The gorgeous Villa Olmi Resort, one of the region's most exclusive properties, is also one of Italy's best kept secrets. Newly-opened in 2006, the Renaissance Villa is situated on an enchanting six hectare estate just outside Florence. Surrounded by beautifully manicured Italian gardens and a lovely heated pool, the Villa embraces its historical setting. The careful restoration enhanced the original architectural details (like the 18th century frescoes that adorn each room) while equipping all guest rooms with the technology and comforts of a contemporary five star hotel: plasma screen TVs, DVD players, wireless Internet, marble bathrooms with jacuzzis. The hotel's furnishings--antiques, Murano glass chandeliers--are refined and elegant. This spring, enjoy some excellent packages at Villa Olmi, like the Morning of Art package, which includes three nights accommodation, bottle of Tuscan wine on arrival, three hours walking tour in the city with private guide, two tickets for the Accademia Museum, wine-tasting with cheese and cured hams in the private cave, and complimentary buffet breakfast. Starting from EUR 330 nightly.
Announcing the hottest new restaurant in South Beach: LA's trendy, celebrity-beloved Table 8 has moved in on Miami's dining scene (recently profiled in the NYT by Mark Bittman). Bon Appetit raved, "It's hard to find a place where the scene is hot, the chef is hotter, and the food is actually worth the hype..." Celebrity chef Govind Armstrong, who launched his career at the tender age of 13 with Wolfgang Puck at Spago, recently opened a branch of his LA hot spot in The Regent Hotel South Beach. The restaurant features a main dining room, private VIP dining room, and a wine room. There is also a cool 40-seat lounge situated beneath the hotel's glass-bottom pool. Be sure to order the salt-roasted Porterhouse Steak, hailed by the Robb Report as the Best of the Best (2004).
Manhattan's chic Bryant Park, midtown's first luxury designer hotel, is stylish, contemporary, and utterly fabulous. The Bryant Park suites are the essence of sophistication: French doors separate the living and bedroom areas, hardwood floors are adorned with Tibetan rugs, Travartine marble bathrooms are outfitted with both deep soaking tubs and separate showers, the technology is state-of-the-art (Bose Wave Music system, iPod docking station, etc). And of course the views from the hotel, housed in the Gothic-Revival-style American Radiator Building, are stupendous. Enjoy a weekend jaunt to NYC and score a fantastic rate with the Suite Escape package at Bryant Park. The package includes luxurious accommodations in a Bryant Park Suite, Raymond Hood Suite, or The Penthouse, chilled champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, full American breakfast for two served in-room daily, welcome amenity upon arrival, and complimentary late check-out at 1 pm. The package, excluding taxes, is priced from $659 until June 24, 2007; $599 from June 25-September 2, 2007; $699 September 5-December 31, 2007.
The kingdom's leading luxury hotel is mind-blowing. First, there's the 875-foot office tower which is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. There's the gargantuan ballroom, designed to host up to 4000 guests. The on-site stained glass window which is the largest such work ever produced. With dedicated 24-hour butler service, the hotel has proved a pioneer in Saudi Arabia's luxury hotel market with this elevated standard of personalized service. And, last but not least, the incredible Globe restaurant. Encapsulated in the stunning golden geodesic orb that tops Al Faisaliah Tower, the restaurant features staggering views of Riyadh. The three-story restaurant is topped by the city's first cigar lounge while scenic glass elevators and a staircase on the interior rim of each of the three floors bring guests to a truly unrivaled destination. Al Faisaliah, a Rosewood Hotel, sets the standard for elegance in the Middle East.
What's not to love about this gracious London establishment? Situated in the fashionable area of Belgravia, just minutes from Hyde Park and the shops of Sloane Street, The Berkeley is home to the Michelin star-rated Petrus restaurant and trendy drinking spot, The Blue Bar. Indulge in the celebrated afternoon tea at the Caramel Room, with its fashionista motif; Pret-a-Portea adds a creative twist to the classic elements of the traditional English Afternoon tea, with cakes and pastries inspired by every fashion season's catwalk designs. Relax and be pampered in the rooftop spa, or chill out in your richly-appointed guest room. Lose yourself in luxury at The Berkeley, where weekend breaks are available for as low as GBP 179 per night (Wow). Valid until April 29, 2007.
