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Apr 04, 2008 akutenshi666 Hotel Sacher Salzburg
I'm Ba-ack ... with vacation photos... pt2 (wah! all of it!)
Wee! So I continue with my vacation post today, and I am so, so happy that there are people out there that enjoyed part 1. Thank you for looking through... so much and bearing with the loading times of half a billion pictures. XD I appreciate it and it gives me so much inspiration to continue with my post and offer you the last five days of my trip.
...This is a picture of the back view of the Hotel Sacher Salzburg. ^____^ If the name sounds familiar, it's because it's the place that made the Sacher Torte... but more on this delicacy later on... CLICK TO SOURCE LINK - A LOT OF PICTURES!!!
Apr 04, 2008 My Amsterdam Guide Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Location of the hotel The hotel is situated close to the old townhouse standing at the middle of Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht. From here, you just need 8 minutes to walk to the Dam Square, 5 minutes to reach the Anne Frank House and to reach the Amsterdam museum you need 15 minutes. The Schiphol airport lies 18 kilometers away from the hotel.
Description of hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam Do you want to have a real sense of historicity? Then there can be no place better than this. The rooms and the bathrooms of the hotel are not quite spacious, but living in these exotic wooden structures feel like living in an old world full of authenticity. It feels great to find yourself in an old Dutch canal house with perfect timber flooring, exposed large ceiling beams and exquisite Dutch tiled bathroom. This 5 star hotel in Amsterdam include several courtyards along with a stupendous inside garden. The hotel restaurant with attached cafe and bar well complements the old Dutch interior atmosphere. However, this old house has a touch of modernity too. With its hard working staffs, well-equipped state of the art fitness room, interesting modern art gallery and exclusive business center, the hotel just rules the heart of the city of Amsterdam. Wherever you go in the hotel, executive rooms to public places, you will find Wi-Fi Internet installed at every spot. General facilities of hotel Pulitzer Suitable parking area Restaurant for you to sit and dine Bar to relax and enjoy 24 front desk service to attend you all the time A garden for a happy pleasant walk Terrace to roam about Specially built non-smoking rooms Express check-in and check-out Valet parking Luggage and storage More about Hotel Pulitzer Apart from having ten multifunctional rooms, the hotel has a well-provided business center along with Pulitzer's art gallery, Pulitzer's gym and Pulitzer's cafe /bar /restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel has provisions for rented bicycles and rented boats for utmost pleasure trips. In short, hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam has all to satisfy your on tour desires and expectations. It has everything always at your service.
Apr 04, 2008 vSocial Inc. Hotel Bristol Vienna
Hotel Bristol Vienna: Wien VIDEO
Apr 04, 2008 FritoLay India Amstel InterContinental Amsterdam
Engage Everyday Program Wins the Global Award
Amsterdam held from 24-27 September 2007, the Engage Everyday program got showcased as a global best practice. The HR team from FritoLay then went on to win the Global Award for Talent Sustainability. I don't know what it feels like to win the Oscar, but this felt just as special to me.
It was a grand event held at the famous Amstel Intercontinental Hotel - the pride of Amsterdam. Since its opening in 1867, the Hotel has played host to several celebs and world leaders. Located on the Amstel River, this gorgeous Hotel hosted the crew and cast of the film Oceans Twelve. The Engage Everyday program has been impacting lives of employees and communities around our factories. The program is driven by employees of the families where they work to impact lives in the communities around our workplace. More about the program in a separate post.
Apr 04, 2008 Amstel InterContinental Amsterdam
Amstel InterContinental : Amsterdam, Netherlands
There are plenty of places to stay in Amsterdam if you’re among the fun-seeking youth that regularly descend upon this town, but if you’re a member of the Dutch royalty, you stay at the Amstel. The Amstel is a breathtakingly grand place., with an old-fashioned, almost stuffy air that, in this permissive party town, can be quite refreshing. There are doormen, colonnades and massive chandeliers. There’s an architecturally spectacular lobby, with towering arches and terraced galleries. Over your breakfast buffet, a maitre d’ presides in formal attire and butlers on every floor iron your morning paper. The out-of-the-way location (about 10 minutes from the center of town) is made more attractive by the fact that the Amstel has its own port, all mahogany and brass. And since the 1992 renovation, when the 100-plus rooms were converted into 79 larger, more luxurious ones, they’ve added a pool, a jacuzzi, a steam room and cold plunge and a spa. But the pool is perhaps the nicest of these new innovations—tastefully tiled to recall a Turkish bath, heated, with a view of the Amstel river to boot.
And you’ll get a kick out of the rooms—closets that light up every time you open them, and showers that many people swear are the best in Europe. A massive showerhead sprays you with water pressure five times the ordinary—you’ll think you’re standing in your own private waterfall. But greater than the showers, greater even than the imperturbable 24-hour butlers, is the fo ...
Apr 04, 2008 albawaba Amstel InterContinental Amsterdam
Capital Club appoints Michelin-Starred Executive Chef
As construction on its premises in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) nears completion, the Capital Club has announced the appointment of Jeremy Bastiaan as its Executive Chef. With more than two decades of expertise in the hospitality industry, Netherlands native Jeremy joins only a handful of Michelin-starred chefs presiding over kitchens in the Middle East region. His role with the Capital Club will be to ensure a consistently superior level of cuisine across the dining outlets at Dubai’s premier private business club.... ...Prior to joining Capital Club, Jeremy has been Executive Chef at the five-star Grand Hotel, Karell V in Utrecht, Holland. He supervised an extensive kitchen team responsible for a Brasserie, Bar Cellars and 12 Banquet Halls as well as the Gastronomic Grand Restaurant. Just nine months later, the restaurant was awarded with its first-ever Michelin star.
Jeremy began his career as a Commis Chef in 1986, working in a number of Michelin- starred restaurants in Amsterdam in his early years before joining Holland’s leading five-star hotel, The Amstel Intercontinental as Chef de Partie. Over the course of the next eight years, he achieved the rank of Head Chef, leading a team of 45 staff in the two Michelin-starred restaurant, La Rive...
Apr 04, 2008 3D CAD NEWS Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel Paris
Classy Paris Neighborhood Ignores Arrival of World MCAD Media
Autodesk has gathered members of the CAD media from throughout the known world, assembling them in Paris for the Autodesk Manufacturing Media Summit, which starts today. Our home for these three days is the Grand Hotel Intercontinental, next door to the Paris Opera house. Classy joint for a bunch of lowlife CAD media hacks (present company included).
Our neighboorhood for the Summit. The hotel is the triangular building lower left; the opera house has the green dome. (Image courtesy Google Earth). I am still on US Left Coast time, so I was wide awake at 4am. At 7am I went on the streets of Paris, smelling remarkably fresh after a good rain last night. (I've been here before, I know it won't last.) I am fond of strong protein at breakfast, but the French do not agree. So I had a bready thing with raisins in it, and of course that wonderful European coffee that Americans can only dream about. I am a tea person at home, but here the coffee is worth drinking. I cashed in miles to bring two of my teens with me; any excuse to fill a free hotel room. They have been asleep for 15 of the last 20 hours. I wonder if they will get to see much of Paris at this rate. Josh and Brianna (Dad in middle) were awake long enough to pose in front of the fresh-cut flowers in the Hotel Grand Intercontinental. Neither are allowed to date or even speak to members of the opposite sex, so just move long, nothing here to see. More to come, often, from both Rach and I.
Apr 04, 2008 Trippist Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
For nine days over ninety classical concerts will take place in various locations across Amsterdam, including museums, monuments, private residences and special stages on the water. The Canal Festival (Grachtenfestival) is also a platform for young talent. Most concerts are free, some request a small fee. The highlight of the festival is the Prinsengracht concert on August 18 near the Pulitzer hotel on Prinsengracht 315-331.
Apr 04, 2008 travel.intercontinental Amstel InterContinental Amsterdam
Amsterdam Architecture
...Finishing construction in 1867, architect Cornelius Outshoorn is credited as the architect for this beaming “palace on the river.” The river being the Amstel, and the hotel eventually becoming—you guessed it—our own InterContinental Amsterdam Amstel Hotel. The style Mr. Outshoorn used is one that was also used for the famous Louvre: French Renaissance. Know more about visiting Amsterdam and our historic hotel...
Apr 04, 2008 Paul Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canal Festival 2007
The 2007 Edition of the Amsterdam Canal Festival took place from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th August 2007. This unique classical music event has become one of the most popular festivals in Amsterdam, much loved by Amsterdammers. From its beginnings in 1997, it has grown to become an Amsterdam institution and now offers a week-long programme of chamber music, opera classics, music from around the world as well as master classes. Recitals are performed by established musicians, ensembles, renowned soloists as well as the best of new young talent. This year the Grachtenfest offered an impressive 166 concerts in exciting and unique locations throughout the city.
The festival culminates in the magical (and enormously popular) Prinsengracht Concert on Saturday evening. It has now become a yearly ritual that practically every boat in Amsterdam squeezes onto the Prinsengracht canal, while thousands line the bridges and canal sides to watch and listen to the performances from the open air stage-pontoon outside the Pulitzer Hotel in the heart of the charming Nine Streets district of Amsterdam. This year’s programme consisted of violinist Liza Ferschtman and Inon Barnatan on piano, followed by baritone Thomas Hampson with Wolfram Rieger on piano.
Apr 04, 2008 sweetyclairebear Intercontinental Carlton, Cannes
Hotel Intercontinental Carlton Cannes , France May 13

The amenities offered to the guests, play an important role to make them feel welcome. The very

at intercontinental hotel&...

intercontinental hotel, cool!!!!
Apr 04, 2008 americacruise3 Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Let Your Vacation Bloom in Amsterdam!
...On the other hand, if you re planning an extravaganza of your own for your Amsterdam holiday, consider staying at the Hotel Pulitzer, a virtual art gallery of its own, located right in scenic downtown Amsterdam and near Dam Square and the Royal Palace.
Another top of the line accommodation you might return to after a fun day of sightseeing is the Dylan Hotel Amsterdam, located inside a delightfully quaint 17th century historic landmark, but having an almost pop-modern aspect to its decor. Sophisticated and welcoming at the same time, the Dylan is close to several of the most notable attractions, including the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum...
Apr 04, 2008 San Francisco Cronicle Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Traveler: Camille Morehen, Novato I went because: I wanted my husband to experience this wonderful city, which I already had. Don't miss: The Anne Frank House, 263 Prinsengracht. Truly an emotional experience. The museum is always busy, so the best time to go is 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. Don't bother: Renting a car. You can walk everywhere, take a trolley car, canal boat or taxi. Remember: Bicycles have the right of way. Coolest souvenir: An "I AMsterdam" T-shirt, a book from the Van Gogh Museum and some souvenirs you can't bring home. Worth a splurge: Staying at the Pulitzer Hotel, first-class staff and luxurious bedding. Also: a private canal cruise with a fabulous bottle of Champagne - seize the moment!
I wish I'd packed: More gloves - I only brought one pair and wore them every day. Europe is getting colder. Other comments: Try the Pancake Bakery for a delicious Dutch pancake, savory or sweet. Stroll down P.C. Hooftstraat for great shopping. Drink beer, lots and lots of beer.
Apr 04, 2008 Bellagio, Las Vegas
Bellagio Hotel , Las Vegas WaterShow Time To Say Good Bay
Apr 04, 2008 Orvillle Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands Hotel
Amsterdam, Netherlands is one of the most visited cities in the continent of Europe attracting visitors from across the globe. It is highly acclaimed not only for its great canals and historical museums and libraries, but also for its great hotels that offer the best accommodation available. Well, many of the Amsterdam, Netherlands hotels reached 80 percent occupancy in the low season and 90 percent plus for the rest of the year. This particular report, as you may know, makes finding accommodation at a reasonable price a great challenge. But, thanks to some resources out there on the web that they have greatly sorted out the top-rated Amsterdam, Netherlands hotels for the people to easily find and locate the right option. Now, if you are one of the many people out there who are looking for an excellent Amsterdam, Netherlands hotel, then look no further. Enjoy your vacation at one of the Amsterdam, Netherlands hotels mentioned below.
Hotel Pulitzer Hotel Pulitzer is in the first place a member of the Great Hotels of the World, which is a collection of the world’s finest luxury hotels. This spot is specifically located in the heart of Amsterdam, and is well-known throughout the world as an outstanding five-star hotel combining the 17th and 18th century grandeur with the very latest in modern comfort. This great Amsterdam, Netherlands hotel is housed in 25 amazing historic buildings alongside two of the Amsterdam’s most picturesque canals. As a five-star hotel, Hotel Pulitzer boasts 230 rooms including 6 suites. Furthermore, this Amsterdam, Netherlands hotel is surrounded by beautifully ornate gardens, which make for the ideal meeting point to wind down after a conference session during the warmer months. All of the rooms are fully equipped with the best amenities and while staying at this Amsterdam, Netherlands hotel, the guests can charter the hotel’s private boat, which offers a distinct perspective of the city from its network of canals...
Apr 04, 2008 Telegraph 51 Buckingham Gate London
Mickey Rooney's heaven and hell
...And the best hotel you've stayed in? We love 51 Buckingham Gate in London. Staff are extremely accommodating and the food is out of this world, especially the pastries and apple juices. Décor is simple but luxurious - but there are no white rugs so we don't have to worry about spilling any drinks....
Apr 04, 2008 Telegraph Reid's Palace - Madeira, Portugal
My kind of town: Funchal
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 10/09/2007 Author Rodney Bolt is drawn to Funchal by its old-fashioned charm, wild mountains and relaxed inhabitants. Why Funchal? I am instantly calmed by its gentleness. This has partly to do with the old-fashioned charm of the inhabitants; partly with mildness of climate. And even though traffic can at times be hectic, escape to wild mountain walks or rampantly colourful sub-tropical gardens (above right) takes just a matter of minutes.
What do you miss most when you're away? Really good Madeira wine (above). Not the kitchen-shelf, cough-mixture stuff you generally find away from the island, but the real thing. One sniff of a nutty, dry sercial, or a rich, aged bual and I'm transported back to Madeira immediately. Drowning in a malmsey butt would be my idea of a perfect path to heaven. What's the first thing you do when you return? Sit on a balcony. Sip Madeira. Look at the sea, and when the sun sets, I head to O Jango (see below) for dinner. It has become something of a ritual. Where's the best place to stay? I always stay at the guesthouse run by Dona Vitorina Côrte (Rua de Santa Maria 279; 00351 291 220249; doubles from £21) in the Old Town, a beautiful 19th-century Madeiran home with high ceilings and huge rooms. The house has been in the family for generations, and the upper storeys have sweeping views out to sea. It's also hard to beat Quinta da Casa Branca (Rua da Casa Branca 5-7; 700770; www.quintacasa; from £126), a stylish building with a touch of Zen elegance, set in the gardens of a city mansion. Where would you meet friends for a drink? Since it's possible to sit outdoors most of the year, I'd arrange to meet at the Theatre Café (Avenida Arriaga), a semi-covered terrace running down one side of Funchal's cute mini-La Scala and spilling on to the pavement under the jacaranda trees. Hip Madeira congregates here, but as with everything in the city it's relaxed and unpretentious. If my mother were on a visit, I'd suggest afternoon tea at Reid's Palace (Estrada Monumental; 717171), a grand hotel in the tradition of Raffles and the Ritz, on cliffs overlooking the bay. Where do you go for lunch? I like to hang out at a little kiosk under the palms, beside a fountain in the São Francisco Gardens, in the heart of town. It does a good prego (steak sandwich, an island speciality) and the milkshakes are as I remember from childhood - thick enough for the straw to stand upright. For something more sophisticated I'd head to Riso (Rua de Santa Maria 274; 280360; £18) in the Old Town, which has a spectacular cliff-top terrace and serves rice dishes from all over the world. And for dinner? O Jango (Rua de Santa Maria 166; 221280, £14), a tiny, crowded restaurant in the Old Town, comes up with Madeiran standards - such as espada (scabbard fish) with banana - that beat any other on the island. Chef Firmino Santos's seafood specialities and cataplana linger in happy recollection long after you've returned home. Where would you send a first-time visitor? To wander through the Old Town, where some of the buildings date back to the 15th century, then up in a cable car to the cool, clean air of the village of Monte (top left), 2,000 feet above the city. Then, after a coffee beneath ancient trees near Monte's church, on a walk through the forest along the Levada dos Tornos (a waterway carved into the cliff-face). What would you tell them to avoid? The tourist area of shoulder-to-shoulder hotels to the west of the city. Public transport or taxi? Maps can be deceptive because although distances are short, Funchal's streets can be alarmingly steep. Taxis are inexpensive, and become very attractive after one or two arduous climbs. Handbag or Moneybelt? There have been a few reports of pickpockets recently, but otherwise Funchal is blissfully safe. What should I take home? As many bottles of good Madeira as you have room for in your luggage. And if I've time for only one shop? The Barros e Sousa wine lodge (Rua dos Ferreiros 109; 220622), one of the last to make Madeira according to the traditional method (rather than in aluminium vats), with wines that show the difference.
Apr 04, 2008 World Foodie Guide Reid's Palace - Madeira, Portugal
Reid’s Palace Hotel (afternoon tea) - Madeira, Portugal
Having found out that afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace Hotel was an event not to be missed, I duly booked a table for five people on the balcony, which is the only place to sit, as the view of the sea from the clifftop location is breathtaking. It was peaceful, with live piano music coming from inside, and the service was efficient and friendly. There were far too many choices of tea on the menu (which tea connoisseurs would have loved), and in the end we opted for the delicious Reid’s blend (which you can also buy in a tea caddy to take home with you, for 16 Euros), Darjeeling Second Flush and Assam. Finger sandwiches (cheese, egg, salmon, prawn and avocado and tomato) were quickly devoured.
The small scones arrived hot, with cream (not clotted though) and jam, while there were far too many dainty cakes and pastries for us to finish (some ended up being smuggled out in a sandwich bag which I just happened to have in my bag). Everything was served on classic Wedgwood china, and overall it was a beautiful setting to have a quiet afternoon tea. Afternoon tea per person was 26 Euros, which was not that expensive considering how much there was to eat. Dinner that evening was a struggle.
Apr 04, 2008 clooneyproject Hotel Eden Rome
George Clooney
Renee Zellweger and George Clooney attend the 'Leatherheads' party hosted by Belstaff at the Eden Hotel on April 10, 2008 in Rome, Italy.

Apr 04, 2008 Reed Business Information The Lanesborough London
Juri’s voted the UK’s best tea place
Juri’s The Olde Bakery Tea Shoppe in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, has been named the UK’s top tea place in this year’s National Top Afternoon Tea Awards. Now in its 23rd year, the accolade is granted by the Tea Guild, which is part of the UK Tea Council. Juri’s owners the Miyawaki family impressed the judges with their Japanese heritage and love for tea as well as their exceptional tea expertise and the quality of the homemade cakes and scones they offer. Irene Gorman, head of the UK Tea Guild, said the café offers a truly special tea experience. “This attractive tearoom with its pretty outdoor terrace is a must for all tea lovers to visit,” she said. The awards also presented 55 tea rooms across the country with awards of excellence in recognition of their high standards. A team of mystery tea inspectors visited venues and hotels across the country to find the best afternoon tea experience, testing them on criteria ranging from décor and crockery to the variety of teas available. The Lanesborough hotel in London was revealed as the best place in the capital to have afternoon tea.
Apr 04, 2008 Wendy Davidson Vedema Resort
Honeymoon hotspot: Santorini, Greece
With postcard-picture, hillside villages overlooking sparkling seas, mouthwatering cuisine and a great climate, the Greek islands are a marvellous choice for a sunny, laid-back honeymoon. The island of Santorini is breathtakingly beautiful, with the traditional villages built up on tall cliffs and is one of Greece's most popular tourist destinations. Where to stay The Vedema Resort: The honeymoon package, around 4000 euros ($6356) for a 7-night stay. Princess Hotel: a fairly new, luxurious spa hotel. The honeymoon suite is priced at 460 euros a day ( $731) in high season
Must Do Visit the picturesque village of Oia, where Angelina Jolie filmed Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life. Try out the fabulous restaurants - don't just eat in at the hotel. Local cuisine is fantastic and the restaurants are very romantic.The Blue Note restaurant is recommended for great views, atmosphere and good traditional cuisine. When to go Best time of year to visit is from April to October. You can fly to the island from Athens - there are two flights a day. During summer there are also charter flights from other European cities. Alternativly, travel by boat or ferry from other Greek islands.
Apr 04, 2008 Business Wire Claridge's
Maybourne Hotel Group Presents News from the World’s Most Celebrated Hotels
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Maybourne Hotel Group, the ultra luxury hotel group, which manages Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley, is delighted to announce news from the acclaimed hotels. Claridge’s Claridge’s, the art deco jewel of Mayfair and London’s most glamorous hotel has recently unveiled a stunning redecoration of their sensuous Fumoir bar which is now enhanced by spectacular new Lalique chandeliers, bar fittings, glassware and votives, in addition to a cocktail menu featuring authentic 1930’s drinks to celebrate. The Lalique additions certainly make this moody, aubergine-leather clad, candlelit bar the chicest and most luxurious venue in town. In the 1930’s, leading designer Basil Ionides finished the priceless etched mirrors which grace the walls of the Fumoir, the hotel’s iconic bar, and René Lalique presented a glass panel to place above its door. Claridge’s and Lalique have recreated this heady glamour with a menu of cocktails from the era. Swizzles, Daisies, Crustas, Cups, Sours, Juleps and Pick-me-ups, all from original recipes and served in Lalique glasses. In the 30’s nothing was pre-prepared but made freshly in front of the guests. Precision was of immense importance as the barman showed his skill, and this bespoke service has been recreated in an exceptional manner. Inspired by the original 1930’s panel, which has been sitting above the door to the Fumoir since it was presented to Claridge’s by Renee Lalique in 1931, Claridge’s invited Lalique to create new pieces for its Fumoir bar. The results are stunning. The panels behind the bar subtly echo the original crystal panel, the hanging Lalique Jaffa lights and table lamps complement the central, elegant chandelier which now graces the ceiling. And that’s not to mention the Lalique crystal glasses; coupes, saucers, high balls and slim jims, chosen to complement the cocktails made from 1930’s recipes.
These beautiful pieces are joined by the piece de resistance, a unique Lalique one-off design, displayed in the alcove beside the bar, and which will change regularly so that guests are in for a surprise each time they enter the Fumoir. Certain of the Lalique glasses are available to purchase from Claridge’s Flowers & Gifts. All of the glasses and other Lalique pieces are available from the Lalique shop on New Bond Street.
Apr 04, 2008 Business Wire The Connaught London
Maybourne Hotel Group Presents News from the World’s Most Celebrated Hotels
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Maybourne Hotel Group, the ultra luxury hotel group, which manages Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley, is delighted to announce news from the acclaimed hotels. The Connaught The legendary Connaught Hotel in London’s charming Mayfair district has recently reopened after a $140 million restoration, and announced the appointment of Helene Darroze as head chef. One of France’s most distinguished chefs, she currently holds two Michelin stars at her restaurant ‘Hélène Darroze’ on the Left Bank in Paris. At The Connaught in June 2008 she will initially launch a signature restaurant to be known as ‘Hélène Darroze at The Connaught’ it will be designed by Parisian based India Mahdavi. Stephen Alden, CEO of Maybourne Hotel Group which owns and manages The Connaught said “This is a tremendous partnership. Hélène is a very talented Chef whose intuition and creativity are second to none. She is also a perfect match for the Connaught where the French Gourmet heritage has always been a part of the hotel’s exceptional legacy. We are delighted that we will have the opportunity to work together to offer outstanding new dining experiences to our guests in London.”
Over the past 8 months, the Connaught has undergone a restoration that has brought the hotel into the 21st century while preserving the discreet elegance so beloved by generations of guests. By bringing together some of the world’s top designers, Guy Oliver, India Mahdavi, and Sills Huniford, the Connaught team has achieved a fantastic juxtaposition of preservation and innovation. The chic Coburg Bar, designed by Parisian designer India Mahdavi, evokes a modern, yet warm, club feeling overlooking Carlos Place. The Guy Oliver designed guestrooms and suites have a discreet English feel that is in balance with contemporary design. Original details of the hotel have been restored, including intricate moldings and the magnificent central staircase, and at the same time, the interior has been updated and refurbished. Whenever possible, original antiques and works of art are being used in rooms, suites, and public spaces. Many of the original fireplaces have been restored to working order to bring back the traditions of discreet elegance in one of London’s most loved areas.
