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FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Girfriend Getaway: Miami

August 2, 2010
By: Ruthanne Terrero

You’ll be BFFs forever after a day at one of these sizzling spas.

We say the spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami is worth a visit for the VIP suites alone; there are six of them, all with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Biscayne Bay. (Tip: If you book a treatment toward evening, you’ll witness some splendid sunsets over the water.)

The signature treatment is the Oriental Essence massage, which includes a consultation with the therapist and a full-body customized treatment. An interesting half-day program, drawing on Miami’s heritage, is the Latin Rhythms spa package, which includes a private Samba class followed by an exfoliation of lime, mint and sugar, and a hot stone massage. A Spa Mojito cocktail and a Latin-Asian bento box lunch are then served poolside. Detox-Retox, we’re all over that!

Spa Director Osa Mallo suggests reserving treatments a week in advance for weekends and holidays, though last-minute requests are usually accommodated. E-mail her at or call her at 305-913-8331 for insider tips.

Considering a bridal shower or other special event for you and your BFFs? Consult Spa Sales Manager Stephanie Menendez (; 305-913-3806), who is an expert at setting up suite and spa buyouts for bachelorette parties and other smaller groups. Note: If your client is traveling with children, there are yoga programs for those aged 5-11 and teen treatments that include manicures, pedicures and facials, as well as belly dancing and salsa classes.

Staying at the hotel? If you want your room to have an inviting and peaceful spa vibe, opt for the one-bedroom Mandarin Suite, which has a living room, formal dining room, gourmet kitchen and a large private balcony accessible from every room. There’s also a spa serenity room with fabulous views of Biscayne Bay. If that’s taken, insiders tell us the Deluxe Veranda guest rooms are the hotel’s best-kept secret. They’re a step up from Deluxe Bay View rooms and have oversized terraces with views of the bay and the Miami skyline—perfect for entertaining the girls. Note: All rooms at the hotel have private balconies; the most popular are the Biscayne suites with stunning views of the bay and the bridge.

Chief Concierge Guillerme DeMelo (; 305-913-3794) can procure a Vespa scooter for your Girlfriend Group to tool around Miami; he’s also known to have arranged for a private jet to fly a guest and his date to Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys for a romantic dinner. His most famous feat, however, was shipping 100 palm trees to a guest’s home in the Middle East.

After our stay, we say that the cozy Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove is a gem of a boutique hotel. It’s a best bet for women traveling solo as the service is attentive and it’s close to one of Miami’s most interesting dining and shopping districts. We’re talking walking distance.

The spa may be petite (just 6,000 square feet) but houses separate men’s and women’s lounges, saunas and steam rooms and six treatment rooms.

If you go, try the time-saving Tandem Treatment, which, for 50 minutes, employs two therapists who work together to serve up a signature facial and pedicure that includes a foot and leg massage, as well as a shoulder, neck, arm and scalp massage. Be sure to request appointments at least six hours prior to each service.

Spa Director Laura Kain (; 305-644-4684) can recommend the top therapist, including Danilo Toledo, who is most requested for the Signature or Hot Stone Massage.

The size of the spa makes it ideal for buyouts for a wedding party or other group event. Know a bride considering a wedding in South Florida? Contact Jeysa Plana (; 786-470-1202), who can detail the nuptial venues on site.

After the pampering, you and your BFFs will want to retire to the top digs in the house, The Ritz-Carlton Suite (a.k.a. the Presidential Suite). It has two bedrooms, private balconies, a living and dining room, an office, private butler service and great views of Biscayne Bay and Coconut Grove.

We found our Executive Suite to be a fine place to crash for several days (request No. 529, 629, 729 or 829 for the top vistas), courtesy of its large living and dining area. Note: The hotel was modeled after the nearby Villa Vizcaya (the posh former estate of magnate John Deering), so rooms and public spaces have an elegant and regal ambiance. If clients must book a standard guest room, they’ll take heart in knowing that a private balcony awaits.

Note: If you’re sailing in or out of the Miami cruise port, a 15-minute drive away, the hotel has a Sail Away package that covers accommodations, breakfast for two and transportation to or from the port.

Those arriving via private chopper or jet can land at Kendall-Tamiami Executive General Airport; contact Airport Manager Michael J. Handrahan ( for details. Another option is Opa-Locka Executive Airport; contact Chris McArthur (

What’s Happening in Beverly Hills

July 29, 2010
By: Guest Writer

Shopping, bungalows and foody delights: We bring you the latest intel from this posh Hollywood playground.

