enormous Carnival Cruise ship looms-- and the palm-lined alleys and side-streets reveal the other side to Key West's Old Town: white clapboard Victorian houses framed by fuchsia bougainvillea blossoms, Gypsy roosters clucking and crowing alongside the city's famous fat lounging cats, art galleries and Cuban coffee shops, friendly and eccentric locals.
The best dining in Key West-- hands down-- is Cafe Sole, located off the beaten path on Southard and Francis Streets. Chef John Correa learned his magic in Provence and Bordeaux, and superb dishes-- like Hog Snapper smother in a red pepper hollandaise sauce-- reflect his culinary training. For the island's best brunch, head to Blue Heaven in Bahama Village, where you can devour blueberry pancakes and lobster benedict in a flowering, friendly backyard-- full of whimsy and good cheer.
Shopping? Don't despair on Duvall. A few steps away on Petronia Street, Besame Mucho is one of the world's most pleasant boutiques. The fragrant interior is full of fine jewelry, exquisite Provencal soaps, Kiehl's products, luscious gourmet candies and beautiful Moroccan shoes. Indeed, as the slogan goes: "shop here once and life will be a joy forever.”
March 10, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Kostas Christopoulos and Don MacCorquodale, The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver
After finishing a five million dollar renovation of the guest rooms, The Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver (again a recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award in 2006) has added a sweet touch to its tradition of elegance with the unique Chocoholic Bar. The Bar is the city's only all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet.
Famous with local Vancouverites, the Chocoholic Buffet provides delectable offerings including an array of home made luscious cakes, pastries and pies, exquisite sorbets and ice creams, topped only by the Bar's own renowned Brittany crepes, a house specialty made right before your eyes. Join The Sutton Place Hotel's Master Chocolatier and Pastry Chef Wolfgang Dauke for an evening of sinful delights.
This chocolate-lover's dream come true, the Chocoholic Bar, is offered in two seatings, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Fleuri Restaurant, located on the lobby level.The buffet is $23.00 per person and is also available for banquet or catering functions outside the hotel.
Is it possible to overdose on chocolate?
The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Official Site
The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Five Star Alliance
From Paul Reynolds, The Maybourne Hotel Group
Madonna "Adores the Blue Bar" at The Berkeley. Claridge's main restaurant is run by (and named for) celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. You can find out why so many people want to associate themselves with the London hotels of the Maybourne Group this March and April with 4 special deals. 'Suite Dreams' deals start at 299 pounds for a Deluxe Junior Suite at The Connaught, 339 pounds for a Superior Junior Suite at The Berekley and 359 pounds for a Deluxe Junior Suite at Claridge's. The 'April Special' allows you to 'sample five star luxury at an affordable price'. 'Work from 'Home' without the inconveniences' during March and April with a special rate for single occupancy of Queen-bedded rooms at The Connaught. Lastly, check out the specials being offered during Easter week with reduced rates at The Berkeley, Claridge's, and The Connaught.
Maybourne Hotel Group, Official Site
Claridge's, Five Star Alliance
The Connaught, Five Star Alliance
The Berkeley, Five Star Alliance
From Doug Camp, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Hay-Adams
The DC Cherry Blossom Festival happens each year from March 25th through April 9th (although the Yoshino cherry blossom trees will stay in bloom a little longer than that). This year's parade on Saturday, April 8th will be hosted by Pat Sajak. Other performers include Anthony Fedorov (American Idol Season 4) and Grammy-nominated artist Martha Wash.
Doug Camp from The Hay-Adams, a luxurious Washington, DC Boutique hotel, pointed out that they are offering their Cherry Blossom Package again this year. The package includes complimentary parking, but walking from The Hay-Adams to the blossoms around the Tidal Basin a) is a great walk which includes the White House, Washington Memorial, World War II Memorial and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, b) shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
UPDATE 2 (March 29): The National Park Service's chief horticulturist Rob DeFeo now says Thursday, March 30th will be the peak bloom date for the Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms.
UPDATE: According to the National Park Service Chief Horticulturist, Rob DeFeo, the predicted peak blooming period for the 2006 Cherry Blossoms is March 27th through April 1st.