Apr 04, 2008 Business Wire The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas
Nights without Neon and Moonlight Spa to Light up Summer Evenings at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas
HENDERSON, Nev.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Las Vegas summer nights no longer need bright lights and flashing neon to “come alive.” The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas has unveiled a new all-night-adventure program appropriate for children and adults, couples and families and nocturnal merry-makers of all ages. Among other pleasures, the menu of never-before-offered night activities will include a heavens-driven “Moonlight Spa” available nowhere else in the world. Nights Without Neon puts “early to bed” to rest. Summer guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas will now be able to experience close-up the nocturnal beauty of Nevada’s high-desert, as well as new recreation and dining options designed specifically for the area’s balmy summer nights. The resort’s Nights Without Neon menu includes the following à la carte adventures, offered from May 1 through Labor Day 2008:
Moonlight Spa. An exclusive al fresco experience offered only seven nights of the month: three nights during the waxing phase of the moon, once during the full moon, and three times during the moon’s wane. Since man’s earliest days, lunar phases have played a role in physical well-being, and The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas Spa offers three exclusive bodywork experiences inspired by lunar effect. These special treatments are experienced on the shores of the resort’s private lagoon, bathed in moonlight unobstructed by Las Vegas city lights. They are based on the applicable moon phase, inviting guests (individuals and couples alike) to connect to the natural rhythms of the moon above. During the waxing phase, gravity feels at its most intense, and deep therapeutic massage is combined with gentle stretching to relax the body and clear the mind. Contemplating personal goals is recommended during the waxing phase. A full moon signifies energy, and Moonlight Spa during this lunar energy period includes an invigorating massage with special attention to the scalp. Guests can take advantage of the intense energy of this phase to manifest their goals. When the moon finally wanes, surrender and calm prevail; the moon is in retreat, and the guest can retreat as well. Light, relaxed, soothing massage is performed at this time, employing delicate aromatherapy blends. Paying special attention to pressure points on the hands and feet will help guests surrender during this time of calm. Moonlight Spa guests will receive a crystal representing the phase of the moon under which they experience their outdoor treatment. The experience is available on specific nights selected from the lunar calendar. Midnight at the Oasis. An opulent midnight dining experience that offers white glove service, a gourmet culinary presentation and Cristal champagne served in one of the resort’s romantic private poolside cabanas. Stars and S’Mores. Ideal for date nights and family evenings, this one-hour viewing of the southern Nevada night sky provides stellar views free of the light pollution of the Strip. Guests are guided on a tour of the heavens using professional-caliber telescopes, and then treated to s’mores and beverages of the season. For special occasions, an official “Name a Star” opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime upgrade. Dive-In Movies / Mojitos and Manicures. Popular family movies and kid-friendly new releases are shown poolside while guests watch from pool chairs or floats. Poolside movie snacks including hot dogs, candy and snow-cones, are available at the concession stand. At the same time, parents may choose to enjoy Mojitos & Manicures from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. directly on The Ritz-Carlton pool deck. This grown-ups only add-on features a 25-minute nail service and nicely-chilled Mojito. Fly by Night. They say that fish may be hungriest just before dusk, and the healthy bass, trout, carp and catfish of 320-acre Lake Las Vegas are no exception in this end-of-day catch-and-release activity. Equipment is provided, and a fishing license is not required on the resort’s beautiful, private man-made lake. Guests may fish either from shore or a provided watercraft, or they may upgrade to a full fly-fishing lesson. Night at the Beach. A picnic basket for two or more is provided as guests lounge on a private lagoon beach, enjoying the starlit desert sky and the lush sounds of an adjoining waterfall just steps from the Mobil Four-Star resort’s 349 luxury rooms and suites. Sundown Bike Ride. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas offers a three-mile loop around the resort, allowing cyclists to view the flora, fauna and twinkling lights of magnificent mogul mansions surrounding Lake Las Vegas’ ten miles of shoreline. Bikes and maps are provided by the resort, and the property resort fee allows guests one hour of complimentary bicycle use. Kids’ Night Out. Children can get away for a night of fun and excitement, while parents enjoy a quiet dinner at the resort’s romantic Medici Café & Terrace on Friday and Saturday evenings. The supervised night of fun includes a special dinner, movies, and arts and crafts from 6 to 9 p.m. -- or until 11 p.m. for parents needing a slightly longer “time out.” Sunrise Yoga. A magical desert dawn experience, complimentary yoga classes are offered near the resort’s tranquil waterfall lagoon. With its Nights Without Neon beginning May 1, 2008, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas is conveniently located 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. The resort’s private and idyllic setting offers year-round golf, water sports and outdoor recreation opportunities, along with a 30,000-square foot destination spa and popular Medici Café & Terrace, serving American cuisine and one of Nevada’s top rated restaurants. For reservations, visit, call 800-241-3333 or contact a travel professional. For Nights Without Neon activity reservations, call the resort directly at 702-567-4600.
Apr 04, 2008 Lunapads International Products Ltd. Pan Pacific Vancouver
Passion with Purpose fundraiser in Vancouver
Yay! The cause of pads for girls in Africa is taking off like crazy. This time, it’s a local fundraiser at a swanky spa, so if anyone’s up for a pedicure while supporting a good cause, then come on down to “Passion with Purpose at the Pan Pacific”. All spa services will be 10% off, plus silent auction, snacks, drinks etc. I will be there for sure, complete with a Lunapads display. The event starts at 6pm at Spa Utopia in the Pan Pacific Hotel on Thursday April 17th. The benefit is the brainchild of Loretta Cella, a friend of Madeleine Kipling’s, who is yet another go-getter-make-it-happen kind of gal (our favourite kind!). Loretta has long dreamed of traveling to Africa, and the purpose of the event is to raise funds for her to purchase Lunapads to take with her to distribute to girls while she’s there.
The event is limited to 30 women, so call Loretta soon if you’re interested. She is also looking for Silent auction donations: (604) 710-4480.
Apr 04, 2008 The Leisure Media Company Ltd Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin
City spa launches at Adlon
A new city day spa has opened within the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin in Germany. Split across three levels, the 9,687sq ft (900sq m) spa has 13 treatment rooms and was designed by Anne Marie Jagdfeld. Other facilities at the spa include a sauna, steambath, watsu pool and yoga rooms. Treatments use Sensai by Kanebo International and Skinceuticals. Before each treatment, guests have a consultation to discover which element – Earth, Fire, Water or Air – is the most beneficial for the desired therapy result.
Apr 04, 2008 CountryEpicure The Ritz London
Le Caprice, London 2
On April 7, 2008, Sally, Linda and I dined at Le Caprice. in St. James’s near the Ritz Hotel. Our aperitif was a glass each of Limoux Chardonnay 2005 Château d’Antugnac. Chardonnays and sparkling wines from this little known region in Southwest France can be excellent, as this one was. We ordered a bottle of Rioja ‘Propiedad’ 2004 Bodegas Palacios Remondo, which we enjoyed throughout the rest of the meal.
Linda started with a Le Caprice specialty, the Dressed Dorset Crab with Celeriac Rémoulade, which she liked. Sally had a green salad. I started with the Chargrilled Octopus with Chilli & Capers. It was well done; the chilis were mild and the capers essential to bringing the dish to life. Sally went on to the Loin of Yellow-fin Tuna with spiced lentil salsa and rocket. Linda had the Salmon Fishcake with buttered spinach and sorrel sauce. Her photo is fuzzy, but this second house specialty was an excellent, moist fishcake, not overcooked. The spinach was superb. My main course was the Grilled Calfs Liver with colcannon & crispy bacon. This was very nice and very British. Colcannon is a mix of potatoes, cabbage and whatever else is around. The waiter offered me three kinds of mustard to add on the side. We skipped dessert. Despite its French name, and considerable foreign influences, particularly French, Le Caprice is a very English restaurant. The construction of the menu, and of most of the dishes, evolves from traditional English cuisine. It is no wonder that this restaurant has been a success for a long time. As visitors we enjoyed going there on our first evening back in London and joining the party. To see Gary and Varian’s blogpost on their unscheduled lunch at Le Caprice last November click here.
Apr 04, 2008 clooneyproject St. Regis Grand Hotel Rome
George & Renee’s Rome Photocall
Actors Renee Zellwegger and George Clooney attend the "Leatherheads" photocall at the St. Regis Grand Hotel on April 9, 2008 in Rome, Italy.

Apr 04, 2008 Wendoh Media Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
Former Las Vegas cocktail waitress Sarah Larson helped out the Clark County Medical Society Alliance today doing what she does best – looking good. Larson took part in the alliance’s Seventh Annual Silent Auction and Fashion Show, featuring designs by Emilio Pucci, at the Four Seasons Hotel, while boyfriend George Clooney was busy furiously working on a script for Michael Clayton 2: Beyond Thunderdome.

Apr 04, 2008 Luxury Travel Blogs King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
BC’s King Pacific Lodge offers luxury and wellness
King Pacific Lodge, a floating wilderness resort anchored off British Columbia’s Princess Royal Island, has designed a customized wellness program for guests. The luxury wilderness lodge, located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest in Gitga’at territory along the central coast of British Columbia, is situated in the midst of the 21-million acre Great Bear Rainforest. A maximum 34 guests have intimate access to the largest remaining temperate rain forest in the world. It’s all about rejuvenation.
Two wellness sessions, June 6-9 and June 9-13, feature morning and afternoon yoga sessions; guided rain forest hikes; and a series of tailored spa treatments. Heli-yoga is also being offered for an additional cost. Heli-yoga? It’s a zen-like version of heli-skiing, where a helicopter whisks you away to a pristine setting surrounded by mountains and glaciers. There you’ll experienced outdoor yoga with one of the lodge’s trained instructors. Each guest will receive a personal consultation with the spa manager upon arrival, ensuring the best spa treatments. A daily spa treatment is part of the all-inclusive package. There will be ample time for watching wildlife, which includes orcas, humpback whales, eagles, wolves and bears. Gourmet cuisine prepared by Chef Maxim Ridorossi features local seafood, organic ingredients and British Columbia wines Unusual-Wine-Labels . The menus will be specially designed for the two wellness sessions. Enjoy such cuisine as spring salmon sashimi, summer squash and red pepper soup, weathervane scallops with organic valley greens and roasted candy cane beets. King Pacific Lodge offers three, four and seven night all-inclusive packages. Rates begin at $4,750 per guest. The two sessions in June include the special wellness program.
Apr 04, 2008 City A.M. Limited The Lanesborough London
English classic with a strong Italian accent
T SOUNDS a bit daft, but the word that springs to mind when you walk into the Lanesborough Hotel’s revamped restaurant — a very large space which resembles a Regency-era ballroom with a 50ft ceiling and a retractable glass roof — is “homely”. But then again, The Lanesborough is good at pulling off illusions. The atmosphere of the Georgian era seeps from the very fixtures and fittings. You can sense the ghosts of soldiers back from Napoleonic battles sending the ladies’ hearts a-flutter as they dance about in shiny, knee-length boots, sabres rattling at their sides and manly sideburns blazing from their cheeks. That historical feeling — encouraged by the name, which is a nod to the Duke of Wellington’s Apsley House over the road at No1 London — is deceptive.
BRUTAL MAKEOVER Although the Lanesborough building was built in 1844, it was originally a hospital and only took on its present form when given a brutal makeover by an American company which bought it in the 1990s. This new incarnation of the restaurant is the work of the Tihany Design company which also did the interiors at restaurants like Le Cirque, Jean-Georges and Per Se in New York and The French Laundry in California. It’s very slick, although there’s an extremely weird painting on the wall. This, apparently, depicts Zeus being discovered by his missus in flagrante with someone he shouldn’t be in flagrante with, but it has been chopped up into a collage which renders it incomprehensible. It gave this diner the unpleasant impression of being drunk. That said, the curious artwork was the only thing that misfired all night. The staff were friendly above and beyond the call of duty, beyond helpful and appeared to — imagine this — genuinely take pleasure in working there. That’s probably partly because they are confident that the modern Italian food by Nick Bell — who used to be head chef at Italian restaurant Cecconi’s in Mayfair and worked with restaurateur Giorgio Locatelli both there and at his Michelinstarred venture Zafferano in Belgravia — is top quality. NITROGEN Wine is also important at Apsleys (the sommelier was at Cecconi’s and the D&D restaurant Le Pont De La Tour at London Bridge) and here he has wangled himself the wine-waiter’s favourite toy — a side room with one of those fancy Enomatic systems which produces nitrogen to stop wine going off, so you can have lots of bottles open and offer oodles of wines by the glass. If that makes you think that it sounds like a good night out, you’d be right. Dinner began with home-made bread with olive oil and 36-year-old balsamic vinegar. Eating and/or drinking things that are older than you is normally a sure sign that a good evening is being had. STUNNING Antipasti were stunning. If the quality of meat is related to the happiness of the animal that it came from, then the pig that produced my 24-month-aged San Danielle ham must have lived on a diet of champagne, truffles and Prozac. A smoked tuna salad with fennel, orange and dill had just the right balance of citrussy tang for the meltingly soft fish Primi were a potent wild garlic soup and a stunning oxtail ravioli. SNORTS AND GRUNTS For our main dishes we went fishy. My swordfish was a meaty slab, with thick black grill-lines on it which had me giving honks, snorts and grunts of approval. I sounded like a farmyard. Monkfish with lentils was greeted with more decorum and was less special but couldn’t be called bad. Desserts were a vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb (a bit bland) and an almond tart which was guzzled before I could taste it. The whole thing was pure class. No other word for it. I’d have sat there happily soaking up the atmosphere, the wine and the food until they forcibly ejected me. Whatever you think about the Lanesborough’s faux-Regency accents, Apsleys is the real deal. APSLEYS LANESBOROUGH HOTEL, HYDE PARK CORNER, LONDON SW1X 7TA TEL: 020 7259 5599 Reviewed By Jeremy Hazlehurst
Apr 04, 2008 Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow
Where to Stay in the World's Most Expensive Cities
Where to Stay in the World's Most Expensive Cities Posted on April 8, 2008 in Community Highlights Where to Stay in the World's Most Expensive Cities Photo Photo by MellyG You could plan a very nice getaway for $537. Or you could get one night in the average Moscow hotel room. Travel consultant Hogg Robinson Group released its roundup of the world’s 10 most expensive cities for booking a hotel room in 2007, with Moscow, New York, and Paris topping the list. As luck would have it, these three cities are also among the world’s richest destinations for travelers—culturally, that is. To help you plan a great trip to these 10 cities despite a weak dollar and rising hotel costs, we’ve got a rundown of the hotels IgoUgo members say will give you the best value for your money, whether you want to splurge or save. 1. Moscow Splurge: Kempinski Baltschug Lisa Nielsen: “Everything from design to service matched the highest standards of a luxurious 5-star hotel. The view from my hotel room was breathtaking and unique: St. Basil’s cathedral and the Kremlin just across the river. My stay at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow was absolutely worth paying the rate and left me with pleasant memories.”
Save: Best Eastern Izmailovo Gamma cliffster2000: “The Gamma-Delta Izmailovo Hotel is a rare find in Moscow. Many Moscow hotels start off with a rate of $100 a night. The Gamma-Delta hotel rate starts at $60 and can go as high as $200. Most of the rooms have been renovated with big bathtubs, a platform bed, and Western-style sheets. The hotel complex is a self-contained oasis with several restaurants and many kiosks selling everything from souvenirs to gum.”
Apr 04, 2008 Las Vegas Luxury Homes The SIGNATURE at MGM GRAND
Signature at MGM Grand Condos Sold and Under Contract 2008
I just went to a great sales meeting where our CEO Mark Stark spoke to the entire office about our market and what to expect for buyers purchasing right now. That meeting got me to thinking about current market activity in certain communities I’ve blogged about so I decided to provide my readers and clients with data showing what’s moving. The first one I want to discuss is Signature at MGM Grand <—–Click Here for more info on this condo hotel project by Turnberry and MGM. MGM Signature Las VegasThere are currently 12 condos in contract in Signature MGM Grand out of the 163 that are currently on the market. I was a little surprised to see that 5 of those units where Short Sales (where the seller owes more than what the unit is worth and they have to negotiate with the lender to take a loss). Click on the picture to the left to see which units are selling. There have been 11 sales in Signature since Jan. 1st 2008. The huge price discrepancy comes from two units being wrapped into one purchase agreement. If you’d like to see which units actually closed as of April 9th for 2008, click on the picture to the right.
If you’d like to have free MLS access for properties in Las Vegas, visit my FREE MLS site that will give you current, real-time information on available listings by click on the icon below. There is no obligation to use this powerful home finding tool.
Apr 04, 2008 TransWorldNews Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin - Venice, Italy
Top Five Romantic Italian Honeymoons
... Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin, An Orient-Express Hotel, Venice, Italy: Situated amidst beautiful gardens on Giudecca Island, Hotel Cipriani is five minutes from St. Mark's Square by the hotel's own launch. The rooms and suites offer superb views of the lagoon to the south, the Palladian San Giorgio Maggiore to the east or the walled gardens and vineyards to the west. The Cipriani's gardens contain the only swimming pool (Olympic-size, saltwater and heated) and tennis court in the center of Venice. And while Venice is a city rich in art galleries, cultural treasures and glass works, day trips (should curiosity move you) to Padua, Vicenza and Verona are quite easily arranged. Honeymoon couples receive: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, Full breakfast, A Bottle of Casanova Salso Wine, $50.00 Food & Beverage credit....
Apr 04, 2008 SFO Media LLC Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria St.Petersburg
Russian Hotels for Ballers: Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria
Our Super Secret Hotel Maven network extends far and wide and thanks to another SSHM, we have a mini-guide to Russia's luxe hotels--perfect for ballers, high-rollers and Russian mobsters. It's a mini-guide because it's really only a few hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Up first: The Hotel Astoria. Enjoy. It's not easy to travel to Russia if you're a picky Angeleno with the sniffles. Recently, though, I did the difficult and braved the subzero temperatures. I saw the two main cities, St. Petersburg and Moscow, and explored the cultural treasures of each. More importantly, though, I made stops at each of the city's key hotels for tours of the facilities and rooms, and have smuggled my reports back to familiar soil. Arriving at the Hotel Astoria It's nearly impossible to get a favorable and affordable route for air travel to St. Petersburg from Los Angeles. So after sniffling at 40,000 feet for about 30 hours solid through 3 connections, I arrived in St. Petersburg. I was greeted by a most unpleasant driver who couldn't seem to understand why someone might need to pee after a long flight. After much anticipation, we pulled up to a construction site in a quaint area of town adjacent to St. Isaac's Cathedral. This construction site, popularly known as "Hotel Astoria," would soon be called home for a few days. Check-In I feel like I read that Hotel Astoria underwent refurbishment recently, and was surprised at the state of the entry way (they were literally building an overhang out of plywood, and I found myself fearful that a person or piece of heavy machinery would fall on me when I walked in). I walked up to check-in, and had no difficulty with the process. The woman at the desk insisted that a representative from the hotel escort me to my room to give me a tour. Room Reaction We arrived at the room, and I have to tell you--there are some interesting features. First off, it is imperative that one has his key card in order to turn the lights on in the room. You have to place it in a little plastic cradle. I was surprised by this. The escort from the hotel started showing me around the space, and was quick to point out the bidet and toilet, noting that it's "great for couples." This statement confused me, as I was traveling alone... not to mention it seemed strange that a bidet would somehow enhance a hotel experience specifically for couples. My mind started to ask questions like, "Under what circumstances?" and "What sort of couples are we talking about?" I made presumptuous conclusions like, "These Russians must be kinky!"
Amenity Assessment My room was a standard room. It reads like a pseudo one-bedroom with parquet floors. As you enter the room, you walk through a small foyer. The bathroom is on your left, and is full of white marble with dark grey veiny patterns. There is, of course, the couple-friendly toilet and bidet, and a bathtub. At the rear of the tub is a towel rack. The towel rack is heated. That's fun. If you continue through the foyer from the room's entrance, you are lead through a single French door and into the bedroom. There is a double bed in the center of the room, and a little table to put luggage on on the right. The bed is pretty great. It is outfitted in clean white colors, with a goosedown duvet on top--which is split in two. Forget the bidet, this feature might just be good for couples. Note to self: leave a note for the hotel liaison so that she might improve her tour bit. Internet Connect On the other side of the room is a desk where one can enjoy the wonders of high speed internet (sorry, no WiFi) for the bargain price of ~$35US per day. Well, at least it worked. Spa Time As for other bits about the hotel, the Turkish and Finnish Baths in the spa are FREE. Yes, FREE... well, "complimentary," because after all, you are paying in excess of $400 to be there. But for the sniffling American, the Turkish bath, aka: steam room, came quite in handy and was really quite quaint, if not a bit uncomfortable for the youthful American to be baking and steaming with aged and financially accomplished Russians. Dining In..."Breakfast is so much fun!" If you have the choice to get breakfast included in the room, DO IT! It's totally worth it! There is an infinitely fun buffet breakfast, and you can even order off of the standard hot menu too! They'll bring you anything! They hate saying no! Breakfast is so much fun... but make sure you check your coat before going into the restaurant, because it's no freakin' joke. I am willing to bet that within 5 minutes, someone from the restaurant will approach you with a firm hand insisting that you do. You've got to hand it to the Russians for appreciating good manners, and not allowing "good service" to get in the way. Check your coat, bitch! Dining In..."Your 13-year-old Waiter" Dinner at the hotel was pretty much just okay. It costs a fortune, and I found myself eating a lot of food to be polite. It's a really sad state of affairs when you don't want to offend your 13-year old waiter when you're trying to enjoy yourself being out of town. That being said, whatever it was called... Russian pasta... it's amazing. Figure it out and eat some. High Tea Time Tea at the hotel was worse than okay. It was overwhelmingly strong, and ridiculously expensive. I needed to meet someone, and it felt suave to steer them over to the couchette next to the harp player for tea. Why not, right? Oh wait... because it costs like... $70 for tea. Yeah, for tea. And some little cookie things. No joke, man. And I was so jacked up I felt like I'd lost me to meth. This particular moment could have been improved if the hotel would make the features of the breakfast buffet available all day. So, Sir Rocco Forte, there's a note for you. Bottom Line BEST FEATURES: Heated Towel Rack and Free Use Of Spa Facilities. BIGGEST GRIPES: Ridiculous Ethernet Charges/No WiFi, $70 Tea
Apr 04, 2008 clooneyproject The Dorchester Hotel London
Clooney in Downing Street visit
London's Dorchester Hotel, he said a "wonderful suggestion" had been made at the meeting about a fund which could involve leasing or buying helicopters "to create some security". Mr Clooney added that it had been mooted London could be a place where Sudanese rebel leaders hold peace talks.
Mr Brown said: "In February and March alone, fighting displaced 58,000 people. "Humanitarian access is limited and Unamid (United Nations A frican Union Mission in Darfur) deployment is still too slow. "The rebels and government continue to openly flout United Nations Security Council resolutions through attacks on civilians. "I am grateful for the leadership George Clooney has shown in drawing attention to this crisis - this is a humanitarian tragedy of colossal proportions and the world must take note and act. "The UK is working with the international community and others to pressure all sides to agree a ceasefire, start peace talks, and facilitate the rapid deployment of Unamid." Clooney took up his UN role in January.
Apr 04, 2008 City A.M. Limited The Connaught London
Among London’s most famous hotels, this Mount Street institution has been undergoing a £70m refurbishment. The hotel will be fully open in the autumn with a new wing due to be launched next year, but in the meantime pleasure-hunters can still lap up the luxury with several floors open now. There is the new Coburg bar and Gallery restaurant to enjoy, while Michelinstarred French chef Helene Darroze will be launching her eponymous restaurant in June. BEST ROOMS : Rates for Deluxe King rooms are from £479 ex vat per night, and £1,200 ex vat for the Carlos and Connaught suites. The Connaught’s classically grand suites include giant cocktail cabinets, state-of-the-art electronics and even TVs at the end of the bath, as well as a library of old movies starring former guests such as Cary Grant and Lauren Bacall.
And the personal butler offered to each room will bring you a surprise at 5pm every day, such as a cocktail or a treat from the old fashioned sweetie trolley. NEARBY: Mount Street’s elaborate Victorian grandeur contains a plethora of magnificent, independent boutiques such as eccentric Russian shop Emperor Moth Boutique, vendors of luxury goods William & Son and famous cigar shop Sautter of Mayfair, as well as art galleries and antiques shops. The Mayfair locale puts an array of the capital’s most exclusive restaurants within walking distance, including Scott’s, as well as the delights of Bond Street and the Burlington and Royal arcades.
Apr 04, 2008 Intelligent Travel The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow
Checking In: The Ritz-Carlton Moscow
Not quite a year old, the Ritz-Carlton, Moscow, is all the buzz in a city that just recently confirmed that it's the world's most expensive city. With views of Red Square, the 334-room hotel features over-the-top amenities, including a vodka sommelier who oversees 400 varieties of the drink, the glass-domed O2 Lounge where you can dip into a caviar sushi roll, and a nightlife butler who helps guests navigate Moscow's trendy club scene. Associate editor Susan O'Keefe recently checked in with Oliver Eller, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Moscow, and asked him how to make the most of a an overnight stay or day-visit to his opulent hotel and city. Tell us about some of the features that make the Moscow Ritz-Carlton unique. How does it speak to the destination? Caviar at turndown? Our large guest rooms measure from 452 sq. feet and feature high-tech amenities such as flat screen TV’s and finger touch panels for controlling lights and curtains. The Jeroboam restaurant is run by Three-Michelin Star Chef Heinz Winkler. Recently, the restaurant has been recognized by Time Out Moscow magazine as Moscow’s best restaurant in 2007. And the panoramic views from the 12th floor O2 terrace lounge over the city center are breathtaking.
