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Sep 09, 2007 Cooking World Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris
The magnificent quintuple (Part 3)
People, who like sedate aristocratic tea drinking, should visit La Galerie des Gobelins. And at last, the last restaurant of Plaza Athenee - a bar. This place is aimed more likely at the youth, who likes parties. Queer search of the designer, who has combined technological attributes of modern design and wooden panels of the XVIII century, have transformed the bar into a fashionable night club. The room is divided into two zones. The space of the first is arranged around the bar itself, made from an architectural glass with built-in luminescent lamps. The second zone has a chamber atmosphere. Leather sofas, freakish carpets and huge canvas will be an excellent frame for a cocktail party.
By the way, local cocktails are something like the card of the whole hotel. Their concept is created not only by barmen, but also by the management of the hotel led by the director, who is responsible for legendary firm service in Plaza Athenee. Cocktails are his hobby. Those, who like champagne and raspberry may enjoy with one of the most popular drinks of today’s night Paris - Rose Royale. And his most tremendous invention is substance called Flower Power. The recipe of this nonalcoholic cocktail enriched with oxygen is kept in secret. It is known only, that it contains an elixir from several flower species gathered in mountains of the Western Europe.
Sep 09, 2007 frenchrivieralifecom Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
The Hotel Martinez in Cannes has to be one of the largest hotels. It's right on La Croisette, which is the most famous street. Just photo...
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Sep 09, 2007 subsupreme The Connaught London
wow
Princess and I had an amazing weekend in London. She sat first class while I sat in coach. We stayed at the Connaught Hotel, one of the nicest hotels in London. I of course slept on the floor next to Princess each night.
During the day I got the opportunity to take her shopping and show her all the sights throughout London. I ended up spending close to $10,000 (USD) on clothing, jewelry and perfume for Princess. The dollar doesn't go to far in the UK. We ate well too. Each night after shopping all day, I was allowed to worship Princess by kneeling in front of her while she modeled her new outfits for me. On Saturday night, Princess ordered me to hire a beautiful male escort. He arrived at the hotel. He was very handsome and very well built. She invited him into the bedroom while I waited in the living room. I could hear them having incredible hot sex. I was so turned on. After he left, Princess said I could release myself in the bathroom. She even allowed me to take one of her worn panties into the bathroom with me so I could have something of hers to fantasize about. After I was done, I laid down on the floor and went to sleep. All in all, it was an incredible trip. We are off to Paris in October for a long weekend. Princess is incredible. I love being used by Princess.
Sep 09, 2007 Senin Hotel Gritti Palace
Hotel Gritti Palace
Open the gold-rimmed doors of the Hotel Gritti Palace and experience Venetian romance sixteenth century style. Situated on the Grand Canal in Venice with incomparable views, the Hotel Gritti Palace was built in 1525 as the residence of Andrea Gritti, the Doge of Venice and is just a short walk from Venice's elite shopping district and principal attractions. With an ornately hand painted grand piano, intricately woven rugs, marble tiles, and finely painted gold-trimmed ceilings, the Hotel Gritti Palace preserves within its walls stories of illustrious visitors and royal families. Renowned for its discreet, attentive service and elegant luxury, the Hotel Gritti Palace has been named one of the "Best of the Best," one of the "Top 75 Resorts in Europe," and to the Gold List Reserve by Condé Nast Traveler in 2005.
Taste fine Italian cuisine and culinary delights at the Club del Doge restaurant. Featuring local and fresh ingredients from Venice’s own Rialto Market and enchanting views of the Grand Canal, the Club del Doge restaurant caters to elite guests desiring Venice’s finest dining. During the Venetian Summer, indulge in private beach facilities, swimming pools, tennis, and golf via our private motorlaunch to Venice Lido, exclusively for guests of the Hotel Gritti Palace. Trace your way back in history in each of our 91 luxurious guest rooms and suites. Featuring fine Venetian antique furniture, each room provides an old-world, elegant feel with today’s modern amenities for lavish comfort including High Speed Internet Access. Follow the storyline of the Hotel Gritti Palace’s previous noble guests within the walls of your own guest room Campo Santa Maria del Giglio · Venice 30124 · Italy Phone: (39)(041) 794611
Sep 09, 2007 ASSOCIATED PRESS Claridge's
BRITAIN LONDON FASHION WEEK
A model displays a creation by designer Luella during London Fashion Week at Claridges Hotel in London, Monday, Sept. 17, 2007.
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Sep 09, 2007 Four Seasons Hotel Prague
The Four Seasons hotel, Prague
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Sep 09, 2007 CBW Mandarin Oriental, Prague
Mandarin Oriental Hotel throws birthday celebration
Prague’s luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which opened last fall in the historical center of Prague 1 near Malostranské náměstí, invited special guests to commemorate its first birthday Sept. 12. Among the well-wishers were not only the hotel’s partners, but fans of oriental design and Asian cuisine, and those well-known in the arts and social scenes, such as violinist Jaroslav Svěcený and Slovak actor Maroš Kramár. Each participant received a small gift in the shape of an oriental fan and was personally welcomed by Clemens Hoerth, general manager of the hotel. He apologized for the change in the location of the party, which was planned for the hotel’s garden, but because of the cold weather was moved inside.
After his welcoming speech and a rendition of “Happy Birthday” by singer Yvonne Sánchez, Hoerth made the first cut into a birthday cake prepared by Essensia—the hotel’s restaurant—and baked in the shape of the hotel. Czech celebrity and model Simona Krainová drew the names of winners for three special prizes including a weekend at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Guests could taste some of the oriental food specialties such as Thai fish brochette seasoned with coriander seed and lime.
Sep 09, 2007 Greg Coates Mandarin Oriental, Prague
Tour of Prague's treasures fit for a prince
Travellers interested in Czech Republic history can book an exclusive two-day "Treasures of Prague" package offered by the Mandarin Oriental, Prague, highlighted by a guided tour of Prague Castle. A guide takes guests on a day-long exploration of what was once "a city within a city." After visiting the castle, there's a champagne lunch on the terrace of the Lobkowicz Palace. Participants will receive a special keepsake and a card signed by Prince William Lobkowicz, as well as an Oriental foot massage back at the hotel's spa.
Rates for the two-day package start at 579 euros (about $840 Cdn.) per room per night, based on double occupancy, and include breakfast. For more, see www.mandarinoriental.com.
Sep 09, 2007 The Observer, Vanessa Thorpe Claridge's
Queen Luella conquers London
The designer's return confirms the primacy of British fashion There are few people in the world of fashion who get to be known by just one name. There was Coco, of course, and after her came Twiggy, but most of those who try this trick sound phoney.
As London Fashion Week launches this weekend, with greater fanfare and international influence than ever, there is one woman who can claim to have made it into that league. The award-winning designer Luella - formerly Luella Bartley - has returned to reinvest in her native city and will be toasted tomorrow night at a 'chic cocktail party' in the ballroom at Claridge's, after her catwalk show at the hotel in the morning.
Sep 09, 2007 Caterersearch The Dorchester Hotel London
Alain Ducasse set to open soon at the Dorchester
French chef Alain Ducasse is to open his eagerly awaited restaurant at London's Dorchester hotel on 13 November, Caterer can reveal. The 80-cover Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester eaterie will be located in the hotel's Terrace private dining room, overlooking Park Lane and Hyde Park.
Restaurant manager will be Christian Laval, who has been manager of Ducasse's Spoon Food & Wine in Paris since it opened in 1998. He will be supported by Philippe Beaucourt, while head sommelier will be Hugues Lepin. Ducasse said: "I rely on my executive chefs to translate my cuisine and at the Dorchester I'm blessed with a particularly gifted and capable brigade. Matched by the finesse of the front-of-house team, these key staff will be responsible for making Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester as perfect as possible every week." Ducasse's Dorchester plans were the subject of long-running speculation last year, with the hotel consistently denying that he was joining. However, the move was confirmed in Caterer in January.
Sep 09, 2007 James Martin Lapa Palace Lisbon
Off Season Portugal: Running, Biking, and Living in Luxury
Today is the day of the Portugal Half-Marathon, where folks will by running on the Vasco de Gama Bridge, the longest in Europe at 17.2 km (10.7 miles). There are three half marathons in Portugal, the last being the Lisbon Marathon being run on the second of December. You can train in the Algarve for it. See Running Portugal.
Do you comprehend the weighty significance of this? Running in shorts? In December? Yes, the ideal off season destination might include some temperate weather. Of course, running might not be your thing. Perhaps you desire some mechanical assistance for your legs. Well then, Blue Coast Bikes might just have a tour for you, or at least a rental bike waiting. If it were me, I'd do the Castles and Vines bike tour through the Alentejo region, one of my faves. The off season in Portugal also makes a country that's quite affordable in the summer even more so. If you're going to splurge, you might try a few nights in one of Portugal's Pousadas, or bask in the confines of the super-luxury Lapa Palace in Lisbon, which offers some getaway rates that are less expensive than most top hotels in Europe.
Sep 09, 2007 James Martin Lapa Palace Lisbon
Lapa Palace Hotel Review - Lisbon
Many hotels tack "Palace" onto their names. The Lapa Palace in Lisbon is a rare hotel fully deserving of the title, having been created out of the original Palace built by the Count of Valencas, Luis Leite Pereira Jardim. The Lapa Palace offers spectacular views of Lisbon and the Tagus river, large, well-outfitted rooms, great service, a bountiful breakfast buffet you can eat on the patio when weather permits. The Lapa Palace is worth a romantic splurge.
First Impressions of the Lapa Palace Hotel The Lapa district of Lisbon, known as "Lapa das Mouras" or Moorish rock, is an interesting place to stay out of the downtown area, which is a quick taxi ride (or a 20 minute walk) away. The neighborhood is tree-shaded and lined with stately buildings, many of which are now embassies. As your taxi turns into the entrance, the elegantly simple facade strikes you as small for such a large hotel. The staff immediately deals with your bags, and your check-in is quick and efficient. And...you can now feel you're in a real palace. The renovation from palace to hotel was faithful to the 19th century Portugese concept that I'll call "calming luxury." The classic furniture is either original or has been hand built in the old style. The result is certainly stunning. The Lapa Palace is a hotel you don't mind getting lost in. Let's make no mistake, the Lapa Palace is not budget lodging, even in this day and age of Internet price competition. But value cannot be determined on price alone. Unlike the two-star hotel, a luxury Hotel like the Lapa Palace has many experts on hand to make sure your stay is as enjoyable as it can be. You should use them. I talked to the assistant manager to get some idea of what the hotel might do for someone wanting a romantic day in or near Lisbon, perhaps a surprise for wife or husband. The list went on and on. "Imagine you're riding horses. You crest a hill, and there, in front of you, is a picnic all laid out, champagne chilling in an ice bucket, just waiting for you," he offered. Another intriguing idea was a vintage port tasting, complete with the traditional ritual of using red hot port tongs to cleanly break the bottle neck (rather than let the ancient cork crumble into the bottle), then decanting. But I decided to test the Concierge with a simple request. I wanted a small restaurant, not too expensive, that served traditional Portuguese cuisine as if cooking were a religion. At 7:30 I had a magnificent dining experience at A Charcutaria on Rua do Alecrim, 47-A downtown, a 5 Euro taxi ride away. My Room at the Lapa Palace, Lisbon I had an Deluxe room at the Lapa Palace. This included a patio where I could have entertained many people, a marble bathroom with a huge marble walk-in shower and separate deep tub, dual sinks, and a separate toilet room. The closets were huge. Between the two closets was an espresso maker and selection of different coffees, tea accessories, and a mini refrigerator with bar items. The Lapa Palace offers high speed broadband access via cable, as is the case in other Lisbon hotels I stayed at. They'll supply one if you don't have one. As you can see from the room picture below, I had more than enough space in which to swing a cat. See the mirrored armoire in the center, at the foot of the bed? The TV was in there. Yes, you pushed a button and out pops the TV. Nice that the tube didn't disturb the ambiance of the room, and the conundrum provided by being provided with a remote control and no visible television provided me with hours of quiet contemplation on the issue of, well, why? Then, when I came home from dinner, all was revealed to me--the television stood proud and erect from its hidden box, ready for my late-night use. The Lapa Palace Hotel - The Bottom Line poked around the bar, where you can imbibe just about anything, including rare vintage ports, or the celebrated Ristorante Hotel Cipriani, I saw a lot of happy people enjoying life as it should be lived. If you have the opportunity to put some money away for a romantic time in a real palace, perhaps it's time to do it. And Portugal is the place to do it in. I got the sense that the staff all loved Lisbon and loved what they do. For the money, you won't come across a better splurge value, especially if you make ample use of the well trained folks at the Lapa Palace. And don't forget the Spa services. How about a Caviar Body Treatment? An open air body massage? Yes, everything's possible at the Lapa Palace.
Sep 09, 2007 Sassy Hotel Gritti Palace
For Shoe Lovers Everywhere
For all of you shoe lovers, here’s a dream come true: your very own bespoke shoes made by Foot Couture by Siergio Rossi in Venice. Fly there by private plane with Hannington Aviation and stay at the Romantic Hotel Gritti Palace.
You will have a personal appointment with Edmundo Castillo, creative director of Sergio Rossi, where perfect casts of your feet will be made to create your bespoke shoes. The service costs from £1,500 (excluding flights and hotel). For further details phone +44 207 811 5950
Sep 09, 2007 Mary Winston Nicklin Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
Temptations of Turkey: Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul
Discover the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul (not Constantinople!), where modern meets ancient and East meets West in a vibrant cultural collision. As capital of the Ottoman Empire, the city was the center of it all.
And to this day, Istanbul remains a lively and exciting city, enticing travelers with spice markets, excellent restaurants and nightlife, and the signature minarets and domes of numerous architectural wonders. Stake your claim to a room at the glamorous Ciragan Palace Kempinski, formerly a grand palace for the sultan, now lovingly restored with marvelous historical details intact. Right on the banks of the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Palace offers the pinnacle of Turkish elegance. (Make sure to choose a room with a waterfront view.) Luxurious facilities are matched by impeccable service, including a personal butler for all guests. After a day exploring the mystical city, enjoy a swim in the infinity pool and feel like you’re floating on the Bosphorus. Relax in the authentic Hammam, as the sultans once did, before indulging in the hotel’s award-winning cuisine.
Sep 09, 2007 vangogh Hotel Ritz Madrid - Madrid, Spain
Exhibition of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings of fields and nature goes on view at Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio; drawing;two exhibitions exploring mind of Jules Feiffer go on view at New-Hork Historical Society; drawing; comment on various celebrations of 100th anniversary of birth of Belgian-born novelist George Simenon; photo; bronze bell that was on Santa Maria, one of ships sailed by Christopher Columbus and his crew to New World in 1492, is to be auctioned at Hotel Ritz in Madrid.
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Sep 09, 2007 Spavelous King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
Rosewood’s wireless-relief massage
The mental and physical strains created by business travel and constant technology use fatigue our bodies and minds and prevent us from reaching optimal performance levels. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has created The Wireless-Relief Massage which allows busy travelers to recover from the exhausting demands of work in order to achieve a healthy balance, even while on the road.
The Wireless-Relief Massage soothes the stress that working in a fully wired world creates. Focusing on the head and hands, trained massage therapists treat weary business travelers to a warm hand wrap infused with lavender and mint oils which calm the mind as they are inhaled. This wrap, combined with warm back compressions using eucalyptus-infused towels, erases tension built up in the hands, shoulders, wrists and forearms. To reduce the toxins that build up in the body, business travelers receive an acupressure point drainage massage, a facial massage using holistic pressure points to increase energy, relax the body and drain impurities from the lymph nodes. A cooling eye compress comforts dryness and irritation of the eye and a head massage rebalances the body and relaxes the mind. The guest experiences mental and physical rejuvenation in less than one hour. The Wireless-Relief Massage is available at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (New York, New York); Acqualina, A Rosewood Resort (Sunny Isles Beach, Florida); The Mansion on Turtle Creek, A Rosewood Hotel (Dallas, Texas); Hotel Crescent Court, A Rosewood Hotel (Dallas, Texas); Inn of the Anasazi, A Rosewood Hotel (Santa Fe, New Mexico); CordeValle, A Rosewood Resort (San Martin, California); King Pacific Lodge, A Rosewood Resort (B.C. Canada); Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico); Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort (St John, USVI); Little Dix Bay, A Rosewood Resort (Virgin Gorda, BVI); Jumby Bay (Antigua, West Indies).
Sep 09, 2007 getglamorous Le Meurice Paris
Vendôme Luxury Trade Show
4 – 7 October 2007 Le Meurice Hotel 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France Tel: +33 1 44 58 10 10 Information: www.vendomeluxurytradeshow.com
Sep 09, 2007 Kim Thompson Four Seasons Resort, Whistler
Runners to carry on Terry Fox's legacy
Locals urged to run in support of cancer research household name in Canada, and his cause is part of a global movement. In the fall of 1979, 21-year-old Terry Fox began his quest to run across Canada. He had lost most of his right leg to cancer two years before. Fox sent letters to various companies soliciting their sponsorship. The final sentence of his letter was: “…I’m not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.”
He intended raise $1 million for cancer research. He surpassed fundraising goals but cancer stopped him from completing the quest. Each year, Canadians have continued the dream and to date more than $340 million has been raised in Fox’s name. The tradition is not lost on Whistler and this Sunday (Sept. 16), the 26th annual Terry Fox Run will start at Meadow Park. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with a 10 a.m. start. Participation is by donation. The staff of the Spa at Four Seasons Resort Whistler will be on hand to loosen up those in need before the start gun goes off. Organizers have also created the Corporate Challenge this year for local business to do their part. The Corporate Challenge is based on run participation, creative fundraising ideas and family participation. The best team receives an employee party for up to 75 people, donated by Buffalo Bill’s, and $100 worth of advertising in The Question. “We always get fantastic turnout for this event,” said Samantha Geer, Four Seasons Whistler director of public relations. “Last year we had over 300 people from Whistler. It was a proud moment for the community.” Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts have a long history with the Terry Fox Foundation. Mr. Isadore Sharp, CEO, made a personal commitment 24 years ago to Fox to keep his dream alive and raise money for cancer research. To carry on Fox’s legacy, Sharp established the Terry Fox Foundation in Canada. He also started the Terry Fox Run in communities with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in more than 50 countries. Employees of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts pull together for one day to organize, participate and fundraise on behalf of Terry Fox. General Manager Scott Taber has participated in every Terry Fox Run and is delighted to see the Whistler event grow over the past two years. “We’re going to make this year’s event bigger and better,” Taber said. “Besides being a great honour for all Four Seasons colleagues to do our part on behalf of Terry Fox, our own community comes together once again with an unrivaled spirit second to none.” All registered participants are entered in a draw for Four Seasons stays at the Lanai property in Hawaii. Raffle tickets are available for sale with prizes ranging from Four Seasons Resort Whistler activities to the grand prize; a four-night stay at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu, valued at $4,000. Winners will be announced at the run at approximately 11:30 a.m. Inquiries regarding The Terry Fox Run can be directed to the B.C./Yukon office at 1-888-836-9786 or bcyukon@terryfoxrun.org or by calling Mary Vaughan at Four Seasons Resort Whistler’s Terry Fox Hotline at (604) 966-2607. Participants can register in advance and access pledge forms on line at www.terryfox.org. Volunteers on event day are welcome and encouraged to call Mary for further details. Raffle tickets and registration are available also available through Mary Vaughn at mary.vaughan@fourseasons.com .
Sep 09, 2007 Kitkatgo The Connaught London
The Connaught Hotel--Dinner and a Drink
The author of the book lists London as a whole, then proceeds to list The Connaught Hotel as a separate entry. Her logic is a bit baffling sometimes, lol. DH and I visited this famous hotel on our first trip to London together. It was a memorable night to say the least. The Connaught, built in the late 1800's, is located in the upscale area of Mayfair. We arrived a little early for dinner and had a cocktail in the lobby.
So I had a Bailey's Coffee or something warm like that. Then we were escorted to our table in the center of the MENU Room at Angela Hartnett's Restaurant within the hotel. The type of dinner we had that night fit so well with the Edwardian elegance and grandeur of the hotel; I don't think I've ever used so many utensils in all my life! We had course after course of high cuisine. At about $500, it was by far the most expensive meal we had ever eaten. I kind of cringe now thinking about that number; it's a little obscene, really. But it was a special night, incredible atmosphere, out of this world delicacies, and memories that make it worthwhile. It wasn't about extravagance; it was all about the experience.