There is nothing more beautiful than the Cherry Blossoms in bloom around the Tidal Basin. Experience the beauty firsthand while enjoying luxurious accommodations at The Hay-Adams. This package is based on a two night minimum stay. Cherry Blossom Festival information, a special amenity, and complimentary parking are included. Packages start at $309.00 from March 24 – April 9, 2006.
Call the Hotel to reserve 800.853.6807
The Hay-Adams, Official Site
The Hay-Adams, Five Star Alliance
March 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Winner of Outside Magazine's 2006 Trip of the Year, this heli-skiing experience is simply sublime: the only operation in the world that departs from a luxurious megayacht, Absinthe. The world-famous terrain of the West Coast Mountain Range of BC is celebrated for its incredible powder and enormous glaciers, and accessible from Absinthe within just a few minutes by helicopter. After an adrenaline-pumping day, return to the yacht to enjoy the luxurious amenities of a five-star hotel, while surrounded by beautiful views of the fjords and coastal wildlife. Trips depart March and April. Maximum of 11 skiers. Via Outside March 06 issue
March 3, 2006
By: Guest Writer
By Alex Rose
A timeless and elegant tradition for gentlemen is returning. Grooming with master barbers in the style of earlier American and English traditions are returning with a modernized and upscale version of “barbershop spas.”
Next time you're in Las Vegas, make time to visit The Art of Shaving (at Mandalay Place) or Truefitt and Hill (at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace) and try something that will make you look and feel great before heading out for a night on the town and some evening adventures.
What's the difference between a traditional straight-edge shave and an off-the-shelf multi-cartridge shave? The straight-edge is used to cut with and against the grain which results in a much closer shave, and leaves your face absolutely smooth all over. In addition to the usual shave and a hair cut, men have the option of being pampered and rejuvenated with techniques found in upscale spas such as hot and cold aromatherapy towels, facial masks, luxuriant shaving creams, balms, and oils-- along with various hair care and skincare products, fragrances, shoe shines, and manicures.
You're in good company, following the likes of royalty, industry execs, and celebs like Frank Sinatra who have opted for traditional shaves.
By: Guest Writer
March 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Heading to Scottsdale for the best kind of Spring entertainment? Take yourself out to the ballgame! Arizona Spring Training is a favorite tradition not to be missed, and with a perfect location near the ballpark, the Hotel Valley Ho is the place to stay. The original hide-away for Bogart, Bing and Marilyn has been made-over into a hip urban resort, and reopened to much fanfare in December 2005. The chic rooms feature all-glass walls opening onto private patios, flat-screen TVs, WiFi, terrazzo tile bathrooms, and feather-top beds with 300-thread-count linens. As pictured, the cabana rooms are full of whimsy and flair—overlooking the pool. Post-game, head poolside to Cafe ZuZu for some classic American comfort food. Or pamper yourself with a massage at the VH Spa, then indulge in a little personal training of your own at the fitness center overlooking the perfect circle pool.
March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In a city of superlatives, it's not hard to be deemed "the world's most luxurious shopping destination." Dubai's BurJuman Centre-- located in the very heart of the city-- is the residence of high fashion. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, Valentino, Emanel Ungaro, Loewe, Etro, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Lacroix, Salvatore Ferragamo... Its 800,000 square feet of retail space (300 leading stores) is centered around an enormous atrium courtyard, filled with sunlight.
March 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From James McBride, General Manager, The Carlyle
The Carlyle Hotel in New York City has a long (by US standards) and varied history - dating back to 1930 where it was considered the "home away from home" for discerning luxury travelers in Manhattan.
Mr. McBride showed us where deep within the hotel's website they offer up 10 Fast (and ultra interesting) Facts. Then at the bottom we've added even more facts that you might be interested in about the Carlyle.
Check them out ...
- Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan have called The Carlyle their “unofficial” New York home.
- Each guest room has a direct telephone line to Sotheby’s, for those who don’t feel like venturing out or wish to place their bids in privacy.