When I step out of your hotel, what will I see within a mile's walk? Any personal favorite shops, restaurants, or must-see attractions? [We have a] great location adjacent to Red Square and the Kremlin, on the famous Tverskaya Street, Moscow’s main avenue. [And there's] Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Christ the Savior Cathedral, Pushkin Museum for Arts, Bolshoi Theater, famous luxury shopping malls GUM and TSUM, the largest exhibition hall Manege, the Russian Historical Museum, Armory etc. I personally like the Kamergersky street. It is a pedestrian zone with many small restaurants and cafés. In summer it is the best place to sit on the terrace, enjoy the beautiful summer weather and watch Muscovites strolling by. Photo: O2 LoungeWhat should someone not leave Moscow without doing? Seeing? Or buying? Never miss the Bolshoi Theater. To obtain a feeling of old Moscow, I would recommend to go for a stroll in historical areas such as Patriarshi Ponds, Kitai Gorod, and Arbat. A good purchase would be General’s fur hat at the cost of some $150 USD, which can be bought in one of the numerous shops in the Arbat area. If I'm not staying at your hotel, are there things I can do (such as spa? or tea?) or places within the property to dine that allow one to experience the hotel without sleeping there? We offer many services to guests that don’t sleep in our hotel. As a matter of fact, our goal is be to a social center for the Moscow community, a place to be. For instance, you can: have breakfast in our all-day dining restaurant Caviarterra, enjoy the views, music by DJ, and variety of cocktails on the terrace of the O2 Lounge, swim in the pool lit by Swarovski lights, and, enjoy some treatments in our spa by ESPA, have a fine dining business lunch in Jeroboam for only $120 USD, enjoy afternoon high tea in the Lobby Lounge, taste great wines in the wine room Petrus, which offers over 800 kinds of different wines from all over the world, or have a Russian-style dinner in Caviarterra, accompanied by Russian live traditional music. So what spa treatment do people rave about at your hotel? Our guests like the program “Escape From the City." It lasts nearly three hours and includes Salt and Oil Scrub, De-Stressor Massage, and Intensive Facial. It's a calming, soothing journey designed specifically to achieve a state of ultimate relaxation and tranquility. We've heard rates for the Ritz can run about $1,000 per night. Are there any times during the year that rates come down and you'd recommend travelers check in for a good room rate or package? For the year 2008 the special dates are the following: January 1-10; March 6-10; May 1-10; August 1-20. Moscow is quickly becoming one of the most expensive cities in the world, can you share one or two experiences visitors could have there that won't break the bank? It is true that Moscow is rather expensive for newcomers. However, those who have lived in Moscow for a while are aware of some ways to avoid breaking the bank. For instance, using the metro is very inexpensive, fast and effective, since the traffic jams in Moscow during weekdays are a serious challenge. Learning to read signs in Russian in the metro is less challenging, believe me. When you vacation in Russia, where do you prefer to get away from it all? In the Moscow region there are many small towns with beautiful churches, monasteries, and lots of ancient architecture. The nature—forests, rivers and lakes—is beautiful as well and really makes you completely forget Moscow and its hectic life for awhile. My favorite towns are Suzdal, Sergiev Posad, and Yaroslavl, all within 60 to 20 miles from Moscow.
Apr 04, 2008 Times Columnist The Fairmont Empress, Victoria
Culture on a street pole
Joanne Hatherly, Times Colonist Published: Friday, April 04, 2008 The den-like atmosphere of Rogers' Chocolate Shop, the stately grace of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the charm of Government Street lit up at night. A fanged skull might not seem to belong with those other more staid symbols of Victoria, but the poster it's on, glued to a street pole downtown, represents a side of life in the city that is just as culturally rich as the one typfied by the more traditional tourism icons. The 55 street poles in the heart of downtown show off a metropolis rife with bars and nightclubs and a centre of alternative culture and social justice.
The street-pole cylinders, which are owned by the city, can be used by the general public, but many of the posters are placed there by a single company: Metropol, which prints and distributes most of Victoria's entertainment posters. The company posts between 63,000 and 65,000 posters per month downtown and in other parts of the capital region. Poster history is obscure, but the practice is definitely long-lived -- consider Martin Luther's posting of his 95 theses on the Wittenberg church door in 1517, a poster that triggered the Protestant reformation. Some Victoria posters carry on in that tradition of social change in notices about prison justice, agriculture in Afghanistan or alternative healing practices. But most advertise nightclub and bar entertainment, much of which walks on the wild side, if the posters are any indication. Heavy metal, punk and satanic symbolism abound, along with retro music and country bands. So what do the posters tell tourists about Victoria? Matt Piper and Lydia Shaw, both 19-year-old visitors from England, screwed up their faces as they examined a poster advertising a heavy metal band. "It sure isn't consistent with what I see around me," Piper said, gesturing at the Inner Harbour and the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Vancouverites Jake Miller, 36, and Cindy Miller, 31, were visiting Victoria with their son Coby, 10, and daughter Danielle, 2. Their take on the posters was parental. "If I saw these everywhere, I would think this isn't a good place to visit with a family," Jake said. "Victoria is so beautiful and historic. This seems out of place, but it's not offensive to me in any way." A pair of over-50 Texas Republicans on their first visit to Victoria took the most liberal view. David and Lynn Young laughed as they read the skull-emblazoned poster. "It wouldn't put me off the community at all," David said. "It indicates that you have very diverse entertainment venues. It wouldn't chase me away. In fact, it encourages me that you have a very vibrant town." The posters don't only demonstrate the breadth of Island culture, they are also a window into youth culture, says Maggie Kerr-Southin, president of advertising firm Artemis Public Relations and Design. "We stop and look at them (posters), because we do a lot of social marketing to youth on issues such as crystal meth addiction, so it's important to key into the art they're looking at, to be aware of the symbols that speak to them," Kerr-Southin said. Youth culture is an ever-changing target, even for Evan Pine-Tepoorten, a lead graphic arts designer at Metropol. "I'm only 27, and already I find it a challenge to keep in touch," Pine-Tepoorten said. Melissa McLean at Tourism Victoria says her organization never hears negative comments on the posters. Dave Borradaile, manager at Hugo's Brewhouse and Nightclub, finds advertising on street-pole posters fits perfectly with his clients' culture. It's low-tech, low-cost and has the advantage of targeting a specific segment of society, that is, young adults, geographically. Before 2003, street-pole postering in Victoria's core could be described as street spam. Poles were caked with dozens of posters, many advertising the same event. Competitors sat in coffee shops to keep watch on their posters. When someone covered them, they would run out and re-blanket the poles. Sometimes competitors used a razor to strip the posters off a pole, leaving them piled on the pavement. Steve Webb, a promoter at the time, put forward a business plan to manage poster advertising. The idea caught on and now Webb's company, Metropol, handles street-pole postering in the city core, as well as in other parts of the capital region. Part of that plan was the rule "no repeat postering." In other words, every poster on a pole should be different from the others. "It cut down on paper waste," Webb said. Webb and his staff of eight work in an old second-storey downtown gymnasium that fits the poster mantra of minimalism. High-tech computers line the exterior wall of brick painted in grey and white, but the rest of the space is bare-bones functional, with open shelves to stock dozens of posters and a large table for sorting. A few bicycles surround a drum-set for late-night jamming, signalling the youthfulness of Metropol staffers. Metropol monitors the downtown street poles twice daily, seven days a week. There are no strict guidelines regarding taste, but a glance at the posters in the Metropol studio suggests the designers observe some unspoken rules. "We've only had two complaints about poster content from the city since we started," Webb says, "but it turned out those posters weren't ours."
Apr 04, 2008 Las Vegas - Life of Luxury Wynn Las Vegas
Alex Restaurant - Wynn Hotel
Alex’s dining room is probably the town’s most sumptuous intersection of old and new Las Vegas: Bugsy Siegel would feel right at home descending the grandiose staircase into this realm of textured woods, sweeping drapes and creamy furnishings. So would Paris Hilton. Chef Alessandro “Alex” Stratta’s cooking traipses through French, Italian and New American cuisines with a warmth that keeps pace with the surroundings. He serves carrot salad and carrot vinaigrette with foie gras au torchon, an outside-the-box combination that works.
Crispy frog legs are an unusual menu mainstay (and, yes, the tastes-like-chicken analogy applies). White beans, garlic confit and pancetta give the morsels a Provençal twist. And what a pleasure to see so many interesting fish choices beyond the typical salmon and tuna: John Dory, roasted wild turbot, crispy loup de mer in lobster broth. Pastry chef Jenifer Witte knows how to incorporate a hint of Americana into the finale. Almond cream, waferlike walnut crisp and sour cream ice cream enhance caramelized apples. Walnut toffee cream adds depth to both spicy gingerbread and wonderfully simple roasted pear. Service at Alex is an accommodating whirlwind. The sommeliers have wit, the servers practically read minds, and the hosts and hostesses help you into your coat and graciously hold the doors open, making you wish you’d lingered in this parallel universe of Hello Dolly! hospitality a little longer.
Apr 04, 2008 Telegraph Media Group Limited Gran Hotel Bahia Del Duque Resort
Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque in Tenerife
Location Set in 16 acres of tropical gardens overlooking the lovely El Duque beach, just west of Playa de Las Americas, in the Costa Adeje. Character Reminiscent of Portmeirion in north Wales, with its mixture of architecture. A small "town" of Italianate villas, patios, turrets, even a campanile, prettily grouped around swimming pools. Very popular with young families. Rooms There are 311 rooms and 46 suites, all of which have a balcony or patio with a view of the sea or the gardens. Earlier this year, 40 separate villas were added, each with a private garden and pool (worth checking that building work has finished before you book). As for décor, think tasteful and traditional, with tiled floors and muted colours.
Food You won't go hungry, that's for sure: there are eight restaurants and nine bars in the resort, the poshest of which – Las Aguas – is run by Michelin-star chef, Salvador Gallego. There's lots of French and Italian cuisine and a good selection of local and more generic Spanish food. Service can be slow. We like The quieter rooms and suites in the Casas Ducales, a sort of hotel within the hotel (the other rooms and villas are closer to the entertainment in the evenings). The resort is also great for golfers, with five courses nearby. Not so keen The new ESPA spa is still a couple of months off; and you can't help but be reminded of that place Patrick McGoohan was always trying to escape from in The Prisoner. Essentials
Apr 04, 2008 Vancouver Sun King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
King Pacific Lodge Special
In honour of B.C.'s 100th birthday, the luxurious King Pacific Lodge on the northern coastline of the Inside Passage, long the domain of wealthy international travellers and U.S. businesspeople, is offering a special rate for all B.C. residents -- 45 per cent off regular rates for the month of June. The minimum three-night stay is available at the reduced rate for $2,500 per person, which includes the flight to and from Vancouver, all food and beverages (with an open bar) and most activities, excluding spa treatments and a helicopter tour. Longer stays are also available at a 45 per cent discount. "While the rest of the world raves about B.C.'s beauty, we sometimes take for granted the spectacular scenery found only in our own backyard," said King Pacific Lodge president Michael Uehara in a press release.
"Here at Princess Royal Island guests can expect opportunities to go whale watching for Orcas and humpbacks, to view eagles, grizzlies and black bears and the extremely rare white "spirit bear" found only near the lodge. Of course, fly fishing for trout on unspoiled rivers, salmon fishing in the open ocean, kayaking, beachcombing and helicopter sightseeing are all part of the adventure as well." In partnership with the local Gitga'at Nation, King Pacific Lodge can arrange cultural tours of a traditional longhouse, and local Gitga'at guides will lead guests on explorations into the deep woods to relish the solitude and search for wildlife. The 21-million acre Great Bear Rainforest protects pristine old growth forests sheltering many species of birds, plants and edible food species.
Apr 04, 2008 bbbblogger Wynn Las Vegas
Monty Python’s SPAMALOT Celebrates
One-Year Anniversary at Wynn Las Vegas LAS VEGAS - This week “Monty Python’s SPAMALOT” at Wynn Las Vegas celebrates its one-year anniversary at the resort. The festivities come on the heels of Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Mike Weatherford naming SPAMALOT the “#1 Show in Las Vegas” in 2007 and then the recent award for the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Best of Las Vegas - Best Show, Staff pick. For the past year, the award-winning “Monty Python’s SPAMALOT” has brought the bright side of life to the Las Vegas Strip. Starring John O’Hurley and performed in The Grail Theater, SPAMALOT tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail. SPAMALOT features silly songs, dancing divas, knights in tights, feisty Frenchmen and a happy ending! SPAMALOT features a book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, direction by Mike Nichols, and choreography by Casey Nicholaw. The show is based on a screenplay by Monty Python creators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. It is lovingly ripped off from the motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
O’Hurley, who is best known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, was the ultimate champion on season one of Dancing with the Stars and is the new host of Family Feud. O’Hurley, who has worked on stage throughout his career, starred on Broadway in Chicago as Billy Flynn. He has also written two books, It’s Okay to Miss the Bed on the First Jump, and other Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Dogs, and Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy. SPAMALOT has been honored with numerous awards, including the Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Recording and three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The production has been lauded by audiences and critics around the world. The Sunday Times (London) says SPAMALOT “raises silliness to an art form - glorious, irresistible silliness.” WABC-TV and Good Morning America said “I LOVED EVERY MINUTE! They’re going to have to reupholster the seats at the theatre once a week, that’s how hard you’ll be laughing.” The Independent (London) wrote, “I felt I might actually die of laughter.” In case you’ve been living under a giant foot for the past 40 years, Monty Python isn’t a person, but a group of British actors and writers (and one American) that performed their famous comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus on BBC television from 1969 to 1974, with subsequent fame and success. Changing comedy forever, a series of hugely popular motion pictures and live tours made Monty Python and their members into international superstars. Ticket prices are $69, $89 and $109, plus tax. Tickets for the V.I.P.P. (Very Important Person Package) are also available for $179, plus tax, and include premier seating, souvenir grail cups with beverage and a 45-minute backstage tour. Monty Python’s SPAMALOT plays at The Grail Theater at Wynn Las Vegas at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. There are two performances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The theater is dark on Thursdays. To reserve tickets for Monty Python’s SPAMALOT at Wynn Las Vegas, please call 888 320 7110 or 702 770 WYNN, or go online to or Group pricing is available for 10 or more persons, by contacting 702 770 3720 or . Wynn Resorts, Limited is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol WYNN and is part of the NASDAQ-100 Index. Wynn Resorts owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Macau. Wynn Las Vegas, a luxury hotel and destination casino resort located on the Las Vegas Strip features 2,716 luxurious guest rooms and suites; an approximately 111,000 square foot casino; 22 food and beverage outlets; an on-site 18-hole golf course; approximately 223,000 square feet of meeting space; an on-site Ferrari and Maserati dealership; and approximately 74,000 square feet of retail space. Wynn Macau is a destination casino resort in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and currently features 600 deluxe hotel rooms and suites; approximately 205,000 square foot casino; casual and fine dining in five restaurants; approximately 46,000 square feet of retail space; a health club, pool and spa, along with lounges and meeting facilities.
Apr 04, 2008 Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Cap-Ferrat defines the French Riviera at its most opulent. G.Y. Dyransky celebrates an enclave that remains clear of the crowd. It may be full of the very rich, but it's no gated community Presqu'île means peninsula, "almost an island." For my money (not that of a rich man), Cap-Ferrat, a green presqu'île jutting out beyond the little port of St-Jean on the Mediterranean, is close to being a vacationer's Shangri-la. These days, the insomniac clubbers, the insensitive rich, and unenlightened foreigners seeking to buy into the legend of the French Riviera miss the road down to St-Jean Harbor (too narrow for a tour bus) and drive on without noticing the cape beyond—a thin two-mile finger of gated villas with vast grounds, thick vegetation, a few quiet little public beaches, and some hotels of character. Twenty years and more had passed since I was on Cap-Ferrat, and upon my return, almost nothing—except for the people—had changed. Saul Steinberg, that Wall Street titan of his era, later financially troubled, had long since given up his brief ownership of the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, never to return. More recent owners, Lebanese jewelers, had endowed the lobby with a bright and endearingly dubious look that might be called Beirut Traditional. Then Len Blavatnik, a Russian billionaire with American citizenship living in London, bought the hotel, along with Paris's Hôtel Vendôme, for a reported $318 million, in the name of his U.S. company S.T.T. Properties. It was recently shuttered for yet another face-lift. Alberto Pinto, a decorator dear to the rich, devoted himself to gussying up the best suite in the house. Whatever "relooking," as the French say, was in store, this hotel was bound to prevail as an evocative Riviera landmark. It rises within its lush fourteen-acre compound at the very point of Cap-Ferrat like a great white paradigm of La Belle Epoque—all flowers, palm trees, and umbrella pines above a bright sea.
People of many kinds come and go, and Cap-Ferrat digests their passage. Steinberg sold when, it is said, he was shocked to learn that in order to build an extension to the hotel he would need to give the right gift. René Vestri, Cap-Ferrat's affable mayor, dismissed that charge when I saw him. He pointed out that it is illegal to build almost anything new on the cape. The Belle Epoque-, Art Deco-, and Renaissance-inspired villas, where kings Léopold II of Belgium and Umberto of Italy—along with lords, ladies, and the likes of Burton and Taylor, David Niven, Gregory Peck, Sean Connery, Charlie Chaplin, and so on—once spent long seasons, are now mostly inhabited by a new wave of residents: Russians, Lebanese, and Italians of obscure power and wealth. Today's celebrities are "zappers," Mayor Vestri said. One day they're in Africa, another they're in Croatia. They're seen on Cap-Ferrat only fleetingly if at all. The newcomers plunk down $25 million for a villa. Cap-Ferrat is now the priciest real estate on the coast. "If you poke your nose over a fence, you're likely to find a guard's pistol in your nostril," a cape stalwart told me. It was here, in his villa, La Mauresque, that Somerset Maugham made the pronouncement whose aptness has outlived his beautifully crafted novels: "The Riviera is a sunny place for shady people." Whatever the moral hue of some of those people in the hushed villas may be, it won't have an immediate bearing on your stay. The cape is a particularly safe place—safer than, say, Nice, where road signs advised me to keep my car doors locked and where the mayor told hoteliers to warn guests not to be in the Old Town after one o'clock in the morning. Maybe the petty criminals of the coast have also heard about the pistols over the fence.
Apr 04, 2008 Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Since Léopold bought a huge part of the shoreline in the 1890s to build a villa and sell off the rest, Cap-Ferrat has known a series of great achievers, each of whom left his stamp on Riviera history. (Léopold had a thing for real estate. The Belgian Congo wasn't Belgium's; it was his personal property.) Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is among today's villa dwellers. His place looms above the port where he moors his ultra-high-tech yacht and where Bill Gates, his fellow co-founder and old friend, sails in to visit in a very modest little boat. Gates was rumored to have been interested in buying the most extraordinary property on the coast, the Villa Léopolda, in nearby Villefranche, which had been the grandest in King Léopold's brace of Riviera residences. Although Gates was said to have made an offer to Lilly Safra, widow of the banker Edmund Safra (victim of a shady murder in Monaco), the villa is still for sale. (For $295 million—anyone interested?) That last time, long ago, when I was here, Lynn Wyatt, wife of the Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt, was renting Somerset Maugham's former place. This was the tail end of the partying wave at Cap-Ferrat, whose heyday had known Burton, Taylor, Niven, Peck, et al. I had chatted with her then in her lovely ocher villa. This time, she was renting a villa in Villefranche. I had lunch with her son, Steve, a venture capitalist who is of the latest generation of Cap-Ferrat lovers, and some friends. We ate in bathing suits beside the big saltwater pool at the Grand-Hôtel, the far edge of which blends, trompe l'oeil, into a vista of the sea.
Steve had his kids with him. Perched above the pool wearing his big sombrero, Pierre Grüneberg, the swim instructor, was on duty, as he has been for about forty years. Pierre has the enduringly svelte body of someone who has spent his life summering on the cape and wintering on the ski slopes, and has taught more children of the mighty to swim than doubtless any other person on earth. On the day I arrived, the hotel was inaugurating a little playground in the garden. More than ever, kids are in among the creative and accumulative people who come here. Children fit particularly well into the general atmosphere of the cape, which is not edgily shrill as in St-Tropez nor show-off shrill as in Monte Carlo. Mayor Vestri uses the term bon enfant to describe the mood of his constituency, where the single discotheque—a phenomenon at the hotel Voile d'Or during the Hollywood era—was banned years ago. Bon enfant is hard to translate into English, but it means something like well behaved, friendly—Apollonian, if you will. My friend Elliott Kastner, a film producer who knew the cape in its Hollywood days, is a devoted client of the Voile d'Or's. "I had been renting the villa at the Hôtel du Cap, in Antibes, for four weeks of the year for twenty-nine years," he told me, "and when I stepped into the Voile d'Or, I knew that I liked it even better." The villa at Antibes's Hôtel du Cap might be called the mother of all luxuries. The Voile d'Or, above the port of St-Jean, is totally different. The owner, Jean Lorenzi, put up the banal building in 1965. But it is nonetheless, with its forty-five rooms, an intimate, un-self-consciously well-furnished place where Lorenzi and his wife and daughter impart a very bon enfant—"just us few lucky ones"—feeling. As in the bar at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, trophy photos of the famous adorn the walls.
Apr 04, 2008 Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Needless to say, neither hotel is inexpensive, particularly when the dollar is where it is. They will set you back the price of a room in a luxurious hotel in Paris. But, as I suggested earlier, you need not be rich to love Cap-Ferrat—nor do you feel ostracized from the social swim. There is no preening "scene," and R and R is the operative term for bathing, sailing, and reading. As for languages, English is the second one on the cape, where about forty percent of the summer people are American and forty percent are French. The new Chinese, who mill around the Eiffel Tower in droves, have yet to discover Cap-Ferrat, although the cable TV in the Grand has two channels in Russian. There are six little beaches, four of which are free of charge and have an atmosphere that is also very bon enfant—and nudist-free. The latter factor is important these days on the shores of Europe for people distressed by the seaside fad of letting it all hang out. The French Ministry of Health rates all six cape beaches first quality—no small matter given the dubious waters of the Mediterranean: Nice, for example, has four beaches classified in the second-best category.
The restaurants, whether luxe or not, are no pricier than their equivalents in Paris, and you get the seaside thrown in with a meal. Eating outstanding fish is a chancy thing all along the coast. The cruel reality is that there are few fish left in the Mediterranean, and what you eat will most likely have come down from the Atlantic or been farmed. The Voile d'Or, though, still has a great reputation for bouillabaisse, which is as much a traditional local dish here as it is in Marseille. Yves Maätrehenry owns what is far and away the best of the few inexpensive places to stay on the cape: the Brise Marine, in one of the loveliest locations. It was built in 1878 as a private villa right above a corner of the port. Below the neat rooms, which have the air of a three-star Paris hotel, there is a plain bar for breakfast and a sitting room worthy of a kitsch hotel in Brighton. It's the kind of modest inn that I've seen at other stylish vacation places, where the consciously low-key and savvy share the geography with the rich. There are other inexpensive hotels where you can profit from the privileged environment of the cape. Iranians have refurbished the Belle Aurore, for instance, but haven't been able to move it from its unhappy location at a crossroads. If you want to hide away in the interior of the cape, you can do so at the Clair Logis, a spartanly furnished former villa with a garden—where Charles de Gaulle spent a moment of what the French call his time in the desert, after he resigned from being president in 1946. As I talked to Monsieur Maätrehenry at the Brise Marine, Ken Loach, the British film director, came up from the beach carrying a parasol. Monsieur Maîtrehenry told me that Loach has been staying at the Brise Marine for more than forty years. Madame Maîtrehenry, whom her husband of more than four decades calls the soul of the hotel, wasn't around, but I got the feeling, ineffably, that the place indeed has a soul.
Apr 04, 2008 Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Is Cap-Ferrat very French, even for all the generations of foreigners who've declared it theirs? There are still some heirs of the nineteenth-century grande bourgeoisie holding out among the villas that their forefathers built: the Bleriot family, who once manufactured airplanes, and the Marnier-Lapostelles, whose Grand Marnier was a must ingredient for now quaint crêpes suzette (the Marnier-Lapostelles own the villa Les Cèdres, once the property of Léopold II). The cape has always drawn interesting foreigners because it is one of those places where the hands of man and of nature have worked wonderful complicity. Leben wie der Herrgott in Frankreich is what the Germans say to describe the great life: "to live like God himself in France." The Riviera as a whole, meanwhile, has become what Graham Greene, who spent his last years near Nice, once said of Bruges: "a much trafficked jewel." Much trafficked in both senses of the verb. There's indeed another French word, betonné, which means cemented, and it's the term for the overbuilding all along the Côte d'Azur, including the stretch between Nice and the Italian border that is, technically, what we call the Riviera.
It seems to me that Cap-Ferrat has managed to be almost an island protected from all that has befallen the Riviera. The heydays of royalty and robber barons, the communal frolics of celluloid stars, have passed here, as elsewhere. But I think of the clean blue sea; the untouched stretches of umbrella pines, rhododendrons, jasmine, and cactus; the sensuous look that man added to the place with a careful yet indulgent eye for decoration, when less was not more. All this is still barely disturbed by noise—other than the wash of waves and the high-pitched buzz of cicadas—or by fumes that would mar the wild herbal odor on warm air. The glow of what was the bounty of the privileged is still like a vestal flame, and more accessible here than in any place else I know.
Apr 04, 2008 Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Cap-Ferrat is a discreet sideshow to the more blatant excesses of the French Riviera. Since the turn of the 20th century, it has experienced several waves of "colonization," from itinerant European aristocrats to newly minted millionaires. Today, the cape is more diverse than ever: Wealthy Russians and Middle Easterners mingle with families who have vacationed there for decades. But in addition to enjoying the seaside, be sure to tour architectural sites such as the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. The Hispano-Mauresque masterpiece is the most expressive example of late-19th-century grandeur on the cape. It was inhabited by Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, who collected exceptional 18th-century furniture. The villa grounds are home to seven gardens, each designed in a distinct style: French traditional, Florentine, Spanish, exotic, lapidary, Japanese, and Provençal (4-93-01-33-09). The country code for France is 33. Prices quoted are for August 2008, the upcoming high season.