Sep 09, 2007 Cooking World Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris
The magnificent quintuple (Part 1)
September 13th, 2007 Hotel Plaza Athenee is one of Paris’ symbols. Each of its five restaurants has been awarded with the best experts’ estimations, as in Plaza Athenee Alain Ducasse is responsible there for the cuisine - the most titled chief-cook in the world, the person without whom the haute cuisine concept is just impossible.
Among unconditional advantages of the menu a la carte - Breton lobsters with young vegetables “primavera” (120 €), fillet of gilthead (80 €), chop from a guinea-fowl with goose liver (80 €), and some other. Almost all well-known people of the world have stayed here: successful politicians and actors, diplomats and musicians, businessmen and writers. This hotel, which was founded at the beginning of the twentieth century and distinguished by the maximal concentration of antiques and subjects of art, is a living picture of that magnificent way of life in the imagination of the modern European. Today hotel has five restaurants. Each of them has delightful cuisine and firm “Ducasse” service: a little bit theatrical, but unostentatious at the same time. The main restaurant of the hotel - Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee - specializes on traditional high French cuisine with set of author’s dishes from the chief - Phillip Mark. He has worked at several three-star restaurants at historical hotels of Southeast France: Vista Palace and Don Caesar. Under Alain Ducasse’s direct management Phillip Mark has created for Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee the menu where the majority of dishes are based on two-three seasonal products that make meal simple and elegant without excessive complexity and grandiosity so peculiar to modern French haute cuisine.
Sep 09, 2007 ALLREZ Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris
Plaza Athenee Paris opens carrousel
When hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris opened a carrousel last year, it had a great success. Soon the carrousel will appear in Plaza Athånee’s courtyard once again and both adults and children are invited. It’s not a simple carrousel – it’s a musical carrousel. The attraction will be opened from the middle of October till the end of November. The hotel also offers special cookies from the chef for children and a cup of coffee for their mothers.
Sep 09, 2007 Bruce Stephen Four Seasons Resort, Whistler
Mountain adventure
By Bruce Stephen Sep 13 2007 Over the Labour Day weekend I wanted to mark the end of summer with something memorable. I didn’t want to deal with ferry lineups, spend too much time in the car or venture too far from good food and wine. My solution? A quick trip to Whistler. I love the drive along the picturesque Sea to Sky Highway, and with the fall weather and ongoing improvements to the roadway, the drive is even more enjoyable.
We arrived at the Four Seasons Resort at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and, after checking into our well-appointed suite, decided it was time for lunch at the resort’s award-winning restaurant, Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar, with flavours from executive chef Scott Thomas Dolbee, restaurant chef Martin Lisson and sommelier Riley Krieger-Mercer. The restaurant is lofty yet warm and comfortable with resort-like rustic decor, a fireplace in the centre of the room and stone work throughout including a heated outside terrace area which is open year-round. We were seated and then welcomed at our table by Krieger-Mercer who got us started my favourite way – with bubble. He chose B.C.’s best, the 2003 Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay Brut. The bubble paired nicely with our first course of ahi tuna seared rare with smoked tomato vinaigrette. He also chose a glass of Australia’s 2006 Yalumba Y Series Viognier as an additional pairing. Our second course was a beautiful fresh house-made Dungeness crab cake with cabbage slaw and homemade mustard dressing paired with a 2004 Newton Chardonnay from California. This was a lovely pairing with the full rich flavours of the crab complimented by the full, rich, buttery flavours of the Chardonnay. Next was pan-roasted halibut with green bean salad and lemon vinaigrette which was paired perfectly with a 2005 Burgan’s Abarinho, a fresh citrusy white wine from Spain. Dessert was a tasty roasted pineapple tarte tatin with a toasted coconut ice cream served with the amazing 1999 Paradise Ranch Chardonnay Icewine from B.C. which was truly a terrific finish to an outstanding lunch. Whistler is world class in the winter, terrific in the summer and it is also a great destination for a weekend anytime of the year. It’s a scenic drive just over an hour from Horseshoe Bay where you can enjoy the finest in resort accommodations and some of the best food and beverage in the country. So spoil yourself and check-in to Whistler’s premier address – perhaps for Cornucopia, Whistler’s wine and food celebration in early November. The Four Seasons Resort is located at 4591 Blackcomb Way, Whistler.
Sep 09, 2007 Richard Vines The Connaught London
Angela Hartnett Quits the Connaught, Plans New Ramsay Venture
Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Chef Gordon Ramsay is closing the Angela Hartnett restaurant at the Connaught hotel in London and his protege will start another venture within the Ramsay group.
``Angela wants to focus on something free-standing and not part of the hotel,'' said Jo Barnes of Sauce Communications, Ramsay's public-relations company. ``We've got a major venture Angela's very excited about. We'll announce it in a week or two.'' Hartnett, 38, one of the U.K.'s most respected chefs, has been at the helm of Angela Hartnett's Menu at the Connaught since 2002 and gained a Michelin star in 2004. The Connaught is closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen Dec. 14. Barnes said the decision was mutual for Gordon Ramsay Holdings to leave the hotel. Ramsay has taken some knocks recently, with his flagship losing its top spot for food in two London guides -- Harden's and Zagat -- and his New York venture getting a frosty reception from critics. He's expanding overseas, with plans for restaurants in Dublin, Paris and other cities. He's also adding pubs. Michelin said his first, The Narrow, is one of the six best in London. Hartnett has just starred in a BBC series, ``Kitchen Criminals,'' published her first book earlier this year and has opened a restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida. She learned to cook with her Italian grandmother. The Connaught menu showed that influence, with dishes such as lobster spaghetti and pistachio souffle. Hartnett couldn't be reached for comment and Barnes said Ramsay wasn't available, either. Hartnett denied she would be leaving the Connaught during an interview on Aug. 23. Paula Fitzherbert, director of public relations for the Connaught, was away from her office and couldn't immediately be reached. (Richard Vines is London food critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
Sep 09, 2007 The New-York Times Hotel du Louvre
The Radical Eye of Impressionism’s Patriarch
He is known as the father of Impressionism, yet Camille Pissarro has always been eclipsed by his more charming brood. Last year’s Cézanne and Pissarro exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, for instance, was billed as a dialogue in the mold of Matisse-Picasso, but it quickly became a one-sided conversation. Pissarro on his own is not blockbuster material; his paintings have a muddy, homely aspect next to Cézannes or Monets or Renoirs. Yet for Pissarro, an anarchist and a Jew (albeit a secular one) in 19th-century France, Impressionism was about much more than the fleeting effects of light. It was about labor, the elimination of hierarchies and an idealized balance between urban and rural life.
...From his window at the Grand Hôtel du Louvre, Pissarro made many paintings of the Avenue de l’Opéra; in the one on view, from 1898, specklike couples promenade into a foggy sky. He also took trips to Dieppe, Le Havre, London (represented by several uncharacteristically sunny views of Kew Gardens) and Rouen...
Sep 09, 2007 Hospitality Net™ Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria St.Petersburg
New General Managers Appointed At Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria And Angleterre Hotel Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria has named Alexander Pichel as General Manager. Alexander joins The Rocco Forte Collection after many years with Hyatt International, most recently holding the position of General Manager at the Hyatt Regency Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan; he has also worked in Hyatt hotels in Dubai, Germany, Argentina, London and France. Alexander will start at Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria on 23 October.
With immediate effect, Mirco Zanini has been named General Manager of the Angleterre Hotel, the four-star sister property that is located next door to Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria. Mirco joined The Rocco Forte Collection in 1998 as Restaurant Manager of Hotel Astoria, going on to fulfill several roles before taking over as Director of Operations for Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria and the Angleterre Hotel, from where he has been promoted to his new role. Commenting on the change of General Manager at Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria, Richard Power, Managing Director of The Rocco Forte Collection, said, “It is with great regret that Michael Walsh has left his job at Hotel Astoria and Angleterre Hotel. Michael had serious heart surgery last year and bravely returned to work after a short break. However, his doctor has now told him to rest for a year or so in order to achieve a full recovery and Michael has, therefore, returned to London.”
The Rocco Forte Collection was established in 1996 to create a group of luxury hotels in Europe. The properties have individual styles, with each hotel reflecting its nationality and location. They are linked together under The Rocco Forte Collection, which guarantees attention to detail, quality and service delivery. The Rocco Forte Collection includes: Hotel de Russie, Rome Hotel Savoy, Florence The Balmoral, Edinburgh The Lowry Hotel, Manchester Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg Hotel Amigo, Brussels Le Richemond, Geneva (re-opening September 2007) Brown’s Hotel, London Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt Hotel de Rome, Berlin The Charles Hotel, Munich (opening October 2007) Future openings: Prague - 2008 | Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily - 2008 Marrakech - 2009
Sep 09, 2007 Farhad Heydari Ritz Paris
Hotels That Made History: Bedding down where Napoleon, Hitler and Diana did
It was a Saturday evening like any other. And as the crepuscular light fell on Paris, a pair of lovebirds dined on what would soon be their last meal at the legendary Ritz Hotel. The evening was, of course, August 30, 1997 and just after midnight the couple—Dodi Al Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales—would perish in a car crash in a tunnel along the Seine.
The Ritz, which for more than a century had cultivated a devoted following among the world’s elite and well-known including the likes of Marcel Proust, the Shah of Iran and Coco Chanel, was suddenly thrust into the public consciousness and became synonymous with the death of a larger-than-life royal: Diana Spencer. It wasn’t images of lavishly decorated interiors that the world would get to know the Ritz by, but those few seconds of closed circuit TV frames showing her sidling through the revolving doors. Even today, the hotel is weary of the event; when asked how they dealt with it on a PR level at the time a spokeswoman tersely responded, “I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to make any comment about Diana; none whatsoever, that’s our policy, so no comment.”
Sep 09, 2007 Times Online Rocco Forte Brown's Hotel, London
The Spa at Brown’s Hotel, London
A seasonal apple and pumpkin pedicure at a neat spa beneath a refurbished old-guard hotel USP: Luxury pampering in one of the capital’s oldest and most historic hotels - Alexander Graham Bell made the world’s first phone call and Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book here. Founded in 1837, this most establishment of Mayfair institutions reopened in December 2005 having been given a dramatic £24 million makeover by new owner Sir Rocco Forte. The spa – small but decidedly modern - is one of the many additions brought in as part of the ambitious refurbishment, carried out by Rocco’s sister, the hotelier Olga Polizzi.
Despite comprising just three treatment rooms (there are no wet room facilities), the spa offers hotel guests and non-guests alike all manner of treatments, from Reiki and Thai massage to facials and head to toe “spa indulgencies” for both sexes. Particularly recommended are the seasonal pedicures, which change every few months and make use of largely natural products such as fresh fruit, vegetables and nut. AMBIENCE: As in many posh London hotels, the spa is located next to the gym in the hotel’s basement well away from the bustle and business of the main lobby. The space was pristine when I visited and has a serene and well-cared-for vibe – not always the case in basement spas which can sometimes seem like an unkempt afterthought. Whether this was because there were no other guests in sight on the morning I visited I could not say, but certainly the spa’s compact size lends itself to a sense of tranquillity that can be missing in bigger spas with a larger number of guests passing through the doors. White walls, dimmed lighting and scented candles contribute to the sleek minimalist effect – a world away from the heavy wooden fixtures, chandeliers and grandeur of upstairs. A welcoming smell of honey and apple greeted my arrival at the tiny reception, while the usual inoffensive mood music played at just the right volume; ie. not so loud as to be intrusive should you wish to nod off during your treatment. Therapy rooms maintain the distinctly low-key theme – each has its own shower and a small changing area, but there are few other distractions aside from a discreet corner where the therapist placed her products. EXPERIENCE: I opted for the seasonal apple and pumpkin pedicure – described as warming and soothing for the feet in autumn. After filling out a few basic medical details on a form, I was shown into the treatment room and asked to change while the therapist left to prepare the Apple Martini that accompanies the treatment (guests who are teetotal or more health-conscious than me can instead sip a freshly pressed apple juice). Martini in hand, the treatment began with a friendly and chatty South African therapist, Shareen, shaping my toenails and buffing my rather dry and sorry-looking feet while I lay on a heated bed. My legs were saturated in an orange gooey substance that was, I was assured, fresh apple and pumpkin sauce. Made that morning in Brown’s own kitchens by the hotel’s chefs, the mixture consisted of English Cox apples mashed up with pumpkin, and although it looked less than pretty, the mush soothed my tired pins seconds after it was rubbed in. The food theme continued as crushed pumpkin seeds and brown sugar were used to exfoliate, with the vitamin and mineral content in the seeds said to be nourishing to the skin while their high protein levels are believed to combat the effects of ageing. The massage that followed was suitably invigorating, although my legs did look as though they had been covered in (very healthy) baby food. A second massage – carried out after my feet were soaked in warm vanilla-milk – dealt admirably with a minor ache I have recently had in my heel, and the skin on the underside of my feet did feel noticeably softer and smoother after the application of a paraffin foot wrap (This was, essentially, some hot wax contained in a plastic bag that was wrapped around my feet.) Layers of bright glossy polish were applied to my nails, which were then covered in a quick-dry spray and cling-film to stop them smudging when I put on my ballet pumps, although wearing flip-flops post-treatment would have been the better option, I was advised. FOOD: Peckish spa-goers can splash out at The Grill, London’s first ever hotel restaurant, where recommended dishes on the menu include Potted Morecombe Bay Shrimps, Dressed Dorset King Crab and Roasted Rib of Scottish Beef straight from the carving trolley. Lighter, more calorie-conscious options are few, but then this is very much a grand and historic restaurant boasting big signature dishes rather than a footnote to complement the spa. Eat here and you will likely be greeted by one of the capital’s best-known restaurant managers - Angelo Maresca, formerly maitre d’ at the Savoy Grill. In keeping with the rest of the hotel, prices are not exactly on the low side, although the restaurant also offers a set lunch and pre-theatre dinner menu at £25 for two courses and £30 for three courses. Meat and fish are sourced from the UK, France and Netherlands. IN CROWD: The spa is used by both guests and non-guests alike, including Saudi royalty, rich expats and business types looking for a break in between power lunches. The therapist tells me that Sacha Baron Cohen and his fiancée Isla Fisher are among the celebrities that have visited in recent times. WALLET WATCH: The 90-minute Apple and Pumpkin pedicure costs £85, with treatments ranging from £55 for a half-an-hour booster facial to £120 for a 90-minute Thai massage and £430 for a six-hour “Red Carpet” treatment that promises head to toe pampering. Expectant mothers are encouraged to try out the spa’s range of maternity treatments which range from £45 to £95. The hotel has 117 rooms, 19 of which are suites. Rates for a Classic Queen room are £310 per night while the priciest and most lavish suites – including the Kipling suite where the author wrote The Jungle Book – can be booked for £2,700 per night.
Sep 09, 2007 The Moscow Times Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Armenian Celebration
Cafe Ararat, in the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow hotel, is, if not literally, then at least symbolically the direct descendant of the legendary eponymous cafe. Its famous forebear was a much-loved fixture for many decades, frequented by diplomats, dignitaries and performers from the neighboring theaters. The original closed in the 1980s but was reborn when the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow opened at the same spot in 2002. On the first floor of the upmarket hotel, the cafe aims to recreate the feel of the original, with murals depicting landmarks such as Mount Ararat and Lake Sevan. And in striving to recreate authentic flavors, the restaurant flies in its fruits and vegetables twice weekly from Armenia.
In honor of the upcoming Armenian Independence Day on Sept. 21, Cafe Ararat is offering a special menu from Sept. 14 to 23. Chef Narek Avagyan has created a selection of traditional dishes that are to be served "family style" -- in the center of the table to be shared by all. The menu features four set selections, each with four dishes: vegetables and herbs, Armenian cheese, meats, and fish. The vege and herbs selection (1,630 rubles) includes tomato and cucumber tartar; tabouleh with grilled capsicum salad; roast vegetable soup with gumbo pickles; and baked eggplant stuffed with tchichak pepper, herbs and tomato chutney. The cheese selection (1,840 rubles) includes deep-fried suluguni cromesqui with yellow pepper dip and red tkemali sauce; goat cheese cream with lavash and walnuts; lori cheese soup with coriander leaves; and chechil puff pastry boeregs. The meat selection (2,350 rubles) lists marinated beef salad with bulgur and olive oil; pan-fried chicken with tomato cheese sauce and okra; veal loin basturma in phillo pastry; and grilled pork chops, Armenian vegetables and roasted tchichak. The fish selection (2,580 rubles) offers sturgeon salad with marinated chickpeas and pickles; kamrakhait in grape-leaf dolma with matzun; pan-fried belchlu with pomegranate sauce and steamed potato; and salmon tartar with khapama stew.
Sep 09, 2007 marco40134 Hotel Eden Rome
Breakfast at the Hotel Eden, Rome
just picture, no comments
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Sep 09, 2007 ALLREZ Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy is the best European business hotel
Recently CNBC European Business magazine has published its list of the best European business hotels. For the second year in row the top position was given to Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt. This hotel was opened just 18 months ago, but has already won some prestigious awards - Hotel & Tourism award on trade fair in Cannes and the title of the best Frankfurt’s business hotel by EURO magazine.
Other top European business hotels according to CNBC European Business magazine are Claridge’s (London, UK) and Georges V (Paris, France)
Sep 09, 2007 medicinejar Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino
Wickaninnish Inn Le Pointe Restaurant Dessert full review
My girlfriend and myself recently went for a 10 day holiday in which we visited Victoria, Tofino, Salts Spring Island and Vancouver . We went to several restaurants while in Tofino and I will be posting a positive review for one of them, The Inn at Tough City which offers excellent Sushi. I will also be posting a glowing review for Lumiere in Vancouver.
Sadly, my review for Wickaninnish Inn - Le Pointe Restaurant is not good and it was due almost entirely to the hostess. My significant other and I do well financially but we would certainly not consider ourselves rich. However, we like excellent food and every trip we spend a significant percentage of the trip budget on food and we always choose 1 top flight restaurant in the area to visit. For this trip, we selected Lumiere. Due to the cost, we had decided we would not eat a full meal at the Wickaninnish Inn - Le Pointe Restaurant – the big money was already put aside for Lumiere. However, we wanted to try it and see what it was like. So we decided that we would have dessert. We arrived at around 9pm and the restaurant itself was full. The hostess was young, in her mid 20s I would guess. I said we had come for drinks and dessert. She politely informed us that the restaurant was full but we could order dessert in the lounge. We said that would be fine. She then said something like “please come into our lounge”. Perhaps if you live in BC it would be obvious to walk ahead and find a seat but the way she said it we were expecting her to walk us to our seat in their lounge so we basically kept waiting for her to start walking with us. She did not and said again “please come into our lounge.” At a restaurant of this calibre I would always expect to be walked to a table, even if it’s in the lounge. We walked, unescorted by the hostess into the lounge and there appeared to be only 1 table for 2. The table had not been cleared and there was 1 empty cocktail glass on the table. We decided we would sit down because we did not want to lose the table. It was more than 5 minutes before anyone acknowledged us from the restaurant. A well dressed restaurant employee, I am guessing the manager, noticed us and asked if we had been served. We said no, and shortly thereafter a server came by and took our order. The server was both polite and nice and she was clearly trying to do a good job. Trying goes along way with me but I would have to say that I think they need to invest more time and money in training their staff. There was one glaring error, that I will get to shortly, but the bigger problem was the lack of polish. Servers in a restaurant like Le Pointe, even if it’s the lounge, should know the little things that professional servers do and carry them off effortlessly. It’s almost a professional demeanour I am getting at if that makes any sense and it was not present that night. I am not expecting perfection and I have seen even the best servers make mistakes, but it’s easy to forgive one or two mistakes if the over all quality of the service is evident. The server was lacking that polish but she did try and was very nice - for that she got a good tip. The problem, in my opinion, was not her, but with the restaurant that I am guessing does not invest much time training its staff – particularly young staff. The glaring error? Neither my girlfriend, nor myself, were ever given a napkin. We ended up using the small beverage type napkins they place below your drinks. The waitress should have caught this but I lay full blame for this error at the feet of the hostess. Had she been more attentive from the get-go we would never have ended up sitting at a table that had not been cleaned after the previous customers had left; we would not have waited more than 5 minutes to be served while an empty glass from the previous customers sat in front of us; and both of us would have been given a napkin. I should note that their lounge was not huge. I would guess it might seat 15-20 people at the most (my gf estimates 12) - so I am not sure why she did not escort us to our table. At the end of the day, we spent $50 on 2 drinks and 1 dessert (I believe it was called a Trio of Chocolate). The dessert itself, the Trio of Chocolate, was very good but I would not go so far as to say excellent. At $25 (which is $12.50 each) I would have expected it to be excellent. That said, my experience of the food might have been coloured by the let downs in service. Excellent service can never rescue a bad food experience but it can raise a food experience a level – i.e. from very good to excellent or good to very good. They missed that opportunity. When we walked out the hostess was at the podium/high desk at the entrance (where they keep their reservation book) and she did NOT say goodbye or thank-you. She did not appear to be overly busy. When I leave any sit-down restaurant I expect to hear either a goodbye and/or a thank-you from restaurant staff when I leave. This is not a problem for restaurants such as Montana’s, so it surprises me that it did not happen here. On our way to the restaurant that evening we talked about coming back to Tofino in a few years and spending top dollar to stay a few nights at the Wickaninnish Inn. We stayed at a nice bed and breakfast that was certainly not cheap, but we thought it would be fun to stay at one of the top flight resorts in the area with its beautiful view and the onsite spa. We can certainly afford to stay at the Wickaninnish Inn and have a full meal at their restaurant and we are more than willing to pay top dollar for excellent food. (We spent over $700 on a dinner for two at Lumiere). But, I will not be spending any more of my money at the Wickaninnish Inn. We did not go there that night intending for our dessert and drinks to be a test run but that’s what it ended up being. Leaving the restaurant, influenced heavily by the behaviour of the hostess, we concluded that this place is full of itself. Life is too long to say never, but I really cannot see myself considering either the resort or the restaurant for at least 15 years. It sounds like they don’t need my business but I will give a clear thumbs down to anyone considering it based upon the sort of behaviour we saw.