By Meagan Drillinger and Ruthanne Terrero

Who doesn't want a little taste of  SoCal luxury? Beverly Hills, is giving travelers the opportunity to sample its culinary scene. The "Taste of Beverly Hills," presented by Food & Wine, is being held September 2 (or 9.02.10...get it?) through September 5 next to the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The event will call together the region's celebrated chefs and restaurateurs. Think Wolfgang Puck, Ted Allen, Scott Conant and more. A select group of chefs have been handpicked to showcase their skills and talents in a 120,000-square-foot epicurean paradise. The whole event kicks off with a special "9.02.10 City of Beverly Hill Celebration," which will include a picnic under the stars with guests such as Larry King and live musical performances. Festival highlights include lessons on concocting cocktails, featuring the city's top mixologists and DJs, insider secrets from chefs and master sommeliers, and a special brunch that even includes a pie-eating contest. We say, bring it on!


Hotel Choices: We know; hanging out at The Beverly Hills Hotel (pool shown above) is one of your favorite pastimes, but we say that sport will get a bit more exciting when the big Pink Palace hotel opens its two new Presidential Bungalows next January.

The hotel has given up its tennis courts to create space for the two private residences, which will both be more than 5,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. Each will have three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. They’ll also boast a chef’s kitchen (with a wine cooler and private entrance for staff), a great room and study, plus a dining area. Bang and Olufsen high-definition TV’s are promised for virtually every room.

The outdoors will have a private pool with underwater speakers, a garden shower, a fitness area and a fireplace. We say that’s a pretty swell way to soak up that glorious year-round California sun. The architectural style all around will be Mediterranean (as in vaulted ceilings, tile roofs and pretty little gardens), to match the hotel.

If you’re a privacy freak (and we know you are), this is the place to hide away. With full inward-facing courtyards, an abundance of tall tropical landscaping, and full security cameras and an alarm system, we say these butler-serviced bungalows will make you feel safe as could be.

If you go, ask Concierge Abbas Golestani (310-276-2251, ext. 7788) to arrange for you to attend any of the L.A. award shows, including the Emmy’s, Grammy’s and the Golden Globes. He can also arrange for front row seats at major movie premieres and for a “VIP Behind the Scenes Tour” of Universal Studios.Montage Beverly Hills

Want another option? Montage Beverly Hills, a Forbes Five Star-rated resort is just steps from Rodeo Drive and is offering a nifty “Overnight Spa Escape.” For $775 a night, a guest receives two 60-minute spa treatments of their choice at Spa Montage and daily continental breakfast for two. Not staying at the resort? You can still pamper yourself silly with “A Day of Indulgence,” which includes a 60-minute massage or facial, a personalized fitness class in a private movement studio and access to the rooftop pool and a poolside lunch at The Conservatory Grill.

Shopping News: Once you’ve enjoyed the spa, you can, of course, head over to Rodeo Drive, where the fashionistas go to worship. We hear Badgley Mischka is soon to set up shop at this Mecca of haute couture. The new two-level, 2,700-square-foot flagship on Rodeo Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills will reflect Badgley Mischka's aesthetic of modern and historic elements. Think chandeliers juxtaposed against reclaimed wood floors.

Brides-to-be meander upstairs to peer at the bridal collection, while the first floor will include the Mark & James contemporary collection, handbags, eyewear, footwear, jewelry, etc. The store is slated to open some time after August when Badgley Mischka's Shanghai store opens at Hong Kong Plaza. For more information visit

Paris Where to Stay, Shop and Pamper Yourself Silly

July 27, 2010
By: Guest Writer

We serve up insider information on the City of Light...

By Jena Tesse Fox and Mary Winston Nicklin

If you’ve been to the Hotel San Régis, you’ll be surprised upon your return. The popular Parisian hotel, located between the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement, has just revealed a new look. The Classic Room category has undergone a complete renovation by star designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, with all 10 rooms undergoing a top-to-bottom overhaul.

We love the fresh new fabrics and swell headboards and armchairs but we must say the new bathrooms really do it for us: they’re decked out in black-and-white marble, with separate tubs and Italian-style showers. How posh.

Travel agents voted this hotel tops in the Small Luxury Hotels chain last year, so we say how can it be bad?  If you haven’t been, it’s housed in a 19th-century private mansion.

