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Winter 2014









EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jennifer Mclaughlin

Ava Roxanne Stritt

Executive Editor Michael Dunn

Chris Dunn Paige O’Neill

Design Director Olivia Harris

Sarah Carrillo Riswick Susan Watkins

Web Development Joe Issac

Mikela Redd

Nicole Prentice Williams

The life of the Houston Brothers; a glimpse into the powerful duo that is Houston Hospitality

p.38 Everything you need to be the perfect partner this coming Valentine’s Day p.56 The ultimate style guide to follow this winter; we’re here to make sure you dress to impress on the road


Leslie Moore Susan Barnes


The LA Bruncher’s share their top 10 brunch spots in Los Angeles

Kathryn Lejeune

Account Manager-Southern California Rick Soto

See what new hot spots are opening and events you don’t want to miss this winter in the city


Chantelle Petrocelli

Photography Director Hannah Skye

Social Media Director Delna Briggs

Published and Produced by


Retreat to Ojai

New Zealand

Top 5 Off the Beaten Path Destinations


Vacation like Royalty


A Roatán Less Traveled


Travel Toronto


Beijing and Beyond


Also in this issue...

We’re Social! Send us your travel pics! 5



Letter from the Editors


would first off like to send out a special thank you note to all who attended the Fall Issue Launch Party at Pour Vous in Hollywood this past October. We would also like to thank all of our sponsors including the Venetian Las Vegas, AMG Media Marketing, Semental Tequila, Code Four Productions, and Hannah Skye Photography. An extra special thank you to Houston Hospitality for hosting our event, a fun filled evening with live entertainment was enjoyed by all. 2013 was an amazing year to say the least! We were blessed with continual globetrotting adventures and the chance to be able to bring our readers the best of the best in luxury travel. We capped off the year with a grandiose royal trip to Ireland followed by a visit to New England and New York for another taste of a white winter!

We are very excited to bring you more luxury travel destinations in 2014. From local staycations in Southern California to exotic reaches to the ends of the earth, we will keep delivering exciting new adventures for you the reader. Happy 2014 to everyone from the staff at LA Travel Magazine! Michael Dunn & Jennifer McLaughlin

Winter 2013 Launch Party


You asked... Have a quest ion ab out t ravel? Ask away ! Q. I want to go scuba diving on my next vacation, do I need to be certified? A. Scuba Diving is an activity that requires a lot of safety training and it is vital that you at the minimum get the resort certification before going out diving. If you are not already certified you can take the one day certification that usually takes 3-4 hours at the maximum. Make sure you contact your resort where you are staying and they will have all the info you need to get certified. If you are interested in finding out more information about scuba diving available in the area you are visiting check out Q. I’ve recently heard about this new Global Entry pass to speed up going through customs at airports, can you tell me more about this??

©2014 San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

A. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports. Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants have to go through an in depth background check as well as an interview. There is a $100 fee for the Global Entry Pass.

Q. Should I purchase Travel Insurance before a trip or is it a waste of money? A. A travel insurance plan can cover you for unexpected costs incurred before or during your trip. Travel insurance plans can reimburse you for the pre‐paid, non‐refundable portions of a trip if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason. A travel insurance plan can also include medical evacuation coverage (the price of which may cost upwards of $100,000) and medical expense coverage, plus reimbursement for lost, damaged or stolen luggage and personal effects. Typically travel insurance costs between 5%-8% of your non refundable costs. Q. What are the best travel review sites? Most of the sites I have looked at seemed to be biased with paid advertising. Are there any true non biased review sites out there? A. Yes absolutely there are a few great sites out there. One of the top review sites is still for restaurants, hotels and resorts. Also check out, a hotel review site that gives you non biased, accurate reviews on the hotels all around the world.



Hit the Slopes Explore the lost frontier of Alaska or discover the many lodging options in the ski towns of Colorado. From European style properties to family friendly villas, these ski resorts offer adventure for every traveler.

Lumiere Telluride - Telluride, CO

Lumiere luxury boutique resort features ski-in/ski-out access in the Mountain Village of Telluride, Colorado. The intimate property consists of just 11 hotel rooms and 18 residences. After several hours on the slopes, guests can rejuvenate in the resorts outdoor hot tubs or at the Little Bar at Lumiere with two fireplaces, tapas and cocktails. Indulge in massage services or relax at the sauna and soaking pools.

Northstar California Resort - Lake Tahoe, CA

For the adventurous family, Northstar offers a modern experience within a sophisticated atmosphere. The upcoming destination features upscale shopping, fine dining and world-class terrain parks. This resort offers lodges with up to six bedrooms, full kitchens and its own mountain. Northstar California Resort is the ultimate ski resort with a full village to experience.

Viceroy Snowmass- Snowmass, CO

Only seven miles from downtown Aspen, the Viceroy sits at the base of the worlds finest ski mountains including Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. The luxury property features ski-in/skiout accommodations, a wellness spa, year-round pool terrace and a variety of winter activities including ice-skating and sleigh rides. Dining options in the resort include Eight K, southern influenced comfort food, and Nest Public House, gastro pub inspired dishes.

St. Regis Deer Valley- Park City, UT

For the finest in ski resort luxury, the St. Regis offers extravagance at every turn. The Deer Valley ski terrain and Olympic slopes can be accessed directly from the resort with ski-in/ski-out entrances. Below the Mountain Terrace, the heated infinity swimming pool is open year-round for those looking for relaxation. Adventurous types can experience winter sports including snowmobiling, ice-skating and cross-country skiing- all easily accessible at the resort. For the ultimate ski day, the resort offers half day or full day ski lessons with Olympian Shannon Bahrke.

The Little Nell- Aspen, CO

With only 92 rooms, The Little Nell has the feel of a boutique hotel with the personal attention to match. Guests can enjoy stylish guest rooms with personal fireplaces and private balconies. Fine dining can be found at the resort with Element 47 serving American cuisine during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ajax Tavern is popular for lunch and dinner and serves casual fine dining on the mountainside patio. With ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain The Little Nell is the perfect location for snowbirds to flock in the winter and enjoy the beauty of Colorado.

The Arrabelle at Vail Square- Vail, CO

The breathtaking architecture of The Arrabelle combines the old-world charm of Europe with the elegance of Vail’s natural beauty. The Vail Ski Resort is the largest ski mountain in North America with 5,289 acres of backcountry skiing, 31 lifts and 350 inches of snowfall per year. The resort has 81 luxurious guest rooms and condominiums from 550 to 2,500 square feet allowing for the perfect group vacation. Tavern on the Square offers American dishes with fine wines and indoor or outdoor dining areas. With panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, The Arrabelle is a picturesque winter destination.



The Alyeska Resort - Alaska

Surrounded by mountains and hanging glaciers with views of the ocean, The Alyeska Resort offers luxurious accommodations with access to the Alaskan wilderness. With an annual average snowfall of 650 inches, the last frontier provides unparallel skiing for all levels. Skiing under the stars is accessible every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at an elevation of 2,025 feet. Mountain top dining can be reached via tram to Seven Glaciers. The restaurant serves Alaskan entrees in a luxurious atmosphere with an extensive wine list. For the premier ski resort experience off the grid, The Alyeska is the prime destination.

Four Seasons- Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole in Wyoming is a year-round adventure destination with some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. The Four Seasons provides comfortable luxury with gas fireplaces, private terraces and views of Jackson Hole’s Teton Village. A family friendly property, The Four Seasons offers family activities such as horseback riding and snow sledding. High-end spa experiences are available for those looking for isolation. Adventurers can perfect their skills during ski lessons in alpine, cross-country or telemark terrain. Whatever your preferences, Four Seasons has something for you.

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Pacific Waters Spa • Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa 21500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California


Night + Market Song Chef and Owner Kris Yenbamroong plans to launch the second branch of his ultra popular Thai street food restaurant Night + Market in West Hollywood. The exact location of Night +Market Song was kept on the hush- hush but still remained to be one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings for the year. Now with new details the small space is expected to host 50 guests, a more intimate seating arrangement in Silver Lake. The menu will incorporate dishes from the first location but will also provide additional infusions. Opening Date: February 2014. LA Chapter Downtown’s ACE Hotel has officially opened and will be home to one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurants for 2014. LA Chapter is slated to debut early in the year from the team behind Brooklyn’s Five Leaves. Former Chef at The Standard Downtown, Micah Fields, will be the Opening Executive Chef for the American style restaurant. The cuisine plans to be made with local and organic ingredients prepared with both modern and classic techniques. Opening Date: February 2014



Take It or Leave It The Hammer Museum at UCLA presents the exhibition, Take It or Leave It, exploring American artists. Combinations of existing images, styles and forms from pop culture with fine-art sources will show the evolution of art during the 1980s and 1990s. Take It or Leave It consists of works by 35 artists including Mark Dion, Barbara Kruger and Fred Wilson to name a few who will highlight political and social issues. Exhibit Dates: February 9- May 18, 2014.

In Focus: Ansel Adams The Getty Museum will feature photography from the late Ansel Adams. The internationally renowned American photographer is known for his landscape photos of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park. The exhibition will be a survey of the work Adams himself considered his greatest. Admission is free. Exhibit Dates: March 18- July 20, 2014


Miley Cyrus Bangerz Tour Although the proclaimed “twerkqueen” may have confused the hell out of you in 2013 with her tongue that seemed to have a mind of its own, Miley Cyrus is a true performer that can entertain the masses. Cyrus announced the 2014 Bangerz Tour on Saturday Night Live and now with tour dates scheduled she will make a stop at the Staples Center. The album Bangerz debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 with over 270,000 albums sold. LA Concert Date: February 22, 2014

The Book of Mormon Pantages Theatre has extended the dates of the critically acclaimed musical, The Book of Mormon. The four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the animated series, “South Park” have created this Broadway spectacular and are touring the country. Tickets are being booked months in advance, we suggest purchasing quickly. LA Tour Dates: Now through May 11, 2014



America’s Most

Celebrated Street Party BY PAIGE O’ NEILL

While visitors to New Orleans are under the impression that Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is a oneday celebration of parades, booze and public lewdness, there is a slew of events occurring before the final day. While Fat Tuesday may be the most anticipated of the events, it is the last day of the Carnival season and is scheduled for the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

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the French Quarter, an adult’s only celebration takes place with most of the obscene behavior typically seen on television. Be aware that public nudity is illegal in New Orleans and flashing for beads can land you in handcuffs or even worse, a nasty look from a local. Bourbon Street, one of the city’s most popular attractions will be boasting tons of this behavior mixed with public drinking. For a more family friendly Carnival, head to St. Charles Avenue where parades and friendly crowds occupy the area. Parades are plentiful during Carnival where costumed Krewes atop floats fling beads at bystanders through the streets of NOLA. There isn’t just one street that offers views of passing floats with names such as Isis and Zeus, so make sure to visit the Mardi Gras website to check out where the major parades are and where to set up camp.

Here’s a quick look at the best parades leading up to Fat Tuesday: Krewe of Orpheus- The newest of the Mardi Gras parades is music-themed founded by local native Harry Connick Jr.

Krewe of Endymion- known for glitz and glamour with lots of local attitude.

Krewe of Bacchus- This super krewe boasts

detailed artwork with Hollywood style. Last year’s celebrity king was none other than Ron Burgundy.

Krewe of Rex- Founded in 1872, this parade displays the ultimate cultural preservation in New Orleans. Krewe of Zulu- If you truly traveled to New

Orleans to experience the Mardi Gras culture, you won’t mind the early call time of Zulu at 8 a.m. with riders throwing the most coveted throw of the celebration: the ZULU coconut.


hile you may be leaving all your inhibitions at home during the daily and nightly celebrations, don’t overlook the fact that you are in a deeply historical city. Take in the beautiful charm of the vibrant city and fully experience the cultural influence behind the world famous celebration.



he dining scene on Melrose Avenue has long been home to stellar ethnic fare, fusion cooking and seems to be becoming the center for restaurants devoted to what might be called the new wave of California cuisine. Chief among the top neighborhood spots is Taste on Melrose, an extremely chic yet casually trendy place to people watch while enjoying a savory bite to eat. The restaurant has been around for years probably due to its tasty comfort food and great location. Located in the heart of the posh stretch that is Melrose Avenue, Taste is a local favorite. Stylish trendsetters stop by for a cocktail and peruse the scene from the outdoor patio while tourists dine hoping to spot a celebrity.

8454 Melrose Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90069 323-852-6888

The ambiance is light and easygoing, broken up into a loft overlooking the outside patio. It is comfortable, warm and the staff is friendly. Once we were seated we studied the drink menu and looked for guidance from our server. With his advice we went with their house specialty the Sangria which was utterly refreshing and a perfect choice to complement the weather. He also helped us choose two appetizers the White Truffle Oil & Mushroom Mac & Cheese and the Ahi Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Dill, Jicama, Mint, Spicy Aioli and Sweet Soy Reduction paired with a few Crostinis. The Tartare’s ingredients came together well with just enough Avocado Dill and Spicy Aioli to balance the dish out and create a fresh mix of flavors. Next up was our entrée selection; it was really difficult to decide with so many enticing options. I guess we will have to come back to try the items we missed…go ahead twist my arm! We finally decided on the Crispy Parmesan Chicken Paillard accompanied with Roasted Garlic Potato Purée, Organic Baby Arugula Salad, Red Onion Jam and White Gravy as well as the Short Rib Grilled Cheese Sandwich which was comprised of All Natural Pulled Braised Short Ribs, White Cheddar, Pickled Cucumber Salad, Pommes Frites and Horseradish Dipping Sauce. Both dishes were flavorful and satisfying. Insider Tip: If you are a Grilled Cheese Fan (Who isn’t?) then you don’t want to miss Grilled Cheese Night which takes place every Tuesday and offers some great options for even the hardest to please Grilled Cheese Connoisseur. The thought of the warm crispy bread with gooey cheese on the inside makes me wish every day was Tuesday!



Westlake Village Westlake Village, 38 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, is the perfect location for a long weekend getaway. With amazing golf courses, man-made lakes, great restaurants and outdoor adventure it’s no wonder Angelenos are flocking here left and right for a relaxing jaunt. Some visitors work on their golf game while some surrender their worries at the Four Seasons Spa, whatever your reason to escape Westlake Village is a getaway for anyone looking for a luxurious experience with relaxation, isolation and new experiences.


q Westlake Village Inn

Centrally located between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the Westlake Village Inn is a luxury hotel with a California twist. The 17-acre property boasts a vineyard and private lake making it an ideal destination with a European feel.

Each room at Westlake Village Inn provides a view of excellence with lakeside, golf course, garden or mountains from your very own private patio or terrace. Suites feature fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, and spacious bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs for the ultimate relaxing experience.



Dining at the inn is made simple with two of the Conejo Valley’s most popular restaurants located on property. Bogie’s, perfect for cocktails and dancing, is great for any type of night out. Whether you’re looking to unwind during happy hour or learn a new dance move, Bogie’s has something for everyone. The lounge offers live jazz on Thursday’s and Salsa lessons on Wednesdays. A list of small plates and desserts accompany an extensive cocktail menu packed with premium liquor.

The second restaurant conveniently located on the property is Mediterraneo, a European-style bistro with its own working vineyard. Showcasing the best of local produce guests can delight in classic and contemporary dishes with Mediterranean and California influences.



The hotel also offers wine-tasting tours to the hills of Malibu for couples or groups. The package includes an overnight stay in a Courtyard room, tour transportation, a guided tour in a luxury vehicle and lunch; all while enjoying spectacular views along the coast.




Tucked away in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, Four Seasons Westlake Village is a luxurious hotel experience for every traveler. Along the pristine coastline of California, miles of hiking and cycling paths, golf courses and entertainment activities surround the resort. It is the premier location for a short staycation or an extended business trip to Los Angeles.

On arrival, the Four Seasons hotel has a secluded feeling with all desired amenities within close reach.  There are 243 guest rooms and 27 luxury suites with some rooms specifically designed for extended stays. The hotel is known for having an abundance of activities for guests, so we decided to quickly explore the area. Our first stop: lounging poolside.





The Serenity Pool is exclusively for the use of hotel guests 18 and over making for a relaxing environment. We quickly took advantage of the private cabanas with flat-screen televisions and our own private bar with full service. Also available is the hotel’s indoor pool more suitable for families or those who choose to exercise while on vacation. Although our weekend was full of sunshine we opted to spend a few hours in the indoor pool, which turned out to be a very luxurious experience with the beautiful architecture of the hotel surrounding us. After long hours in a heated pool with plenty of cocktails, dining at one of the resorts restaurants was our next move. The hotel has four options available with a variety of cuisines. Japanese-influenced seafood restaurant, ONYX, offers an array of sushi, sashimi and specialty hand rolls created by Chef Masa Shimakawa. Weekend morning’s guests can enjoy a Farmer’s Market Breakfast with locally grown produce in a casual American style cuisine. If you’re feeling like you want something more entertaining, visit the Waterfall Lawn for a jazz and champagne brunch. With live music from Renee Myara and her jazz trio, farm-to-table breakfast completes the luxe LA experience.





The Riviera Maya: By Sarah Carrillo Riswick

Something for Everyone

A quick 40-minute drive from Cancun lies the up and coming Riviera Maya. What used to be jungle surrounding the sleepy town of Playa del Carmen is now an area full of all-inclusive resorts and smaller boutique hotels. But while the region is changing rapidly, it still maintains its off-the-radar, hidden treasures vibe (for now at least). Thinking of making the trip down? We’ve found a hotel to suit any type of vacation you have in mind.

For opulence and lots of options:

Try Grand Velas Riviera Maya The Grand Velas is comprised of three resorts all in one: The Zen Grand, The Ambassador and The Exclusive Grand Class. What this means for you? Plenty of choices when it comes to the style of suite (all the rooms are suites), where to eat and which pool you want to lounge by. And some advice: you’ll probably want to give yourself plenty of time here to experience it all. The Zen and Ambassador sections are family-friendly with plenty to offer adults as well. The Zen pool is a sleek and peaceful oasis, but for even more peace and quiet you can take a soak in your private plunge pool overlooking a jungle stream. It’s just a quick shuttle ride from the Zen to the Ambassador and Grand Class sections – and the beach. The Grand Class section is the smallest and most upscale. It’s also adults-only, so if you need a break from the kids this is perfect. It’s also where many of the best restaurants in the resort are located. Three of the eight Grand Velas restaurants have earned a AAA Five Diamond Award: Piaf, serving French cuisine, Frida, serving gourmet Mexican cuisine, and Cocina de Autor, which features the ever popular culinary technique molecular gastronomy. This definitely is not the typical all-inclusive buffet fare. In addition to the world-class food and gorgeous pools and beach, the Grand Velas also boasts the largest spa in Latin America. Plan on spending the day indulging in a Riviera Maya Water Ritual, Sacred Obsidian Stone Massage, or Mayan Jade Facial. If you can’t bear to leave your room, the bathrooms in the Grand Class section are designed to be large enough for an in-room massage. Visit http:// or call 1-877-418-2963 for reservations.

To vacation like a celebrity:

Head to Maroma Resort and Spa With only 63 rooms spread across 200 acres of jungle, it’s easy to feel like you’re in your own little world at Maroma Resort and Spa, an Orient Express hotel. With a 2:1 staff ratio you can expect exemplary service (don’t be surprised when you’re greeted by name as you stroll through the property). Maroma is a quiet retreat for many Hollywood A-listers like Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Justin Timberlake. It’s where they go when they want a low-key vacation that still feels luxurious. Maroma also prides itself on staying local. Nearly all the materials in the rooms are local, including the toiletries, Mayan artwork is scattered throughout the hotel and they even have a recreation of a Mayan village on property (so you can get a little culture just steps from your room). All the rooms at Maroma have tiled bathtubs, an aromatherapy menu and hammocks on the balconies. If you go with a suite you also get a spacious living room area. Or go all-out with

a four-bedroom villa that includes a private gym, pool and massage cabana to really make you feel like a celebrity. What the rooms do not have are TVs, since the whole idea is to unplug. As part of the exceptional service the staff will deliver your coffee each morning just the way you like it. No matter what room you book, the staff at Maroma will help make your stay special. They can help arrange romantic private dinners on the roof of the resort, helicopter sight-seeing tours, or even hide a message in a bottle on the beach for a surprise marriage proposal. Maroma’s Kinan Spa has everything one could need to relax and rejuvinate including a private room for couple’s massages, a traditional Mayan Temazcal (sweat lodge), and yoga classes for guests and their dog. To book, visit http://www.maromahotel. com/web/ocan/maroma.jsp or call 1-866-454-9351.


When you want a little privacy … and a lot of luxury:

Viceroy Riviera Maya Do you just want to get away from it all? The Viceroy can help. This small hotel has 41 bungalows, each with its own private deck and pool. You can relax in your own “backyard,” then freshen up in the outdoor shower surrounded by a flourishing jungle. For the non-outdoor enthusiasts, there are indoor showers and bathtubs in the rooms as well. In addition to the luxury of a secluded suite, the Viceroy has plenty of extra touches to make your stay memorable. When you check in you can receive a traditional Mayan blessing to cleanse your spirit, a must after a long plane ride. There is also a soap concierge to help you pick out the perfect suds for your stay. The spa offers outdoor massages surrounded by jungle as well as regular yoga classes. And possibly the best perk, the Viceroy has “tropical butlers” to give you refreshing iced face towels and change out damp chair covers by the pool. The Viceroy has two restaurants, the casual beachfront Coral Grill & Bar and the more upscale La Marea Restaurant. But even better is the resort’s “dine anywhere, anytime” policy. You can order a meal to eat in your room, by the pool, on the beach, you name it. To book, visit or call 1-800-578-0281.




Canada’s largest city is a cultural gem boasting innovative architecture, world-class dining and the hottest new hotels. Spend a weekend in Toronto for a fast-paced trip in a diverse city.