- During the Kennedy administration, owner Robert Dowling always kept the “Kennedy duplex” empty just in case the President decided to come to New York.
- Composer Richard Rodgers was The Carlyle’s first tenant back in 1930.
- The Carlyle is a showcase of great art. Bemelmans bar contains the only surviving public murals of artist/author Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the famed Madeline children’s book series. Additional works by Audubon, Kips, Redoute and Vertes adorn the hotel’s walls creating a veritable gallery environment.
- Diane Ginsberg Jaffe, the daughter of the hotel’s founder, named The Carlyle after British writer Thomas Carlyle.
- The two Jan Weenix murals in the lobby were originally owned by William Randolph Hearst.
- The Carlyle is a virtual catalog of design history, home to the work of some of the world’s most legendary decorators including: Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, and Renzo Mongiardino.
- The Carlyle is alive with music; 23 suites have Steinway or Baldwin baby-grand pianos tuned twice a week.
- The Carlyle has been the hotel of choice for Hollywood’s elite since Ingrid Bergman checked in after completing Intermezzo.
Some additional Fun Facts we found ...
- The hotel designed by the architectural firm of Bien & Prince, was completed in 1930. A newspaper account of the time described the design as a "diversified setback style," which provides private terraces for some guest rooms and suites.
- The hotel's first decorator was Dorothy Draper, a mid-20th-century feminist who decorated in the "Empire manner."
- One of the country's foremost decorators, the late Mark Hampton, updated many of the guest rooms with a contemporary interpretation of the understated elegance achieved by Dorothy Draper 70 years ago.
- In 2002, interior designer Thierry Despont restored Bemelmans Bar and the lobby.
- Each room is characteristically unique with such color schemes as Chinese red, burnt orange and celadon. The walls are decorated with Audubon prints, architectural renderings by Piranesi or the English country scenes by Kips.
- The hotel was created by Moses Ginsburg, a Russian emigrant whose wealth was in real estate, the hotel was intended to secure Ginsberg’s position in society.
- Two elegant banquet rooms, decorated by Mark Hampton, are the venues for private parties and functions.
- There have only been five ownerships in its history - currently Philip F. Maritz, President of Maritz-Wolff & Company
- During the hotel's 13-month construction, Wall Street crashed. Knowing he would lose millions, Ginsberg forged on. When the banks foreclosed in 1930, the Carlyle was off to a less than auspicious start, but of course survived.
- Bellman Michael O'Connell, who joined the Carlyle in 1949 fresh out of college and is still on the staff, remembers John Kennedy bidding him farewell the night before the President’s assassination in Dallas in 1963.
- In 1940s, the wealthy tycoon Robert Dowling purchased the Carlyle and, like Ginsberg, saw an opportunity to set the highest standards of innkeeping and establish his own place in New York society. Run like a private club, social references were required to obtain a room or an apartment in the 1950s.
- In 1967, the Carlyle was purchased by real estate entrepreneur Peter Sharp. A native New Yorker whose family owned and operated the Ritz Tower, the Delmonico and the Stanhope (all residential hotels). When Peter Sharp died in 1992, the hotel was run by a board of directors until an appropriate owner could be found.
- Each guest room features an armchair designed by Mark Hampton which is named after his daughter Alexa.
- The Gallery, also known as 'The Living Room', is a favorite among East Side residents, foreign diplomats, politicians and celebrities, it was there that Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, arriving together by chance, introduced themselves and sat down for a chat.
- The afternoon tea is enhanced by real Devonshire cream flown in from England.
- The 2005 Oscar Goody Bag for celebs included a voucher for the Carlyle.
- In February 2006, the Carlyle announced the opening of the Royal Suite after a redesign.
- In 2006, All Madelines are invited to go to the Manager at Bemelmans Bar and say "Bonjour. My name is Madeline" and they will receive a three-tiered tea, served among the renowned Madeline murals, on fabulous Madeline-inspired linen and china. (more details)
We're sure to be missing even more fun, fast facts about The Carlyle, so visit New York and the hotel to learn even more and then let us know.
The Carlyle, Official Site
The Carlyle, Five Star Alliance