Insider Secret: Jean-François Chauvin, the "Clefs d'Or" Concierge, is known for handling all manner of requests: limousine transfers, river cruises on private boat, reservations to the hottest restaurants in town, tickets for museum exhibitions or the theater, personal shoppers to discover the city’s secret boutiques.


Did you know that Uniqlo has opened its store on rue Scribe in the Opéra district? Needless to say, the Paris press has been buzzing about this global phenomenon, explaining that "it's impossible to leave the store with your hands in your pockets." Chances are, you'll leave with shirts, jeans, leggings, maybe even a puffy jacket. Indeed, a recent article in Hemispheres Magazine describes how "irresistably low prices and an uncanny sense for how the world wants to dress have made Uniqlo's owner the richest man in Japan." At 2,150 square meters, the Parisian flagship store is the third largest for Uniqlo worldwide-- after the New York and London locations. What's the brand's appeal? Perhaps it's the range of colors as plentiful as the Pantone shades, muses A Nous Paris: 35 different options for cashmere sweaters, 60 tints of colorful socks, from cerulean blue to mimosa... And now available: Jil Sander's +J Line at Uniqlo.



 The Ritz Paris is launching a luxury four-day detox program (not that kind, the well-being and slimness kind!) that includes innovative body treatments, fitness activities supervised by trainers and healthy menus created by a nutritionist and especially prepared by Michelin-starred Chef Michel Roth. (Getting healthy was never this much fun!)

Upon arrival, the Ritz Health Club specialists will give each guest a personalized fitness check-up, and then help them select treatments, massages and body conditioning sessions fitted to their exclusive needs.

As a real therapy program combines healthy eating, the Ritz Paris suggests detoxifying menus especially made by a nutritionist and Chef Michel Roth. Guests can enjoy well-balanced dishes adapted to their fitness activities in the swanky settings of the Pool Bar and the Bar Vendôme. Delicious touch: Every day at tea time, a snack of fruits and green tea is served by the pool.

The Luxury Detox program by Ritz Paris includes:

Accommodation in a Superior room during four nights (Available in every type of rooms and Suites with supplement)

  Healthy menus made by a nutritionist and Chef Michel Roth (Breakfasts, lunches and dinners – beverages are not included)

  Personalized fitness check-up with Ritz Health Club trainers

  A program including Pilates, aqua gym, stretching and Cellu M6 sessions

  Slimming Detox treatments, draining massages at the Spa

The Detox program as from $7,685 for two people including full board, and is valid until December 20.

 Can’t get a reservation at The Ritz? Hôtel Le Bristol Paris is has its own "Well-Being & Beauty" program. offering guests a full-body personalized health program.

This is the real deal, it begins with a workout plan, tailored to your specific needs by Le Bristol's personal trainer, Bruno Fuscien-Trasan, and ends with a visit to the Anne Sémonin Spa for a skin diagnosis and customized facial.

This package is available for $368 and must be booked 10 days in advance. Offer Dates: May 06, 2010 - May 06, 2011


Side Trips

When touring the opulent Chateau de Versailles, 12 miles outside of Paris, you may feel the urge to check into your very own castle (we get that way, too). A royal guest experience is to be had at the Trianon Palace Versailles, part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection. Just a stone’s throw from Louis XIV's world famous chateau, this luxury hotel is nestled in gardens recently enhanced by acclaimed landscape designer Louis Benech. The palace hotel is home to a heated indoor pool, Guerlain Spa, and a restaurant by Gordon Ramsay. (It’s only fitting that the gastronomically gifted Trianon Palace was the setting for the finale of Top Chef, a smash hit after its first season on the French tube.)

News: The Trianon Palace is feting 100 years in 2010 with a special Anniversary Dinner inspired by an original menu from 1910. Available at Gordon Ramsay au Trianon for €160 per person, the feast features the following dishes: canapés and champagne, chicken velouté à la royale, foie gras in aspic, ham knuckle in jelly, filet of sole Casanova, and lamb à la Bordelaise. The best part of all is the 100th anniversary dessert, "Dôme rouge infidèle façon chocolat." This decadent dessert is also available to all guests celebrating a birthday at the hotel, and to those who indulge in the Anniversary Afternoon Tea.

The party doesn’t stop there. The hotel’s Sports Club Bar is also in the birthday spirit. “100 Minutes of Happy Hour” takes place every weeknight from 6:30 pm- 8:10 pm, and features drink specials and complimentary tapas specially prepared by the chefs.

