LUXE GETAWAYS FALL
TRAVEL IN STYLE
A GUIDE FOR YOUR BEVERLY HILLS FAMILY
Enjoying Tea & Cocktails at
Ellenborough Park OF THE ULTIMATE SUMMER GETAWAYS IN EUROPE
An Insiderâ€™s Guide to Washington, DC
FOR THE SEASON
Plus EXCLUSIVE HIDEAWAYS FOR YOUR ROMANTIC HAWAIIAN GETAWAY
The Best of the Caribbean 2016 Destination Guide
Editor’s Note VO LU M E 0 1 , I SSUE 0 1
LUXE GETAWAYS TRAVEL IN STYLE
ED ITOR I N C H I E F Damon M. Banks TR AVE L E D ITOR Priscilla Pilon L I F E S T Y L E ED ITO R Michelle M. Winner A RT D I R E CTO R Vlad Solovetski C R E ATI VE D I R E CTOR Taras Kravtchouk P H OTO ED ITOR Greg Powers D I G ITA L M A R K E TI NG Ryan Clark W EB S ITE D EVELOP MENT Geoffrey Murie EDITOR -I N -C HI E F
Damon M. Banks It is here, yes, the premier issue of LuxeGetaways Magazine is a reality. Taking the time to get to know our readers, and collectively looking at all of the current and upcoming trends available today, this issue is a diverse collection of travel opportunities across the globe. Millennials are traveling alongside Baby Boomers, while affluent globetrotters want to experience the same unique destinations and adventures as savvy travelers who have been budgeting for the same once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Regardless of your age, gender, sexuality or travel budget, we wanted to explore and share this diverse world of travel opportunities so that you can venture out of your comfort zone and begin planning your very own LuxeGetaways! To the many people who have been so insanely instrumental in making the magazine’s development and launch a success, I thank you. Of course, there are the writers who are an amazing collection of industry experts who “walk the walk,” and truly understand the travel, hospitality and lifestyle industries. Our editors, Priscilla and Michelle, have been absolute rockstars, and vital in the ongoing editing and content development for the magazine and website. There are also the people to thank who choose to remain out of the spotlight while providing ongoing support and assistance throughout the launch of a project this large, and to each of these individuals, I say again, thank you! Safe travels to all of you, and thank you for being part of the premier issue of LuxeGetaways Magazine – the best is yet to come…
C ONTR I B U TI N G W R ITERS Katie Dillon, Brian Garrido, Doug Gollan, Rob Goss, Doron Levy, Matt Long, Candice McMillan, Michael Sturrock, Janice Tober, Andrew Villagomez ED ITOR I A L I NT E R N Shelbie Landry M A R K E TI N G & S O C I A L MED I A INTERN Abigail Dorman
C OMME NTS : contact@LuxeGetaways.com A DVE RTI S I N G I N Q UI RIES: advertising@LuxeGetaways.com P R E S S I N Q UI R I ES : press@LuxeGetaways.com ED ITOR I A L I N Q UI R I ES: editor@LuxeGetaways.com
LuxeGetaways Magazine has not independently tested all services and products advertised herein and have verified no claims made by its advertisers regarding services and products. LuxeGetaways Magazine makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding such services or products. Copyright 2016 by Destination World Media, LLC. All rights reserved. P UB L I S H E D BY Destination World Media, LLC Edward Powers, C.E.O.
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The Best of the Caribbean The Caribbean is always a favorite getaway, and with a variety of options today, the islands are an easily obtainable vacation for all budgets.
Germany's Wine Country
A unique look at Germany, Baden-Württemberg has a host of impressive hotel and restaurant options for today’s savvy traveler.
All eyes are on Washington, D.C. this year, and LuxeGetaways gives an inside look at restaurants and hotels to plan your own getaway.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / boule
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / BackyardProduct
Top 5 European Getaways
Cruises Working with CruiseCompete, LuxeGetaways takes an in-depth look at many of the most popular cruises for all budgets this season.
Romance is always alive and well in Europe, and LuxeGetaways explores five of our favorite destinations for the season.
S PA & W E L L N ES S
7 Days of Healing Bliss at Aja Malibu
TRAVEL G EAR
Carry On Bags
S O LO TR AVEL
A Weekend in Stockholm
The number of luggage options today is immense, and LuxeGetaways features five of our favorite carry on bags for the season.
A DVE NTUR E TR AVEL
A Zimbabwean Introspective
FA MI LY T R AVE L
A Local’s Guide to Beverly Hills
LG BT TR AVEL
Top 3 Travel Destinations This Season
H OME & D E S I G N
Homes That Bring The Outdoors In
FE ATUR E
Travel Agents With so many theories surrounding when it is best to seek out a travel agent, LuxeGetaways explores this topic in detail.
C UL I N A RY
Tea & Cocktails at Ellenborough Park
S P O RT
Teeing It Up Hawaiian Style on Kaua’i
Travel in Japan at the Ryokan LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
Contributing Writers VO LU M E 0 1 , I SSUE 0 1
Katie Dillon Life as an expat in London and Hong Kong, as well as a residence in a Four Seasons, is completely responsible for Katie Dillon’s sense of wanderlust. Specializing in luxury family travel, she documents her love of five-star hotels, premium class cabins and kid-friendly destinations on LaJollaMom.com, named for the seaside community in San Diego she now calls home. Often tapped by national media as a San Diego expert, her work has also been seen on USA TODAY, Four Seasons Magazine, NBC San Diego, Money Magazine, Parent’s Magazine and more.
Doug Gollan Doug Gollan has spent his career in the travel and luxury media industries, and is considered an expert on UHNW trends. He spent his first 14 years at Travel Agent Magazine, starting as a junior reporter, and later rising to Group Publisher. From there he co-founded Elite Traveler, a magazine distributed globally on private jets where he served as President and Editor-in-Chief until 2015. Doug has written several books; he currently serves as a consultant for companies within the Super Rich/UHNW segment; he contributes to Forbes.com, LuxurySociety.com, LuxeGetaways and others; and is on the Management Board of Travel Market Report.
Rob Goss Rob Goss is a British writer based in Tokyo, focusing on books and features on Japan, travel writing, and creative writing that ranges from short fiction to short-form poetry. Rob is the author of four books on Japan with Tuttle Publishing, including the NATJA Gold Award-winning Travel Pack Japan and NATJA Silver Award-winning Tokyo: Capital of Cool. His current projects include a first collection of micro and short fiction (“And Other Stories…”), a book on Japan’s traditional inns, and a photo book on Japan’s main tourist destinations. He has also written for nearly 100 magazines and online publications around the world, from National Geographic Traveler magazine and Time to the in-flight magazines of Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM, Korean Air, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways and US Airways.
Matt Long An experiential luxury traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his adventures with thousands of readers every day through his award-winning site LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Based in Washington, DC, Matt’s work has been seen on BBC, CNN, Travel Channel, Lonely Planet and more; and has been to more than 70 countries and all 7 continents.
Janice Tober Janice Tober is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer living in Canada. A former contributing editor for Condé Nast Traveler’s HotelChatter, Janice now writes for a variety of publications and web sites including BravoTV.com in the US, iExplore and TravelPulse, the world’s most popular web site for travel agents. She specializes in hotels, spas, food and wine, cocktails and bars, museums and galleries, architecture and design – anything hip and happening and leaning towards luxe.
Andrew Villagomez Andrew Villagomez is a journalist, photographer and blogger covering travel, men’s fashion, grooming and other lifestyle topics. His work has appeared in print and online publications including Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Essential Homme, Delta Sky Magazine, Out, Details and more. He is also runs his own style and travel blog, Vee Travels, which is a reflection of his work as a journalist, and other highlights he comes across during his travels and being behind-the-scenes of the style industry. He has visited over 20 countries, and among some of his favorite international destinations are Tel Aviv, London, Cinque Terre, Peru and Vancouver.
Culinary Travel London
Foodie Heaven on London’s Southbank
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CANDICE MCMILLAN Any local Londoner is no stranger to the pleasures of gourmet street food – and we are talking really good food. A great day out is just not complete without indulging in something delicious. Variety is king here, as the city is a melting pot of cultures that hail from all corners of the globe, creating amazingly educated palates. So, for food lovers who find themselves in the motley capital that is London, an adventure of tastes like this simply cannot be missed.
or culture and culinary artistry, I could not think of a better place to start than on London’s famous Southbank and Bankside. Stretching from the London Eye to Tower Bridge, a two-mile promenade leads its visitors along the riverside of the city centre, packing in an incredible amount of attractions along the way. Working up an appetite could not be more fun. Enjoy the sounds of crooning street buskers and talented performers; and find your preferred pastime with a vintage book market, food markets and rows of popular restaurants, or the Southbank Centre showcasing art, theatre, dance, creative festival events and more. Head towards Bankside, and you can stir your creative juices at the Tate Modern, or brush up on your Shakespeare at The Globe Theatre. And the list goes on and on.
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Culinary Travel London When you start to feel a little peckish, it is worth a visit to the jewel in the Southbank’s culinary crown: London’s Borough Market. Steeped in history, the cobbled lanes and old time building facades will give you a historical peek into how the street traders of old went about their business. Nowadays, you will find the place bursting with colors, textures, tastes, aromas and vibes; with each trader paying passionate attention to the
quality and provenance of the food they provide. Not only can you fill your shopping basket with outstanding British and international produce (the cheese selection alone is amazing), but it also boasts a lunch market with stall after artisanal stall offering freshly prepared dishes inspired by traditions all around the world. Honestly, you will probably circle the place three times before you make a decision.
“ Try a chorizo and rocket roll at the Brindisa stall, made with high quality imported Spanish ingredients. Breathe in the aromas of authentic Thai street food at the Khanom Krok. Choose a delicious vegetarian dish inspired by an Egyptian street food recipe - rice, lentils and vermicelli spruced up with spicy tomato sauce and topped off with caramelized onions and chickpeas. A popular choice is the scotch eggs and sweet potato fries
from Scotchtails. A perfectly cooked egg, encased in a generous portion of your choice of pulled pork (ginger pig, black pudding, chorizo or lamb and mint) and encrusted in a perfectly warm and crispy breaded shell – a top quality take on a classic favorite. Curries, paellas and more… the selection is vast, and I have not even mentioned the artisan drinks and delicious cakes and desserts also available.
Of course, you should not simply take my word for it – stop by and discover this foodie treasure for yourself.
Southbank: www.southbanklondon.com Borough Market: www.boroughmarket.org.uk
Spa & Wellness A Visit to Aja Malibu
7 DAYS OF HEALING BLISS AT AJA MALIBU BY S HELBIE L AN DRY
Perched atop the beautiful mountains of Malibu, Aja Malibu invites guests to relax and replenish their minds, bodies and souls at its allinclusive, seven-day retreat experience that has just opened this season.
Designed by Australian mystic and artist Inannya Magick, Aja Malibu spans 23 ocean-view acres, and boasts seven unique, eco-friendly guest accommodations, as well as seven beautifully manicured Magick Gardens. Aja Malibu incorporates its complete healing concepts into its comfortable “home with a heart.” Each of the unique facilities, from the spa to the guestrooms, incorporates some aspect particularly chosen by Inannya Magick. From the relics and architectural inspirations from her world travels to the thousands of crystals placed in the walls and walkways that canvas the grounds, each of these separate entities encapsulates the organic, artisanal and holistic methodology of Aja Malibu.
With an emphasis on the number seven as it pertains to the body’s seven energy systems (or “chakras”), Aja Malibu offers its unique “Signature 7-Night Restorative Chakra Tune Up” also known as the “Magick Process.” Throughout the seven nights of self-realignment, participants have the opportunity to engage in soul-centered meditation, focus on bodily healing and enhance their understanding of cooking, gardening and nutritional planning through various workshops. Without the added distraction of daily life, Aja Malibu encourages guests to focus on their inner being, and teaches the concept of “The Guru is You” – a form of self-empowerment wherein the individual can achieve optimal health and well-being.
Photography Courtesy Aja Malibu
The resort’s impressive dedication to holistic healing carries through to its toxin-free bath products, its chemical-free cleaners and most importantly its farm-totable plant-based, vegetarian menu. Guests are treated to unique, color-coordinated meals each day where they learn how certain colored, plant-based foods affect their body and promote overall recovery. Because all of the ingredients come directly from Aja Malibu’s expansive gardens, every meal is the epitome of freshness, garnished with well-executed, artistic expression. At the Spa, guests can enjoy the rejuvenating massage treatments while also being introduced to the natural healing properties derived
from herbs harvested directly from Aja Malibu’s gardens. With all of the modern conveniences associated with a spa, guests can wait for their next treatment in complete relaxation by taking a hot or cold plunge in the Crystal Cave, detoxing in the natural wood-fired Infra-Red Sauna or relaxing their muscles on the Vibration Machine. Though Aja Malibu promotes self-focused restoration, they also encourage communal engagement. At the Apothecary, guests can interact with a friendly community while participating in herbology workshops; tea-blending; and even DIY beauty consults. Likewise, the Om Tea Room inspires guests to form a unique bond with their fellow participants as
they learn the elements of a proper tea ceremony. Aja Malibu’s hope is that by removing individuals from the stress associated with daily life for just seven days, they can return them to their daily lives feeling refreshed, refocused, rejuvenated and ready to implement the practical elements gleaned from their stay. Aja Malibu’s all-inclusive, seven-night package starts at $10,000, which includes up to 28 spa treatments, workshops, materials, food and various naturopathic supplementation.
We whole-heartedly welcome all to the Aja experience. May the beauty built here by the hands and hearts of hundreds of special souls spread into your own hearts and inspire you into your own greatness and to explore your own inner & innate beauty. – Inannya Magick
Visit The Aja Malibu website at www.ajamalibu.com
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Digital Edition VOLUM E 0 1 , I SSUE 0 1
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Special The Caribbean
Preparing For Your
By Damon M. Banks
Antigua and Barbuda
The British Virgin Islands
T “Obtainable luxuries are easy to discover throughout the Caribbean.”
he Caribbean is always a favorite vacation getaway for many travelers due to the incredible diversity of accommodations, activities and overall localized travel and culinary experiences waiting to be discovered among the islands. In most cases, the locals are genuinely hospitable and extremely eager to make sure that tourists have the opportunity to get to know their home, and come to love their island.
Regardless of your budget or needs for the perfect getaway, you can more than likely find a way to make it work when in the Caribbean. From an expansive private villa on a secluded beach designed for the most discerning of guests, to a moderately priced hotel room in Puerto Rico or St. Maarten, the Caribbean’s people and unmistakable island flair will make it a visit not to be forgotten.
There is no denying that a number of potential tourists have elected to travel elsewhere in recent months with the ongoing drama surrounding Puerto Rico’s economic turmoil, and of course, the fear of being infected with the Zika Virus. However, for those in North America who desire that quintessential island getaway that is still only a relatively short plane ride away for many, the Caribbean islands are a perfect solution. In the case of these travelers, the sandy beaches, steel drums, frozen cocktails and endless sunshine awaits.