“CN Tower’s most extreme attraction is the EdgeWalk, a full circle hands-free walk encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod.”

iew the city from above at the CN Tower standing 1,815 feet above Toronto. The Tower is a concrete communications and observation tower considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Featured at the top of the tower is a glass floor where visitors can walk across while peering down on city streets below. On the same level is the Outdoor Sky Terrace featuring an outdoor deck for those who enjoy a slight breeze. CN Tower’s most extreme attraction is the EdgeWalk, a full circle hands-free walk encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod. Toronto is a big city with artistic soul and finding a hotel that understands that status makes for an authentic stay. The Gladstone Hotel has assembled a group of local Canadian artists to transform the 37-room hotel into experimental works of art. The original 19th century Victorian architecture with exposed brick walls and high ceilings was maintained, while each room was created unique to each of the assigned artist’s distinctive vision. Artist and Food Network Canada host, Bob Blumer, designed room 403 named Surreal Gourmet, a playful and nostalgic room blending retro and personal elements. Marshmallow pillows, a Fruit Loops armoire and a retro kitchen are just some of the unique features in this room. Continue your art tour with the Queen West Art Crawl celebrating the local community. Formerly a one-day outdoor art show, the annual event is now a weekend long festival promoting art and culture. ourists and locals alike enjoy walking throughout the pedestrian-only village of the Distillery Historic District home to many of Toronto’s most popular designer boutiques, cafes and artisan shops. More than 70 cultural and retail establishments make up the districts in the restored red brick, Victorian-era buildings. Explore the area in late January and early February for Winterlicious when diverse cuisine is presented in local restaurants for a culinary celebration. Home to world-class dining, Toronto is an international hub for authentic cuisine from around the globe. In the Distillery District, you can find Pure Spirits Oyster House and Grill. The bar is set high at this restaurant with fresh fish and oysters flown in daily from around the world combined with distinct flavors and presented with the utmost creativity. Chef Travis Cropley preserves the restaurants high standing with fresh Malpeques, Kumamotos and Fanny Bays for a profound seafood experience. For diners looking for a more upscale ambiance look no further than La Société, a Parisian bistro in a luxurious setting featuring a street side patio. While delighting in lavish cuisine keep your eye out as this is a premier location for celebrity sightings. oronto is home to dozens of shopping districts from boutiques to big name brands. Head to Downtown Yonge (pronounced “young”) for a vibrant atmosphere full of restaurants, bars and of course shopping. Over 600 retail stores line Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, which provide for the ultimate shopping experience. For a more charming shopping day, Bloor-Yorkville offers a historic area filled with designer boutiques and world-class galleries. In one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities, you can discover the cosmopolitan city of Toronto filled with historical charm. Among friendly locals you can tour the city through varied neighborhoods or explore it’s greenery by visiting one of the numerous parks. Whatever your reason for visiting Toronto, we know your stay will be an adventure. Photos courtesy of Tourism Toronto


A cornucopia of organic architecture in celebration of one of nature’s most alluring settings

1 800 223 1108

P O Box 4000, Soufriere, St. Lucia • jademountain@

Tranquility • Romance • Adventure

1 800 223 1108

P O Box 7000, Soufriere, St. Lucia • ansechastanet@

Winter Activities A r o u n d t h e Wo r l d

Reindeer Sleigh Rides Lapland, Finland The most authentic way to travel Lapland, Finland is on a reindeer sleigh ride. As the reindeer slowly travels through the winter landscape you will get the full Finnish winter experience! Be one with nature as you can imagine you are Santa Claus being pulled by his reindeer.

The Northern Lights Sweden Every travelers bucket list should include viewing the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis one of nature’s most spectacular phenomenons. As the sun moves through its 11 year solar cycle, the activity that causes Aurora Borealis is expected to increase, peaking in 2014 which makes seeing it in Sweden this year a bucket list must.


Winter Activities Around the World Toboganning Austria Bramberg, Western Austria hosts the world’s longest floodlit toboggan run. At just over eight miles, the thrilling course takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Travel by lift just over a mile up to the start of the run, and then descend by toboggan or sled to the bottom of the mountain. Hold on tight, world class speeds have been met here!

Ice Climbing Norway For the adrenaline junkies out there, ice climbing is winter at its finest. Come to Rjukan, Norway for the world’s best ice climbing adventures. So much unexplored terrain makes it the perfect escape for ice climbers of all levels.



Snow Tubing Japan A tuber’s dream comes true here! Tsu Dome Japan is a temple to Japan’s winter activities. Artificial slopes are used not only for snow tubing but also for snow rafting. This thrill ride isn’t just for kids! Snow tubes are not the only type of activity here; try the snow rafting as well where you are pulled in a snow raft by a snowmobile.

A Restful Reprieve in

Your Own Backyard

By Nicole Prentice Williams


There’s a little gem of a village along the Pacific coast that has held a special place in my heart for more than 20 years. It sometimes gets a bad rap as being elitist and even superficial (thanks to Ken and Barbie), but with a little time and an open mind, it’s easy to discover the special beauty of this laidback beach town. The community is a somewhat discreet getaway outside of a metropolis with a rich history of Native Americans succeeded by cutting edge scientists and neighborly Hollywood stars. It’s name, Malibu, is inspired by Mother Nature and given from the native Chumash Indians who described it as “where the surf sounds loudly”. I had four years to discover the charm of Malibu as a student at Pepperdine University a few decades ago. Yes, I was a bit star-struck initially when I would see Axel Rose and Stephanie Seymour together at the Malibu Colony Plaza or Cher at the Country Mart. However, I eventually realized the hometown quaintness the celebs flocked here for. That’s when they began to meld with all of the locals. Now as an L.A. transplant, it feels like home returning to my college town, leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind. I always arrive via what’s arguably the most beautiful route winding down a highway that’s lined with beachfront bungalows mixed with mini mansions. I intermittently take in the view of surfers paddling in search of the thrill and excitement that can only come from being one with nature. I feel fortunate that not much has changed along this 27-mile strip of stunning beachfront in the past 20-plus years. I have that peaceful, safe feeling that comes with familiarity. With limited changes, fabulous upgrades and a rich history, Malibu has become my perfect local getaway. The first stop in is an impressive one at the Getty Villa, which is modeled after Villa of the Papyri, a villa outside of Rome that was believed to be owned by Julius Caesar’s father-in-law. I feel a serenity here as I walk perfectly manicured gardens with bronze sculptures, take in the smell of fresh herbs indigenous to ancient Rome and the Mediterranean and listen to the flowing water from sculptural fountains. Inside the galleries, the impressive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities tell the stories of Gods and Goddesses, Dionysus and the Theater and the Trojan War.

Art works up quite the appetite so next stop is Moonshadows. Here you can seamlessly slide into the Malibu mood that is casual chic while kicking back on one of the life size beds on the patio deck, Blue Lounge, with the waves crashing below. The open air dining begs for fresh seafood. We dove into the barbecued octopus and spicy Mexican shrimp cocktail. Both great catches with our glasses of bubbly. Then with our state of mind and stomachs equally content, we followed the highway north to more Mediterranean architecture. Just north of the Malibu pier at the Malibu Lagoon state beach park is a Mediterranean Revival designed home from the 1930s with elements of Spanish and Italian Renaissance and Venetian Gothic architecture. The Adamson House is a California Historical Landmark and has been memorably referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Tile” because of its decorative tile throughout. The colorfully designed tiles make up a massive imitation Persian carpet, a peacock fountain, floor-to-ceiling tiled bathrooms and swimming pool. They showcase a bit of Malibu history since they come from Malibu Potteries, which employed more than 100 people when it was operating in the late 20s.


Within walking distance south of The Adamson House is the Malibu Pier, with headline making restaurants and the only five-star accommodations available in town. We strolled to the end of the Malibu pier to catch a great view of the shore and the Santa Monica Mountain range that runs throughout Malibu. There are amazing hiking trails up there. Two of my scenic favorites are the Escondido and Sycamore Canyon Falls trails. The pier which has showcased many restaurants throughout its past, most recently added Malibu Farm. This modern-meets-rustic, farm-to-table restaurant is becoming a local favorite with its fresh produce and products from four local Malibu farms. I warmed up here with their hearty and healthy quinoa oatmeal with coconut milk after a brisk winter morning walk from the upscale Malibu Beach Inn. This luxury ocean front hotel owned by media mogul David Geffen is unmatched in the area with its seaside dining terrace and farm fresh menu, a private beach, a full spa and understated elegant rooms many with ocean views. (Although tech billionaire Larry Ellison is reportedly turning Casa Malibu Inn into a Japanese Concept Hotel to add competition to the hotel marketplace.) The stunning view of surf and sunset from the dining deck is one of the most memorable “happy hours” we’ve had. Think this town dies down after a sunset dinner? Hardly. The lounge and then dinner scene starts up a short walk north from the Inn at Nobu and neighboring Nikita. Larry Ellison created a Hollywood dining powerhouses here with Nobu Matsuhisa’s sushi and Japanese inspired dishes and next door Mediterranean dishes from an Italian Michelin-starred chef. If you are in to star sighting, this is where you will find anyone from David Foster to Les Moonves. For after dinner entertainment that’s more cultural than social, you only need to head up the hill to my old stomping grounds. Pepperdine’s Center for the Arts has intimate state-of-the-art theaters with first-rate productions. Already lined up in 2014 are Grammy winners Branford Marsalis and Richard Marx, Oscar-nominee Aimee Mann performing acoustic spoke word and the University’s opera program is performing the Italian production Cosi Fan Tutte (“All Women Are Like That”) with the Pepperdine orchestra. Next up; lights out! After a night on the beach town, we grabbed breakfast at Marmalade Café and strolled the boutique shops of the Malibu Country Mart and Lumber Yard before gearing up for an active day : horseback riding at Park Place Stables and a beach day inclusive of lunch at Paradise Cove. The Cove is practically a Malibu and Hollywood landmark where shows like Gidget, Baywatch and Happy Days were filmed. We dined on the sand at the Cove Café with beach chairs waiting on the shore; the only place in town you can do so. When coming with family, the fully equipped cabanas with shaded couches, chaise lounges and heater for early evenings are the only way to go. We nearly lost all concept of time. The day felt effortless and simple. It’s a cherished feeling in this high-pressure world. We soon realized, now that we have reached Paradise and it was going to be hard to top it.




Getty Villa (310) 440-7300 Winter Exhibits – Molten Color: Glassmaking in Antiquity ; Relief with Antiochos and Herakles Tiberius: Portrait of an Emperor Adamson House 310.456.8432 Pepperdine Center for Performing Arts Smothers Theater 310.506.4522 Paradise Cove Hiking Trails Park Place Stable 310.589.8845 El Matador State Beach


Moonshadows 310.456.3010 Nikita 310.456.3274 Nobu 310.317.9140 Marmalade CafĂŠ 310.317.4242


Malibu Beach Inn 310.456.6444


Malibu Country Mart 310.456.7300 Malibu Lumber Yard


A look at

Antigua’s Carlisle Bay

By Susan B. Barnes

When flying to Antigua, be sure to choose a window seat and watch the islands float below as you soar over the incredible hues of the Caribbean Sea – greens and blues meld together to create a beautiful, fluid tapestry. Once you land and take the 30-minute ride across the volcanic island, along soaring, twisting roads through the rainforest, you arrive in heaven. Or Antigua’s version of it, anyway. Carlisle Bay, a CampbellGray Hotel and one of the Leading Hotels of the World, is an intimate fivestar resort on the south coast of the island. Walking into the open-air lobby, a sense of luxury instantly washes over you. Once you’re checked in, you’ll be escorted to your room after a brief tour of the property, to get a lay of the land. The winding paths envelop you into a tropical feel, eventually opening onto the beaches at either end.


he 82 comfortable and contemporary ocean-facing suites are tucked between a secluded bay and the aforementioned cascading rainforest, offering the best of both views. Depending on your needs, choose from a spacious Ocean Suite for two, or for more space, a Carlisle Suite, with three en-suite bedrooms that can accommodate up to six guests.



For a truly decadent culinary experience, make arrangements to dine at sunset on the jetty – it’s just you, the water and the stars, by candlelight. And don’t forget about English-inspired afternoon tea or Bento boxes, served en suite, or under an umbrella on the beach.


If traveling with kids, you’ll certainly want to take advantage of the Cool Kids Club. Complimentary, supervised age-appropriate activities are offered for kids ages two to 12, ranging from a splash pool and sandpit to tennis, beach exploring, movies, and even kids’ high tea. Babysitting services are also available for a nominal fee.

hen it comes to dining, three restaurants and their bars take center stage at Carlisle Bay, each with their own flavors and inspirations. Indigo on the Beach is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features healthy dishes, seafood, salads and barbeques – all in a toes-in-the-sand setting. The poolside Ottimo offers classic Italian dishes, including pizza cooked in a wood burning oven – delicious! Known as one of the best restaurants on the island, East is open for dinner only and serves pan-Asian cuisine. Save room – and calories – for the molten chocolate cake, and don’t share. Trust me!

Treatments at Carlisle Bay’s The Blue Spa feature Natura Bissé, a Spanish skincare line that’s available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. For a real treat, try the award-winning Diamond Ice Lift Facial, using shiatsuinspired massage techniques for dramatic results… diamonds are a girl’s best friend, after all. Back in your room, the pampering continues with larger-than-travelsize bottles of REN Clean Skincare. There’s little reason to leave Carlisle Bay – the staff makes available many activities to keep you busy, if lazing on the beach gets to be too much. From sunset yoga to Pilates to snorkeling adventures to guided hikes through the rainforest, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you must leave the resort, Antigua certainly is a playground! Sail the seas around the island, hike through the rainforest, or get a bird’s eye view whilst zip lining in its canopies. Go deep sea fishing, or dive below the water’s service for some magnificent SCUBA diving. For a historic perspective, visit Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation, founded in 1674; English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard, developed in the 18th century; and the island’s museums.

However you choose to experience Antigua and Carlisle Bay, you’ll be glad you did.



New York City Unlike most Manhattan hotel rooms, The Kimberly Hotel provides suites and guest rooms that are sized for comfortable living. Most of the rooms come with outdoor covered balconies, which is uncommon in the city. Whether you choose a studio or a deluxe suite, all accommodations are made to create a luxurious stay. Down comforters with feather beds provide a comfortable sleep while bath amenities allow for guests to feel pampered throughout their visit. If relaxation is not something you came to the big city for, the “Upstairs” rooftop bar and lounge is just the place to be. Thirty stories above the street the 3,000 square foot rooftop bar with retractable glass ceiling and walls create the perfect atmosphere for year round cocktails. Breakfast buffets are served throughout the week, while an a la carte brunch menu is served on weekends. With panoramic views, “Upstairs” is a premier location to take in the beautiful lights of the city.

Immediately walking into the Kimberly Hotel a sense of refined luxury is apparent. The midtown Manhattan boutique hotel provides glamorous European décor with personalized service. Conveniently located near top attractions like Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, Central Station and a bevy of popular restaurants, the Kimberly Hotel is the ideal location for travelers looking to see the best New York City has to offer.



From check in to check out you will be inspired by the attention to every detail the hotel has focused on. With a multilingual staff ready to provide countless suggestions for entertainment in the city, your stay will be memorable from beginning to end.


New York City Whitman and Bloom “For though they were modest, they believed in eating well.” This is the philosophy shared at Whitman & Bloom. The rustic American restaurant features a new American menu and artisan cocktails surrounded by a theme of a ‘New Kind of Local’ where people are encouraged to discover new flavors. The 19th century vintage antique atmosphere showcases a collection of books and trinkets throughout the bar and dining room, which is split into two sections, private seating and a communal table. Order from the ‘Drinks We Like’ section with enticing titles that go well with the speakeasy atmosphere. The ‘Midnight Man’ is mixed with Lexington bourbon, sweet vermouth, blackberries, oranges, dash of orange bitters served straight up. Red Root is served on the rocks with Brooklyn gin, beet juice, ginger beer, fresh mint, and simple syrup.

From the salads section, we recommend the warm goat cheese and roasted beets with baby arugula, spicy chickpeas, balsamic & EVO, topped with chicken from the grill. The tuna tartare was arranged with fresh cranberries, harissa, sumac and seasonal leaves for an unusually looking, yet delicious tasting blend. The pumpkin gnocchi, a vegetarian small plate choice, was served with shaved reggiano and doused with roast garlic cream sauce for a warm and smooth taste.

The big plates list more filling offerings with two pan seared day boat scallops wrapped in bacon on top of creamy cauliflower risotto and grilled sunchokes. This gluten free dish is light and refreshing.

We also suggest the wild mushroom flatbread with chiraboga bleu cheese

and fresh sage. To finish, the vanilla cake with fresh blueberries is a must.



New York City While the temperatures in New York City have dropped, winter is still a wonderful time to venture out and explore the City’s landmarks and culture. With seasonal decorations sprinkled throughout the city and nightfall arriving earlier in the day, this time of year gives visitors a new perspective on some old favorites.

Shop Gotham Tour From Midtown’s massive department stores to downtown’s impeccably edited boutiques, shopping in a city known for shopping can seem a bit overwhelming—and that’s without mentioning pop-up shops, private showrooms and fleeting sample sales. But even New York City’s most seasoned shoppers can gain valuable tips, significant discounts and exclusive access to special spots (special enough that we cannot name names) from a Shop Gotham tour. 

West Village This neighborhood of quaint brownstones clustered along cobblestone streets remains virtually unchanged since the 19th century. You’ll need a map to navigate the puzzling geography — how does West 4th Street intersect with West 10th Street, exactly? — As it is one of the few areas in Manhattan that strays from the orderly street grid. Better, though, to just wander aimlessly. Highlights include the Jefferson Market Courthouse, a former women’s detention center that once held Mae West, and the shops along Bleecker St. and Commerce St. — the most beautiful block-long side street in NYC.



Grand Central Terminal Tell a secret to your partner in the Whispering Gallery: stand at the end of Oyster Bar ramp and whisper into the wall; you will be heard all the way across to the other side. Explore the “secret” elevated passageways for a spectacular view of the concourse. Even if you have nowhere to go you can spend hours in the 100-year-old depot and never get bored. Ice Skating at Bryant Park The Rink is the centerpiece of Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. The 170’ x 100’ rink features free admission ice skating, in addition to high quality rental skates, skating shows, special events, and activities. Whether you are looking to skate before going to the office, through the lunch hour, with friends at a party, with a date, or for a spin under the stars at a holiday party, Winter Village is the perfect destination. Plus it offers free admission! Brooklyn Food Tour Ever wonder how Brooklyn’s hipsters fit into their 29-inch waisted skinny jeans? Prepare to wonder even more...because after this two hour tour of Williamsburg’s trendiest artisanal eateries, your own pants may become an inch too small. From wood-fired pizza and down home country barbecue to Brooklynmade wine and walnut brittle, prepare for the hippest food tasting tour on the East Coast!  Dakota Bar Neighborhood native Jennifer Klein is behind this funky vino bar named after a onetime UWS diner. Thirty wines by the glass feature old-world countries (France, Italy, Spain), and there is an extensive bottle list with more than 150 selections. For a boozier sip, try a red-wine-based tipple, or a cocktail like the Who’s Your Daddy, which combines vodka and Sugar Daddy’s caramel.

Beyond Bars By Hannah Skye

Like transplants from a time since past, twin entrepreneurs Jonnie and Mark Houston are bringing the values of old Hollywood back in incredible new ways and for that we are all thankful! Designers, visionaries, and all-around hard working, down-toearth, (don’t forget impeccably dressed and absolutely handsome guys), the Houston Brothers entrepreneurial spirit rings through in each of the Los Angeles venues they have created.

Constantly working to bring their visions from dreams to reality, they have opened approximately nine themed bars in the Los Angeles area, with several more currently in varying stages of fruition. One might think that as the number of venues increases, the character and attention to detail might decrease, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Each new idea, gathering inspiration from their personal travels abroad, the sexy Photo by Hannah Skye

feeling of Old Hollywood, to nostalgic memories of their own childhoods, breathes new life into an LA bar scene that desperately needed to lose the pretention and regain the feeling of genuine, boutique hospitality. Beyond “bars,� the Houston Brothers venues transport you to a place where creativity is king, mixology is queen, and hospitality, well, hospitality is simply: HOUSTON.

Where Melrose Avenue meets the Champs-ÉlysÊes, lose yourself in this divine, jazz-age Parisian inspired saloon.

Pour Vous

5574 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA

You lean casually against the bar, clutching your glass of rum. Through the decadent fog of cigar smoke you see her‌and the tango music begins to play‌

La Descarga

1159 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Intimacy and sensuality are the lifeblood of this decadent, libation experience located inside the heart of Hollywood.

No Vacancy

5574 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Spit shine your wingtips and order an Old Fashioned‌Harvard & Stone brings back burlesque like Jimmy Darmody brought back suspenders.

Harvard & Stone 5221 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Replenish what lesser bars have depleted from your soul by indulging in the melodies of the ivories.

Piano Bar

6429 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Ghosts of Hollywood past may just join you on the dance floor in this password-protected, downright sexy turn of the century speakeasy-style establishment.

Dirty Laundry

1725 N Hudson Ave Los Angeles, CA 90028

As you can see when it comes to nightlife, the Houston Brothers know how to deliver appealing concepts to the LA nightlife scene. The innovative duo doesn’t have any plans of slowing down with ideas of future properties in the making.

With so many incredible venues what could possibly be next for these two young entrepreneurs? While we all wait for the next unveiling we suggest you try all the different flavors they currently offer and start knocking them off your list one by one.

Photo by Hannah Skye


Custom Hotel Dublin & Miller stamp their paws of approval on this top petfriendly Los Angeles hotel.


ocated within a mile of LAX, the Custom Hotel is central to iconic beach towns, landmarks and colleges in Los Angeles. This one of a kind boutique hotel invites pets to stay making it another Southern California favorite for traveling dogs, Miller and Dublin. The boys were welcomed for no additional fees or weight discrepancies into any one of the ‘Deluxe’ rooms.