Sep 09, 2007 Ling Low Ritz Paris
Hotels and the eternal guests
David and Jean Davidson have astonished the public with their 22-year long stay in the Travelodge chain. Normally it is celebrities who move into a hotel and then forget to move out, writes Ling Low.
Coco Chanel, for one, lived in the Paris Ritz for more than 30 years and, like the Davidsons, now has a suite there named after her. Despite living in the hotel, she kept her apartment above the Rue Cambon couture house and also built a villa in Roquebrune on the French Riviera. Like the Davidsons, who also kept a flat, she no doubt popped back every couple of weeks to pick up the post...
Sep 09, 2007 MeetingsNet King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
TripAdvisor Names 10 Quirkiest Hotels for 2007
From Alaska to Australia, quirky hotels abound, according to TripAdvisor.com.
...7. King Pacific Lodge, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for those who always wanted to have their own barge party on a floating hotel...
Sep 09, 2007 New York Social Diary Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow
TRAVELING TO MOSCOW - A boomtown at the beginning of the 21st century
Moscow night from the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski along the Moscow River. 1:30 AM. Photo: JH.
Moscow is a boomtown at the beginning of the 21st century. A boomtown amidst the ancient fortresses and centuries old buildings. There are tall cranes and construction all over this far-flung city. The lobby of the Baltschug Kempinski where we are staying is pulsating with the entreprenurial feeling. And the feeling, not so incidentally to this Westerner is easily identifiable. We call it freedom. In the hotel lobby at four o’clock in the afternoon (high tea), it is mainly men in suits, although there are many more casually dressed in jeans and pullover sweaters that reveal their rich diets. Jeans are everywhere, on all ages, types and sizes. Jeans, as some may have forgotten, are an American invention, invented for other boomtowns in other boom times. The men in the hotel lobby sit around in groups of two or four or six, someone occasionally smoking a cigar, and discussing. In Russian. Discussing what I cannot say. I can’t understand one word of the language. But it appears to be serious. The intent is serious. With the occasional laughter interspersed. Cars pull up to the hotel door, just ten yards from the lobby — Mercedes, BMWs, Japanese models (no American so far), dropping off, picking up more businessmen. Occasionally there is a woman present (besides the women on the hotel staff). She often has shopping bags with her. Luxury shopping bags, that is. And she is wearing jeans too, and maybe a form fitting sweater and some jewelry, and always high heels. Her hair is often blonde or deeply hennaed or both. Women’s hair color is a big thing in Moscow, and often a combination with pink or mauvish highlights — all of it a bid for keeping up with the fashion. The fashion for the men is more traditional. The Russians’ suits are usually boxier. And their shoes are usually black and longer in the toe, and frequently unshined and scruffy looking (although there is a bootblack often languishing just around the corner from the lobby). The very prosperous also have beautiful shoes which are shined. The cut of the Westerners’ suits are often more shaped to the form of the body, although not necessarily bespoke. The exceptionally well-dressed have no nationality, just a need to express their prosperity in style. They are the cut above. In one corner of the lobby is a maquette of the Kempinski that is a-building in Dubai. It is fabulous and makes you daydream about living your life in luxury hotels without a care in the world. Wherever that world is. Not far from the maquette display is a grand piano where a blonde woman with an upswept hairdo plays cocktail piano and I find myself singing the words under my breath: You must remember this, A kiss is still a kiss; A sigh is still a sigh. The fundamental things apply As Time Goes By. Yesterday was a busy one for us visitors. At eleven o’clock we were transported by van to the Kremlin for a tour. I would call it the “demystifying tour” for the Kremlin of my lifelong imagination was transformed by this tour. First of all, it is a huge tourist attraction as are our national monuments and buildings. There are also lots and lots of small children in groups. We were part of a group organized by a public relations executive Marilyn White, brought here ostensibly to report on the 3rd annual Moscow World Art Fair. The tour of the Kremlin was a perk. A guide met us outside. A Russian woman with highly accented but excellent English; full-figured with short blond hair with mauve-ish/pinkish highlights, dressed in a trencchcoat (it has been raining a lot off and on), white blouse and small square ceramic earrings, she had a shopping bag with her also, and looked as if she might be going shopping (for some luxury items) after she finished with us... much more photos and video - follow source link
Sep 09, 2007 traveltheory Four Seasons Hotel Milano
Today's Featured Hotel: Four Seasons Milan
The Four Seasons Milan, or "Four Seasons Hotel Milano", is a lovely blend of style with historic charm. The highlight of this Virtuoso hotel is its graceful cloistered courtyard. It is located close to the major fashion houses of Milan, as well as La Scala and the Duomo, and features all of the design elements you would expect from a luxury Milanese hotel. The corridors and guest rooms are lovely and the marble baths feature deep soaking tubs.
I can provide upgrades, breakfast, museum tickets and more. Through Dec. 31, I can also offer a package including a very special rate in a junior suite, dinner at the hotel's fabulous restaurant including wines, and special fruit and chocolates in your room.
Sep 09, 2007 dreamiflame Claridge's
Keira is arriving at the Claridges Hotel in London - September 6.
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Sep 09, 2007 Great Alaskan TourSaver, LLC. The Fairmont Empress, Victoria
Where to Stay, Where to Eat and Victoria Nightlife.....
At the high-end of the hotel chain, you’ll likely sleep well at the Fairmont Empress. Throughout its history, The Fairmont Empress has played host to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people. In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales, waltzed into the dawn in the Crystal Ballroom. In 1989 a $45 million renovation restored the grand hotel to its original glory and then some. If you don’t stay there at least walk the grounds and stop by for afternoon tea.
The Best Western Inner Harbor is a bit more modest but very comfortable with views of the harbor and is bordered by a small Belleville Street park where you can relax in the shade after walking the streets of this beautiful city. For a late lunch on a harbor patio, Canoe is a busy bistro on the waterfront that will please your palate. They brew beer and serve up lagers, bitter, brown ale and pale ale in a historic building that dates back to 1894. The service is good and the atmosphere is rustic and casual. The menu covers the gamut from seafood to steak, pasta and pot pie. This place should be on your dining list--for at least one meal. If you are looking for a good cup of coffee, try a new place called "Habit" at 552 Pandora Ave. Habit Coffee and Culture hosts weekly coffee tasting (cupping to be precise) on Tuesday afternoons. The best French restaurant in this Canadian capital city is in Chinatown. L’Ecole , a brasserie, (1715 Government Street) is an award-winning local favourite run by people that love the restaurant business and aim to please. Sommelier and co-owner Marc Morrison knows how to run a dining room and chef Sean Brennan can dish it out. I was very impressed by the selection of Burgundy and Rhone wines and the chef takes fresh local ingredients to a place where few capital city kitchen mavens tread. Start with a couple of apps like Chicken Liver & Cognac Mousse or Cowichan Valley Chanterelles with bacon, cream and toast, then move on to Sooke Trout with Spanish chorizo, almonds, smoked paprika and brown butter. The menu changes daily and the room is usually full of satisfied diners--so make reservations. Victoria is still open after dinner and there a variety of venues to catch some live music and sample the BC nightlife. The Mint on Douglas Street can be relaxing or lively depending on the day of the week and they host live music or DJ’s in a low light, dark wood atmosphere. The Irish Times is mainstay on Government Street & Bastion Square where performances by acoustic guitar crooners, fiddlers or Celtic jam sessions can be heard every night. The setting and the food are authentic Irish pub and the patrons sport a happy look of satisfaction. The Strathcona Hotel has five bars and restaurants that start at The Sticky Wicket Pub, all under one roof--umm, one of the bars is The Roof--boasting “the world's only rooftop beach volleyball courts”. A brand new club Jellyfish Lounge opened recently at 1140 Government Street (Lower Level of the Bedford Regency Hotel) with a very "Miami Vice" white leather feel and house music, high-end martinis plus a decent late menu.
Sep 09, 2007 Andrew Sullivan Ritz Paris
The Art Of The Cocktail, Ctd
I'm a few days late on this, but I noticed your post on the art of the cocktail, and this chap sprang to mind. If you've never been to the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Paris, you really must go when this chap is on duty. You'll never have a cocktail experience quite like it!
One can walk into his bar, tell him EXACTLY how you feel, and he'll make a drink that matches that mood without fail. It's an amazing talent. I'm never in Paris for more than 24 hours without finding my way to the Hemingway.
Sep 09, 2007 Marie-Beatrice Lalleman Hotel du Louvre
Concorde Luxury Hotels represent sublime beauty
Led by Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital - owner of Concorde Hotels - you will see three new brands emerging. One is Crillon, based on that superb luxury hotel in Paris, Hotel de Crillon, overlooking the famous Place de la Concorde in the center of the city. This hotel gets 80% repeat guests, which is a key reason why it is impossible for us to close the hotel completely for a planned renovation that will include a superb health club and spa.
Another new brand will be One, which can best be described as lifestyle for the forward-thinking 46-year old. This guest is time-short and does not want to wait one extra minute for reception, room service or laundry. Connectivity is simple, health and fitness are paramount, and One guests will appreciated that the building is green-certified. And this last month we announced the first Baccarat - which of course has tremendous synergy with high-end hotels. Here you can expect the flawless execution and sublime beauty that the brand has come to represent over the past two centuries. Baccarat Wailea, in Hawaii, is a 15-acre site that will initially have 193 residences, offering one- to four-bedrooms. Architects are Hill Glazier Studio HKS and interiors are by the ultra-trendy duo of Yabu Pushelberg. The Concorde brand as such consists of seven hotels in Paris, where we are based: Hôtel de Crillon, Hôtel Lutetia, Hôtel Concorde La Fayette, Hôtel du Louvre, Hôtel Ambassador, Hôtel Concorde Saint-Lazare, Hôtel Concorde Montparnasse. Also in France, we have the Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, the Hôtel Concorde Cité in Lyon and the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice. We have one hotel in Germany, the Hôtel Concorde, Berlin, and one in Switzerland, the Hôtel de la Paix, Geneva. It has been essential to get a clear positioning for today's hotel consumers. It is important to differentiate what they see from back-of-house, the unseen element that makes brands work. For consumers, there is already a new www.concorde.com site, with maximum functionality. Consumers will also see a lot of money being spent, not only on Hôtel de Crillon but also on such other treasures in the portfolio as Concorde La Fayette and Hôtel du Louvre. The Starwood Capital portfolio also includes the perfume house Annick Goutal www.annickgoutal.com and, working with Brigitte Taittinger, I have re-designed the presentation, and the new-look of this beautiful product. I am having a fantastic time, working with a company that is definitely growing - I learned a lot from corporations in the past but now I can use my entrepreneurial skills as well. What makes it all the more exciting is that I know everything will get even bigger, even though at this stage I cannot anticipate how.
Sep 09, 2007 Explorations, Ltd. Four Seasons Hotel Milano
Virtuoso TravelMart 2007
Every August, travel agents and travel vendors from around the globe gather for Virtuoso TravelMart, an opportunity to meet and exchange a wealth of information about properties and products from Mongolia to Miami. Virtuoso is a luxury travel consortium, comprised of the grandest hotels, finest cruise lines, most eminent tour operators and leading travel agents of the world. Explorations Travel participated in TravelMart for the eighth consecutive year by sending Jean Pickard, Jennifer Campbell, Betty Jo Currie, Flay Muellenbach, Suzanne Ballew and Kristen Hays to the conference, which was held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
At Left is Explorations Travel’s Jean Pickard with hoteliers from around the world. From left: Christine Haddad, Park Hyatt Sydney; Ellen Gerchick, Rosewood Hotels; Mohammad Labban, Park Hyatt Dubai; (our own) Jean Pickard, Explorations Travel; Frank Beiler, Park Hyatt Zurich; Eduardo Officioso, Park Hyatt Milan; and Alexandre Michaud, Park Hyatt Paris.
Sep 09, 2007 CNN Claridge's
The Chedi Muscat bags runner-up in The World's Top 100 of Conde Nast's Readers Travel Awards The Chedi Muscat was awarded a runner -up in The Best of The Best - The World's Top 100 with a rating of 95.67 per cent and in the Favorite Overseas Leisure Hotels for Middle East, Africa and The Indian Ocean, announced recently by the 2007 Conde Nast's Readers Travel Awards. The results were announced on 3rd September at a ceremony in London's Claridges Hotel and will be published in the October issue. Voting results of this annual award reveal readers' choice of the best the travel world has to offer.
In April this year the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine were asked to vote for the best the travel world has to offer and, from the near limitless number of possibilities, readers have chosen their stars from tour operators, airlines and cruise lines to hotels and spa's that made their trip a memorable one. 'We are delighted and extremely honored to have received this prestigious award, which shows overwhelmingly our guests' satisfaction of the facilities and services we provide' comments Mr. York Brandes, General Manager, The Chedi Muscat. He adds: 'An award such as this is a direct response to our efforts and encourages not only the whole team at The Chedi Muscat but also GHM Hotels as a group.' The Chedi Muscat is a luxury property managed by General Hotel Management (GHM) Limited. GHM, a luxury hotel management and development company, is the market leader in conceptualizing, developing and operating a selection of exclusive hotels and resorts worldwide. GHM manages a portfolio of three brands including highly regarded properties such as The Datai in Langkawi, The Setai in Miami, The Chedi hotels and The Serai hotels worldwide.
Sep 09, 2007 Times Online Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris
Paris by night
Ensure you enjoy the best cocktail experience in Paris with this guide to the French capital's hottest drinking dens The locus of cool is constantly on the move and perhaps no city has been as well travelled as that of Paris. From Montmartre pre-First World War to Montparnasse post-Second and St Germain des Prés in the meantime, the artists and writers who defined ‘cool’ were never quite decided as to where to rest their bohemian bones...
The bar at the Plaza Athénée, reopened after a fire in October 2001 and memorably featured in Sex and the City Carrie’s Paris trip, is situated in one of the city’s most elegant hotels. Designed by a former Philippe Starck protégée, Patrick Jouin, the bar resembles a long, sculpted iceberg – a chilly look accentuated by the metallic stools and tables. This elegant fridge effect contrasts with an adjacent cosy area, where Gucci-clad barflies lounge in deep leather chairs beneath dramatic lighting that alters tone and mood throughout the evening. Here, if you can sweet talk your way past the doormen, the cocktails are excellent, from classics such as Rose Royale, made with champagne and fresh raspberry purée, to their Fashion Ice concoctions – essentially multicoloured, alcoholic popsicles...
Sep 09, 2007 Agents Support Systems Pty Hotel Baur au Lac
Ring in 2008 with The Leading Hotels Of The World
Perhaps it is premature to ask “What are you doing New Year’s?” – but the changing of the calendar is not that far away. Several members of The Leading Hotels of the World have already rolled out holiday packages – some festive, some tranquil – to help you mark that special midnight celebration your way.
...The Swiss Alps serve as the impressive backdrop to your relaxed holiday in Zurich at Baur au Lac. Included in the New Year Special are fruit, flowers and a welcome gift in your room, buffet breakfast daily, access to the fitness club with views over the lake and the mountains for inspired workouts, entrance to the hotel’s exclusive night club Diagonal, VAT and service charges. Rates start at CHF 480 per night, single or double occupancy.
Sep 09, 2007 IHTF Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
Rocco Forte’s Villa Kennedy Voted Top Business Hotel In Europe
For the second consecutive year, Rocco Forte’s Villa Kennedy has been voted the best European business hotel by CNBC European Business magazine. The Frankfurt hotel has only been open for 18 months, but has already established itself as a mainstay for both business and leisure travellers, as well as proving hugely popular with the locals.
Villa Kennedy took the top spot despite strong competition from Claridge’s in London and the Georges V in Paris, and was joined on the list by another Rocco Forte property, Hotel de Rome in Berlin. In particular, the magazine remarked on Hotel de Rome’s “top-quality” service, rooms, comfort, facilities and the “terrific” meeting rooms and spa. Writing about Villa Kennedy, CNBC noted that the hotel was “an immaculate architectural recreation of a Wilhelmine German villa that changes one’s otherwise dismal perception of Frankfurt as a business destination.” Described by The Rocco Forte Collection’s Director of Design Olga Polizzi as “the ultimate business hotel”, Villa Kennedy has drawn high praise and plenty of accolades since its opening in March 2006. It won the prestigious Hotel & Tourism award at the MIPIM trade show in Cannes in 2006 and was also voted Best Business Hotel in Frankfurt by EURO magazine last year. The CNBC European Business award is further testament to The Rocco Forte Collection’s dedication to providing world-class service and luxury facilities for the modern business traveller. CNBC European Business, now in its third year, has established itself as one of the most pre-eminent business magazines in Europe, with a circulation of over 100,000.
Sep 09, 2007 IHTF Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
New Appointments For Rocco Forte’s German Properties
Frank Heller has been appointed General Manager of Rocco Forte’s The Charles Hotel in Munich, which is due to open on 4 October, while Peter Berhoerster has taken on the role of Director of Sales & Marketing at Rocco Forte’s Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt.
Frank joins from Falkensteiner Hotels & Resorts in Vienna where he held the position of Director of Operations, a role that involved mentoring hotels in their pre-opening and early phases, experience that will be highly valuable for The Charles Hotel in the competitive Munich market. Previously, Frank also worked for Dorint Hotels, Millennium Hotels and the Arabella Sheraton in Germany, as well as spending three years in Dubai. Peter comes to The Rocco Forte Collection from Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts where he held the position of Director of Sales for Germany and the Czech Republic. Earlier in his career, Peter was Area Director of Sales for Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts and also worked for Swissotel, as well as various individual properties around Germany.
Sep 09, 2007 itravelishop Four Seasons Hotel London
Four Seasons London: Teen Concierge’s Notting Hill Guide
Most teenagers spend their summers scooping ice cream, hanging by a pool as a lifeguard or just driving their parents crazy. That’s not the case for 17-year old Isabelle Fraser. She’s spending the summer as the Four Seasons Hotel London Teen Concierge. Isabelle is on hand to tell teens (and their parents) about the hottest places to shop, eat and hang out in London- and let's face it, teens would rather hear about this from someone their own age. She knows what she’s talking about. She has been a Londoner all her life and lives in Notting Hill, one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the city. Here Isabella shares her Notting Hill insider tips, which will appeal to fashionistas where they are 17 or 37 (and up!)