For those looking for a way to balance luxuries with moderation, it is easy to combine a few days in Old San Juan in Puerto Rico before driving east for several days at one of the luxury resorts along the beautiful beaches; or begin with several days in St. Maarten for some quality time shopping and exploring the exciting island life followed by a few days of relaxation and bliss in Anguilla. Obtainable luxuries are easy to discover throughout the Caribbean.
Ready to plan your Caribbean getaway? Visit:
Trinidad & Tobago
Turks & Caicos
St. Kitts & Nevis www.stkittstourism.kn www.nevisisland.com
St. Vincent and The Grenadines
U.S. Virgin Islands
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Special The Caribbean
Unpretentious Luxury at Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences On the Northeast coast of the Dominican Republic is Sublime Samana, a modern yet elegant luxury resort that is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The seven-acre resort centers around the expansive canal of pools stretching nearly 500 feet from end-to-end; and their luxurious suites have been artfully built to create a contemporary setting in harmony with nature. From the moment you arrive, the warm sea breezes and the soothing sound of the waves crashing against the shore transport you to a relaxed state of mind. For a complete escape, visit Coconut Whispers Spa where relaxing massages are enjoyed with the tranquil sound of the swaying palms. The culinary experience is just as enticing with poolside dining featuring fresh catch-of-the-day specials and local ingredients incorporated into each dish. This is an ideal place to escape the stresses of everyday life and enjoy unpretentious luxury at its finest.
www.sublimesamana.com Photography Courtesy Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences
The Unmistakable Refined Elegance of Amanera Still the “new kid on the block,” Amanera was opened at the end of 2015 in the Dominican Republic. As with other AMAN properties, this one provides guests with a very special boutique travel experience. Amanera is the first fully integrated Aman golf experience, and is just one of the elements that is exciting to us. Spread over 370 acres, the world-class, challenging Playa Grande Golf Course has the highest number of oceanside holes in the Western hemisphere, making each hole simply breathtaking. The resort, designed by John Heah, sits atop 60-foot cliffs and offers extensive dining, spa and recreational facilities, with 25 Casitas each demonstrating a raw, organic design that complements the natural setting. Insider Tip: Try to book the two-bedroom ‘Bay View Casa’ that enjoys the resort’s finest cliff-side position with panoramic views of the ocean and Playa Grande beach, as well as a 65-foot infinity swimming pool that stretches across an extensive terrace.
www.aman.com/resorts/amanera Photography Courtesy Amanera
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Special The Caribbean
The Lighthouse Suite at Oyster Bay Beach Resort Defy gravity, and set your sights a little higher when looking for a unique place to stay while in the Caribbean. Now the Lighthouse, the icon of St. Maarten, can be yours during the stay, and provide some of the most amazing views imaginable. Located on St. Maarten (the Dutch side of the island), St. Maarten along with St. Martin provides guests with one island, two countries, 12 casinos, 37 beaches, 300 restaurants and countless boutiques, shops, villages, galleries, bars, clubs and outdoor adventures. Oyster Bay Beach Resort is located on the eastern edge of St. Maarten, and provides guests with a host of activities including the endless amount of watersports that further support the high-rise luxuries of the Lighthouse Suite. Hanging at the infinity edge pool while watching the reef and the nautical traffic into and out of Oyster Pond will be a favorite pastime when you venture down from your Lighthouse Suite.
www.oysterbaybeachresort.com Photography Courtesy Lighthouse Suite
Getaways British Virgin Islands
he chain of islands that make up The British Virgin Islands share the same azure blue waters as other landmasses, but they are distinctive from their Caribbean neighbors in many ways. Island life in the BVI goes at a slower, but friendlier pace. Lessons learned from watching too much growth that happened too quickly has helped the big island of Tortola, and smaller ones like Virgin Gorda, Norman Island and Scrub Island expand tourism thoughtfully.
The area is known for consistent trade winds and calm seas, making it a boatersâ€™ paradise. Mega power yachts pull into deep draft ports, but these are positively outnumbered by sailboats of all shapes and sizes. One of the best reasons to endure the long flights to the BVI is that there are so many exquisite anchorages and mooring spots close together. This makes it ideal for short excursions to remote reefs and beaches, where you can drop anchor, don masks, and quickly be snorkeling in some of the clearest, crystal blue warm waters in the world.
The BritishVirgin Islands BY PRISCILLA PILON
Peter Island Resort Peter Island Resort is the more formal island in the BVI, which in the Caribbean translates to resort casual. Women are perfectly fine wearing sundresses, skirts or linen pants with sandals (not flip flops). Men only need to wear long pants and a golf shirt for dinner with boat shoes.
Photography Courtesy Peter Island Resort
With only 55 rooms, suites, and villas, the private 1,800-acre estate spreads couples out over the vast real estate complete with several secluded beaches. The result is that privacy is maximized, but camaraderie can be found seaside enjoying the island rhythm via steel drum music, and cooling off with a frozen drink at Deadman’s Beach Bar. Couples who are celebrating their weddings or special anniversaries flock to Peter Island for unparalleled romance at Honeymoon Beach, which is reserved for only one couple at a time. Families (children aged 8 and above) are welcome on the island, however there is no kid’s club. The villas are perfect for small groups and families; and since the nightlife is virtually non-existent, traveling with friends and family is ideal for an enjoyable, yet private getaway. If available, be sure to inquire about Falcon’s Nest, complete with a three-story waterfall and grotto. The price might seem steep at first for this exclusive hideaway, but dividing the costs among friends and families makes your slice of BVI heaven much more affordable. www.peterisland.com
Tip: The Ocean View Deluxe rooms on the bottom floors open up to private patios, and the options on the ends have the better water views.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
Photography Courtesy Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, by Autograph Collection is a great destination for people who have lengthy or multiple flights to reach the BVI. Only a five minute ferry ride from Tortola’s newly expanded airport, exhausted travelers can pick up their luggage from customs, and be enjoying an arrival rum punch at the hotel within minutes of landing. What makes this particular property so special is the plethora of options for accommodations.
From low-key, but well-appointed standard hotel guest rooms, to opulent multi- bedroom villas with infinity pools and gourmet kitchens, Scrub Island Resort has you covered. They have fine dining, room service and casual outdoor dining options; or you can consider hiring one of their private chefs and let them handle the preparation so you can enjoy a frozen piña colada on the patio while watching the breathtaking sunset. www.scrubisland.com
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Oil Nut Bay Oil Nut Bay is the latest eco-friendly, master planned community to be added to the eastern peninsula of Virgin Gorda. Over-the-top secluded home sites are spread across the 300-acre property in petite neighborhoods. The house designs vary, but they all have one thing in common – the most unobstructed and serene panoramic ocean views in all of the BVI. Of course, these views come with a staggering price tag, but do not let that intimidate you. You do not have to buy property on Oil Nut Bay when you can rent a slice of paradise for only a fraction of the cost of ownership. Exclusive to the property, the Nut House Kid’s Club and Nature Center bridges the generational gap through age-appropriate programming designed to educate toddlers to teenagers about land and sea nature conservation. www.oilnutbay.com Many guests arrive to Oil Nut Bay via private helicopter, or personal vessels. Fortunately, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda & Marina (YCCS) is a newly renovated upscale private yacht club in Virgin Gorda’s protective North Sound near Oil Nut Bay with deep draft dockage for guests with yachts and megayachts. When docked in their deep draft marina, guests also enjoy YCCS privileges, including access to the Clubhouse’s private function room, infinity edge pool, locker rooms and restaurant. www.marina.yccs.it
No matter which island you visit, or type of accommodations you choose; the British Virgin Islands are sure to provide the perfect landscape for a luxury getaway for romance, family fun, or simply a relaxed adventure with friends.
Photography Courtesy YCCS
Photography Courtesy Oil Nut Bay
The Bitter End Yacht Club The Bitter End Yacht Club’s Resort has the most comprehensive watersports program for guests in the Caribbean. The perfectly sized harbor is large enough to host serious sailing regattas for pros, yet not so big that beginner sailors cannot still safely fine-tune their skills on the water. Situated at the “Bitter End” of the island Virgin Gorda, this remote, car-free destination is so safe that room keys are not required, and it is only reachable by boat. Guests spend their time swinging in hammocks on the private porches of their rustic, but upmarket tree-house accommodations while being completely “unplugged” for a few days. However, for those who need to stay connected to the outside world, WiFi is available at The Crawl Pub and The Almond Walk Terrace. www.beyc.com
Photography Courtesy The Bitter End Yacht Club
The resort never seems crowded, even when fully booked during the holidays. This is largely due to the abundance of excursions (included in the daily room rate) where guests leave the property for visits to local reefs for snorkeling, or even fantastic spots like the scarcely populated Anegada Island for a local lobster lunch at the famous Big Bamboo Bar in Loblolly Bay.
Must-Do Island Experiences Feel like a pirate looking for buried treasure inside the caves of Norman Island. Play a giant version of Jenga at Pirate’s Bight on Norman Island. Go on a treasure hunt in “The Caves” from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Snorkel at the reefs off Moskito Island and Oil Nut Bay’s Beach to catch a glimpse of a Red-Footed Tortoise, and the beautiful fish of all colors, shapes and sizes.
While this resort is one of the more expensive spots to vacation in the BVI, more budget-friendly options do exist. Why not charter a sailboat and live onboard? Pick up a mooring rental at The Bitter End for $35 per night, which includes free dingy dock space when you come ashore. This allows you to enjoy the property by day with special excursion packages that will save you big bucks, while also giving you the freedom to visit other islands at your own pace.
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Solo Travel Stockholm
Stockholm By Matt Long Stockholm is not a hard place to love; I learned that almost instantly on my quick, long weekend in the Swedish capital. It was the finishing touch on a 40th birthday jaunt around Northern Europe, and I was not so secretly excited for my first time wandering the streets of the Swedish capital. I pinned all of my hopes on Stockholm, and within hours of being there, I knew that I had made the right choice. But I also made an overwhelming choice. Unlike nearby Helsinki or Oslo, there were simply too many choices: too much to see and do, and definitely too much to eat. By the end of the weekend though, I had sussed out the best way for any first-timer to truly experience Stockholm, in the most comfortable and enjoyable way possible.
Photo: Henrik Trygg / mediabank.visitstockholm.com
Eat All The Food Swedish food is the Rodney Dangerfield of the food world. No one really gives it the respect it deserves; instead most people assume that it is just a larger version of an IKEA cafeteria. While there are elements of that, and yes, Swedish meatballs are in fact delicious, Stockholm enjoys a fun blend of food styles that draw on its very traditional past, but has a foot firmly planted in the global marketplace. I was short on time, and while I would have loved to spend a week eating my way from one market or restaurant to another, I needed help, which is why I hopped on the best food tour in town, Food Tours Stockholm.
Led by a local cookbook author (insert Swedish Chef jokes here), I spent the better part of an afternoon following in Cathrine Schück’s footsteps, and hanging on her every word. I also should have skipped lunch, because the portions at the many stops along the way were enormous; and they ran the gamut from Swedish meatballs to more European influenced fare, and my favorite aspect of Swedish food culture, fika.
FALL 2016 © Can Stock Photo Inc. / phiilpkinsey
For the uninitiated, fika is frankly the last thing I expected to find in this incredibly productive and driven society, and yet it is actually at the heart of their success. Simply put, fika is that special time in the afternoon when you join a friend or two at a local coffee shop to reenergize and enjoy some cakes or pastries. It is a wonderful way to relax for several moments in the middle of the workday, and refocus before tackling what lies ahead. It is fun, progressive, and it is undeniably Swedish.
The food tour was not my only sampling of delicious food; I also had some of the best bites of the trip at the place where I least expected to find it, my hotel.
Photo: Matt Long
Out and About Relaxed Luxury It is difficult to call the Ett Hem [Sköldungagatan 2 | +46 8 20 05 90] a hotel, but it is certainly not a B&B either. It is a curious mix of both, and is currently the top rated hotel in the city. An unlikely contender for that prized spot, housed in a former mansion in the middle of the city’s embassy district; but what it lacks in flash, it more than makes up for in relaxed sophistication. With only 12 rooms, every guest is guaranteed an individual experience, and from my time there, I can attest to the amazing service at the Ett Hem. In Swedish Ett Hem means “at home” and that is exactly what you feel like; from the warm and comfortable living rooms, to a parlor where I loved curling up with my book and a cup of coffee. Locally though, they are well known for their food, with guests enjoying right of first refusal at meals. The star was their breakfast preparation, my favorite meal to enjoy at a hotel, and how I usually compare luxury accommodations. Starting with coffee and homemade pastries, transitioning into cold meats, cheeses and yogurts, I thought the event was over before I realized that the a la carte hot menu had not even been delivered. It was a relaxed and peaceful way to wake up, perfect for a long weekend getaway.
Take a ferry tour around the many islands surrounding the city.
Stroll down the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan, the city’s Old Town.
Go on a tour of the Stockholm City Hall with its stunning Gold Room.
The rooms echo this sophistication, and thanks to the fact that the hotel used to be a home, each room is different (and a little quirky). They range from the smallish loft-style, to more traditional suites with all the accouterments you find at any luxury hotel around the world. Ett Hem is a rare instance where the hotel does not simply complement the travel experience, but instead, it greatly enhances it.
Eating and sleeping is great, but Stockholm honestly has a lot to offer just about any type of traveler. One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to visit their strange (and often a bit bizarre) museums, which is why my first stop was the new-ish ABBA Museum [Djurgårdsvägen 68 | +46 8 121 328 60], which is now one of the top attractions in town. Whether or not you are a fan of the music, I find it hard to believe anyone would not enjoy singing along to “Dancing Queen” in a private recording booth, or dancing with holograms of the musicians themselves on stage. It is fun, kitschy and a must-do activity in Stockholm. The ABBA Museum is also close to several other museums, including the always-popular Vasa Museum [Galärvarvsvägen 14 | +46 8 519 548 00]. Here you will find the only (almost fully intact) 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, and it is a surprisingly fun experience. Stockholm has a lot to offer first-time visitors. But if you only have a few days, make sure to get out there and experience as much of it as you can, and of course, vow to return and see even more of this colorful and fun city as soon as possible.