Modern travelers looking for a simple stay without the headache of scheduling can rest with ease at the Custom Hotel. The hotel features an outdoor pool bar and lounge with stadium seating and a sundeck. Pets are not allowed in the pool but our boys prefer to lounge along with the other business travelers near the five cabanas and fire pit. After a leisurely nap, the boys consider practicing their downward dog in the yoga area but smell food instead and head in the other direction. Deck 33 Bar and Restaurant offers a selection of cocktails to pair with Pacific-Rim influenced cuisine. Delectable top sirloin, shrimp linguini and calamari dishes are not to be confused with airport food. Lunch and Dinner can be enjoyed wherever guests prefer- lounge, sundeck or poolside cabana. When work interrupts, five social lounges with unique concepts meant to please each guest are readily available. The Layover Lounge features a communal table and seating hubs for impromptu meetings. Stay focused by taking an Xbox Kinect or Wii break in the Transonic gaming lounge. Don’t stress about the essentials, the hotel has you covered with its Duty Free Lounge, which includes all-natural snacks, ready-to-eat meals and drink machines. If you still can’t find a place to relax, try the Stratosphere, a twelve story high lounge featuring massage chairs, calming music and a peaceful environment. The LAX Lounge will get you ready for your next departure with printers for boarding passes and flight departure displays.

Deluxe and Elevated guestrooms are available, each including a desk with complimentary highspeed wireless Internet access and a stereo with an iPod and MP3 docking station. Miller and Dublin especially enjoyed watching on-demand movies and premium channels on the 37” flat-screen LCD TV; lounging on the 300-thread count sheet, watching Animal Planet completes the day. When the morning arrives, the hotel makes life a little bit easier for travelers, offering complimentary shuttle services to and from LAX daily from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. After a weekend stay, Dublin and Miller are ready to head home but it certainly won’t be the last time they rest their paws at the Custom Hotel.

Vacation like

Royalty Waterford Cast le W hen most people think of an island getaway they typically picture a Caribbean oasis. The idea of a luxury castle on an island in Ireland isn’t the most common fantasy, however the Waterford Castle in Waterford City, Ireland offers a unique experience for world travelers searching for the unexpected. It is the perfect getaway for those who want to live like royalty and truly be away from the hustle and bustle of big city tourism. Whether it is to just relax for a few days to enjoy some R&R, perhaps a golf weekend or maybe even having a blissful wedding of your dreams, Waterford can fulfill your every need.

Situated on its own private island on the River Suir, a two-minute ferry ride will take you to your ultimate royal vacation. Feel yourself travel through time as you embark on your journey across the River Suir to a magical castle that packs a ton of history dating back to the 6th century. Upon entering the grounds you immediately experience the true royal treatment with personalized service from a friendly staff. Drop your bags at the door, grab a cocktail and nestle up to the large, open fire in the 16th century surroundings.


Enjoy gourmet food in a royal setting at the Munster Room Restaurant with dishes like Char Grilled Fillet of Irish Aged Beef, Wild Mushroom and Blue Cheese Jus or Roast Magret Duck, Caramelized Orange, Sour Cherry, Wild Garlic and Smoked Pineapple. The Fitzgerald Room Bar is an elegant yet comfortable and intimate room to be enjoyed by day or night. Afternoon Tea can be enjoyed here in front of the crackling log fire. Or simply relax here at any time throughout the day over a game of chess or curled up with a good book from the Library. In the evening treat yourself to an aperitif or a hand crafted cocktail.


Ireland’s only true island golf resort. Completely detached from the mainland this makes for the perfect Irish golf getaway. Designed by Des Smyth, former Ryder Cup player, this 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course leads you through mystical woodland and parkland that dates back centuries. The course offers 6,814 yards from the championship tees and covers an area of over 200 acres. If you’re lucky you may cross paths with one or many of Waterford’s own local deer.


18 hole golf course, tennis courts, archery, hiking, clay pigeon shooting, or enjoy a game of croquet or boules on the castle lawns. Must Do- take the ferry over to the mainland to the world famous Waterford Crystal factory to see the amazing hand crafted crystal made by true pioneers. 47


Ashford Castle

shford castle depicts true royalty at its finest. Dating back centuries Ashford was built in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke. Built originally as a castle, Ashford has passed hands many times and is today one of the top five star luxury hotels in the world. Previously owned by the famous Guinness family as a summer home, the Ashford packs in more history than most. The castle was purchased by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness in 1852, passed on to nephew Ernest Guinness and then later sold to the Irish government in 1939. The hotel is now owned by Red Carnation Hotels which purchased it in May 2013. Upon entering the grounds of the castle you immediately know you are in for royal treatment. Pulling in you enter through grandiose historical gates, cross over the draw bridge and prepare to be pampered. The staff is pleasant and helpful and the grounds are so breathtaking you may never want to leave. With over 80 bedrooms suites you will get a true taste of how kings and queens lived back in the day mixed with a modern twist to give you all the comforts of home.


shford has a place in Hollywood history as well. In 1951, film director John Ford came to the West of Ireland to film what would become a movie classic The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The grounds of Ashford Castle formed the backdrop for much of the action in the film.


George V Dining Room: acclaimed as one of the premier castle restaurants in Ireland, George V was built by the Guinness family to host dinner parties for the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1906. Sit under one of the 11 breathtaking Waterford Crystal Chandeliers and enjoy world class cuisine made by Chef Stefan Matez. Try the tasting menu with dishes such as Marinated John Dory and Seared Prawn Tails Lime and Ruccola, or the Baked Soufflé of Fivemiletown Goats Cheese, Smoked Apple, Fruit Bread. George V has been host to such notable guests as Queen Mary, Prince Edward, Ronald Reagan, John Lennon, George Harrison, Brad Pitt and many more.


As you enter the grounds of Ashford you will be taken through the outstanding lay of the land that gets most golfers excited before even arriving at the castle. This beautiful 9 hole 2996 yards par 35 parkland course provides the perfect environment for golfers of all ages and skill levels. Designed by renowned Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett, the course was created with a great imagination featuring natural hazards, ensuring a fantastic contribution to the tough par 3’s, exciting par 4’s and formidable par 5.


The Ashford boasts many activities that will make you never want to leave the grounds such as Traditional Wooden Boat Trips, Lake Cruises, Archery, Falconry, Equestrian, Fishing, Clay Shooting, Bicycling, Hiking and Kayaking.

Dromoland Castle

ith an outstanding history stretching back centuries W ago, Dromoland Castle was originally the family home of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the

High King of Ireland. The castle was originally built in the 15th century and has been transformed to a five star luxury resort today. As you approach you will be greeted by a winding driveway surrounded by manicured lawns with the view of the majestic castle in the background. To the rear of the castle is the magnificent Dromoland Lake filled with trout and rowboats to be utilized whenever you desire.

alk just a few mere steps and you will find yourself W exploring the mystical woodlands of Dromoland with an abundance of history in any direction you face. When

you decide to leave the beauty of the outdoors you will find a plethora of things to do inside the castle which has an absolute resort feel. Whether it be enjoying a spa experience, or enjoying a hand crafted Irish cocktail in the old library bar you will feel more at home here then you would ever imagine. With such classic and beautiful rooms don’t be surprised if you choose to request room service for the odd meal as the mixture of comfort and beauty are met well here. Located only eight miles from Shannon International Airport, Dromoland is a great central location to be able to visit surrounding cities such as Limerick and Galway.


During your stay you will have plenty of fabulous dining options at Dromoland Castle. Whether it be a light afternoon snack at the Country Club, a picnic on the lake or an extensive five star dining experience at Earl of Thomond restaurant you can’t go wrong. For a more informal meal try the Fig Tree restaurant for lunch or dinner. Being one of the top castle restaurants in Ireland, the Earl of Thomond is a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Executive Chef David Mcann brings a creative yet classic approach to his meal preparation and you will find your taste buds tantalized while dining here. The combination of elegant décor and the flavorful cuisine makes for a relaxing ambiance to enjoy among friends and family.


Warm Lobster & Potato Salad, Shallot & Garlic Puree, Tarragon Pesto, Pan Fried Scallops Wrapped in Bacon, Pumpkin & apple Pickle, Bacon & Hazelnut Dressing, Roasted Guinea Fowl Scented with Rosemary, Ragout of Cannelini Beans, Onions & Vegetables, Jus Court


Dromoland is more than equipped to keep their guests busy and active during their stay. Having Dromoland Lake at your fingertips you can go fishing or simply take one of the row boats out for a morning jaunt. Championship golf, archery, falconry, horseback riding, tennis or clay shooting will meet all your needs and give you a vacation never to be forgotten. If activities are not your preference while on vacation, pamper yourself in the Dromoland spa and indulge yourself to a relaxing massage, facial or skin treatment. Afterwards revitalize in the 17 meter pool, sauna or Jacuzzi to make for the perfect end to the day. 49

Adare Manor ust minutes away from the village of J Adare in the county of Limerick is the world famous Adare Manor. Adare Manor

was once the home of the Earl of Dunraven with original construction dating back to 1832. Manors were built to be a home whereas a castle was built to be a fortress in a time of battle. Fast forward to present time Adare Manor is one of the top luxury hotel resorts in Ireland and some argue one of the best in the world for good reason. Although being labeled as a Manor, once you have entered the grounds you will notice the similarities it has to a castle. The moment you walk through the historic doors you will feel the enchantment of everything Adare and its committed staff has to offer. From the doormen to the concierge to the restaurant servers, every staff member is there to make sure each guest feels right at home. A staff member will guide you down a hall and open the doors to the jaw dropping view that awaits in your place of residence for the coming days. Whether staying in Lady Caroline’s Room, a Dunraven stateroom or even a standard room, your expectations will be more than met. With a perfect mixture of old meets new and the blend of modern highlights in a classic royal bedroom you may never want to leave your fairytale suite. If you do decide to leave your room you will be very pleased you did as the grounds of Adare are a visual pleasure and a down right work of art. The grounds are comprised of 840 acres of a top rated golf course, stone walled gardens, manicured lawns, a rolling river filled with trout all surrounded by medieval ruins.


Dining at the Adare Manor is consistently an amazing experience even for the most notorious foodies out there. Whether enjoying a meal at the Oakroom for fine dining or stopping by at the Carriage house after a round of golf the Adare Manor is ultra impressive to say the least. Award winning chefs bring Ireland’s best quality ingredients to formulate taste sensations to keep you talking for days. Always focusing on the finest of fresh, sustainable local produce, seafood fresh from the ocean and meats and

cheese right from the farm, quality is never over looked here. Adare Manor has earned international acclaim for its excellence in fine dining which is no surprise if you’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy the cuisine of head chef Mark Donohue.


New Season Green Bean Asparagus and Brie Lasagna, Roasted Garlic, Mushroom Sauce, Roast Fillet of Irish Beef, Beetroot Gratin, Horseradish Cream, Cracked Pepper Jus.


With all the activities that are offered it is possible to stay solely on the grounds of Adare while you are visiting the area. From spa treatments, to golf to falconry to trout fishing one can stay more than entertained here. Try a hot air balloon ride or enjoy whiskey or wine tasting as well. Adare’s friendly activity staff makes for your stay to be filled with magical memories for years to come.

Cead Mile Failte! One hundred t housand welcomes in Dublin

he city of Dublin provides a rich culture and extensive history on every street corner of the small T island in Ireland. With an abundance of history dating

back to the 8th century, Dublin incorporates its classical past with the contemporary culture visitors to the city see today. From the world famous Guinness factory, to historic castles to authentic Irish cuisine there is endless opportunity for exploration. If your travels to Dublin are limited, read further for recommendations on the best attractions the city has to offer:

Temple Bar

The neighborhood named Temple Bar may be crawling with tourists but with beautifully preserved streets of cobblestone and countless pubs with live music this is an area not to be missed. Located in the neighborhood is the world famous Temple Bar, a small and normally crowded establishment. You will be genuinely welcomed upon entry and may find yourself staying for hours taking in live Irish music while enjoying some local Irish cuisine. Out of town visitors will find a valuable amount of information about Dublin’s history and sights here from locals who frequent the area. Winner of the Irish Music Pub of the year for 2002-2012 you will find traditional Irish music sessions daily. There is no cover charge making for an enjoyable experience while consuming a pint or two of local brews.

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College is recognized globally as Ireland’s premier university and as one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities. Founded in 1592 on the general pattern of the ancient colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, it is the oldest university in Ireland and one of the older universities of Western Europe. Its Library is the largest research library in Ireland featuring 200 years of legal deposit for publications in Ireland and the UK. The library contains 5 million volumes, a considerable amount of electronic resources, and an extensive collection of manuscripts, the most famous being the Book of Kells. Today Trinity has a vibrant international community of almost 17,000 students, 92,000 alumni and 2,860 members of staff. The student population represents 122 nationalities: not only is it diverse in nationality, it also represents a wide array of social backgrounds and cultures. The centrally located university also takes pride in attracting academic staff from all over the world.

The Book of Kells

Located inside Trinity College The Book of Kells was written around the year 800 AD and is one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world. Its 680 pages of vellum contain the Latin texts of the Four Gospels. Written by Irish monks, the book probably begun at a monastery in Iona, an island off Scotland and finished at Kells, Co. Meath. It was later buried in the ground for fear of the Vikings and after being eventually rediscovered it was deposited for safe keeping in Trinity around 1653. It has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid 19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. Since 1953 it has been bound in four volumes. Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals. 51

Dublin Shopping

Shopping in Dublin is an enjoyable experience since the city is so compact. Shoppers can visit dozens of stores in one day all on foot as most of the best shopping can be found in two main areas. The main city centre shopping areas are Grafton Street and Henry Street. Both are located roughly the same distance from O’Connell Bridge, with Grafton St. to the South, and Henry St. to the North. They are about 10 to 15 minutes on foot from one another making a day of shopping an easy experience. Long ago Grafton St and the surrounding area was considered privilege to the wealthy with designer boutiques and exclusive shops, while Henry St. was a more affordable location. The difference between the two has become much less evident in current times as both areas are filled with large UK chain stores, franchise coffee shops and top named brand restaurants making Irish shopping very comparable to the UK and USA.  Another recommendation is to visit the little boutiques in the streets around Grafton St., as well as some of the shopping centers such as the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center, the Westbury Mall and the Powerscourt Townhouse CentreShop.

Gallagher’s Boxty House

Like any cosmopolitan capital city, Dublin boasts a variety of top dining experiences ranging from both traditional and modern Irish cuisine as well as the finest ethnic dining that Ireland has to offer. There seems to be a restaurant on every corner serving good ol’ traditional Irish fare such as bangers n mash, Irish stew, soda bread, smoked salmon, and maybe even some shepherd’s pie if you’re lucky! The Boxty House is a premier dining experience and one of the only places you will find, of course..Boxty. What is Boxty? Before the Boxty House opened in 1989 most Irish people didn’t evne know what it was either. The most popular version of Boxty consists of finely grated raw and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg. The mixture is then fried on a griddle for a few minutes on each side leaving a nice golden brown potato pancake almost resembling a crepe. Another alternative is to boil into a dumpling that comes very close to a gnocchi texture but if done right is close to an Irish delicacy! The texture of Boxty is as smooth as you can imagine and goes so well with many different combinations. Here are some of the favorites from the Boxy House. Seafood and Boxty Potato Dumplings-Fresh Salmon, Wild Smoked Coley & Dublin Bay Prawns with Sautéed Boxty Potato Dumplings in a Red Pepper & Black Olive Sauce. Famous Gaelic Boxty- Tender Medallions of Irish Fillet Beef in Whiskey & Mushroom Cream Sauce wrapped in a traditional Leitrim Boxty pancake. Mushroom, Blue Cheese & Boxty Dumplings-Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms and Boxty Potato Dumplings in a rich Cashel Blue Cheese Sauce

The man behind the magic:

One thing that makes Ireland such a desired vacation destination is the friendly people that call it their home. Pádraic Óg Gallagher is the man that started the Boxty House over 25 years ago. By sticking to his love for cooking and family values the restaurant continues to thrive today. If you ever get the chance to meet this passionate restaurateur you will instantly understand why he’s as successful as he is. Being a recognized expert on the potato, Gallagher takes his knowledge and passion around the world and is always ready to make new waves in culinary creations. Possible thoughts of one day bringing Boxty to the rest of the world? We shall see. Bottom linethe hot spot for true traditional Irish cuisine is to be found at the Boxty House in the world famous Temple Bar area. Note: Boxty isn’t the only taste sensation on the menu; dishes such as the Gallagher’s Irish Stew, Pan Fried Organic Salmon Steak or the Boxty House Burger are among fan favorites. Do not forget dessert, as the Bread and Butter Pudding is a mouth-watering treat! Over the past 25 years well over 3 million people have been served and always come back for more. 52


Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Factory is the number one tourist attraction in Ireland for a reason. Combining history and true passion of beer making the Guinness factory is a staple in the Irish community. Located in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate visitors can spend hours learning about the historical craft of beer making. Take the tour through the seven-story factory and experience a dramatic legend that begins over 250 years ago and ends in Gravity Bar high above the city. Here visitors receive a complimentary pint of the famous beer while relaxing and enjoying spectacular panoramic views over Dublin.

The Perfect Pour

Part of the Guinness Factory tour includes how to properly pour a pint of Guinness, a process that is taken very seriously by the staff. There are six steps to the perfect pour: 1. The glass: dry, clean, 20 oz tulip pint glass designed for the aerodynamics of the perfect pour. 2. The angle: the glass should be held at a 45-degree angle under the tap and the tap faucet should not touch the tulip glass or beer), 3. The pour: let it flow nice and smooth ž of the way right up to the logo. 4. The head: let it settle, the nitrogen bubbles need to settle down the interior sides and back up in the middle. 5. The top off: now that you have allowed settling go ahead and top it off bringing the head right to the top of the glass. 6. The first sip: you drink with your eyes first, this is part of the art of the perfect pour! After pouring a glass of the famous beer be prepared for a picture of you and your pouring group that you will receive via email compliments of the Guinness Factory. 53

Dublin Where to Stay

Only 10 minutes from downtown Dublin sits the Four Seasons. Ideally located for the weary traveler looking for the best combination of a relaxing getaway and a fun filled action packed Irish holiday. Surrounded by ivy-covered homes in the area of Ballsbridge is a classic, serene destination where travelers can enjoy spa treatments and swinging Irish Pubs. Dublin’s Four Season’s staff ensures each and every guest feels right at home offering every amenity possible, exquisite dining options and friendly concierges that will help you plan every step of your vacation while in Dublin.


The Reading Room offers a savory combination of traditional and modern Irish cuisine. Chefs from the Four Seasons utilize as many sustainable foods as possible supporting all the local Irish makers of cheese, breads and meats. Fresh seafood straight from Dublin bay always makes for a truly enjoyable Irish cuisine experience. Sit down for a casual yet sensational lunch gazing out into the landscaped courtyard or gather with family and friends to dine in a more elegant setting during dinner hours while sharing laughs and stories of travel.

LATM Favorites:

Dublin Bay Seafood Chowder, Watermelon Carpaccio, Summer Risotto as well as Dublin Bay Halibut with Calamari from Spain. For a slightly more elegant dining experience in a calm environment, Seasons features contemporary Irish cuisine, created by the chefs with the freshest ingredients possible. Breakfast and Sunday Brunch can also be enjoyed at the restaurant. Select from either the a la carte menu or a continental breakfast with a wide array of cured meats, artisan breads and cheeses as well as fruits, juices and pastries. If you’re from out of town it’s a must to try the Full Irish breakfast which consists of Soda bread, tomato, black pudding, bacon, eggs, beans, and sausages with tea. 

Wine Tasting at

Justin Vineyards

On the central coast of California in the wine region of Paso Robles sits the 160-acre family owned and operated Justin Vineyards and Winery. Established in 1981, the property’s mission is, “To belong in the company of the finest wines in the world.” Justin Vineyards prime focus is mostly on Bordeaux style blends but produces a wide variety of other styles. Lead by a knowledgeable and friendly staff, the Justin Tasting Room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with an excellent selection of wine to enjoy while taking in the beautiful countryside scenery. Justin Vineyard’s has produced a variety of wines over the years including their most popular, Isosceles; a red blend that has achieved critical acclaim. Isosceles is a rich and aromatic blend with dark fruit of black cherry, cassis, exotic licorice, cinnamon aand vanilla spice. Justification is another of the vineyard’s red blends. Flavors of red fruits, peppery spices and herbs are infused in this Cabernet Franc- Merlot wine. In an effort not to be typecast as just a Bordeaux-styled winery, Justin produced Focus, a Syrah-based blend. The limited production wine combines smoky, ripe black fruit, black peppercorn, meat and leather notes from blackberry and boysenberry fruits. Throughout the wine tasting experience we learned how to properly consume each glass. The features of each type of wine and the distinct flavors were explained along with the production methods. Justin Vineyard’s is one of the longest standing wineries in the state and the staff truly emphasizes their passion for wine. With an abundance of wine consumed, eating is the next logical step. The Restaurant at Justin offers a wine and food experience from Executive Chef Will Torres. Local ingredients are combined to create a seasonal menu for lunch, brunch and dinner. A five-course dinner with a five course wine pairing is an option for those planning to stay at the Inn on the vineyard. For lunch, the winter menu is rather short but packs plenty of appetizing dishes to be paired with signature Justin blends. The Colorado Lamb Osso Bucco with Carnarolli Risotto, Brussels Sprouts, Root Vegetables and Orange Gremolata combine perfectly with one of their signature Cabernets. Although the road to Justin Vineyards and Winery is a long journey with rough terrain, it is worth every minute to discover the beauty of this California gem in the region of Paso Robles. 55

Valent ine’s Day


Gift Guide


Meadow of Love absinthe by Delaware Phoenix, $85

Jayson Home: Leather Strap Cutting Board starting at $72.00 Beats Wireless Headphones $279.95

Ray-Ban: Clubmaster Oversized $155.00

MR PORTER: Baxter of California Travel Kit $50.00



Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Kaldi Single Serve Machine $179.00 Michael Kors: Pyramid Runway Double Wrap Watch $180.00

Jonathan Adler: Lucy Passport Case $38.00 LuLu Lemon: The Hot (Towel) Mat $58.00 Marigot Collection Maya Check Short PJ Set, $115

Chanel Jersey & Lambskin Flap Bag $2600 56


Most Romant ic Cities

San Ant onio

From Portland to San Antonio, here are the best U.S. cities to fall in love or to reignite a spark.

