LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
A new luxury hotel has located in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech, the oldest quarter dating back to the 11th century. Almost impossibly chic, the new Riad Meriem is comprised of five opulent suites, individually designed to perfection. (Expect state-of-the-art technology, like sound systems with iPod and Bose speakers, and free broadband WiFi Internet access.) The New York-based owner and designer, Thomas Hays, created this high-end boutique with the art lover in mind; the property showcases marvelous oriental textiles and paintings. Centered around a patio with an oriental plunge pool, the Riad Meriem was magically restored by Marrakechi artisans with lush gardens and cool running water to create an intoxicating oasis. The bougainvillea-draped terrace-- surrounded by olive trees, jasmine, and pomegranate bushes-- is ideal for sunbathing. Watch the sun rise over the Atlas Mountains while enjoying a lovely breakfast, and in the evenings, dine by candlelight. In the chimney lounge, sip an aperitif by an open fire. You can score introductory rates of $210 per night (through December 14) if you book by November 1, 2007.
There's a swanky new hotel on the scene in San Diego. Set to open on October 6, 2007, The Grand Del Mar is billed as a world class resort experience, surrounded by the picture-perfect coastal communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe. This much anticipated resort spa is situated in the pristine Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve-- a 4,100-acre, boulder-studded sanctuary with the area's only natural waterfall-- and has been designed to harmonize with the beautiful surrounding habitat. Inspired by the design style of 1920's architect, Addison Mizner, The Grand Del Mar combines Old World Mediterranean elegance with Venetian and Moroccan elements in a tranquil So Cal setting. Think arched doorways, rotundas, colorful tile, wood-beamed ceilings, and lots of garden fountains. The menu of recreational activities and resort amenities is pretty extraordinary; you'll find San Diego's only Tom Fazio-designed golf course, 37 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, four sparkling swimming pools (including an adults-only pool), two outdoor tennis courts, spectacular spa, state-of-the-art fitness facility, and dining for all appetites.
This could be heaven on earth. The best place to stay in the trendy Mayan Riviera (the stretch of perfect beaches sweeping south from Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula) is Maroma Resort. Hands down. Nestled in the secluded jungle of a 200-acre nature preserve next to sugary beaches and lapis blue sea, Maroma dazzles guests with its excellent service and lavish facilities. There's a beautiful spa, three swimming pools, two ocean-facing restaurants and al fresco bar. To the delight of Maroma guests, there are myriad inclusive amenities. Think daily breakfast (and pots of coffee delivered to your room beforehand), welcome cocktails, and snorkeling trips to the colorful coral reefs off-shore. Maroma also receives glowing reports about its cuisine, and the special dinners arranged for couples on the beach. Celebrate a special occasion with an unforgettable dinner on the sand. In selecting your dinner choices, talk with Executive Chef Guilliermo Gomez-- who prepares innovative Mexican cuisine blending flavors of the Yucatan, Maya and Creole cultures-- and choose anything your heart desires. At the appointed time, stroll to the beach and discover a manicured path of sand leading to a magical spot lit by candles.
The opening of BLT Market in the Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park has generated lots of buzz. Savor the freshest seasonal ingredients at Chef Laurent Tourondel's newest BLT outpost. (It's short for "Bistro Laurent Tourondel.") The acclaimed chef brings the market to the table with locally sourced ingredients at the peak of their freshness. Monthly menus and weekly blackboard specials are updated to feature fruits and vegetables available in farmers' markets, paying particular attention to unusual, wild and locally grown items. BLT Market also sources seasonal fish, meat and cheese directly from local producers. Tourondel integrates French sensibilities into hearty American cuisine and the results are drool-worthy. The airy, light-filled space oozes chic, and there's also an outdoor patio. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch available.
Take a jaunt to the European capital to check out an extraordinary new exhibition, "Rubens-- A Genius at Work" which opened on September 14, 2007. After a four year research project by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the exhibition brings together 120 works of Belgium's best known Old Master. This is one of the most important retrospectives of Rubens' work ever to be staged and also shows works by the great Antwerp master produced with fellow artists including Jan Brueghel the Elder, Antoon van Dyck and Cornelis de Vos. Take advantage of a special overnight offer at the luxurious Conrad Brussels-- home to the largest, most sophisticated guest rooms in the city-- which includes breakfast at the hotel's Café Wiltcher, limousine transport to/from the exhibition and one two-day entrance ticket. Plus, earn 1,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points per stay. Rates starting from EUR 293.