Ett Hem Hotel: www.etthem.se Vasa Museum: www.vasamuseet.se ABBA Museum: www.abbathemuseum.com Stockholm Tourism: www.visitstockholm.com Food Tours Stockholm: www.foodtoursstockholm.se
Other Stockholm Experiences That I Strongly Suggest LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM Photography Courtesy Ett Hem
Culinary Wine Pairings
TheUltimate PoolsideWine Pairing
BY DAMON M. BANKS
Photography Courtesy Fruits and Wine
he hottest days of summer might be behind us, but it is still a perfect time to enjoy a refreshing glass of wine poolside, especially when paired with perfectly prepared small bites with friends and family. Fruits and Wine is one of the world’s bestselling aromatized wine; and building on a noble heritage, Fruits and Wine is produced exclusively from rosé wine and real fruit juice at Moncigale. From this picture-perfect location at the heart of three emblematic vineyards (Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon and the Rhône Valley), Fruits and Wine’s quality and uniqueness is at a world-class level. For this perfect pairing, we were fortunate to have Executive Chef David Valencia of Caviar Russe weigh-in, and he delivered in a big way. Caviar Russe is a Michelin rated restaurant in New York City, and has recently opened their second location in Miami – Chef Valencia and his team are experts when it comes to wine pairings. Our pairing was done with Fruits and Wine’s Strawberry Rosé Wine, but the other flavor options would certainly be more than capable of completing this pairing. While we admit that the level of the Smoked Salmon and Beets recipe is fairly advanced when it comes to execution, you will be sure to impress your guests when you present this pairing to them this season. Fruits and Wine: www.fruitsandwine.com Caviar Russe: www.caviarrusse.com
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / margouillat
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / galinast
Photography Courtesy Caviar Russe
Smoked Salmon And Beets Components: Smoked Salmon (sliced) Baby Red Beets Baby Yellow Beets Goat Cheese Toast Points (Sourdough) Herb Vinaigrette Baby Mixed Greens Baby Red Beets Ingredients: Baby Red Beets 8 Pieces Water 2 Cups White Vinegar ¼ Cup Salt 1 Teaspoon Sugar 1 Teaspoon Baby Yellow Beets Ingredients: Baby Yellow Beets 8 Pieces Water 2 Cups White Vinegar ¼ Cup Salt 1 Teaspoon Sugar 1 Teaspoon
( Yields 4 Portions ) Goat Cheese Ingredients: Goat Cheese 8 Ounces Heavy Cream ½ Cup Salt ½ Teaspoon Ground Pepper A Few Cracks Herb Vinaigrette Ingredients: Champagne Vinegar 2 Tablespoons Salad Oil (or Plain Neutral Oil) 1 Cup Dijon Mustard 1 Teaspoon Chopped Parsley 1 Tablespoon Chopped Cilantro 1 Tablespoon Honey 1 Tablespoon Salt ½ Teaspoon Ground Pepper A Few Cracks
Red Beets: Put everything together in a pot and simmer until tender for about 20 minutes. After, strain, cool down and cut into quarters. Reserve in fridge until cold. Yellow Beets: Put everything together in a pot and simmer until tender for about 20 minutes. After, strain, cool down and cut into quarters. Reserve in fridge until cold. Goat Cheese: Mix goat cheese and heavy cream with a whisk in a bowl until creamy. Then add seasoning and chopped herbs. Reserve in fridge until cold. Herb Vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey and mustard. After all is incorporated, add the seasoning and herbs. Smoked Salmon: Take the sliced salmon and cut in half. After, peel off the slices and make little rolls like a "rose". Reserve in fridge.
1. Start by nicely spreading about a tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture on the bottom of the plate. 2. In a bowl, mix both of the beets with a small portion of the herb vinaigrette and toss to coat. Then, arrange on the top of the goat cheese mix. 3. Now, you can arrange the smoked salmon "rosettes" in between, and around the beets. 4. Finally, you can top off the dish with just a little mixed baby greens, and then drizzle some of the herb vinaigrette on top of your salad. 5. Serve with a side of toast points. You can use sourdough, or any bread you enjoy. LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
Adventure Travel Zimbabwe
AIntrospective Zimbabwean S TO RY AN D PH OTOG R A PHY BY MIC H A E L S T U R R OC K
I may well be revealing a mildly off-putting personality quirk in telling you this, but I have running mental lists of the best things I have done, seen, eaten, read, etc. From pizza to public restrooms, I can give a running order of my top experiences of the category in question. I share this (perhaps character-betraying) piece of trivia because before I had even set foot in Zimbabwe, I had crowned a new winner in the Best Short Plane
Journey category. I have never seen a sky so empty of clouds, and an under-wing expanse so sprawling as the view I had from my window on the hour-long flight from Johannesburg to Harare. Touching down, I felt the thoughts that had so worried me the night before simply evaporate in the dry heat. Knowing that I was one small point in such a vast vista brought with it a sense of tranquility.
About fifteen hours prior, I lay awake, having had an intense phone call with my partner about this adventure. As someone in a same-sex relationship, my trip to Zimbabwe posed personal, moral and political problems that desired reconciliation. Same-sex activity is outlawed in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe regularly launches verbose attacks towards the LGBT community. By traveling here, I would be tacitly contributing to a
country where the law does not respect a part of who I am; and where many like me, live lives of misery and danger. Could I justify traveling to such a place? An inquisitive mind (and a nonrefundable airfare) allowed me to proceed on this once-in-a-lifetime journey with my brother.
Harare The capital city of Zimbabwe is essentially divided into areas of wealth. In the poorest parts, water and electricity are scarcely available. In the wealthier areas, their availability remains temperamental. Generators will plug any gaps in museums or hotels, however. Situated close to the Presidential Residence, an executive suite for two at the
Bronte Hotel will cost $275, per night. The relatively simple rooms have all the basic amenities you would expect. It is a wonderful base from which to see Harare. We spent an afternoon in the botanical gardens established by colonial settlers, which has a fascinating mix of exotic plants from around the world.
Helpfully, my brother and I were touring Zimbabwe with a native Zimbabwean friend. In the evening, we took a taxi to his favorite bar in town, Pariah State. I immediately added the local Zambezi Lager to my mental list of best beers. The crowd at this bar was a mix of locals and foreign diplomatic attachĂŠs. The social side of Harare seemed very
tight-knit, but lively. The people were interested in our stories, and less afraid to talk about politics than I had imagined. Everyone is aware of the huge issues facing Zimbabwe, and much of the friction seems to come from differing opinions on what is best for the country.
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Adventure Travel Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park As the winter was about to surrender to spring, the ground had been starved of water for many months. The land was a vivid mix of bronze, orange, brown and crimson leaves. It is thoroughly hypnotizing in its beauty. Arriving at Hwange, we were confronted with a large diversity of accommodation options. There was a terrific-value accommodation available on the
outskirts of the park for around $60, per person â€“ this was considered five-star. However, as my brother and I are former scouts, we opted for a much more rustic option available deep inside the main camp. For $46, we hired a cabin with two comfortable beds and adequate mosquito protection. There is a good restaurant at the camp, but
excitingly, each cabin has an open fire with endless possibilities for these former scouts. Crucially, this also left room in our budget for copious amounts of Zambezi Lager. Seeing a herd of elephants in the wild for the first time was an experience I shall not soon forget. Indeed, coming back to the hut, eating homemade stew around
the fire and hearing the rustle of animals close by was hugely thrilling. It felt like a more natural experience than being waited on hand and foot in one of the more luxurious places. If walking to an outhouse for your morning shower is not your thing, however, you can upgrade significantly for a little extra cost.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / natureimmortal
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / edan
Victoria Falls The experience of approaching Victoria Falls is a remarkable thing. For about half a mile around the Falls, the spray hydrates the ground, creating a jungle oasis in an otherwise parched land. As you get closer, the crashing of the water crescendos far beyond how
loud one might expect it to get. Three things happened as I stepped through the gap in the trees to see Victoria Falls in front off me: my jaw hit the ground; I added what I saw to the top of my mental list of Spectacular Views; and I dropped my ice cream. Back in the town, the Victoria Falls Hotel is one of the popular options by Pure Africa Experiences and
maintains a stately colonial feel. A night spent sleeping beneath portraits of the British Royal Family will cost around $250, per night. Here we had a delectable and reasonably priced afternoon tea. Several smaller hotels and backpacking options were also available. However, we stayed at Victoria Falls Rest Camp & Lodges, which had a range of
tents, backpacking rooms and private cabins equipped with toilets and cooking facilities. Sitting in the open-air restaurant was very pleasant — I recommend the crocodile salad (yes, crocodile is available at many of the dining establishments, and is much better than one might expect). Prices range from $20-$70, per person, per night.
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Adventure Travel Zimbabwe
A Personal Reflection Wandering beside Victoria Falls lent time for reflection. From a distance, it can be difficult to see the beauty in a place that has homophobic, racist or sexist laws. However, as with most places, going beyond “the political” to see and appreciate a country, and its people, will show its true nature. Zimbabwe is truly a beautiful land with much to offer the world — and has risen to the top of the mental
lists for this inquisitive traveler. I would love to go back in the first weeks of spring to see the color of the landscape jump to the other side of the spectrum. In a perfect world, I would leave tomorrow to go back on Safari in Hwange. If I had simply chosen to not visit Zimbabwe in protest of its anti-LGBT laws, the world would not have noticed, and I would still be bitter. Having gone, I saw the
stunning landscapes, met many kindhearted people, and I now consider myself greatly enriched from the experience. In reality, there will be aspects or laws in most countries that I disagree with in some way. However, I realize now that we should all travel to celebrate what is good, and what is beautiful in a country. In Zimbabwe, there is a bountiful supply of both.
Zimbabwe Tourism: www.zimbabwetourism.net Zimbabwe Parks: www.zimparks.org Bronte Hotel: www.brontehotel.com Victoria Falls Hotel: www.pureafricaexperiences.com Victoria Falls Rest Camp & Lodges: www.vicfallsrestcamp.com
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Â© Can Stock Photo Inc. / ssuaphoto
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Family Travel Beverly Hills
A LOCAL’S FAMILY GUIDE TO BEVERLY HILLS
Although not immediately obvious to many travelers, the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills can be easily enjoyed with kids in tow. Located between downtown Los Angeles and the beach, it is actually an extraordinarily convenient base for a sun-filled Southern California family holiday with the most popular attractions, world-class restaurants, and shopping all within a short radius. White glove service — if desired — extends to all ages, so keep in mind that the sky can actually be the limit when it comes to possibilities in the 90210 zip code.
By Katie Dillon
Where to Stay While there is no shortage of luxury hotels in Beverly Hills, these properties go the extra mile when it comes to creating truly unique family offerings that keep all ages happy. The Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel) has welcomed a long roster of stars and dignitaries since 1928, but this local icon also rolls out the red carpet for families (including pets) too. Elegant, yet comfortable accommodations include a wide range of suite options, which can often include kid-friendly amenities such as sweet S’mores Rice Krispie Treats, or even a Red Carpet Kit (arranged with guest services in advance) modeled
after a favorite television show. Splashing around the Mediterranean-style pool provides a perfect break from sightseeing, as do the robust spa menus. Yes, even kids spa here (think mini facials, massages and nail treatments). Beverly Wilshire anchors Rodeo Drive, so plan to shop on your own, or through VIP appointments arranged via the concierge (Pretty Woman was filmed here, after all). Retreat to the old Hollywood elegance of Montage Beverly Hills, located in the heart of the city’s best shopping and dining known as the Golden Triangle, for another unique Beverly Hills experience. This hotel has lovely urban gardens and a rooftop pool with private cabanas for soaking up
year-round sunshine. The biggest draw for families is no doubt the exclusive, activities-based kid’s club called Paintbox, which entertains ages 5 to 12 with arts and crafts, games and other fun activities throughout the property, enabling parents to enjoy a romantic night out, or a blissful treatment in Beverly Hills’ only Forbes Five-Star spa. The traditional weekend afternoon tea also delights with sweet and savory treats, in addition to a Ruinart Champagne add-on for extra parental bliss. Nestled on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, The Orlando Hotel is only a short walk to The Grove, Beverly Center and Museum Row. Families love the recently renovated boutique
hotel’s saltwater rooftop pool, making this hotel a fantastic value for luxury. The West 3rd Street Suites have a separate bedroom and living area, but larger families can extend the space by reserving adjoining rooms too. It is well known for an American Girl package catering to doll enthusiasts who might be vacationing in the area specifically to visit Southern California’s most glorious American Girl store and café nearby at The Grove shopping and entertainment complex.
Things to Do When it comes to exclusive experiences, leave the work to dialed-in concierges who can arrange anything from VIP backlot tours at Warner Brothers or Universal Studios, to meet-andgreets with today’s hottest pop stars and famous actors. To give you an idea, Beverly Wilshire’s Chef Concierge, Jeanne Mills, recently arranged for a young fan to meet Ed Sheeran after his show.
For nearly every visitor to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a must-see, and is only a few short minutes from Beverly Hills. Let kids burn off steam in the sculpture garden, featuring some of the area’s most photographed spots including Urban Light, a series of restored street lanterns and Levitated Mass, a giant monolith suspended over an outdoor walkway. Inside, admire over 120,000 works of art, but
take a creativity break by freestyle painting in the Boone’s Children Gallery. Stop by the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum next door to view the remaining tar pits -- still working excavation sites -sprinkled throughout the garden and learn what life was like during the Ice Age. The Petersen Car Museum and Craft & Folk Art Museum are other great Museum Row options. Beachgoers head to Santa Monica, which is about nine miles from Beverly Hills, though this adventure requires a bit of careful planning to avoid rush hour traffic. The beach can be a bit crowded at times, but the soothing sand
beneath your feet along with the sounds of the surf here convey the quintessential SoCal experience. The Santa Monica Pier is an entertainment area in its own right with a classic carousel, aquarium, arcade and even a trapeze school. Further afield, it is not uncommon for Beverly Hills visitors to take day trips to theme parks like Magic Mountain, Disneyland and LEGOLAND. Families with children ages 10 and older can even helicopter out to Catalina Island for a change of pace, beach time and scenic zip lining. Remember, nothing is off-limits in Beverly Hills!
Photography Courtesy The Orlando Hotel
Photography Courtesy Beverly Wilshire / Four Seasons Hotels
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Family Travel Beverly Hills
Family-Friendly Restaurants Beverly Hills dining runs the gamut from casual dessert shops like the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes to Michelin-starred Spago. Which you choose depends on how epicurean the younger members of your brood are feeling at the moment, though rest assured that plenty of outstanding restaurants create a win-win situation for parents and kids. Settle into a comfortable booth after a day of sightseeing at South Beverly Grill, a modern American grill popular with families known for excellent burgers, classic salads like Shrimp Louis and even sushi, all made with peak fresh ingredients. It is a favorite family recommendation of Montage Beverly Hills Chef Concierge Joyce Louie who adds, “The house made veggie burger is fantastic.”
The Farm of Beverly Hills is popular with locals for its al fresco patio, a perfect spot for people watching, and breakfasts of chorizo skillets, huevos rancheros and dishes reminiscent of family recipes in a relaxed atmosphere. Later in the day, farm fresh salads and comfort foods pair nicely with wine from a seasonal list. Save room for their famous daily-baked, moist brownies sprinkled with a hint of powdered sugar. As the name implies, pasta is the main dish at Il Pastaio, helmed by Chef Giacomino Drago for the last two decades. Osso bucco, a variety of perfectly cooked risottos and other homemade Italian favorites grace the lengthy menu. If there is room to spare, satisfy a sweet tooth by decorating cupcakes at Duff’s Cakemix, created by “Ace of Cakes” star Duff Goldman. Drop-in, or reserve expert help – though the latter is recommended for this popular activity.