San Antonio, TX

Along the banks of the San Antonio River Walk you can find couples basking in the romantic glow of the southern city. Colorful umbrellas line the water while lights give off an iridescent radiance to the warm nights. Reachable from the River Walk is Marriage Island, a small area of land with a massive cypress tree in the center surrounded by two stone benches. Here countless proposals have been made as well as wedding ceremonies. For couples that enjoy a romantic dinner, the River Walk is full of restaurants to choose from. Try Bella on the River for Mediterranean fare and live jazz music to set the mood. Photo Credit: Richard Nowitz, SACVB

Charleston, SC

Sant a Fe Santa Fe, NM

Charlest on

Cobblestone streets and southern charm make Charleston, South Carolina one of the top romantic cities. Couples visiting the historical city can find solace at one of the many hotels or bed and breakfasts. Oak trees draped with Spanish moss line the brick buildings while quaint cafes in old colonial homes invite guests in for home-style cooking. Explore the French Quarter or Broad Street for art walks while enjoying a glass of wine. Take a bike ride along the Waterfront Park in downtown to catch the sunset or just take in the beauty while relaxing on one of the many wooden benches. Photo Courtesy of

The Old World feeling in Santa Fe, New Mexico is apparent with its adobe buildings dating back to the late 1600s and the architecture influenced by Native American cultures. Colorful shades of turquoise embellish buildings and streets, which reflect off the beaming sun that seems to soak the city. Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-style hot-tub spa in the hills above Santa Fe is a must see for couples looking for solace. Private outdoor tubs can be reserved while a majestic view of the sunset will provide a natural romantic ambiance. Photo Credit: Chris Corrie

Nashville, TN

Aspen Aspen, CO


The birth of many famous love songs, Nashville, Tennessee provides southern romance with endless entertainment. Couples who are looking for fun in the country can see the Grand Ole Opry, a classic tribute to Nashville country music. Head on over to B.B. King’s Blues Club for live jazz and blues in the downtown cathedral complete with some of the best soul food around. Add a horse-drawn carriage ride or a picnic in Centennial Park for a memorable trip for two. Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.

Aspen is host to some of the best skiing in the country. Couples can enjoy beautiful snow capped mountains as they ride the Silver Queen Gondola to Aspen Mountain Summit. At the 11,200 foot summit, the Sundeck offers dining with live music under the moonlight. Feel like going even higher? Try a hot air balloon ride complete with a champagne brunch, chocolate covered strawberries and flowers while soaring over the Rockies. Nestle next to a roaring fireplace in one of the many ski resorts during the winter months for a perfectly cozy getaway. Photo Credit: Jeremy Swanson

Portland, OR


Portland, Oregon is appealing for casual couples looking for beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor adventures. Stop and smell the roses at Japanese Garden. The tranquil setting is deemed one of the most elaborate Japanese gardens outside of Japan itself. Feeling more adventurous? Hike to the top of Mount Tabor, an extinct volcano, to view the entire city while feeling secluded with just each other. Also, try climbing to one of the tallest waterfalls in the area, Multnomah Falls. With a bridge that has hosted several weddings, this romantic spot is full of gorgeous views. In Portland, romance is found all over in its most natural form. Photo Credit: Torsten Kjellstrand /


Asits on our mantle. It favorite photograph

captures a magical moment – my sweetheart and I are sitting astride a couple of beach cruisers, grinning with giddy happiness as if to say, “How great is this? Can you believe we’re here?” Behind us lie the verdant gardens and iconic Palace of Versailles. “Here we are,” I tell my friends who always comment on the picture, “on one of the best days of our entire vacation.”

Biking Through

Versailles, France C’est si bon!

By Susan Watkins

It all started with an off-hand comment to a friend who had just returned from France. “I’m looking for something fun and out of the ordinary to do while we’re in Paris,” I told my friend. Her eyes immediately lit up and she sighed, “You HAVE to do the biking trip through Versailles – it was so much fun!” Versailles! Just the mention of the name conjured up images in my mind’s eye – a glittering palace, powerful kings, priceless treasures. Arguably the most famous palace in Europe, Versailles was a lavish symbol of the authority of the French crown in an era when France was the epitome of culture, wealth and influence. And, its renowned gardens are so vast that no visitor can see them all in one day – unless, that is, they are on a bicycle! Taking my friend’s word for it, I booked our Fat Tire Bike Tour to Versailles.

Our excursion started early on a Sunday morning at the Fat Tire Bike Tours office in Paris, located literally in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. We selected our beach cruisers for the day, and off we went with a small group of fun loving people, thirsting for adventure. We rode through the classy boulevards of Paris, gliding in and out of traffic like locals, to the nearest RER train station. As we arrived at the train station, I was a little worried. “What am I supposed to with this bike when it’s time to get on the train?” I inquired. “It can be tricky”, our guide warned us. “So whatever you do, don’t hesitate! The stop is short, but when those train doors open, move as fast as you can with your bike and don’t give up until you’ve boarded that train.” The moment of truth came, and yes, it was a bit chaotic – hilarious actually, as 15 people simultaneously rushed to board the train with bikes in tow. But we did it, and soon we were on our way for the 20 minute trip to the little town of Versailles.

Wthrough farmland and past country homes, marveling that someplace this rural could be so close to one of the most e found Versailles to be a wholesome looking village with streets washed fresh by an early morning rain. We rode

glamorous cities in the world. Our guide led us to the center of town to the Versailles Market, known as Place du marché. Believe me when I tell you that this is definitely the most amazing outdoor market I have ever seen in all my travels! This place is a virtual cornucopia of delights, a fantasyland for foodies, the mother of all outdoor markets…you get the picture. It was absolutely overwhelming in its expanse and charm but we had a mission – we needed to shop for our picnic lunch! We had a little over an hour to visit the market, which begins in the open air of the town square and then spreads out into more little stores down narrow alleyways and side streets. There were delectable pastry shops, meat markets, stalls with every imaginable kind of exotic cheese, aromatic fruits, fresh vegetables, wine boutiques, bakeries, and buckets of riotous colored fresh flowers everywhere. Amid the cacophony of the market, vendors shouted good naturedly, and the local townspeople chatted and gossiped as they bought and sold their wares. Reveling in the bounty of it all, we bought baguettes hot from the oven, the creamiest Brie, a slab of goat cheese, thinly sliced roast beef, a rich and savory foie gras, ruby red cherries and grapes that tasted like perfume. Add a bottle of Chateau Ramage la Batisse Haut-Médoc, and voila...we were ready for our picnic! With our treasures stuffed into our backpacks, we were really in our element. We laughed at the sight of Gary with two big baguettes sticking out the top of his - merveilleux!

Biking Through V Back on our bikes, we rode up a short hill onto the grounds of the beautiful Château de Versailles. Once on the grounds of the Palace, we pedaled our way through history, stopping every now and then for our guide to share interesting and informative stories of the places we were seeing. We cycled right up to the Grand Trianon, a grand-looking castle of pink marble. Meant to be a miniature version of the larger Palace, its size was still imposing. Here, Louis XIV retreated with his mistress and other invited guests to escape the pomp and rigid formality of court life.



Npark. Built by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour, it earby was The Petit Trianon, a much smaller chateau in the same

later became Marie Antoinette’s favorite place to relax and escape the strict etiquette and formal demands of the Court of Versailles. We also stopped at Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, where the queen spent her happiest days, contentedly enjoying the charms of country life as she played at tending her sheep and ducks in a setting which emulated her girlhood home.

I was astounded at the massive size of the carefully tended grounds of the royal palace, which cover over 2,000 acres. We cruised leisurely through this sunny playground of the kings, taking in the spacious tree lined gardens, the wind blowing in our faces and nothing but the sound of our tires crunching over the gravel pathways. After awhile, we stopped at the impressive Grand Canal. This long and shimmering body of water is located at the end of a promenade leading from the Palace. A huge reservoir and the playground of kings, the Grand Canal is a source of ever changing light. Here, kings took part in all kinds of nautical spectacles. Royalty floated up and down in imported Venetian gondolas or sailed row boats and even small-scale models of larger ships. Elaborate firework displays on the terrace of the Palace were designed to reflect on the Grand Canal, and to this day firework spectaculars take place on summer evenings. In the winter, the royal family and their guests cavorted over the frozen water on ice skates and sleighs.

Aour picnic. The spring sunshine was soft and the breeze was brisk longside this spectacular site, we reclined in the grassy fields for

as we enjoyed the golden light reflecting across the Grand Canal. With the majestic Palace in clear view at the end of the Grand Canal, it was an idyllic and somewhat surreal setting. Let the picnic begin! We had made fast friends with the others in our group, and before we knew it, we were all sampling each others’ delicacies. It was a feast for all – truly, the Ultimate Picnic. There was more riding to do after lunch (a good thing, considering I had just eaten about a pound of Brie all by myself.) We rode through forested pathways to the spectacular Chateau de Versailles and parked our bikes. Joining throngs of other people, we entered the Palace, returning in spirit to the time period of the most famous French kings and queens. From our first peek inside, our eyes were popping at the extravagance and affluence of it all. We visited the double tiered Royal Chapel with its magnificent marble inlay flooring, then the famous Hall of Mirrors. A stunning receiving room of the royals in its day, the Hall of Mirrors is as spectacular today as it was in its prime. Three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors, luxury objects at the time, grace this hall, reflecting the beauty of the gardens through windows on the opposite wall. From its painted ceiling to its gold-leafed embellishments, priceless paintings and crystal chandeliers, the Hall of Mirrors is a mesmerizing and awe-inspiring display of opulence. I imagined what it was like to be here in the days of the French kings, but also in more recent times, when in 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed here, officially ending World War I.

On we went, through the Royal Apartments where we viewed the lavish King’s Bedchamber, re-situated there by King Louis XIV, the Sun King, so that his room would face the rising sun. We arrived next at the exquisite Queen’s Apartments featuring the Queen’s Bedchamber. Occupied by several queens, I’m sure the walls of this room could tell some remarkable tales! Marie Antoinette was the last to sleep here, and we could see the little door in the corner through which she fled, unsuccessfully attempting to escape the French Revolution’s mobs which stormed the palace in 1789.

Versailles, France

Arooms, galleries and salons. We ended our visit enjoying the various fountains of the gardens, each one a work of art in s the day waned, we wandered on through room after room of magnificent apartments, suites, drawing rooms, dining


On sensory overload, we mounted our bikes for the return trip to Paris. At the end of the day my derriere was a little sore but we’d made so many memories I didn’t mind. Our biking experience through Versailles was an adventure fit for a king! 59

Art, Love,


an Francisco has long been known as a freewheeling yet enterprising hub of independent thinkers. Artists have blossomed in the rolling hills and eclectic architecture that make this city by the bay instantly recognizable. Residents here are proud of their artistic culture, and the evidence is everywhere. I was determined to spend a weekend steeped in all the art San Francisco has to offer and quickly learned I did not have to try hard to get a diverse and fascinating experience. My mission began quite promisingly as we pulled up to the unique and vibrant Hotel Triton. Located downtown just across from the jade tiled entrance to Chinatown, this By Kathryn Lejeune one of a kind boutique hotel was the perfect base for my art centric weekend. Stepping into Hotel Triton is like entering a dream curated by a cheerful bevy of designers intent on outdoing each other. Everywhere you look is a celebration of creativity, and the playful atmosphere seems to have rubbed off on all the hotel’s employees, none of whom were ever without a warm smile. The lobby’s large glass facade provided excellent people watching while lounging on the unusually crafted armchairs or cuddling up near the inviting fireplace.

San Francisco A

fter a languid morning spent making good use of the provided cheetah print robes and yoga mat, we set off on a walk to explore the area. San Francisco’s downtown is a lively neighborhood that boasts luxury stores, chic cafes, and plenty of art galleries.

Down an alleyway near Union Square, we found fine Asian antiques at Xanadu Gallery. Frank Lloyd Wright himself designed this unusual building, whose spiraling circular motif is elegant and unworldly. Delicate, complex textiles lie alongside finely detailed statues. Much of the exquisite handcrafted jewelry on display is also for sale, a must for anyone who desires a truly original piece of wearable art. As we walked down the street we heard the beautiful operatic singing of a street performer fill the air. I announced that it was my desire to find a restaurant with a patio where I could hear the ringing of Puccini. Lo and behold, not twenty yards away, I spotted Bistro 69. Proudly serving fresh ingredients, locally sourced when possible, the menu was filled with delectable enticements. My salmon burger with sun dried tomatoes spread on a toasted brioche was bursting with flavor, and my husband gave his eggs benedict a raving review. The singer’s sonorous voice boomed out O’ Sole Mio as we sipped mimosas. Body and spirit fully satisfied, we moved on to Highlight Gallery. This ultra minimalist space housed only a few pieces by one artist, Facundo Argañaraz, but they were quite striking. Repeated, truncated images of hands and throats on aluminum composite panels were backlit and seemed, to this observer, to indicate detachment within intimate touch. Cold LED lights combined with the monochrome palette throughout added to the industrial aesthetic. The gallery changes out exhibitions every month, and is certainly worth popping in to see what Highlight is up to.


o be perfectly honest, I was a bit trepidatious at first to enter John Berggruen Gallery, whose entrance is through the type of hallway usually reserved for lawyers and stockbrokers. Once in, however, the expansive, two storey space proved to be bright and welcoming. That day, they were exhibiting paintings by Julian Lethbridge and kinetic sculptures by Pedro S. de Movellan. Lethbridge’s pieces were large masterpieces of movement and ordered chaos that sucked me in through the deliberate madness and grasp of color. Never before had I so badly wanted to see the artistic process in action. The delicate moving sculptures by de Movellan continuously transformed in a fluid dance, winding and twirling to slight breezes.


he night finished with a visit out to The Wave Organ, an acoustic sculpture whose eerie music relies on the natural rhythm of the bay. Best visited during high tide, The Wave Organ is one of those perfectly odd and completely enchanting ventures into art for art’s sake. We sat on the stone jetty, taking in the evening and reminiscing on the day. The weekend left with me a head full of new ideas and eager to return someday for more of San Francisco’s vast and varied art scene.

Hotel Triton

342 Grant Ave San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 394-0500 Xanadu Gallery

140 Maiden Lane San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 392-9999 Highlight Gallery

17 Kearny Street San Francisco, CA 94104 (415) 986-4308 John Berggruen Gallery

228 Grant Avenue San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 781-4629 Bistro 69

69 Maiden Lane San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 398-3557 61

City Spotlight


São Paulo is one of the world’s biggest metropolises and is known as the cultural capital of Brazil. With numerous attractions and entertainment including first-rate museums, nightly concerts, experimental theater and dance. The nightclubs, bars and restaurants are among the best on the continent. Paulistanos (inhabitants of the city) believe in working hard and playing harder which is why nightlife is booming with over 15,000 bars in the city. São Paulo offers visitors and residents a myriad of opportunities to have fun, do business, or just relax! There are over 40 shopping malls, and thousands of clothing stores from bargain to haute couture, sometimes on the same street!

Get Some Shut-Eye

Chow Down

Currently, there are over 12.5 thousand restaurants, 500 of them steakhouses, 250 Japanese restaurants and 6000 restaurants that serve pizza! In the midst of these close to 13 thousand, there is also a variety of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine. This is not to mention all of the regional Brazilian restaurants in the city. Located on the roof of Hotel Unique is Sky Restaurant, a must try when visiting the city. The restaurant overlooks the entire city and provides guests over the top flavors to accompany its visual exuberance.



São Paulo city has many luxury boutique hotels, flat services, and myriad hotel chains that are ideal for accommodating the business executive or someone who is just passing through the city. We suggest the Emiliano located in the fashionable shopping strip of Oscar Freirebased; based on the staffs amazing service which is well known for leaving personal notes (in your native language) around your room, letting you know that they took the liberty of shining your shoes or noticed your toothpaste was running low and replaced it. How they source the exact size and brand we’ll never know. They also provide complimentary garment pressings two per day. The Emiliano’s most famous amenity is over the top and hard to beat. They have a rooftop heli-pad for the times when you just can’t deal with the city’s ridiculous traffic.

Spa Travel Gal’s Top Spa Picks

The St. Pancras Spa A Subterranean Sanctuary

Written by Ava Roxanne Stritt


hen many Americans think of Europe, they dream of castles rising up toward the sky. Yes, they are stunning, but I have found something even more spectacular for the weary traveler. This year, I discovered a structure that matches the splendor of many castles, and it also houses a remarkable luxury spa deep inside. The splendor of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel rises from the King’s Cross Station area of London. The hotel is located in the St. Pancras International Train Station, alongside Eurostar. The hotel was originally designed by the famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. Here, his GothicVictorian style now meets modern luxury after a recent renovation, which added a spa to the lower level. Once closed for 78 years, the cathedral-like stature now stands tall with grace and exemplifies pure luxury. 

The history here is legendary, but pop culture also embraces this hotel. The famous Grand Staircase has been featured in many films and videos, including the famous Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” video. And yes, I danced my way down the stairs, too, and my daughter has the video to prove it. Multiple movies have also been filmed here, ranging from “Bridget Jones’s Diary” to two Harry Potters. You, too, will feel like you stepped onto a sound stage -- but I assure you, your destination is real.

When I travel, I always want to be comfortable. I wear my OkaB Taylor flats, take a pair of fleecy leopardprint Kushyfoots, relax in my soft, cute Tribute dolman top and yoga pants, utilize my HoodiePillow to take a catnap during flights and even drag along my enVy beauty rest pillow to utilize in my hotel room. Still, it seems that a traveler’s lifestyle can take its toll.   Upon arrival, I needed a refresher. And the St. Pancras delivers. Knowing that I was about to take the Eurostar the next morning for a day trip into Paris, I knew I had to be my best self. A cycling tour with Tours by Locals led by the lovely Susanne van Duijnen, through all the arrondissements of Paris would require me to be well rested and refreshed. I knew the hotel’s spa would be the perfect place to make this happen. As I walked into this subterranean sanctuary, I was never rushed, even though I had arrived just on time. I was treated to a unique tea ceremony that included a tall, glass teacup filled with green tea and a magical growing hand towel that reminded me of a mushroom.   After my check-in, the spa attendant guided me to the changing area, which housed a locker with the most luxurious robe I have ever found. After changing, I flowed toward the relaxation room. This room was so relaxing, combined with the jet lag that I feared I would drift off to sleep before the attendant called my name. Miraculously, I was still awake when the attendant arrived to lead me down the dim hallway to my treatment room. The St. Pancras Spa boasts five treatment rooms and a refined couple’s suite; a Eucalyptus steam room and saunas; and a state-of-the-art gym. Within the spa itself is a Victorian-tiled relaxation pool with hydro loungers, which creates a sophisticated and tranquil oasis. Spa treatments here are inspired by travel and the hotel’s desire to take you to far-away destinations.  It utilizes Cinq Mondes’ Beauty Rituals of the World products to create a sensorial experience unique for every guest. This place is definitely your ticket to tranquility. Perfect for reviving a traveler is the spa treatment called “Arrive and Revive.”  The treatment journey starts with soothing and relieving sore muscles, softening the skin and boosting the circulation. With a choice of recipes from their Spicy Aromatic Scrub to a Black Soap Scrub, there is something for everyone. Your transformation completes with a Balinese Radiance Facial. This treatment, combined with a massage of the face, neck and scalp according to Bali ritual, delivers cleansing, harmony and beauty. You will leave with your body awakened, feeling ready for whatever the day throws at you. The spa experience does not stop in the spa.  In my lovely Chambers Suite, I found a limited-edition collectable rubber duckie to enjoy in the marble bath.  What makes this luxury bathroom over the top are the full-size REN amenities in the room, presented in a lovely wooden case.   On your next visit to London, do the afternoon right and book the “High Time for Tea” spa package, which includes the British tradition of a proper teatime, along with pampering. Want even more indulgence? Top it off with a glass of champagne. 64


rejuvination Offering everything your body and soul crave. Natural Healing Body Treatments Aesthetic Services Massage Therapies Waxing Costa Mesa, CA


Retreat to


Tucked away in a serene, plush valley only 65 miles north of Los Angeles is a hidden gem called Ojai, California. With a population of less than 8,000 Ojai packs quite the punch for a very small, welcoming community. With a year round Mediterranean climate, the Ojai valley is ideal for growing organic produce and a large part of the population is involved in the farming and distribution of the local ingredients. Ojai is well known as a close retreat for local Californians to escape for a relaxing weekend getaway. Whether it is for a weekend retreat or for just a day trip to enjoy some great hiking Ojai has something for everyone. Enjoy spa treatments, horseback riding, olive oil tasting, wine tasting rooms, fine local cuisine and much more. If you haven’t had the chance to get to the Ojai Valley, pack your bags, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away!



Emerald Iguana Inn As you enter the grounds of the Emerald Iguana Inn you instantly feel at peace. Walk under a canopy of live oak, sycamore and pepper trees, into a serene garden oasis. As you walk up to the registration door you can’t miss the creatively hand crafted Emerald Iguana fountain that is peacefully trickling water from its mouth; it is then that you know you have come to the right place to fully relax and get away from the stress. The Emerald Iguana is a very unique, romantic getaway that gives you all the comforts of home with cozy little cottages, warm inviting staff and endless time just to be one with nature. Take in some fresh air as you enjoy your continental breakfast poolside all the while watching the numerous squirrels playing above in the trees. Enjoy an in- room massage or facial to put the cherry on the top of your perfect weekend escape.

Olive Oil Tasting

Most people associate wine tasting when they plan to visit the Ojai area but Olive Oil tasting is a unique experience available to guests. Enjoy Olive Oil tasting at the Regalo Olive estate nestled away in the Ojai Valley for distinct flavors created in the local region. You have a variety of options to choose from, take a private tour to watch the olive oil production from start to finish, take a stroll through the property in the olive orchards or simply enjoy the fruits of Regalo’s labor in the tasting room. Here you can try all of their different blends of olive oils as well as creatively flavored balsamic vinegars. Enjoy Amelia a unique Tuscan style blend and Caterina their classic Spanish style Arbequina varietal. All the olives are estate grown, handpicked, cold pressed and pesticide free. Regalo also offers olive milling for the public to bring their own olives for Regalo to press and bottle, they even do custom labeling for great gift ideas.