In addition, the luxury hotel is offering a special package in honor of its 100th anniversary which can be booked through December 31, 2010. The “Anniversary Package” can be tailored to fit individual preferences, as guests can choose two lavish amenities for an additional €100 per room. The list of amenities includes Afternoon Tea and Cocktails, Guerlain Harmony Foot Bath & Reflexology, Special Children's Welcome, Romantic Experience (champagne, chocolate, and the purchase of a star in the galaxy), The Queen's Treasures (“capture the decadence of Marie-Antoinette with a red rose, delectable macarons, and an exclusive bottle of perfume”), and Secrets of Louis XIV (“live like a king with a bottle of red Cuvée Royale Prestige, a box of macarons, and a copy of the book Women in the Life of Louis XIV.”)






Tour Italy with an Itinerary from Starwood Hotels (Guaranteed USD Rate)

July 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Gritti Palace, VeniceWant to take a Roman holiday? Explore the romantic canals of Venice? Immerse yourself in Renaissance art in Florence? Snag some fashionable threads in Milan? Eat and drink your way across the Italian boot? Have it all with a unique offer from Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Create your own personalized Italian itinerary, staying a minimum of seven nights in any combination of participating Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and you'll get a guaranteed US dollar rate and buffet breakfast included. For example: Shack up in style at the Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice-- luxuriating in an opulent guest room detailed with Murano Glass chandeliers and original gold-trimmed ceilings-- for $360 per night (included: complimentary rollaway bed for 1 child aged 12 or under). For the "Welcome to Italy" package, participating hotels include the Hotel Gritti Palace, Hotel Danieli, and The Westin Europa & Regina in Venice; the Westin Palace in Milan; the St Regis Grand Hotel, The Westin Excelsior Rome, and the Hotel Eden in Rome; and the Westin Excelsior Florence and the Grand Hotel in Florence.

Bed, Breakfast, and Marc Jacobs at the Elysian Hotel Chicago

June 30, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elysian Hotel, ChicagoNow fashionistas can "get in bed with Marc Jacobs" with a special package offered by the Elysian Hotel, the luxurious new hotel in Chicago that landed a spot on Conde Nast Traveler's "Hot List" just after opening. Back in February, the Marc Jacobs Collection store launched in the hotel's street-level retail space causing quite the stir in Chitown (and nationally!) The "Bed, Breakfast, and Marc Jacobs" package, available through Labor Day, includes accommodations in an Elysian guestroom or suite, complimentary breakfast in bed, a Marc Jacobs beach tote, and a limited edition Marc Jacobs towel. Rates start at $415. As BagBunch puts it, "These Marc Jacobs accessories are just the thing for looking the part when sunning yourself near the Elysian pool."

Related Articles:

Tipping is Not Necessary at the Elysian Hotel Chicago

Suite Escapes: Lots of Extra Perks at the Carlton Hotel Baglioni in Milan

June 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Carlton Hotel Baglioni, MilanTreat yourself right on your next trip to Italy's fashion capital and book a sumptuous suite at the Carlton Hotel Baglioni, situated in the heart of Milan directly overlooking Via della Spiga. A darling of the international jetset, this prestigious hotel is home to Baretto al Baglioni, one of the most famous restaurants in the city. Stay two consecutive nights in one of the hotel's top suites and you'll get pampered with some fab amenities:

* One way complimentary transfer

* Open bar

* One complimentary dinner for two people (wines matched by the sommeliers)

* Daily buffet breakfast

* In person wake-up call delivered with coffee/tea and newspaper of choice

* Choose from one of the following additional services: 3 hours of babysitting, 3 hours with a personal shopper or 4 hours in a complimentary meeting room

The "Sweet Suite Program" is valid until March 30, 2011 with a minimum two-night stay required. Rates are as follows:

* 2 night-stay in Leonardo Suite: 2,130 euros

* 2 night-stay in Art Déco Suite: 2,530 euros

* 2 night-stay in Montenapoleone Suite: 3,530 euros

Buzz: ATM-Style Gold Vending Machine at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

May 14, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates Palace, Abu DhabiNews of an over-the-top amenity at Emirates Palace is making the Internet rounds. Abu Dhabi's "seven-star" hotel is now home to an "ATM with a golden touch." The brain child of Thomas Geissler, a German entrepreneur, the vending machine is called "Gold to Go" and dispenses customized coins or small bars up to 10 grams. The AP reports that the machine's unveiling was well-timed because gold hit a record high on Wednesday: "Geissler says he picked Abu Dhabi because of its high-rolling atmosphere and the region's traditional ties to gold in commerce." And the Emirates Palace, we'd like to add, has a reputation as one of the world's costliest hotels, built for $3 billion (or $10 million a room). Oh, and their spa has a "Diamond Experience" treatment that uses real diamond dust...