Lodging Just a few steps from the beach—where it has a private row of umbrellas, mats, and chaise longues—the Hôtel Royal Riviera has a location that is its biggest advantage. Grace Leo--Andrieu, creative consultant and president of GLA International, brings her signature flair to the neo-Hellenic/Art Deco remake of the main building, as well as to the replica of the Provençal manor in the garden (4-93-76-31-00; doubles, $524–$1,192). Despite ongoing renovations—including the addition of eight suites and a spa—the 1908 Grand-Hôtel du Cap--Ferrat is a landmark of the lavishness of the great Riviera hotels. It's far from the beach, but a splendid pool set in the garden overlooking a scenic piece of Mediterranean shore will make you forget that. The hotel will close on September 30 to complete the renovations (4-93-76-50-50; doubles, $800– $2,254). In response to the operatic glamour of the Grand, La Voile d'Or, in the port of St-Jean, became the intimate spot for the wave of jet-setters who claimed the cape for themselves after World War II. The hallways can seem submarine-ish, but the hotel's understated luxury and the relaxed suavity of the owner still make La Voile as close to a favorite celebrity hideaway as any place on the coast. Be careful about costly extras in the restaurant (4-93-01-13-13; doubles, $648–$1,280). The intellectual's and artist's answer to the super-rich on Cap-Ferrat, the Hôtel Brise Marine is a former villa converted to a six-room hotel with non-intimidating rates and a harbor view. The breakfast room recalls a student café, the sitting room is small and kitsch, but the bedrooms are airy, comfortable, and well-kept (4-93-76-04-36; doubles, $218–$250). North of the cape, in the seaside resort of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, the 37-room La Réserve de Beaulieu is a standout. It's pricey in high season but worth it for the location and the impeccable service (4-93-01-00-01; doubles, $829–$1,835). Originally the dacha of a 19th-century Russian prince, the whitewashed villa Cap Estel, in Èze-Village, maintains its air of exclusivity with a private beach and a restaurant that gives priority to guests (4-93-76-29-29; doubles, $843–$1,163; prix fixes, $110 and $138). Nearby, the Château Eza makes the most of its stunning views with balconies overlooking the Mediterranean and a Michelin-starred terrace restaurant (4-93- 41-12-24; doubles, $530–$900; main courses, $58–$68). The charmingly gothic Château de la Chevre d'Or is the best value in Eze (4-92-10-66-66; doubles, $428–$1,054). Dining Dining under the stars at the Grand is a pleasure (main courses, $113–$129), although a meal of well-grilled, tasty sea bass at Le Sloop is just as satisfying and much less expensive (Au Nouveau Port; 4-93-01-43-63; main courses, $32–$47). The Capitaine Cooke, a far simpler place, comes recommended by Yves Maîtrehenry (11 ave. Jean-Mermosz; 4-93-76-02-66; main courses, $34–$40). The town's newest gourmet restaurant, La Table du Cap, opened last July in the space formerly occupied by Le Provençal. Young chef Laurent Poulet serves a sophisticated market menu that sometimes overindulges in minimalism (2 ave. Denis-Séméria; 4-93-76-03-97; main courses, $50–$55). La Plage de Passable, a restaurant at the beach of the same name, serves both snacks and real meals with views of Villefranche. A dish of delicious portobello mushrooms and girolles followed by grilled scampi from Sicily and a glass of Minervois white wine will set you back about $65 (4-93-76-06-17). Reading Mary Blume's Côte d'Azur: Inventing the French Riviera is full of erudite humor and anecdotes that factually define the legend (out-of-print). F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night is probably the best fictional evocation of the sensuousness and splendor of Cap-Ferrat. Both the Blue Guide's Provence and the Côte d'Azur ($25) and Time Out's South of France, Provence & Côte d'Azur ($17) have worthwhile insights.
Mar 03, 2008 Rocky Mount Telegram. Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
A Famed Alps Resort Schusses Into the Future
IT wasn’t even midafternoon, but the beer and glüwein were flowing freely in Zermatt, the picturesque, pedestrian-friendly Swiss ski resort that is the gateway to the Matterhorn. The mulled red wine is a signature beverage at the Igloo Bar, a snow-sculptured outdoor hangout right on the ski slope. Here, the Matterhorn’s shark’s tooth peak — an icon for the Alps themselves — stood sentinel overhead as skiers and snowboarders shed their rainbow layers of Gortex and soaked up the sun. The music was blaring, the fondue was cooking, and for this crowd the resort’s top-rate terrain and happening après-ski scene were coming together quite nicely. I don’t normally imbibe wine as part of my on-mountain plan of attack before the end of the ski day, but when in Switzerland, why not do as the Swiss do? In “Ski Holidays in the Alps,” a pioneer guide written in 1961 by the champion British skiers James and Jeannette Riddell, the authors described the ski experience in Zermatt as “high, big, serious, and glorious.” The old village had character; the clientele was fashionable; the expert, energetic skiing was matched only by the night life. But they also noted that “queuing for railways and lifts is inevitable and often frustrating,” a drawback that marred the unparalleled views and vast, varied topography of some of the highest mountains in Europe.
How things have changed. Horse-drawn carriages and brandy-bearing St. Bernards may still roam Zermatt, but this resort town of 5,500 people has lately schussed its way into a modern era of solar-electric ski buses and expansive, high-tech snowmaking. During a visit earlier this winter, I hit pretty much every color-coded highlight on the ski map, thanks to the new lifts and runs that have made possible easy connections between sprawling ski areas. Sleek glass buildings are beginning to alter the traditional chalet landscape of the village. And modern Swiss efficiency has done away with what was once Zermatt’s biggest disadvantage: the resort now uses an electronic ski pass system that allows skiers to zip through checkpoints at every on-mountain gondola, chairlift, train and underground funicular, making crowds virtually nil (except at the aforementioned après-ski spots). Getting to Zermatt itself got easier — and swifter — in December, when the 21.5-mile Lötschberg Tunnel opened for full passenger service. Running beneath the Alps, it is the world’s longest railway land tunnel, cutting more than an hour off travel time from Zurich, Bern and Basel to Zermatt (from Zurich, the train ride is now just three hours and 15 minutes). I found the train to be quiet, speedy and civilized, with a dedicated dining car and wraparound picture windows that gave a sense of scale to the awesome peaks we approached. Changes are also pending at the resort’s mountaintop. A local artist and architect, Heinz Julen, recently won a design competition to construct a 30-floor Dream Peak pyramid at the top of Klein, or Little, Matterhorn, the highest point in the Alps with cable car access. Plans for the glass-and-steel complex include Europe’s highest hotel at 13,120 feet above sea level, though the project hasn’t received final approval yet. New this ski season are two lifts — one a high-speed quad linking the major ski areas of Gornergrat and Rothorn Paradise, and the other a T-bar to Stockhorn, an off-piste free-ride area. Last winter, the Riffelberg Express gondola opened to allow skiers easy access between Gornergrat and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, on opposite sides of the mountain valley. The lift has revolutionized the resort experience, since skiers used to have to schlep across all of Zermatt in order to ski both areas. For an additional 9 Swiss francs a day, less with a multiday pass (the Swiss franc and the dollar are nearly at par), an international lift ticket gives skiers access to the Breuil-Cervinia ski resort in Italy, which has a terrific seven-mile run from top to base. It’s the best deal around, since one of the stellar moments of any Zermatt ski experience is skiing into Italy for a pasta and red wine lunch — no passport required — from the top of Klein Matterhorn. At the lovely Rifugio Guide del Cervino, a small mountain restaurant with a wooden outdoor patio located at Plateau Rosa, a decadent spaghetti carbonara lunch for two at 11,420 feet is 25 euros, or $38.50 at $1.54 to the euro. (In fact, my favorite question to ponder each ski day: Shall we dine in Italy today, or stay and lunch with the Swiss? The answer from my husband and our friends was usually, “Italy — because we can.”) Back on the Swiss side, Zermatt has more than its share of sophisticated on-mountain cuisine. In the Sunnegga Paradise ski area, the intimate Chez Vrony restaurant serves up national specialties like raclette with truffle oil and rösti — a Swiss fried potato cake — in a setting of white tablecloths and candlelight. You can ski right up to the restaurant off the trail, but this is the kind of place that’s so good it attracts nonskiers who make special expeditions to dine on the outdoor deck, which has lounge chairs and stunning views of the Matterhorn. The first modern design hotel arrived down in Zermatt village when Omnia opened a year and a half ago. A glass elevator cut into the mountainside ushers guests up to a lofty perch overlooking the town; the 30-room property has a spa, a library lounge and a gorgeous indoor-outdoor swimming pool. On a recent evening, the bar was crammed with well-heeled Brits; at the superb in-house restaurant downstairs, a quieter, fire-lit atmosphere could be found. Just a few of the marble-topped tables were occupied, and deliciously surprising dishes like beet soup with chervil foam and chili-spiced chocolate ice cream were presented by an attentive server outfitted head-to-toe in black. Classic establishments like the ornate Grand Hotel Zermatterhof — founded by the local priest in 1879 — have also come up with new offerings. Those who can’t spring for a stay in the hotel should splurge on a massage at its recently opened spa, Vita Borni; it has an arnica steam room and a 20-meter pool. In front of the Zermatterhof, the Matterhorn Museum has relocated to — surprise — a new Matterhorn-shaped glass complex with historical displays of Edward Whymper’s first ascent and a 3-D weather model of the peak. All the recent flash and dash doesn’t come cheap, especially with the American dollar in a downward spiral. But hidden gems like Le Petit Hôtel, which has 20 single and double rooms from 80 Swiss francs per person per night, can make a ski vacation in Zermatt less costly, if not exactly affordable. The pension-style lodge has a friendly, helpful staff, free wireless Internet, and a gear storage room with boot warmers; in lieu of expensive fondue dinners, guests can bring back takeout meals to eat in the downstairs bar and breakfast nook. The lounge breeds camaraderie and conversation; on a recent night, we met a family from Wales celebrating a daughter’s birthday and shared bottles of wine and birthday cake. The wood-paneled rooms at Le Petit Hôtel are, well, petite, but they’re also clean, comfortable and an excellent value in an otherwise expensive ski town. After all, the real reason people come to Zermatt remains the classic one that James and Jeannette Riddell championed decades ago: the skiing. Each day, we skied more than 20,000 vertical feet. Though we spent most of that time bombing down beautifully groomed trails, on one perfect morning we found ourselves carving first tracks in an off-piste powder paradise at the top of Theodulgletscher. “I Googled the highest vertical in Europe, and this is what it told me,” said Mike Tran, 28, a snowboarder from Toronto who works in Internet marketing. He spent a week in Zermatt in early February. “I’m sure there’s a market for new and modern things here, too,” he said, “but I came here for the mountain.” With the highest lift access in Europe, a top-notch transport system and the longest winter season in the Alps, it is, indeed, quite a mountain. Oh, and did I mention the après- ski? GLÃœWEIN, IGLOOS AND AROMATHERAPY In Zermatt (, one-day adult ski passes start at 70 Swiss francs (the Swiss franc and the dollar are about at par); multiday passes are much cheaper. A ticket that includes Italy is 79 Swiss francs. The Swiss Travel System ( sets train timetables. WHERE TO STAY Omnia Hotel (Auf dem Fels; 41-27-966-71-71; has 30 rooms and suites, starting at 450 Swiss francs per night, double occupancy, including breakfast, in the high season of late December to April. Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant is about 180 Swiss francs for two. Le Petit Hôtel (Metzggasse 38; 41-27-967-59-00; has 20 single and double rooms, with online rates starting at 160 Swiss francs, double, including breakfast. Grand Hotel Zermatterhof (Bahnhofstrasse 55; 41-27-966-66-00; has 84 rooms from 600 Swiss francs a night, double, including breakfast. Treatments at the hotel’s new spa, Vita Borni, start at 70 Swiss francs for a signature aromatherapy bath. WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK The tiny Elsie’s Bar (Kirchplatz 16; 41-27-967-24-31; is one of Zermatt’s legendary après-ski stops, offers Champagne, oysters, and caviar-and-spaghetti specials. Dinner for two starts at about 60 Swiss francs. Chez Vrony (41-27-967-25-52; is in the midmountain hamlet of Findeln. Lunch for two is about 60 Swiss francs. Also on-mountain, between the Gornergrat and Riffelberg ski areas, the Igloo Bar (41-41-612-27-28; serves up local beer, glüwein (mulled red wine) and fondue in a snowy igloo village setting. The booths, tables and bar — and even a hotel, if you’re willing to brave the cold to stay the night — are constructed out of snow and ice.
Mar 03, 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino
Surf and turf
Riding Tofino's culinary wave Mia Stainsby, Vancouver Sun Published: Saturday, March 22, 2008 It's no longer bar brawls and bloodied noses that gives Tofino its Tough City nickname but the town sure knows how to toughitout. The 1,800 Tofitians, (To-fee-shuns) as townsfolk refer to themselves, aren't the loggers and fishers and hippies of yore; it's a tourist town -- not an easy road with annual rainfall measured in feet, not inches. (They slosh about in more than 10 feet a year.) When tourists start to thicken the streets around Easter, Tough City rises to the challenge of feeding them, never mind that seafood is a dwindling resource, that the stuff of au courant cooking -- local, sparklingly fresh ingredients -- is trucked in over gnarly mountain roads, that finding and housing staff are against the odds and that there's really only 21/2 really busy months per year. On the issue of staffing, even when desperate for workers, restaurateurs have to get a guarantee that potential hires have a place to live because they've hired and trained staff only to lose them to, well, homelessness.
Still, as my partner pointed out on a recent visit, there are probably more good restaurants on a per-capita basis in Tofino than in Vancouver. In past years, I made a beeline to Sobo, which began as a bohemian (a sophisticated bohemian, and thus, Sobo) in a gravel parking lot, operating out of a purple catering truck along with a posse of outlaw-ish shops just off the Pacific Rim Highway. The chef, Lisa Ahier, is a CIA operative (Culinary Institute of America, where they produce the black belts of cooking) and she and husband, Arthur, kicked butt with their high-quality food served on rustic picnic tables. The fish tacos were addictive. In 2003, they were named one of the top 10 new Canadian restaurants in En Route magazine. Not bad for takeout trailer food, wouldn't you say? They moved to the Tofino Botanical Gardens three years ago for a short spell but most recently, they graduated to an all-grown up, modern glass-walled, slate-floored space right in town. I feared the loss of that high-impact union of funky eccentricity combined with culinary sophistication. I'm happy to say, Sobo still is my Tofino fave. I veered away from fish tacos and tried other dishes. The octopus salad might have been as tough as the city, but it was deliciously tender; a weather vane scallop salad with fennel slaw was as fresh as a Long Beach breeze; a Mediterranean seafood stew was a mass of fresh seafood in an excellent tomato fish broth; a hand-made paparadelle with duck confit, caramelized onion, arugula and gorgonzola didn't look particularly pleasing in an overly beige brothy sauce but the flavours hit home. Ahier often uplifts her food with gentle hits of acidic flavours and sparklingly fresh exclamations of herbs and greens. Dessert was a home run -- a chocolate bombe with blackberry habanero pepper sauce; sea salt flakes sprinkled atop the bombe took chocolate to another level. You might be wondering, 'But what about The Pointe at the famous Wickaninnish Inn?' Well, honestly, I love the spectacular circular room at The Pointe. Nothing could be finer than to sit by the glass-surround room, watching the Pacific surf pound onto the craggy rocks below, their ancient blackened faces cross-hatched with worry lines etched over thousands of years. And in the water offshore, neoprened pods of surfers bob and patiently paddle into the waves for 30-second highs. After chef Andrew Springett left, I'd heard the food lost its lustre. It's true. Although it stands the test of high quality ingredients, our lunch was disappointing. A grilled salmon atop a spinach salad, turned into a yucky mess; the salad with chunks of boiled egg, bacon, onions, and goat feta was a weighty mush. The wine list, however, is amazing and strong on interesting B.C. and U.S. selections and the service stands up to the Relais & Chateau status of the inn. At Raincoast Cafe, a sustainably run operation, the menu showcases Vancouver Island food with Asian inflections in an intimate candlelit room. Atom Egoyan and CBC's Don Ferguson are regulars at the cozy cafe. Staff found Susan Sarandon doesn't like bean sprouts and witnessed Bobby Kennedy Jr. present a Jackie O biography to a local first nations chief. Dishes are deftly cooked but we did feel we were being seduced with too much sweetness. A lovely halibut was topped with too-sweet sherry-sauteed pears; again, a lovely duck breast was somewhat marred by the too-sweet fan of pears cooked in blackberry liqueur sauce. However, spot prawns sauteed lightly in ginger plum wine was left to speak eloquently for itself; generously sized seafood wonton cup appetizers, filled with fresh seafood, played very nicely together. For more casual fare, I can recommend both Shelter and Schooner Upstairs restaurants. Shelter has just gone through an expansion and renovation, almost doubling its size by taking over an adjacent space. It's run by Jay Gildenheys, who used to run Suze Restaurant and Lounge as well as Lucky Bar in Victoria, both notable spots. The current chef is Rob Wheaton, who's done the rounds at Beach House at Dundarave, Cincin and Delilah's in Vancouver. Richard Jaffray, owner of Cactus Club chain, is a silent investor in Shelter and, apparently, a darn good surfer. The food is a dead ringer for Cactus Club fare. I liked the thin-crust pizza, fresh out of a wood oven. A halibut burger was a little thin on halibut but still satisfying enough with cole slaw, pickles, onion, chipotle mayo and tomato to take up the slack. A Meares Island chowder was more bisque than chowder with almost non-existent bits of seafood. Former Shelter chef Jesse Blake recently left to open a lunch spot that should be open by press time. Called Wildside Grill, it will be kind of a replacement for Sobo at Beaches, the groovy gravel Tofino-style mini-mall. Blake teamed up with Jeff Mikus, one of the few fishermen left in Tofino (this is his career shift) and they'll be serving all manner of fish burgers, fish and chips, gumbo, pulled pork sandwiches and other goodies to eat at a picnic table. The old Schooner Restaurant at the Schooner Motel has the spiffy Upstairs. The big red building overlooking the main drag, Campbell Street, was once a hospital for the RCAF at Long Beach; it was barged down the inlet and delivered to its present perch. Schooner Upstairs offers finer food and ambience than its 40-year-old sibling downstairs. The restaurant has a resident ghost, Morris, a character who made the chowder there in the early 1970s. "Whenever anything quirky happens, we say it's him," Zack, a server, said. "Staff have seen him." He adds that The Schooner is the "fun-est place in town." When we were there for lunch, he approached a table with a couple who looked to be in their 60s. "Are ya done deal dot com?" he asked them. They said yes. "Cool!" he responded. "Good work!" Schooner is casual to the point of irreverence. I tried the chowder and I don't know if it's Morris' doing, but I thought it was very good, full of fresh seafood. A seafood hotpot was like a Thai coconut milk curry over rice. Tasty. Prawns in a chili sauce were a little oily but tasty. Wines by the glass aren't impressive but the cellar is impressive with amarones from Italy and some French trophy wines. What shocked me about Tofino was the extent of the diminished fisheries in Tofino. "We're done," says Mikus, the fisherman who's giving it up to open Wildside Grill with Blake. "There's no future left. I couldn't give my boat away [a 12-metre aluminum gillnet shrimp boat] if I wanted to. It used to be the docks were vibrant with trollers, longliners, crab boats, but half are pleasure boats or live-aboards now. There's still a fleet but it's not local. They come through and spend a portion of the year here." "It seems our economy is chugging along on fish farms and tourism," says Arthur Ahier, of Sobo restaurant, adding that real estate and development is "making it hard for working folks and keeping the town very transient and young." He says the average age of Tofitians is around 30. While Tofino doesn't have the farming or wineries or cheese producers, things are happening. 600 Degrees bakery just took root and chocolatiers Gordon and Leah Austin have made an impact (see accompanying stories). Although there's not a lot to be said for farming in Tofino, there are enterprising growers. Shelter restaurant buys greens and tomatoes in summer from a Ucluelet farmer who babies them in raised beds. Trilogy Fish Co., run by Ecotrust Canada, some conservation-minded investors and the Hesquiaht First Nation, operate a small processing plant, dockside store and Trilogy Garden Cafe, with a mission to support sustainable, local fishing to local residents and businesses. The store sells hot and cold-smoked salmon, tuna, clams, black cod, crab, salmon when available, and spot prawns and halibut in season. "We work with fishers to give them better prices than the norm," says general manager John Gilmore. "At one time, people could buy off the fish boats. Aerial shots show government wharfs all around, 20 times the size it is now." Still, I have to agree with Ahier when she says: "For a city of 1,800, we've got the best restaurants going. I can be the biggest critic of food and service but on a day-to-day basis, we offer something for everybody." TOUGH CITY TABLES 600 DEGREES (This bread bakery was featured on the Food page last Wednesday. For those wanting a taste, Julie Lomenda's bread is sold at the Tofino Farmer's Market, the Fourth St. Market and SoBo restaurant. Her e-mail is CHOCOLATE TOFINO at The Beaches 1180 Pacific Rim Hwy., 250-725-2526 COMMON LOAF BAKESHOP 180 First St., 250-725-3915 BREAKER'S DELI 430 Campbell St., 250-725-2558 (For the duck breast panini!) LONG BEACH LODGE RESTAURANT 1441 Pacific Rim Hwy., 250-725-2442 (Will take reservations if dining room isn't fully booked by lodge guests.) POINTE RESTAURANT AT THE WICKANINNISH INN 500 Osprey Lane, 250-725-3106 (For best visuals, reserve, take lunch by the window.) RAINCOAST CAFE 120 Fourth St., 250-725-2215 SCHOONER UPSTAIRS 331 Campbell St., 250-725-3444 SHELTER RESTAURANT 601 Campbell St., 250-725-3353 SOBO 311 Neill St., 250-725-2341 TOUGH CITY SUSHI 350 Main St., 250-725-2021 TRILOGY FISH CO. 630 Campbell St., 250-725-2233 TRILOGY GARDEN CAFE at Tofino Botanical Gardens 1084 Pacific Rim Hwy., 250-725-2247 WILDSIDE GRILL at The Beaches 1180 Pacific Rim Hwy., 250-725-WILD
Mar 03, 2008 Gentry style Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
Snowbound: Zermatt
We all like a world class ski resort. Bonnie Tsui in the New York Times recently highlighted one of our favourite resorts ‘Zermatt’. “It’s a real challenge nowadays to find an exciting ski-town, but Zermatt is something of a revelation, boasting the highest verticals in Europe. Horse-drawn carriages and brandy-bearing St. Bernards may still roam Zermatt, but this resort town of 5,500 people has lately schussed its way into a modern era of solar-electric ski buses and expansive, high-tech snowmaking. During a visit earlier this winter, I hit pretty much every color-coded highlight on the ski map, thanks to the new lifts and runs that have made possible easy connections between sprawling ski areas. Sleek glass buildings are beginning to alter the traditional chalet landscape of the village. And modern Swiss efficiency has done away with what was once Zermatt’s biggest disadvantage: the resort now uses an electronic ski pass system that allows skiers to zip through checkpoints at every on-mountain gondola, chairlift, train and underground funicular, making crowds virtually nil (except at the aforementioned après-ski spots).
Classic establishments like the ornate Grand Hotel Zermatterhof — founded by the local priest in 1879 — have also come up with new offerings. Those who can’t spring for a stay in the hotel should splurge on a massage at its recently opened spa, Vita Borni; it has an arnica steam room and a 20-meter pool. In front of the Zermatterhof, the Matterhorn Museum has relocated to — surprise — a new Matterhorn-shaped glass complex with historical displays of Edward Whymper’s first ascent and a 3-D weather model of the All the recent flash and dash doesn’t come cheap, especially with the American dollar in a downward spiral. But hidden gems like Le Petit Hôtel, which has 20 single and double rooms from 80 Swiss francs per person per night, can make a ski vacation in Zermatt less costly, if not exactly affordable. The pension-style lodge has a friendly, helpful staff, free wireless Internet, and a gear storage room with boot warmers; in lieu of expensive fondue dinners, guests can bring back takeout meals to eat in the downstairs bar and breakfast nook. With the highest lift access in Europe, a top-notch transport system and the longest winter season in the Alps, it is, indeed, quite a mountain.
Mar 03, 2008 Frederick Wallace Badrutt's Palace Hotel
Switzerland’s Oldest Tourist Office Begins Transfer of Power
The Tourist Board of St. Moritz, the oldest one in Switzerland, is transferring its Public Relations to the new regional tourism organization, Engadin St. Moritz. An era thus comes to an end – 150 years that saw St. Moritz evolve into the most famous alpine holiday resort in the world. A development that began with the pioneering hotelier Johannes Badrutt in 1856, at 1856 m above sea level, and that continued under local priest Camille Hoffmann as tourist board president, as well as Walter Amstutz and Peter Kasper as its directors. 30 years ago, on Holy Thursday in 1978, the townspeople of St. Moritz elected Hanspeter Danuser as their new – and now last – director for tourism. Together with his two predecessors, he can look back on 80 years of tourism – an unusually long period in this sector. Communication and especially cooperation with the international media were instrumental over the past 150 years. St. Moritz set standards in this respect and turned its name into a global brand – despite tight resources and only 5,000 local residents.
In the last 30 years alone, the St. Moritz Tourist Board circulated almost 3,000 press releases and filled more than 3,000 ‘News from the Tourist Board’ columns in the local paper, the Engadiner Post. Dr. Hans P. Danuser will continue to hold office as CEO of the Tourist Board until October 2008.