Wine Tasting

Tucked away on a side street off of the main strip in Ojai is the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room. Owners Adam and Helen Tolmach work with a dozen different vineyards throughout the central coast of California bringing you some of the best wines the state has to offer. Stop by for a tasting with wines such as syrah, grenache, mourvedre, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and viognier. Wine club memberships are available as well as special events; from private dinners with their winemaker at the winery or a local restaurant to casual wine classes, you can always find something happening at the Ojai Vineyard. Whichever wine you may be craving they will be able to meet your requests. Stop by in the afternoon, get comfortable at the bar, try a new wine, and meet some new friends.


Maravilla- Located inside the stunning Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Maravilla is an absolute must try if you are visiting the Ojai area. The chef ’s passion for the art of cuisine will be instantly recognized as you enjoy your meal of prime cuts of beef, chops or fresh local seafood featured on the dining menu. Sit next to the fireplace as you go on a tasting journey of all the Ojai valley has to offer. Fresh herbs and vegetables right from the garden compliment the rest of your meal accompanied by either a local glass of wine or a hand crafted cocktail. Recommendations: Watermelon, Pineapple & Butternut Squash Salad, Lobster Bisque, Vanilla Poached Maine Lobster with Creamed Grilled Corn and Truffle Mac n Cheese. For dessert the Lavender Crème Brulee and the Black Forrest Cake are the perfect way to end your meal.

Looking for Michelangelo in

“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” Henry Miller

Florence, Italy

It has been rightly said that to visit Florence is to immerse yourself in one big living museum. At every turn, masterpieces of art, sculpture, architecture, and history are on glorious display. The heartbeat of this city is alive and vibrant, with stories to tell to those who will listen. We are in Florence, and we are looking for Michelangelo. The cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is also the birthplace of the brilliant sculptor, Written by Susan Watkins painter, poet and architect, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Here he was apprenticed and mentored, rising to become the greatest living artist of his day. In his celebrity, Michelangelo lived much of his life in Rome and Milan, but he returned to his beloved Florence again and again, finally to be laid to rest in death. If you are fortunate enough to visit here, don’t worry if you are not a big art aficionado. Neither am I. This is a city for lovers of art as well as for those who have eyes to appreciate new things. And so, we arrive with open hearts, looking for Michelangelo, eager to see Florence through his eyes.

David and the Duomo We start our first day in Florence over cappuccino, standing at a small coffee bar just adjacent to theCathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo. The bells of Florence always seem to be ringing as they are now, adding a rich ambience to the city. As we sip our coffee, we look over our ambitious wish-list of Michelangelo-related sites to see, knowing that we must plan carefully. Most of the museums and churches here keep highly irregular hours, and planning our time feels a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle to ensure we experience the must-see sites on our list! At the top of our list of things to see is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works – the iconic sculpture of David. We arrive by appointment at the Accademia and upon first sight of the David, we are completely captivated. A hushed awe pervades the gallery where he stands. There are no words to describe what it feels like to stand in the presence of such a genius. Seeing photographs of this sculpture all my life has done nothing to prepare me for the thrill of seeing the original work. David is, quite simply, magnificent. Next, we linger over four of Michelangelo’s “Unfinished Prisoners” sculptures. As their names suggest, they are unfinished, but nevertheless powerful and expressive works of art. The figures appear to be writhing, ready to burst out of their marble blocks at any moment. I remember that famous quote of Michelangelo’s: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” From here, our day is a cavalcade of museums and churches, all containing treasures by Michelangelo. In each place, we stand in near-reverence before some of the most impressive art the world has ever known. Now, all of this art appreciation was making me hungry! Did I mention that there are other art forms in Florence besides painting, sculpture and architecture? Oh yes, the city is also renowned for itsculinary arts and we decided it was time to partake in some. At an outdoor table at Trattoria Baldovino, we enjoyed Bruschetta and a thin crust Pizza Carpaccio with Mozzarella, Smoked Beef, and Parmesan shavings. We munched contentedly and sipped a glass of Chianti as we listened to the bells of the city ring out the hour. After lunch, we set out to visit Michelangelo’s final resting place in the cavernous Basilica of Santa Croce. Here also are buried other famous Italian artists and thinkers, including Galileo, Donatello and Ghiberti. The church is cool, dark and peaceful. I stand before the marble tomb of Michelangelo and ponder the impact one man can make on his world. The day was waning, but we had one last stop – the famous Duomo. This majestic church with its façade of pink, green and white Tuscan marble is the jewel of the city, and its imposing presence is the symbol of Florence. Most spectacular is Brunelleschi’s dome, which is universally regarded as the first great example of Renaissance architecture. Hmmm…. The clock strikes four. Gelato time! Florence is reputed to have the best gelato in the world – yes you heard it right, the world. After tasting, we have to agree. Our favorite gelateria is Coronas Café, where they make it right on the premises. As our cones of Bacio (Chocolate Hazelnut Cream) and Pistachio are artfully presented and served, I have a feeling Michelangelo would approve!



Masterpieces and Moonlight On our second day in Florence, we made reservations for the famous Uffizi Gallery. This is Italy and if you’ve been here, you will know what I am talking about – things are a little crazy in the piazza outside of the museum. There are special lines for people with reservations, lines for those without reservations and about eight other lines for everyone in between. Making our way through the throngs of people, asking here and there in broken Italian, and with much gesturing, we finally find our entrance. Once inside, all of the chaos melts away and we are transfixed by one of the most famous art collections in the world. We find Michelangelo’s painting, the Doni Holy Family, which, like much of his work, has a story behind it. Apparently Michelangelo scandalized the people of Florence by turning his back on tradition and painting the Holy Family not as wealthy figures in a celestial looking palace, but as peasants relaxing in an outdoor setting. And, gasp; there are naked cherubs in the same painting as the Holy Family! It is a visionary work of art. We had most certainly found Michelangelo here, but we cannot miss also taking in all of the breathtaking Boticellis as well as the works of Leonardo daVinci, Raphael and Titian. The entire museum is a feast for the eyes. Next, it was on to the Bargello Museum of sculpture. We loved the intimate size of this museum. My favorite here is Michelangelo’s famous statue of Baccus, the Roman god of wine. Sculpted by Michelangelo when he was only 21 years old, it is a tribute to his creative prowess that he could make even a marble statue look pretty convincingly tipsy, if not downright drunk! It was a mere few blocks to our next stop, and we need sustenance! We stopped for another round of Gelato. Cooling our heels at a small table on the street and savoring the cool and creamy treat is one of the very best things to do in Florence. Feeling rejuvenated, we wandered through the leather markets and admired all of the beautiful shoes, handbags, belts, and wallets. Hand-crafted leather is yet another art form here in Florence, and a cute pair of red leather sandals caught my eye. I could do some serious shopping damage here! For dinner tonight, we asked a local shopkeeper for their recommendation. He pointed to a place down the street, warning “They no smile there, but food good.” Rather than risk the ire of a cranky waiter who might put a damper on our fabulous day, we kept walking until we found a warm and inviting place. We feasted on an appetizer of Caprese Salad. It was fresh, salty Mozzarella and sweet Garden Tomatoes nestled in Olive Oil were so delicious I could have eaten this all night. For the primi platta, we ordered homemade Pasta with Truffles. Secondi platta was grilled Florentine Steak, a regional specialty, served on a bed of peppery Arugula with a side of fresh Spinach sautéed in fragrant Garlic. Strolling musicians were playing a romantic melody and the moon hung low over Florence, casting a silvery glow across our table. Così bella! Although the waiter offered dessert, we decline, because we already have our hearts set on stopping at the little gelateria that’s on our way back to the apartment. I know, I know – we have eaten gelato once today already, but this is Florence, and I can assure you that gelato twice a day is completely acceptable! With gelato cones in hand and la bella luna lighting our way, we wandered along cobbled streets past elegant boutiques, admiring the fashions displayed in the windows. We made our way home through the quiet streets, returning finally to our apartment for what our Italian friends call“reposo” – a well earned rest. Prodigy and Promise On our last day in Florence, we visited sites from Michelangelo’s early life. First is the Church of Santa Maria Novella, which Michelangelo called “my bride.” Built in the 13th Century, the green and white marble of this structure are surrounded by restful lawns and shade trees, a very lovely site. As a boy, Michelangelo apprenticed here under Ghirlandaio, the most fashionable painter in Florence, painting frescoes in the chapel. Ghirlandaio is said to have commented wistfully as he watched young Michelangelo paint, “He is so much better than me!” We walked across the Ponte Vecchio to the north bank of the Arno River to visit Santo Spirito Church which contains Michelangelo’s wooden crucifix. This is one of his very first works carved at the age of 18. Michelangelo donated the crucifix to this church in appreciation, because it was here that the monks let him slip in secretly at night to dissect cadavers (a practice which was forbidden in that day) which were awaiting burial in the paupers’ graves. Macabre, I know, but no wonder Michelangelo’s sculptures of the human body were so much more realistic than any others of his day! A spectacular sunset was in progress as we walked back across the Ponte Vecchio. The bridges spanning the Arno are dark silhouettes against the orange blaze of the setting sun. Visitors and students are milling about, and we paused to take in the moment. Inspired by the works of Michelangelo, students come from all over the world to study in Florence. That night, we watched in appreciation as they painted in oil and watercolor on their easels or created vivid chalk portraits on the street. Whether they are young apprentices or established artists, new art was being born before our very eyes. The spirit of Michelangelo still pervades the streets, churches and gardens of this city and his works on display here are a testament to his greatness. We found Michelangelo – his passion, his legacy, his love for his city, and the inspiration which spurs new artists to dream bigger and pursue further. Michelangelo’s crowning achievements now circle the globe and grace the cathedrals of Europe, but to be in Florence where it all started was wonderful. And that was the point of going there in the first place, wasn’t it?


Traveling through

New England

New England conjures up images of fall foliage, boutique stores and historical sights not often found in other locations throughout the country. Comprised of six states including: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, New England has a history that dates back to 1620 when the Pilgrims first settled to form Plymouth Colony. Here we have compiled a list of our favorite destinations when traveling through New England.

Vermont: The New England ski village of Stowe sits in a quaint town at the foot of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Surrounded by craftsman style houses, boutique shops and cafes this town is a postcard worthy destination. Stowe Mountain Resort provides gondolas to two separate mountains including Mount Mansfied, with a double-black diamond that is considered the most challenging in the east, and Spruce Peak, which is perfect for beginners. After a long day on the slopes, travelers can grab a bite at The Blue Moon Café in the center of town or settle in at The Matterhorn bar, a local institution.

Massachusetts: Cape Cod sits on the south shore of Massachusetts and is made up of 15 towns and two islands including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. From the pristine beaches to the forests of birch and beech, Cape Cod boasts compelling natural beauty. Visit the 44,600-acre Cape Cod National Seashore for the best beaches including Skaket and Nauset where you can find excellent surfing in the Atlantic. Take a whale watching tour or rent a bicycle to explore the 22- mile Cape Cod Rail Trail. Whatever you do in Cape Cod, do it outdoors. Connecticut: Mystic Seaport, founded in 1929, offers handson activities with a world-renowned maritime museum featuring exhibit halls and historical interpreters. Located within 19 acres on the banks of Connecticut’s legendary Mystic River, Mystic is a quintessential New England experience and offers visitors of all ages a unique link to seafaring past and endless, year-round opportunities to immerse themselves in new worlds of hands-on history. Climb aboard tall ships and the last wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. Get out on the water with a rental from the Boathouse or take a cruise aboard steamboat Sabino.



Maine: With roots dating back to the 1600’s, Kennebunkport, Maine has preserved its historic charm with a small town shopping experience in Dock Square. Search for old and new treasures at Antiques on Nine, a 12,000 square foot antique and home design store with a nautical twist. Skip the tourist shops and find yourself at Daytrip Society for a unique mix of products made with eco-friendly materials by native Mainers. Don’t leave Maine without venturing to one of the many lobster shacks and restaurants throughout the state. Nunan’s Lobster Hut has served fresh, locally caught lobster for 60 years. Choose steamed, stewed, in a salad or on a roll for a lobster meal that has been enjoyed throughout the years by tourists and locals alike.

New Hampshire: New Hampshire’s North Conway, in the scenic Mount Washington Valley boasts a quintessential New England village with an urban twist. With historic buildings, antique shops and bakeries coexisting with big name outlet stores it is the best of both worlds. The area also features outdoor activities including hiking, rock climbing and skiing in the White Mountains.

Rhode Island: With 400 miles of coastline Rhode Island is home to 20 percent of the country’s historic landmarks, is the sailing capital of the world and boasts unlimited entertainment for travelers. A stopover in Providence would not be complete with a visit to the Performing Arts Center, Providence Place Mall and Roger Williams Park Zoo. Explore a more historic shopping experience while walking the cobblestone streets of Federal Hill among boutique shops, art galleries and outdoor dining. This Italian-American community boasts authentic Italian culture and cuisine with old-world flair among urban life on the “Hill.” Hungry travelers can stop at Bob & Timmy’s Grilled Pizza for pies that have been said to be the best in America. Take in the sights of the downtown area with the award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans, WaterFire. Installed on the three rivers of the downtown area, the water fires display is a work of art and symbol of the city’s renaissance with over eighty bonfires lining the arched bridges. 71


Ultimate Chairlift:



here is no doubt about it; heliskiing can be intimidating, even for the most advanced ski professional. Most people have never been in a helicopter before, and now one is landing inches from your feet, covering you with rotor wash. Minutes later, you will be lifting up into the sky, flying over airy ridges and touching down on a desolate mountain. Forget lift lines, this ride takes you to the top without any interruptions.



out of the helicopter you go back into the rotor wash, but this time, you huddle with your group while your guides unload the equipment. A thumbs-up from the pilot and he is off, leaving your group alone among breathtaking scenery, with nothing but the wind blowing around you. Unbroken powder covers the massive mountain and the only way down is to lean forward. We suggest a resort-based heli-operation for flexibility. If the tumultuous weather interferes with your plans, rescheduling is simple and you can instead spend the day at somewhat lower altitudes while still enjoying the sport. Chugach Powder Guides in Alyeska, Alaska provides a beautiful resort plus a day of heli-skiing in a major ski destination. With access to 750,000 acres of heli-terrain this package includes lodging, air transfers, all meals and of course heli-flights. Another heli-skiing destination recommendation is in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the Snake River Range. The most appealing aspect of this sport is the exclusivity of being part of a small population who has experienced the adventure of heliskiing and its extremely isolated locations. Only small fractions of people are able to ski the terrains of heli-ski areas like Chugach with a maximum of five people per helicopter with over 750,000 acres of terrain. Normally, major ski resorts on busy days will have about four skiers per acre. Consider also the season of heli-skiing, which runs only 12 weeks from February to the end of April. For these reasons, we suggest planning your adventure in advance as spaces are limited and fill up fast for this elitist sport.

LIKE NO OTHER With the help of Black Tomato ( we’ve hand-picked one of Canada’s most desirable mountain hideaways; Bighorn Lodge, nestled in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains at the foot of Revelstoke Resort. The birthplace of heli-skiing, British Columbia offers some of the world’s best ski opportunities and at Bighorn you’re right in the heart of it all with North America’s greatest vertical descent just a gondola ride away. We mean it when we say every detail has been immaculately covered, from massages to a professional videographer compiling a highlights video of your party’s ski runs. Arrive at Bighorn in style after your flight and chauffeur-driven transfer to the lodge. Once you’ve dropped your bags you’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne followed by a tour of your new digs complete with eight perfectly designed guestrooms, cinema, spa and gym. Once you’ve picked your room and admired the impressive alpine views it’s time to meet your personal award-winning chef for the week to discuss which delectable delights you’d like whipped up for you during your stay. Rise and shine and get ready to tackle the mountains, but not before a good stretch class in the spa to get you all limbered up for the day that awaits. Step outside where your helicopter will be ready and waiting to whisk you into the wilderness of the Selkirk Mountains for the heli-ski adventure of a lifetime. To book this deal visit


2014 Gear of the Year Understandably, the worn in look of your winter gear proves your loyalty to the products you’ve purchased from your all time favorite brands. But with another season beginning, it may be time to revamp your look with some new digs to hit the slopes. Purchasing items that will last a few snow seasons is a must and it all starts with your preferred vehicle, ski’s or a snowboard.

For the ski junkie who is looking for more speed we recommend the newly improved Rossignol Super 7 ($850). The lightweight Super 7 allows for easier and more natural skiing featuring Air Tip technology, a transparent honeycomb material. With 30 years of experience, Burton takes the lead in the snowboarding industry with their 2014 Trick Pony ($550), developed for aggressive riders ready to take over the mountain. If you prefer your own tunes while shredding the mountain, we recommend Skull Candy Cassette- Athletic Headphones ($49.99). The Cassette is built around removable speakers and has a collapsible band, perfect for any extreme slope situation. The speakers can easily be incorporated into select hoodies and snow helmets for an audio experience that doesn’t interfere with your other gear. If that’s not the only tech you need on the slopes, purchase a GoPro ($199-$399.00) to showcase your moves with this high performance camera. While heading up the gondola to the peak of the mountain, the temperature begins to slowly drop. Feeling the bitter cold while trying to learn a new move is not practical. Protect your hands with the under-the-cuff free ride Black Diamond Legend Glove ($119.95). The all-leather construction and compressionmolded padding will repel the freezing weather while waterproof insert shields keep hands insulated even during the wettest weather. Dubbed as the finest down parka ever made, the Patagonia Special Edition Encapsil Down Belay Parka ($699.00) separates itself from the rest with its ultra lightweight nylon shell, exterior hand warmer pockets and unique pull-system draw cord. The limited edition garment will provide warmth and comfort for years to come. In 2014, ski goggles are being seen with new designs, colors, interchangeable lens systems and even an HD Video goggle. The Salomon X-Tend goggle ($200.00) has the best field of vision, a custom frame suspension system for better fit and fog-free performance with a polarized lens for ultimate protection. For the woman who favors a stylish accessory, Bollé has launched the Gravity Athlete Signature Series ($149.99). Professional snowboarder, Lindsey Jacobellis, designed these goggles with two modulator lenses that adjust to light.

Enrich your winter sport activities with these products designed to provide extra support and stability throughout the 2014 season. 74


Walking in a

Winter Wonderland By Paige O’ Neill provides an escape to European culture and history in a storybook setting surrounded by snow-capped Alpine vistas. During the winter season the city becomes vibrant with town squares transforming into lively Christmas markets where handmade traditional trinkets can be purchased as souvenirs.

Salzburg, Austria

Travelers can find rest at the 1866 property on the Salzach River, Hotel Sacher Salzburg. With a rooftop terrace overlooking the Old Town, guests can take in the breathtaking beauty of their surroundings. Inside, oil paintings and Austrian antiques garnish the interior for a step back in history. To jump further back in time without spending too much on hotel accommodations, make reservations at Hotel Goldener Hirsch in the heart of the Old Town. Dating back to 1407, this recently renovated property is a favorite among Salzburg tourists. Every winter thousands of skiing enthusiasts travel to Salzburg to discover the picturesque slopes in the Alps. With steep terrain and powdery snow, the skiing nation is a premier winter sport destination. Peak season is between late December and early March and the best places for enjoying the snow are in Obertauern and Flachau. Every year during winter, the Mozartplatz Square in Salzburg’s Altstadt is altered into a massive ice rink. Skaters can glide in the middle of Baroque churches and palaces while enjoying the statue of Mozart by Ludwig Schwanthaler. When the thrill of winter sports winds down, visitors can find relaxation in one of the many thermal spas or hot springs prevalent in Salzburg. In the deep south of Salzburg you can find the town of Bad Gastein in the Gasteinertal Valley. There are two thermal spa resorts nearby including the Felsentherme and the Alpen Therme Gastein. Many of the hot springs provide natural minerals for guests to swim in while being immersed in the waters beneficial medical healing properties. As the home of Mozart, the city of Salzburg provides a bevy of musical discoveries throughout the region. Enrich your education with a Mozart city tour through the major attractions of the famous composers life. Explore the Silent Night Museum to learn about how the world famous Christmas carol was written and heard for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1818. Discover the film locations of The Sound of Music during a four-hour bus tour to the Trapp Family movie scenes. Although an abundance of winter activities charm the enchanted city of Salzburg, the best reason to visit the city is simply for its natural beauty. Nestled beneath steep hills, the town has preserved its medieval era architecture and elegance. Explore the cobblestone streets littered with snow patches along the south bank of the Salzach River while enjoying a hot cup of mulled wine or cocoa. Gaze towards the mountains to see villages spread across the hills and remember you are in a European winter wonderland. 75

Winter Festivals

around North America Festivals and carnivals featuring ice sculptures, sled dog races, sleigh rides, live concerts, and more, give travelers a chance to join locals in fun, annual traditions. We’ve rounded up the best of the fests—from Austin to Ottawa—for you to consider while vacationing in your favorite winter wonderland.

Carnaval de Quebec:

January 31-February 16, 2014 Quebec City, the world’s snow capital, has celebrated 60 years of winter with snow sculptures, dogsled races and snowmobiling races encompassing the traditional Quebec lifestyle. The 17day festival features night parades, outdoor dance parties, and an outdoor cinema all in the snow. For those who truly love the cold, the Snow Bath requires three dips into the snow with just a bathing suit! To complete the ultimate winter experience, spend a night at Hôtel de Glace- an ice hotel featuring freezing temperatures and igloo-style rooms.

SXSW: Austin, TX March 7-16, 2014

SXSW (South by Southwest) is the annual music, film and interactive conference and festival in Austin, Texas. As opposed to most music festivals, SXSW Music offers a different experience for fans with panels, trade shows and of course performances from over 2,200 acts from around the world. A truly interactive experience, SXSW Music showcases bands and artists on over 100 stages. For over 20 years, SXSW Film has welcomed thousands of fans, filmmakers, press and industry leaders to Austin to view world premiere films showcasing big name talents and up and coming stars alike. The film portion of the festival provides a forum for new voices in the industry while the conferences offer a crash course into the art of filmmaking. Photograph courtesy of Rita Quinn

Sundance Film Festival: Park City, Utah January 16-26, 2014

Since its inception in 1981, the Sundance Film Festival has become a prestigious event hosting some of the most well known names in the film industry. The internationally recognized nonprofit organization is the hub for independent artists to showcase their original stories on the big screen and to be discovered throughout their work. The ten-day event held in Park City, Utah features 200 films with more than 50,000 screening attendees. Festival panels offer in-depth conversations about the films and insight into the changing industry.