Electric Cinema This is undoubtedly London’s most stylish cinema. It is the perfect way to relax and watch a film, seated in a luxurious leather chair or sofa, with a foot recliner. Snacks and drinks are available from the bar which opens before the film begins; the huge chocolate brownies are greatly recommended. 191 Portobello Road London Phone: 020 7908 9696 www.electriccinema.co.uk Lucky 7 Diner This American style diner could have just come off the ‘Grease’ set; it’s so retro and fun. Try an Extra Extra thick milkshake if you dare! There’s such a buzzing, lively atmosphere, the staff are really friendly and the food is fantastic. Open Mon-Sun 10am-10.30pm. 127 Westbourne Park Road London Phone: 020 7727 6771 www.lucky7london.co.uk Cowshed London’s new trendiest salon aims to provide a place to indulge in sociable grooming, whilst using the famous ‘Cow’ cosmetic range. Book a ‘Teenage Cow groom’ facial, massage and manicure in advance. The staff are extremely friendly and the interior is very chic; a small haven to relax in away from the bustling market around the corner. 119 Portland Road London Phone: 020 7078 1944 www.cowshedclarendoncross.com Emma Hope Head straight to this beautiful shoe shop for London’s best ballet flats. Also famous for her dainty wedding shoes, Emma Hope’s collection oozes traditional London style. They have a great selection of both casual and smart shoes, suitable for all occasions. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6.30pm 207 Westbourne Grove London Phone: 020 7313 7590 www.emmahope.co.uk Blue Poppy Couture This innovative designer has caused a storm in the London fashion scene producing beautiful, flattering dresses only 1 year after graduating from London College of Fashion. The shop is very dainty and feminine, full of pretty accessories. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm 171 Westbourne Grove London Phone: 020 7792 9667 Tom’s Deli A celebrity spotting hot-spot located in the heart of Notting Hill, set up by local Tom Conran, this friendly café is a huge hit with the locals. The Eggs Benedict is very yummy, and you must try at least one slice of cake whilst you’re there! Salads are also available downstairs in the deli section. Best for brunch, or an afternoon coffee with cake. Open 8am-7pm 226 Westbourne Grove London Phone: 020 7221 8818 www.tomsdelilondon.co.uk Portobello Road Market This world famous market is one of London’s oldest weekly markets. There is a great sense of community in the area and the market is a real sight. It begins with antiques at the top, followed by fresh fruit and vegetables, with lastly a large clothes market at the bottom end of the road under the Westway. It is a lively musical area, often with street artists always entertaining and lots to look at, all-in-all a great day out. Best on Fridays and Saturdays for clothes and food www.portobelloroad.co.uk The Travel Bookshop As seen in the film ‘Notting Hill’ with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, the quirky travel bookshop aims to provide literary guides to places reaching every corner of the globe. The staff are always keen to provide you with the guide you require. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12am-5pm 13-15 Blenheim Crescent W11 London Phone: 020 7229 5260
Sep 09, 2007 Chris Clarke The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Vancouver Hotel Renovation Update
Although Vancouver’s luxury hotel building boom has generated much anticipation in the local hotel community, there are many exciting large-scale hotel renovations also currently underway in the city.
reno, and the Four Seasons has already relocated their lobby to the third floor conference foyer for their property revamp--which includes the re-branding of their infamous Chartwell restaurant. The Westin Bayshore will soon be breaking ground for an intensive project to update their guestrooms and restaurant outlets, and in the next two years the property will be rolling out a new pool, spa, and health club facility. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver will soon be renovating their popular Griffins Restaurant and 900 West Lounge, along with a new lobby concept.
Sep 09, 2007 Jens Trulsson Ritz Paris
Late Summer Fun
Grisogono & Londino - London to Portofino As August draws to a close, the annual de Grisogono & Londino London to Portofino run takes its place in the social calendar. This year’s event, the third of its kind, saw 20 especially invited teams in cars as diverse as Gumpert Apollo, Lamborghini Diablo, Audi R8, and Jaguar XJ8, driving, dining, and competing in ‘The Londino Challenge’.
The Challenge works like this: each team is given a camera at the start of the run, this year held at the Bluebird on the King’s Road in Chelsea. The team is then asked to take 14 pictures along the route to the next overnight stop. There are four challenge cards, depicting four ‘motifs’ which must be captured on film, plus a theme for the remaining 10 pictures. The cameras are collected at the final destination and the winners announced. Prizes include 24-carat gold Bluetooth headsets, bespoke suits and, for the overall victors, two exclusive de Grisogono Instrumento No. Uno watches. After briefing and breakfast on Thursday 22nd August, the teams headed for the Eurotunnel and the first leg to Paris. Torrential rain and poor visibility gave way to brighter skies as the teams arrived in Paris, where participants were given the rare privilege of parking on the Place Vendôme in front of the Ritz – permission for which given just three times a year, by the Ministère de la Justice. Dinner and entertainment was held at the Ritz for participants and specially invited guests, such as Chantal Thomass, Stephane Bern, Anne de Bourbon and Emmanuel des Brantes. Friday’s photographic challenges covered famous landmarks in Paris and the surrounding countryside, with the theme for the day being Grisogono & Londino. Heading south on the A6 to Avallon, the teams found a dry and empty autoroute, followed by a fantastic three-course lunch at Auberge de l’Âtre in Les Lavaults: a menu of hare pâté, grey partridge and sorbet. The next stretch of road was the N5 between Dole and Geneva, a twisting route over the Jura Mountains and down via Col de la Faucille. Those in convertible cars enjoyed the best of the breathtaking scenery. Early arrival at La Réserve meant time to freshen up before cocktails and dinner, served out on the terrace facing Lac Léman, where drivers and co-drivers mingled with such celebrity guests as Nadine Thalmann, Safia Azzedine and Rebecca Loos. The final leg to Portofino ran through Switzerland via the Simplon Pass. Following the lake down to Montreaux and then disappearing into the Alps, the ‘9’ road takes you all the way to the Italian border where it appropriately changes its name to ‘SS33’ – appropriate, because this is just how the road ahead looks. Snow-covered mountains and luscious green hills paved the way to a buffet lunch at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées, with Lake Maggiore as a backdrop. There is something special about driving to Portofino. Those winding, tunneled autostradas on the Ligurean coast of the Mediterranean make for exquisite driving, while the tunnels provide an excellent soundtrack – even for those in the quietest of machines, such as the CL 63 AMG. Meanwhile, the only German to ever sound like an Italian – the BMW M3 CSL – was one of the aural stars, together with the brutal Diablo, the tones of their engines dancing between the walls. After the exit at Rapallo, just 7km remained to the finish, at the ultra-luxurious hotel Splendido. Those 7km, however, are treacherous. The road is desperately narrow and corners are frequently blind, so average speeds are just 15mph. But the journey is well worth it: there should be a sign in the reception of the Splendido saying ‘Welcome to Paradise’. Pre-dinner cocktails were served overlooking the small Portofino harbour, where yachts of all sizes moor in the turquoise waters. At the final dinner and prize ceremony, Alex Roy and Michael Ross of Team Polizei took home the prizes for the Jabra and Pal Zileri-sponsored legs, while Jens Lennen and Dr Shobnah Shah of Team Nordic won the watches.
Sep 09, 2007 Peter Mitham Four Seasons Resort, Whistler
Whistler hotels plan greenhouse gas reductions
A West Vancouver company is pushing ahead with plans to push back greenhouse gas emissions.
Sempa Power Systems Ltd. has developed a hybrid boiler now in use at most of the large hotels in Whistler that monitors energy use and allows building systems to alternate between hydroelectricity and hydrocarbons for maximum efficiency. Most Whistler properties depend on propane fuel for heating, but the boilers allow them to tap into excess power from the provincial grid and thereby reduce both energy costs and climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, said Malcolm Metcalfe, Sempa executive vice-president and chief technology officer. “By displacing fossil fuels with off-peak electricity, you can reduce costs dramatically,” he said. Off-peak electricity sells for 3.39 cents a kilowatt hour, or the equivalent of $9 a gigajoule, he explained. But propane sells for $18 a gigajoule in Whistler and is approximately 60 per cent efficient, easily boosting the cost of propane to $27 a gigajoule for the same amount of energy garnered from hydroelectric power. “We’ve been displacing propane consumption with electric heat, and what that does is that saves a lot of money and it also reduces the emissions quite dramatically,” he said. Some users have been able to cut energy use by 15 per cent, which translates into an average annual cost savings of approximately $85,000. At the same time, reducing propane use has allowed some Whistler hotels to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 40 per cent annually compared to what they would have been producing had they relied exclusively on propane for their energy. “We think this is a great opportunity to capture big-hit emission reductions without really causing a problem,” he said. “The hotels are very fussy, some of them in particular more than others, and they don’t want us to do anything that will impact the guest experience in a negative way at all.” The average payback time for one of the systems is 2.8 years. The Four Seasons Resort Whistler , for example, installed two of the hybrid boilers in June 2006 to serve the 254-room hotel. The system cost $375,000, said Priyan Jayetileke, the hotel’s director of engineering, but savings in the first year of operation were $250,000. The boilers eliminated the need to truck in propane from Squamish, and allowed the company to tap a lower-cost energy source Similar results were seen from a single boiler installed to serve the 37 private residences adjacent to the resort. Together, Jayetileke said, the three boilers have helped reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by Four Seasons properties in Whistler by more than 1,100 tonnes. It’s not just hotels that are seeing the benefits of hybrid heating systems. Sempa has also outfitted pools and hot-tubs with the boilers, as well as residential properties. It is pursuing projects outside Whistler in Vancouver, Alberta and Manitoba, including systems for several Lower Mainland health care projects. Hospitals are ideal candidates for hybrid heating systems, Metcalfe said, because they use a lot of water, which requires plenty of energy to heat. They also have a significant night-time heating load, which allows them to tap into cheap night-time electricity to reduce costs.
Sep 09, 2007 Maiami Herald King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
Tracking British Columbia's Spirit Bear, the white bear that's really black
PRINCESS ROYAL ISLAND, British Columbia, Canada -- The boat dropped us off at the back of Cameron Cove and we sloshed in knee boots across the marshy estuary to the mouth of a small stream with black-bottomed pools. The black on the bottoms was spawning salmon, which exploded into a watery frenzy as we approached, perhaps fearing we were hungry bears. Noisy gulls and silent bald eagles were everywhere, cashing in on the half-eaten bodies of salmon that littered the gravel stream bank and the grassy marsh. ''The ones with the heads eaten off are from wolves,'' said Jeremy, a young member of the Gitga'at, a First Nations tribe that inhabits this remote area along the west coast of northern British Columbia. ``Bears eat the bellies, going for the eggs.'' The gulls and the eagles take care of the rest. Avoiding mounds of bear scat the color of blueberries, we followed the stream back into the forest, where moss and ferns covered the floor beneath the canopy of cedar and spruce. From positions on the spongy moss high up on the creek bank, we sat and waited. The only sounds were the splash of the moribund salmon struggling to get upstream, and the calls of a raven that perched overhead and went through its entire repertoire, including one cry that imitated perfectly the sobs of a frightened child. An hour passed, and then ''psssst.'' Bruce Reece, our senior guide, pointed behind me, about 50 feet downstream, to where a young black bear had walked noiselessly from the woods and stood staring into the stream. Suddenly, it belly-flopped into the water, coming up with a flapping salmon in its jaws. The bear ambled back into the woods to dine in private, without even a backward glance at its human admirers. Our camera clicks recorded the visit, but we were after a different quarry. The legendary Kermode bear, a cream-colored genetic abnormality that is really a black bear, is found only on these islands in British Columbia. Studies have determined the color phase is the product of a unique double-recessive gene in both parents. The genetic combination is found particularly on Princess Royal Island, where about one in 10 bears is born white. The white bears were named in honor of Francis Kermode, a Canadian zoologist who researched the phenomenon in the early 1900s. The First Nations peoples call it the ''Spirit Bear,'' and hold the rare white wonder in high esteem. A Tsimshian legend says the bears harken back to the Ice Age: ``The whole world was white with ice and snow when Raven came from heaven to make it green. To remember the old whiteness, he went among the black bears making every tenth one white. By Raven's decree, the white bears will inhabit these lands in peace forever.'' While Canada stills allows trophy hunting of grizzlies and black bears, Kermode bears are off limits and, as a result, show little fear of people. September, when they visit the spawning streams, is the prime month to see them. Five of us -- four women and me -- had flown in by floatplane to this rugged area of pristine river valleys surrounded by forests and favored by Pacific salmon. Most other visitors are after the fish, and spend their days casting lines into the streams, lakes and ocean. But we were after the Kermode. We dedicated our four-day stay at King Pacific Lodge to seeing one of the great white bears. Reece is an expert at finding them, but warned: ``It's tough when you expect to see something right away. You've got to put your time in.'' After arriving at Vancouver in the southwest corner of Canada, we boarded a commuter plane for a 90-minute flight north to Bella Bella, where we then transferred to a six-passenger Beaver floatplane. Before closing the cockpit door, an assistant gave our pilot, Dean, a vote of confidence. ''Did you take your medication this morning?'' he asked. ''I think I remembered,'' replied Dean. Logging is king in British Columbia, and the mountains below were blotched with new and recovering clearcuts. Occasionally, a raft of logs would move along the water. The farther north we flew, the fewer the cuts, until the forest appeared intact as we approached our goal, Princess Royal Island. The island is the ancestral territory of the Gitga'at Nation. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts pays a fee to float in a barge each May, then remove it after the salmon-spawning season in September. The barge holds King Pacific Lodge, the quintessential experience for those who want to get away from it all, in luxury. After seeing nothing below but woods and water for 30 minutes, the floatplane suddenly veered down to the lodge's home in a sheltered harbor. The nearest town, Hartley Bay, was 22 miles to the north. The lodge has a spa and 17 guest rooms. I was in a ''wilderness view'' room, the cheapest at $4,200 for three nights, and $8,700 for seven, which included round-trip airfare from Vancouver. Also included was an open bar, wines paired with dinner and gourmet meals, courtesy of chef Maxim Ridorossi. Lunch was served on the sun deck, weather permitting. Dinner offered a choice of two entrees; one night was seared spring salmon or roasted venison loin. The recreation room had a shuffleboard table and dinner often was followed by a boisterous tournament. The lodge has a fleet of kayaks, aluminum cabin cruisers with twin 115-horsepowered Mercury engines and a helicopter for its guests to venture out into the wild. It's an extra charge to fly to the hiking and fishing sites on the mainland. Or you can hang around the lodge and do your wildlife viewing in upscale comfort. At breakfast my first morning, I sat in the dining room with a spinach-and-sablefish omelet while watching a family of six river otters at the water's edge outside. Mom and Pop hunted for food, while the four youngsters wrestled on the shore. A bald eagle sat in the snag overhead, a fixture at the same perch throughout our stay. We set up a spotting scope on the bird, and I half-expected to see a ''Made in China'' label on its tail. The area of B.C.'s west coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan Panhandle is now known as the Great Bear Rainforest because it is a grizzly stronghold in the world's largest remaining tract of temperate rain forest. Ian McAllister, the young man who gave it that name in a 1998 book called The Great Bear Rainforest -- Canada's Forgotten Coast, sailed in on his trimaran to spend time with us at the lodge. Another special guest was Paul Paquet, an author and university researcher who is an internationally recognized authority on bears and wolves. The two accompanied us on a couple of our Kermode searches and, when the forays to Cameron Cove turned up only black bears, suggested another spot, Gribbell Island. ''This island has more Spirit Bears than any other place in the world,'' McAllister said as we unloaded from two boats and started a short hike to viewing stands built by the Gitga'at along a stream. ``There's lots of old growth forest and the spawning draws them in to the rivers.'' But McAllister, Paquet and Reece, our guide, all were shocked when we walked back up the river valley on their first visit of the season and found no fish to attract the bears. We waited most of the morning, then gave up. Reece and McAllister both said it was the first time they ever had seen the valley with no spawning salmon in September. Said Reece: ``Maybe the fishermen with a seine boat caught all the ones that were supposed to come up here. Wiped out the whole creek.'' McAllister said he had noticed declining salmon in other traditional spawning rivers. ''It's throughout the system,'' he said. ``The water's been 5 degrees warmer this year than it usually is. Some people say the fish may be deeper. I don't know.'' The day was not a total loss. On our boat ride home, we came upon two humpback whales feeding along the coast line. For 45 minutes, we tagged along. The whales would surface, spout spray into the air, then roll towards the deep with a roar and a wave of the tail. We scanned the surface for a whale-sized circle of bubbles and aimed our telephoto lenses into the middle. Seconds later, a whale would burst head-first and mouth open through the circle. Click, click, click. I asked where we were and was given a map of the area. Appropriately, we were in Whale Channel. I skipped the morning search for the Kermode on the fourth day, hoping it might change the others' luck. After lunch, we all went back out and, again, photographed black bears, including the largest male we had seen. He boldly crossed the stream to our side, and circled us with head up and nostrils twitching. ''Man, he must be 500 pounds, about 20 feet away,'' I whispered to Reece, the bearer of our only can of pepper spray. ''Well, more than 300 pounds and 50 feet away,'' he whispered back. The lodge said it has never had an incident involving a guest and black bears, which concentrate their attention on the fish. The guides make sure you respect their space. Black bears are wild and unpredictable animals, but don't have the nasty reputation of grizzlies. The two don't share territories, so we never saw grizzlies. However, other guests who went heli-fishing and -hiking on the mainland did report grizzly sightings. The fifth morning was our day of departure, our last chance before the floatplane arrived that afternoon. McAllister and Paquet had suggested we start earlier, so we left the lodge at 7 a.m. and were at Cameron Cove as the sun came over the mountain. The boat let us off at the estuary and we started slogging silently across the marsh. Reece, our leader, turned with a ''psssst,'' and grinned. Above the grasses was a large white head. The Kermode hunting intently in the stream was cream-colored, with a reddish tint on its shoulders. The bear disappeared into the woods, but soon returned, crossed the stream, chased a pair of ranting ravens and walked to a pool. It splashed through the water, nabbed a salmon and went back into the woods. Minutes later it was back out, standing to scratch its back on a tree trunk, then pulling down two pawfuls of spruce branches to scrub its head and face. The bear stood and stared at us twice, but we soon found out it was looking behind us at a mother black bear feeding with three furry cubs. She carried a salmon into the field where we were standing; the cubs followed. They disappeared into the tall grass, but each took turns sticking up its head to check us out. ''It reminds me of that game where the heads pop up and you bat them back down,'' Reece said. Finding the Spirit Bear at the 11th hour of our trip was a storybook ending. We headed back to civilization knowing fairy tales do come true.
Sep 09, 2007 ca6a Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
Most Expensive Hotel Rooms
No 3. The Martinez Hotel Presidential Suite $18,000 per night The Martinez Hotel in Cannes likes superlatives and bills itself as having the biggest, most expensive and only terraced penthouse suite on the Cote d’Azur. Perhaps some of this is Gallic swagger, but the price of the suites–$18,000–certainly makes them one of the most expensive in Europe. Both penthouse suites are 8,000 square feet and are decorated in the hotel’s signature Art Deco style, with streamlined furniture, silk curtains and teak parquet floors.
While many of the hotel’s rooms are painted in bright colors (peach, lime green), the penthouse suites are decorated in muted, understated tones (brown, cream and tan). Each suite has two bedrooms, a Turkish bath, kitchen, personal sauna and views of the Lerins Islands as well as the entire Bay of Cannes. The wraparound terrace is 2,000 square feet and can comfortably hold 100 people. It also has a Jacuzzi. Technophiles will appreciate the Bose plasma screen televisions and telephones and the DVD library. A private butler is on call 24 hours a day, and other amenities include use of a limousine, open bar and the option to join both suites into one tr�s grand apartment. The overarching attitude for the suite is “never say no to anything,” which we hope is the case when you’re paying $18,000. One Saudi sheik liked the suite so much he wanted to rent it for five years. The hotel said non.
Sep 09, 2007 europeshotels Hotel Bristol Vienna
Vienna Bristol - A Westin Hotel
Founded in 1892, Bristol – A Westin Hotel is one of the most elegant hotels in Vienna. This luxury 5-star hotel guarantees high quality of accommodation and services. Guest-rooms are stylishly furnished, air-conditioned and fully equipped (TV SAT, minibar, direct dial phone, writing desk, radio) to make all guests feel comfortable. The list of hotel facilities is endless. Bristol is an ideal place for business and leisure travellers alike. It provides great meeting facilities with several fully-equipped conference rooms. There is an elegant restaurant and a cosy lounge with bar. The professional staff guarantees a wide variety of services including laundry, shoe polishing and organizing banquets. Bristol also provides cots and baby sitting services. Travel information and city maps are available at the front desk open 24/7.