Mar 03, 2008 Hotelizator Vedema Resort
Vedema Resort Hotel
Vedema Resort, Santorini’s most deluxe hotel is a world unto itself surrounded by a wall like a fortified town. The Resort’s buildings are designed around a beautiful 15th century winery. A memebr of the “The Luxury Collection” of Starwood Hotels & Resort, that provides every luxury and an impeccable quality of servicee. The old vaulted dining room “Vinsanto” is the most exclusive restaurant of the island and the “Canava” wine bar is worth exploration and enjoyment through daily wine-tastings. The 45 spacious villas in pastel-hued town houses domed with distinctive cupolas, have marble bathrooms, island style furnishings and terraces. The 10 pool suites are models of fresh minimalism originally inspired by the simple island lodges and ‘barefoot chic’ philosophy found throughout Santorini, while the Presidential Villa masterpeice of luxury and style. Exqusitely furnished, perfectly situated on a magical Aegean island and elegantly equipped to meet all the needs of the body and soul, Vedema Resort may simply be an exclusive hideaway resort which will feel like your private paradise. Ammenties at the hotel include boutique, in-house laundry and pressing, daily maid service, turn down service, private butler service, baby sitting, complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport, the port, the beachand the capital town, Fira. Private jet, helicopter, limousine service are available on request. The journey from Fira Airport takes approxamitely 15 minutes by hotel minibus.
Mar 03, 2008 A Walk In The Park Wynn Las Vegas
100 Point Wine/Food/Golf Weekend at Wynn to Benefit St. Jude
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Wynn Las Vegas, Chateau Haut-Brion and Sotheby’s have joined forces in hosting a remarkable event pairing 100 point wines from venerable vineyards across the globe with the finest dishes prepared by celebrity chefs and a charity auction of fine wines, Napa Valley and Turks and Caicos getaways, and a Sotheby’s boardroom dinner. The Wynn 100 Point Wine Weekend, April 25-26, will feature a Vintner’s Reception in the Penske/Wynn Ferrari-Maserati showroom on Friday evening. Some of the “celebrity wines” offered will include Perrier Jouet Champagne, 2004 Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal Blanc, 1989 La Mission Haut-Brion, and 2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Guests will mingle with expert vintners and winemakers.
On Saturday night a 100 point wine dinner featuring dishes from seven pre-eminent chefs will accompany full pours of amazing 100 point wines. Celebrity chefs on hand for dinner include Daniel Boloud, Michel Richard, and Frederic Robert. The evening wil also include James Ritchie, Senior VP Sotheby’s North American Wine Department and Jean-Philippe Delmas of Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion. Besides the dinner and auction, Saturday will also feature a course on wine buying and investing by Sotheby’s along with other events hosted by the Wynn. All guests enjoy a two-night stay at the Wynn Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas, which has won a long laundry list of Five-everything awards from myriad magazines. Ticket packages start at $5,000.00 per person. If a group of eight buys tickets, golf at the Wynn is included for a foursome. Here is some contact information: Eunice Mazloom, Professional Advisory Board Member St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Mar 03, 2008 BODOG Wynn Las Vegas
Bodog Poker Pro Josh Arieh Wins Wynn Classic $1,000 PLO Event
Bodog Poker Pro Josh Arieh Wins Wynn Classic $1,000 PLO Event friday, march 14th, 2008 Bodog poker pro Josh Arieh, pictured here with his wife, Angela, took down the $1,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha at the Wynn Classic last night. (Image Courtesy of The Wynn Classic has been going on at the Wynn Casino Hotel in Las Vegas for the past couple of weeks with a series of smaller buy-in events ranging from $300 to $2,000. As the $10,000 buy-in championship event draws closer the buy-ins have increased and so has the interest by high-stakes tournament poker players.
So far, several name players have cashed in these events, like Brandon Cantu (thrice! man, this kid is on a tear), Dutch Boyd (twice), Max "Italian Pirate" Pescatori, Thayer "Thay3r" Rasmussen, Darrell Dicken, Davids Levi and Plastik, Anna "Poker Pixie" Wroblewski and Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider, but no big name pro had actually emerged victorious yet. Enter Bodog poker pro Josh Arieh, who last night took down the $1,000 buy-in Pot Limit Holdem event. Arieh's final table also played host to Ted Lawson (so, add him to the list of pros who have cashed at the Wynn Classic) and James Dunkelburger (no idea who he is, but what a name), but no one was gonna stand in between Josh and the sweet Wynn-shaped trophy and, more importantly, the $59,364 first-place prize. So, congrats to Josh, although we're pretty sure the Wynn is not Iowa, which is where he promised he would go after the WPT LA Poker Classic if he busted out. You can't blame him though, the Wynn is in Vegas and Iowa is, well, Iowa. Make sure you get a chance to play some poker in Vegas and go check out Bodog's 2008 WSOP online poker qualifiers.
Mar 03, 2008 Sam Rubin SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand
Viva Las Vegas and other sexy stories
A quick dispatch on my recent 'man-cation' to sin city. First and foremost if you want to impress your friends; or that special someone let me rave here about a somewhat secret hotel hidden at the top of MGM Grand. It is called 'Skylofts,' and I did a story about these amazing suites once on the air about a year ago. At that time our management was so uptight; "Sam you can't plug a particular hotel room, people will think you are on the take," they would scream....and my reaction was always twofold, "Our viewers are pretty savvy...they can spot a fake, a pay-off," as well as, "If I were really on the take do you think I would still be working here." Anyway, the uptight news brigade is happily history; and I do want to mention these amazing rooms. They are two stories; super cool lofts; and the whole 'Skyloft' comes with a master bath suite you simply will not believe. Anyway, and this is probably a smart way to go; my friends and I; a total of 8 people...rented four regular rooms and one Skyloft. We were able to make the super suite our party HQ for the whole weekend...all of us living like kings and really only paying one big rack rate.
Speaking of which, we did go to one Gentleman's Club. The 'Penthouse Club,' where the magazine comes to life. Frankly, it must be tough times at the magazine...the club was sort of a dud. The big deal here, and elsewhere in Vegas is something called 'bottle service.' You pay an insane amount; anywhere from $500 to $1500 for a bottle of booze you could buy at BevMo for $ do get all the mixers and ice you want. But I think it is a massive rip off; beyond belief; and I am amazed that many major clubs get away with this kind of thing. We had one fantastic meal at a place I can't recommend enough. Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris hotel is a steak house that while not cheap is not nearly as pricey as other places far less good. We had a great, long leisurely meal. I can't remember the last time I spent over three hours at a table. It was great. The real highlight is the one thing I suppose most of us take for granted. Long conversations with old friends. Most of the guys in this trip I have known since my time at Westwood Elementary School and Emerson Junior High School. Just to talk and spend quality time with your buddies is something that I find I never have the opportunity to do unless you schedule something special like this trip. My buddies and I did not get to discuss the HOrrible story surrounding the now dubbed "Gov Luv," from New York City. I feel sorry for most everyone involved; most especially the wife and daughters. I don't believe this is the tip of the iceberg for political sex scandals, but I think this kind of thing happens ALL the time. You can see it in the streets and bars of Las Vegas....other cities are probably a little less public about this kind of activity...but that doesn't mean it does not go on. A lot; and not just in show business. Wednesday night I had to fill in for Ross King; and I had a chance to meet the latest America's Next Top Model "reject." Her name is Amos; and frankly, most of the ANTM gals who get dinked are nice enough; very young; and nothing too exciting. Amos is WAY different. Tons and tons of personality. I sent a memo to KTLA execs; not kidding, that after she appears live on the Morning News on Thursday; we should probably hire her straight away.....and I really mean it. If you are looking for someone young, hip and fun; who just 'breaks through' I think she might be one of the rare few. We'll see. By the fellow bloggers have said this; and it is still true; we read every single reply; we appreciate all of them; and if your comments are positive or negative is of no concern. Just the fact that you are expressing your opinion is what matters the most. Thanks so much for participating with us. See you on TV.....
Mar 03, 2008 HELLO! La Residencia - Mallorca, Spain
Sir Lloyd-Webber treats pals to lavish £5-million birthday bash
Elton John's title as the undisputed king of extravagant parties may be under threat after composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has pulled out all the stops with a lavish £5 million four-day party to mark his 60th birthday. Celebrations kicked off on Thursday, reports The Daily Mail, with 60 star guests told to have their passports at hand and be ready to be picked up by a limousine. It's understood they'll be ferried to a private airfield in north London for a champagne and lobster reception, before boarding a private jet to the Balearic Islands.
Invitees, who are thought to include Michael Caine, Roger Moore and Michael Winner, will fly to Majorca, where their host has booked exclusive hotel La Residencia, a 17th Century hideaway set in 30 acres of olive and citrus groves on a hilltop on the island's idyllic west coast. And naturally, music will form part of the festivities, with lyricist Tim Rice in charge of the entertainment. A host of West End stars, including Andrew's first wife Phantom Of The Opera star Sarah Brightman and How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria winner Connie Fisher, are thought to be keen to perform for the birthday boy. A source said there had been "heated discussions" about who should perform, as "they all obviously want the honour".
Mar 03, 2008 Telegraph Media Group Limited Hotel Lancaster
The best hotels in Paris
Britain's leading hotel reviewer, Fiona Duncan, chooses the best places to stay in Paris, from hip and chic to cheap and charming. Lancaster A recent stay at this aristocratic Champs-Élysées hotel shows that its new owner, the Spanish Hospes group, headed by the high-society owners of Zara, has left well alone, only improving amenities such as beds and in-room entertainment. The ancien régime townhouse was bought in 1930 by the hotelier Emile Wolf, who filled it with unusual things and a starry array of guests from Coward to Dietrich. The original furniture remains intact, as do the enchanting Salon Berri and the red leather lift that takes you to your bedroom. The assured Michel Troisgros oversees the menu in the restaurant.
Mar 03, 2008 Telegraph Media Group Limited Le Meurice Paris
The best hotels in Paris
Britain's leading hotel reviewer, Fiona Duncan, chooses the best places to stay in Paris, from hip and chic to cheap and charming. Officially Paris only rises to “four-star luxe” rather than five-star accommodation, which is probably what makes its top hotels so sensational: they are all in traditional mode and set in historic mansions, rather than bling new builds. If only for its location, entered from the arches of the rue de Rivoli and overlooking the Jardin des Tuileries, the Meurice has the edge, for me, over its rivals the Ritz, Plaza-Athénée, Four Seasons Georges V, Bristol and Crillon. Inside, the revamped interior glitters in gold, marble and glass in a way that’s dramatic yet dainty, with rows of gilt-framed glass doors leading into the shadowy majesty of the Bar Fontainbleu, and the Versailles-themed, Michelin-starred restaurant. Rooms and suites hark back to the empire and 18th century and many have superb views, while the terrace of the Belle Étoile Suite has an amazing 360-degree panorama over Paris. Spoiling spa; appropriate service.
Mar 03, 2008 Kathika Travel Website Bellagio, Las Vegas
Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort Hotel
The Bellagio Hotel, named for a small village in Italy’s lake district, is one of Las Vegas’ finest and most luxurious hotels. Built in 1998, the Bellagio is known for its elegant decor and fixtures, its fine dining, and its large lake in front of the hotel with its choreographed fountains, one of the many free attractions in Las Vegas. Staying at the Bellagio Hotel The Bellagio has nearly 4000 guest rooms, suites, and villas. All rooms at this AAA five-diamond resort include a lavishly-stocked mini-bar, an iron and ironing board, a two-line telephone with a computer dataport and high-speed Internet access, plush robes, and a marble soaking tub as well as a shower.
Suites at the hotel also feature a wet bar with a refrigerator and an ice maker, a separate dining room and living room, his and hers bathrooms - one with a Jacuzzi tub, and an in-room fax machine. In addition, the hotel offers babysitting, laundry and dry cleaning services, a variety of business services, and concierge service. What to Do at the Bellagio Hotel Guests need never be bored at the Bellagio. Among the hotel’s many facilities are a spectacular Mediterranean-themed, heated pool with private cabannas and hand-carved Italianate stone fountains; the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden, an amazing array of desert flora and fauna; and the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, which features changing exhibits, such as the recent Ansel Adams retrospective. The hotel also has two popular shopping arcades, filled with luxury shops and signature boutiques–the Via Fiore and the Via Bellagio, a fitness room and sauna, a full spa, extensive meeting space, a wedding chapel, and the “O” theater, home to the one-of-a-kind “Cirque de Soleil” production. The Casino The casino at the Bellagio Hotel includes an array of slot machines as well as table games, including blackjack, roulette, craps, Caribbean Stud, Let it Ride, Stud Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, Pai Gow Poker, Big Six, Three-Card Poker, and baccarat. The hotel’s race and sports book includes state-of-the-art big-screen TVs, where you can watch all of the action. The hotel features two poker rooms, where you’ll find over 40 tables including some with high-limit games. The hotel also sponsors frequent Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments and is a regular stop on the World Poker Tour. Shopping at the Bellagio Via Bellagio at the Bellagio Las Vegas is one of the most elite shopping streets in the city. Here, high-end retailers, such as Hermes, Tiffany and Co., Chanel, Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Giorgio Armani compete for shoppers’ attention. Near the reception area, the Via Fiore houses a collection of housewares, mid-priced clothing stores, a newstand, and a Bellagio logo shop. The Bellagio Hotel’s Restaurants Dining at the Bellagio is as varied as its clientele. Among the hotel’s dining options are: Le Cirque - Sister to the famed New York City epicurion palace, Le Cirque, which sits beside the Bellagio’s lake and dancing fountains, offers elegant French cuisine with a rustic touch. Le Cirque is a AAA five-diamond restaurant. Circo - Younger and more casual than Le Cirque, Circo features rustic Tuscan cuisine and irresistible desserts from an open kitchen within sight of the dancing Bellagio fountains. Prime Steakhouse - Called by Las Vegas Magazine the “Most Romantic Steakhouse on Earth”, Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio evokes 1930s style with leather banquettes and Baccarat chandeliers. The food is expertly done, classic meat and potatoes, accompanied by one of the city’s best wine lists. Picasso - Arguably, Las Vegas’ finest restaurant, Picasso, at the top of Bellagio, serves French-Mediterranean cuisine in a warm and inviting dining room, lined with the hotel’s priceless collection of original Picasso canvases and ceramics. Picasso also holds the AAA five-diamond designation. Michael Mina - Sister to the elegant restaurant of the same name in San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel, combines Californian and Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed, yet elegant atmosphere. Of course, there’s always the Pool Cafe, the Bellagio Buffet, or the Cafe Bellagio for more informal meals. Nightlife The Bellagio offers a wide range of night spots. Among these are the romantic Fontana Bar and Lounge, overlooking the lake and the dancing fountains; the elegant Petrossian Bar, which specializes in caviar, vodka, and piano music; and the vibrant dance club, The Bank, with its VIP boothes and glass-enclosed dance floor and where the action goes on until 4am.
Mar 03, 2008, a division of Primedia Online Badrutt's Palace Hotel
Historic hotels
...St. Moritz; the place to 'see and be seen' Altogether different is the renowned Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in glossy St Moritz, where the rooms are high-tech and luxurious. St Moritz is a must for those who want to 'see and be seen' in the winter skiing season, and the Palace’s five-star credentials match the most glamorous elements in town. It wasn’t always like that. Until the 1860s, St Moritz was a small village that drew a few summer visitors. Then, one year, it so happened that a group of English hikers were sitting by a fire in Johannes Badrutt’s Kulm Hotel on the eve of their departure and expressing their reluctance to leave as the hiking season ended. The proprietor overheard them and, to their disbelief, related how winters were actually sunny and warm in St Moritz, with short-sleeves and sunglasses the order of the day.
To prove his point, he made a bet with them: they would return at Christmas time, and if the weather was as he described it, they would stay with him for free; if not, he would cover their travel costs. He was right, of course, and the English guests were duly wowed — thus, legend has it, alpine winter tourism was born. Badrutt’s progeny went on to found the Palace, and the rest is, well, a long catalogue of the rich and famous: Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Brigitte Bardot, Alfred Hitchcock, John Lennon... the list includes many current glitterati but, disappointingly for gossip-mongers, the staff at Badrutt’s are far too discreet to reveal any names.
Mar 03, 2008 Lee Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Exotic Places to go get married
Ararat Park Hyatt in Moscow Russia This 220 room hotel has a working Orthodox Christian Chapel. The hotel itself has got an Armenian style of touch to it as well as a rooftop Conservatory Lounge with stunning views of the city. Don't you just love the lobby atrium. There's something about hotel lobbies that makes me go gaga. I think the design, concept and style that welcomes a guest plays an important role in the lobby of a hotel.The Cafe restaurants also look nice, not forgetting the Conservatory Lounge. Just beautiful. Their indoor pool is WOW.
Mar 03, 2008 wildpeculiarjoy Wynn Las Vegas
Beer Pong and Cherry Blossoms
Yes, it's a strange title - but then, Las Vegas was a strange place. I had never been there before except to change planes in the middle of the night, so I didn't really know what to expect. This post is going to come across as very jumbled - but that was much what my time in Las Vegas was like. Oh - and in my last post? That was my view from the 32nd floor of the Wynn Las Vegas. The big building to the left is the Palazzo, and the smaller one to the right is Treasure Island. I checked into my hotel Tuesday afternoon, made a beeline for my bathroom and stopped. Simply stopped. There was the biggest bath tub I had ever seen in my life. I tend to be more of a shower girl at home - partly for expediency's sake and partly because we have a standard (i.e., small) bathtub. And after you have been spoiled by Japanese bath tubs for a few years, standard North American ones are not really worth the effort. I made it my mission to rustle up some bubble bath. I tried taking a non-prurient picture of me in the bath and after some comical results (which I will *not* post), I came up with this one.
Oh my, I could literally float and swim in this bath tub. I had more baths in the last four days than I think I have in the last two years. I desperately wanted to bring that bath tub home with me! I was at a conference while in Vegas and didn't have much time to explore, but I started keeping notes of the things I wanted to blog about, so here goes: - Swirling flowered carpets - a bit mermerizing. Could make the drunks a little dizzy - Walking down to the conference room at 7:10am. Still people playing Blackjack and slots. Wondered if they had been there all night. - Left my blinds open last night. View from the hotel room shows the Strip and the mountains beyond. Reminded me a bit of Boulder. Didn't contend with the Treasure Island Casino shooting off fireworks in front of my window three or four times that night. Or the party a few doors down singing karaoke until the wee hours of the morning. - Ate dinner on Tuesday at Red 8. Asian Fusion. Had dim sum - steamed pork buns. Hadn't had these since I lived in Japan. So yummy. Also had chicken chow mein, Thai tea, and Vietnamese coffee. Nice and hyped up to try slot machines. Lost $10 before I figured out what I was doing wrong. Slot machines don't have instructions. Very suspicious. - Wednesday. Eating too much. Biscuits with andouille sausage. Watermelon. Sweetest pineapple ever. Korean bulgogi wrapped in lettuce leaves. Some of it must be good for me. It is a 10 minute walk between my hotel room and conference room, but I feel stuffed. - Man is wearing sunglasses on the back of his head. Why? - Cocktail waitresses wearing what looks like napkins made of mini-chain mail. Want to get a picture taken with one of them and tell Raul she is my new friend. - I'm amazed at the colour in this place. It made me want to start dyeing yarn right there and then. Maybe have some skeins inspired by everything around me here. - Coming back from meetings in the afternoon and seeing motorized wheelchair/scooters lined up against the wall. Apparently they are not allowed in the slots area. - Don't like the smell of cigarette cmoke. No way to avoid it - you have to walk through the casino wherever you go. I brought twice the amount of clothes so I could change frequently. Hate the smell of smoke in my clothes. Weird to see it everywhere - it's not like this in Delaware. - Saw more fake bosoms here than I ever have seen before! - Got lost walking around the pool. One pool leads into another and then into another. The only exit I found was an emergency exit and so I was turned around again. Ended up having to cut through another industry conference to get back to mine. I really regret not having swam in these pools. I thought it would be a little on the cool side because it was in the high 60s/low 70s while I was there, but one of my fellow conference attendees told me the pools were heated and the water was about 80'F. I just about gnashed my teeth at that! These next pics are especially for my friend, Tara. She loves quilting and I found some amazing quilts on the walls in the Wynn. Don't they make you want to play with colour?!?! In the end, I can honestly say that Las Vegas is not a place that I am aching to go back to immediately. I have friends who make a couple of trips there every year and love it - but it is all a bit surreal for me. The title of this post is an example of this - on my shuttle back to the airport I saw a sign at one of the off-Strip casinos advertising 'New Beer Pong Tables!' (what the hell is beer pong?) and then two seconds later I saw cherry trees in bloom outside a Japanese restaurant.
Mar 03, 2008 journalgazette The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas
Darrell Lemont Armstead Christine Marie Miller
Christine Marie Miller and Darrell Lemont Armstead, both of Fort Wayne, are planning a wedding March 29 at The Ritz Carlton, Lake Las Vegas, Nev. Their parents are Richard and Janet Miller, and Charles and Annie Armstead, all of Fort Wayne. The bride-elect graduated from Concordia Lutheran High School and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. She is employed by the city of Fort Wayne. Her fiancé graduated from Wayne High School and attended Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, Mich., and Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Okla. He is employed by Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Mar 03, 2008 betfirms Wynn Las Vegas
Las Vegas Golf Courses
Some people like to gamble, others need a break and they will look for the best Las Vegas golf courses available. Let us be your guide if you are looking to get away from the casino for a bit and enjoy yourself in the Vegas sun. The guys from Bodog where more than happy to write us a review of some of their top choices. When you come to Las Vegas you’re not looking to get the same old song and dance that you can get back home and Vegas understands this. The courses you find in this city are some of the most beautiful and challenging in the world. No wonder more and more people are going to Sin City and only gambling between rounds of golf.
Wynn Golf Course If you haven’t been to Las Vegas since the Wynn opened it’s doors on April 28, 2005 then you might be surprised to find out that these grounds hold one of the best eighteen-hole courses in the state of Nevada. Jointly designed by world renowned architect, Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn himself, this par 70, 7,042 yard course is a sight to behold. The course’s architecture was considered by many to be impossible to achieve on the Las Vegas Strip, but Steve Wynn doesn’t know what impossible means. He moved more than 800,000 cubic yards of earth to create the 40 feet of elevation change on the course. There is 37-foot-tall waterfall on the 18th hole that makes it hard to believe that you’re in the middle of a desert, not to mention on the Las Vegas Strip. The negative on this course is that it is exclusive to guests of the Wynn Las Vegas but that shouldn’t be a huge issue since there are already so many other good reasons to stay at the Wynn.
Mar 03, 2008 Adam Junglen Bellagio, Las Vegas
I vividly remember my last trip departing from Las Vegas back home to Cleveland. I told myself I’d never return to Vegas until I was 21. While I had a good time with my friends for a few weeks last summer, it was overall a gigantic tease. Watching huge live events play out everyday (WSOP/Bellagio Cup), was practically torturous. Well GUESS WHERE I AM! Haha, I’m currently at the Bellagio (which is v. nice might I add). I’m not here to visit friends like I was last year though - this time around I’m here for PokerVT filming. I didn’t sleep on Sunday night and just stayed awake til my flight left at noon on Monday. I got a couple good hours of sleep in on the flight, but I’m obviously still exhausted. I’m currently just relaxin in my room, might hit up the hot tub.
Tomorrow I’ll be going over some of my instructional material for PokerVT, as well as random media stuff. The more I realize the potential of this project, the more excited I get. I’m really unsure of how much I’m supposed to “give away” about this project, but I can tell you we’re on schedule to launch in the near future. It should be a great opportunity, and something to keep me busy until I’m 21….. Well, I’m just gonna kick back and relax, probably goto sleep a little early tonight. I’ve got a massage scheduled for tomorrow morning, and then it’s showtime in the studio. Later guys, -Adam Junglen
Mar 03, 2008 Funnimetric Bellagio, Las Vegas
Blogging Vegas: Strippers, salesmen, and swordplay
Las Vegas: I went, I saw, I blogged: Many people know Vegas by one of its sobriquets, "Sin City" or "The Entertainment Capital of the World." Well, I went with my wife and three children so sinning was out of the question. As for entertainment capital: A billboard announced that Carrot Top won comedian of the year. On the other hand, if your tastes run towards some variation of strip tease, Las Vegas is the place for you. There's Zumanity where good-looking people move like animals- thin, good-looking animals; Bodies: The Exhibition where naked bodies don't move at all; and Prive', a strip show that claims to have "perfected sexy" (Darn! Somebody beat me to it.). I'm not exactly sure how Prive' differs from "flawed sexy" strip shows, but the video billboard suggested that it has to do with moving slowly.