The Farm of Beverly Hills: www.thefarmofbeverlyhills.com South Beverly Grill: www.southbeverlygrill.com Il Pastaio: www.giacominodrago.com Duff's Cakemix: www.duffscakemix.com Photography Courtesy Montage Hotel Beverly Hills
P L AN YO U R O WN G E TAWAY Beverly Hills Tourism 9400 S. Santa Monica Boulevard - Suite 102 Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (800) 345-2210 www.lovebeverlyhills.com
Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel) 9500 Wilshire Boulevard Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 275-5200 www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire Be sure to inquire about the Family Affair Package, which provides a 50% discount on the adjoining room for the kids with age-appropriate amenities.
Photography Courtesy Montage Hotel Beverly Hills
Montage Beverly Hills 225 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (888) 860-0788 www.montagehotels.com/beverlyhills In addition to family options, the Suite Escape Package allows for a $500 hotel credit when booking one of their amazing suites for three consecutive nights.
The Orlando Hotel 8384 W 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 658-6600 www.theorlando.com The American Girl Package is always a favorite option here, as is the Bow Wow Package if also traveling with the family dog.
Photography Courtesy Beverly Wilshire / Four Seasons Hotels
LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
Feature Travel Agents Conventional wisdom regarding travel agents is that their services should be reserved for complicated international trips, but that you are safe doing everything else on your own. Even agents, or advisors as many today like to be referred to, will talk about how consumers do not necessarily need them for simple trips. However, when I was researching complaints about online travel agencies (in industry lingo, â€œOTAsâ€? such as Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, etc.), I found that many were about fairly routine domestic roundtrip flights, and run of the mill hotel bookings.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE A TRAVEL AGENT?
For example, one traveler booked a trip with an OTA for a daytrip to a job interview with the outbound flight on one airline and the return on another; but the first flight was severely delayed or canceled, which caused a series of unfortunate circumstances. In another example, a woman wanted to buy a roundtrip ticket, but then stay in two different hotels during her stay. Her epic Instant Message chats with multiple OTA customer service representatives that she posted to Facebook seemed like the responses were coming from drones, or real people who simply had a series of cut and paste answers to use in these situations.
The biggest issues with the OTAs were their lack of customer service when something went wrong, and the inability to help make recommendations before you click the Buy button. What can go wrong? This typically revolved around things like strikes, cancellations and even bad weather. While OTAs are swamped with long waiting times, a good travel agent is always monitoring your itinerary and booking you on alternate flights before you even know that you have a problem. A good agent also has
By Doug Gollan
relationships with the hotels they book so if you, in fact, cannot make it there as scheduled, they are in a better position to help have the cancellation penalties waived. During last Fallâ€™s series of Lufthansa cabin attendant strikes when consumers could not get through to the airline, there were numerous stories in the trade press of agents who were able to get all of their customers moved to other airlines. Agents played the same starring role after the Paris terrorist attacks.
One example of how you can lose a lot of money doing it yourself on a fairly simple trip is due to the complexity of airline pricing. For example, a family of four wants to travel from Dallas to London roundtrip, and is looking for the best fare. When you search online, the results generally posted are the best price applicable to all four travelers. However, a good travel agent may find two or three seats available at prices that are hundreds of dollars less than the fourth seat. Including paying a fee to the agent for ticketing, you can easily save hundreds, or in many cases, even thousands of dollars thanks to the agent knowing how to manage the system. Cruises may seem fairly easy to book online. After all, you can now see deck plans and select your own cabin with ease. There are also some good review websites worth visiting, such as CruiseCritic.com. Agents, however, can often offer upgrades and onboard credits, which can add up to hundreds of dollars. A good agent can also recommend specific cabins, and depending on the itinerary, which side of the ship gets the best view sailing into specific ports.
They can also be a huge asset when it comes to shore excursions, particularly if you want a private or customized experience, or just want to be on your own and not with fellow passengers. When I took my three children to Alaska on a cruise, my advisor arranged a great private salmon fishing daytrip where all of the kids could go home and tell fishing stories afterwards. We were also able to take our helicopter tour to a glacier while others on the ship had their trips canceled because of spotty weather; but thanks to our advisor, the operator was able to fit us in since it was just the four of us, and not a group of 40. If you are thinking about just a single hotel stay, or perhaps cashing in frequent flyer miles, again the thought might be just to look online, particularly as you may already have in mind a specific destination or several hotels. Here again, travel agents often have some tricks up their sleeves. In the luxury arena, many agents belong to groups such as Virtuoso, Ensemble, Affluent Traveler, Signature Network or Travel Leaders – each of which negotiate perks on behalf of their member agencies, such as late check-outs, free breakfasts and upgrades.
Today’s better agents also travel extensively. If your agent has not been to your chosen destination, chances are that they will know someone in their network who has; meaning a good agent should have the resources to get direct knowledge about a destination before making the bookings. At the end of the day, a relationship with a travel agent is really no different than your lawyer, doctor, dentist, accountant, landscaper or interior decorator; although planning a trip should be a lot more joyful than a root canal. Remember, like the other service providers I mentioned, travel agents are professionals, so do not just call an agency on
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / rfcansole
Hotel groups also have loyalty programs for agencies that bring them a lot of business. For example, Four Seasons, Dorchester Collection, Peninsula Hotels and Mandarin Oriental do not have consumer loyalty programs, but they do have them for agents, as does The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Fairmont, Raffles and many more. These programs offer similar perks for agent customers so that you can often get more extras when booking that weekend trip through an agent. With the costs of breakfasts running $40 per person and late checkout several hundred dollars, and a confirmed upgrade, you may be able to get $1,000 in free value on a two-night stay. A primary reason that travel agents are hot again has been the trends toward wanting more experiences and soft adventures, as well as traveling in extended groups, such as families and friends – all of which are hard to arrange online. If you have not used an agent recently (or ever), you will find that many agents specialize in specific types of experiences, varying from villa rentals to safaris to river cruises, LGBT and pretty much anything you can think about.
the phone and expect them to be able to chat with you at length. Call or email to schedule a time to talk. The point is to take the time to talk to friends for referrals, and also take a look at the agent’s website or profile before you contact him or her, and then see if the two of you click. Finding a good agent can take a bit of work, but like other service providers you use, when you find a good one, they will save you money, create a better experience for the amount you want to spend, and have ideas and recommendations for things to do that you probably had not even considered.
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LUXEGETAWAYS GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH TRAVEL AGENTS 46
ELIT E T R AVE L INT E R N AT IO N A L
Travel Tip: It’s never a bad idea to buy travel insurance, as you never know what can happen… and always make sure your passport is up-to-date!
Q: For someone who does not use a travel country where everyone seems to smile is a agent, how would you suggest they begin once-in-a-lifetime experience. Another unique experience would be a trip to South looking for a travel agent? Africa—with it being a combination of safari,
A: For starters, think about what your needs winelands + city (Capetown) rather than just
Photo by TAIT Photography
Bio: A former luxury travel magazine editor and jet-setting journalist, Stacy founded Elite Travel International in 2005 with the goal of changing the landscape of offerings for the new generation of affluent luxury travelers. Ten years later, she is one of the go-to luxury travel advisors for a mixed portfolio of Silicon Valley executives, celebrities and entrepreneurs seeking a global-minded approach and efficient, fast, knowledgeable response time to any level of luxury travel request. Along with her dynamic team spanning the globe from London to LA and Mexico to Maui, Stacy specializes in taking the hassle out of high-level travel.
are, and what type of travel agent will be most helpful. Also, ask your friends who travel a lot who they use! Choose someone who’s not only knowledgeable about the destination for your upcoming trip, but also someone who is well versed in the style of travel you are envisioning. For example, choose someone who knows a lot about luxury travel if that is your style…or has a background in adventure or family travel if your future trips will call for that. Also, ask for a phone consultation so you can ask questions and vice versa, to determine if it’s a good match. The goal is for this to be a long-term relationship, similar to one you might have with your financial advisor, so you want to find someone you hit it off with from the start. Ask as many questions as possible and also be clear about the type of travel you are hoping to do in the future so the agent can give you an honest assessment if they think that they are the best match for you. If you prefer to work with an agent who relies heavily on email/text verses talking on the phone or meeting in person, be sure to mention this. Some agents will make themselves available seven days/week whenever needed, others keep strict hours… so be sure to also take that into consideration when making your choice. Inquire up front about fees so there are no surprises, and don’t be afraid to ask a potential agent for client references!
Q: What unique travel experience would you suggest for travelers looking for something out of the ordinary this fall? A: A unique travel experience could be the combination of a few days in Thailand or India with Bhutan, as it’s best to fly via Delhi or Bangkok. Speaking from personal experience, I enjoyed spending time in Thailand (in Bangkok at The Siam hotel and possibly a few days at the beach in Koh Samui or Phuket) before heading to Bhutan for a totally unique experience (there are a limited number of tourists allowed at any one time, and also a limited number of hotel rooms…the best options include the Aman and the Como properties). Hiking to Eagle’s Nest, visiting the monasteries, meeting the locals, tasting Bhutanese cuisine and just relaxing in a
focusing on the safari as many tend to do. South Africa’s Stellenbosch is not to be missed (a stay at La Residence is a must) and a few days in Capetown is often not enough… flying through London and staying a few nights at Coworth Park for a UK countryside experience before journeying home is also an experience we’ve planned for clients who have really enjoyed this type of itinerary!
Q: What destination/experience would you suggest to the traveler wanting something truly unique while on a budget? A: For a traveler wanting something on a budget, I would suggest looking at a cruise considering they are (mostly) all-inclusive in the pricing, and provide the opportunity to visit multiple destinations that might be too costly to do a la carte. Celebrity Cruises offers wonderful itineraries in Alaska and Europe, as does Windstar… and the pricing typically works out to be less than when planned as an independent itinerary. I suggest choosing a port-heavy itinerary (rather than too many days at sea) in order to get the most out of the experience, and the budget. Q: What destination/experience would you suggest for family travel? A: It’s so hard to choose just one as we create itineraries for so many families based on the kids’ ages and interests. Italy is always a crowd pleaser… as there are multiple cities to explore, and we always try to include time on the Amalfi coast at a family friendly hotel on the water. Other destinations I find to be extremely fun for families — due to the variety of experiences we can set up — include a combo London/Paris trip, Australia, Iceland and more recently, Japan. Q: What destination/experience would you suggest for a romantic getaway? A: I love to suggest the Hawaiian Islands, as there is a mix of beautiful beach resorts, wonderful people/culture, multiple islands (each with their own personality) and easy flights between them. Maui + the Big Island, or Maui + Lanai are the combos I recommend, and book most often.
Feature Travel Agents
CIRE T RAV EL
Eric Hrubant Travel Tip: Be nice! Being nice, making eye contact and validating those people you meet while traveling will only come back to you.
Q: For someone who does not use a travel agent, how would you suggest they begin looking for a travel agent?
A: Ask your network of contacts (LinkedIn is my go-to) if they have worked with a travel professional that provided them with fast and excellent service. Once you have a few referrals, schedule a time for a call, and have a conversation. Working with a travel professional is relationship driven, so make sure that you connect and trust the person you want to work with. You also want to make sure that the travel professional that you are working with has a “little black book” of favors and contacts that they will use to help you during your own travels!
Photography Courtesy Eric Hrubant
affordable, but now plan to stay longer or upgrade to a 4 or 5 star hotel that you normally would find cost prohibitive.
Q: What destination/experience would you suggest for family travel
A: When I first started working in travel 16 years ago, the term “All-inclusive” had a negative connation for our luxury
Q: What unique travel experience would you suggest clients. However, times have changed and there are
for travelers looking for something out of the ordinary luxurious all-inclusive resorts that are perfect for family this fall?
getaways. Who wouldn’t want to go to a resort where the
A: I have been intrigued by the growing Wellness Travel kids are happy with endless activities; while the parents opportunities. I find that people who have “been there and done that” now want fulfilling experiences, while still indulging in nice hotels and gourmet meals. I’m personally going on a “Day of the Dead” trip this year and the itinerary includes photography lessons, cooking demonstrations, spa treatments, and a day of volunteering at a children’s home.
Q: What destination/experience would you suggest to the traveler wanting something truly unique while on a budget?
A: Europe! The exchange rate is fantastic for Americans
are enjoying great food, golf, tennis and spa treatments!
Q: What destination/experience would you suggest for a romantic getaway?
A: I recently came back from a five night romantic getaway to Santa Fe, New Mexico. There is something magical about being in Santa Fe. I felt all the stresses of life melt away when we checked into our hotel, and my high-strung and overly caffeinated NYC personality softened. Spend a week sleeping late, eating good food (let’s not forget the tequila) and just experience a slower pace with your partner.
Bio: Working in the travel industry is Eric’s vehicle for doing good in the world. As a trained social worker, he uses the skills that he learned then to now take the stress out of the travel process, making it easier and more fun for his clients. Being able to know when a flight is cancelled and proactively working to get his client on an alternate flight (often with a good seat or upgrade) is his specialty. Everyone works really hard, and he feels that having a travel professional as a dedicated ally is essential for everyone’s sanity, and the bottom line.
traveling to Europe. Go to Portugal, which is already LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
Getaways The Côte d’Azur
BY PR IS C ILL A PILO N
A GIRL’S GETAWAY TO THE
The resorts and villages that dot the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France offer some of the dreamiest destinations for ladies looking to escape for relaxation, retail therapy, cultural immersion and creating the perfect girls’ getaway. Whether taking a trip with your best girl friend, or an entourage from the college days, simple pleasures along the Côte d’Azur are plentiful. Imagine basking on the beach bathed in Bain de Soleil suntan lotion while enjoying the views of the vibrant Cobalt blue water, and listening to the melodic sounds of the waves crashing on the shoreline with a refreshing glass of
chilled Sancerre in one hand, and an Evian mist bottle to fend off the heat in the other. These kinds of days are priceless. Le sigh… While known for the pristine beaches, and for boasting over 300 days of sunshine per year, the beauty and charm of the Côte d’Azur lies in the wide variety of activities geared towards the arts, fashion, gastronomy and recreation. Three of my favorite destinations to experience the best of the French Riviera with girl friends include the unmistakable destinations of Menton, Nice and Monaco.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Dolgachov
Menton While many Riviera cities lead with pure opulence, Menton leads with its charming pedestrian streets and gorgeous mountain and ocean views. There are no five-star accommodations; the luxury here in Menton is being able to dine en plein air almost every day of the year at casual bistros serving the best combination of Italian and French cuisine. Leave the heels behind, and climb the cobblestone-paved streets to the SaintMichel Basilica [Parvis Saint-Michel | 06500 | Menton] for breathtaking views of the Italian Alps, and down to the azure blue Mediterranean waters below. Experience the friendly locals at their finest while shopping at outdoor markets. Here you will find edible souvenirs under the shade of blue and white-striped canopies in the Careï Valley. The Marché Couvert on quai de Monléon features knick-knacks (brocante), herbs and items from their Italian neighbors on Fridays.