services & amenities

Restaurant Elevator Access for disabled Facilities for disabled people Air conditioning Air conditioning (individual control) 24-hour front desk Bar Hotel is housed in historic building Lounge / Sitting-area Multilingual staff Reading lounge Rooms for non-smokers available Parking - Free parking Media - Satellite TV - Telephone - Dial-up Internet - Internet cafe - Pay-per-view movies Room - Central heating - Hair-drier - In-room safe - Minibar Services - Room service (24h) - Shoe shine machine - Tourist information - Translation services - City guide - City maps available - Concierge - Fax service - Laundry - Limousine service - Luggage room - Newspaper stand Business Activities - Conference centre - Meeting room - Banqueting services Children & Family - Babysitting service - Baby cots available
Sep 09, 2007 jobshub Claris Hotel Barcelona
The 5 Most Expensive Hotels in Barcelona, Spain
The Arts Barcelona The Barcelona Hilton The Claris The Ritz Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel
...The Claris is a very luxurious hotel and is aimed at guests who like the finer things in life, in particular fine art. Various superb examples of exquisite art are littered around the hallways of this converted palace and also in the rooms. Booking is almost impossible without years of notice but the sculptures aged from the 2nd through to the 7th century as well as 300 year old furniture make this a truly lavish hotel for lavish wallets....
Sep 09, 2007 juliana Intercontinental Carlton, Cannes
Johnny Drama Finds Love, Loses Hotel Room in Cannes
In Sunday night's Entourage season finale the boys head to Cannes (courtesy of Kanye West's private jet) and promptly shack up at the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes Hotel --- well, all of them except Johnny Drama. Apparently, the room he reserved months ago and confirmed "at least a dozen times" is nowhere to be found.
Considering that his old show "Viking Quest" was a huge hit in France, Drama expects the hotel to rectify the situation immediately and put him in an ocean-facing suite like his brother Vince. Unfortunately, the hotel takes quite a few hours only to show Drama a closet-sized room with a twin bed not facing the ocean. Making matters worse, Drama has met a girl, Jacqueline, and thinks he's in love. So he asks her to wait in the room while he goes downstairs and demands a suite. But he gets angry, calls the manager a "French f--k" and is carried out of the hotel by security. When he tips a bellman to look for the girl, the bellman says she's missing. Also, Drama only tips him a lone American dollar. But don't worry this is Entourage. All ends well all the time. At least for Drama in this episode and not so much for the boys behind "Medellin." Drama ends up finding Jacqueline and having sex with her for three hours on the beach. Guess he didn't need that twin bed after all.
Sep 09, 2007 Rolf Hicker Hotel Sacher Vienna
Five Star Hotel Vienna
A porter stands outside the Hotel Sacher, rated a five star luxurious hotel and known as the finest throughout Vienna, Austria. Multiple flags blow in the breeze above the entranceway to the Hotel Sacher in the downtown core of Vienna, Austria as the porter awaits for the next guest to assist. If you are looking for the best place to stay while traveling in Austria, the Hotel Sacher is a five star deluxe hotel listed among the world's top.
Everything about the design and architecture of the Hotel Sacher is rated five star right from the entranceway, all areas in between, right up to the top floor. Antiques, world renowned paintings and luxury furniture is the decor in each of the one hundred and fifty-two rooms. Founded in 1876, the Hotel Sacher was owned by the well known Eduard Sacher, up until 1934 when the Gurtler family became the new owners. Since... ... the beginning of time, the Hotel Sacher has been a five star hotel and has been blessed with having guests such as Queen Elizabeth II, John F. Kennedy, Prince of Monaco and Indira Gandhi. As you walk out the entranceway, you are situated in the middle of the downtown core of Vienna, Austria. Many of the most important sights are found within walking distance including the Opera House, theaters, museums, churches, restaurants, clubs and lounges. The world is at your command when you stay at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria and the entire staff treats everyone just as if they were a queen or a king. What more could one ask for when vacationing in Vienna, Austria - it may be your only chance to be treated like royalty. Hotel Sacher, Vienna, Austria, Europe
Sep 09, 2007 Mengenai Saya Hotel Schloss Fuschl, Fuschlsee-Salzburg
Live your own fairytale in a horse-drawn carriage at Hotel Schloss Fuschl, a legendary fairytale castle dating back to 1450. Overlooking one of Austria’s grandest lakes, Hotel Schloss Fuschl is planted on lush greenery of perfectly manicured lawns and landscapes. Host to noblemen, archbishops, film stars, and empresses, our hotel paints a unique historic atmosphere and was noted as one of the 25 best resorts in Europe by Condé Nast Traveler in 2006.
Experience treatment and luxury appropriate for those of royalty but directed to all guests of Hotel Schloss Fuschl. Unwind at Schloss Fuschl Beauty SPA, offering tranquility and magnificent scenery, as well as advanced equipment. Take a leisurely swim in our peaceful swimming pool, with magnificent views over the lake. Borrow one of Hotel Schloss Fuschl’s private row or electric boats and spend peaceful hours on the lake in the most romantic atmosphere under sunlight. Travel back in time in one of our seven vintage to contemporary Rolls-Royces and cruise along the endless greenery of Austria’s finest sights. Panoramic windows overlook soaring heights and the eternal waters of our surrounding lake. Opulent fireplaces provide warmth on those chilly nights and are harmoniously suited with a cup of hot chocolate. Picture perfect ambiance fills each of our 110 guest rooms, suites and lakeside cottages. Bring the past to life in our tower suites, filled with impressive European art styles from the Renaissance to Biedermeier, and complete with luxurious contemporary furniture.
Sep 09, 2007 Chris Clarke The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Inside the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Denise Ryan of the Vancouver Sun wrote an interesting story for today’s paper about the inner workings of the venerable Fairmont Hotel Vancouver--the Grand Dame of the Vancouver hotel community. Ryan’s piece reveals many insider details from the hotel employees’ perspective and she interviewed an impressive number of “colleagues”, from “Queenie” A housekeeping uniform room employee to hotel Executive Chef Robert Le Crom.
If you are curious about what happens behind the scenes in one of Vancouver’s most distinguished hotel properties, today’s Vancouver Sun story is highly worthy of a read. Check out some of these facts from the article: Hotel’s stars: 4 How many royals have stayed here: 15 Times the Queen has dined at the hotel: 3 Chefs/cooks on shift each day: 40 Meals served each day: 2,500 Meals served in the Chattery each day: 475 Dishes washed in a day: 7,000 Scones baked in a day: 20 dozen Light bulbs changed in a week: 154 Staff uniformed by “Queenie” per day: 300 Bed sheets used in a day: 3,500 Longest serving employee: John Giannis, chef de partie, on staff since 1969. Cumulative years of service hotel staff has at present time: 5,807
Sep 09, 2007 doctormarsh The Ritz London
TEA AT THE RITZ
... is an institution in itself and we are proud to be a member of the Tea Council's prestigious Tea Guild. Served in the spectacular Palm Court, a choice of several varieties of tea, finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones, jam and clotted cream and a range of delicate pastries, combine to make for an unforgettable afternoon.”
My stomach started rumbling already. Breakfast seemed so long ago. And gosh haven’t we been busy since then. “The Ritz London has a formal dress code in its public areas. Gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie when using The Palm Court, Rivoli Bar or The Ritz Restaurant. Jeans and/or training shoes are not permitted in these areas. Booking at least 4 weeks in advance is essential to avoid disappointment.” Somebody must have thought Harry to tie a proper tie recently. Rumour has it, that Neville or Ron tied it for him during his school years. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t learn himself, but it must be a guy thing. Harry opened the door and stepped out with a towel on his face. “Heaven help me Ginny. These are the greatest towels in the history of world.” It’s true, they were heavenly. I pulled it off his head and tossed it onto the bed. It was almost five and I didn’t want to be late. The door clicked behind us and we walked hand in hand to the elevator. I really wanted to say something about just how soft the carpet was but I decided I would note it in my diary tonight. Which I guess, I’m doing right now. Oh, this is getting a bit strange so let me just continue. We had decided a while ago to try to learn as much about the history of our country as possible. Let’s be honest, the history courses at Hogwarts are quite poor. As a result we entered the world at large knowing very little about England’s history. What really got us going on this little journey was when a customer came into our shop and said something about how “Today was the anniversary of 1066. We just looked at each other and Harry asked what he meant. The man, a grey haired Muggle who bought cabbages regularly, looked at Harry as he was daft. 1066, battle of Hastings? you know…” Harry played along and chuckled and smiled. After the man had left he looked at me and I shrugged. “Yeah, me neither,” said Harry. “I have no clue what he was talking about.” So that night after we locked up the store, Harry went down the road to the Muggle library. He brought home a history book and read to me what exactly had happened in 1066 that was so important. I remember rubbing my chin and nodding as Harry closed the book. “So there you go Gin, that’s 1066.” I nodded and smiled. We both concluded at that moment that we knew absolutely nothing about English history. The next few nights after work we would sit up in the bed and Harry would read out parts from the book. It wasn’t a very scholarly book so we could follow what was happening without much trouble. Harry even tried out a few different accents. They were alright, except when he attempted female ones. To be fair we glossed over a lot of the material. All that intrigue about kings and their sucessors didn’t interest us greatly. However, we did take a trip to Westminster Abbey in December and were quite thrilled at what we saw. We then fast forwarded up to the 18th and 19th centuries. England’s colonial past is common knowledge to all magical people, however talking to Parvati Patil about why her family lives in England, and learning about the East Indian Company are two very different things. Reading about all the explorers and the things they brought back to England enthralled me. During slow moments at the store, I would find myself day dreaming about attending the Great exhibition in 1851 at what became known as The Crystal Palace. Funny enough, I was telling some friends about the exhibition and Dean mentioned that they have a football club named Crystal Palace. Gosh, they’ll name just a team after everything won’t they? In the future, maybe in a year or so, Harry and I are going to do some more travelling. A while ago we went abroad and visited a few wonderful zoos, as we both quite like animals. This time I believe we are going to take a historical trip and visit India, Australia and Jamaica. A whirlwind tour? Yes, it is no doubt. But we have done so much reading about these places and now we just want to actually go and see them. So it was our new desire in English history that brings us to this very expensive hotel. It is absolutely obscene what they charge for a room here. We usually stay at the Dorchester because the assistant manager knows all about Harry and gives us a good rate, ha! But this is high tea and there are few places you can have it anymore. The attractive waiter showed us to our table and held the chair out of for me. I gave Harry a look that said ‘I could get used to this sort of service’ and he gave me a sly wink. I had barely time to look around before the sandwiches, scones and pastries arrived at our table. Oh, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention just how fantastic the salmon sandwiches were. Worth the price of admission! Ha. We looked at our menus and tried to decide what teas to order. Goodness gracious, there are a lot of them available. They had sixteen different varieties available. Did all those society women of yesteryear have to make this sort of decisions. I pointed out to Harry which one I wanted and he conveyed that to the waiter as well as his choice. I selected the Darjeeling First Flush,, while Harry picked Moroccan Mint. This is what the menu had to say about each tea. I’m a bit smug in thinking that my tea was definitely better than his. Darjeeling First Flush: Truly the Champagne of teas, a rare & wonderful experience, this Black tea, from the first tender new shoots grown between February and April on the foothills of the Himalayas, producing a wonderful light liquor with a delicate flavour of green muscatel. Moroccan Mint: A wonderfully invigorating spearmint tea, caffeine free, highly scented, stimulating in the morning, soothing digestif. Like Harry needs anything more stimulating in the morning than myself. Oh bad Ginny, bad!
Sep 09, 2007 lArPi_A Pan Pacific Vancouver
ADVENTURES IN PARADISEGARDENS OF DELIGHT IN VANCOUVER
A cosmopolitan city in a setting of unparalleled natural beauty, Vancouver offers the best of many diverse worlds. Just a short walk or drive from The Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver are the antique shops and galleries of Gastown, the 1,000-acre Stanley Park, manicured English gardens, rugged mountain peaks, beaches, one of the largest Chinatown districts in North America, world-class museums, and much more.
At the center of it all is Canada Place, the stunning waterfront complex with its roof of billowing white sails, which is home to the 504-room Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver as well as the Alaska Cruise Ship Terminal, Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center, World Trade Center and an IMAX theater. The Pan Pacific’s glass-enclosed lobby is the ideal place to take in the majestic sweep of the city skyline, bustling harbor and spectacular mountains of the North Shore. Just a short stroll east from Canada Place is the historic Gastown district, named for "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a legendary saloonkeeper of the 1870’s whose statue stands in Maple Tree Square. A commercial hub during the days of the Klondike gold rush, Gastown, now known for high-end specialty shops and restaurants, still evokes its 19th-century origins with Victorian streetlights, cobbled streets and hidden courtyards. Gastown’s best-known curiosity is the world’s first steam-powered clock, located at Cambie and Water streets, which puffs out musical chimes on the quarter hour. Adjacent to Gastown and equally atmospheric is Chinatown, where late 19th-century and early 20th century Cantonese-style buildings with ornate facades house a pleasing jumble of herbalist shops, produce markets, souvenir stores and dim sum restaurants. Among the most remarkable structures is the Sam Kee Building at Pender and Carrall streets, which, at a mere six feet wide, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the skinniest building in the world. Another unique spot is the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a rare example of a Ming Dynasty-style garden that took 52 artisans a year to create. The garden is a small world of ponds, rock sculpture, plants and traditional Chinese courtyards. Situated on a green peninsula a few blocks west of Canada Place is the 1,000-acre Stanley Park, justifiably considered one of the finest urban parks in the world. For strolling, cycling and roller blading, the park offers a six-mile, car-free waterfront promenade. For hiking, there are dozens of trails winding through thick coniferous forest. One of the park’s major attractions is the Vancouver Public Aquarium where orca whales and some 9,000 other varieties of marine life are in residence. The eclectic aquarium offers everything from a humid rainforest room with piranhas and crocodiles to outdoor pools for beluga whales and harbor seals. Another of Vancouver’s green gems is the 130-acre Queen Elizabeth Park, a hilltop oasis which offers stellar views of the city, grassy picnic areas, illuminated fountains and ornamental gardens planted with specimen roses. The park’s centerpiece is Bloedel Conservatory, a giant geodesic dome filled with tropical and desert plants and some 60 species of free-flying tropical birds. While Vancouver boasts many fine museums, the most spectacular is the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology, a dramatic structure with soaring glass walls on the University of British Columbia campus. Focusing on the arts of the native Pacific Northwest peoples, the museum’s galleries are filled with totem poles, ceremonial archways and dugout canoes adorned with carved eagles, ravens, salmon and bears. Behind the museum is an authentic Haida longhouse where totem carvers can often be observed at work. Not far from the university is Granville Island, a former industrial district where corrugated-metal warehouses have been converted into shops, restaurants, artist’s studios and microbreweries. A favorite lunch stop is the massive Granville Public Market with its stalls selling fresh produce, espresso drinks and gourmet snacks of all kinds. On Vancouver’s North Shore, just a few miles from downtown, are numerous ways to enjoy the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. Among the most popular excursions is the Skyride gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain for panoramic city, water and mountain views. Seasonal diversions at the top include a half-hour video presentation at the Theater in the Sky, a summer Shakespeare festival, walking tours, horseback riding, ice skating, skiing and sleigh rides. Another nearby nature experience can be found at the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park where a swaying footbridge is suspended 230 feet above the Capilano River. The park features viewing decks, nature trails, totem poles and a totem carving shed.
Sep 09, 2007 Emmie Ritz Paris
"Posh Spice" Victoria Bechham's 33rd Birthday Surprise!
Victoria Beckham, better known as "Posh Spice"and one of the key band members of the immensely popular all girls pop group Spice Girls, recently celebrated her 33rd birthday extravaganza! Born on 17th April, 1974, Victoria is married to heartthrob English football player, David Beckham.
Beckham, along with hubby David, had her birthday dinner at the stylish Guy Savoy Restaurant in Paris. David splashed out £40,000 on Victoria's 33rd birthday! He absolutely surprised Victoria with an overnight trip to Paris and spent £25,000 on a private jet and arranged for her favorite dress and shoe designers. After reaching the French capital, she went for more expensive shopping sprees, buying designer clothes and shoes for herself! The couple booked a night suite at the luxurious Paris Ritz hotel, where David had ordered Victoria's room to be filled with her favorite flowers and champagne!
Sep 09, 2007 The Independent Marbella Club
Sun, sea, sand and sleaze: Marbella tries to clean up its act
It was supposed to epitomise luxury, prosperity and power. Instead, it became a symbol of the heady mix of excess and corruption which for too long was synonymous with Marbella, Spain's glittering city of fun. The Rolls-Royce Shining Spur was the pride and joy of the self-proclaimed "God of the Costa del Sol", the late playboy and Marbella mayor Jesús Gil y Gil.
put it. But now, three years after his death, his Rolls has – like his corrupt reign – lost its allure. The car will be put up for auction later this year in an effort to draw a line under a long and seedy chapter in the city's history. Gil was the overweight, foul-mouthed supporter of the former dictator General Franco who ruled Marbella for seven years until he was finally ousted for corruption. He had diverted £20m of public funds to finance the football team he owned, Atletico Madrid. He died in 2004. The new mayor, Angeles Muñoz, hopes that auctioning Gil's Rolls will usher in a new era in this playground for the rich, the famous – and the notorious. She has ordered the rusting car to be sold off to the highest bidder, with an asking price expected to be no more than £30,000. Gil's Rolls-Royce will go under the hammer along with the BMW which carried another disgraced Marbella mayor, Marisol Yague. She was arrested last year with more than 100 former councillors, including another former mayor, property developers, lawyers and even a fading pop star, Isabel Pantoja. They are all accused of playing a role in a multi-million-euro civic scam. Marbella's public servants allegedly took ¿22m (£15m) in backhanders in return for granting illegal contracts to builders fighting for some of Spain's most lucrative real estate. The scandal, which led to the dissolution of the city council by the national government, was the final straw for a country embarrassed by the apparent lawlessness which had gripped Marbella. British, Russian and Italian criminals appeared to be tolerated or even bankrolling the city authorities and the police seemed powerless to act. Many pointed the finger at Gil, who was blamed for starting the rot. Among other things, the construction magnate was notorious for having built a restaurant that collapsed and killed 58 people, doing time in jail, and then receiving a personal pardon from Franco. He later showed his gratitude by putting up a statue of Franco in the foyer of Marbella's town hall. When serving as mayor, Gil also used the city's mounted police to head the victory celebrations for Atletico Madrid. He was also not averse to indulging in fistfights with rival football chairmen and hurling racist abuse at his own players. His bon mots included: "For the delinquents, the stick; for prostitutes, the door." He also made no secret of his contempt for politicians. "Politics is a shelter for incompetents. I wouldn't have them as bellboys in my company." Gil made his money from construction and served as Marbella's mayor until 2002 when he was jailed for six months and banned from holding public office for 28 years for diverting public funds to Atletico Madrid and using the players' shirts to promote his own party, Grupo Independiente Liberal (GIL). Despite his right-wing views and apparent tolerance of organised criminals, Gil was credited with cracking down on street crime and high-class prostitution. But even with Gil behind bars, the cancer of corruption continued in Marbella via his own hand-picked coterie of dubious followers. These were rounded up last year when police moved to end the latest bribery scam which capitalised on Spain's booming construction industry. Builders looking for favours, which often meant being handed licences that broke Spanish law, could allegedly pay between ¿500,000 and ¿2m to the councillors and the man behind the swindle, the head of urban planning, Juan Antonio Roca. Roca pocketed half the money, according to court papers, and spent it on his lavish – and lurid – hacienda. The property boasted a collection of stuffed lions, giraffes and other hunting trophies, a stable full of starving thoroughbreds and a Joan Miro painting which he kept in his lavatory – ever the true art lover. Though Marbella is more than accustomed to tasteless flaunting of wealth, even seasoned observers were taken aback by Roca's garish display of the spoils of crime. Judge Miguel Angel Torres, who is investigating the case, said: "The display of wealth has been open and shameless." There was allegedly a pecking order of corruption. The mayor, Yagüe, allegedly received ¿84,000 per building licence, while the votes of less important councillors cost ¿6,000. The web of corruption extended to the head of the local police, tax inspectors and at least one judge. At least 13 building companies paid bribes to the town hall. Marbella has long been a favourite spot for Britons to settle and enjoy their twilight years slowly roasting in the Mediterranean sun. It has been unkindly called "the Spanish Bourne-mouth". So it was first feared the latest scandal would mean some 5,000 homes in Marbella, many owned by Britons, would be bulldozed as they were built with illegal licences or none at all. But the new city council and many of the developers and building companies implicated in the web of corruption struck a deal, which has granted a reprieve to thousands of worried property owners. Now under the new administration, a development plan is to grant a reprieve to the owners of all but 752 homes. Under the scheme, property developers can give the authorities compensation in the form of surrendering other land which will be used for "social" benefits like building schools or parks. In return, 18,000 apartments will be allowed to remain standing and will be saved from the bulldozers. But some, like the Banana Beach complex on the seafront, look likely to be demolished. The complex was built next to the beach near to land reserved for a train station. For British pensioners such as Yvonne and Jack Burditt, it could mean the end of their dream of passing their last years gazing at the sun go down over the Mediterranean. The couple, both in their eighties, face the unwelcome but very real threat that their three-bedroom apartment, like 300 others, will be knocked down. Mrs Burditt, from Devon, said: "We originally heard on the radio that our home could be demolished. We bought the place in good faith for over ¿200,000 (£135,000). At our age, we want to go into sheltered housing, but we can't do that unless we can sell or rent this place. Otherwise it is impossible." Meanwhile, for most in Marbella, life will go on much as before. On the average, steamy summer night, the bars in the city's glitziest quarter, Puerto Banus, are packed with Gucci-clad wannabes, the occasional soap star or perhaps a Premier League footballer. In one of the most popular, Sinatra's Bar, the air stewardesses are praying they will be chatted up by a Bentley-driving Arab prince or invited to join the champagne set on the yachts in the bay. The tills in the D&G and Jimmy Choo shops will continue to ring as ever more partying Britons step from the designer shops straight into the bars next door. Or, if they can afford it, perhaps they will indulge the latest fashion – ¿100 for a night on the de rigueur white leather beachside sofas to sip champagne. Others, of course, will gaze at the yachts, wishing they could join the lucky few, whose boats are usually registered in a tax haven such as the Caymans. One local businessman, who did not want his name to be used, said: "Marbella is divided between those who look at the yachts and those who are looked at." After exiting last year's football World Cup in shame, some members of England's squad headed for Marbella to quaff champagne on a yacht while surprised onlookers watched their heroes celebrating. Back on land, Bentleys are the fashion in this show-off city, replacing an earlier fad for Lamborghinis. Those who cannot afford one pose in front of the gleaming cars while their girlfriends take photographs. Another fad is a little less costly, but says much about the body-worship in this playground for the rich and famous. Plastic surgery is all the rage, with many tourists coming to this corner of southern Spain for discreet – and less discreet – nips and tucks. One local put it bluntly: "It's boob-job-a-go-go here." Away from the crowds of wannabes and show-off rich kids, Marbella has become home to a set of British celebrities such as Freddie Starr, Bruce Forsyth, Bobby Davro, Kenny Lynch and the late Mike Reid. Recently, Madonna was said to be looking for a home, which would bring a touch of A-class celebrity to an area which might otherwise be in danger of slipping into the obscurity whence it came. Until the 1940s, Marbella was just an obscure fishing village. Then it was discovered by an eccentric German prince, Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe-Langenburg, in search of a way to make a fortune. In 1947, the young aristocrat was driving to Andalucia, in his charcoal-burning Rolls-Royce Phantom, when he stopped for a picnic by the sea in Marbella. Charmed by its beauty, he determined to buy a vineyard ruined by phylloxera for 150,000 pesetas, or about £600, a bargain price. He used the land to build the 16-bedroom hotel. The Marbella Club Hotel soon became home to the jet-set, from Hollywood royalty such as Grace Kelly, Tony Curtis and Sean Connery to real-life royalty such as the Duke of Windsor. Its appeal lay in its relaxed, clubby atmosphere and in giving the famous a respite from the lenses of the paparazzi. In turn, the Marbella Club transformed the village into one of the priciest pieces of real estate in Spain. Sadly, the hotel's heyday has long passed. Today's los famosos prefer to languish in their own private villas. Some feel that the very popularity of Marbella has attracted a different, less desirable set. But the city retains at least some of its A-list allure. Kate Moss and her partying set were the latest in a long line of celebrities to alight in town this summer. The question for residents is whether their city can keep the bling while shaking off the legacy of Gil.
