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.”
Hot off the press! A fabulous limited offer brought to you by Leading Hotels of the World. With this four night vacation package at the exquisite Cuisinart Resort and Spa, book three nights and get a fourth night for free! Accommodations include a beachfront junior suite with daily continental breakfast. Available from March 26- March 30, April 23- April 27. With some of the Caribbean's most beautiful white sand beaches, gorgeous infinity pool, world-class spa, and white-washed Mediterranean style villas surrounded by tropical gardens, it's no wonder that the Cuisinart is such a sought-after Caribbean destination.
Cuisinart Resort and Spa, Official Site
Cuisinart Resort and Spa, Five Star Alliance
March 13, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From Gary Stram, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Regency, A Loews Hotel
The Regency, A Loews Hotel in New York City has already provided us with two recipes - Roast American Rack of Lamb and Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce. As promised, they have sent us a third recipe from their executive chefs for Lemon Crusted Shrimp with a Mint and Olive Oil Glaze. Recipe after the jump.
Lemon Crusted Shrimp with Mint and Olive Oil Glaze
This recipe calls for brining the shrimp first. Shrimp are grilled in their shells, retaining their flavor and juices.
For the Brine
1 qt. water
1/2 cup salt
1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar
2 lbs-Jumbo shrimp-10 to a lb.
2 ea lemons-juiced
1 bunch mint-chopped
For the Glaze
1⁄2 cup virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup chardonnay-Paumanok Winery
2 cloves garlic minced
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped mint
2 ea limes –juiced –zest reserved
2 Tablespoon-chopped Capers
salt & pepper to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 stick lightly salted butter
For the brine combine first five ingredients in large bowl and whisk thoroughly. Reserve.
Using kitchen scissors cut shrimp shells down back all the way to the tail. Remove vein and pull out legs.
Add raw shrimp to the brine and refrigerate for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, drain shrimp and transfer to a large platter. Brine can now be discarded.
For the glaze combine the next 10 ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Once glaze reduces by 1⁄2, slowly whisk in butter and reserve.
Turn grill on and preheat on high for 10 minutes. Once grill is hot, place shrimp flesh side down until pink approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill and place on warm platter. Pour heated glaze over shrimp and enjoy!
The Regency, A Loews Hotel, Official Site
The Regency, A Loews Hotel, Five Star Alliance
Take a jaunt to Puerto Rico for a few days of girls' pampering and beachfront luxury. Who can resist an offer like this? Especially with Jet Blue's easy and affordable flights to San Juan. The Water Club is San Juan's only luxury boutique hotel on the beach, oozing Latin sophistication and chic elegance. Home to San Juan's hottest bar, Liquid, and the exotic open-air rooftop lounge, Wet, boasting the island's best sushi bar. The two-night package includes luxury accommodations in an ocean front room, dinner for two (champagne and sushi, of course!) at Wet and VIP list privileges at a local night club, in-room manicures and pedicures, massages at Wet, and a private dinner for two on your second night (Chef Nelson Rosado will cook tableside and then you'll receive 2 rum guns to get things going.) $999, based on double occupancy. Package valid for travel Sunday-Thursday only March 1-April 16, and 7 days a week April 17- September 30, 2006; blackout dates may apply; reserve by March 31, 2006.
The Water Club, Official Site
The Water Club, Five Star Alliance
Now is the time for an end-of-season hurrah. The biggest ski resort in North America may also be the most fabulous. Whistler boasts the biggest vertical rise in North America (a whopping 5,280 feet) and the most terrain (we're talking 8,171 acres). Additionally, there's a meager 100,000 acres of Heli and SnowCat backcountry skiing on the surrounding Coast Mountain range. Where to stay? The Pan Pac is where it's at, consistently rated the best, most luxurious spot in Whistler. Here's why: the suites offer full kitchens, balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. Resort amenities are world-class: outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs with spectacular mountain views, fitness center, spa and steam room.
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, Official Site
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, Five Star Alliance
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
Apparently 14 trillion unredeemed miles are floating around the black hole of frequent flier programs. According to the IHT's fabulous piece "Earning Miles: Is It Worth It?":
Since American Airlines introduced AAdvantage 21 years ago, an estimated 124 million travelers worldwide are busy counting miles with one or more of the 140 airline programs, many of which have scores of airline and non-airline partners, such as hotels, car rental firms and credit cards... Many airlines make money from the programs by selling miles to their program partners. United Airlines is said to generate more revenue from "Mileage Plus" than it does selling airline seats. Likewise, American Airlines with its "AAdvantage" program. Frequent-flier programs enable airlines to build a database of travelers, especially very frequent travelers, with the opportunity to build a direct relationship with them.Could this really be the most successful marketing idea of all time?
Arguably the world's best spa resort, the Banyan Tree Phuket is an exotic spa paradise facing Thailand's turquoise Andaman Sea. These exquisite tropical surroundings have recently become the sought-after setting for Banyan Tree's Destination Spa program: a series of fitness, wellness and cultural activities available in three, five and seven-night packages. The program includes accommodation for two in award-winning villas at Banyan Tree Phuket, daily breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner, two 90-minute massage sessions, an Intimate Moments experience, complimentary participation in daily fitness and wellness program and a special gift from Banyan Tree Gallery. In addition, guests are provided their own personal resort host to assist and recommend the best spa treatments. Rates begin at US$1,980 for a three-night package in a Deluxe Villa.
Banyan Tree Phuket, Official Site
Banyan Tree Phuket, Five Star Alliance
This Easter, think Spain. The gorgeous Mediterranean isle of Mallorca, awash with flowers and olive groves, is home to the 17th century hacienda-turned-boutique hotel: Gran Hotel Son Net. Its 25 rooms are each unique, lavishly and individually decorated; the suites boast large windows overlooking the countryside, and private terraces, gardens and swimming pools. The Easter special includes four nights luxurious accommodations, four Son Net breakfasts, cava and fresh fruit in-room upon arrival, traditional Good Friday dinner and Easter Buffet-Brunch at the L'Orangerie Restaurant, and private transfer service from and to Palma airport. Starting at EUR 1,670, valid April 13-18.
Gran Hotel Son Net, Official Site
Gran Hotel Son Net, Five Star Alliance
March 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Welcome to the most elegant hotel in Latin America. The awards are numerous--Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report ("Among the World's 20 Best"), Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler (Top Hotels in the World)-- and the service, impeccable. Among the wide avenues, magnificent architecture, and splendid boutiques of the elegant Recoleta neighborhood in the "Paris of South America," the Belle Epoque Alvear Palace is a city historical monument. Furnished in the style of Luis XV, the rooms and suites are adorned with antiques and crystal chandeliers. Amenities include Hermes de Paris bath products, personal butler service, 500 thread Egyptian cotton sheets, telephone with intelligent screen to regulate AC, Wifi, and DVD players. Bathrooms are nothing short of magnificent, often equipped with jacuzzi and sauna. Guests are treated to the best buffet breakfast in the city, at Orangerie Restaurant, and the fine-dining restaurant-- La Bourgogne—is considered the best in the city, awarded "Latin America's Best Restaurant" by Wine Spectator. Indeed, the Alvear Palace Hotel is itself a symbol of Buenos Aires.
Alvear Palace Hotel, Official Site
Alvear Palace Hotel, Five Star Alliance