If your gals are gardeners, or wannabes like moi, you will love the nine major gardens; the best of which is at Villa Maria Serena [21 Prom. Reine Astrid | 06500 | Menton]. Fragrant fruit trees and sweet smelling flowers fill the air, and the stunning views of the bay are hailed from the sweeping staircases of the villa. Take advantage of the warm sunshine, and rent a paddleboard or kayak at the Nautical Sports Center on the Promenade de la Mer. However, remember to take along a waterproof case for your camera so that you do not miss the opportunity to take pictures of the magnificent colorful buildings from these unique nautical vantage points.
Where to Stay Hotel Napoleon 29 Porte de France, 06500 Menton, France Tip: The best rooms are on the 5th floor seaside, with terrace.
Le Royal Westminster 28 Avenue Félix Faure, 06500 Menton, France Tip: Ask for a renovated prestige sea view room, if available.
Menton leads with its charming pedestrian streets and gorgeous mountain and ocean views.
Photo by M. Schuermann easyhiker.co.uk
Photo by Priscilla Pilon
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Getaways The Côte d’Azur
Nice Mornings are better with friends. Wake up early for a walk along the four miles of white sandy beaches (15 private and 20 public) flanked by the Promenade des Anglais, and end at Castle Hill (Colline du Château), which is the highest peak in Nice. Only a few fragments of the original walls and building remain, but the observation deck provides a majestic view of the city’s tropical colored buildings with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains in one outstanding panoramic setting. Afterwards, pop over to Café Le Flore [9 Cours Saleya | 06300 | Nice] for a quick coffee before hitting the legendary flower market, Marché aux Fleurs. Located in the Cours Saleya, it is open every morning, except Mondays and French public holidays. Not only do they sell the most beautiful ready-made bouquets, but they also have fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, jellies, jams, olive oil and candies. Mondays are reserved for an antiques market, and in the summer evenings, arts and crafts replace fruits and vegetables where shoppers can shop till they drop – it is open from 6:00pm, until just after midnight.
Where to Stay Hyatt Palais de la Méditerranée 13 Promenade des Anglais, 06000 Nice, France Tip: There are partial sea view and full sea view options, but the full sea views are worth the extra expense, if available.
Hotel Messina 58 Rue Gioffredo, 06000 Nice, France Tip: There are newly renovated rooms, and for two or more people in a room, you can upgrade to the double deluxe category for more space and a private balcony.
On the rare cloudy day, we enjoy checking out the architectural and historical landmarks spread throughout the very walkable city of Nice while shopping. The area of Place Masséna is home to couture fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Hermès; jewelers such as Cartier; and an endless number of specialty shops. However, there are also smaller, independent boutiques like Kantzé [10 rue Alphonse Karr | 06000 | Nice], where you will find the perfect little black dress and silk scarf to take home, knowing that it is truly a one-of-a-kind. Visiting museums is always and excursion that is more fun in tandem. Take in the Marc Chagall National Museum [36 Avenue Dr Ménard | 06000 | Nice], and explore their permanent collection of biblical message paintings, stained-glass windows, prints, lithographs and tapestries. If you have some flexibility, the museum is free to visit on the first Sunday of each month. Photo by Priscilla Pilon
Photo by Priscilla Pilon
Monaco If you want the safest getaway city for you and your girls in the South of France, Monte Carlo is the answer. The principality of Monaco is tiny – it is roughly the size of Central Park, and is full of twists, turns and one-way streets. Beyond being one of the most sought-after residential addresses on the globe, it is also known to have more police, per capita, than anywhere else in the world. According to Wikipedia, there are 515 police officers for the 35,000 people who live in the area. Monaco is also one of the most expensive destinations, but it is not impossible to enjoy Monaco on a tighter budget, and can be even more economical during certain times of the year. There is simply not a “bad” time to visit Monaco, and since January tends to be a slow month, with the exception of the International Circus Festival, travelers can take advantage of the greatly reduced hotel prices.
As you might imagine, it is an upscale shoppers paradise. But for those with a tighter budget, plenty of retail therapy can be accomplished at unique boutiques where you can shop alongside the locals. There is a plethora of chic and unique bars and lounges to experience on holiday. Jimmy’z [26 Avenue Princesse Grace | 98000 | Monaco ] is the be-all and end-all of nightclub experiences in Monte Carlo. If you need to burn off some of those calories, you can dance the night away on the dance floor, beneath the VIP section of the private Boom Boom Room where celebrities are known to congregate well into the night. Another hotspot for some fun with your friends is Le Sea Lounge [40 Avenue Princesse Grace | 98000 | Monaco ]. This is a dynamic beachside hotspot, but be prepared to be sprayed with champagne when the action heats up, since some reverie seekers have been known to let the cork rip into the crowd.
Where to Stay Hôtel Metropole 4, Avenue de la Madone, 98000 Monaco Tip: They have the best healthy non-alcoholic mocktails for preand post-workouts. Enjoy!
Fairmont Hotel 12, Avenue des Spélugues, 98000 Monaco Tip: If possible, try to reserve either a water view or a room/suite with a view of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix hairpin turn.
Photography Courtesy Hotel Metropole
The Côte d’Azur is so much more than I can possibly describe in one article, but I hope that you can appreciate that no matter what type of getaway with the girls you might be looking to schedule, you can find it in the South of France. It is a girl’s prerogative to not be forced to choose between these options, so why not visit each of these destinations and see for yourself what kind of getaway is perfectly designed for you and your travel companions.
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The Best of
The Cruise Industry BY DAMON M. BANKS WITH HEIDI ALLISON-SHANE The Cruise industry has certainly experienced a number of setbacks over the years, but it continues to persevere every season. The cruise lines are always thinking outside of the box to expand their offerings while developing travel experiences for cruise-goers of all budgets, ages and desires.
Photography Courtesy Seabourn
As with any travel planning, be sure to familiarize yourself with the cruise lines and their individual ships and itineraries; but we recommend go a step further. Travelers should study the ports (arrival time, length of time at the port and accessibility from the ship to the port) and the actual ships (size of the ship, stateroom
layouts, diversity of dining options and the age of the ship). For example, smaller ships are often ideal for arriving and disembarking quickly at ports, but depending on the location and time of the year, it could be a very rough ride getting there. In short, do your homework!
Working with Heidi Allison-Shane and her team at CruiseCompete, we have put together a collection of popular cruise choices for those trying to make an educated decision on which ship is best fitted for their next getaway. Heidi has provided her own personal notes and experiences for many of these cruise options, which are available in the full story on our website – a priceless tool for planning your next cruise.
As President of CruiseCompete, Heidi Allison-Shane also contributes to numerous travel publications; and is a member of Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). She created the CruiseTrends report for CruiseCompete, which is reproduced in a number of travel publications, such as Travel Agent Central, MediaPost, NEWS Marketing Daily, Cruise Industry News, Travel Mole, Black Meeting and Tourism, Cruise Industry Wire, Travel Weekly, Successful Meetings, ETurbo News and The Cruise Editor. With a diverse background, Heidi’s various assignments have included Princess Cruises, American Hawaii Cruises, Norwegian American Line and American Express Meetings & Incentives.
After over 40 years of experiencing the industry from every angle, I can truly say that I love the cruise industry. My son William tells me that I was born for this business, and it is probably true. Life’s experiences are like sampling ice cream – sometimes you are in the mood for different flavors and, like a gourmet ice cream shop, the cruise lines offer you a taste of everything. Having been in the cruise industry since the mid 1980’s, I can honestly say that each and every cruise line truly cares about making every voyage on their line an experience to remember.
...the opportunities with cruising are infinite.
The cruise lines consistently work to raise the bar on everything they have to offer, down to the smallest detail. The ultra-luxury lines have your cabin stocked with your favorite liquors as you arrive, and small gifts to make you feel welcome. Personal butlers hasten to grant your every wish. Private tours of the off limit parts of the ship are quickly and courteously arranged. From cutting-edge technology onboard to the latest sporting adventures and equipment, and from the private islands and over the top experiences you may never have anywhere else to making the pre-boarding and departure process palatable; the opportunities with cruising are infinite. With the amazing assortment of value-added features - specialty restaurants, incomparable wine lists, private nannies, comprehensive children’s programs, and once-in-a-lifetime shore excursions, the cruise lines are unfailingly looking for ways to create memories for a lifetime, and to send you home revitalized and rejuvenated. The ultra-luxury lines take this attitude to uncharted heights. You will of course pay more, however the adage of “you get what you pay for” correctly applies in this instance. – Heidi Allison-Shane
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Photography Courtesy AmaWaterways
River Cruise Lines AmaWaterways
Award-winning AmaWaterways was an industry leader when creating ocean-cruise-style amenities and design elements for its riverboats. These included spacious staterooms with French balconies (sliding doors with railings) or Twin balconies, glass elevators, plush robes and luxury bedding, marble bathrooms, complimentary Internet, Wi-Fi access and Infotainment Systems; the newer vessels have heated swimming pools with swim-up bars. The boats, which are among the newest in the world's rivers, sail itineraries in Europe, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa.
Avalon Waterways is a relatively young (2004) line. The boats that sail Europe's waterways are the industry's youngest, with staterooms among the largest. Avalon's greatest concentration is in Europe.
American Cruise Lines American Cruise Lines specializes in a unique style of small ship cruising along the inland waterways and rivers of the United States. Thirteen fascinating itineraries include the Pacific Northwest, Maine, New England Islands, Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, the Historic South & Golden Isles, Florida, Alaska and the Mississippi River aboard the brand new paddle wheeler Queen of the Mississippi. With no more than 150 guests on board, passengers experience each port of call, up close and personal, all while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow travelers and the exemplary service that is the hallmark of American Cruise Lines.
American Queen Steamboat Company Stroll through charming towns and vibrant river cities. Explore historic ports of call like New Orleans, Natchez, Mark Twain's Hannibal, Chattanooga and Pittsburgh, just to name a few. Along the way, you will learn about the great events and people that have contributed to America's history and culture. Your steam boating voyage of discovery awaits you.
Amras Cruises Amras Cruises is uniquely situated to provide the North American market with maximum value and flexibility, along with first-class service. Operations are based in Europe, close to the design and delivery of Amras' exclusive products and superior onboard experience. The philosophy is to include as much as possible into the cruise and land price, so the Amras traveler can travel worry free. No need to think about gratuities, or which shore excursion to buy, or whether or not to have that afternoon Viennese coffee. It is all included.
Photography Courtesy Crystal Cruises
Crystal River Crystal Cruises’ river yachts sail the rivers of Europe and combine the luxury offered by Crystal Cruises with the intimacy of river travel. The ships are all suite, butler-serviced accommodations and have the highest staff to guest ratio in all of European river cruising. Multiple open seating dining venues are available onboard. You will also find fitness centers and dedicated yoga areas on these ships.
Emerald Waterways Emerald Waterways, sister to Scenic Tours (but with a lower price point), is new since 2014, the first new company to sail Europe's rivers in six years. The line's ships are new builds, each carrying 182 passengers, with accommodations ranging from solo cabins and staterooms to balcony suites and owners' suites. The Emerald Panorama Balcony suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, which, at the touch of a button, drop down, to create an actual open-air deck area. Cabins have picture windows, spacious closets, high-end coffee machines, complimentary mini-bars, iPad/iPod docking stations with speakers. Passengers have use of a complimentary iPad during the cruise.
Imperial River Cruises Small older ships (some have had major refurbishments) designed for inland waterways cruising with outside cabins. The atmosphere is warm and homey. Meals – continental, Russian, Ukrainian, as well as cuisine of regions visited – are served in the ships' dining rooms. Some ships have beauty parlors, bars, music salons and small shops; laundry service is available. This is destination immersion for those seeking knowledge.
Scenic Cruises Australia-based Scenic operates luxury river cruises specializing in Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia with a fleet of "Space Ships," so named because they are longer than standard European river boats and have a higher-than-normal space ratio.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection The Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is a fleet of lavishly appointed boutique-style riverboats with an average capacity of 130 passengers. Their cruise itineraries are thoughtfully planned and feature custom shore excursions, exceptional cuisine (acknowledged by Zagat for "top dining"), and outstanding service from an all-English speaking staff. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offers over 500 departures on 40 itineraries; they sail on 13 rivers in over 20 countries in Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Viking River Cruises Viking River Cruises offers cruises that are destination focused and carefully crafted with a mix of cosmopolitan and smaller ports of interest. Exceptional all-around option.
Vantage Deluxe World Travel They have been creating and delivering memorable journeys–river cruises, small ship Cruisetours and escorted land tours–since its inception in 1983.
Contemporary Cruise Lines Carnival Cruise Lines This line's combination of quality, value and fun has made Carnival Cruise Lines an extremely popular option; they carry more passengers than any other cruise line. Carnival Cruise Lines’ guests experience a considerable variety of on-board dining, entertainment and activity options; the line is constantly upgrading its ships and adding new attractions. The ships have also become increasingly popular with young families, carrying more than 700,000 youngsters every year, which is more than half of all children who travel on a cruise.
Costa Cruise Lines Costa Cruise Lines is the largest cruise line in Europe and, as it builds new ships regularly (like its parent company, Carnival), it has one of the most modern fleets, particularly in the Mediterranean. And like Carnival, Costa Cruise Lines does regular upgrades.
Photography Courtesy Viking Cruises
Upscale Contemporary Cruise Lines MSC
Norwegian Cruise Line
Budget-conscious couples and families with children (kids under 17 sharing a cabin with two adults sail free on all MSC sailings) and travelers who desire a traditional cruise experience on a large resort-style ship with an Italian flair will appreciate MSC Cruises.
Norwegian Cruise Line revolutionized the industry in 2000 when it introduced "Freestyle Cruising," which allowed passengers greater freedom to dine when they like, with extended restaurant hours; where they like, with a number of alternative venues; with whom they like, with open seating; freedom to dress as they please, with a "resort casual" dress code at night – and other relaxations of the usual cruise ship procedures. One of the most appealing freestyle elements is Norwegian's disembarkation procedure, which is far more relaxed and pleasant than on many large vessels.
Viking Ocean Whether on river or ocean cruises, Viking Cruises offers cruises that are destination focused and carefully crafted with a mix of cosmopolitan and smaller ports of interest. With three sister ocean-going ships, Viking developed its ocean cruises by leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises® passengers, and with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and “collector ports,” and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.