Winterlude: Ottawa

January 31-February 17, 2014 In Canada’s capital of Ottawa, a three-weekend winter event takes over along the world’s largest skating rink of the Rideau Canal Skateway during Winterlude. Nearly 600,000 visitors participate in activities including ice-skating, hockey tournaments, a winter triathlon and the Snowflake Kingdom children’s playground. Cooking demonstrations and gourmet dinners can also be found during the culinary portion of the festival created by some of the capital’s best local restaurants. Experience winter in Canada with Winterlude, celebrated for over three decades in Ottawa and Gatineau.

The Greens of

Great Britain T

he game of Golf was invented in Scotland in the 15th century and to this very day some of the best golf courses in the world are still in this area. Here is a short list of some of our top picks for Europe’s best golf destinations.

St Andrews, (Old Course) Scotland The old course at St Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in the world and it is on the bucket list of anyone that truly considers themselves a serious golfer. This par 72,7305 yard classic course has large double greens which allows for 7 greens to be shared by two holes at the same time. The Swilcan Bridge which spans the 1st and 18th holes has become a famous landmark for golf in the world today. Every golfer that plays the course takes the iconic walk over the 700 year old bridge and many famous golfers have taken their farewell photos here. If you are planning a trip to Scotland and the great sport of golf is in your blood, this is an absolute must. 79

Royal County DownNewcastle, Northern Ireland

Built in 1889, Royal County Down is one of the oldest golf courses in Ireland. It has two 18 hole links courses, the championship course and the Annesley Links. The course measures 7,200 yards from the back tees and has some spectacular holes. The 4th and the 9th hole have been top of the list of the World’s Greatest Golf Holes for many years, and in 2007 Golf Digest rated it the best course in the world outside of the United States.

Muirfield, Scotland

Muirfield is a privately owned links course which is the home of The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. This par 71,7245 yard links course is host of the Senior British Open and has also hosted the world’s best golfers hosting the Open Championship 16 times. Phil Michelson recently lifted the trophy this past year in 2013. Muirfield has also been host to the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup, The Curtis Cup as well as many others, a true classic!

Royal Birkdale, England

Royal Birkdale golf club is in the town of Southport, England and is one of the clubs on the rotation of the Open Championships for both men and women. The par 72, 6817 yard course has also been host to many prestigious tournaments in Europe namely the Ryder cup, Open Championship, Women’s British Open, the Senior Open and the Amateur Open. It was designated “Royal” Birkdale in 1951, and the British Open was first played here in 1954. Royal Birkdale can be a treacherous course to play when the wind is up so bring your best when you play this English classic. 80


A Roatán

Less Traveled


By Kathryn Lejeune

Big, spiky conches are everywhere in Roatán. I saw the first while walking along a deserted beach and could not believe my luck. You just don’t find sea shells like this on the beach in Los Angeles. I held it up to my ear and examined it all over in childish delight. Then with a sigh, I responsibly nestled it back down into the warm, white sand for another lucky traveler to come across and enjoy. A few yards later I found another… and then another… and another. Each one was beautiful, each one a testament to the unspoiled magic around every corner of this extraordinary island. We arrived in Roatán on the evening ferry and were met by Adi, the owner and operator of Land’s End Resort. But his beautiful ocean-side property was not our destination. Rather, we were renting one of his tricked out Jeep 4x4s with the goal of seeing the whole island. Our cherry red Jeep took us a giant step further than the various sedans available, allowing us to traverse any road we found in any weather without hesitation. Besides, it was incredibly fun to drive. Just as Adi handed me the keys, a thunderstorm rolled in. It was one of those big tropical storms that takes up the entire sky and whose rolling peals of thunder you could feel in your teeth. We headed east toward the less populated end of the island, with the Jeep’s headlights and bolts of lightning the only thing to illuminate the dark highway. Rain poured down as I exhilarated in navigating the twists and turns of jungled hills and valleys. Eventually we found the small dirt road that led to the village of Milton Bight, our home base for the next few days as we explored the less traveled side of Roatán. The morning was bright and inviting. Armed with a map loaded with handwritten suggestions from Adi, we packed a bag with the usual beach necessities, snacks, and a bottle of local rum, and set off for an adventure. The first destination: La Sirena. Regarded by those in the know as the best restaurant on the island, it nevertheless requires some determination to get there. Located on the far eastern end of the island, there is nothing around it but beaches and to get there takes nearly two hours of driving, including forty minutes of unpaved road. But, please, do not let that stop you. Driving across the island in itself is a real treat. The one main road straddles the peaks providing astonishing views of the north and south shores, dipping into deep jungle now and then to create lush canopies. Uniformed children walking home from school-- children always seemed to be walking home from school no matter what the hour-- laughed and waved at us as we passed. We smiled back as a few tried racing the Jeep and others jokingly called out asking for a ride.


Still we drove on and just as I really started to feel that were in the middle of nowhere our stomachs began to growl, the dark green jungle opened up once more onto a view of a perfect white sand beach and crystal blue ocean. A small dock lined with conches led to a thatched roofed hut on stilts, emblazoned by a painted mermaid sign. Underneath a shaded structure and just a foot above the water were a few tables, calling our names. La Sirena was exactly what one could ever hope for in a Caribbean restaurant perched above the ocean. As we walked in, slightly giddy, a man behind the small bar greeted us warmly. When we asked what they had on the menu, he turned to a woman sleeping in a hammock and asked, “What do we have?” For a moment, nothing happened. Then, with eyes still half closed, in a thick creole accent, she slowly began to list: “Ceviche, lobster, lionfish fingers, burrito…” Ceviche and lobster, of course! While we waited, we fed the restaurant’s resident turtle and enjoyed an ice cold beer on the end of the dock, our legs swinging in the warm ocean waters. Our incredibly fresh, delicious, lionfish ceviche arrived in a tall glass along with hot homemade chips and was quickly devoured. Following soon after, three lobster halves dripping in butter were served with flash pickled veggies and some of the best garlic mashed potatoes I have ever had. Yes, the drive was worth it.

“It was exactly the break from civilization we had been craving since we left LA.”

After being fully satisfied, thank you La Sirena, we continued driving down the road past the “do not enter” signs, urged on by Adi’s map. We were rewarded with a truly spectacular view of the eastern tip of the island, with mangrove forests fading out into the turquoise ocean. Following our instructions, we stopped at the “blue house and a tree with no leaves” to turn left… but there was no road! I paused only a moment before grinning wildly at my husband and turning onto the narrow beach. We were really off-roading now; just what the Jeep was meant for. Down the shore, perhaps a hundred yards, a small path opened up leading into the jungle. I took it, dodging around trees and low hanging branches. We came across a family lugging firewood on their backs who looked surprised to see us, but stopped to smile and wave at us as we passed. A little while later the path opened up to the beach and we were completely alone with the white sand and countless mangroves. There were no buildings, no signs of humans. I felt completely removed from emails, phone calls, and social media. We spent some time there not speaking, just soaking in nature and the beauty of the day. It was exactly the break from civilization we had been craving since we left LA.


FALL 2013


On the way back, we spotted a cove in the Camp Bay area and couldn’t resist stopping to check it out. As we drove down to the beach, our Jeep was swarmed by hundreds upon hundreds of butterflies. Arrow shaped black beauties splashed with iridescent markings flew gracefully all around us. We looked at each other in amazement as if to say, “Is this really happening right now?” Walking out onto the crunchy white sand, we surveyed our temporary kingdom with pleasure. Here the ocean was extremely shallow and we waded into the warm sea for hundreds of yards before needing to swim. Long sea grass gave the impression of an underwater prairie. We found a coconut and busted it open on some rocks, laughing heartily as we drank the fresh juices. The next day we rented snorkeling gear from nearby Turquoise Bay Resort and spent our morning relaxing on the beach near Milton Bight. There, underneath the dock, amid flowing sea grass, I explored an unexpected microcosm bursting with life. I found dozens of huge conches, one of which housed a small, flustered octopus who slipped quickly back into the sea. A slight breeze washed over us as my other half napped in a hammock and I snapped photos of all my finds. Finally hunger drove us to move, and once again Adi’s map led us in the right direction. Down a bumpy gravel road we headed towards Jonesville and a restaurant with an irresistibly quirky origin. Hole in the Wall was founded when the owner, Bob, crashed his boat into the shore where it promptly sank. To commemorate this event, a restaurant was built atop the wreckage. Hole in the Wall is accessible only by boat, and the man to get you there is Clyde. You will know it’s him because he will have a big brass belt buckle unmistakably stamped CLYDE. He is a tenth generation Roatán resident and has plenty of stories to fill the time it takes to get to your destination. I didn’t want to leave Hole in the Wall. It wasn’t just the incredible conch fritter, the friendly service, or the peaceful atmosphere, but something uniquely Roatán that flowed about, knitting everything together into harmony. We delayed, asking Clyde more questions about his youth and experiences growing up on the island. Each answer built a rich history, growing higher and deeper, both funny and heartbreaking. On the boat ride back, gliding past colorful wooden houses dotting the shoreline, I contemplated my new found peacefulness. Roatán had thus far exceeded my expectations in every way.


Los Angeles

Beauty Tour By Sarah Carrillo Riswick

Stop 1: Dermalogica on Montana 1022 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403 310-260-8682 Start your day with a pick-me-up, like a Dermalogica Microzone treatment, $35. One of these mini-facials takes just 20 minutes and focuses on a quick fix. Try the moisture boost if your skin is looking a little blah this early in the morning. Stop 2: Ouidad Salon

1230 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403 310-393-3542 Next, pamper your hair with a Luxe Mediterranean Bay Leaf Hair and Scalp Treatment, $175. You’ll enjoy an intense scalp massage and exfoliation (which can help promote hair growth) and leave with soft and shiny strands. You can even pick up a bottle of their at-home version to keep your scalp in shape.

Stop 3: Strange Invisible Perfumes


1138 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291 310-314-1505 Every woman needs a signature scent, and if you’re still on the hunt for one you must venture to this chic boutique, which has just been completely renovated. All the fragrances are crafted in-house from organic ingredients and with more than 40 luxe options to choose from (starting at $135) you’re sure to find one -- or 12 -- you love.

Stop 4: Kristie Streicher Beauty Bar At Warren-Tricomi, 8327 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069 323-651-4545 Nestled within the gorgeous Warren-Tricomi Salon is the also gorgeous Kristie Streicher and her team of brow experts. Streicher is truly a genius when it comes to shaping and tinting brows. She skips wax in favor of tweezing (much more precise, if a bit time consuming) to create her signature “Feathered Brow.” The result is a natural, youthful look that freshens up your whole face. Appointments start at $50.

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Stop 5: Woodley & Bunny

8318 ½ West 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90048 323-951-9906 What’s a day of pampering without a little shopping? The LA outpost of Woodley & Bunny, a Brooklyn-based apothecary, is perfect for picking up cult favorites like Ellis Faas makeup and new brands you haven’t heard of (yet).

Stop 6: esNAIL Los Angeles 360 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210 323-655-5800 A manicure is a must, but this isn’t just any manicure. esNAIL salons (the es stands for “elegant satisfaction”) started in Tokyo and now they’ve brought their nail art techniques and high fashion designs to LA. This Beverly Hills salon opened October 1 (there’s another salon on Melrose) and offers designs with Swarovski crystals, 3D art and more (prices start at $60 for a basic manicure). Stop 7: The Private Room 9414 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310-247-2228 There’s a practically endless number of amazing salons in Los Angeles, so it’s hard to choose just one. But when it comes to a quiet, serene ambiance and serious styling skills, The Private Room stands out. With only a few chairs in the small salon you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself and stylist Tina Dizon’s signature treatments like The Bang Station and The Locks Lab will ensure you leave feeling transformed.

Stop 8: Kinara Skin Care Clinic and Spa

656 North Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069 310-657-9188 Now that your hair and nails have been spruced up it’s time to work on your complexion. The Kinara signature Red Carpet Facial, $160, is designed to give you an instant glow with their secret formula of lactic and amino acids. You’ll leave feeling years younger – and looking ready for your close-up.

Stop 9: Barnes & Galasso 8000 Sunset Blvd. Suite 45, West Hollywood 90046 310-913-4342 By now you’ve got a gorgeous head of hair, glowing skin and runway-worthy nails, all that’s missing is some A-lister makeup for your night out (at least, we hope you have a night out planned when you’re looking this good!). There’s no one better than Scott Barnes at Barnes & Galasso. He’s worked with stars like Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Williams and now he’s perfecting the faces of us “little people” at his private studio. You can also get a hair touchup from his partner, celebrity hairstylist Frank Galasso (Kim Kardashian’s hair guru) while you’re there. Makeup application starts at $500 and hair services start at $320, by appointment only. Stop 10: Wi Spa 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057 213-487-2700 After your night out, finish up with a relaxing visit to Wi Spa in Koreatown. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week so even if you made it to last call at the bar you can stop by to soak in the hot tubs, sit in the steam rooms or enjoy a massage or body scrub. A day pass is $25 and is waived if you purchase a treatment of $90 or more.

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Peplum Faux Fur Coat $118.00

Salvatorre Ferragamo Low Top Sneaker $480.00

Mara Hoffman Cami Underwire Top & Low Rise Swim Bottom in Shakti Black Print Cami Underwire Bikini Top $139.00 / Classic Bikini Bottom $108.00

This fun black faux fur coat features a peplum style skirt that you can wear anywhere during the remainder of Winter or luxurious escapes to Ski getaways or simply a big night out. This pairs well with booties, riding boots or even casual flats. Society of Chic ships internationally from the U.S.A.

These calfskin on a rubber sole low top sneakers are easy to wear this resort season and beyond. Casual enough to wear day to day yet versatile enough to wear with linen shorts boating with friends on the deep blue seas.


New York based fashion designer Mara Hoffman brings a shakti black print bikini top and bottom that will set you apart on vacation at the pool or on the beach. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power and in this cutout at back bikini; you will definitely be in control.


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Givenchy Large Antigona Shopper $1,085.00

Dolce Vita Giovanna Maxi Dress $220.00

See by Chloe Khaki Leather Espadrille Wedge $310.00

The House of Givenchy owned by luxury goods behemoth LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moet and Hennessy) is the second largest apparel division of LVMH after Dior. The Antigona bag has been scene on the arms of plenty of A-listers. This flameprinted coated-canvas tote with open-top styling and shiny palladium hardware makes this bag with a spacious interior (with attached matching zippered pouch), very special. Approximately 13.0” height and 15.5” wide, and a 7.5” handle drop, this little piece of Italian luxury are perfect to move your belongings in the most stylish way possible.



Splurging on a few well made maxi dresses are a must for every woman. This linen stripe jersey is cut extremely well with a thread tie at the upper waist. The spaghetti straps are flattering to your décolletage and best of all, the dress is fully lined. DV has created a staple piece that pairs well with a bright color sandal, wavy beach hair and a matte lip. Definitely stand out in the crowd with this modern maxi.

There is nothing like a must have neutral shoe in your arsenal. Head to your next Caribbean adventure wearing these See by Chloe wonderful wedges. They are appropriate for the beach, lunching with the ladies, or a casual night out. With an adjustable ankle strap that crosses in front and specchio leather with gunmetal hardware, these espadrilles will perfectly polish off your island escape look.











For 28 years the Chaya Restaurant Group has institutionalized the infusion of modern Japanese and European food all while blending into the Los Angeles dining scene. Executive Chef Shigefumi Tachibe creates dishes with exotic ingredients while cooking in traditional methods complementing his Japanese roots. With a menu that is refreshed all year long featuring farmer’s market and locally sourced ingredients, Chaya exudes high quality in everything it creates. The upscale Beverly Hills restaurant doesn’t leave anything out with a menu that offers a wide variety of dishes from sushi to ravioli to rib eye steak.

Beginning from the sushi menu, we selected the Tuna Tuna Tuna with spicy tuna, tuna sashimi, tuna tataki and organic greens. Beautifully presented, the tuna was flavorful with a delightful texture. From the chef who first created Tuna Tartar, sushi is must try at Chef Shigefumi Tachibe’s table. Selecting from the entrée menu was difficult as the choices were so eclectic; it was hard to know what we were craving. After careful consideration we went with the Kobe Beef Pappardelle, a pasta dish with large, broad, flat pasta noodles. The Kobe beef bolognaise was infused with maitake mushrroms in truffle oil. Topped with parmigiano-reggiano, this was a comforting dish that almost resembled your grandmothers hearty cooking. We also ordered from the entrees was the Branzino “Wasabi Yaki” stuffed with fennel, ooba and tomato paired with julienned Asian vegetables, ponzu, garlic oil and sudachi. This dish was packed with flavor and was a completely new culinary experience with such bold ingredients.

Don’t think about leaving Chaya before getting something sweet. Fun and exciting dessert combinations make for a delicious end to your dinner. Try the Banana Banana Banana with caramelized banana tart, banana ice cream and chocolate banana. All items arrive on one plate but are distinctively separated making for a triple dessert in one.

Chaya has four Los Angeles locations and one in San Francisco all boasting different menus. They compare to each other by their use of high quality ingredients and genius concept by a chef who combines his work with his passion. Ask for the seasonal chef ’s tasting menu, available only by request, and dive into a culinary experience like no other.


If you combined a neighborhood pubs atmosphere with the cuisine of an upscale restaurant, you would have The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar. This well-balanced restaurant’s address may have Pacific Coast Highway in it, but its sunny Orange County surroundings do not continue inside. The dim lighting against the brick walls seem to be more East Coast than West and the energy inside is that of a well-established Gastropub. The Crow Bar and Kitchen incorporates a comfortable environment while serving superior food, beer and wine to its guests. The chefs in the kitchen support sustainable agriculture and local forms for its seasonal menus with a motto of: “think local, eat global.” We were given the Autumn 2013 menu boasting in-season vegetable dishes and meats raised in a humane and wholesome way, as the introduction to the menu explicitly explains.

Due to the pub style environment, we had to try their selection of beer. The assortment of ales and IPA’s with a dozen others on tap and by the bottle was impressive. More impressive was the unique collection of craft beer the bar has to offer. The wine list is even deeper with over 100 bottles to choose from at a fair value. The menu is filled with enticing dishes and appetizers so appealing, we most likely will return to try more. Opting for one of the vegetable items to assess the locally grown ingredients, our first dish was the Picnik Kale Salad with roasted corn, baby tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, piquillo peppers, shaved almonds, kale, and sherry vinaigrette. The combination of ingredients was a delicious beginning. Next, we created a charcuterie board with a selection of five cheeses and meats accompanied by honeycomb and mini toasts. Our board included hook’s 10 year aged cheddar, mine shaft blue and midnight moon for the cheeses next to sweet copa (prosciutto) and salchichon di vic (salami) for the cured meats. After a satisfying array of vegetables and cheeses, we were enticed to try something more filling. Under the plate’s section, a range of proteins are listed from fresh seafood to farm grown meat. We decided on the BBQ double cut prime pork chop with roasted Brussels sprouts and grilled black plumb BBQ sauce. The sauce had a rich and smoky flavor that complimented the pork chop nicely. Each night at The Crow Bar, daily specials from the kitchen are prepared. Monday night was the duck fat fried chicken with creamed spinach on the side. The meat was fried perfectly without feeling too heavy or greasy. Other daily specials include: Tuesday chicken pot pie, Wednesday prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, Thursday ravioli, Friday fennel glazed baby back ribs, Saturday lobster risotto, and Sunday changes weekly. As the first gastropub in Corona Del Mar, The Crow Bar and Kitchen is a welcomed addition to the sleepy beach town it resides in. With an environmentally friendly mindset and talented chefs in the kitchen, this restaurant will be sure to become a staple in the CDM community.

A Taste of


the Mediteranean

he Mediterranean region of Europe spans a wide variety of diverse cultures inspiring culinary creations enjoyed during family dinners and social gatherings. Mediterranean food is composed of many different regions and refers to culinary trends shared by an array of people living in the areas around the Mediterranean Sea. The most commonly used and prevalent ingredient used in their culture is olive oil as Olive trees are widespread throughout the region. The oil works as both a cooking tool and a dressing adding a fermented acidity to dishes. These recipes from Spain, Greece, Southern Italy and Turkey provide an insight into the culinary creations inspired from the Mediterranean.


Paella is a famous Spanish dish that comes from Serves: 4 to 6 the name of the pan it is cooked in. The Spanish rice dish includes different combinations of vegetables, Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes meat and seafood seasoned with saffron. Ingredients Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows 1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1 Spanish onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, crushed Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed 4 cups short grain Spanish rice 6 cups water, warm Generous pinch saffron threads 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 lobster tails 1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed Lemon wedges, for serving Special equipment: Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet

Directions Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve. In the same pan, make a sofrito by sautĂŠing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring,

until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect. Cook’s note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges. Spice Mix for chicken: 1 tablespoon sweet paprika 2 teaspoons dried oregano Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken; marinate for 1 hour, covered.