No Plans for Mother’s Day? Mandarin Oriental New York’s Got You Covered

May 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental New YorkA little late in planning a special something for mom on Mother's Day? (Slacker!) Mandarin Oriental to the rescue. The Manhattan hotel is celebrating "Mom's Month of May" so you can treat mom right-- not just this weekend, but for the entire month. The five-star hotel-- located in Columbus Circle's Time Warner Center-- has some fun special offers in May. Treat mom to a decadent weekend brunch at Asiate, catch up over tea and snacks during a signature pedicure (the "Pedicure Package" is perfect for moms and daughters), or shop til you drop with Stacey Mayesh, one of Manhattan's top celebrity and socialite stylists. With the "NYC Stylist" package, Mayesh will accompany mom for a day of shopping at the city's hidden boutiques, couture hot spots, and private showrooms. Priced from $5,515, this package includes two nights accommodation in a Deluxe Room, a style consultation prior to arrival, a day of shopping with professional Stylist Stacey Mayesh, and Mercedes car service during the shopping session.

London: Where to Shop, Sleep and Play

April 29, 2010
By: Ruthanne Terrero

London is one of the best shopping cities in the world, with unique boutiques in every district. Want a special guided tour with a great host to help you shop?

Noteworthy Group helps organize excursions—especially walking tours—of some of the city’s most famous shopping spots (think Bond Street in central London) and of the up-and-coming areas. For those interested in the big names, we suggest you opt for a walking tour that goes from Bond Street to the West End with stops in Mayfair (plenty of time to check out the latest from Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.) But for those of you out to discover, there’s a special trip to the East End, home to many up-and-coming designers and artists with plenty of boutique shops and fairly undiscovered by travelers. Insider Tip: Noteworthy can also arrange for you to have private/VIP closed-to-public arrangements.

Where to Stay

The Goring Hotel, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, has just been fabulously redone. This one of the largest, privately owned five-star hotels in the world (it has always been run by a member of the Goring family; currently at the helm is Jeremy Goring, the fourth generation to manage the hotel).

Try to snag one of the six newly redone Gainsborough Silk Rooms, they all overlook the property’s popular gardens and evoke a sense of luxury that is never overwhelming—just perfectly comfortable. (The rubber duckies in the marble bathrooms are a good indicator of the mix of fashion and whimsy.)

We hear that Suite No. 52, a Belgravia One Bedroom Suite designed by Nina Campbell (she has tailored homes for the Duke and Duchess of York, as well as Rod Stewart), is one of the best picks in the hotel, with a separate bedroom and sitting room and views over Beeston Place.

The hotel is a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and, as such, was a popular hangout for the Queen Mum. Other members of the Royal Family too have been among the guests here, as has Lady Margaret Thatcher, presidents and—yes—HM The Queen herself.

Ask Head Concierge John Andrews (; 011-44-20-7396-9000) to arrange a private two- or four-horse drawn carriage tour around central London, or perhaps charter an original Dunkirk boat for a ride on the Thames with a picnic lunch and Champagne. Andrews can also arrange exclusive private Verger tours of Westminster Abbey. And, of course, all of these tours would be arranged in the utmost of style: Guests traveling around town can request a chauffeur-driven S-Class Mercedes or Bentley Arnage.

 Where to Take Afternoon Tea

We hear that The Langham's Palm Court has been voted the best place for afternoon tea in London by the Tea Guild.  Competing against dozens of other hotels and tea rooms, The Langham clinched the award after judges succumbed to its "light and airy setting, friendly and efficient staff and excellent selection of scones, sandwiches and pastries." The judges toiled for months in their task, sipping their way across Britain and the capital to pinpoint the best spots. Sixteen other London tearooms were also given Awards of Excellence.