At the beginning of October, this spellbinding blockbuster exhibit will head back across the ocean. (Next stop: London, where the exhibit opens on November 15, 2007 at the O2, Europe's newest and most advanced entertainment destination, the former Millennium Dome.) The 3,000-year old treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb were discovered in Egypt in 1922; this is the first time in 26 years that the treasures of the Boy King-- over 120 precious artifacts-- have traveled to America. This is your only opportunity to see King Tut at the last stop in the States. The Westin Philadelphia, in partnership with the Franklin Institute, has put together an exclusive package for the King Tut exhibit. You'll receive two VIP passes to the exhibit, shuttle service to the Franklin Institute, and great weekend rates starting from just $223. Conveniently located just two blocks from the museum in the heart of this historical city, the Westin Philadelphia boasts 290 beautifully-appointed guest rooms with the signature Heavenly Bed. Book now for stays through September 30, 2007.
For ten years, The Metropolitan Hotel has served as a landmark contemporary address on London's Park Lane. And the hotel still embodies stylish, cutting-edge cool. The hopping Met Bar continues to be a favorite for urban hipsters and fashionistas. The lobby, filled with light and accented with red and fuchsia and a striking carpet from Kappa Lambda that incorporates the Met's rich chocolate browns, is a hotspot for casual meetings. In this high design hotel, floor-to-ceiling windows look out over a glittering skyline. To celebrate these ten years, The Met has unveiled ten new packages. Embrace your inner hedonist with the Met's most decadent package, Party Like a Rock Star, Sleep Like a Baby. The two-night weekend package is priced from GBP 555 for two sharing a City Room. Arrive to a welcome "Classic Martini," prepped in your in-room cocktail shaker with two chilled glasses. (You'll also get a shaker and a box of rubber coasters.) Get into the swing with a "Metropolitan Party Box" which includes a Hedkandi CD and a "Hangover from Hell" eye mask and Firefly "Sharpen-Up" Tonic for later. Check in with the well-connected concierge to plan your night's revelry, with priority reservations at Nobu or Nahm. Enjoy complimentary chauffer service to a Central London club followed by a Champagne Breakfast for two back at the hotel, and a late check-out at 4 p.m.
Celebrate autumn at The Equinox and enjoy spectacular fall foliage, luxurious accommodations, and a host of activities the whole family will enjoy. This resort has served as one of America's most historically significant lodgings; it predates America's independence (!) since its first opening in 1769. Situated on 2,300 acres between the Green and Taconic Mountains, this Manchester Village resort has hosted legends like Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt. The setting is truly captivating: colorful landscapes and pristine countryside within minutes of the quaint boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops of the village. The AAA Four-Diamond resort offers an abundance of recreational activities. Relax with the rejuvenating treatments at The Spa. Test your game on the world-class golf course. Discover the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the resort on a mountain bike, on a hike, or while fishing. There's even a British School of Falconry.
You are invited to a fabulous gastronomic celebration of Argentina at the Park Hyatt Washington. Under the patronage of His Excellency, José Octavio Bordón, Ambassador of Argentina to the United States, the Park Hyatt Washington celebrates the Masters of Food & Wine USA Tour with a wine tasting from the vines of Mendoza. Beginning with a reception in the lounge on Wednesday, September 19th (6-8:30 pm), the event continues with a five-course wine dinner in the award-winning Blue Duck Tavern (7-8:30 pm) prepared by renowned Argentine chefs. The price is $250 per person, which includes the reception, dinner, wine, tax and gratuity. Call 202-419-6755 for reservations.
Fall is upon us. In Paris, blue skies, lots of sunshine, and cool autumn breezes make for delightful days strolling the city as a stylish flaneur. The city's chic and elegant Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the glamorous hideaway where the pleasure of luxury is celebrated, has launched an Autumn/Winter Pastry Collection. The hotel's Pasty Chef, Christophe Michalak, welcomes the season with truly drool-worthy pastries that are bound to blow the winter blues away. In a city known for its fabulous patisseries, these delicate creations will knock your socks off. For those who feel nostalgic for sultry summer days, the exotic flavors of citrus fruits will hit the right note. Of course the strong, rich chocolate aromas will appeal to those who prefer the winter season. Tempting treats include: Le Finger Pamplemousse Allégé (a light grapefruit delicacy), Le Vacherin Paradisiaque (a combination of pineapple cooked 'à l’étouffée, meringue and exotic fruit sorbet), Salambo façon pomme d'amour (roast apples, choux pastry, Calvados, chantilly and crunchy caramel) and Brownies à la Pistache (brownies with pistachio, creamy bitter chocolate and fine layers of crunchy chocolate.)
PS. These pastries are as pretty to look at as they are to taste.