Sep 09, 2007 Brian & Laura McGarvie Claridge's
Dinner in Gordon Ramsey’s at Claridges Hotel, London (Review)
Recently we have had the pleasure of dinning at Gordon Ramsey’s at Claridges Hotel in London. There were 4 of us dining, Laura, my parents and I. We started the evening in Claridges off with a cocktail or 2 in the lobby/lounge. Now being Claridges you expect it to be posh, but by having this expectation it was just as I envisaged… it was posh, but in a subtle and relaxed way. The cocktails are very nice… and considering the venue I think reasonably priced - I enjoyed my pre-meal Singapore Sling and the others had a simple G&T. The nibbles provided were a good indication of things to come… they were simple but elegant and one (the toasted cheese) unusual but turned into my favorite very quickly!
We moved through into the dining room and it was again tastefully decorated, and not oppressive as it can be in some other similar establishments. The general atmosphere was calming and the lighting was subtle but still enough to see the plates! Before our starters arrived we were given a plate of canapés - which were delicious, there was a selection of bite-sized spring rolls, fish cakes and breads. We were then given a tomato and cucmber soup drizzled with olive oil - very refreshing and cleansing before our meal. For our starters 3 of us had the Fois Gras, one was a Mosaic of foie gras and Goosnargh duck with Red Pippin apple and walnut salad, toasted brioche and the other was more traditional - Roasted duck foie gras with macerated cherries, pickled ginger, cauliflower and almond cream (I had this, but there were nicer things on the menu which I would have enjoyed more, but it was still very very nice!), and Laura’s starter was Ravioli of Dorset blue lobster and salmon poached in a lemongrass bisque, basil vinaigrette. For mains, Laura had the Pan-fried Mediterranean stonebass with Cromer crab and celeriac cannelloni, summer vegetable blanquette, lemon thyme velouté which was delicious, my Mum had a steak (not very adventurous, but it was a very nice piece of meat!) while my Dad and I both had the Roasted John Dory and sautéed langoustines with violet artichokes, pink fir potatoes, carrot purée and a light fennel cream. I was very happy with my main - however I am probably being greedy and think there could have been another bit of fish and one more langoustine. Laura was delighted with her meal and portion wise was ample. My Mum & Dad both also enjoyed their respective meals. After this we were given a peach soup with rasperry sorbet mouse then it was onto desert, Laura and I both had the passion fruit creme brule - it was divine, my mum had a hot chocolate sponge while my dad opted for the huge selection of cheese from their trolley - the wedged returned to him were ample too! The wine list was like vast and ranged from £23 per bottle to over £2,000!!! In summary, the food was very well presented, portions good (but on the edge of small) but it was quality not quantaty. Will we return? Probably! But it would generally be for a special occasion, and we’d also plunge for a room at £300+ for the night too - you might as well go the whole hog! The staff were second to none, very friendly, happy to talk and treat you with class…
Sep 09, 2007 The New York Times El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza
36 Hours in Seville
SEVILLE is easily Spain's most flamboyant city. As a former Moorish capital, its streets are awash in a sultry jumble of Christian-Muslim architecture, with many grand buildings in need of a fresh coat of paint. And unlike much of Spain, Seville has resisted the urge to make its tiled courtyards and medieval sidewalks, some as narrow as a bicycle tire, sleek and trendy. Flamenco dancers, gypsy street performers and Andalusian cowboys in wide-brimmed boleros still strut in 2,000-year-old plazas shaded by orange trees and palms. On balmy nights, parties can erupt spontaneously over bottles of red wine. It's a contagious street theater in which everyone can join...
The celebrity chef Ferran Adrià of El Bulli fame has a lesser-known outpost about 25 minutes by taxi from the city center. Tucked inside the gates of the very luxurious hotel, Hacienda Benazuza (41800 Sanlúcar la Mayor, 34-955-70-33-44, www.elbullihotel.com), the restaurant presents elegant dinner theater with servers, dressed like French maids, trotting foamed and molecular creations with white gloves. For the full effect, try the tasting menu: a procession of 24 small plates including “gin fizz frozen warm,” candied quail egg and, my favorite, “olives soup with spherical olives.” Dinner for two with wine is 296 euros...
Sep 09, 2007 jkslouth The Ritz London
No any news, just photo
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Sep 09, 2007 melecotte Hotel Bristol Vienna
Strudel Demonstration
In Vienna, we stayed at the Hotel Bristol. Beautiful suite! I understand why Barbara Streisand stayed there....Lovely rooms and two cute redheads a floor above her? Could you ask for anything more? Video -
click source link
Sep 09, 2007 S Wander Claridge's
London After Midnight - Love the Night Life
London, like New York City, is a 24-hour town. Transportation runs all hours of the night, and there are places open every hour of the day and evening. Be certain to pick up a Time Out magazine for shows, comedy, music, readings, film, and theatre. And make plans to eat earlier; Londons best restaurants often close before midnight. Bars and Pubs
If its a regular old pub youre after, take a walk down the street. London is teeming with pubs and local bars, and youll find one on every corner. But if you want atmosphere and class, you may have to look a little harder. Try Claridges Bar for history and society. Once the hotel of foreign royalty, Claridges is now the fashionable place to go for cocktails, champagne, and caviar. The atmosphere is chic and elegant, and youll be brushing shoulders with some of Londons elite....
Sep 09, 2007 Bandar Seri Begawan Le Meurice Paris
Empire Hotel Patron Wins Stay At Paris Hotel
Following the recent Le Meurice Paris promotion at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in July, a draw was recently held to select a winner for the prize of a four-night stay at the Deluxe Room at Hotel Le Meurice, Paris, according to a press release.
On hand to present the prize to lucky winner Lim Wei Siong was Executive Sous-Chef of the Empire Hotel and Country Club Thomas Walter. "I have already planned for a European trip this December, and this is a wonderful extra to add to my itinerary. "Thank you, and I have always enjoyed food promotions at the Empire Hotel and Country Club," said Lim after receiving the prize. The Le Meurice promotion was supported by Baiduri Bank, Royal Brunei Airlines and Alliance Francais.
Sep 09, 2007 highendluxuryvacation Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris
Getting to Know Paris - Fast Facts
...Best Chef: Proud owner of six Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse, at the Restaurant Plaza Athénée, 25 av Montaigne, 8e (tel. 01-53-67-66-65), has taken Paris by storm, dividing his time between his restaurant here and the one in Monte Carlo. He combines produce from every French region in a cuisine that's contemporary but not quite new, embracing the Mediterranean without abandoning France...
Sep 09, 2007 highendluxuryvacation Hotel du Louvre
Best Hotel Bets - Best Historic Hotel
Inaugurated by Napoleon III in 1855, the Hôtel du Louvre, place André-Malraux, 1e, was once described by a French journalist as "a palace of the people, rising adjacent to the palace of kings." Today, the hotel offers luxurious accommodations and panoramic views down avenue de l'Opéra.
Sep 09, 2007 highendluxuryvacation Four Seasons Hotel George V
The Best Luxury Hotels in Paris
Hotel Ritz (15 place Vendôme, 1er; tel. 800/223-6800 or 01-43-16-30-30; www.ritzparis.com). The hotel, which gave the world the word "ritzy," meaning posh, occupies a magnificent palace overlooking the octagonal borders of one of the most perfect squares in the world. The decor is pure opulence. Marcel Proust wrote parts of Remembrance of Things Past here, and the world's greatest chef, Georges-Auguste Escoffier, perfected many of his recipes in the Ritz kitchens. Four Seasons Hotel George V (31 av. George V, 8th; tel. 800/332-3442 or 01-49-52-70-00; www.fourseasons.com). Humorist Art Buchwald once wrote, "Paris without the George V would be Cleveland." The swanky address has long been a favorite of celebrities in every field, including Duke Ellington, who once wrote in his memoirs that his suite was so big he couldn't find the way out. Its public and private rooms are decorated with a vast array of antiques and Louis XIV tapestries worth millions. Hotel de Crillon (10 place de la Concorde, 8th; tel. 800/223-6800 or 01-44-71-15-00; www.crillon.com). The 18th-century architect, Jacques-Ange Gabriel, designed this hotel's majestic exterior, which forms part of the backdrop for the elegant place de la Concorde. The decor covers the reigns of Cardinal Richelieu and Marie Antoinette, and a battalion of super-trained attendants and smartly uniformed attendants polishes every surface weekly. Royalty, wealthy foreigners, diplomats on expense accounts, and movie stars such as Tom Cruise still check in here, looking out windows that open onto the site where the guillotine chopped heads during the French Revolution. Plaza Athenée (25 av. Montaigne, 8th; tel. 866/732-1106 or 01-53-67-66-65; www.plaza-athenee-paris.com) is still the favorite lunchtime hangout for Parisian couturiers. It's also a lot more than that, providing luxurious accommodations for the likes of the Rockefellers and super wealthy Brazilians. This swanky citadel is graced with potted palms, crystal chandeliers, and elegant furnishings -- you name it: Louis XV, Louis XVI, Regency, whatever. Its ivy-covered courtyard is a slice of heaven.
Sep 09, 2007 arxxiduc La Residencia - Mallorca, Spain
The Queen That Never Was
Princess Diana�s death is being marked in a memorial service today, a decade after she died in that infamous car crash in Paris. Camilla, Prince Charles�s second wife, has finally stated that she will refrain from attending. Probably a wise decision, to the best of everyone. Diana and Camilla are pictured above at Ludlow racecourse, UK, in a 1980 photo. Diana Frances Spencer (1961-1997), born in Norfolk, had some brief encounters with the island of Mallorca, and with Deià in particular. Deià is a mountain village in the north eastern mountain range of Mallorca, the Serra de Tramuntana. Deià is famous for many things and many people, such as author and poet, Robert Graves. Deià�s most notable hotel is called La Residencia, which had a Michelin star until recently and which has some more modest rooms as well as three suites, each with their own swimming pool; Princess Diana was a dedicated visitor of La Residencia. She is said to have come and stayed three or four times during the time of the break-up of her marriage to Prince Charles. Earlier, in 1987, the Princess of Wales had been to Mallorca with Prince Charles and their two sons, staying at Marivent Palace outside of Palma de Mallorca, where the British Royal family was holidaying with the Spanish King Juan Carlos and his family. In my humble opinion, Diana, the Queen that never was, may have benefited the British monarchial dynasty in more ways than is commonly assumed.
Sep 09, 2007 Perrys100 Pan Pacific Vancouver
US customs in vancouver at the pier?
We are flying from fargo and will put our allowed 1 liter of booze in our checked luggage. That is the amount we can carry into Canada. So my question is this. We are staying at the pan pacific and are wondering when we go through customs to cross back into the US I believe it is before boarding and we declare our liquor..will I have trouble then sending that checked luggage to the ship? Just wondering considering the cost of booze in Canada let alone the cost on a cruise ship.
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Sep 09, 2007 egw Luna Hotel Baglioni
Missed Connections: Ships Passing In the Night In Venice
If you hurry, there's still time to charm a movie star in Venice this weekend while the film festival continues. But doesn't everyone look more romantic in this canaled city? Meet your end-of-summer blockbuster in one of these hot spots. (Just make sure you keep your shirt on until you're back in your hotel.):
The Bar at the Luna Hotel Baglioni -- Sip Bellinis (Prosecco and white peach juice) at this five-star hotel on one of the city's grandest plazas, and you'll think you're a hero or heroine right out of Henry James. San Marco, 1243 Al Gondolieri -- Celebrate the men with the poles who keep the city moving at this foodie paradise, which offers everything from risotto to steak. (If you truly want to order everything, they have tasting menus, too.) Dorsoduro 36, Ponte del Formager Paradiso Perduto -- It may namecheck Dante's story, but this taverna-turned-piano-bar could be the the start of a great romance. Fondamenta della Misericordia, Cannaregio 2540
Sep 09, 2007 blackwomenineurope The Landmark London
Michelle Obama is coming to London
Michelle Obama is indeed coming to London on October 15 for three fundraisers at the Landmark Hotel.
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Sep 09, 2007 Flixya Hotel de Crillon
Best French Restaurants
...LES AMBASSADEURS Within the young generation of brilliant Chefs, that are currently asserting their talents, it is in the very prestigious Hotel de Crillon, on the Place de la Concorde, where a second star was given this year to Jean-Francois Piege,the new Chef of the restaurant LES AMBASSADEURS, which is surrounded by a sumptuous decor of marble, mirrors and crystal chandeliers, over looking the place de la Concorde. The young Chef, a student of Alain Ducasse, blinds us with les noix de St Jacques, soles de petit bateau; l'ecorce de citron and for dessert, Jerome Chaucesse, the excellent;tissier tempts us with his fine gateau croustillant chocolait banane et citron vert.
Menus from 70 to 130 EU; la carte frin 120 to 220 EU...
Sep 09, 2007 Brunello Ristorante Baglioni Hotel London
A recent review of the Brunello Ristorante by Michael Winner has Stanley Moss puzzled as to which parallel universe the former film director resides in THE unemployed film director Michael Winner (Death Wish 3) somehow repositioned himself a restaurant critic, inexplicably garnering a column on the back page of The Sunday Times, a weekly event which has become a kind of national spectator sport, tracking the posturings of a negative energy field who could easily have stepped out of a novel by Dickens. An especially poor hatchet job by him appeared on August 19, 2007, taking to task the Brunello Ristorante at the Baglioni Hotel London. A follow-up visit to Brunello for a reality check reveals that Mr Winner occupies a parallel universe where nothing ever goes right, while Brunello continues to deliver a top-quality fine dining experience in a marvellous setting.
The room itself successfully combines elements of both classic and modern design with an Italian flair, rendered in golden hues, accented by soft lighting, plush fabrics and elegant black Murano crystal chandeliers. The noise level is subdued�a polite ambient murmur, thus the room is appropriate for leisurely dining, romantic trysts or business meetings. There�s not a bad table in the house. A high ergonomic consciousness prevails, meaning one comfortably settles into any banquette or seat, happy to linger as long as the mood strikes. Tables comfortably spaced allow the very efficient service team to move about efficiently, invisibly. Cutlery and flatware appear and disappear magically, the water glass is always full. The peppery Sicilian olive oil in a shallow dish pairs perfectly with home-made foccacio accented by cherry tomatoes. One peruses the menu, a flute of Moët & Chandon rosé champagne in hand, engaged by an embarrassment of choice. When asked to recommend a red wine from Sardinia, the charming young sommelier named Simon, fresh from the Continent, recommended a 2004 Korem Isola di Noraghi Cannonau blend. This entertaining reversal of practice meant first selecting the wine, then choosing the meal to accompany it. (Mr Winner would never dream of such adventure in his inflexible universe.) The meal began with a beautiful preparation of scallops�perfect temperature, balsamic glaze, puree of peas. Next, succulent foie gras, gelatinous, and today a rarity in London, as some restaurants have removed the delicacy from their menus. On to the pasta course, a fine variation of the classic tagliatelli Bolognese, with knife-cut chunks of veal as opposed to the traditional ground meat, noodles cooked to perfection, the sauce hearty and robust with generous chunks of pomidoro. Also sampled a linguini with shrimp in a cream sauce, delicate, a bit too subtle for the red wine, but ideally balanced with a glass of sauvignon blanc from the Alto Adige, as suggested by the ever-attentive Simon. Finally to the main course, Sella d�agnello, a rack of Scottish lamb done pink and piping, with lovely fennel, scallion, haricot vert and carrot. And an impulsive request for some mashed potatoes, which arrived from the kitchen in moments, hinting of garlic and butter. When finally the table cleared, a last course of goat cheese, Tallegio, a Pecorino Romano, and a creamy Gorgonzola accompanied by Mostarda di Cremona, grapes and walnut. Only a small taste of Amaro Montenegro could complete the experience, and did so with a whisper of sweet adieu. This was a meal to be remembered. Criticism, when done well, speaks with authority and eloquence, free of bombast and pomposity. Brunello operates in a friendly, familial way, at once formal and informal. The only criticism that might be leveled: one eats too well, lingers too long, and feels too welcome to ever want to say goodnight.
Aug 08, 2007 Andrew Forbes Marbella Club
Summers Swan Song
So, I guess the summer season is coming to an end. An unseasonable day of rain and wind that hit the coast last week reminded us that autumn is not far away. Despite the oppressive heat that has been with us for the past few months, I�m sorry to see August go, as soon I will have fewer excuses to be lazy with work or to continue eating and drinking in that true holiday-style. Yet September has to be one of my favourite times here in southern Spain, with its clear blue skies, cooler days and of course, the tranquil beaches and countryside � and fewer cars on the roads! This season has just flown by. It doesn�t seem that long ago I was excitedly anticipating my trip to Chicago; or that Rafa & I were walking the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland: or I was just lazing on the beach here in Marbella.The coast comes alive in summer, swelled by the visitors and summer home owners � their holiday money giving Marbella its annual shot of adrenalin. Fancy restaurants opened on the beach; �stars� like Julio Iglesias, Liza Minnelli, Lionel Richie, & George Benson came to town to give small concerts; whilst VIPs and wannabe VIPs cruised the streets of the port and the town in their fancy cars.