Photography Courtesy Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International Royal Caribbean boasts a fleet of the world’s largest ships. Royal’s ships are resort cities at sea, offering the best variety of over the top experiences for the entire family. Whether you seek an adrenaline rush or total tranquility, their ships have it all. Try rock climbing, ice skating, or surfing 200 feet above the waves. Melt away land-based stress with a spa massage, build a scrapbook of memories or simply relax poolside. Royal offers the ultimate in dining experiences and ambiance, variety and the flexibility to decide when and what you savor. From casual to sophisticated, cupcakes to canapes, sample an array of options – many of them included in the price of your cruise. From Internet service to dry cleaning to accessibility features, Royal Caribbean ships are equipped with helpful amenities to enhance your vacation –and it is all delivered with friendly service. LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
Photography Courtesy Royal Caribbean
Premium Cruise Lines Celebrity Cruises
Holland America Line
There is no shortage of onboard activities and entertainment when sailing with Celebrity. During the day, passengers can choose culinary classes/events, language classes, yoga classes, cultural enrichment by distinguished lecturers â€“ or lighter fare, like dance classes, games and competitions. At night, expect Vegas-style revues, comedians, talent shows, etc. The stylish ships of Celebrity Cruises feature high-end decor, modern technology, excellent enrichment programs, superior dining options and outstanding spas.
Adults, families and multigenerational groups who want a classic cruise vacation with modern amenities on mid-size ships will enjoy Holland America Line. For those who want a deluxe experience, the high-end HAL suites provide concierge service and other luxuries associated with more expensive cruise lines. HAL has a broad appeal and offers programs and activities for all ages, from high-tech computer sessions to conventional Vegas-style entertainment.
Disney Cruise Line While the focus is on the young (and young at heart), Disney has wisely created adults-only areas (pools, restaurants, spas and nightclubs) on all its ships and on the line's private island, Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream, for example, has a section called The District, which encompasses several lounges and nightclubs and caters to adults in the evening. Perfect for family reunions and multigenerational families who understand and appreciate the Disney product.
Princess Cruises The mid-size and big ships are best for couples, families, multi-generational groups and singles who enjoy an active environment, and want many itinerary choices. For mature travelers who want a small-ship experience with few children, longer itineraries and off-thebeaten path ports, the Pacific Princess is a good choice.
Photography Courtesy Celebrity Cruises
Ultra-Premium Cruise Lines
Azamara Club Cruises Azamara is unique among cruise lines in that it was created to offer luxury and destination-rich itineraries at a price point lower than those of competitors (as well as the significant benefit of access to less-traveled ports). The line's ports of call are carefully selected to include culturally rich cities and exceptional natural wonders.
Cunard Line With a tradition of luxury and service that began in 1840, the line maintains that heritage â€“ though a Cunard Line Caribbean cruise today is significantly different in tone and atmosphere from the ocean crossings of yesteryear.
Oceania Cruises Oceania guests expect (and have) a destination-rich boutique hotel experience with superior food and service. The ships are luxurious (and traditional) in appearance, with rich dark wood, and fine art work and soft goods; the atmosphere throughout is country club casual. Many cabins have balconies.
Windstar Cruises Luxury Cruising in Private Yacht Style. Welcome to the casually elegant small ship world of Windstar Cruises. Leave the crowds behind on a luxury yacht carrying fewer than 300 privileged guests. No lines. No waiting. Just a warm and intimate ambiance you will not find on larger cruise ships.
Photography Courtesy Windstar Cruises
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Ultra-Luxury Cruise Lines Paul Gauguin Cruises
SeaDream Yacht Club
Luxury comes in many forms aboard the Paul Gauguin, which was built to sail the shallow waters of French Polynesia, and can access ports unavailable to larger vessels. It is the only cruise ship that sails year-round itineraries in the Society, Tuamotu and Marquesas islands.
SeaDream Yacht Club's slogan is: "It's yachting, not cruising," which accurately describes the experience on SeaDream I and SeaDream II, the company's award-winning mega-yachts. With a maximum of 112 guests (56 staterooms) and a 95-person crew, there is a choice of whether to mix and mingle and make new friends – or to dine and hang out alone with a spouse or friend.
Crystal Cruises consistently ranks among the top luxury cruise lines in the world, and has won an unprecedented number of major awards. All Exclusive™ is an entirely new standard of travel, and provides travel experiences that go far beyond all inclusive luxury to offer the most elegant journeys by ocean, river and private air.
Like any line in this category, the ships of Silversea deliver five-star cuisine, spacious staterooms and the kind of service where the crew quickly learns guests' names and preferences. To take the service concept even further, every Silversea stateroom comes with butler service. This means that your butler will make sure that guests have everything they need, from fresh fruit to clean laundry and freshly shined shoes. The butler also presents room service meals, as they would be presented at a fine dining restaurant – not all at once, but course by course.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises A truly upscale all-inclusive experience in spacious suites will be yours (on Mariner and Voyager, all have private balconies). A new concierge-level category of accommodation is available. The cruise price includes shore excursions, hotel stays, pre- and post-cruise tours, beverages (high quality wines at meals, free cocktails throughout the ship), specialty restaurants and gratuities. Service is impeccable and the dining venues – including Italian, French and a steak house – serve the same level of food found at fine land-based restaurants.
Seabourn's smaller, all-suite ships offer ultra-luxury cruise vacations to many memorable ports, including those not accessible to big ships. These ships are intimate with no more than 300 suites, and a very close guest-to-staff ratio, providing an incomparable level of personalized service. A Seabourn ship is like a private club, where members share expansive open decks, inviting social spaces, and the personalized attention of an exceptional crew.
Small Ships Blount Small Ship Adventures Blount Small Ship Adventures operates a fleet of 2 innovative expedition-style small ships that offer up to 96 guests a unique experience along some of North America's most scenic waterways. Navigating areas usually only accessible via a small private yacht, this destination-oriented travel experience allows guests to truly explore a destination. Enjoy a casual, un-crowded and friendly atmosphere where camaraderie and a common interest for discovery abound.
Swan Hellenic Cruises U.K.-based Swan Hellenic Cruises has perfected the art of "discovery" cruising aboard small ships; 2014 marked the line's 60th birthday. A cruise aboard the MV Minerva will be a "journey of the mind," with well-crafted itineraries to interesting ports of call, evenings and overnight port stays, high quality shore excursions and enrichment programs featuring distinguished speakers and entertainers.
Voyages to Antiquity Voyages to Antiquity's single mid-size ship, the Aegean Odyssey, offers cruise itineraries to the sites and archeological treasures that remain from some of the world's greatest civilizations. The Odyssey is an older vessel that began life as a car ferry; it has been tastefully reconstructed to create a sophisticated but casual ambiance with upgraded staterooms and public areas. There is no onboard glitz whatsoever; the decor is meant to relax rather than to impress.
Expedition Cruises Un-Cruise Adventures Un-Cruise Adventures are unmatched, hands-on small boat explorations. With several styles to choose from: Active; Luxury; Heritage; and Charter Adventures â€“ you have an inviting alternative to your typical cruise: Kayaks and whales, snorkels and totems, mountains and desert, service and wine. Uncover your adventure today-then pack your bags and venture into some of nature's most exciting playgrounds and historic ports for exploration, eye-to-eye wildlife encounters and living history.
Fathom Pioneered by Fathom, impact travel is a whole new category of travel: it is travel with purpose. Impact travel with Fathom provides the opportunity to build community with like-minded travelers, become immersed in another culture and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact.
Star Clippers Star Clippers operates three of the world's largest, tallest and fastest sailing vessels. The largest of these, the Royal Clipper, has the most spacious cabins, as well as the only balconies, and a higher level of services for the upper category cabins. The nautical-theme cabins, while compact and efficient in design, are comfortable. With the exception of dinner, meals are served buffet-style; typically, there are stations for egg preparation at breakfast and a variety of dishes for lunch.
Photography Courtesy Seabourn
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Small Ship Option In the Galápagos Islands Ecoventura has been recognized with a number of awards for its pioneering approach to sustainability and innovative conservation solutions. Ecoventura was the first company in the Galapagos to offset carbon emissions from the company’s four yachts; carbon emissions were also reduced by 10% through the use of high performance filters and installation of solar panels and wind generators on the M/Y ERIC, converting her to the first hybrid yacht in the Galapagos. Earlier this year, the company launched the newest yacht in the fleet - MV Origin, and extra steps were taken to ensure that it was designed as one of the most environmentally friendly vessels in the Galapagos, reducing fossil fuel consumption by over 30% from similar yachts in the archipelago. The luxury MV Origin offers panoramic stateroom views, locally inspired gourmet cuisine, Jacuzzi, sundeck with hammocks and sun beds, as well as an open bar policy for $6,500, per person. www.origingalapagos.com
Hurtigruten Looks To The Future of Cruising Expedition travel and luxury unite as Hurtigruten, the world’s leader in nature-based cruise/expedition tourism along the Norwegian coastline, Antarctica, Svalbard and Greenland is teaming up with Rolls-Royce for four 300-stateroom ships set for delivery in 2018 and 2019 for adventure-rich and nature based voyages to Canada and the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The company has also recently expanded to new destinations including Canada and the Amazon with future voyages coming soon in China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand. www.hurtigruten.us
People no longer want to spend their holiday time being passive spectators. – Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten
Photography Courtesy Ecoventura
Photography Courtesy Hurtigruten
Royal Caribbean International’s Royal Suite Class The Royal Suite Class has been designed for the most discerning adventurers. Guests will enjoy an experience like no other featuring a wide-range of benefits and amenities based on three tiered service levels (Star Class, Sky Class and Sea Class). Premium features include a Royal Genie, certified by the British Butler Institute to meet guests’ every need; free VOOM, the fastest internet at sea; complimentary specialty dining; an ultimate beverage package; inclusive gratuities; preferred seating at select onboard venues, and upgraded room amenities. The Royal Suite Class is available on Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. www.royalcaribbean.com
The new Royal Suite Class redefines luxury at sea with exceptional experiences that discriminating travelers will appreciate. – Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International
Photography Courtesy Royal Caribbean
Navigating Switzerland by Swiss Federal Railways Train travel in Europe is, in many ways, the easiest form of transportation within its borders, and it is certainly the best way to take in the beauty of the countryside. In particular, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB -- Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) makes navigating your way along the pristine lakes and gorgeous mountains a stress-free, eco-friendly and hospitable experience. BY PR IS C ILL A PILO N
Three Favorite Swiss Train Routes Zermatt to St. Moritz on the Glacier Express Panoramic Train: I took the return part way, from St. Moritz to Davos and wished that I could have completed the entire route. If only to experience the amazing amenities offered, such as three-course meals and front facing cars with top to bottom windows for better picture taking. I found out why thousands of travelers rave about this particular route yearly – the magnificent sights. The original route is from Zermatt (home to the famous Matterhorn Peak) and it takes you through the Goms region, and the jaw-dropping 2044 meter high Oberalp Pass in the popular Andermatt resort. You will pass the beautiful Benedictine Monastery, Disentis Abbey in the Canton of Graubünden; cross through the Rhine River Gorge called Switzerland’s Grand Canyon; and see the picturesque countryside and castles in the Domleschg Region. Part of the journey also includes the Albula Line of the Rhaetian Railway – a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the end of the line lies the uber chic destination, St. Moritz.
catch a few winks, but the breathtaking scenery kept my eyes wide open, and my camera trigger finger at the ready. When the wine vineyards are in full bloom, they are spectacular. To add to the raw beauty around every bend along this route, waterfalls were cascading down the steep embankments into luscious green foliage. Zermatt to Geneva Airport: As much as I like to ski, I also love to hike in the Swiss mountains during the warmer months. The route from Zermatt to the Geneva airport is particularly easy by SBB train with only one brief stop in Visp, and it is so enchanting in the warmer months. This itinerary begins in the snow-capped mountains, and ends near the clear blue lakes in Geneva. I witnessed a range of seasonal landscapes in just shy of four hours from the comfort of the train car.
Chamonix to Zermatt: Chamonix, France is just across the border from Switzerland. I was headed to Zermatt and took the train with my hiking gear, photography paraphernalia and yes, too many shoes, but there was plenty of time to board and disembark with my luggage in tow. I did transfer between Interregional and regional trains, but they were simple transfers, and very Swiss-like (on time). I had planned to
Photography Courtesy SBB
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Three Favorite Amenities for SBB Train Travelers Express Flight Luggage Service: For Americans making the trek with ski equipment or multiple wardrobe options seems like a daunting task, however SBB has a plan to alleviate travel strain with their luggage transportation services. Passengers can check-in cumbersome and oversized suitcases filled with skis, snowboards, or ridiculous amounts of shoes at the airlines when flying into Zurich or Geneva, and simply board the train with only hand luggage in tow. SBB makes sure that your items reach your final train destination, and can also include door-to-door service from hotel to hotel. Customs paperwork is filled out in advance saving you hassle and time. This was previously referred to as “Check-In and Fly Rail” Packages, and note that Rail Europe will also work with you to coordinate these services when booking with them. Free WiFi: The work of a travel writer is never done – live social media postings, staying in touch with editors, and of course shooting over quick emails to family are important tasks of the day. SBB offers free Internet access at over 80 stations across Switzerland making it easy to work and play at the same time. First Class Lounges: Both Zurich and Geneva railway stations have SBB Lounges. The exclusive area is reserved for passengers holding a 1st class GA travelcard, a 1st class ticket for an international service, or a Railteam frequent traveler card. Amenities include non-alcoholic drinks, newspapers and magazines, computer work stations with internet access attached to printers, free WiFi and customer service help with purchasing and exchanging tickets.
“Eco-friendly travel has never felt so good!
Is it worth it to upgrade to Business or First Class trains? For shorter leisure trips you will be perfectly happy in the comfortable and affordable coach fare class cars. SBB trains are all very clean and relaxing. For business travelers, or those who are taking a longer route, Biz Zone seats on Intercity trains offer special incentives to upgrade like workspaces with tables, outlets for laptops/phones and reading lamps. They also have cloakroom and luggage storage areas. Certain sections in 1st class are marked Quiet Zones, where patrons are discouraged from conducting conversations, making phone calls and listening to music, even with headphones.
Swiss Travel System: www.swisstravelsystem.com Rail Europe: www.raileurope.com
Regardless of the route you take or your reasons for travel, SBB will take you there and back with hospitality and reliability. Eco-friendly travel has never felt so good! The one route still on my bucket list is The Bernina Express, which reportedly has the most spectacular Alpine crossing with 55 tunnels, 196 bridges and stunning inclines. Start planning your own getaway in Switzerland with the Swiss Travel System or Rail Europe, and explore all of the many opportunities when visiting this lovely country. Here, traveling by train is much more than simply a way to get between your destinations, as it is truly an enjoyable part of every journey!