In the south of Italy olive oil and spicy peppers are most notably utilized in cooking and tomatobased pasta is served as part of almost every meal. Servings: 4 Total Time: 30 Minutes


Southern Italy:

Ingredients 8 ounces uncooked thin spaghetti 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 pounds plum tomatoes, cut into eighths 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 3 tablespoons thinly sliced or chopped fresh basil 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Freshly grated Parmesan cheese Preparation 1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Place pasta in a serving bowl, and keep warm. 2. SautĂŠ garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated and tomatoes release juices. Pour over pasta; toss to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Pide is a traditional Turkish dish and can be found in almost any corner of Turkey. Pide, somewhat like a pizza, can be made with different fillings including meat, spinach and cheese. Servings: 4 Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Ingredients Dough 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast 1 cup warm water (for softer pide use milk) or 1 cup milk (for softer pide use milk) 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 cups all-purpose flour Filling 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped 4 garlic cloves, chopped 10 ounces ground beef or 10 ounces ground lamb 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander salt and pepper 1 cup chopped tomato 1/4 cup fresh curly-leaf parsley, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped Directions: Combine all ingredients for the dough and knead until smooth. Grease the dough with some drops of oil, cover and let rest 30 minutes; give a short knead. Cover and let rise until almost doubled (about 1 hour depending on the temperature). In the meantime prepare the filling: In a large skillet heat the oil. Add chopped onions along with chopped garlic. When onions are translucent, add ground meat, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes until meat is done. Add tomato and cook briefly until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and keep aside. When cool add parsley and 2 tablespoon fresh mint. Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the dough on a floured surface; cut into 4 pieces (for medium pide) or 8 pieces (for smaller pide). Make round balls and, using a rolling pin, roll into ovals (12 inches/30 cm for medium pide or 6 inches/15 cm for smaller pide). I possibly try to let the borders stay thicker. Transfer the oval dough on the baking sheet. Divide filling in equal portions; spread on the dough; pinch the points together giving a boat-like shape. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and, if desired, drizzle with lemon juice. Top with remaining chopped fresh mint and serve.



The Fairmont Orchid,

Our temporary home when visiting the Big Island of Hawaii is the gracious Fairmont Orchid, located on the spectacular Kohala coast, By Susan Watkins which boasts some the most beautiful beaches in the world. The charm of this luxury resort lies in the fact that it is elegant without being pretentious. The legendary Hawaiian hospitality is evident everywhere, especially in the staff who are always eager to please.

Hawaii Resort A

s we arrive, we are met with a breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean along with five mountains, including Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain when measured from its base on the sea floor. Opulent teak wood floors, banisters and staircases and vintage Hawaiian chandeliers decorate the public rooms and corridors of the Fairmont. As we stroll through the gardens, we are delighted at the abundance of plumeria trees, yellow hibiscus, coconut palms, towering banana trees, blooming orchids and rushing waterfalls which grace the landscape. Our well appointed suite is spacious and modern, blending

fresh white and ivory palettes with splashes of island-inspired colors of coral and moss. The teak furniture is rich and there is a private lanai which opens onto sensational views of the ocean and the lush gardens, plus a comfy sitting area with upholstered chaise furniture. Here we have every convenience imaginable – plush linens on a heavenly king bed, wireless internet access, Keurig coffee maker, refrigerator, Bose docking stations for our e-gadgets (plus lots of bedside outlets), and two large flat screen TVs. A separate dressing area provides double plantation shuttered closets, and is adjoined by the marble bathroom which features 95

double vanities, two showers, a bath tub, luscious scented bathroom gels, AND a bath scale (the only thing in this opulent room that I do NOT plan to use on this vacation!) The Fairmont has a lovely pool and an even more stunning private beach and lagoon. You can choose to relax in your private cabana stocked with your favorite snacks and drinks, or enjoy a variety of water activities – snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking and outrigger canoeing! The lagoon is teeming with sea life and is a first rate place to snorkel. The minute you dive into the clear aquamarine water you’re treated to the sight of vibrant coral, colorful fish and best of all, a large family of Hawaiian sea turtles which make this lagoon their home. If you have ever dreamed of swimming with majestic green turtles like I have, this would be your chance!



Dine like Kamehameha (the King) at

Brown’s Beach House It’s sunset and we have arrived for dinner at the Fairmont’s signature restaurant, Brown’s Beach House. This award winning establishment is consistently rated as a top place to dine on the Big Island, and with good reason. With its expansive ocean views, incomparable cuisine and sophisticated Aloha service, Brown’s sets itself apart as a truly unique dining experience. Upon arrival we are welcomed by a gracious staff who seem genuinely pleased that we have joined them for dinner. Our table is beachfront and our view of the sunset is perfect. As the tiki torches are lit, we sink down into our seats and take in the natural Hawaiian ambiance. We might as well start things off right, so we order cocktails – a Fairmont Mai Tai and the drink that becomes my very favorite during our stay here – the Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Margarita. I call the Lilikoi Margarita “vacation in a glass” – one sip and you know your vacation has really started! As the crimson sun gently sinks behind the horizon and silhouettes the palm trees, the stars begin to come out against the black Hawaiian night sky. Soft Hawaiian melodies filter through the air as local entertainers take their place on the edge of the lanai. It is a dreamy setting and we settle in for what will be an evening to remember.

The chef helps us decide on appetizers, preparing a trio of his most famous for us to sample: KAUAI COCONUT CRUSTED PRAWNS with Pineapple Ginger Chutney and Mango Orange Gastrique JUMBO SEA SCALLOP – Citrus Crusted with Moloka`i Sweet Potato Puree Wilted Organic Arugula, Wana Emulsion and DUNGENESS CRAB CAKE with Lemongrass Aioli, Organic Watercress-Frisee Salad Each one is divine! Now, it is time to order our next course, and we vacillate over all of our choices which include Plantain Crusted Pacific King Salmon, Alae Sale Roasted Filet Mignon, Surf and Turf with Kona Citrus Beurre Blanc and Truffle Fois Gras Demi, and a Five Mushroom Risotto. Finally we decide on a sampling of three entrees: CITRUS LAVENDER SCENTED ONO with Curried Couscous, Edamame, Organic Spinach, Tomato and Red Curry Sauce SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD TRIO – Locally Caught Fresh Fish from the Kona Coastline Shutome, Mahi Mahi and Ono Limu, Green Bean Stir-fry, Herb Risotto and Truffle Lilikoi Sauce HAWAIIAN WAIALUA WILD BOAR RACK with Pahole Fern Shoots, Waialana Hearts of Palm, Lomi Tomato and Truffle Yuzu The entrees arrive at the table, elegantly presented and prepared to perfection – this food is beautiful to look at, and even more wonderful to taste! Our dinners are accompanied by some of the chef ’s signature side orders – our favorites are the decadent Truffle Potato, Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese, the Sautéed Waimea Sweet Corn and Grilled Asparagus with Lemon-Truffle Soy. Just when we think we cannot hold another bite, our waiter tempts us with the dessert menu. Brown’s is famous for their Mud Pie, so we have to try it, right? We are also persuaded to try their “Snicker Bar”, named for its resemblance to the popular candy bar but with a unique Hawaiian twist, which marries White Chocolate Mousse with Caramel and Macadamia Nuts. Both desserts are superb and we enjoy unashamedly! A table-side visit from Chef Darren Ogasawara is the perfect way to end our evening. It is an honor to meet him and he takes a few minutes to chat with us about the innovative menu which has made Brown’s famous. A big Mahalo to Chef Darren and his team at Brown’s Beach House for a truly magical evening!


Spa Without Walls

What do you do when you have had enough fun on the beach for awhile, but you’re too relaxed to do anything but lie around? You book a massage, of course! he Fairmont’s Spa Without Walls is the epitome of a unique pampering experience. True to its name, treatments are enjoyed outdoors. I have the choice of several locations for my massage – while the outdoor hale nestled among a secluded retreat of waterfalls, streams and koi ponds is inviting, I ultimately choose an oceanfront cabana. As I wait for my massage to begin, I relax in the low-slung teak lounges of the outdoor waiting room. Under the shade of succulent flora, the sound of fountains and waterfalls is my only music. I’m escorted through the gardens and down




the path to the sea, where a shaded and very private cabana awaits. The afternoon light twinkles over the azure sea and a school of little flying fish are jumping right in front of me. As the massage begins, the gentle trade winds caress my skin and I surrender to the hypnotic touch of the “lomilomi” massage accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of the waves caressing the shore. Sigh. It is all so wonderful! In a refreshing way to finish off the perfect massage, instead of the traditional hot stones, icy cold stones are gently massaged across my temple. Heaven!

Hotel Spotlight:

Fairmont , San Jose


h e Fairmont San Jose is the ideal hotel for business travelers visiting the Northern California city near Silicon Valley. The 20-story tower with 808 deluxe guest rooms and suites is full of technological innovations combined with luxurious amenities. Executive suites feature one king bed with an open-concept between bedroom and sitting area. The living room features a flat screen TV, a comfortable couch and chic dÊcor. The modern marble bathroom includes a walk-in shower and bathtub with toiletry amenities. For the business traveler, the room included a working desk complete with a speakerphone, cordless phone, separate modem connection, and is equipped with high-speed Internet access and wireless access. Guests that visit for relaxation can enjoy the fourth floor rooftop pool or Tova Day Spa. The luxury spa provides a variety of spa treatments and services for a tranquil experience. Tova Day Spa includes a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi. A state of the art fitness facility is located on the third floor with Precor Treadmills, Cyber Bikes and strength training equipment. Separate locker facilities are available for men and women to relax in after a stimulating workout. Fairmont San Jose offers three dining options including The Fountain restaurant open for breakfast and lunch. The a la carte menu is presented as well as a breakfast buffet and a classic Sunday Brunch. Dessert stations with delicious temptations created by Pastry Chef Fernando Arreola are also abundantly available at the restaurant. The highly recommended Chinese cuisine lounge, Pagoda and Bamboo, provides an upscale atmosphere perfect for a night out. Live entertainment from international and up and coming bands can be enjoyed while sipping one of their many craft cocktails. The elegant lobby lounge with a grand chandelier and plush-seating area provide a refined atmosphere where an extensive selection of wines by the glass and creative martini’s are offered. Bar bites with an Asian twist are served daily with live music playing six days a week including dueling pianos and jazz nights. The Lobby Lounge also partners with San Jose Jazz for a monthly presentation. The Fairmont San Jose provides a luxurious stay for those visiting for either business or pleasure. With an abundance of extra amenities at every turn there is no limit to what is offered for the guests staying at the full-service hotel.


LA Travel’s Chef Spotlight By Hannah Skye


YVES FOURNEIR – EXECUTIVE CHEF Inspired by local, fresh produce, Executive Chef Yves Fournier of Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine truly knows the importance of cooking with sustainable and organic foods. When I asked This classically trained international chef why he decided to settle in Orange County, he said that he truly sees the future of the OC as growing away from chain restaurants to those that are more concept driven and ecologically conscious. He is in an endless pursuit of finding new produce, creating fresh new ideas, and unique inspiration.

Hannah Skye Photography

Open minded and hungry to learn new things, he recently attended a food event that featured only vegan cuisine. Yves told me he chose to become a chef because he was deeply intrigued by what he called the “puzzle piece of passion.” “Each person in a restaurant is a piece of the puzzle,” he said. “We all fit together to create something meaningful and incredible.” When he isn’t in the kitchen, Yves loves rugby, music, and spending time with his wife and their two children. His dream for the future is to bring local, fresh foods to the school systems.



Chef Spotlight




Standing miles apart from the influx of sushi restaurants in Los Angeles is the new kid on the block, Atun. This full-service sushi, yakitori, & izakaya bar is located in the unique Long Beach neighborhood of Bixby Knolls, and has been delighting guests of all ages (yes, there is even a petite children’s menu available) since their opening just a few months ago. So why did co-owners Greg Carpenter (of steak house “Silvera’s” and what was once Huntington Beach hot spot “Tuna Town”) and super-hip movie director Talun Hsu decide to come together?

To create an amazing experience their customers will want to have over and over again. What makes Atun stand out in my mind was the incredible service and the freshness of the food. Each bite was absolutely delectable, none of which required soy sauce. Of course they serve traditional sushi and sashimi, but without the brown salty stuff to mask the natural flavor of the dishes, I was able to truly enjoy every note. Every taste, from the Yellowtail Jalapeño sashimi to the Atun Sashimi Tacos and Mango Scallops, was fresh, aromatic, and gorgeous to look at.

Hannah Skye Photography

Talun and Greg’s goal: to create a beautiful, professional environment that cultivated the melding together of cooking and art - an experience that Greg playfully likens to food porn. This avid surfer and online gamer keeps a simple, yet eloquent philosophy for his restaurant: “I try to treat people the way I like to be treated.” I’m sold. See you again soon, T & G…and have my favorite Ty Ku Mojito ready for me, okay?


Chef Spotlight


CORY RAPP – EXECUTIVE CHEF Executive Chef Cory Rapp of The Catch in Anaheim and I have something in common (besides being fans of Futurama): the desire to eat food that is also beautiful to look at.

“I first want people to be in awe with how beautiful the presentation of our dishes are, then when they taste the food it should complete the whole experience. I definitely would like people to remember how great of a time they had as a whole from the service to the food and hopefully tell all their friends to come in and get the same experience.”

Hannah Skye Photography

Chef Rapp says his secret to staying 2-steps ahead of the curve in the culinary world is reading. One word that I heard Chef Rapp say over and over again in our interview was the word, “fun.” He truly has a blast doing what he does, from being in the kitchen, learning new techniques, to trying out new and exciting restaurants. Chef Rapp prefers to go lightly on the seasonings, keeping with the fundamentals such as salt, pepper, EVOO, and butter, allowing the food to speak for itself. His cuisine mirrors his philosophy, and each component on every plate truly stood out on its own while simultaneously melding seamlessly into the other. Each dish was prepared with the utmost detail paid to flavor and presentation. They were almost too beautiful to eat… almost.




Chef Spotlight


By Susan Watkins CHRISTIAN SIMIONATOEXECUTIVE CHEF There’s going to be lots of kissing going on at Hollywood’s trendiest new Italian Ristorante, Al Bacio. Named for the gesture Italians commonly make to indicate approval of a delicious dish, Al Bacio means “kiss of approval.” And do we ever approve! With its doors just opened, Al Bacio has all the markings of quickly becoming one of the hottest Italian establishments in town. We were welcomed the charming coowner of Al Bacio, Roberto Saracino. He tells us why Al Bacio is not just any Italian restaurant – it features authentic cuisine by top talent and now partner, Executive Chef Christian Simionato, native of Venice, Italy and lately of the posh Newport Resort at Pelican Hill. Using only top-of-theline ingredients, all of the dishes are made from scratch and right on the premises including its pastas and sorbets.

But, before we get to the food – the restaurant! The restaurant itself is stunning. A magnificently restored Hollywood landmark, the space features gold tiled ceilings from the art deco era, preserving a vintage feel. The bar and dining room furnishings, however, are decidedly sleek and modern. Intimate dining rooms, two inside and a sidewalk patio, twinkle with clear lights. The atmosphere is elegant and invitingly warm.

The menu is delectable. Diners can choose from an array of enticing appetizers, including my favorite, Black Label San Daniele Prosciutto, Burrata Cheese, EVO Oil and Candied Tomato, served with generous slices of home baked bread right out of the oven. On to the pasta course, the menu features dishes such as Tagliattelle with Lamb Ragu or Pumpkin and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini with Lobster Tagu. My guest and I sampled the 1 year Aged Acquerello Risotto with Quail Braised Ragu. Mamma Mia! [Kiss gesture here]. Main course offerings are many, and include a Seared Dover Sole, with Butternut Squash Puree and Sautéed Romanesco Broccoli; Barbaresco Braised Beef Cheek, Polenta Mulino Sobrino, Sautéed Mushroom; and the delicious Wagyu New York Steak, Cipollini Fondant, Roasted Carrots, Red Wine Sauce. We tasted a trio of luscious desserts – a killer Tiramisu with Bacio Gelato; Rum Baba with White Truffle Foam and Strawberry; and my favorite, the Lemon Sorbet. Think frozen Limoncello in a cup Bellisima!


Burn, BabY, Burn! With the abundance of food consumed while traveling it can be hard to burn the excess weight and stay toned on the go. Incinerate those high calorie extravagant meals with some of our favorite activities that can be done without waiting for a Stairmaster to be vacant at your hotel gym. Head outside for high energy sports that will ensure you’re having fun while getting in shape on the road!

100250 300400

Play Frisbee

and burn an average of 150-250 calories per hour


Unwind from the day with a power yoga session

and burn up to 100 calories per hour

Hit the Ski Slopes

and burn an average of 300-400 calories per hour


Learn to Scuba Dive

and burn an average of 400-600 calories per hour


calories Grab a partner and play Tennis and burn an average of 400-600 calories per hour

Catch some waves while Surfing

and burn an average of 150-250 calories per hour

Go Kayaking

and burn an average of 300-400 calories per hour

Take up Water Skiing

and burn an average of 400-500 calories per hour

Try Paddle Boarding

and burn an average of 450-600 calories per hour

Take a Hike

and burn an average of 400-600 calories per hour

Soak up the Sun while playing Beach Volleyball

and burn an average of 450-650 calories per hour

Beijing and

Beyond By Leslie Moore

On our first evening in Beijing, to stave off jet lag, we took a stroll from our hotel to wander through Jingshan Park, formerly the private imperial gardens of the Forbidden City. The mid summit of the hill located in Jingshan Park is the highest point in Beijing. With five peaks constructed almost entirely from soil excavated from the construction of the moat that surrounds the Forbidden City, it is truly inspiring when you think this was accomplished over six hundred years ago by slave labor.

The park itself is surprisingly serene with beautiful trees, picturesque gardens and meandering paths which lead to the five temples of the park. The temples themselves have been beautifully restored, each an elaborate feat of engineering, in the historic red lacquer. Well worth the climb. When we reached the top, we were treated to a most unexpected red and orange sunset spreading over the Forbidden City. From this vantage point, the Forbidden City stretches out in front of you, a seemingly unending complex of pavilions, and courtyards, with Imperial yellow tiled rooftops laid out in characteristic Chinese symmetry, juxtaposed against the disorder and chaos of modern China. Once inside the Forbidden City, Beijing’s most famous tourist attraction, you are immediately overwhelmed not just by the size but by the grandeur of the buildings which get larger and more magnificent as you walk toward the Emperors quarters. One might expect to see the pavilions and temples full to the brim of antiquities but so much of China’s heritage has been lost, destroyed or looted by countless revolutions or regime changes. Sadly, what furnishings are left in most of the building, although interesting, look a little tired, staged and non-authentic. In contrast, the throne rooms are remarkable. The thrones are carved from wood and the craftsmanship is without rival. The rooms themselves are masterworks, not just of engineering, but the ceilings seem like an unsolvable jigsaw puzzle and every piece is a brightly painted piece of art. The beauty of these ceiling are not hard to figure out as we are all familiar with Chinese symbols and colors from movies or china town, it is the detail, the splendor and the opulence that was unexpected. It is important to look up as you wander the city, on every roofline you will see dragons, on every eave you will find more beautiful paintings and in the overall buildings you will see the grandeur of the Chinese architecture. To the uneducated eye, the traditional wooden structures of the Forbidden City have been impeccably restored. Each of these princely buildings is constructed from a complicated network of interlocking wooden supports then intricately painted in bold vibrant colors. The resulting palaces are strong, grand and stunningly beautiful. While wandering through the massive courtyards, up the palatial steps and weaving through a maze of buildings, one can understand how many of the 24 emperors who ruled China from the Forbidden City never set foot outside of the city walls.

The Great Wall

Really? It’s a great long wall… not really sure I need to walk on a section of the Great Wall but we are half way around the world after all and will probably never be back. Well, despite my skepticism, it is hugely impressive as it winds majestically through the trees, up and over the mountain. What is particularly spectacular about this wall, this stalwart guardian of one dynasty and then the next; it is still standing, silently, waiting to be called into action. I know it’s just a wall, but I was swept away by the presence of warring dynasties still hanging, almost palpably, in the air. Military function aside, this ancient engineering feat is awe-inspiring; built and re-built, then extended over the centuries to become one of the wonders of the world. We enjoyed the panoramic views as we climbed from watchtower to watchtower, it was truly magnificent!

The Terra Cotta Warriors

Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of a unified China who ruled from 246 BC to 221 BC. During his reign he enacted major economic and political reforms, built extensions of the Great Wall, and constructed an impressive national road and canal system. Throughout this period, starting from the age of 13 when he took the throne, he also built an imperial guard of terra cotta warriors, horses, and chariots to accompany him into the afterlife. Standing in the hall, looking down on row upon row of warriors standing in battle formation, in uniforms distinguishing their rank, with full armor and historically correct weaponry, one is awestruck. Whether this was the case in BC China or not, their clay faces, each with different facial characteristics, all portray a sense of pride and great loyalty to their emperor. I was left with the sense that it would have been a great honor to be chosen to protect the emperor into the afterlife. The enormity of this project is almost unthinkable because it is not just a wall or a building, it is a collection of thousands of sculptures; it is art. Many slaves labored and lost their lives (according to the legend, they were sealed in the tomb to protect its location from grave robbers) and this does leave an undeniable pall on the experience. It is rumored that the faces of the warriors replicate the actual faces of the labourers! 107

Lijiang A Unesco Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang is rich in the culture and traditions of the region and has a history that dates back more than 800 years. As we wandered through this labyrinth of tranquil brooks, ambiguous alleyways, and cobblestone streets that wind their way over bridges and through the surrounding hills we enjoyed Lijiang’s quaint mix of old and new. The architecture is almost entirely two storey historic buildings which would at one time have been the traditional homes of the locals. Today these homes have been transformed into shops, restaurants and hotels. The center street of the Old Town is very tourist oriented with hawkers selling the usual tourist fare. Take a wrong turn and get intentionally lost, you will be treated to a very unique cityscape where larger homes with tranquil courtyards are now charming boutique hotels or modern restaurants. Here, every inch of living space, has been put to some form of commercial use. The town of Lijiang was ruled by the Mu Family for a period of nearly 500 years and their family home has been restored and is open to tourists. As with so much of China, the Mu Residence was largely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but, unless you have grown tired of visiting temples and quiet garden courtyards, it is a grand representation of what life was like for a family of their stature in China. The Mu Family residence is a large complex of traditional Naxi and Bai architecture. The construction is less complicated and the paintings less detailed than that of the Forbidden City but it is beautiful in its simplicity. The garden itself is a carefully composed landscape influenced by feng shui and superstition. There is the usual collection of rock works, ornate shrubs, an assortment of ponds; the trees grew taller as we climbed the hill to a Daoist temple at its peak. The view from the temple reminds you once again that you are in an oasis amid the sprawl and confusion of modern Chinese architecture.