Or huge saloons with blacked out windows, with body guards in pursuit are sometimes seen on the streets at night, whisking their privileged occupants to galas, dinners or drinks at the many luxury venues that come alive at this time of year. Even in my sleepy neighbourhood things change in the summer. Living in Los Lomas de Marbella Club, (an area north of the Golden Mile popular with Arabs), means that most summers we see Spanish National Police on the corner, with their semi-automatic weapons, offering visible protection to the various members of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family who come to enjoy their summer homes in the area. Last week, whilst I was away enjoying the beaches of Conil, I understand that the King & Queen of Spain were in town on a �private� visit one of the Saudi Royal Princes. The Saudi�s pump millions of euros into the Marbella economy each time they visit. I am sure it was a not just for nostalgic reasons that many in Marbella mourned the death of King Fahd the other year. It has been quoted in a local magazine that when he came to town, he was accompanied with an entourage of 1,200 people, spending 5 million euros a day. The last time he was in town, he reportedly spent 90 million euros in local luxury stores! A few weeks ago Rafa & I were taking a stroll along the paseo, watching a huge boat draw closer to the shore, near the Puente Romano Hotel. It looked like a small ocean liner, but was in fact simply one of the Saudi Royal Yachts - but I didn�t see the Bengal Tigers that are said to roam the decks! Marbella & many of its neigbhouring towns also celebrate their ferias in the summer, with street parties, food stalls, concerts and more. Fireworks and music fill the summer skies, together with the bright lights beaming up from parties in Puerto Banus. Businesses schedule their annual parties, product launches and cocktail parties to coincide with the season. During summer you are sure to get an invitation to something � even an opening of an envelope qualifies for a big do, open bar, media attention and photographers. With all this going on, it has been a pleasure sometimes to escape the coast for a contrasting way to unwind. A few days in Tarifa, or inland. This year we had a special stay at a mountain retreat, called Fountainhead, and of course days at Rafa's family place in the countryside. Home cooked food, siestas and mucking about in the pool. Well, soon relative peace will fall on our little seaside town. The yachts will go back to their berths in the port; the luxury homes and palaces will be moth-balled for the winter and the roads and motorways will be once again be free of traffic. I will also be able to join a roundabout without the fear of meeting a driver coming towards me, in the wrong direction! (Roundabouts seem to be a real challenge for the Brits. Fresh off the plane and in their clean little rental cars, they come to a roundabout and forget the �drive on right, keep right� protocol and instinctively go round the roundabouts the wrong way�!). It�s not just the Brits that are make the roads a scary place in summer. Each year thousands of North Africans from across Europe drive down to the southern coast of Spain to take the ferries and catamarans across to Morocco. They drive in overloaded cars, for hours, so by the time they arrive in our part of the world their driving is sometimes erratic to say the least! It is not uncommon to see these old Mercedes or mini vans, stacked high with belongings and gifts like giant metal snails, swerve across motorways lanes, or to loose their cargo at high speeds, throwing items across the roads. So, here�s to September! Thankfully, there will still be a few Sundays left before autumn, when I can enjoy the beaches and a Sunday paella without needing to reserve a table at my favourite chringuito!
Aug 08, 2007 The Travel Wizard Four Seasons Resort, Whistler
Ski Season? The Best Ski Lodges in the World!
Badrutt's Palace Hotel, situated amidst breathtakingly beautiful and unspoiled scenery, has long been hailed as a landmark in the center of St. Moritz and is the ultimate expression of the Swiss Alps region. A favorite of celebrities and royalty alike since its opening in 1896, The Palace Hotel offers 165 guestrooms and suites with stunning views of the Swiss Alps. Badrutt's Palace is a celebration of style, sports, cuisine and fashion, with discreet service and traditional elegance evoking an atmosphere of pampered luxury for all. An ideal destination in both winter and summer, the hotel is located in one of the most challenging ski areas in the world and offers a host of summer alpine activities. Guests find the ultimate in relaxation at the spa, exciting nightlife at the Kings Club, and world-renown cuisine in the hotel's restaurants and nearby Chesa Veglia.
...Four Seasons Resort Whistler - Ski Lodge Whistler, Canada Welcome to Four Seasons Resort Whistler. Enjoy the scenic splendour of one of North America�s top mountain resorts, wrapped in Four Seasons comfort and intuitive personal care. With easy access to the awe-inspiring slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, plus a superb spa, mountainside dining and wilderness adventures year-round. The 273 guest rooms, suites and townhouses are spacious with cosy wood interiors and gas-burning fireplaces. Rooms offer superb views of the mountains, forest, valley, pool or courtyard from private or step-out balconies...
Aug 08, 2007 ELECTRIC SPORTS The Lanesborough London
Chelsea plan $122m swoop on Ronaldinho
...Witnesses say the move was discussed during the game. The $24 million raised by Arjen Robben's sale to Real Madrid has allowed Chelsea to seriously consider a shock bid for the Brazilian this week. Abramovich has reportedly held two meetings with Ronaldinho's brother. The Russian billionaire spent the weekend entertaining Roberto de Assis Moreira, flying him in on his private jet and putting him up at the exclusive Lanesborough Hotel in Mayfair....
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Aug 08, 2007 TIME Hotel Principe di Savoia Milano
Mustn't Miss in Milan
Despite being the center of the country's fashion business, Milan has otherwise earned a reputation as Italy's drab industrial and commercial hub. But beyond the city's concrete office blocks and austere neoclassical façades, traditional Italian elegance meets a radical subculture � and a mix-'n'-match approach is the only way to sample the best of both.
For Old World class shot through with glamour, the Principe Di Savoia is Milan's undisputed grand hotel. George Clooney once played bowls in the corridors of its vast Presidential Suite, while Madonna prefers the light Deluxe Suites for yoga practice. The spectacular bar with its original Tiffany ceiling is an A-list social hub during the fashion shows, and the new Acanto Restaurant has an exceptional seasonal menu and possibly the best sommelier in the country. Taking to the streets, a visit to the cavernous Gothic cathedral (now partly under wraps due to restoration) is one of the city's cultural highlights, and should be followed by a cappuccino at the Art Nouveau mosaic-decorated Zucca Café (www.caffemiani.it). The eclectic collection of treasures at Museo Poldi Pezzoli (www.museopoldipezzoli.it) is the perfect way to while away an afternoon. Of course the ultimate old-school Milan experience is watching the opera at La Scala. Tickets are like gold dust, but guide and superfixer Mariateresa Cairo (tel: (39-02) 669 5498) can often procure a pair. Milan also has plenty to offer those who like a little couture with their culture. When Giorgio Armani opened his eponymous emporium on Via Manzoni (www.armani. com) in 2000 with clothing and homeware outlets, a florist, café, bar, club and a Nobu restaurant, Milan's fashion crowd woke up to the power of lifestyle brand building. You can now enjoy a cocktail or cappuccino at the Trussardi Café next to La Scala (www.trussardiallascala.com) or the Gucci Café in the grand vaulted shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (tel: (39-02) 859 7991). Dolce & Gabbana's dazzling new Gold restaurant and bar is a mecca for die-hard fashionistas (www.dolcegabbanagold.it), and the deeply chic Bulgari Hotel (www.bulgarihotels.com) is where they stay. If all the brands and boutiques are too bewildering, just stick to one-stop fashion and lifestyle shop 10 Corso Como (www.10corsocomo.com), or give personal shopper Annamaria Usai a call (tel: (39-33) 543 1915).
Aug 08, 2007 Bandar Seri Begawan Hotel Principe di Savoia Milano
Italian Food Festival At The Empire Hotel
The Empire Hotel & Country Club will be hosting an Italian inspired food festival this month in association with the world famous Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.
The festival, to be held from August 9 to 23, will see The Empire Hotel & Country Club, along with Chef Mario Ghezzi, serve up a nightly a la carte menu in the Spaghettini restaurant featuring specially created dishes based on classic Italian recipes and traditional-style cooking. The a la carte menu has been specially designed for this Italian food festival promotion to showcase some of Italy's best loved traditional family inspired recipes and ingredients, which will include dishes such as "Purpitielli" octopus with potato salad, Risotto with herbs, prawns and courgette blossoms, spaghetti with clams and Pizza dell� Ortolana, eggplants, courgettes, tomatoes and sweet pepper. To coincide with the Italian food festival, the Hotel Principe di Savoia is offering guests who dine at the Spaghettini restaurant the chance to win a four-night stay in Milan to experience first hand its newly launched veranda and restaurant, the Acanto.
Aug 08, 2007 EuropeUpClose Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
Europe�s New and Renovated Hotels
It is always fun to hear about new hotels opening or old hotels being refurbished. I love staying in hotels�the more posh, the better. However in our household, the budget reigns supreme, so sometimes I just live vicariously through the hotel descriptions in their news releases and websites. The following are not recommendations, just announcements.
The Rocco Forte Collection announced that the 5-Star The Charles Hotel, named in honor of Sir Rocco Forte�s father, renowned hotelier Lord Charles Forte, will open on Oct. 4, 2007. This is The Rocco Forte Collection�s third German property, joining Hotel de Rome in Berlin, which opened in October 2006, and Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt, which opened in March 2006. The eight-storey, hotel will have 132 rooms, nine junior suites, 18 master suites and a presidential suite. Most of the rooms have views over the Botanical Gardens. Original paintings by Munich�s celebrated 19th century artist Franz von Lenbach are displayed in the bedrooms. The hotel also boasts an Italian restaurant overlooking the Botanical Gardens, a terrace for outdoor dining and a private dining room; a bar; seven conference rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology and all benefiting from natural light; a ballroom accommodating up to 400 guests for a drinks reception; and a large spa with sauna, swimming pool, five treatment rooms and a gym....
Aug 08, 2007 Faire La Fete Productions Four Seasons Hotel George V
Luxurious Honeymoon Destinations
Think the wedding was expensive, wait until the honeymoon! For many couples, its a time to spend alone and recouperate from all the stress of planning nuptial bliss. The world has some of the most beautiful and luxurious eye candy, many couples don't mind full-steaming their American Express cards. If you are in the stages of planning your honeymoon, we've listed some of the most luxurious honeymoon destinations in the world. Our list is based on luxury, excellent food and wine selection, privacy, amenities, and of course, location. So just sit back and let your imagination run wild. Bon Voyage! The Four Seasons Hotel George V - Paris, France
Steps from the Champs-Elysées, with private terraces that command all Paris; 17th-century tapestries, lovingly restored; and a spirit that lives on in thoroughly reborn, highly advanced spaces, Four Seasons George V Paris redefines luxury service in the City of Light....
Aug 08, 2007 Philippa Burne Hotel Sacher Salzburg
The Charms of Salzburg
I confess I was attracted to Salzburg by The Sound of Music, but I was surprised how completely charmed I was by the city. Crammed with beautiful churches, Salzburg was first settled by monks. I guess they were impressed by it�s dramatic surroundings of cliffs and mountains, who wouldn�t be, and by the wide Salzach River running through the middle of the valley. These days it is a really beautiful city with a surprising amount to do for such a small place; the population is about 146,000.
The main obsessions in Salzburg are Mozart and The Sound of Music. Both had their births there � 1756 and 1964 , respectively - and both now fuel the tourist industry. The locals are clearly prouder of Mozart than the industry von Trapp, with most of the souvenirs being Mozart-related. If only they�d cared about him so much when he was alive. But I have to say the town�s signature Mozartkugeln (Mozart balls) are delicious, chocolatey goodness. They were developed in 1890 at Café Konditorei Furst and its still there in all its elegance. If you like chocolate, head straight to the café at the Hotel Sacher, sit overlooking the river and the old town and order the Sacher Torte. Yes, this is the real Sacher Torte, still handmade to the original recipe and best eaten with unsweetened whipped cream. The very first was made in Vienna in 1832 by Franz Sacher. Only a second year apprentice chef at the time, Prince Metternich ordered a totally original cake, the head pastry chef was sick, Sacher stepped in and developed this iconic, not too sweet but just right chocolate cake which became a legend. He went on to open a successful patisserie in Vienna and his son Edward and wife Anna opened the first Hotel Sacher in 1866. If you�ve got the money, stay in the hotel as well, great location and you could have cake everyday. Everyday for the rest of your life if you want because from their shop they ship cakes all over the world. Their house blend of tea is great too: Darjeeling, earl grey and jasmine. Salzburg is a city of walking so you need feel no guilt about all that cake. Wandering the streets, looking at all the shops, finding the little markets in squares of the old town all keep you occupied for hours. There are also contemporary art galleries, palaces to visit and Festung Hohensalzburg, the best preserved fortress in Europe perched dramatically on the hill at one end of the city. It has 6 acres or 33 000 sq metres of living space and the city grants spaces for artists to live there. How great would that be? I presume they have updated the bathroom facilities � one small room jutting from a tower was apparently the prince-archbishop�s toilet with everything just falling away to the ground far below � effective but not pretty. One night we had dinner at the restaurant of the Museum der Moderne Art, perched on the clifftop of the Monchsberg mountain. The food is good, the service great (we sat outside and the head waiter wrapped me in a blanket) and the view even better. We watched the light change dramatically as storms threatened and the sun set over the city�s slender spires and the fortress, with the Untersberg mountain in the background. Fantastic. And you reach the place by a lift inside the mountain � I love unusual public transport. View from Eagle�s Nest Something I didn�t know about Salzburg was how close by Hitler�s second headquarters were, just over the border in Bavaria. We took a tour to the (in)famous Kehlsteinhouse (Eagles� Nest). This is a teahouse perched high on a sheer white-gray craggy, barren mountain. It was the Nazi party�s 50th birthday present to Hitler and is an amazing engineering achievement even if completely haunted and creepy through association. But it�s worth going for the amazing views and mountains alone � you can see all the way back to Salzburg. And to see what money and power can achieve. Built in 1937-38, in just 13 months, the building was only ever intended as a teahouse, a mountain top retreat above the village of Hitler and his henchmen, where visitors could be entertained and impressed. It is reached by a very steep road serviced by buses equipped with special brakes and the only way up there, apart from on foot, is via these buses. The road is all hairpin turns and tunnels, only wide enough for one bus except in the special passing bays, and the cliff drops steeply to lakes and villages far below � not for the faint-hearted, my vertigo did not enjoy it and I had to go to my happy place several times. The bucket and broom at the front of the bus were a worry too � are there many uneasy travellers on this bus? Finally you reach a parking area and, on foot, enter a long tunnel into the mountain. This leads to a lift inside the mountain that takes you up into the hallway of the teahouse. Apparently Hitler had several resting areas on the way due to his terrible claustrophobia, and the lift is large and brass lined for reflections to belie its enclosed nature; perhaps the party didn�t like him that much � the Eagles� Nest doesn�t feel like a very sympathetic gift for a man with so many deep phobias. The Kehlsteinhouse is now used as a restaurant and the advantage of going there on an organised tour was that we arrived in time to see inside all the rooms - by the time we came to leave, the main dining and conference rooms were closed off to tourists. Apparently there is some disagreement about why this building was not destroyed along with all the rest of Hitler�s Bavarian HQ at the end of the war. Some say the Allied bombs missed, some say it was deliberately left. In 1952 the building was opened to the public and leased out as a restaurant. All the profit after running costs is donated to charity. Heading back to Salzburg, we stopped to pick up people who had done the tour of the famous salt mines, drop off people going to the ice caves and others going to the lakes. I was impressed by the efficiency and good humour of the tour guide who was wrangling all these people with different wants, some of who changed their mind halfway through the tour. He took in his stride, made a call and waited to make sure they made their new bus. Great service. Returning to Salzburg, I was interested to see how different the colour of the river was to the cut-glass clear of the mountains streams not that far out of town. The water of the Salzach looked quite opaque, milky green, not for drinking or falling into its fast running depths. I�m not sure whether the Salzach has picked up dirt or pollution and I wasn�t about to slide down the banks to find out. Too far inland to be tidal, the level of the Salzach rose and fell dramatically in the few days I was there. I guess it was to do with rain falling in the mountains and in Salzburg itself � there were a couple of mighty tempests while we were there even though it was mid-summer. I would happily go back to Salzburg with no thoughts of nuns, captains, or singing children.
Aug 08, 2007 Low Jeremy King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
Your Choice Of Honeymoon Hotels
Making your honeymoon memorable could be the best reward you can give to you as a newlywed after a long preparation and hectic scheduled before and during your wedding. And there is no better way to do it than going to honeymoon hotels and spending time together as a couple.
King Pacific Lodge � British Columbia, Canada If spending private moment with each other and away from many people that could cause distraction, the King Pacific Lodge should be your choice. Located at British Columbia, Canada, this honeymoon hotel is secluded from the masses that will surely bring total privacy for both of you...
Aug 08, 2007 HotelChatter Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Mary McCartney to Photograph Select Mandarin Oriental Guests
A HotelChatter Exclusive The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London has just announced a pretty spectacular luxury package for their guests. The Mary McCartney Portrait Experience gives two guests the chance to be photographed by Mary McCartney (above, and yes, daughter of Paul) in a private photo shoot.
McCartney's professional portrait work has included commissions of famous people like Jude Law and Ralph Fiennes and even Tony and Cherie Blair. McCartney was also appointed the official photographer for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group's `I'm a Fan' brand campaign which shot "celebrity ambassadors" like Liam Neeson and Darcey Bussell in their favorite locations. Of course, there's a high price to pay for some high-end work. Based on double-occupancy, the package starts at GBP 20,000 and is limited to only TEN guests. So if this is something you really want, call the hotel now to book. And we mean now. The number to dial is +44 (0) 207 235 2000. The package also includes other perks such as two hours of beauty prep at the spa before the photo shoot, a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and private access to the hotel through the Royal Entrance. Can you say "Absolutely Fabulous?"...
Aug 08, 2007 Maryann Hammers Mandarin Oriental, Prague
Top 10 romantic spas - Luxury Travel
...3. Prague: Mandarin Oriental
The spa: Built in the 14th century, this former Dominican monastery emanates mood, atmosphere, and beauty. The couples suite is made up of two underground rooms connected by a gothic corridor with a private relaxation area. Setting: This newly opened luxury hotel is set in Prague's fairy-tale-like Mala Strana neighborhood, an ideal base for romantic city walks. Signature treatment: Linden trees ??� the Czech Republic's national emblem ??� are loved for their honey-scented blossoms and heart-shaped leafs. Indulge in the tree's romance and history with the Linden Blossom Scrub ($45) followed by a steaming pot of Linden blossom tea. More than massage: Wander the cobbled streets of Old Town; shop for crystal; explore the unique Bauhaus-meets-Medieval modernity that is Prague. Cuisine: Take afternoon tea in the airy Monastery Lounge and nibble on finger sandwiches and warm scones with Devonshire cream....
Aug 08, 2007 kules The Fairmont Empress, Victoria
The Empress Hotel
The Empress Hotel sits regally on the Inner Harbor of Victoria, capital of British Columbia, and is a joy to behold for both history and architecture buffs. The Fairmont Empress will be celebrating her one hundredth anniversary in 2008. The hotel was begun in 1904 after supporters of the city convinced the Canadian Pacific Railroad to establish regular ferry service to Vancouver Island and build one of the railroad’s signature hotels in Victoria. The Empress, named for Queen Victoria, then the Empress of India, and designed by English architect Francis Rattenbury. The original, 116-room Edwardian chateau-style building opened with a great deal of fanfare in 1908.
The hotel’s magnificent architecture and opulent décor are legendary. Built at the height of British power in India, it features a number of colonial India-themed areas. Most notable of these is the club-like Bengal Lounge, decorated with objects given to the hotel by some of its notable guests. An Indian maharaja donated the mounted tiger skin on the wall and the murals above the bar were a gift to the hotel from the king of queen of Siam. To take Afternoon Tea at the Empress is to take a journey back in time. This formal, high tea occurs daily and is enjoyed by over 100,000 people each year. Do not expect to take it lightly, though. High Tea is, in many ways, a meal, and you will pay accordingly. There were rumors that the owners were planning to demolish the property and build a new resort on the site in the 60’s, but the public outcry caused against this plan led to the $4 million “Operation Teacup” renovation. Another, significantly more expensive renovation took place in the 1980’s. The hotel is also home to Willow Stream Spa and affiliated with two local golf courses, for guests who want more than art architecture.
