December 19, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The creme de la creme of ski resorts, Amangani was voted first for its spa programs by Conde Nast Traveler readers, and ranked as the top apres-ski destination in the recent December issue of Men’s Health. This place oozes luxury in every detail-- from the Pacific redwood paneling to suites with deep soaking tubs and panoramic views to the gorgeous outdoor swimming pool warm enough to be enjoyed year-round. The setting? The 40-suite resort is set on the cliff of a butte, with a cedar roof that blends in with the surrounding natural outcropping. Conveniently located just below the Teton village’s Bridger Gondola, at the base of Rendezvous Mountain, Amangani enjoys sweeping views of the Teton peaks and the Snake River range and provides easy access to some damn good skiing. Amangani’s Ski Lounge is staffed with a ski valet to assist with rentals and other details, and provides boot and glove warmers, ski racks, baskets for ski gloves, mittens and goggles to ensure that all equipment stays dry and comfortable. Of course warm and cold drinks are available all day, and a complimentary ski shuttle can whisk you back to Amangani’s award-winning facilities at the drop of a hat.
Amangani, Official Site
Amangani, Five Star Alliance
We've got the skinny on new Vegas hotel openings. There's the hotly-anticipated Las Ramblas, positively aglow with star power, which I've been prone to drool over. The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino will squeeze onto the Strip right next door to the Bellagio, its condos and hotel ready in 2008. Steve Wynn's ambitions get more grandiose with the construction of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, the 2,000-suite second tower which will be ready for 2008. And what a big year for Sin City! Loews is planning to open its first resort in Nevada; Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort will have 400 rooms, two outdoor pools with cabanas, restaurants galore, and a destination spa. Not to be outdone, the lovely Venetian will be dolled up with the addition of the Palazzo Casino Hotel, a new hotel and retail tower connecting to the classic Vegas hotel. Look out Wynn: Mr. Trump is developing a hotel sin casino right next door, scheduled to open next year. Lastly, W is joining the fray, opening its first hotel with casino in the Harmon Corridor in 2008. Just how big can the sprawling neon funland get?
Cupid's (or Hallmark's?) big day can't get better than this. The Library Hotel in New York—possibly the single coolest themed hotel on the planet—is organized by the Dewey Decimal System (the archaic library classification system that has boggled more than a few student brains), thus the collection of 6,000 volumes is spread out in uniquely decorated guestrooms by topic. Social Sciences, Literature, Language, The Arts, Technology, you get the idea. The best Valentine's guestroom in the nation? Why room 800.01! Wholly devoted to Erotic Literature, it's packed with intriguing, erotic classics and furnishings. And now for the icing on the cake: The Library Hotel is offering a unique Erotica Package for $650 per night, based upon availability. Special gifts include: champagne on arrival, one dozen red roses, strawberries and whipped cream, Kama Sutra Love Essentials Package, Kama Sutra Massage Therapy Kit, Erotic Dice, a box of Godiva chocolates, Tantric Massage Video, two plush Library Hotel robes (for keeps!), and of course a volume of Erotica to take home with you.
December 15, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Get this. According to Forbes.com, the hotel-building biz in the US was lower than low this year, with only four new hotel openings in the luxury market. But hotel construction around the world is booming; thus seven of Forbes.com's top ten list are international. And without further ado, they are: The Intercontinental Financial Street (Beijing, China), Sofitel of Renmin Square (Xian, China), Hotel Fox (Denmark), The Four Seasons, Hong Kong, Shangri-La Hotel (New Delhi, India), Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Park Hyatt Seoul, The Setai (Miami), The Shoreham (NYC), and the St. Regis Hotel San Francisco.
December 14, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Cringing at the thought of preparing a Christmas dinner? Take it easy on yourself and EAT OUT! The Sutton Place Toronto—located in the heart of the city— is offering a scrumptious four-course prix-fixe Christmas dinner in its elegant restaurant, Accents. Available for two seatings on Christmas day, $59 per adult, $26 for children between 6-12 years (the younguns are free). The menu offers a delicious array of aps, entrees, and desserts to be shared with family and friends. And plus, eating out means no dishes!
The Sutton Place Toronto, Official Site
The Sutton Place Toronto, Five Star Alliance
Record lows (prices, that is) at the Boulders Resort, with winter specials from $249 a night. Discover one of America's top golf and spa resorts, located on 1,300 acres of pristine Sonoran desert. Book one of 160 unique adobe casitas, overlooking red-rock boulders, enormous cacti and the wildlife of the Southwestern desert. Or choose one of 55 Pueblo Villas, with one to three bedrooms, and private patios. The 32,000 sq. foot Golden Door Spa offers 24 treatment rooms, Movement Studio (Pilates, etc.), private locker rooms with saunas, steam rooms and Japanese baths. The full spa menu includes Native American wraps and therapies.
Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa, Official Site
Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa, Five Star Alliance
SD's Gaslamp Quarter is seeing a renaissance, this historic hood packed with great shops, tasty bistros, elegant galleries and exquisite fine-dining. Stroll past the Victorian buildings and the old-fashioned gaslamps illuminating the sidewalks. Its energy is conspicuously contagious; this place is where it's at! Among all the excellent bars and restaurants, Chive stands out for its sleek, contemporary environment and cutting-edge cuisine. Opened in 1999, this chic urban bistro dubs its grub, "Cuisine Moderne." But I see a global fusion of sorts: mouth-watering dishes like goat cheese crusted Colorado lamb sirloin, and pink pepper crusted mako shark, served alongside more classic American plates like short ribs with a coffee glaze and buttermilk onion rings. Happy Hour, from 5-7 pm daily, runs the gamut of eclectic: Mad Monday (choose from a superb selection of wines by the bottle), Tequila Tuesday (enjoy duck nachos with that margarita), White Wednesday (with Whitehaven sauvignon blanc and a white corn pizzette). You get the idea.
I've heard the talk. Next year we'll be using new e-Passports, which include an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic info, a digital photo, and other biometric info. Bye, bye familiar, friendly little passports. I guess the hard copy pages of stamps and visas (and the bragging rights associated with accumulating them) are becoming obsolete. Though we'll be able to use our current passports until they expire, I hope. But I'm a little scared about these Smart Cards. This opens a whole new can of worms about privacy concerns, and the security of the stored information. Know anything more? Fill me in!
December 12, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Trib's Metromix has it covered. From the glogg-saturated St. Lucia Day celebration at the Swedish American Museum Center to the Pre-Kwanzaa Party in the South Shore, the windy city's full of unique cultural happenings this holiday season.