The advertising screens at the hotel promoted Thunder Down Under, a Chippendale's-type show. I noticed that women have different reactions to strippers than men- men don't show as much enthusiasm. It makes me wonder if women really like to see men with an ambiguous interest in females dance, or if women just like to impress their friends with their wild nautiness. Think about it: Do women ever go to male strip shows by themselves? In my performances, at least, they always come in groups. One faux-wild woman, Bette Midler was there. So was Elton John, of faux hair, and somebody whose both initial and continuing popularity baffles me. John was performing at the Bellagio, the most luxurious hotel in Vegas and themed after the same-named resort in Italy. In fact, as if conspiring to make Vegas into some kind of adult Epcot center, most Las Vegas hotels have city-state themes like the Luxor (Egypt); Venetian; Paris; New York, New York; and Rio (African diaspora to Latin America). Can you imagine what a Las Vegas-themed hotel would look like? The mind reels. We had a choice between the Taliban, the Myanmar, and Excalibur. We didn't choose the Taliban: Losing a hand for stealing towels seemed a little severe, and I didn't see the fun in taking pot shots at replica Buddhas. My wife appreciated the modestly dressed goat-milk waitresses (no cocktails), but thought she'd drown in the pool if she had to wear a Burqa. The Myanmar's $10 in chips for navigating a minefield was tempting, but we decided for the Excalibur because my daughter likes princess stuff. Upon entering the faire kingdom, a suspiciously friendly man offered us reduced price tickets to what promised to be the bloodiest, most gloriously savage hour of combat until the Democratic convention, the Tournament of Kings! The only thing we had to do was attend a sales presentation for a timeshare. “That's all? I'm there.” In resisting, it occurred to me that timeshare sales men may hold the key to one of our thorniest foreign policy problems: We can send them to Guantanamo and have them convince the terrorists to give up their most valuable secrets: "O.K. Let me take you over here for your free gifts. Here's my boss." "So, Mr. Abdul, how'd they treat you? Good. You know, I hate to see ambitious young man like yourself have to pay more for an inferior vacation. Let's see? You usually stay in caves! Take a look at that two bedroom suite- with your own kitchen. Let's say I give you the employee special. That's two weeks a year in sunny Berkeley, Ca. and say, 73 "virgin bucks" redeemable for, what else, virgins- just make sure you use them quick; we can only guarantee their virginity for five years. What's that? No, they won't have underarm hair. I guarantee you they won't be from Berkeley- as if we could find any there in the first place. I'll throw in free airfare. Think of all the money you'll save in flying lessons. All I need in return is the Al Qaeda second-in-command. I'm going for some juice. Just think about it." The Tournament of Kings was a great show for novices, but a veteran roleplayer like me can only give it middling marks for realism. The winning king from Russia used unmistakably Flemish combat techniques and I pegged him a full two levels below the second-place king from Hungary. I kept re-rolling the possibilities back in the hotel room and the fifth try did produce results similar to the show outcome, but only because I gave the Russian every possible favorable modifier. Besides the combat, the servers' ethnicity struck me as anachronistic- unless there were some "jobs that serving wenches didn't do" in Arthurian England. The next day, we ate at a Japanese restaurant owned and staffed by Koreans. I thought it was unusual until I remembered that every Italian restaurant in Los Angeles has Mexican cooks. Anyways, the food was fine as was the rest of the weekend. I'll be back soon.
Mar 03, 2008 SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand
Bambini Speeds Up!
Gabriele Babini former Butler Manager at the SkyLofts for the past 2 1/2 years helping Skylofts win awards and many success’. The greatest of them all is the 5 Diamonds AAA.
rector of Operations for the Italian themed cafe', lounge bar and restaurant called 'Dal Toro' ('Bull's' in English ,as the Lamborghini symbol is a raging bull...) which is owned and attached to the first and only Lamborghini dealership in Nevada, located in the new Palazzo Tower, the latest casino of the Venetian Group...the location comes complete with a large patio, the F&B operation also offers Banquet and Catering facilities for up to 300 Guests, in a space surrounded by fabulous and colorful supercars, moving masterpieces, not for the faint of heart!
Jan 01, 2008 Russia Zone Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Accommodation in Russia
Russia is home to a number of world class hotels. There are also a number of low cost budget accommodation options that include backpacker hostels and motels. Hotels in Russia: The best hotels in the country can be found in Moscow City. You can book and pay for these online prior to arrival or book via your travel agent. Online booking has its advantages; you can stumble upon some amazing deals and save on room rates. Major hotels accept payment by credit card, and some can arrange for an airport pickup service. Top of the range Hotels in Moscow include; the Ararat Park Hyatt, the Golden Apple Boutique, Irbis Hotel and the Swissotel Krasnye Holmy. There are many good hotels around the country that charge under $100 a night.
Apartments: Luxury apartment rental is also a common option in Moscow and St Petersburg. These are fully furnished and some complexes provide a maid, internet access and a telephone. Apartments offer a better level of privacy than hotels and are less costly especially if staying in the country for a long period. It is advisable to book an apartment prior to arrival. This can be done online or with assistance from your travel agent.
Jan 01, 2008 The NeoSemantic Online Events Community Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina, San Cassiano
To Ski or Après Ski?
The answer is yes, duh. To both. Good powder is only one of the factors determining where you should take your skis this winter. Book a hot hotel, and you’ll be tempted to hole up — even when the snow is perfect... Alta Badia, Italy First Glance: Snow and sun go hand in hand, making this the perfect place for intermediate skiers. They say the Dolomites are Europe’s most underrated mountains. Go, and be glad that also means underpopulated. Double Take: A night at family-run Rosa Alpina hotel will make you want to rip up your return ticket. Every newly appointed room has a different decor, and each is too pretty to leave.
Jan 01, 2008 mavrixonline Hotel Hassler
Will Is Legend In Rome
Will Smith attended the premiere of his film I Am Legend at the Hotel Hassler in Rome yesterday.
In the film, Will plays the sole survivor in New York City struggling to find a cure, years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters.
Jan 01, 2008 Easier Media Ltd. The Dorchester Hotel London
The Milestone and 41 named London’d best hotels
Travel + Leisure, the prestigious travel magazine, has just published its famous annual 500 World’s Best Hotels list, naming London’s top hotels for 2008. But the top spots are not taken by Claridge’s, the Dorchester or the Ritz, although these famous hotels are also on the list. No, London’s Number 1 hotel for 2008 is named as The Milestone, a boutique hotel of just 57 rooms and 6 apartments in the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. And it doesn’t end there. The Milestone has also been ranked Number 1 in London in Condé Nast Traveler’s just published Gold List for 2008 - an incredible double first.
Situated opposite Kensington Palace and Hyde Park, “a refined, residential feel, thanks to its intimate size and personal gestures like sweets at turndown”, is how T+L describes the atmosphere at The Milestone, the beautiful Victorian-era hotel, where, in the words of management, “no request is too large, no detail too small”. Highlights of a stay at The Milestone include traditional English cream tea In the Park Lounge, a gorgeous parlour with sumptuous fabrics and a roaring fire, cocktails in the Stables bar, and dinner in Cheneston’s restaurant, which Tatler magazine has described as ‘a brilliant address to have up your sleeve’. Guest rooms feature, naturally, London’s most comfortable beds with the highest quality linens; marble bathrooms with great lighting; imaginatively stocked minibars; and the latest, 21st-century in-room technology, including free WiFi and Internet; plasma screen TVs in most rooms; two-line telephones and night-light clips for the best bed-time stories. Incredibly, Travel + Leisure’s Number 2 spot in London goes to another boutique hotel in the Red Carnation Collection, 41. Situated opposite Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews, T + L describes 41 as a “discreet and private retreat with a private club air”. Comprising just 30 rooms, this is a boutique property for discerning guests who know they’ve ‘arrived’ without having to shout about it. A resident-only entrance offers access to a fifth-floor reception. Guests are offered champagne on arrival; in-room massage is available round the clock; and ‘business-ready’ guest rooms offer the last word in comfort and cutting-edge technology. These First- and Second-place ratings in the world’s two most prestigious travel magazines are a superb acknowledgement of the luxury brand of Red Carnation, which now comprises six hotels in London as well as a Relais & Châteaux Hotel, Summer Lodge, in Dorset, along with hotels in Geneva, Palm Beach, Cape Town the Western Cape and Durban (re-opens 2009).
Jan 01, 2008 The Luxe Chronicles Four Seasons Hotel George V
L'Hotel George V Paris: Simply Another Name For Luxury
What's in a name? When it comes to the luxury industry, the question is a perfectly valid one. You need only type "luxury" in your preferred search engine to watch the thousands and thousands of hits generated by this one little word alone. With the explosion of brands purporting to offer "luxury" services and products and formerly venerable luxury brands compromising their integrity in the name of expansion, the term has been somewhat diluted and leaves you wondering what precisely it designates. When one does encounter the real thing, however, it has a way of leaping out at you and leaving no doubt as to its legitimacy.
The Luxe Chronicles had the opportunity recently to sample true, unadulterated luxury during a trip to Paris. Ensconced in a beautiful suite at l'Hotel George V for the holidays and treated to every conceivable attention from the hotel's impeccably trained staff, it took every ounce of willpower I had to tear myself away from the hotel's embrace and to venture out into my beloved city and former home. After all, it's not as though Paris during the holidays doesn't offer countless charms and distractions. It's just that it's difficult to replicate the feeling of being pampered like a V.I.P. in a glamorous cocoon. It is, quite simply, addictive. Your experience begins the moment you pull up to the hotel's stately entrance at 31, avenue George V. You're greeted by warm, polite, friendly staff with not even a hint of the haughtiness which seems to be the hallmark of lesser establishments that routinely confuse "trendy" and "luxury". The moment you walk into the hotel's sumptuous lobby, you're enveloped by beauty, style and the discreet hum of countless staff milling about ready to respond to your every request by a simple "Oui Madame". That is, when they haven't already anticipated your needs and expertly executed the deed before you even have time to utter your request. The impeccable service and attention to detail permeates across every aspect of your stay at the George V: room service is prompt, the champagne is perfectly chilled, the sheets are soft, the pillows firm, the walls well insulated, the concierge well-informed, the croissants crisp and savory, the coffee dark and rich and the shower pressure perfect. But above all, what most impresses is the discretion with which all of this is executed. There is nothing loud or brash about the George V. In fact, it all looks and feels utterly effortless. This I think is the hallmark of true luxury. It is also exceedingly rare, despite claims to the contrary and therefore should be carefully savored when encountered. And so now, as I slowly settle back into my post-holiday routine, I find myself feeling rested, rejuvenated and of course, longing to return. The Luxe Chronicles would like to thank Messieurs Marc-Olivier Raffray, Hotel Manager and Gilles Humeau, Director of Marketing as well as all the staff of l'Hotel George V for their warm hospitality and impeccable service. For more information about l'Hotel George V or other establishments that form part of the Four Seasons Hotel Chain, please click on the links provided.
Jan 01, 2008 sletoh Hotel Gritti Palace
Just Married! The Top 10 European Honeymoon Hotels
Honeymooners from all over the world flock to Europe after vows have been said, parties have been thrown and guests have returned home. And it’s to no surprise that of the 10 top honeymoon hotels in all of Europe, half are located in Italy, proving that this olden country is also one of the most beautiful and romantic. This list features 10 of the most superlative places to whisk away for your first nights together as newlyweds. 1. Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy Situated right on the bank of Venice’s famed canals, the Hotel Gritti Palace was hailed as “the best hotel in a city of great hotels” by celebrated novelist Ernest Hemingway. Gritti Palace originates back to 1525 and, over several centuries, has perfected the arts of luxury, fine cuisine and delightful views and attracts elite from all over the world.
2. Hotel Cipriani in Veneto, Italy The Cip, as it has been lovingly nicknamed by supporters, is nothing short of magnificent. Its elegance is renowned and its water views from nearly all of the guest rooms are unparalleled. Continue on with your top notch wedding celebration at the Cip’s Terrace Restaurant where formal dress is essential. 3. Blue Palace Resort & Spa, Greece There is no question why Blue Palace has made this honeymoon getaway list. Settled among native olive and palm trees, the Blue Palace has sweeping views of the Mediterranean. Staffers worship guests as though they might be the ancient God Zeus himself. 4. Le Mas Candille, France La Mas Candille skillfully mixes the old, medieval style of its surroundings with new, modern amenities. Located within a great park in the ancient village of Mougins, mere miles from Cannes and the French Rivera, visitors can certainly attest as to why the ancient French peoples choose this scenic spot to settle down. 5. Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa, England Whether you crave relaxation or adventure, Brenner’s, nestled into the slop England’s Black Forest, has it all. The atmosphere is that of olden English charm and couples can indulge themselves in the spa after a long day rock climbing, sky diving or hitting the town. The Brenner’s Park Hotel chain also has a hotel located in Baden-Baden Germany that is quite magical as well. 6. Hotel de Russie in Rome, Italy Rome is a dreamy place in and of itself, with ancient culture and romance at every turn. Set up in a long-established Roman style, this cozy hotel is the ideal place to see the sites of this ancient city during daylight and snuggle up for some quiet time with your significant other during twilight. 7. The Westin Turnberry Resort in Turnberry, Scotland This resort is the perfect treat after months of planning a wedding. The staff has nearly perfected their services that boast luxury and the comfort of home wrapped into one lovely package. And have we mentioned the views of lush, rolling Scottish green, nestled in along the Atlantic coastline? 8. Four Season Hotel Milano, Milan, Italy The oldest hotel on the list, the Four Seasons in Milan dates all the way back to the 15th century, where it was first constructed as a convent. Now an ultra luxurious convert, the hotel is heaven for couples who want to immerse themselves in the high fashion and couture scene of the city. 9. Baur au Lac, Switzerland For a home away from home, that is quite opulent at that, newlyweds can stay at this serene stay that has been owned and operated by the same family since its grand opening in 1844. The lake offers stunning views, where couples can sit and relax, while drinking one of the 800,000 bottles of wine that the massive wine cellar has to offer! 10. Villa San Michelle, Italy The Villa San Michelle is yet another reformed religious hub, once a 15th century monastery, now one of the most charismatic hotels in Italy. The rolling Tuscan countryside setting is just right for leisure but the close proximity to Florence is perfect for exploring and nightlife with your loved one. Whether you want to spend your honeymoon exploring an age old village, relaxing in the rolling countryside or mixing it up with high couture society, this list has something for every couple searching for their ideal European escape.
Jan 01, 2008 Maria Chumakova The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow
The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow
i’d love to share some informations about the the grad-venue we ‘re looking for. i’ve sent some inquiry forms, and there were 2 hotels so far that have sent their quotation. a)The Ritz Carlton Moscow b)Radisson SAS Slavyanka Hotel- but unfortunately 27th June 2008 has already being booked and the date available is only on 4th July 2008. So , here are the info of the Ritz Carlton Moscow theatre hall. Graduation ceremony on June 27, 2008 in the beautiful Ballroom (650 sq.m.). The room rental for the Ballroom on 27.06.08 from 08.30-14.30 is Rub 175 000 with the minimum Food and Beverage order of Rub 1 050 000 (all prices are quoted exclusive of VAT 18%).
If you would like green rooms, Washington room is ideal variant. It is situated near Ballroom and can be divided by 2 parts. The room rental is Rub 122 500. The menu variants are attached below. The audio-visual equipment, decorations, flower arrangements are calculated upon request.
Jan 01, 2008 MKD HOTELS Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow
Hotel Baltschug Kempinski - Moscow
Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow is a classic European grand hotel, with a historic façade dating from 1898. The hotel is part of a gracious 19th-century architectural ensemble, with a direct view of the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil's Cathedral. Each guest room features: - satellite TV channels - direct-dial satellite telephone with voice mail - in-house mobile phones - computer outlet and WI-FI Internet access - personal safe - bathrobe and slippers - 24-hour in-room dining service - fax & PC connection - complimentary mineral water in room replenished daily - laundry and dry cleaning express service - free evening turn-down service - complimentary shoe-shine service overnight - daily English/Russian morning newspaper - complimentary access to Health Club including swimming pool, sauna, whirlpool and Jacuzzi.
Restaurant Baltschug, with a splendid view over the Red Square, for daily dinner and Sunday Brunch. From Monday to Saturday guests can enjoy High Tea ceremony: classic, Russian or "Kranzler" style. Café Kranzler, for traditional coffeehouse beverages, freshly baked pastries, and light lunches. Baltschug Bar, for aperitifs and after-dinner drinks, with live nightly entertainment. Lobby Lounge offers light snacks and drinks with live music. 24-hour room service. Restaurant Shogun, featuring authentic Japanese cuisine.
Jan 01, 2008 Live Day Hotel Gritti Palace
Tom Wharton’s 10-best hotels
Growing up with a stay-at-home mom and a father who was a teacher and later a principal, I thought a motel with a heated swimming pool was the height of luxury. I might have driven by the huge Las Vegas Strip hotels or the Disneyland Resort and dreamed of staying there, but it would only be a dream. The reality was that staying in a five-star hotel was never going to happen. Things didn’t change much after I got married and began having children. Even traveling to Europe, my late wife and I were forced to settle for the least expensive lodging. Having a bed and a shower seemed good enough....
...3. Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice, Italy This hotel was commissioned in 1525 as the residence of the Doge of Venice, Andrea Gritti, and is right on the Grand Canal. It was like staying in a museum. Our room was decorated to the hilt with a frilly canopy bed, pink bedspread and red velvet wallpaper. There is a reason people such as Ernest Hemingway, the British royal family and Hollywood stars stay here when visiting Italy... ...5. The Westin Excelsior, Florence, Italy The expansive lobby and large elegant rooms at this 171-room hotel on the Arno River offered a quiet version of elegance. This is an older property that exudes a quiet dignity. Being within walking distance of the Pitti Palace and Uffizi Gallery as well as many of Florence’s most famous historic attractions was a bonus....
Jan 01, 2008 Sheryl Obinson Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
Four Seasons Las Vegas Weddings -- Avoid The Hustle and Bustle (If You Choose To) By Kenneth Koch The Four Seasons Las Vegas Hotel provides wedding couples the best of both worlds. The hotel offers the quiet and privacy of a first class hotel, while being only steps from the bustle of the Las Vegas gaming environment. Four Seasons Wedding Packages Four Seasons Hotels are known around the world for their remarkable service. So why expect anything different from their wedding packages? For the ultimate in intimate Las Vegas wedding ceremonies, you can have your wedding ceremony in any one of the Four Season Hotel's posh suites: The Presidential Suite, located on the top floors of the Four Seasons Hotel, offers amazing scenic views of the mountains and desert around Las Vegas. Every window of the 180 Degree Strip View Suite displays an amazing view of the Las Vegas Strip architecture. The 180 Degree Sunset Suite includes breathtaking views of the sunset over the natural environment of the Las Vegas desert and mountain areas.
Four Seasons Wedding Receptions The Four Seasons provides a wedding coordinator to help plan every detail of your Las Vegas wedding. Their list of preferred wedding vendors can help you arrange florists, entertainment, photography and other wedding day necessities. All catering including your wedding cake is prepared on site at the Four Seasons. You can custom design your own three course wedding luncheon or four-course dinner menu. You can also arrange to have your wedding reception catered by the Four Seasons at any other Las Vegas location. A Vegas style wedding can be a stressful experience. The impeccable service and attention to detail provided by the Four Seasons Hotel staff can make your Las Vegas wedding a day you'll never forget. Tips for Planning a Four Seasons Las Vegas Hotel Wedding: - Secure a marriage certificate from the Clark County Las Vegas Courthouse at before your wedding ceremony. Call For More Info: (702) 455-3156 - Book your Four Seasons Wedding a minimum of 30 days in advance. - Arrive no less than 30 minutes before your wedding ceremony. Most Las Vegas Wedding Chapels will charge you a substantial amount to reschedule a wedding ceremony. - Ask if additional Four Seasons hotel night stays at discounted prices are available. - The Four Seasons requires a 'cake cutting' fee if you decide to bring your own wedding cake. Kenneth Koch is the owner of Your Wedding, a resource for brides with articles and tips on all things wedding related.
Jan 01, 2008 Russian Oil & Gas Equipment and Services The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow
Moscow Oil and Gas Club to move to Ritz-Carlton Hotel
The Moscow Oil and Gas Club based on the Moscow Oil and Gas Conferences project is considering Ritz-Carlton Hotel as the main location for industry events, director of Moscow Oil and Gas Conferences Elena Loginova told the journalists. Ritz-Carlton is a new five-star hotel in the center of Moscow. The luxury neo-classic hotel that is part of the world famous Ritz-Carlton chain by right ranks among the most comfortable and fashionable hotels in the capital of Russia. Ritz-Carlton was built in the location of the former Intourist Hotel that was considered one of the biggest shortfalls of the city architects.
The new hotel offers multiple benefits to make up for the past mistakes. This grandiose hotel is located in the city center a few steps away from Manezhnaya Square, in Tverskaya Street that is the main street of Moscow. The hotel is right opposite the State Duma, 200 meters from the Kremlin and Red Square.
Jan 01, 2008 Gilbert’s Travel The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas
AAA has released its 2007 list of coveted Four Diamond awards for the Las Vegas area, and the group has grown to include four new restaurants and three new hotels. The following are new restaurants on the list:... The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas...
The AAA rating chart is shown below: • Luxury These establishments reflect the characteristics of the ultimate in luxury and sophistication. Accommodations are first class. The physical attributes are extraordinary in every manner. The fundamental hallmarks at this level are to meticulously serve and exceed all guest expectations while maintaining an impeccable standard of excellence. Many personalized services and amenities enhance an unmatched level of comfort. • Upscale These establishments are upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish. The physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout. The fundamental hallmarks at this level include an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service, and attention to detail. • Comprehensive These establishments appeal to the traveler with comprehensive needs. Properties are multifaceted with a distinguished style, including marked upgrades in the quality of physical attributes, amenities, and level of comfort provided. • Basic These establishments appeal to the traveler seeking more than the basic accommodations. There are modest enhancements to the overall physical attributes, design elements, and amenities of the facility typically at a moderate price. • Budget These establishments typically appeal to the budget-minded traveler. They provide essential, no-frills accommodations. They meet the basic requirements pertaining to comfort and cleanliness. Source: Yahoo Zagat has also put out it’s latest Las Vegas travel guide based on a survey of over 5,000 travellers. The Four Seasons, Bellagio, Wynn, Venetian and Ritz-Carton Lake Las Vegas were named as top hotel locations.
Jan 01, 2008 Jack Reider Bellagio, Las Vegas
Las Vegas Poker Room Reviews: the Bellagio
Introduction: The poker room in the hotel Bellagio is lavishly designed, but that is not what I have examined. In the following article, you will be able to read about the different poker games and tournaments offered as well as the poker tables, odds and gaming pros and cons. The Bellagio devotes poker to three large sections. The first is the standard game room where one can participate in regular holdem and Omaha games. The next is a special section for those wanting to play for high cash betting. This section is called Bobbys poker room. The third game section is a location that can be hired and is called Club Prive.
Pros: 1) If you like watching the World Poker Tour on television, you can watch the live games here. Check the WPT schedule, and just walse in. 2) Your health is highly taken care of all through the gaming area because the Bellagio does not allow anybody to light a cigarette or a cigar or anything of the kind and smoke it indoors. 3) You have a wide range of poker games and limits to choose from. If you like to dare, you can opt for the no limit Omaha and Texas holdem tournaments where you are allowed to raise the pot to as high as you wish it to be. 4) Drinks are served to players for no cost and they also give you safety deposit boxes in which you can keep your valuables. 5) Three different tournaments take place at the Bellagio. The first is as I stated above: the No Limit Holdem countdown. But there are two more highly popular tournaments. From Sundays to Thursdays, the buy in amounts to fifty dollars as well as a starting sum of five hundred and if you prefer the weekend, then the sum multiplies by two into a thousand dollars and an eighty dollar buy in. Disadvantages: 1) The poker rooms at the Bellagio is over crowded. When you want to play, you will have to wait for so long just to get a seat that its sometimes simply not worth it. If you are in a rush and do not have the patience to wait, this is not the poker room for you. 2) Pros and highly skilled players like the Bellagio and frequent this poker room. This means that if you are a beginner or even a moderately skilled player, you will find it very difficult to win. 3) The alcohol and cocktails served are superb, and this might tempt you to drink just a sip more here and there. This is enough to tilt the odds more towards the casino. 4) Though the temptation to play against poker celebrities and experienced players is high, taking part in such games is detrimental to your enjoying pleasure. Unfortunately, the Bellagio is packed with such players. Conclusion: If you consider yourself a professional or at least have respectable skills at playing this card game, then the poker room at Bellagio is the one to pick if you are in Vegas. But, if you are relatively new to the game, stay away from the Bellagio and choose another Las Vegas poker room unless you want to lose all your money and fast.
Jan 01, 2008 Hotel, Relax, Spa Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, Florence
Luxury Hotel in Italy
A warm welcome awaits you at the Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy in the heart of Florence. Located on the historic Piazza della Repubblica, close to the landmark Duomo and just steps away from the main fashion houses, museums and galleries, this is the ideal base from which to visit the key attractions of this beautiful and historic city.The hotel’s elegant décor offers a chance to experience the best that Florence has to offer. All 88 bedrooms are stylishly designed to offer maximum comfort and many have large walk-in wardrobes.
The bathroom mosaics, crisp Italian linen and parquet floors combine to create a cool and soothing ambience. We also have 14 suites, including the Repubblica suite, many of which have superb views of the Piazza or the Duomo.Two of the suites have their own steam room equipped with chromotherapy and aromatherapy facilities. As a tribute to the designer fashion houses in the city you will also find quirky prints of shoes throughout the building!Further Informations A cool haven amidst the bustle of the city, the Savoy is conveniently central and ideal for dropping off your shopping and enjoying a refreshing drink on the piazza before continuing with sight-seeing.Relax and savour the surrounding atmosphere as you dine at L’Incontro Restaurant and Bar which spills out on to the Piazza. The menu offers delicious traditional Florentine dishes and the wine list offers the best of Italian and Tuscan wines.For private meetings and entertaining, our Sala Umberto can accommodate receptions up to 70 people. We can also arrange tailor-made events to be held in some of the city’s private palazzi nearby.To complete your stay in Florence, the panoramic gym of the Savoy offers unique and inspiring views whilst you exercise.
Jan 01, 2008 Hotel Hassler
Valentine--and Helicopter-- Package at The Hassler Roma
We see a lot of romantic getaway packages here at Lovetripper but this one just might be a first: a package that combines a Valentine's getaway and a helicopter ride. The Hassler Roma (yes, in Rome) is offering the Roman Skyline Package this Valentine's season with the chance to buzz around the city via helicopter. Circling over the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and more, guests will then return to the hotel to enjoy five-star amenities and top-of-the-line service.
