Just an hour west from Washington D.C., the rolling hills of Virginia's Piedmont make for a fantastic day trip or weekend outing from the nation's capital. A number of vineyards offer wine tastings (in Loudoun, Fauquier, and Rappahannock Counties), and for those seeking adventure, excellent hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains abound. This is horse country (read: you should dress the part) so pick up some threads in the charming stores that line Middleburg's main drag, where you'll also find all kinds of organic goodies at the Home Farm Store (Ayrshire Farm's gourmet retail shop). For a sweet treat and an excellent cup of coffee, Warrenton's Red Truck Bakery is *the* place to go.
Looking for a place to stay in the countryside? Folks make pilgrimages to The Inn at Little Washington in Rappahannock County for some of the best food you'll eat in the US of A. Another good bet: The Goodstone Inn and Estate, recently profiled by the good folks at Daily Candy. To quote: "Pretend you’re visiting a rich uncle’s estate at the welcoming Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. Book a room in the carriage house for breathtaking views or gather a weekend party group to rent an entire house (bonus: A chef can make your meals using local ingredients and freshly picked veggies from the garden). Then unwind in the spa or stroll the grounds to visit with farm animals."
For more information about visiting Virginia, check out Virginia is for Lovers, the Official Tourism Website of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
We've seen our fair share of glam girls' getaway packages, but this might just take the cake. Who needs over-the-top Vegas revelry when when you can have Moët (and manis!) in Manhattan?! The Mandarin Oriental New York-- home to Nutcracker Afternoon Teas this holiday season-- has partnered with one of the world’s finest champagne houses to create a bubble-licious "Moët Champagne Slumber Party" for up to four friends. Celebrate NYC's best time of year with Christmas shopping, pampering, and bonding with your best friends over flutes of Moët Imperial Champagne. Here's what the package includes:
*One night in a suite for up to two people, or one night in a suite with a connecting room for up to four people
*Two bottles of Moët Imperial Champagne per suite/room
*Manicures and pedicures in the hotel’s five-star spa
*Saks Fifth Avenue VIP shopping experience with a Personal Style Consultant
*A selection of ‘girls’ night in’ movies
Package rates start from $3,250 for one night of suite-only accommodations for up to two people, and start from $5,000 for one night of suite with connecting room accommodations for up to four people. This package is available until April 30, 2012, is based on availability, and cannot be combined with other offers.
November 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
We can definitely see the humor and fun in ice skating without heavy winter clothes holding you down, so we’re thrilled that the W Los Angeles Westwood has recently re-opened its signature ice rink for the third year in a row! This hotel’s 1600 square foot ice rink is made with environmentally friendly ice hybrid and is open for use by hotel guests until January 1st, 2012. This ice rink will also be the hot spot for access to the Ice Bar, serving signature food and cocktails, a skate-up cabana, a gingerbread cookie decoration station for kids, and regular Saturday performances by the BH Cabaret Theater. The ice rink is open from 3pm – 10pm on weekdays, 10am – 10pm on weekends, and $10 gets you a full hour of skating and includes a skate rental. The gingerbread cookie decoration station is open on weekends from 11am – 1pm, and the BH Cabaret Theater puts on a show at 6pm.
The W Los Angeles Westwood is conveniently located between Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica beaches, and it is surrounded by beautiful boutique shops and beaches. Be sure to add this hotel to your list of places to stay and practice your ice skating tricks.
November 14, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
The Renaissance Austin Hotel is currently offering package deals that take the stress out of planning and offer a perfect escape for business travelers, shoppers, and couples. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a shopping excursion, this charming Austin, Texas hotel has something for you.
Shopping Package: The Renaissance Austin Hotel is conveniently located within the Arboretum Market Shops area, and it’s the perfect place to unwind while enjoying a shopping excursion with family or friends. This package offers an overnight accommodation in a deluxe room, complimentary regular Starbuck’s coffee for two, complimentary valet parking, and a $50 gift card to the arboretum shops. This package is starting at $209 per night, and it has come just in time for the holiday season.
Romance Package: Enjoy a quiet night with your special someone and take some time just enjoying each other’s company. This package includes a deluxe room, complimentary bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, full American breakfast for two in Banderas or room service, complimentary valet parking, and late check-out at 2:00pm. This package is starting at $219 per night.
Wired for Business Package: This package is for the business traveler who is looking to escape the hustle and bustle and get work done. This package includes an overnight accommodation in a deluxe room, internet access in your room, complimentary coffee at Ustinbytes Cyber Café, and complimentary valet parking. This package is starting at $239 per night.
Pick the package that's right for you, and have an adventure!
November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Calling all shopping addicts. Come winter, the Dubai Shopping Festival is where it's at. Get a tan (and soak up the balmy temps) while you're sprinting between boutiques. Indulge in some retail therapy with serious discounts on luxury brands, and you'll also be privy to the region's biggest "entertainment extravaganza"-- ie. huge fireworks displays, daily car raffles, and more. The best part of all? Shopping in Dubai is entirely tax-free. The annual month-long fest takes place from January 20- February 20, 2012 and attracts some three million visitors. Looking for a place to stay? Five Star Alliance has the skinny on a number of glamorous Dubai hotels- from the "seven-star" Burj Al Arab to Armani's very own pad (pictured). Take a gander at the full list here.