BY : AN DR E W VILL AG OME Z
While some may see LGBT travel as simply gay cruises and pride festivals, the community really just wants to enjoy a fantastic getaway in destinations that are welcoming and friendly. The scene-y happenings can simply be the rainbow sprinkles on a community-friendly vacation for travelers. Here are several to visit now:
LGBT-Friendly Travel Destinations This Season
Photography Courtesy Aruba Marriott Resort & StellarisÂŽ Casino
The Caribbean often has a bad reputation of not being LGBTfriendly, and on some islands such as Haiti and Jamaica, this is unfortunately still oftentimes true. However, it would be unfortunate to let a few destinations discourage you from planning a getaway to this beautiful part of the world. Planning a cruise is one way to experience the Caribbean. Cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line is ideal for LGBT travelers, in particular for its entertainment offerings, which range from Broadway-style musical
theatre productions to its Carnival Live lineup that recently featured Kathy Griffin as the headliner. Among the ports of call during a number of these cruises are the ABC islands, otherwise known as Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. As they are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage is legal, each of these islands are very gay friendly. Among the three, Aruba is perfect for group and family getaways with several larger resorts, countless bars,
beautiful beaches and off-road adventures. The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is an upscale resort with amazing views from your room’s 100 square foot balcony, Marriott’s signature Revive beds and bedding, private lounges, two outdoor pools, beach club, casino and a selection of six eateries and two bars (one is poolside, of course). Bonaire is the smallest of the ABC Islands, and is known for its excellent snorkeling and scuba diving – essentially a complete escape from everything.
Aruba Tourism: www.aruba.com Bonaire Tourism: www.tourismbonaire.com Curacao Tourism: www.curacao.com Carnival Cruise Line: www.carnival.com Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino: www.marriott.com Floris Suite Hotel: www.florissuitehotel.com
Photography Courtesy Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris® Casino
Friendly Caribbean Getaways in the ABC Islands Photography Courtesy Curacao Tourism
Then there is Curacao, which is undoubtedly the most LGBT-friendly of the three. In fact, Curacao is basically the gayest island in the Caribbean; and they are proud of this unofficial honor, and celebrate with a major pride weekend in the fall (at one point it even had two pride celebrations in one year). The island actually has several gay bars – the
most popular being located at the Floris Suite Hotel [Piscaderaweg, Willemstad | (800) 411-0170], the adults-only hotel on Piscadera Bay in Willemstad. This is the go-to hotspot for gay travelers visiting the island. Here, guests enjoy a luxurious ambiance, tropical flair, modern décor, and posh amenities (including a popular pool area that also offers
day passes for non-hotel guests). The hotel gives back to the community in many ways throughout the year, beyond simply offering a space where all LGBT couples feel comfortable being themselves, including hosting the annual pride celebration (which goes on for five days) and weekly LGBT parties.
Welcome to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao...
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Though there are over 300 days of sun shining bright throughout the year in Albuquerque, this New Mexico city is a rather under-the-radar LGBT travel escape when compared to destinations such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Admittedly, many of the accommodations, restaurants and
clubs are very casual, and very “Southwest” – so if this style does not appeal to you, you should probably avoid this destination. However, for those who are seeking a casual getaway in America’s Southwest, the environment is warm and friendly; and is a destination with a rather large LGBT local
community. There is not a specific gayborhood in town, but Nob Hill is an eclectic area that is filled with quirky shops and several gay watering holes. Downtown also offers a range of restaurants, specialty shops and cultural festivals; and is home to the Effex Nightclub [420 Central Ave SW |
(505) 842-8870], the city’s largest nightclub, which happens to be of the gay variety. With multiple bars and dance floors, the nightclub tops off its multilevel venue with an outdoor, rooftop space. Stay on Central Ave (or Route 66) to experience the best of both Nob Hill and Downtown.
No visit to Albuquerque is complete without experiencing the natural beauty of its mountains and desert.
Discovering the Authenticity of Albuquerque Dining options in the city provide a range of choices from traditional New Mexican cuisine, and a New Mexico staple in town is El Pinto [10500 4th St NW | (505) 898-1771] and the popular chain, Sadie’s of New Mexico [15 Hotel Circle NE | (505) 296-6940]; to Latin American eats at Pasión Latin Fusion Restaurant [722 Lomas Blvd NW | (505) 503-7880], an old-world bakery and gourmet pizza at Golden Crown Panaderia [1103 Mountain Rd NW | (505) 243-2424], and a long-time favorite in Old Town serving quality steaks and tequila at High Noon Restaurant & Saloon [425 San Felipe St NW | (505) 765-1455].
Los Poblanos [4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW | (505) 344-9297] is a charming, upscale B&B option in Albuquerque that is set amid 25 acres of lavender fields, gardens and organic farmland. Country-chic rooms and suites feature original carvings, ironwork and tinwork, and some rooms also have kiva fireplaces. There is also a refreshing saltwater pool, and even a couple of peacocks that call the inn home. For an artful stay, the Nativo Lodge [6000 Pan American Freeway NE | (505) 798-4300] provides an authentic Southwestern experience blended with Native American culture. Albuquerque is a driving city, and
both of these options are just under 15 minutes away from Downtown and Nob Hill. Do not forget to also visit the nearby famous Old Town, a historic district that is popular for shopping and sightseeing, which dates back to the founding of the city by the Spanish in 1706. No visit to Albuquerque is complete without experiencing the natural beauty of its mountains and desert. Do this by exploring the Sandia Mountains that surround the city (which you can climb via a tram), visiting the Petroglyph National Monument to combine art with hiking, or hot air ballooning (it is the
Photo: Marble Street Studio / Albuquerque Tourism
American capital of the sport, as the city is based a mile above sea level). Rainbow Ryders is not an LGBT-specific company (even with rainbow in the name), but they are super friendly, as all Albuquerqueans are, and they host morning rides that are worth the sacrifice of getting out of bed at 6am for this experience of seeing the turquoise sky at sunrise.
Albuquerque Tourism: www.visitalbuquerque.org Los Poblanos Historic Inn: www.lospoblanos.com Nativo Lodge: www.nativolodge.com
If you have not been out West to the desert oasis of Palm Springs, it is the equivalent to Fire Island or Provincetown in terms of the LGBT-friendly community feel. Even though it is warm all year round and there is no ocean, there is, however, an endless amount of glistening pools that await you at the various hotels and accommodations. The compact city was originally established as a desert escape and hideaway for Hollywood celebs in the 1930’s, but has since evolved into a gay mecca on the West Coast. In recent years, there has been a surge of mega events such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Modernism Week; as well as the Coachella and
Stagecoach Music Festivals. Additionally, there are major events specifically for the community, such as the lesbian mega-party Dinah Shore Weekend and the White Party (the gay men’s circuit bash). Be prepared for a temperature of nearly 100 degrees during the late summer and early fall; but it is a dry heat, so manageable. Many offset the temperature poolside with a cocktail in-hand, perhaps in a clothing optional pool. If looking for a more private escape, the gayowned Andalusian Court [458 W Arenas Rd | (760) 323-9980] offers seven upscale, adults-only Spanish Colonial Revival–style villas (some with private outdoor bathtubs) that
will make for a tranquil vacation not too far from the main streets. If you prefer a party environment, the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs [150 S Indian Canyon Dr | (760) 325-9676] or the gay-owned Ace Hotel [701 E Palm Canyon Dr | (760) 325-9900] are both popular options. The city is nestled at the base of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, where you can take the famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to discover some amazing scenery, but the outdoorsy types can go a step further and enjoy hiking the ancient palm groves of the Indian Canyons. Boutique stores, art galleries and museums are available for those who prefer a less strenuous stroll
The Gay Desert Mecca of Palm Springs
around town (and cruising, who are we kidding), as well as fine casual dining throughout the city. The gay-owned Tropicale [330 E Amado Rd | (760) 866-1952] is an institution for this area (try the Southern-Fried Chicken Tender Salad and the Raspberry Mango White Sangria), and The Judy Garland Show in the Purple Room Supper Club [1900 E Palm Canyon Dr | (760) 322-4422] is a show not to miss (plan to also eat here and take advantage of their really great and diverse menu). For the night owls, head to Arenas Road for gay bars of every variety: piano, drag, karaoke and dancing.
Palm Springs has one of the highest concentrations of queer accommodations – roughly two dozen.
Photography Courtesy Palm Springs Tourism
Palm Springs Tourism: www.visitpalmsprings.com
Fortunately, many destinations and hotels today understand that many LGBT travelers are high net worth individuals looking for getaways that provide a comfortable place to enjoy vacation while being themselves; while there will also be an ongoing need for the gay resorts and cruises for those looking for that extreme travel option. Either way, the LGBT community deserves to travel, live and enjoy life without worrying about their safety. For all of the hotels, resorts, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines and others within the travel and hospitality industries going above and beyond to help us come together to change the perception of LGBT-friendly travel, LuxeGetaways thanks each of you.
Andalusian Court: www.theandalusiancourt.com Hard Rock Hotel: www.hrhpalmsprings.com Ace Hotel: www.acehotel.com
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Home & Design Featured Developments
BY DAMO N M . BANK S It is simply not enough to include a few floor-to-ceiling windows when designing modern-day homes. Homeowners today want to have the accessibility to the wonders of the outside world while also enjoying all the comforts that come with life indoors. For many, it is the salty breeze along the ocean, while others seek that crisp mountain air. Regardless of the reasons for wanting to bring the outdoors inside, there is no doubt that this trend is only going to grow in the coming years.
LuxeGetaways discovered five unique developments with homes that showcase this trend beautifully, along with design elements one would expect in these local destinations of Miami, South Carolina, Lake Tahoe, Los Cabos and the British Virgin Islands. Whether you want to dine outside and bring the indoors out, or sit on your plush sofa in your living room while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the idyllic outdoors by inviting the outdoors in, these homes have something to offer everyone.
Photography Courtesy Casa Bahia
1. COCONUT GROVE MIAMI With no prior architecture or design experience, a filmmaker turned designer Alejandro Landes, just completed his first “anamorphic aesthetic” home on a private peninsula in Coconut Grove, Miami, known as Casa Bahia. Though Landes is mostly known for his film career, including his most popular film, “Porfirio;” he is now being recognized as a very talented designer. Casa Bahia boasts design strokes of minimalist and raw features with an exposed exoskeleton wrapped in teak, glass and white stucco. Landes’ design creates a seamless indoor-outdoor experience with gravity defying design features including expansive floating balconies made to give you a “cliff-like suspension,” along with cantilevered sinks and floating staircases. All interior design elements are bespoke and handcrafted by Landes’ mother, Catalina Echavarria of CEU Studio. She is an award-winning interior designer who has designed for Donna Karan, Shakira and Cher. The result is nothing short of stunning! www.ceustudio.com
2. LAKE KEOWEE SOUTH CAROLINA This South Carolina home is part of The Cliffs community, and happens to have a stunning view of Lake Keowee. The 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom estate features a gourmet kitchen with sitting area and a signature “window wall” that opens to the outdoor living space complete with fireplace and built-in grill that is the perfect place to enjoy the autumn months in South Carolina. This view gives the owners plenty of reasons to want to bring the outdoors in through this very inventive lowcountry design. The Cliffs is a collection of seven private luxury mountain and lake communities in the western Carolinas, between two of the nation’s top awardwinning cities for quality of life
– Greenville, S.C and Asheville, N.C. The Cliffs’ suite of amenities for members includes seven clubs, six wellness centers, 50 restaurant and private event venues, seven championship golf courses, marinas, beach club, a robust cycling program, tennis complexes, equestrian center, hiking trails, water sports, wine clubs, an organic farm and more than 4,000 year-round social activities to create timeless experiences. Fresh mountain air and sensational views are just what the doctor ordered! www.cliffsliving.com
1. 3. LAKE TAHOE CALIFORNIA
Photography Courtesy Casa Bahia
This custom home is a 6,043 square-foot custom estate located on 1.7 acres, complete with gallery views that are enhanced by a huge wraparound stone terrace and glass doors that disappear, blurring the line between the indoors and outdoors. This idea of “bringing the outdoors in” is also evident in the raw wood and stone elements that are used throughout the home, creating a natural and comfortable mountain retreat. Martis Camp is a luxury Lake Tahoe community located in Truckee, California, and is widely considered to be one of the most successful real estate developments in the last decade. Much of its appeal comes from the design as a year-round, family retreat with a number of one-of-a-kind amenities that include direct lift access to Northstar, a Beach Shack on Lake Tahoe (lakeside lunching, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.), an Aerial Adventure park for zip-lining, a world-class Day Spa, Tom Fazio golf course, 26 miles of private hiking trails, and a Family Barn with swimming, bowling and indoor basketball to keep you active; and an art loft, folk school, movie theatre, restaurant/bar and outdoor performance theatre to round out the activities. Savor the views from this estate in luxury! www.martiscamp.com
Photography Courtesy The Cliffs
Photography Courtesy Martis Camp
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4. LOS CABOS MEXICO
5. VIRGIN GORDA BVI
This home lets the outdoors in with stunning views of Chileno Bay, a treasured stretch of beachfront on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Wake up to the sounds of the surf, and easily open the house to take full advantage of the spectacular views that are waiting to be appreciated just outside.
Nestled into the hill on the North Side of Oil Nut Bay, Water’s Edge Villa is perfectly positioned for views of the Atlantic Ocean, Anegada and Oil Nut Bay. This luxury villa has an open concept floor plan in the great room, and each suite has a private entrance. The villa includes large pocket doors to embrace the stunning views, an open terrace with outdoor dining and an infinity pool.
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences is a new beachfront hotel and residential villa community from Auberge Resorts and SV Capital set to open December 2016. Nestled in the protective cove of Chileno Bay, Chileno Bay Resort & Residences will feature a 29-room, boutique luxury hotel and 32 contemporary three- and four-bedroom beach villas. Amenities include a centerpiece 138-meter swimming pool, a second pool for families, an oceanfront hot tub, fire pits, a new Tom Fazio golf course, extensive spa, fitness center and movement studio with a series of classes, a kid’s club, owner’s lounge, and h2O Cave, the resort’s waterfront sports center. With these spectacular views and amenities, it will be great to see this property when it officially opens! www.chilenobayresidences.com
The Artistry of Today’s Lighting
Virgin Gorda is distinguished by harbors that house world-class yacht clubs, breathtaking views and amenities, and the historic Spanish Town that still has traces of nearby mining ruins and streets. It is a mix of modern luxuries, untouched landscapes and pristine beauty. Oil Nut Bay is one of the most secluded, most comfortable and most pristine natural settings in the Caribbean; and it has been carefully developed and constructed in harmony with nature to allow residents and visitors to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle in a private island setting. When you want to get away from it all and relax, Water’s Edge is idyllic! www.oilnutbay.com
Altitude by Corbett Lighting www.corbettlighting.com
Fenwater by Hudson Valley Lighting www.hudsonvalleylighting.com
Sparta by Hudson Valley Lighting www.hudsonvalleylighting.com
$5,985.00 Photography Courtesy Chileno Bay Resort & Residences
Epic by Troy Lighting www.troy-lighting.com
5. Photography Courtesy Oil Nut Bay
Equilibrium by Troy Lighting www.troy-lighting.com
A DVERTIS EMENT
Culinary Ellenborough Park
TEA & COCKTAILS AT ELLENBOROUGH PARK BY DA MON M. B A N K S
llenborough Park is a 15th century manor house located in the heart of the Cotswolds, adjacent to the famous Cheltenham Racecourse. The hotel boasts a world-class spa and gourmet restaurant, and is comprised of 60 large bedrooms and suites designed by Nina Campbell. “More than just a view” is a term commonly used to describe the Cotswolds. The region is famous for its picturesque views and limestone villages, but also presents lively cultural and sporting events, festivals, quirky shops and a wealth of pubs and restaurants. Ellenborough Park is the quintessential countryside getaway, where guests enjoy English elegance, lavish amenities and a wide range of activities. The hotel has all of the best features of an award winning country house hotel – an extensive wine cellar, Indian-themed Spa and swimming pool. This luxury Cotswolds destination hotel also has its own private access to the famous Cheltenham Racecourse,
which is the host to eight steeplechase races per year. The Great Hall is a picture-perfect location for Afternoon Tea, and is a daily affair not-to-be-missed when enjoying time at this countryside estate. In addition to limited edition tea occasions throughout the year, the iconic cakes and sandwiches are perfect compliments to their list of black, green, white, herbal, oolong and even homemade infusion teas, such as hot ginger and fresh mint.