The Package: The Hassler Roma's super-luxe Roman Skyline Package includes: · Three nights in a Classic Suite · Helicopter ride over Rome (30 minutes; additional time available with supplement) · Private limousine roundtrip service from the Hassler to the heliport · Daily buffet breakfast · Exclusive tasting-menu dinner (excluding beverages) at Imago - Hassler Roma's restaurant with a panoramic view · Private arrival transfer from airport to the Hassler (between 7:00am and 9:00pm; between 9:00pm and 7:00am a supplement of Euro 50.00 applies) · A bottle of Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine) in room upon arrival · Special gift from the Amorvero Home Collection, Hassler Roma's signature body-care line · Daily fresh fruit and flowers in room The Price: The package is priced at 6,570 Euros (approximately $9,500) based on double occupancy. Dates: The package is valid from January 1 to February 28, 2008 Why It's Dreamy: Set atop the Spanish Steps and featuring a panoramic view of the entire city, the Hassler Roma has been a luxury getaway for over a century. Each of the 82 rooms and 13 suites are individually designed and adorned with authentic Italian accents, from the walls and ceilings decorated with trompe l'oeil paintings, mosaics and frescoes to the Venetian lamps and chandeliers imported from the island of Murano.
Jan 01, 2008 The Las Vegas Hotel Specials Blog Wynn Las Vegas
Skylofts at MGM Grand - Valentines Day - 02/14/08
The last check of the rate calender listed Valentines Day at $1000 for a 1 bedroom loft for a once in a lifetime memory.
Hotel services include: * Your personal Concierge will contact you prior to your arrival to assist with your complimentary round-trip airport transfers, as well as show, restaurant and spa reservations * You will be chauffeured to and from the airport to Skylofts in a custom Maybach 62 limousine where you will be greeted by your personal Concierge and Bellman (dependant on party size) * You will arrive on the 29th floor via private elevator, escorted directly to your Loft for registration and welcomed with a signature Skylofts beverage * Personal Concierge service 24 hours * Butler service, including Spa and Dream Butlers, at your service 24 hours a day Amenities include: * Fresh signature beverages and waters upon arrival * Daily complimentary fresh fruit * Curbside greeting at MGM Grand Porte Cochere * In-loft espresso machine with a custom selection of complimentary, exclusive coffees and teas * Preferred seating at MGM Grand restaurants (Craftsteak, Shibuya, Seablue, NOBHILL, Fiamma, Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon) and KÀ-Cirque du Soleil’s newest spectacle
Jan 01, 2008 The Stafford London
Anniversary Tea marks 50 years for Fricklases
Rich and Anita Fricklas celebrate their 50th Anniversary on December 22, 2007 with a High Tea for their friends and family. Anita and Rich are "dyed-in-the-wool" Anglophiles and have traveled to England more than 20 times during their marriage. They always celebrate their trip with High Tea at the Stafford Hotel, a small treasure near Green Park in London. High Tea is the most appropriate way for the Fricklases to celebrate their 50 years of togetherness.
Rich, when asked how it feels to be married 50 years, always says, "It's been the best 23 years of my life!" Anita, not to be outdone, retorts, " It's only been my best 17 years." Of course they are just kidding. At least we would hope so. Anita and Rich have two sons and a daughter and 7 grandchildren ranging in age from 20 down to 3. Both the Fricklas' are retired now but are still actively involved in the community. Rich writes on roofing technology for a variety of magazines. Anita is editor of the newsletter for the Lupus Foundation of Colorado among her many other volunteer efforts.
Jan 01, 2008 King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
Adventure Lodges of North America
The journey begins on the west coast of British Columbia in the Great Bear Rainforest at the King Pacific Lodge, a floating three-story luxury resort moored on an island where the nearest road ends 150 miles away. The lodge's isolation yields the opportunity to see one of the rarest animals on the planet: the white-colored Kermode, or "Spirit Bear." Further east, in Alberta's rocky mountains, is Sundance Lodge, accessible only on horseback, and a site where some of the last real cowboys share stories of early riders who struck off from the known line of Canada's first transcontinental railway into this vast and uncertain territory. Eastern Canada also has its share of isolated adventure destinations, including La Seigneurie du Triton, a late- 1800s fishing club that once hosted prestigious guests such as Harry Truman, Theodore Roosevelt and former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Guests tour the area on Rabaskas, large Indian canoes, take guided expeditions in search of wild mushrooms and learn the elegant art of fly-casting.
Dec 12, 2007 Top 10 hotels in Paris Ritz Paris
Top 10 hotels in Paris
1.Ritz Paris Location: 15 Place Vendôme 75401 Paris Cedex 01, France Tel: 331 4316 3030 Exclusive luxury hotel with outstanding legendary and prestige created by Cesar Ritz, the Ritz Paris is located in the heart of Paris,the beautiful place Vendome.It is convenient to walk to many historical monuments and fashionable shopping areas. It is renowned for the world distinguished Hemingway Bar, special 10suites including the Coco Chanel, Windsor, excellent facilities for conferences and Imperial and exceptional level of service.
2. Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere Location: 46 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris, France Tel: 33 1 4069 6000 otel Fouquet’s Barriere, situated at the corner Avenue George V and Avenue des Champs-Elysees - one of the most famous avenues in the world is the 21st century French Palace in Paris. With 107 rooms and sumptuous suites in fresh style decorated by Jacques Garcia, this hotel is extraordinarily designed for distinctive customer. Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere is famous for exclusive facilities such as the private roof top terrace for nice leisure, the private board room, Le Lucien bar, beautiful marble bathrooms, the grand banquet and highly secure environment. 3. Hotel Le Bristol Location: 112, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, 75008 Paris, France Tel: 331 53-43-43-25 Ideally located on the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Hotel Le Bristol is renowned for its fashion boutiques and art galleries. Inside of this vast residence is furnished with refined woodwork and magnificent fabrics and set for the spacious rooms and suites with contemporary furniture and original paintings, combined with modern facilities. The terraces of some rooms and suites offer the views of the most amazing sights of Paris. Happy with nice service which complete your satisfaction. 4. Hôtel de Crillon- Location: 10, Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France Tel: 331 44 71 15 00 One of the exceptional luxury hotels in Paris with the richest in history and legendary, the Hôtel de Crillon is designed in Louis XV’s commission mix with valuable history of the glorious Place de la Concorde. Complete your satisfaction with 147 new renovated guest rooms and suites. Providing short distance to fashionable rue du Faubourg St Honoré, the Champs-Elysées, the Louvre Museum, the Madeleine area and the Opéra. 5. Hotel Raphael Location: 17, Avenue Kléber 75116 Paris, France Tel: 33-1 53-64-32-00 Discover the private atmosphere at the Hotel Raphael, a peaceful heaven near the Avenue Champs-Elysées and the elegant Arc de Triomphe. Hotel Raphael s located on the main route to the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy central location with easy access to city’s tourist attractions and business areas. This boutique and elegant residence is designed in luxurious style with high-ceilinged guest rooms and sophisticated magnificent suites. 6. Hôtel Amour Location: 8, rue Navarin 75009 Paris. Métro: Saint Georges. Tel.: 331 48 78 31 80 The trendiest hotel for teenagers and trendy people who seek unique atmosphere but not expensive, Hotel Amour is the Parisian version of Japanese Love Hotels serviced by young and friendly staffs . The concept of this hotel design by mixing contemporary art, Fifties lamps,retro furniture and loud Seventies-print curtains. Some rooms have been designed by artists and graphic designers. Some have baths at the end of the bed, others have walk-in showers closed off by sliding doors. No TVs or phones in rooms,nor street-side rooms wake up with the road. The most charming is the courtyard garden placed with nice table for guests to enjoy their meal which has reasonably price and fresh delicious testes. 7. L’Hôtel Location: 13 rue des Beaux-Arts 75006,Paris Tel: 33 1 44 41 99 00 L’Hôtel is the most famous romantic hotel in the heart of the left bank,the artistic place of the Paris.Take a few minutes walking to the Boulevard St Germain and various shops.There are just 20 rooms leading of the spectacular central stairwell.Rooms are graded according to size and view including Apartment,Grand,Chic,Bijoux and Mignon. 8. Chateau de Montvillargenne Location: Avenue François-Mathet 60270 Gouvieux-Chantility Tel.: 331. This is one of the more lovely and unique chateau hotels in the Paris area, Escape at 22 miles from Paris ,20 minutes from Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport and a mile from the Chantilly rail station. The spectacular castle built in 1900 is used to be occupied by the German troops during the Second World War,then transformed to be a boarding school for young women,then became a hotel school and eventually, renovated to be the ideal and charming chateau hotel. There is an indoor pool, a sauna and three golf courses within five minutes of the chateau. 9. Hotel de Banville Location: 166, boulevard Berthier 75017 Paris Tel: 33 1 42 67 70 16 This charming boutique hotel is in the quieter 17th arrondissement of Paris. Each room is decorated with the chosen carefully materials to create bright and cozy spaces. The heart and soul of the living room is expressed around the piano, the chimney and the old paintings. Some rooms feature balconies with panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower with the exceptional warm service, this is the good choice for anyone who are looking for a romantic atmosphere hotel. 10. Hotel Britannique Location: 20, avenue Victoria 75001 Paris - France Tel: 331 42 33 74 59 The Britannique is an authentic charming hotel for a couple on a budget, but still want to touch the romance of Paris . It is ideally situated in the heart of the historical center of Paris. So, guests can visit the oldest districts such as the Louvre, les Halles, le Marais, Saint Germain des Pres and the Latin Quarter, the islands of la Cite and Saint Louis and so on by foot . With the small rooms but fit for a couple, and perfect location, this is a fabulous cheap hotel.
Dec 12, 2007 TravelingFood Le Meurice Paris
Savoring Surrealism at Le Meurice
One of the highlights of my trip to Paris was an elegant lunch at Le Meurice, one of the city’s palace hotels that is just across from Jardin des Tuileries, between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. This historic hotel dates back to the early 1800’s and was the favorite of many creative visitors, from Rudyard Kipling to Salvador Dali. The lobby restaurant just reopened after an extensive renovation by revered designer, Philippe Starck. While Starck didn’t touch the ornate walls and paintings, he did choose the new furnishings in an homage to Dali, after whom the new restaurant is named.
Contemporary chairs with silver and gold finishes, some in the shapes of tree branches or covered with animal skins, are purposely mismatched and used with more traditional furniture. Quirky lamps and a ceiling mural painted by Starck’s daughter, Ara, complete the new “old meets new” look, which will please both modernists and traditionalists. The menu at Le Dali also combines the best of the old and the new with contemporary dishes like the scallop and beetroot appetizer I had as a starter and the rustic chicken with mushrooms that I devoured for my entrée. The edible gilt on my dessert matched the ornate finishes on the walls. The casually elegant ambience is perfect for this people-watching spot, as Le Dali is located in the center of the hotel just off the lobby and lounge.
Dec 12, 2007 Storm Mountain Publishing Corp. The Fairmont Chateau, Whistler
ARC’TERYX presents 2ND Annual Deep Winter Photo Challenge at Fairmont Chateau Whistler January 5 WHISTLER, BC, December 18, 2007 – In Whistler January is a sacred month for locals and snow chasers alike. Whistler Blackcomb has partnered with GORE-TEX to present the Deep Winter Experience, a week-long celebration of Whistler Blackcomb’s storm season and the hearty skiers and snowboarders who embrace it. The crown jewel of the GORE-TEX Deep Winter Experience is the 2nd Annual Deep Winter Photo Challenge presented by ARC’TERYX on Saturday, January 5. The Photo Challenge will feature slideshows of images captured over three days on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains from six well-known photographers. Competing this season are: Whistler ski photography legend and defender of the title ‘King of Storms,’ Paul Morrison; long-time Whistler snowboard photographer, Dano Pendygrasse; Seattle-based up and comer, Ian Coble; photo editor of the Ski Journal, Grant Gunderson; photographer of Skier Magazine’s first self-portrait cover, Jordan Manley; and a snowboard photographer that works with over fifteen snowboard titles worldwide, Phil Tifo. The six will compete for $4,500 in prize money plus gear from ARC’TERYX designed for chasing the storm. The slideshow will take place at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and will be followed by a party to mix and mingle with the photographers and athletes. Doors open at 7pm for a pre-show reception with the slideshow beginning at 8pm. Tickets for the slideshow and after-party are $10 and can be purchased at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations locations, the ARC’TERYX Factory Store in Vancouver, or by calling 1-800-766-0449. All proceeds will go towards the Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund.
Chasing the Storm: A GORE-TEX Deep Winter Experience takes place on Friday, January 4 and is another event not to be missed. Jim Roemer of will be at Millennium Place to talk snow, forecasting for the layman and what La Nina means for Whistler Blackcomb. This event starts at 8pm and entry is a $5 donation to the Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund. Other featured events of the GORE-TEX Deep Winter Experience include: · On-mountain Environmental Information Session, January 5, 11am - Meet at the bottom of Symphony Chair on Whistler and be inspired to take positive action towards environmental stewardship. · Avalanche Awareness Tours, January 9-13 8:45am – Join a complimentary tour at the Blackcomb Daylodge. · GORE-TEX Coat Drive: 20 per cent off any GORE-TEX jacket purchase between January 5th-13 by donating a jacket for charity. Discount and drop boxes available at: The North Face Store, Showcase Snowboards, Glacier Shop, CAN-SKI Village. · Backcountry Tours with Whistler Alpine Guides, January 4-13 - Join a professional guide for a day of fresh powder, exercise and serious vertical. To register visit Escape Route or Guest Services located in Whistler Village or call (604) 938-9242. · Extremely Canadian Deep Winter Experiences, January 4-13 - Clinics including Steep Skiing and Extremely Canadian & Whistler Heli Skiing excursions. Visit or call Ski School Sales on 1.800.766.0449 for more information & registration details. Information about the Deep Winter Photo Challenge can be found at For more information on the GORE-TEX Deep Winter Experience line-up of events please visit
Dec 12, 2007 Regent Hotels & Resorts The Regent Berlin
Winter Luxury Packages from Regent Hotels & Resorts deliver holiday cheer throughout the new year Regent Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury hospitality, offers a variety of festive packages encouraging travellers to extend their holidays at select properties this winter. Travellers can decompress after the holidays with romantic packages available in the New Year from Caribbean hotspot The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos or The Regent Bal Harbour, in exclusive Bal Harbour Village, Florida. Travellers vacationing across the Atlantic can enjoy a traditional German Christmas market as part of the “Winter Warmer” package at The Regent Berlin, or ring in the New Year with a romantic toast in Croatia as part of “New Year in Zagreb” at The Regent Esplanade Zagreb.
Exotic holiday shopping in the Far East highlights packages from The Regent Beijing and The Regent Shanghai. Winter packages with Regent start from US$295, are based on availability and are available through April 2008 based on the destination. The “Start the New Year Romantically” Package at The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos: A favourite among Hollywood’s A-list, The Regent Palms is located amidst 12 acres of tropical landscaped gardens on Grace Bay Beach. Its 72 luxury guest rooms and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites are housed in five coral stone buildings that form a semicircle around a multi-million-dollar serpentine infinity pool. The hotel’s 26,000-square-foot Regent Spa features indigenous Caribbean treatments such as a Zareeba detoxification ritual and Mother-of-Pearl scrub, as well as special men’s and couple’s treatments. The New Year package at The Regent Palms helps guests relieve holiday stress with a romantic January offer featuring spa treatments and specialty cocktails. The “Start the New Year Off Romantically” package includes: • Two welcome sunset cocktails • A 30 percent discount on all massage services at the award-winning Regent Spa • A complimentary fifth night following a four-night stay Rates begin at US$575 per night for rooms and US$1200 per night for suites. Offer available January 1, 2008 to January 31, 2008. The “Seaside Seduction” Package at The Regent Bal Harbour The first hotel to open in South Florida’s Bal Harbour Village in 50 years, The Regent Bal Harbour offers a “Seaside Seduction” package for travellers looking to begin their New Year with romance. Available immediately following New Year’s Day, “Seaside Seduction” encourages guests to alleviate holiday stress with a loved one in Regent’s luxurious new oceanfront property. Surrounded by white sand beaches and warm turquoise waters, The Regent Bal Harbour offers views from all angles: the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Haulover Inlet to the north, Intracoastal Waterway to the west and the Miami skyline in the distance to the south. The “Seaside Seduction” package includes: • Deluxe accommodations for two, featuring private or semi-private elevators and in-suite bathtubs with a view: free-standing tubs set before 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows • Signature welcome amenity prepared by the hotel’s chef • Romantic dinner for two at 1 Bleu, The Regent Bal Harbour’s signature restaurant in partnership with French culinary legend Le Cordon Bleu® • One 60-minute couple’s massage in the Guerlain Spa, the first in the United States • Late check out at 4:00 p.m., based on availability Rates start at US$975 per night, double occupancy, not including tax and gratuities. Two-night minimum stay required. Offer available January 2, 2008 to April 28, 2008. The “Winter Warmer” Package at The Regent Berlin A luxury hotel frequented by celebrities, The Regent Berlin also features the best in German tradition. From a welcoming mug of German mulled wine to a visit to the Christmas market in Gendarmenmarkt Square or special access to The Royal Prussian Porcelain Factory, the luxurious “Winter Warmer” package invites guests to experience an authentic German holiday. Located near the Brandenburg Gate, the State Opera and Museum Island, and in close proximity to Berlin’s top luxury retailers, The Regent Berlin is also home to two-star Michelin chef Christian Lohse’s restaurant, Fischer’s Fritz. The “Winter Warmer” package includes: • Welcoming glass of traditional German "Glühwein" (mulled wine) • Bed and breakfast in a luxury suite • Early check-in and late check-out • Throughout December, one day's entrance to the festive Christmas market on Gendarmenmarkt Square • After December, when the holiday market closes, guests are invited to a special tour of The Royal Prussian Porcelain Factory, a German landmark. There guests can learn the secrets behind the production of some of the region’s most beautiful table service, gifts and accessories Rates start at US$325 per night, double occupancy, US$295 single occupancy. Additional nights begin at US$295 per night, double occupancy, US$280, single occupancy. This package is available November 30 to December 30, 2007; and January 2 to February 2, 2008. The “New Year in Zagreb” Package at The Regent Esplanade Zagreb With the “New Year in Zagreb” package, travellers can toast the New Year in Croatia’s chic capital. The first hotel in Croatia to win the International Star Diamond Award for five-star hospitality, The Regent Esplanade Zagreb offers contemporary amenities in a historic Art Nouveau structure. “New Year in Zagreb” invites guests to indulge in champagne, cocktails and canapés plus a special “Good Morning” bath from the hotel’s bath menu as they ring in 2008 in “The City of Hearts.” The “New Year in Zagreb” package includes: • Accommodations for two in a Superior Double room • Limousine airport transfers • A VIP hotel welcome, including a bottle of wine, homemade chocolate pralines and fresh fruit upon arrival • New Year’s Gala Dinner, including cocktails and canapés and a champagne toast and dinner in Emerald Ballroom • "Good Morning Zagreb" bath menu with scented oil poured by a bath butler • Buffet breakfast (VAT and taxes included) Rates start at US$506 per night, double occupancy, US$1,102 for two nights*, including VAT and city tax (*cost is approximate and may vary with currency exchange rates), with a one night minimum stay. The Regent Beijing “Peking Posh” Package The Regent Beijing invites travellers to celebrate its one-year anniversary this holiday season with the “Peking Posh” Package. This package features lavish spa treatments, including a welcome aromatherapy bath and in-suite Chinese massage, as well as a unique opportunity to explore Chinese art and culture with a guided tour of the country’s first private museum, the China Red Sandalwood Museum, founded by the hotel’s owner. Situated in Beijing’s commercial centre, The Regent Beijing offers access to the region’s finest holiday shopping—including the Ancient Carat Diamond, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini shops located within the hotel—and is minutes away from historic sites Tian’anmen Square and The Forbidden City. The “Peking Posh” package includes: • Three-night stay in Executive Room or Executive Suite • Complimentary airport transfer • Welcome aromatherapy bath • Traditional Chinese massage in-suite or in the hotel’s spa • Guided tour of the China Red Sandalwood Museum, founded by the hotel’s owner Madam Chan Lai Wa • Regent Lounge privileges, including complimentary daily breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails and hors d’oeuvre, Butler service, laundry and express check-in/out Rates for an Executive Room are US$265 per night; Executive Suite US$305 per night. This special package is valid December 1, 2007 to February 28, 2008, with a three night minimum stay. The “Shanghai Suite” Package at The Regent Shanghai Guests to The Regent Shanghai, a dramatic 53-story hotel overlooking Yan An Road, can celebrate the holidays in one of China’s most dynamic cities. The hotel offers holiday travellers the Zen of shopping by way of several local offerings—international shops on Huaihai Road, trendy Chinese boutiques on Shanxi Nan Lu and over 600 stores in the nearby Nanjing Don Lu Market, where shopping turns into festive night life at sundown. The Regent Shanghai is one of the first luxury hotels in China to feature world-class service and amenities, including a 90-foot infinity pool, open tennis court, Guerlain Spa and seven fine restaurants, including the signature Shanghai V, O2on2 and Amici. The “Shanghai Suite” package includes: • Accommodations in the Shanghai Studio Suite • A special 20 percent discount on a body massage and facial treatment at the hotel’s world-renowned Guerlain Spa • Complimentary buffet breakfast
Dec 12, 2007 amandak The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow
New Years Eve Hotels: Moscow's Ritz-Carlton
For a slightly different New Year's Eve celebration, we want to recommend heading to Russian capital Moscow for a chilly but spectacular way to bring in 2008. There's probably no better way than to experience the very first New Year at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow, a decadent hotel that only opened during 2007. Even without the luxury inside, it's a hotel with the perfect location, and a view over the heart of Moscow (pictured).
This hotel seems to exist to remind the world that Moscow is actually full of millionaires. That means it might be a bit pricey for your New Year celebrations, but fortunately that's only a once-a-year event, right? The Ritz-Carlton Moscow isn't advertising any special New Year packages, but still has room availability for December 31. Rates start at 14,500 Roubles (US$580) and rise quickly to 126500 Roubles (over $5,000) for a Carlton Suite with Club level access. You'll usually have to pay extra for breakfast but imagine waking up to this as your first meal of 2008: The Tsar's Breakfast includes a Kobe beef steak with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and truffle omelet, foie gras "Au Torchon" with caramelized apple and pain brioche, Beluga caviar with blinis, sour cream and quail eggs and Italian prosciutto and cheeses -- all washed down with fresh juices and a bottle of Crystal champagne. The only problem is that with a start like that, the rest of 08 would probably seem like a downward slide.
Dec 12, 2007 GeniusDevil Productions. Le Meurice Paris
Jay-Z celebrates 38th birthday with Beyonc Knowles
The hip-hop star arrived in the French capital and checked into the exclusive Le Meurice hotel , with Beyoncé joining him the following day, Jay-Z's actual birthday.In the evening, the pair -enjoyed a limo drive round the romantic capital of the world, before heading to L'Avenue for an intimate dinner.Jay-Z and Beyoncé, 26, then caught the late show at the famous cabaret club le Crazy Horse Paris.The couple sipped champagne as they watched a troupe of semi-naked women perform the saloon's sensual Forever Crazy Revue in the velvet and mirror adorned venue.Jay-Z's celebrations are more low-key than last year when Beyoncé reportedly splashed out $3 million for a three-day birthday extravaganza in the Caribbean.