Slated to open on January 19, 2012, the new St. Regis Bal Harbour promises to bring a new level of luxury to the affluent Florida enclave. Inside the oceanfront development (pictured), both residences and hotel rooms will be available for luxury-seeking sun-worshippers. Rising 27 storeys above the beach, the three all-glass towers will house-- to quote the press release-- "a sprawling Remède Spa, a world class dining experience at Jean-Georges' restaurant J&G Grill, exquisite interior design by Yabu Pushelberg, renowned contemporary art and the finest finishes with one-of-a-kind West African Movinque wood and Chinese God Flower Stone Marble from a private quarry commissioned exclusively for the resort." Guests can also expect the signature St. Regis butler service, and an impressive contemporary art collection showcased throughout the hotel. For some gorgeous pix, check out the photo library.
Le Royal Monceau knows luxury. The palace hotel reopened in October 2010 after a two-year, top-to-bottom makeover by design guru Philippe Starck, and every single aspect of it-- from the private cinema to the brand spanking new spa-- is fabulously opulent. So you know you're in good hands when you choose Le Royal Monceau for a lavish Parisian getaway. Better yet, for an over-the-top experience you'll never forget, book the hotel's new "Be Royal" offer. After getting whisked from the airport in a Mercedes Class S, you'll be ushered as a VIP into your Junior Suite, where you'll find a Clarins welcome gift along with Pierre Hermé macarons and a bottle of Champagne. Wake up to an extravagant American breakfast at La Cuisine restaurant, then have a private Art Tour of Le Royal Monceau with the Art Concierge. During your stay, you'll also enjoy a private appointment at a famous French fashion house, fine dining for two at La Cuisine (drinks excluded), a "Royal Indulgence" treatment at the dazzling new spa, a late check-out at 4 pm, and an upgrade upon availability. Priced at 1450 euros per night, available until December 30, 2011 with a three-night minimum stay required.
October 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
I bet your life (like most of ours) is lacking in kangaroos, surfing, and scuba diving. Take a trip down under and experience first-hand the laid back atmosphere and beauty Sydney, Australia has to offer. Not a big fan of the winter cold? Consider traveling anytime from December-February, Australia’s summer season, and enjoy a cocktail on the beach while your neighbors back home shovel snow.
For those wanting a truly Sydney experience, the newly renovated Sydney Harbour Marriott at Circular Quay is the perfect hotel. This downtown Sydney resort overlooks the beautiful Sydney Harbour and the renowned Opera House, providing you with cultural and outdoor activities a few steps away. At Sydney’s premier waterfront hotel, guests are welcomed to indulge in a variety of treatments offered in the day spa and take a dip in the luxurious indoor pool. If an outdoor adventure is more your calling, check out the boating, surfing, and sailing opportunities found in Sydney. After doing it all, retire to your room, complete with picturesque harbour views, and dare to do it all again the next day.
October 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family members and friends. This year, however, we bet you want something different, something special, something extravagant, something over the top. Did we just read your mind? For the luxury seekers, the best gift givers, and the folks who always go above and beyond what is expected, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue may be just for you.
For an intellectual and mind-opening gift, consider the custom library, with its shelves filled with 250 books for $125,000. This atypical gift comes from the publishing house Assouline, and the library can be added anywhere you’d like. From a house to a boat to an airplane, the sky is the limit. This gift includes a full redesign of the space of your choice by adding custom carpets, art objects, and exquisitely framed prints. After the space redesign, 250 contemporary and vintage volumes are added to the beautiful shelves in the genre of your choice. Line the bookshelves with masterpieces from renowned writers, artists, photographers, architects, designers, and culinary and fashion virtuosos. This is a gift that keeps on giving because aside from an incredible library, Neiman Marcus will also donate $2,500 to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides children in need access to new books. For details, call 1-877-9NM-GIFT, or visit neimanmarcus.com
The Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue is for the thoughtful gift-givers, and while it offers truly lavish gifts, about half are under $250, so whatever your price range, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue has something to offer you. Looking for something a little different? Consider booking a trip for your family and friends and spending the holidays somewhere exotic, snowy, sunny, or simply somewhere relaxing.
(Photo via Neiman Marcus)
October 13, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
Are you an avid exerciser who doesn’t like to give up working out when you’re traveling and away from home? We definitely understand the need to keep up with your routine while still enjoying the beautiful city you’re in, so we’d like to introduce you to hotels that offer you an opportunity to exercise that’s a bit different from your typical access to a treadmill, elliptical, and a few weights in a hotel gym.
Today’s featured luxury hotel is the NH Lingotto in Turin, Italy, and its exercise facility is sure to be unlike any other you’ve seen. The hotel is situated in the former Fiat automobile factory, and the redesign of the entire space has made the NH Lingotto a striking blend of the modern and historic. The hotel’s first floor connects to a shopping gallery, with various boutiques and cafes, while the top floor houses the incredible Pinacoteca Giovannie Marella Agnelli art gallery. Aside from these luxurious amenities, the NH Lingotto also has 240 beautiful rooms and suites and a 1,030 meter running track on the roof that was formerly a Fiat car-testing track. This track allows you to exercise outdoors while taking in the most magnificent views of Turin, Italy.
So whether you’re a serious runner or simply enjoy going for a walk, consider checking into the NH Lingotto and checking out the outdoor track for some fresh air and a unique exercise opportunity that’s quite outside the norm.