Shanghai Shanghai is the largest city in China, one of the largest cities in the world and a hectic global financial center. As I looked over the Bund from our hotel room, my first thought was, “This could be the city of the future.� Constructed in just over 20 years, Shanghai’s financial district is a hodgepodge of eccentric architectural wonders, all competing, it seems, for the title - tallest, weirdest, ugliest - but somehow it works. The city planners get credit for including just enough green space to make it palatable. In contrast, the other side of the Bund is a collection of elegant buildings all beautifully restored to their previous splendor. The architectural styles of these stately commercial buildings include gothic, baroque, neoclassic and art deco and remain from the period of British and European influence in China in the early 20th century. We did the usual tourist things in Shanghai, such as the walking the Bund, visiting the City of God Temple and the Shanghai Museum. We also spent the afternoon wandering around off the tourist track to get a sense of what daily life is like for the locals.

Local FaRE As a bit of a health freak, I went to China with a great deal of anxiety about the food, water and air. But I am also a bit of a foodie and wanted to experience authentic Chinese food. The higher end restaurants that deal with tourists use imported ingredients, although delicious, this is still relatively Americanized Chinese food. So we made the leap, we ate in restaurants that cater to the locals and we truly did have THE best Chinese meals that we have ever had. The complex flavors, textures and combinations of foods were amazing. A little research goes a long way in this city.

Into the


Diving is an adventurous and exotic sport. It is also a great excuse to check out some amazing tropical destinations around the world. Any novice or expert diver will be fascinated by what they see in the depths of some of the top dive spots in the world.

The Similan Islands,Thailand- Considered by many the best dive site in Thailand and by some, one of the best in the world. The area consists of 9 islands covered by tropical jungle and white sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. The views under the water’s surface are even more impressive. Depths can range from 15 to 40 meters in this area opening up a world of giant underwater boulders, caves, and narrow passageways. There are some 500 species of corals and an amazing variety of marine life including leopard sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. Photographers take note that the Similan Islands are loaded with photogenic critters such as ghost pipefish, sea moths, frogfish, ribbon eels and nudibranchs.

The Great Blue Hole in Belize has been named one of the top scuba dive spots on Earth and for great reason. The blue hole was created by the collapse of a limestone cave system thousands of years ago. The massive sinkhole under the water creates a perfect circle of deep blue water. The hole is circular in shape, over 984 ft across and 407 ft deep. This is a popular spot among recreational scuba divers who are lured by the opportunity to dive in crystal-clear water and to see several species of fish, including Midnight Parrotfish, Caribbean reef sharks, and other rare species.

One of the top bucket list dive spots for avid divers is Palau, Micronesia. Divers become historians here as Palau is famous for its World War II shipwrecks namely Japanese bomber planes, that have now become home to thousands of marine life animals. Palau has more species than any other area of similar size in the world; corals, fish, snails, clams, sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, jellyfish, squid, and feather-duster worms exist in profusion and variety. Schools of sharks in the hundreds, 30-40 foot manta rays and a wide array of exotics are what make Palau one of the world’s premier scuba-diving locations. The Galapagos Islands are the second largest marine reserve in the world with 43,496 square miles of protected water and coastline, second only in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The fact that it is protected means there can be no commercial fishing in this area conserving all the marine life. Unlike most popular dive spots, reefs are not the major attraction in the Galapagos. Instead, it’s the sheer abundance of marine life. Some of the best dive spots can be found around the waters of Darwin and Wolf islands, divers regularly encounter schooling hammerheads, whale sharks and spotted eagle rays along with prowling Galapagos and silky sharks. 111

Sofitel Hotel O

n the corner of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood sits the luxurious urban resort, Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Combining an atmosphere of Hollywood glamour and modern charm, the hotel features high-end décor throughout the property. Sofitel Los Angeles features ten floors with 295 rooms including 26 suites. Rooms come with high-definition TV’s, spacious work areas and glass-enclosed rainfall showers with French bath amenities. All beds are draped with luxurious feather top and duvet sleep systems for the ultimate comfortable stay. When not enjoying the comforts of your room, savor the Mediterranean cuisine at Estérel. This contemporary French restaurant named after the mountains in southeast France is in a chic setting at Sofitel. The outdoor terrace surrounded by lush foliage provides an exotic feel from the surrounding city. Executive Chef Marius Blin uses the freshest ingredients from



local markets to create seasonal cuisine with enticing mixes of flavors and tastes. Riviera 31 is a chic lounge and bar for guests looking for nightlife in West Hollywood without leaving their hotel. Wine and specialty cocktails can be enjoyed in the stylish setting featuring DJ Rotation TuesdaySaturday nights. Guests can find leisure with an abundance of hotel amenities including a fitness center, spa, heated pool and dry cleaning services. Visitors can visit LeSpa to be pampered in a blissful setting with face and body treatments inspired by the environment. The 5,000 square foot spa offers signature spa treatments including body massages, facial treatments, manicures and waxing services. Unless you’re visiting Los Angeles on business, you’ll want to discover the city and Sofitel is in an ideal location for those looking to explore beyond their suite. With the Beverly Center adjacent to the hotel and within just minutes from Melrose Avenue and Rodeo Drive, elite shopping is at your fingertips. An entertainment Mecca, Los Angeles is surrounded by some of the best venues in the world and Sofitel is your home base after a day filled with activity. LA Live and the Staples Center provide the biggest names in the music industry regularly performing sold out concerts. Universal Studios and Disneyland can offer an amusing day trip for families traveling with children. Local sports teams, the Dodgers and Lakers, can be viewed during their respectable seasons for traveling baseball and basketball fans to enjoy. Sofitel Los Angeles has created a unique luxury hotel in West Hollywood providing high quality service with chic amenities. The hotel can be found in many other major cities as well as internationally for travelers looking for consistency wherever they visit.


New Zealand: Top 5 Off the Beaten Path Destinations

While Auckland and Wellington may be two destinations on your New Zealand agenda, the small island country has more beyond city life to discover. Take a step off the beaten path to explore the natural wonders among local Kiwis who will treat you like family. Adventure awaits in this coastal country with limitless opportunities for exploration:

Motueka Take in the stunning sights of New Zealand while skydiving from 16,500 feet. With views of snow-capped mountains and golden beaches, Motueka is the best place to descend from to reach high altitudes. Skydive Abel Tasman is one of New Zealand’s longest running tandem skydiving centers and is our recommendation for an adrenaline pumping ride.

Queenstown In the home of commercial bungee jumping, Queenstown offers thrilling adventures with incomparable scenery. The Nevis Bungy is one of the highest bungee’s in the world and is a must when visiting New Zealand. While diving into a canyon headfirst may not be your ideal vacation activity, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience for adventurous travelers.

Rotorua Despite the sulfur-rich airs of Rotorua, this city boasts New Zealand’s most dynamic thermal areas with spurting geysers, steaming hot springs and exploding mud pools. Visitors can escape into the Redwood Whakarewarewa Forest where California Coastal Redwoods tower over the land. Mountain bike trails for beginners and experts are available with views of lakes and geothermal activity.

Milford Sound Situated on the west coast of the South Island, Milford Sound was

carved by glaciers during the ice age providing a spectacular natural environment. Cascading waterfalls flow down mountain peaks where ‘the greatest walk on earth’ takes place along the Milford Track. Boat cruises are the best way to experience this area with knowledgeable guides providing insight into the regions history and geology.

Waitomo Caves The natural wonders of the Waitomo Caves can best be seen by abseiling into the Lost World. Get in your jumper, helmet and ‘gum boots,’ as the Kiwi’s call them, and then abseil (descend) down a moss covered cavern. The descent takes about thirty minutes where you’ll find yourself at the bottom of a wet cave with waterfalls, ancient whalebones and oyster fossils as well as the famous glowworms.


Brunch in Los Angeles is a four season event. Los Angeles’ very own brunch gurus, LA Brunchers, have narrowed down the Top Ten Brunch Spots in Los Angeles for out-of-towners.


Bottega Louie





Bottega Louie’s light, expansive space-in the midst of the highrises of downtown Los Angeles-is almost ethereal. High ceilings and clean-minimalist elements define the space while freshly-baked pastries– including Bottega’s famous macaroons– lend to a heavenly smell. Cakes and cookies on colorful display cheerily greet you as you enter. Sip on a French 75 while enjoying lobster hash or some Bottega favorites including the Portobello fries and mushroom pizza. After finishing up brunch, take in the sights and sounds of Downtown Los Angeles. Type: Brunch Institution Eat & Drink: Grab a macaroon for the road! Ambience: Classic and refined Tip: Opt for the sparkling water; it’s complimentary Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213) 802-1470 A postcard-worthy view and classic old-world charm make brunch at this Malibu institution feel like a truly champagne-worthy event. Geoffrey’s patio is perched high on a cliff above crashing waves. Panoramic views of the coast are framed by a lush and green garden brimming with bright flowers. You’ll be sure to crave seafood while dining in the ocean air; so try the Sautéed Main Mussles, Ahi Tuna Tartar, or the Crab Cake Benedict. Located on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, wine tasting and the Getty Villa are only a hop, skip and a mimosa away. Type: Brunch with a View Eat & Drink: Try the Elderflower Champagne Cocktail with Elderflower Essence, Cava Sparkling Wine, and a Twist of Lemon Ambience: Fancy Tip: PCH can sometimes have traffic so leave yourself some time. Don’t worry - you’ll have beautiful views of the ocean the entire time. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213) 802-1470




Bouchon Bistro



Oozing with country charm, light pours into the open dining quarters illuminating scores of happy brunchers. Plants and wooden tables complete the secret garden theme also reflected in the chef’s farm to table brunch menu (which changes seasonally). Type: Local Hero Eat & Drink: Bubble and Squeak & Iced Sherry Tea Ambience: Trendy Cottage Tip: Explore (even the bathrooms are cool here) Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 8752 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, 90069 (424) 239-1630

If you want to truly feel like Pretty Woman then grab your shopping bags and land at Bouchon. Everything here feels tre chic, even the linens. Only a block from Rodeo Drive, the fellow brunching clientele is sure to fascinate. No cheap champagne in this Mimosa (complete with fresh berries). We love this place, oo la la. Type: Institution Eat & Drink: Chicken and Waffles & Bubbly Ambience: Parisian Bistro Tip: Ask for patio seating and make sure to utilize the free 2 hours parking in the garage below. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Location: 235 North Canon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (310) 271-9910

Tavern is one of the most beautifully decorated restaurants in Los Angeles, and its lovely atrium offers the perfect retreat for those chilly 65 degree California days. As sun streams in the lofty glass rooftop, you’ll dine on classic California cuisine. Local favorites range from brisket hash to an outstanding smoked fish platter with house baked rye and goat cheese. After taking in brunch, work off those calories with a stroll and some light window shopping in the surrounding city of Brentwood. Type: Local Gem/Critic Favorite Eat & Drink: Bellini, Light on the Peach Ambience: Trendy and Relaxed Tip: Try parking in the adjacent lot for $2 for 1.5 hours Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049 (310) 806-6464




POWDER ROOM By Paige O’ Neill Undoubtedly you’re probably already aware of the over the top extravagance that Los Angeles has to offer. Hollywood’s newest addition to extreme luxury is The Powder Room, a craft cocktail bar boasting some of the most unique creations we’ve ever encountered. The seemingly casual bar in a retro style environment was inspired by Hollywood studio glamour. It refuses to be missed on the street with bright LED lights illuminating the concrete sidewalks from the large storefront windows. Round snakeskin barstools line the bar where wooden walls curve to hold bottles of unique liquor. The bar is made of black, glittery marble-stone slab with leather booths and cocktail tables behind. Although The Powder Room provides a bevy of artisan cocktails to select from, the most talked about item on the menu comes in the form of a milkshake. For a whopping $500, guests with deep pockets can purchase the Velvet Goldmine. A creation by award winning mixologist, Adrianne Biggs, this expensive drink combines a slew of exclusive and exotic ingredients including one not found in any other beverage. Served in a Waterford crystal goblet the Velvet Goldmine includes custom made dark chocolate ganache, Bacardi Reserva Limitada, D’USSE VSOP Cognac, Neveux Artisan creamery organic honey, English lavender split black bean Tahiti Vanilla ice cream and Ghirardelli chocolate caramel fudge. Topped with whipped cream and edible 23-carat gold flake leaves. If that isn’t enough to make your head spin, the drink concludes with a Swarovski Nirvana Montana crystal ring as its “garnish.” In case dropping $500 on a milkshake isn’t how you want to spend your hard earned money, there’s plenty of other “Spiked Shakes” available for purchase that will only set you back $13. The Caribbean Queen features Mt Gay dark and light rum blended with caramelized bananas, vanilla coconut milk, pineapple juice and vanilla ice cream. Specialties outside of the milkshake variety are also available for $13 including the enticingly named One Night In Bangkok with Old Overholt rye whiskey, house made Thai honey and cherry syrup with egg white and fresh squeezed lemon juice. If you’re searching for unique craft cocktails, the Powder Room is the perfect spot to try something you won’t get at any other bar in the city. Located in the heart of the Hollywood Entertainment District this unique bar will be sure to find an equally unique crowd to enjoy the creatively designed menu. With an intimate ambiance and bartenders who take pride in their craft, The Powder Room has a ton of potential to make it in Los Angeles.

“some of

the most


creations we’ve








Venetian Hotel


or a city constantly changing it is rare to find establishments that become a part of the communities fabric and continue to stay relevant. The Venetian is part of this fabric and combines Las Vegas culture with plush amenities. The all-suite Venetian resort offers rooms with up to 1500 square feet of living space, marble bathrooms and flat screen TVs. The 36-story Venetian Las Vegas, along with its sister hotel, The Palazzo, make up the world’s largest five-diamond resort, setting the bar for Vegas hotels.





hemed after the famous city in Italy, The Venetian provides a replicated yet authentic atmosphere filled with grandeur and opulence. Incorporated into the design are well-known Venetian icons including The Doge’s Palace, Campanile, Bridge of Sighs, and the Rialto Bridge set within a narrow lagoon. Guests are able to drift down the Grand Canal in a genuine gondola passing cafes, restaurants and bridges. Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo host retail and entertainment in a space of more than 500,000 square feet.


he Venetian Las Vegas offers guests 15 fine dining restaurants from Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio to Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse. Famous chef Mario Batali owns two of the top restaurants including B&B Ristorante and B&B Burger & Beer at the Venetian. Batali also graces The Palazzo with his acclaimed steakhouse, Carnevino. Casual dining options are also available with more than 20 culinary options from a street side café to a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s.






lthough the glamorous resort is pristine with gold accents and refined artwork, it is still Las Vegas. Some of the city’s most popular clubs can be found inside The Venetian resort. TAO Beach is the hottest experience during the day with an exotic Balinese theme. Many celebrities and acclaimed DJs have appeared at the outdoor oasis with 12 luxury cabanas and a 30-foot bar. When night falls the pool party turns into a full club with go-go dancers, high-energy music and private skyboxes with mini-bars. TAO Lounge offers a more intimate nightlife experience with craft cocktails and Pacific Rim décor.


he Venetian Las Vegas offers a variety of luxury suite packages for any type of vacation. With the Guys Ultimate Getaway Package, a group of bachelors can enjoy a two-night stay in a luxury suite, food and beverage credit at Lagasse’s Stadium, admission to LAVO nightclub, and even a prix-fixe dinner at Public House. For guests looking to be entertained, the Soul2Soul Experience Package provides access to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s encore run of Soul2Soul.


hether you are visiting for the nightlife, entertainment, or just a quick getaway, The Venetian Las Vegas is the premier hotel destination for those looking to indulge in all the city has to offer.

LA Travel tech Travel interrupts our naturally scheduled programming and is an easy scapegoat for not maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as being out of touch with our friends, families and jobs. Don’t let a change of scenery spoil your New Year’s resolutions – gear up for 2014 with these 5 apps and gadgets to help make your travel experiences exciting and productive. Melissa Thompson, a technology expert and CEO of TalkSession, Inc., a leading digital healthcare company, lists the top 5 apps and gadgets recommended for the ultimate travel experience:

5 TECH NECESSITIES FOR TRAVEL: STAY GROUNDED WHILE UP IN THE AIR IN 2014 Forgo frenzy: Tile your passport In a digital age where passports remain a critical analog exception to our paperless world. Despite the finger scanners and facial recognition currently in use, travelers cannot travel internationally without that antiquated booklet. Avoid the last minute, “I can’t find my passport!” craze with a DIY digitization. Tile, one of Kickstarter’s hottest projects of the year, is a matchbook-sized, thin, white plastic square. This self-adhesive device, equipped with GPS, allows any item to be tracked using the owners smartphone app and Tile’s low-Bluetooth technology. Can’t find your passport? If prepared and equipped with a Tile affixed to the passport’s back or case, the owner can locate the passport on a map and remotely send the device a signal to emit a sound, hopefully putting an end to the search-and-rescue. This simple device is the “find my iPhone,” for all physical items. Tile, which does not require battery changes or charging, can be pre-ordered for summer 2014 delivery. Tile for travel could keep your passport and checked-luggage always in your pocket. ($19.95 for one Tile, $59.85 for four Tiles, Rove hands-free, with your automated travel diary This free app is an automated timeline, which tracks users’ movements through GPS, estimates the method of travel, and inserts pictures, maps and locations into a timeline. The result is a beautiful visual travel journal– no inputs required. Next time relatives ask to hear all about the trip? Just “Share” from the app and Rove will email a link to the trip’s timeline- allowing the traveler to enjoy the moment and not spend time recording it. Want to keep Rove personal? The app is 100% private unless users choose to share. (Free in the iTunes store) Caught with your batteries down? Bring extra juice There are many options on the market to pack power for on-the-go charging. Dark Reservoir’s sleekly designed device is on the higher end of the price rage, but the pocket-sized device will provide up to five charges for an iPhone, 1.5 charges for an iPad mini and will charge anything with a micro-USB charger ($129, Innergie has a wide range of prices and products for back-up batteries, including laptops. (Prices start at $54.99, Hydrated and healthy, TSA approved: LifeStraw by Vestergaard Described as “one of the ten things that will change the way we live” by Forbes, take this (empty!) water bottle on the road, mitigate the risk of illness, and turn local tap water anywhere in the world into safe drinking water. The filtration technology integrated into the LifeStraw Go water bottle reduces the risk of bacterial and parasitic water-borne disease transmission. Through advanced filtration technology, water is forced through fibers that only allow the clean water to pass through, keeping contaminants away from consumption. ($34.95, or at select retail stores) Viber App + (friend with) Viber App = Free Calls (Seriously) The Viber app allows users to make free phone calls, video calls or send text messages, over 4G or WiFi, anywhere in the world, free of charge (as long as both users are connecting through the Viber application). The app is available on all mobile devices and with 200 million active global users, has become one of the largest disruptors in the online global communication space. (Free; runs on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone)



The small size of the northern country of Iceland is filled with natural wonders for adventurous travelers to commandeer while witnessing the geological oddities that surround the island. A mystical place where fire and ice co-exist and where summer has a midnight sun, Iceland is a country of extreme contrasts. To best encounter the exceptional landscapes of Iceland you must indulge in the natural wonders this Nordic country has to offer.

How to Do:


The Blue Lagoon is to Iceland as the Eiffel Tower is to France. The must-see geothermal spa promotes wellness and energy through natural elements with active ingredients like geothermal seawater, minerals, silica, and algae. Designed for bathing, the warm, milky blue water in the lagoon is shallow for ultimate relaxation. Luxury, deep cleansing massages are available for renewing your skin to add to the experience as well as a swim up bar and dining options. Surrounded by lava fields and modern architecture, the Blue Lagoon is a geological fascination for millions of travelers who can learn about the history, nature and science through expert guides. While Iceland’s natural wonders are not to be missed, the largest city in Iceland and the country’s capitol, Reykjavík, is a must-see. Reykjavík is among the cleanest, greenest and safest cities in the world but also boasts an incredible nightlife experience. Don’t make the mistake of entering bars or clubs early, as locals would never be seen before midnight in the downtown area. The ma jority of locals will take a nap in the afternoon to prepare for the late night start on any given weekend. We suggest B5 (Bankastraeti 5), a compact venue and one of the most energetic clubs in the area with dancing and a cocktail bar. Don’t feel like getting dressed up? Head over to Bakkus for a more dive bar feel with occasional live music and a large dance floor. Last call is at 5:00 a.m. if you haven’t already called it a night. Cuisine in Iceland may be a confusing notion as traditional Icelandic foods aren’t a common topic in the culinary world. The main types of food in Iceland are somewhat consistent with the Viking Age with lamb, skyr (dairy product similar to yogurt), potatoes, and an abundance of seafood. Surrounded by Arctic waters, the people of Iceland enjoy a plethora of seafood including Minke whale (not an endangered species), a common menu item prepared as kebabs, in steak form or seared. Another popular food is the hot dog, or “pylsur” and the best place to find one is at the highly recommended Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, which translates to “the best hot dogs in town.” Stop in to Vegamót Bistro, a popular eatery with an inexpensive menu and high quality food. For high-end cuisine, Fridrik V emphasizes fresh Icelandic ingredients where surprise menus are highly encouraged. With such an array of exotic must-see destinations in Iceland, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. We recommend visiting the country for at least a week to truly discover the natural wonders, rich history and diverse cities Iceland has to offer.

Also worth noting for natural sights in Iceland is The Golden Circle. The popular tour will have you experiencing the largest waterfall in Europe, geysers and hot springs and the incredible Thingvellir, National Park.


Travel the World From Thailand to Germany, discover your inner explorer with these travel spots we suggest you add to your bucket list asap.

Koh Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Petrovac, Montenegro

Castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria, Germany

Get Inpired

“You don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination”


At The Palazzo, you are always guaranteed a suite for the price of a room. Our Five Diamond suites start at 662 sq. ft. and are just the beginning of the unprecedented amenities we offer.

Restaurants by Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller and Mario Batali World-Class Entertainment The Renowned Treatments of Canyon Ranch SpaClub 速 Extraordinary Shopping

Make it memorable.


+49째 17' 38.13" N -114째 25' 48.96" W


Los Angeles Travel Magazine Winter 2014