The singer charted two planes to fly 20 of the rapper's closest friends to the paradise island of St. Martin.The exclusive group - which is said to have included Beyoncé's former Destiny's Child bandmate Kelly Rowland - relaxed on a private yacht and were treated to a constant supply of champagne and luxury foods.Jack Nicholson was beaten up by Anjelica Houston Jay-Z celebrates 38th birthday with Beyoncé Knowles Kiefer Sutherland in jail Rosanna Arquette meets Sir Paul McCartney's young daughter. Jay-Z is Rihanna's life coach welfare investigators express "concerns" over Britney Spears' parenting abilities Tori Spelling the new face of diet company NutriSystem. Snoop Dogg the family man How Charlize Theron stays in shape Madonna ordered Guy Ritchie to change 'Revolver'
Dec 12, 2007 A Luxury Travel Blog The Fairmont Chateau, Whistler
The worldwide winners of this year’s World Travel Awards
The full list of winners of the World Travel Awards which I mentioned in an earlier post have now been published on their site. The worldwide winners (as opposed to those winners for specific continents, regions or categories) are as follows: World’s Leading Ski Resort - The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
World’s Leading Airline - British Airways World’s Leading Airline - Alliance Oneworld World’s Leading Airline Inflight Meal Service - Qatar Airways World’s Leading Airport - Singapore Changi Airport World’s Leading Airport Lounge - Virgin Atlantic Airways World’s Leading All Suite Hotel & Spa Hotel - Les Ottomans World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company - Sandals Resorts International World’s Leading All-Suite Hotel - The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh World’s Leading Attraction - Pyramids, Egypt World’s Leading Beach - Grace Bay Beach (Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands) World’s Leading Beach Resort - Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai World’s Leading Boutique Hotel - Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, South Africa World’s Leading Boutique Resort - Vila Joya World’s Leading Budget / No Frills Airline - Air Berlin World’s Leading Business Car Rental Company - Avis World’s Leading Business Class Airline - Qatar Airways World’s Leading Business Class Only Airline - EOS Airlines World’s Leading Business Hotel - Pan Pacific Singapore World’s Leading Casino Resort - Genting Highland Resort, Malaysia World’s Leading Charter Airline - XL Airways World’s Leading Chauffeur Limousine Company - Brunel Carriage World’s Leading Conference & Convention Centre - Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC Berlin), Germany World’s Leading Conference Hotel - Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi World’s Leading Conservation Company - Shamwari Game Reserve World’s Leading Credit Card - Visa World’s Leading Cruise Brand - Carnival Corporation World’s Leading Cruise Destination - Jamaica World’s Leading Cruise Line - Royal Caribbean International World’s Leading Cruise Operator - Star Clippers World’s Leading Design Hotel - Adam & Eve at Belek, Turkey World’s Leading Destination - London, England World’s Leading Destination Marketing Campaign - Incredible India World’s Leading Dive Destination - Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt World’s Leading Diving Resort - The Royal Savoy Sharm El Sheikh World’s Leading Economy Class - American Airlines World’s Leading Exhibition Centre - Dubai World Trade Centre World’s Leading Family All-Inclusive - Beaches Resorts World’s Leading Family Luxury Resort - Madinat Jumeirah World’s Leading Family Resort - Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa World’s Leading Ferry Operator - P&O Ferries World’s Leading First Class Airline - Cathay Pacific Airways World’s Leading Flat Bed Seat - Etihad Airways World’s Leading Golf Resort - Casa de Campo World’s Leading Heritage Hotel - The Raj Palace World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination - St. Lucia World’s Leading Hotel - Burj Al Arab, Dubai World’s Leading Hotel Brand - Marriott Hotels Resorts & Suites World’s Leading Hotel Serviced Apartment - The Grosvenor House Dubai World’s Leading Leisure Car Rental Company - Europcar World’s Leading Luxury Cruise Line - Silversea Cruises World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Brand - Jumeirah World’s Leading Luxury Specialist Tour Operator - ITC Classics World’s Leading Luxury Train - Pride of Africa - Rovos Rail World’s Leading New Airline - Oasis Hong Kong Airlines World’s Leading New Destination - Abu Dhabi World’s Leading New Resort - The Venetian Macau World’s Leading Private Jet Charter - Royal Jet Group World’s Leading Rail Service - Eurostar World’s Leading Resort - Forte Village Resort, Italy World’s Leading Safari & Game Reserve - Shamwari Game Reserve World’s Leading Ski Destination - St. Moritz World’s Leading Ski Resort - The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, British Columbia, Canada World’s Leading Spa Resort - Aldemar Olympian Village, Greece World’s Leading Sports Resort - Casa de Campo World’s Leading Suite - Palace Suite, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi World’s Leading Thalasso & Spa Resort - Aldemar Royal Mare Village World’s Leading Theme Park/Attraction - Disney World, Florida World’s Leading Tour Operator - Kuoni World’s Leading Tourism Development Project - Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) World’s Leading Tourism Property Development Company - Nakheel World’s Leading Tourist & Convention Bureau Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. (Orlando CVB) World’s Leading Tourist Information Website - South African Tourism World’s Leading Travel Agency - Regency Travel & Tours, Qatar World’s Leading Travel Company - Carlson-Wagonlit World’s Leading Travel Destination Television Commercial - One Northeast, England World’s Leading Travel Exhibition - ITB, Berlin World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train - Vancouver – Banff, GoldLeaf Service, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, Canada World’s Leading Travel Television Commercial - Etihad Airways World’s Leading TV Channel for Travellers - BBC World World’s Leading Villa - Round Hill Hotel & Villas World’s Most Romantic Destination - Maldives World’s Most Romantic Resort - Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Dec 12, 2007 Steam Shower The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas
Looking For A Luxury Hotel In Las Vegas?
manually with an upgrade from the regular hotel area to something a little more lavish. Of course, the critical luxury experience is being comped by one of the hotels. This is where the disco puts you up in a trivial suite or if you’re a High-wave, or “Whale”, you can live in suites that sacrifice $10,000 or more a night. The only downside is you must match to chance a least quantity of time at the high stakes tables. If the typical vacationer requests to live the life of luxury in Las Vega they must pay for it out of their own compact but if you keep an eye on your gaming losses you could very well come out auxiliary before than if you would have gotten a open area. Some of the paymentst hotels in the world can be found in Las Vegas and many of them are surprisingly affordable when compared to the value of main city hotel areas like New York or Chicago:
The Bellagio The most prominent figure of the Bellagio is their legendary fountains in front of the hotel. At set time each day and night a spectacular water show is performed that draws people from all over the Sjourney to guard. daring lovely gardens, a world-group spa and fantastic shopping the Bellagio is also known for its gourmand restaurants and entertainment. Depending on the time of year you might be able to get a suite for around $300 a night which includes his and her bathareas. The men’s has a steam shower and the women’s has a current bath and of course robes and slippers are provided for after shower lounging. The Four Seasons The Four Seasons hotel attach is known the world over for lavish accommodations and the Las Vegas house is no different. When I lived in Austin, TX I had two contacts that worked at the narrow Four Seasons. One was the supervise of HR and the other was in cost of hotel maintenance so I was able to go into the “back of the house” a join of time there and at the Dallas house. One thing I took away from those experiences was that the guest’s happiness is the chief thing on each’s minds and I’m trusty that the Las Vegas house is no different. From the consoling peaceful of this 5 star hotel to the lovely area furniture and first group comforter you will not even feel like you are in Vegas except you venture out. Children are welcomed with toys and other goodies and included in your area pace is extensive access to the kitty, cabanas, spa and gym. The Four Seasons Las Vegas is also home to two payment dining establishments and a 24 hour thing core is existing. The Ritz-Carlton Another 5 star hotel, the Ritz has a championship 36 flaw golf course, a spa and condition core and payment dining existing throughout the premises. They also have a sole plan called “Ritz Kids” where educated pole guardes your kids and keeps them engaged in a class of fun activities while you are left to do your own thing. For a unfeigned cure test out their luxurious valley prospect embalm that includes a area, a helicopter trip over the luxurious valley desirable a gourmand picnic dine. There are also minus luxurious parcels existing geared towards families like the Vegas Family holiday where you get your fourth night open and the kids get open breakfast and dine every day. Every city has their well know luxury hotels but only in Las Vegas do you have such a class to choice from. These and any of the new mega hotels that keep cropping up will trustyly give you a sample of the good life that you shortly won’t overlook.
Dec 12, 2007 Wine Tasting, Vineyards, in France Ritz Paris
Wine Pairing Story
The Ritz, Paris. I need to improve my cooking skills and thought the kitchens of the Ritz, Place Vendôme in Paris, might be be a cool place for that. There, in the basement of the 5-star luxury hotel, you can join a small group of culinary students and aspiring home-chefs for a top-notch cooking course and demo where you'll do all the thing by yourself under the guidance of a renowned chef...Our workshop was about Seafood Risotto with Truffle Shawings... We had arrived in advance and looked at the salons and hallways, had a glimpse on the bar Vendôme and on the dining room of L'Espadon, the indoor restaurant where Chefs Michel Roth and Arnaud Faye are at the wheel. The Mohamed Al Fayed-owned Ritz will be fully renovated in 2008 and this was an occasion to see it before the changes. We were guided from the lobby to the mysterious undergrounds of the hotel, where the Ritz's kitchens and their technical facilities stay out of the public eye. Just this labyrinthic walk along passages through the belly of the Ritz was thrilling. The usual access door for these Ecole-Ritz-Escoffier workshops is on the rue Cambon side (a side street), which is sometimes also used as a discreet exit option by famous guests of the Ritz.
Once in the kitchen, we each dress ourselves with a cook apron, the chef being of course the only one with a tall hat here. We first gather with him around the long, massive professional La Cornue cookstove to listen how the risotto will be prepared. As a cookstove lover, I can't but say a word about these amazing cookstoves which are the direct heirs of the ones you could find in the 18th-century's Chateaus all over France. The only difference is that these modern La Cornue stoves use gas and electricity instead of wood (but I still stick to my preference for wood-cookstoves). A few words about David Goulaze, the cook : He is running this workshop in a manner that it is a lot of fun all along. He has a light South-Western-France accent, as he is a Landes native, and for us Northerners it means sun and good mood. He is the main Chef of the Ritz-Escoffier Cooking School and has taught cooking skills to thousands of French and Foreign students from all backgrounds, using english or japanese translators when needed. He even runs special workshops for kids, where the very young learn the pleasure to cook a real dish that they will be proud to duplicate for their parents. That's unjust, we have a double standard here, as you may have noticed on the page I linked to, these kids are allowed to wear tall cook-hats while we aren't... Among our group, some aspiring chefs were really passionated about cooking and the recipe, and men were not the least active. The Chef underlines the importance of the ingredients and of their individual quality for the final product. The ideal rice is short italian rice, it is the one which gives this particular firmness that you have in a good risotto. The rice must not be washed or rinsed because it could remove the starch which plays an important role here. He explains how to begin the different parts of the dish, and has one of us pour the rice into a thick pot to cook with butter and olive oil and some onions for a while. We cook the mussels in white wine and shalots and then shell them along with the prawns on the nearby work-table, before cutting the prawns into small pieces and cook them lightly with onions and olive oil in a frying pan. The Chef even finds the time to show to a couple of us exactly how to swiftly chop onions, shalots or garlic. It seems always amazing how kitchen professionals can chop thinly and extremely fast with a big razor-like knife and not loose fingers in the process. It's all a matter of controlling the blade with some fingers and making a regular but fast circular motion ending into the onion, like this page explains it.. The prawns must be fryied in the pan with olive oil alone, then with the onions which must sweat, and only afterthen is the round rice added, along with chicken stock and salt, and the whole thing is stirred from time to time, as additional olive oil, white wine and chicken stock are being added. The point is to keep tasting the rice until it's nearly al dente, stopping at underdone because it will nonetheless still evolve by itself a few minutes untill you serve it in the plates. These workshops are useful in the sense that you really understand what cuisine is about : efficiency, timing and synchronisation. Cooks always seem to be in a state of emergency and run in the kitchens of the best restaurants and you begin to understand why, especially that in the real world, maybe 2 kitchen staff would have done what our whole group painstakingly did. When the rice has absorbed the right volume of chicken stock and the white wine addings, that's the time to add the Parmesan cheese and the liquid cream. Then comes an important step, the preparation of the plate : the dish must be visually attractive and all good restaurants (and not-good ones too) are known to make sure that there is no visual mistake in the final display, because the first glance on the arriving plate can do a lot in the client's mind and palate. The rice is molded in each plate before receiving the seafood in the center, with basil at the top to add a green note. Well cooked, the rice has a creamy touch that must be almost visual. The truffle shawings were actually replaced by truffle butter, which was added during the preparation of the rice. The risotto must be served rapidly, as it is, like pasta, a first-course dish. To help keep it warm, serve it on warm plates. The whole time to cook the risotto is a bit more than 20 minutes, considering that several tasks can be done at the same time (but the rice must be stirred almost all the time). This mid-day course lasts only one hour and a half, but we spend a sizeable part of this time to enjoy what we've cooked, and David and Kanako, after checking that everything is properly served including the wine, sit down with us to eat this first try. Here also, lots of fun. But we can be serious at times : David Goulaze has also been working on the diet and obesity issues concerning children and teenagers (a growing problem in France also) and he stresses that respecting the rhythms of meals is essential, which means not eating all day long and taking the time to relax and eat together, which split families and modern-life schedules don't always encourage. There are of course other rules, like not mix certain foods and choose healthy, simple, quality foods and ingredients. As you see, we may eat in the kitchen like the staff, but this the Ritz, and we are treated with table linen, silver ware, fine Limoges porcelain and tutti quanti. The wine, now. I'll trust David Goulaze and the Ritz : This Sancerre Paul Prieur 2006 seems to be a perfect match for the risotto with seafood. The creamy rice finds a good balance in this aromatic and fresh Sauvignon Blanc. There are quite a number of white wines that could also match this risotto with seafood, like a Cheverny or a Valencay white. Both are Loire white wines, and blends of Chardonnay/Sauvignon, plus they are more affordable that a Sancerre (the retail price for this Paul Prieur 2006 is 15 Euro in France). A quincy, which is a Sauvignon from the Loire would also be good here. Anyway, each time you cook a risotto, the wine choice will also depend of what comes with the rice, as it can be as diverse as artichoke, asparagus, mushrooms or meat, and some reds can do a better job in some cases.
Dec 12, 2007 emailjazoska The Westin Palace, Milan
Hotel "The Westin Palace" in Milan in Italy
‘’’The Westin Palace, Milan represents the perfect synthesis between style and technology. Located in the vibrant heart of Milan, the Westin Palace is just few steps away from the city's major corporate offices and main attractions and most elegant shops.The modern façade of red Aswan marble embraces a refined elegance, inspired by the classical Empire-style. 228 luxurious guest rooms - including 13 prestigious suites, 10 of which are endowed with a relaxant private Turkish bath. Each presents a high standard of comfort, with state-of-the-art technology and Westin's signature innovations - the Heavenly Bed® and Heavenly Shower®. After an hard day's work or an exhausting shopping-run, plunge into a true oasis of wellness at the new fitness centre, featuring a spacious fitness room with ultra-modern equipment, a comfortable relaxation area, two Turkish Baths - for women and men - and four exclusive Treatment Rooms, one of which is dedicated to couple treatments.
Discover the essence of Mediterranean cuisine at the Casanova Grill Restaurant, perfect for an exclusive business lunch as well as candlelit, intimate dinners. The Lounge, with its candles, suffused lights, and impalpable curtains, offers the perfect setting for an elegant aperitif or an exclusive after-dinner drink. Meeting planners will appreciate our 12 modular meeting rooms, which are able to host up to 400 people. All are equipped with new technologies and represent the perfect location for any type of events, from the most private business meetings to the most prestigious gala dinners.’’’
Dec 12, 2007 Cocktails, cocktail, coctail, alcohol, mixer, shaker, prescription, recipe... The Connaught London
4 oz champagne 1 oz triple sec 1 splash cranberry juice In a champagne flute, pour triple sec. Add champagne and top with splash of cranberry. Served at the Red Room at the Connaught hotel in London
Dec 12, 2007 iTripped Pan Pacific Vancouver
Breakfast at the Pan Pacific
Free breakfast at one of the fancier hotels in town - that is a phrase that almost always has me interested. It was a charity fundraiser where people had to bring new, unwrapped toys to be donated to needy kids at Christmas and in exchange, you could either eat a free breakfast, or at least get a coffee and donut if you were in a rush.
We opted for the breakfast. We always opt for breakfast. It was a nice start to the day. From where we were sitting we had a nice view of North Vancouver as the clouds slowly started to lift, in typical West Coast fashion. I even made it to work on time afterwards.
Dec 12, 2007 The Gazette Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino
See the Pacific in action
The magnificent beaches around this tiny town on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island are overwhelming, kind of like Niagara Falls, but instead of rushing over the edge of a cliff, their cascading waters come roaring straight at you in wave after wave after wave. And just like Niagara Falls, they never stop. My wife and I fell in love with the roiling Pacific here the first time we saw it on a cold, rainy weekend in November more than 20 years ago. The rain had just let up and the sun was just starting to set as we rounded a bend in the road and got hit smack in the face with one of the most awe-inspiring sights of our lives.
The sky was literally pulsating with glowing clouds of pink and gold fire, huge waves were crashing over black rocks with a sound like distant thunder, the wind was blowing wildly, and white surf was cascading onto the beach as far as the eye could see. It was like a glimpse of the Creation. Which is undoubtedly why more and more visitors flock here every year from November to March. It used to be called the "off-season," but thanks to a brilliant marketing campaign by the world-renowned Wickaninnish Inn, it is now called the "storm-watch season." And every other resort, motel, inn and B&B on the 42-kilometre Long Beach peninsula - from the village of Ucluelet at the south end to Tofino at the north end - has jumped on the bandwagon, offering special storm-watching packages complete with yellow rain slickers and big black umbrellas so that you can brave the elements in style - no matter how wet it gets. How wet, you ask? Tofino and Ucluelet both get a whopping average of 3.3 metres of rain a year, which is more than three times the annual rainfall in Vancouver. During the winter months, storms tend to roll in every three or four days bringing winds anywhere from 70 to 120 kilometres an hour and crashing waves five to six metres high. Although it can be especially exhilarating to walk the beach at times like this, I must admit I prefer watching it all from the picture window of a cozy waterfront suite while sitting in front of a crackling fire or relaxing in a strategically placed soaker tub. Which is exactly what Charles McDiarmid's father and the rest of his family had in mind when they built the Wickaninnish Inn 11 years ago. "My dad, who was the only doctor in Tofino for 17 years, built a family cabin on another point of land just north of here back in the 1960s," McDiarmid said. "He used to bring us all up here every Christmas and we always loved watching the storms - the bigger the better. It was a lot more fun than television." McDiarmid said his father put himself through medical school by working as a bellhop at the Banff Springs Hotel and had dreamed about opening a motel in Tofino for 30 years until the family finally got around to doing it in 1996 - only on a much larger scale. "Our goal was to build the best hotel and the best place for watching storms on the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska," said McDiarmid, who is the general manager. One step through the elegantly carved front doors and you know the McDiarmids have succeeded beyond their patriarch's wildest dreams. Like the rest of the inn, the soaring cedar post-and-beam lobby is filled with original West Coast art. The two-storey-high, floor-to-ceiling windows look straight out at the endless waves of Chesterman Beach, which is 2.4 kilometres long. It's second only to Long Beach's 11-kilometre stretch of surf and sand in the Pacific Rim National Park. More paintings and sculptures grace a charming little library that looks out over the lobby. On one wall is the original proclamation signed by King George III which gave Captain George Vancouver the go-ahead for his epic voyage to the Pacific Northwest in 1792 and nearby is a beautiful scale model of his famed ship Discovery. Also displayed behind glass is a first edition of Vancouver's three-volume account of his adventures, which was published in 1798. Each of the inn's 75 guest rooms provide spectacular ocean views, gas fireplaces, TVs and CD players, coffee makers, mini-bars, two-person soaker tubs, duvet comforters and private balconies. There's even a private safe for your valuables and a pair of binoculars on the mantle in case you want a closer look at the crashing waves, the multitudinous birds or the black-clad surfers who flock to the beach every day rain or shine. The best view of all is from the inn's circular restaurant perched on a point of coal-black rocks jutting out into the water from the main building. It's hard to decide which is better - the panoramic 270-degree view or the luscious gourmet dishes prepared by the inn's world-class chef. During heavy storms, special microphones pick up the sound of the waves and pipe it in to the dining room while you eat. Of course, all this doesn't come cheap. The inn's current storm-season rates range from $260 to $975 a night. Special two-night storm-watching packages, including hats, drinks and a three-hour guided nature tour, start at $799 and go all the way up to $2,229 for a plush unit called the Canopy Suite. There's also the Ancient Cedars Spa, which offers a wide array of enticing services from a $115 massage to a dual session for couples at $830. We checked out half a dozen other beautiful beachfront resorts during our recent visit, including the Long Beach Lodge, where you can get an oceanview suite including continental breakfast for $199; the Crystal Cove Beach Resort where you can rent a delightful log cabin with full kitchen facilities for $180; and the TinWis Best Western, which offers a special storm-season rate of $123 along with a free yoga session. It also has an excellent restaurant with a spectacular view of MacKenzie Beach. Perhaps the most popular resort of all, however, is the Pacific Sands, which is also one of the oldest, having been founded by the Pettinger family 34 years ago. "My dad was a dairy farmer in Edmonton," said general manager Dave Pettinger. "When he decided to sell out and head west, he saw a for-sale ad in the Edmonton paper for a motel in Tofino one day, went to check it out and bought it the very next day." It was called the Paradise Inn, but the Pettingers rebuilt it and renamed it Pacific Sands. Since then, they've put up nearly a dozen more cedar-sided buildings, including 22 beachfront villas, all of which look out on a gorgeous crescent-shaped beach called Cox Bay. Each one of the resort's 77 beautifully appointed units comes with a fully equipped kitchen, wood-burning fireplace and a bird's-eye view of the rippling surf that sometimes looks as if it's coming right into your front yard. Pacific Sands prides itself on being a family resort and people keep coming back year after year, Pettinger said. Current storm-season rates start at $160, but there's also a 10-per-cent discount for BCAA, CAA and AAA members and a 15-per-cent discount for seniors. One of the resort's more secluded spots especially popular with couples is Sunset Point, a rocky promontory at the north end of the beach, which can only be reached by a 10-minute hike through the woods along a recently completed boardwalk. As the name says, it's a great place to watch sunsets, which is why one romantic young guest asked Pettinger if he could get somebody to take a diamond engagement ring out to a bench on the Point and tape it under the seat so that he could spring it on his girlfriend at just the right moment. Pettinger was happy to oblige - and apparently the girl was, too. Like thousands of others before them, I'd bet my last umbrella that they're going to be hooked on the wind and the waves for the rest of their lives. Niagara Falls, eat your heart out! IF YOU GO Getting there. Take a ferry from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and Highway 19 north to Exit 60 onto Highway 4 west through Port Alberni to the Long Beach peninsula at the junction of Highway 4 and the Pacific Rim Highway. Ucluelet is eight kilometres to the left and Tofino is 34 kilometres to the right. From Nanaimo, it's a beautiful winding drive of 265 kilometres and takes about three hours. There are also charter flights from Vancouver that can get you to Tofino in 50 minutes. Accommodations. There are more than 25 resorts, motels and inns in Tofino and nearly 30 B&Bs. There are a handful of resorts and motels in Ucluelet, as well as B&Bs, cabins and cottages. Both downtowns also have a few older motels where you can still get a room for as little as $50. Other things to do. There are nearly 20 art galleries and studios in Tofino, but the one not to be missed is artist Roy Henry Vickers's stunning Eagle Aerie Gallery set in a traditional cedar longhouse; have lunch upstairs at the Schooner Restaurant (the fish and chips were the best we've ever had anywhere), or go for a hot bowl of soup at the popular and organically correct SoBo Cafe; see the amazing 800-year-old elk cedar tree propped up by guy wires and an iron girdle near the entrance to downtown Tofino; check out the wildly eclectic selection of fiction and non-fiction at Wildside Booksellers & Kites; take a hike on the 2.7-kilometre Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, which provides some of the most spectacular views of wind and water on the entire peninsula. Information. Pick up an excellent map of the Long Beach peninsula with an extensive list of accommodations and restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet at the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre, which is located at the junction of Highway 4 and the Pacific Rim Highway. Phone: 250-726-4600. More information is also available at the Tofino Info Centre at 1426 Pacific Highway, 250-725-3414,; and at the Ucluelet Visitor Centre at 100 Main St., 250-726-4641,
Dec 12, 2007 Vegas Syndicate Bellagio, Las Vegas
The Bank Nightclub at Bellagio to Bring New Level of Luxury to Las Vegas Nightlife The Light Group, renowned for shaping the nightlife landscape on the Las Vegas Strip, opens its latest nightclub concept, The Bank at Bellagio, Thursday, Dec. 27. With this elegant, intimate and exclusive nightclub, The Light Group once again transforms the nightlife experience in Las Vegas, raising the bar of sophistication and luxury.
Catering to a discerning audience with higher sensibilities, the exquisitely designed space at The Bank encompasses everything a guest at the AAA Five Diamond Bellagio has come to expect. Guests will enter through a grandiose foyer adorned with bottles of Cristal stacked floor-to-ceiling on each wall. The space is topped off by a champagne glass ceiling fixture which reflects a kaleidoscope of light and colors. The nightclub's main room presents a dramatic aerial perspective: elegant VIP booths layer the dance floor in an impressive multi-tiered environment. The dance floor, set at the lowest tier, is slightly raised and bordered by reflective translucent glass creating a brilliant focal point in the center of the room. Two full bars, positioned at either side of the club, will offer a wide array of libations and fine liquors, while a raised DJ booth overlooking the dance floor at the center of the room will be the source of energy and excitement. Offering unrivaled service in a high-energy atmosphere, the chic and stunning 8,000 square foot space sets The Bank apart from the traditional multi-room cavernous clubs that cater to the masses. The Light Group, known for setting the standard for service, will offer the most refined bottle service in Las Vegas. Each table will receive a personal service team, led by a cocktail server -- adorned in an elegant gold cocktail dress -- who will command the bottle service experience. Attention to detail abounds with combinations of rich textures and modern elements which create a harmoniously paired aesthetic. A resplendent palette of colors complements The Bank's intricate details creating a luxurious yet contemporary vibe. Vivid, custom-designed ambient and mood lighting on both the ceiling and floor will create an ultra-sensory experience. Translucent etched glass railing will reflect one-of-a-kind fiber optic lighting that will pulsate with the music. A state-of-the-art sound system will bring the club to life while the world's premier DJs spin the best in hip-hop, rock and eclectic mash-ups. The Bank's Managing Partners are New York club owner, international promoter and actor Danny A and The Light Group's Jodi Myers. Danny A, a nightlife impresario among the world's most exclusive club scenes and part owner of New York hot-spot Upstairs, and Myers, a six year VIP-marketing veteran, will oversee the venue's overall operations, marketing and brand development. "The Bank will be a world-class nightclub sure to exceed the expectations of even the most discriminating of guests," said Myers. "Just as Bellagio is known for world-class service and sophistication, The Bank will offer unsurpassed service in a luxurious nightlife setting," said Randy Morton, president of Bellagio. The Bank is available for private events seven nights a week for groups of 200 to 1000 people. With fully customized video capabilities and state-of-the-art sound and lights, The Bank can be specifically tailored to any group's needs. The Bank Nightclub will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Admission charge is $50.
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