An American institution that has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce, The Willard InterContinental was recently listed as one of the most iconic buildings in the US. The Empire State Building and the White House topped the list of America's Favorite Architecture, according to a public poll of the 150 best works of architecture conducted by Harris Interactive and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The only DC hotel on the list, The Willard dominates the Pennsylvania corridor between the White House and the Capitol and was originally built in 1901 on the site of an older Willard property. At that time, Joseph Willard Jr. decided to create one of the city's first skyscrapers to "out-dazzle" anything else on the Washington horizon. The hotel's style? French Second Empire Beaux-Arts, distinguished by vast proportions and great columns, with an interior marked by huge chandeliers, inlaid mosaic marble tile floors, elaborate plaster work and painted and carved ceilings. Truly majestic. The newspapers of the day raved that The Willard was "The Handsomest of Washington Hotels," and today, guests are still dazzled by the hotel's architectural magnificence.
The Monday Night Chef's Table continue to dazzle diners at the ultra-cool Café Zuzu, located at Scottsdale's hip urban resort, Hotel Valley Ho. Since the hotel's opening in late 2005, Café Zuzu has been racking up the awards. Critics swoon over the stylish American comfort food, hand-crafted cocktails, and fun retro setting. The next Monday Night Chef's Table: The Great White-- Rediscovering Chardonnay on Monday, March 5. A note of explanation from the witty chef:
A few months ago, a Monday night theme was ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), a sentiment shared by some wine lovers in the '90s when overly oaky, flabby and overpriced renditions of the grape were emerging from California. It's not that we have anything against chardonnay; we simply wanted to expose our guests to some alternatives. The truth is though, when chardonnay is poorly done it's extremely difficult to pair with food. We do enjoy a well made chard however, so we thought it was high time to rediscover this extremely popular varietal and design a menu around it ("The Great White") just in time for summer.
The menu looks divine: Smoked Salmon (hearts of palm and garlic cream), Braised Pork Belly (roasted cipollini and foraged mushrooms), Pheasant Breast (truffle gnocchi, English peas and tomato confit), and Peach Tarte Tatin (honey mascarpone cream and blackberry nectar). From 6:30-8pm, priced at $42 per person.
March 1, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
The Loews Regency has just launched a new program that will let those haggard meeting planners forget the freight and just focus on the event. With the VIMP Promotion, meeting planners are eligible for complimentary shipping of meeting materials and related luggage. Additionally, planners are rewarded with a peice of Hartman Luggage when they book their meeting at the Regency over selected dates throughout the year.
The Montreal High Lights Festival is in full swing. One of the best urban festivals of the season, Montreal's fabulous citywide festival includes culinary and wine events, art exhibits, and free concerts and performances. Foodies will be thrilled by the culinary tours, wine tasting events, gourmet dinners, lunches, and cheese-making course. Feast on a five-course gourmet dinner prepared by one of the world's leading chefs, glide under the stars at the ice skating rink, take in a concert, visit an exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and enjoy the fabulous fireworks. The festival runs until March 4, 2007, so don your scarf and mittens and embrace winter in Montreal!
February 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Announcing new, exciting destinations with International Expeditions, the world leader in nature travel tours and environmentally responsible expeditions. Listed on Travel and Leisure magazine's 2006 list of "World's Best" tour operators, International Expeditions plans small-ship voyages and enriching land expeditions with exceptional naturalist guides. The Far-Flung Adventures take you to all corners of the world-- remarkable, less-traveled places like the Sahara, Falkland Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Croatia and Bhutan. You stay in top-rate accommodations, from stylish riverboats on the Amazon to romantic tented camps in Africa. Samplings of upcoming adventures include: Bhutan-- learn about the cultures of this remote Himalayan kingdom, and explore its pristine environment (June 19, 2007, 14 days from $4,298), Mongolia-- explore the Gobi Desert, Lake Hovsgol, Hustain Nuruu National Reserve and the rich nomadic cultures of Mongolia (June 22, 2007, 14 days from $3,998), Papua New Guinea-- take in one of the last of the great highland "sing-sings," and visit the most interesting river villages (August 15, 2007, 19 days from $7,698), and Cape to Cairo-- journey to the most compelling places on the entire African continent on the expedition to see the "Best of Africa" (October 22, 2007, 18 days from $14,498).