Aug 08, 2007 Breaking Travel News Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
The Rocco Forte Collection has announced that its Munich property will open on 4 October 2007. It will be called The Charles Hotel, in honour of Sir Rocco Forte’s father, renowned hotelier Lord Charles Forte. The Charles Hotel is The Rocco Forte Collection’s third German property, joining Hotel de Rome in Berlin (which opened in October 2006) and Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt (which opened in March 2006), and confirms The Rocco Forte Collection as the key player in the luxury hotel market in Germany.
Located in the heart of the Bavarian city of Munich, guests of The Charles Hotel will be guaranteed a peaceful stay with great views over the area known as Lenbach Gärten (which lies on the edge of the Botanical Gardens). Ideal for business and leisure travellers, the hotel is within walking distance of the commercial district, popular shopping areas and entertainment facilities. It is also well located for transport links, being close to the city’s main train station, The Hauptbahnhof, with the Franz Josef Strauss airport lying just 28 km northeast of Munich. A stylish new-build, The Charles Hotel is set to significantly raise the standard of visitor accommodation in Munich. The design has been overseen by The Rocco Forte Collection’s Director of Design, Olga Polizzi, and – as with all the other properties in the Collection – will have its own personality that reflects its location. For example, there will be Bavarian limestone on the floors, ceramic artwork from Nymphenburg porcelain in the bathrooms and original paintings by Munich’s celebrated 19th century portrait artist Franz von Lenbach in the bedrooms, alongside works by contemporary artists living and working in and around Munich. The eight-storey, Euros 71.5 million (approx £47 million) hotel will have 132 40-square-metre rooms, nine Junior Suites (measuring 48 square metres each), 18 Master Suites (70 square metres) and a Presidential Suite (100 square metres). Located on the eighth floor, the stunning Presidential Suite boasts a large terrace with breathtaking views over the city and can be combined with a further three suites, creating an entire private floor of 455 square metres. Virtually all the rooms have views over the Botanical Gardens. The hotel also comprises an Italian restaurant with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Botanical Gardens, a terrace for outdoors dining in the summer months and a private dining room; a bar; seven conference rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology and all benefiting from natural light; a ballroom accommodating up to 400 guests for a drinks reception; and a large spa with sauna, 15-metre swimming pool, five treatment rooms offering a range of wellness and beauty treatments and a gym with all the latest cardiovascular machinery. Once in operation, The Charles Hotel will provide the same attention to detail, exceptional levels of comfort and personal service for which The Rocco Forte Collection has become so well known. Hotel De Rome, Berlin and Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt were both recently nominated for 'Germany's Leading Hotel' for the regional World Travel Awards, European ceremony, which will take place later this year.
Aug 08, 2007 c2004-7 daddy Baglioni Hotel London
Lisbon & London En Famille: Invaluable Travel Tips From Departures Magazine
I am glad to see that American Express's Departures Magazine is on the lookout for kid-friendly travel spots; while the London finds sound brilliant, this month's recommendations for "Lisbon with Little Ones" needs some work. From Sophy Roberts' report ["wow--what charm, what attention to detail"], the new Haymarket Hotel [left] sounds divine. The waiter brought extra mini-pots of marmite for her son, she writes, "And my children's nanny, exhausted from her charges, was delivered tea when we arrived, all unasked for." [$4,500 for a 2BR suite, haymarkethotel.com]
If Piccadilly isn't the neighborhood for you, "The brand-new three-bedroom, four-bath Royal Suite at the Baglioni Hotel, which is perfectly located across from Kensington Gardens, is ideal for those traveling with children." The personal butler can familiarize your nanny with the plasma TV controls, and will present each child with his own Baglioni teddy bear. The butler can also install the car seat in the hotel's courtesy car, a Maserati Quattroporte, for you. And while you're out, get him put some padding around the less-than-ideal edge of that obsidian coffee table. [from $10,000; baglionihotels.com] Unmentioned: London's art scene dilemma. Ever since Damien Hirst's shark was sold to an American and a warehouse fire destroyed Tracy Emin's name-embroidered tent sculpture, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963-1995, parents have faced a shortage of entertaining-but-hard-to-explain art. One option: go old school! Point the Quattroporte toward the National Gallery, which houses Caravaggio's grisly masterpiece, Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist. As for Lisbon: it's great to know that the staff at the Four Seasons [from $530; fourseasons.com] will "personalize a child's room experience" by bringing " a play tent [unembroidered, presumably], a magnetic letter board, and games," but I hope the nightly snack isn't as loaded with chocolate-covered pretzel sticks and candy as at some of the other Four Seasons locations. Maybe the cheaper Lapa Palace [from $480, lapapalace.com] is better after all, even if it does involve riding some type of public streetcar. And then you can park the kid in the falconry class for the day. Also, while older kids might get the art historical joke, Cerverjaria de Trinidade's dessert, "Toddler receives the Ice-Cream-Filled Head of Pingu," is just asking for trouble. Also, the "limited" kids' menu turns out to be a hamburger patty and fries clown face. I would expect more from the oldest beer hall in Portugal. DT's recommendation: go to Lisbon first.
Aug 08, 2007 The Sunday Times Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
TOP TEN EXPENSIVE HOTEL SUITES IN THE WORLD
Ian Belcher has compiled a list of the world’s most expensive hotel suites for The Sunday Times. The prices are of course astronomical, but most of the places are quite amazing. For instance, the Four Season’s Ty Warner suite in New York cost $50 million to build and furnish. And it made it “only” to number six on the list.
So if money is not a limitation, here is a list of places that could help you experience that cozy feeling of home while traveling: 1 Royal Penthouse Suite Hotel President Wilson Geneva, Switzerland $53,255 2 Hugh Hefner Sky Villa Palms Resort Las Vegas, Nevada $43,640 3 Penthouse Suite Hôtel Martinez Cannes, France $43,562 4 Presidential Suite Hotel Cala di Volpe Sardinia, Italy $40,963 5 Royal Penthouse The Dorchester London, United Kingdom $35,476 6 Ty Warner Penthouse Four Seasons New York City Check out this slideshow by USA Today $30,353 7 Villa La Cupola Hotel Westin Excelsior Rome, Italy $30,043 8 Penthouse Suite The Setai Miami, Florida $28,278 9 Security Suite Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, Germany $27,401 10 Bridge Suite Atlantis Bahamas $25,368 Prices are calculated from British Pounds using today’s official exchange rate and they include local taxes and charges, and, where applicable, are based on high-season rates.
Aug 08, 2007 2k3a The Fairmont Empress, Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria is an attractive city. It features a lot of lovely old homes, as well as some impressive landmarks. The Legislature Building (which is lit up by clear bulbs outlining it at night), and the Fairmont Empress Hotel were especially impressive. About 8 blocks from downtown is a mansion called Craigdarroch Castle. We couldn't go in because it was closed, but the gift shop was open. It's gorgeous!
There are photos of these buildings here. As you can guess, one of my favorite things about travel is the architecture. I like their china town, too. There for $24.95, you could buy a dancing pig with music. When you pull the pig's ear he stops dancing and squeals his little lungs out. Too funny! There were some people taking carriage rides through the streets. I love to look at the horses. We spent our time just walking around the city, and looking in a few shops. It's a very attractive city, and we had more fabulous weather!
Aug 08, 2007 Jessica Hotel Sacher Vienna
Three Eyeballs and Missing Cell Phones
Well, as promised here are some pics and stories from my weekend trip with Jenise to Vienna. It got off to a rocky start. I realized as I got to work that I forgot my cell phone which meant I would have to be all weekend without it because I was going straight to the train from work - and a lack of cell phone normally wouldn't be the end of the world - but it turned out to be the worst weekend to forget it!
...After that we went and checked out the Schonnbrunn Palace and went to eat dinner. She had wienerschnitzel and I had goulash. Very tasty but quite different that what my grandma Ouida used to call "goulash". :) We ended the night with a piece of the famous Sacher Torte chocolate cake served at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna and Salzburg. It was a treat! (Don't worry, I hadn't heard of it either till I came here - but you never have to twist my arm to get me to try a dessert - famous or not!) :)...
Aug 08, 2007 Forbes Villa La Massa, Florence
Want to know what it was like to live in Florence during the Renaissance or see how the cardinals of France lived during the 14th century?
...Travel from 16th-century France to the age of the Renaissance in Italy with a visit to Villa La Massa, a sprawling property on the outskirts of Florence. The 37 rooms of this 16th-century Medici dwelling have antique furniture with wrought-iron touches and fabrics from Florentine textile mills. Modern amenitites include an onsite pool, a gym and a spa with treatments like deep-tissue massage...
Aug 08, 2007 Blogspot Hotel de Crillon
Madonna Leaving the Hotel De Crillon
Madonna leaving the Hotel De Crillon in Paris the 31 august 2006 during her world tour (video).
Aug 08, 2007 HotelClub Four Seasons Hotel George V
Top 10 Romance Hotels
Everybody needs a little romance in his or her life from time to time. The hectic lifestyles of this modern world often leave little time for enjoyment, let alone quality time with a partner or spouse. Choosing the right hotel is the first step to a great romantic getaway. Some hotels simply ooze romance (particularly in Japan) and can put even the most sceptical of individuals in the mood for love. Here is your guide to the top 10 romance hotels in the world. 1. Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris – This hotel is beautifully situated in the most romantic city in the world. It is in a quieter area of the city to afford you some privacy but is also only a few minutes away from the top attractions, like the the Louvre for example. Most of the rooms have private balconies and all of them have an old world feel that simply oozes romance. This undoubtedly makes this hotel the best romance hotel in the world. 2. The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice – This Venetian hotel is one of the most spectacular in Italy. It boasts a prime location on the canal, which is illuminated for effect there. All of the rooms are traditional and there unique design serves to inspire the most unromantic of people! It is in a prime location for the attractions of the city but also gives its guests access to a secluded beach. 3. Le Meridien Hotel Grand Pacific Tokyo – We certainly can’t leave out this 5 star hotel located in Tokyo Bay where many “love hotels” are found. This is the biggest hotel in Tokyo and if you book a room high enough, there are beautiful views of Tokyo’s waterfront and the city. There are 884 romantic rooms. Fantastic customer service and facilities available. 4. Seamark On First Sunshine Coast – This hotel boasts individual apartments instead of rooms for that added bit of privacy when on a romantic trip away. It is set in tropical gardens and overlooks a number of the best beaches in the area so you can enjoy spending time in your partner’s company without distractions. It also has a pool and spa area for your convenience! 5. Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas – This hotel offers all types of accommodation and gives you the privacy you need for any romantic break! The hotel is located in a quiet yet beautiful area with the famous Four Mile Beach within walking distance. It has a cocktail bar, sauna and pool. The ambience simply encourages relaxation and love. 6. Petit Palace Art Gallery Hotel, Madrid – This hotel is a renovated art gallery but is still home to the passion of the artists whose works once called it home. It is a luxurious hotel with modern facilities but is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is close enough to take regular trips if you wish, but the hotel is generally quiet and an extremely romantic retreat for couples in love. 7. Royal Palm Hotel & Resort Grand Bay – This hotel is a popular choice for couples wanting a romantic break. It is surrounded by beaches and tropical gardens for an exclusive feel but provides comfortable rooms to make you feel at home. All rooms are facing the sea so you can relax in your room and savour the atmosphere of the destination without moving a muscle. 8. Fenix Hotel, Lisbon – This hotel is a very comfortable base for any visit to the Portuguese capital. It has its own gardens to stroll through, a great little restaurant and easy access to the rest of the city. The roomsare fully serviced with air conditioning, cable TV, mini bar and you can call for room service at any time. 9. Hulhule Island hotel, Maldives – This hotel is perfectly kept with a romantic setting. It has a tropical feel and is located near beaches, quaint cafes and local shops that give an exotic aura of romance for any tourists. All rooms are luxurious with some offering peaceful views of the Indian Ocean. 10. Howard Johnson By The Falls, Niagara Falls – This hotel is superbly located for a trip to view the amazing Niagara Falls. It is designed to provide an elegant luxury for all of its guests and the service is of the highest quality. It is within walking distance of all of the major attractions but also offers privacy, thus combining the best possible factors to conjure up some romance. If you are planning a romantic break then you need a hotel to match. The ten above are excellent and provide a romantic atmosphere from the minute you check in until the minute you leave. Planning is everything, so always choose the best hotel for the most romantic stay!
Aug 08, 2007 BONGO MIRROR The Ritz London
The Ritz Hotel
Sometime during high school, the idea that going to England and Scotland would be fun entered my sweetie’s mind. We (OK. Really that should be â€�she’) organized a trip and off we went. From the title of the post, you might be thinking that we were born with silver spoons in our mouths. We weren’t. We stayed in hostels, flop houses, and every once in a while a bed and breakfast. We did eat in restaurants a whole bunch be we also went to grocery stores and bought snacks and stuff to cook when we were staying in a hostel with a kitchen.After staying out late one evening, we found a purse on the tube. Among other things, the purse contained a wallet with no money but with a bankbook indicating the owner of the purse wasn’t at all wealthy and ID cards including a phone number. We decided to try to return the purse to its owner. We called the number. The owner of the purse lived with her extended family. The people in the family were enthused to talk to us. After a fair bit of inefficient discussion (since several of the people in the family didn’t speak English - yeah, I know this was in London but not everyone in London is English), we agreed that we’d return the purse to the woman at her work place: the casino at the Ritz Hotel. We arrived at the Ritz with the purse in hand. Two youngsters in jeans and T-shirts and American sounding accents didn’t impress the staff. But, they did direct us to the casino. We weren’t old enough to go into the casino and we didn’t want to go in there anyway. We told a security guard what we were up to and he called the head of security. For a while there was some confusion. The head of security thought we were American kids but when he found out we were Canadian he suddenly became very friendly and believed our story that we were just returning a thing we’d found. He ran about a bit finding pens and pads of paper to give us as souvenirs. We never did meet the owner of the purse. There’s a thing that is a bit sad but also a bit funny in all of this. I’ve met a fair number of Americans in my life. I’ve had some quite close relationships with some Americans. I’ve found that they’re similar to other people. To be sure some are jerks but neither more nor less than citizens of any other country. Some are self centered and ignorant of their place in the world but again neither more nor less than other people. It is sad that the world has held the view (and I think the strength of that view is increasing) that the main features of Americans are ignorance and egotism. The thing that I find to be funny about it is that the people who maintain this view are displaying exactly those characteristics.
Aug 08, 2007 wine-products-infoblogs-213 El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza
Cooking, Food & Wine Tours of Spain - In a recent issue of Food & Wine Magazine there is a great article featuring Spain's Top Food Critic Jos? Carlos Capel discussing issues like "Why is Spain the world's most exciting food destination right now?" more... As well in this same issue Anya Von Bremzen gives some insider tips on... "Where To Go Next: Catalonia, Madrid, Galicia | Spain"
This year we have many new exciting culinary & cooking holiday and deluxe wine tours for travelers who would like to savor Spain with a Gourmet Appetite! Starting off your journey you could try a Galician Coastal Cooking, Food and Wine Tour on the Atlantic Coast of Spain. Galicia is famed for it's fresh, abundant Seafood, highly-acclaimed Albari?o white wines and recently new young chefs like; Xose Cannas of Pepe Vieira who was just mentioned in this months issue of Food & Wine. On the Rias Baixas the sea plays an important role in peoples lives, come visit this magnificent coastline from the sea on our Gastronomic Sailing Journey. For an in-depth view of this undiscovered region of Spain try our 8 Days or 12 Days Deluxe food & wine tours. Even if you only have a couple of days in this region you could take a one day wine tour sampling Albari?o white wines of the D.O. Rias Baixas or Mencia red wines of the D.O. Ribeira Sacra. If you are just stopping through, or arriving at one of the ports of call on cruise and have time only for a half-day, we can offer guided tapa tours in Vigo, La Coru?a, Santiago de Compostela and Lugo. Moving across Northern Spain to the Basque Country, one of the most notable regions for it's dynamic cuisine with top chefs like; Arzak, Berasategui, etc... In San Sebastian you could take a half-day hands-on Basque cooking class in one of the authentic gastronomic societies or a Pintxo tapa tour of the old quarter enjoying the "tasty little bites" in the most emblematic bars and taverns. For more days we could recommend our week-long Basque Country & Cantabian Cooking Holiday. For wine touring you could visit a Txacoli white winery from Bilbao, as well we can't forget to mention the world-renowned Rioja wines of the Basque/Rioja wine region D.O. Rioja which are a "must-taste" if your are in the area. On the Eastern side of Spain you will discover the delights of Catalan Cuisine!Another region of "Hot" chefs like; Ferran Adria. Either basing your stay in Barcelona or exploring the countryside of Catalonia we have various tours to offer, for example in Barcelona how about a half-day private cooking class with a visit to La Boqueria Market to shop for the special ingredients for your class with a professional chef. Evening or midday tapa tours with a Food & Wine guide are also a lot of fun to wander the city's old quarter. Venturing out from Barcelona for the day you could learn about the Roots of Catalan Cuisine or a private wine tour to one of the regions like; Penedes, Cava, Priorat & Montsant, Emporda-Costa Brava, Coster del Segre or Conca de Barbera. As well you could try a short-break or week-long trip to learn in-depth about the wines with a expert wine guide. Gourmet Culinary Holidays in the Priorat region are also available for short-breaks or week-long stays. If you are traveling as a group of ten or more you could stay at the Luxurious 5* Read's Hotel on the Balearic Island of Mallorca and learn the cooking secrets of the Michelin-starred Chef Marc Fosh. In the middle of Spain lies Madrid, the heart and capital of this country which has much to offer for culinary travelers. Learn about Castilian Cuisine with a professional chef for a half-day cooking class or up to week-long cooking vacations. In the evenings or for lunch this is yet another Spanish city where tapa tours are very popular, or try a more "sit-down" gourmet dinner with a commented Spanish Olive Oil tasting in Madrid at a prestigious city centre restaurant. Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's most important wine regions can be reached in a day as a private VIP chauffeur driven tour or joining a deluxe small group tour from Madrid. Or how about a group excursion of Toledo and the wines of Castile Spain. Explore Quixote Land and discover the roots of Spanish Saffron of La Mancha. Down South in Passionate Andalusia we have various, cooking, food & wine related tours. Leaving Madrid by high-speed train you could join in on a one day or short-break deluxe tour of Cordoba and the Wines of Montilla. In Seville we have two options for private half-day cooking classes. Learn how to make Spanish Tapas in the well-equipped kitchen of the apartment of an expert chef, or an exclusive cooking classes with one of Seville's most prestigious chefs Willy Moya at his restaurant Poncio. Also within reach from the city are day wine tours to Jerez (Sherry), Sanlucar de Barrameda or Ronda as well visits to Olive Oil Mills and Spanish Cured Ham producer. Try a 4 Day or 7 Day stay in Seville and enjoy all these culinary activities. Nearby Seville in the beautiful Andalusian Countryside can be found the 5* Grand Luxury Hacienda Benazuza, where you could learn the original recipes of Ferran Adria in La Alquer'a Restaurant (two Michelin Stars) prepared by chef Rafael Morales, under the management of the "El Bulli" team. In Granada learn about the ancient Arabic influences in the rice dishes of the region by cooking with local women of Granada. Down on the Costa del Sol in Marbella relax, play some golf and do a bit of wine touring. After this delectable summary of cooking, food & wine tours we offer to Spain, we are also capable of creating a "personalized" culinary holiday just for you! Lets us know your desires and we will do our best to fulfill your appetite for a food and wine adventure in Spain... as well as Portugal!
Aug 08, 2007 the Don Felder Fan Site Marbella Club
Three Amigos for Dave
The second edition of the Dave Thomas Classic will tee off at the Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort located outside of Marbella, Spain...
...on September 15th and 16th. Don, actor Bruce Greenwood and soccer legend Willie Morgan plan to square off among other golf and public personalities in support of TEAM - Tissue Engineering And Medical research on behalf of the Northwick Park Institute. Last year's event generated a substantial donation to the charity and prompted Dave Thomas, former Ryder Cup and Open Championship player and golf course designer, together with the Marbella Club Hotel, whose golf course he designed, to stage it again in 2007.
Aug 08, 2007 Forbes Traveler Villa San Michele - Florence, Italy
Top Trips For Singles
...Learning vacations are another great option for the unattached. At the cooking school at the Villa San Michele in Tuscany, students use local ingredients like tomatoes and olive oil to create dishes such as pastas and pizzas in servings for one. Participants also learn how to craft dishes for entertaining groups and how to improvise meals for unexpected guests. The villa has 46 rooms, which overlook the Tuscan countryside and have walnut or cherry handmade furniture. Since the property is near Florence, singles can take in the historic sights in the city like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo on their downtime....
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