On the menu at The Langham's Palm Court? Finger sandwiches like Smoked Scottish Salmon with horseradish or Hens' Eggs with Secretts Farm mustard cress, Valrhona chocolate éclairs and Langham cupcakes. Indulge in the Bijoux Tea and you'll taste pastry selections inspired by jewelry collections (think Asprey diamonds and Chanel pearls). Seatings for this timeless ritual are at 2 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5 pm. (High tea is served from 5-6:30 pm.)

For more information, check out the Palm Court's official website,

Where to Dine

Chef Daniel Boulud is opening a branch of NYC’s Bar Bouloud May 7 at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London. The famed chef, known in particular for his three Michelin-starred Daniel in New York, has handed the reigns to executive chef Dean Yasharian and general manager Stephen Macintosh to run the 165-seat bistro.

On the menu: Signature terrines and a charcuterie bar as well as a full bistro menu and an extensive wine list.

For more information visit

Where to Smoke up a Storm

Hot news for cigar aficionados visiting London: The Garden Room at The Lanesborough has acquired a box of the world’s most exclusive cigars, the Cohiba  “Behike,” some of the rarest and most expensive in the world. (How rare? Only 4,000 cigar sticks have been produced, each one ceremoniously rolled by Norma Fernandez, the renowned cigar-maker at the El Laguito factory in Havana. That's pretty rare.)

The Cohiba “Behike” will be sold for £1,500 per cigar—that’s approximately $2,309. Even cooler: The Lanesborough will be the only outlet in the world selling these cigars by the stick.

And while a great cigar can be an experience in and of itself, we hear Bar Manager Giuseppe Ruo offers a wide range of pre-embargo cigars and is on hand to advise guests on how to pair their smoke with a perfect drink.

The new Garden Room at the Lanesborough is an urban retreat in the heart of Kingsbridge, and, with space for just 35 guests, is one of the most exclusive spots in all of London.

 Where to Drink

The Salt Whiskey Bar and Dining Room, proclaimed as The Best Bar in London by Time Out and the Greatest Whiskey Bar of the world by Whiskey magazine, is a hot spot at 82 Seymour Street in the City of Westminster that offers more than 100 malts on its fine menu. Not a scotch drinker? The establishment also serves up several delectable cocktails using gin, rum, vodka and other good stuff.

The dining room has a wide variety of options from Italian antipasti, Moroccan starters and Mediterranean mezze, to oak smoked salmon and steaks.

The bar has also added a "shisha" menu, allowing guests to smoke socially in London's busiest area. There are 15 flavors at Salt. We hear the champagne shisha is a must-try, but the bar also offers the usual fruity flavors.

Nice Touch: There's also a private room upstairs for VIP parties, and, there's live jazz every Sunday.

When to Go

There’s more for foodies—and those who think English cuisine consists of fish & chips and corned beef & cabbage. The 2010 London Restaurant Festival will run from October 4-18 (for the record, last year's was just six days). Last year, the London Restaurant Festival featured more than 500 establishments, including the "pop-up" restaurant of chef Pierre Koffmann on the roof of department store Selfridges, which ran for more than seven weeks.

Other events included the biggest-ever Sunday roast cooked by chefs including Fergus Henderson, John Torode and Mark Hix at Leadenhall Market as well as the London Eye Restaurant Capsules, which saw celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and six other top London chefs transform one of the capsules of the London Eye into a kitchen...Which is really rather impressive, considering how "cosy" the capsules are.

                                                                   By Jena Tesse Fox and Mary Winston Nicklin




Now Open: Trump Chicago’s Outdoor River Walk and Plaza

April 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump Chicago River WalkIt's here-- just in time for summer. And it's bound to become a big pedestrian draw in Chitown. The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago at 401 N. Wabash has opened its public river walk, park, and plaza, encompassing 1.2 acres. The "tallest American high-rise since Sears Tower's completion in 1974," the 92-story hotel and residential tower was designed by the same folks who recently unveiled the tallest building in the world: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Trump's new river walk is accessible from the Wrigley Building breezeway and Wabash Avenue and offers awesome views. Still in store: the opening of 90,000 square feet of retail space along the river (some 20 shops and restaurants). Here's the word from HotelChatter: "The city scenery isn't the only sight to behold. The river walk path is made of black granite from the Far East and imported Jerusalem gold limestone that was chiseled by hand to create a one-of-a-kind pattern. The walkway also has a water lily pond that's supposed to offer a place of calm in the busy urban center. There's also native trees, prairie grass and more dotting the area." This summer there will be plenty of tables and umbrellas set up for hanging out in the sunshine.