You need to visit Ellenborough Park to enjoy the real thing when it comes to the inventive drinks created by their bartenders; but for those feeling adventurous, they have provided the main ingredients so that you can try to re-create these favorite cocktails at home. Please drink responsibly. ellenboroughpark.com
Photography Courtesy Ellenborough Park
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / gophoto
Designed to relax horseracing fans during the final moments of a great race, this cocktail plays more than the original role of quenching thirst and melting the ice of social situations. Instead, it acts as a conduit for the drinker to experience a relaxed view of the race. The bar team have used their talents to create a delicate blend of Tanqueray Gin, kiwi and a subtle sweet lime finish – this one is available by special request, or during the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Final Furlong Fresh Kiwi 45ml Tanqueray Gin 20ml Limoncello Sugar Syrup – to taste Lime Juice – to taste Dash of Soda
The Winning Post
Drink as you desire, but drink to the horses that are first past the post. This cocktail brings together the complexity of Tanqueray Gin and the elegance of Belvedere Vodka for a unique celebratory experience. Inspired by these flavors, the Winning Post combines a wonderful acidity with a rich sugary texture. The Winning Post is the perfect companion for any celebration.
15ml Belvedere Vodka 15ml Tanqueray 10 Gin 15ml 10 Cane Rum 15ml Patron Silver Tequila 15ml Cointreau Lime Juice – to taste Sugar Syrup – to taste Monin Strawberry Syrup – to taste Dash of Cranberry Juice
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SU MMER / FALL 2 0 1 6
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Feature Hotel Concierges
An Inside Look at the World of a Concierge
HOW DOES THE CONCIERGE DECIDE WHAT TO RECOMMEND TO GUESTS? Personal Experience
The Concierge makes recommendations based on personal experiences and connections. Most Concierges have done their research, and will not suggest an activity that does not meet his or her standards of satisfaction.
BY DAMON M. BANKS
Ask Questions The Concierge will make it a priority to understand the guests’ preferences, interests, budget, schedule and any other special requests to ensure the suggested activity fits the bill.
WHY GUESTS SHOULD CONSULT THEIR CONCIERGE?
Monitor For Trends With the rise of technology, guests are always looking for the next “cool” experience to share on social media.
• Firsthand knowledge and experience of the city, and its offerings. • Connections with restaurants, box oﬃces and other excursions – Concierges often have the abilities to locate tickets to sold-out shows or get a reservation for booked restaurants. • Quick-thinking and problem-solving skills – lost luggage? Tickets to a sold out concert? No problem. • Specialization of service.
WHAT ARE THE TRENDING EXPERIENCE REQUESTS? • • • • •
Micro-breweries and local wineries Fitness recommendations Healthy dining options Local experiences Day Trips
5 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS GUESTS 3. The Internet has more information than the hotel Concierge. While it is true HAVE ABOUT HOTEL CONCIERGES: that a guest can find most facts about destinations online, the hotel Concierge knows 1. The Concierge only provides general the city firsthand, and can give information and information. In fact, the Concierge aims to insights not found on the Internet. (Jerald Aguilar, provide tailor-made recommendations based on Hilton Americas-Houston) the guests’ preferences. (Markus Dobritzhofer, 4. The Concierge only provides expensive Rome Cavalieri) suggestions from venues that provide 2. Concierges only serve elite guests. The commission. Suggestions are not based on Concierge is there to assist anyone staying at the commissions – they are tailored to fit the hotel with the goal of making the seemingly schedules, budgets and preferences of individual impossible, possible. (Joe Mack Treas, Hilton guests. The Concierge suggests activities that will Nashville Downtown) leave the guest with memories. Hilton prides itself on Hilton-employed Concierges, who are loyal to the guests, and not a third-party. (Thamirys Saraiva, Hilton Barra)
he life of a Concierge is one filled with discovering new and inventive ways to exceed guests’ requests, and their expectations. It is more than simply making dinner reservations for the savvy guests who choose to take advantage of the Concierge’s knowledge of the destination, and their personal connections. I was able to get to know several of the Concierges within the Hilton Worldwide family of properties, and they shared insight into this ever-evolving role within the hotels. I certainly know that I have experienced a number of run-ins with Concierges at luxury hotels who simply should not be Concierges, and only know how to do web searches to find results to questions. However, in many cases internationally, the well-trained Concierges can be absolutely priceless when looking for that exclusive localized experience. As a brand, Hilton Worldwide has continued to grow in its almost 100-year history, and now includes 13 world-class brands comprised of 4,660 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties with more than 765,000 rooms in over 100 countries. Hilton’s Concierges pride themselves on being the best of the best, but many guests simply are still not aware of their capabilities – or in many cases, assume it is easier to simply utilize what they can find on the Internet. A Concierge is more than a luggage-finding, reservationmaking guru – although, they are well versed in each – he or she is an expert for the city in which they reside, making them your personal in-house travel agent. The only thing you must do is to take advantage of their expertise. When looking to impress someone special, or entertain a family or group while traveling, the Concierge can quickly become your best friend.
The Concierge can quickly become your best friend. 5. Concierges cannot book and plan trip itineraries. Concierges have become tour guides with benefits – they know the ins and outs of the city they reside, and have the connections and capabilities to plan an entire itinerary from a day trip to a weekend getaway. (Dina Teriitahi, Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa)
CONCIERGE PROFILE: CONCIERGE LEO WANG Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, by Hilton Worldwide
Photography Courtesy Hilton Worldwide
Q: How did you come to be the Concierge at the property? A: I joined the Concierge Team after graduating from school. My Concierge working experience started with a role as Doorman, which helped me to gain information about the city. I then became an Airport Representative & Bellman. When I joined Waldorf Astoria Shanghai as Bell Captain, I used my previous working experience to build and train the Concierge Team. I also became a “Les Clefs d’Or” member in 2012.
Q: What “experiences” are your favorites to create when families are looking for something special while staying at the property? A: On one occasion, a family from abroad wanted to visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, but they only had a few hours left before
catching their flight. When they arrived to the Oriental Pearl TV tower they were met with a long queue and a waiting time of approximately three hours. The child was very disappointed. As I knew the guests quite well, they called my personal mobile phone to ask for help. Although I was off on that day, I took a taxi to the Oriental Pearl TV tower, while calling a friend of mine who worked there. I met them at the queue and explained that I already made contact with my friend, but I was not sure if he could help. After working together with my friend, we arranged VIP passes for them and they were very happy, even though they had to pay over double the price. The family thanked me for the assistance, they took a picture with me and I wished them farewell under the Oriental Pearl TV tower. The guests also left a “thank you” letter to me and promised to stay with us again once back in Shanghai.
Q: For couples looking for a unique way to experience the property and destination, what would you suggest? A: Our modern French restaurant “Pelham’s” provides high quality dining experiences. The Waldorf Luxury River Suite has a great view of the Bund that can be enjoyed from the bed. Housekeeping can arrange beautiful flowers for couples in either the room, or one of the restaurants. We at Concierge could also assist in organizing special arrangements according to the couple’s preferences. For our guests to enjoy a unique experience, it is the coordinated effort and passion of the entire team at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, not just one person or department. True Waldorf Service. LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
CONCIERGE PROFILE: CONCIERGE ALAN VERNIER Trianon Palace Versailles A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, by Hilton Worldwide
Photography Courtesy Hilton Worldwide
Q: How did you come to be the Concierge at the property? A: I worked as a Concierge for many years in prestigious hotels throughout Paris. When I decided to join the Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it was first of all because of its unique location. Located just on the edge of the Château de Versailles, the hotel also has its own history. For example, I love to explain to our guests that the Treaty of Versailles was drafted in our historic Clemenceau Ballroom in 1919. It is a real honor for me to work in such a spectacular destination and to share this on a day-to-day basis with our guests while creating unforgettable experiences.
Q: What “experiences” are your favorites to create for families looking for something special while staying at the property?
A: When we have the pleasure to welcome little kings and queens to the hotel, I love to suggest a very fun activity with our “Treasure Hunt Book.” I give them an imaginative game book we created around our exceptional settings. From the hotel grounds to the gardens of the Château de Versailles, they have plenty of places to discover in order to fill their book and know everything about the destination. They have fun, learn a lot about French history, and can go back home with great memories to share with the whole family.
Q: For couples looking for a unique way to experience the property and destination, what would you suggest?
A: Among the numerous unforgettable experiences our destination can offer, my suggestions would be a romantic boat ride on the Grand Canal or horse drawn carriage drive in the Château de Versailles Park. Perfection!
Asia's Leading New Resort
Asia's Leading Villa Resort
Getaways Europe For Romance
There is just something special about getting away from the normal routine during the autumn months, and this is fortunately one of the most romantic times to visit Europe. Even with higher temperatures on occasion and excessive tourists still lingering after the summer rush, Europe is always magical. During this time, the airports, train stations and ports also become much less hectic. Our top five getaways were selected to offer you a variety of options for European romance. Here are some of our favorite luxury hotels perfect for splurging. Add in a simple prix fixe meal at a local cafĂŠ or pick up a bottle of wine and snacks at the local market to balance your splurge, as there are always ways to economize in Europe to make the most of your travel budget.
IN EUROPE BY MICHELLE M. WINNER 82
Photography Courtesy Belmond Hotel Splendido
PORTOFINO IS PERFECTION When we say “Italian Riviera,” what comes to mind? Perhaps, old stone buildings painted like a rainbow crouching on a cliff over a curving seaport; sleek yachts and speedboats lining a small harbor; jet setters wandering the sandstone piazza in and out of luxury boutiques; or hours of people watching while sipping coffee from a cafe al fresco? Portofino is all of these things. The ultimate reason for visiting Portofino is that everyone is looking to be seen, but not make a scene in this picture-perfect destination. Portofino does not have the high-voltage discos or raucous nightlife of other Riviera destinations (which is often a good thing), so it is an idyllic romantic getaway. Be warned that the secret is out about Portofino so it can get crowded with tourists – if you can avoid the weekend rush, it is even better. The few hotels are luxurious, pampering and discreet: making them perfect for your very own secluded pied-à-terre. At Belmond Hotel Splendido, wake up to incredible views of the Ligurian Sea from your private flower-covered terrace in this traditional luxury hotel. Built in the 1920’s, Belmond Hotel Splendido still possesses all of the romantic charm of the era, while also offering exceptional modern-day bespoke services. Bello!
Photography Courtesy Belmond Hotel Splendido
Portofino: www.portofinotourism.com Belmond Hotel Splendido: www.belmond.com
People don't take trips, trips take people.
– John Steinbeck
A GOLDEN AGE MANSION IN AMSTERDAM Amsterdam is romantic any month of the year. It could be the tulips that remain blooming in the flower boxes on the windows in the old town during this time of the year, or the elegant little wooden boats with well-dressed locals sipping champagne while serenely floating down the canals for those afternoon cruises. The grand life here is centered around the signature canals, unique collections of art, cutting-edge museums, Nieuw Amsterdam cuisine, and endless amounts of water everywhere. Our favorite hotel for romance is the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. Unique in that it encompasses six elegantly restored 17th and 18th century Patrician mansions along Herengracht (Gentleman's Canal), which once belonged to wealthy merchants. Here, your own concierge greets you – quickly making it obvious that no request you make will go unfulfilled during your stay here. An outstanding Michelin two-star restaurant, Librije’s Zusje Amsterdam, is at your service for an extraordinary dinner for two. Did I also mention the Guerlain Spa’s Couples Treatments? Fabulous!
Photography Courtesy Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Amsterdam: www.iamsterdam.com Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam: www.waldorfastoria3.hilton.com LUX EG E TAWAYS.C OM
BURGUNDY IS FOR LOVERS -
AND THE WINE IS NOT BAD EITHER France’s Côte d'Or is a magical region for Pinot Noir and Chablis grapes. It is also an inspiring canvas on which to paint your own love story. Castles and vineyards dot the hilly terrain around La Ferme de la Lochère, an elegantly restored former horse barn to the nearby chateau, which is now a villa for two, or more. Proprietress Katherine Frelon, besides being a stylish interior decorator, is also a top-notch private chef. Arrange your stay, and she will accompany you to the local farmer’s market for provisions in order to prepare an unforgettable “Burgundian Feast” with you back at the villa. You can also feel like a local by learning to make gougère (baked savory choux pastry made with choux dough and a variety of cheeses) to enjoy with your chablis. Her wine expert, Brendan Moore, can even take you on a private tour of the local vineyards and wine caves to meet his friends – the grape farmers and vintners. If you are lucky, you might even receive an invite to share a bottle of premier cru. Here, you have the opportunity to eat, drink and cook like the locals. Divine! Burgundy: www.burgundy-tourism.com La Ferme de la Lochère: www.lafermedelalochere.com Photography Courtesy La Ferme de la Lochère
FLOATING AWAY ON THE ISAND OF IOS IN A PURPLE HAZE Why Ios? Simple, because it has a private island feel, while you can still wander into town for a drink, or a delicious meal with the locals. Wildflowers cover the hillsides, turning them shades of purple during the spring and summer months. At dusk, the violet-shaded hills melt into the sea, as it also turns violet. The little lights of whitewashed houses appear, and the stars pop out in a cloudless sky as the moon rises. One of the best spots on Ios to enjoy sunset, Liostasi Hotel, is also the most romantic place to stay. This dream of an escape is set into the hillside with stupendous views to the harbor below. Each room and suite is airy, chic and invites relaxation thanks in part to the uncluttered design. Ask for the “Liostasi Suite” for a private pool outside and a huge bathtub for two ensuite – both with mesmerizing views of the sea. For those inspired by the simple beauty here, couples can even arrange to renew their vows in the private chapel. I do! Ios: www.ios.gr Liostasi Hotel: www.liostasi.gr
Photography Courtesy Liostasi Hotel
THE BEAUTY OF BARCELONA There is nothing calm about Barcelona. The architecture can be outrageous, the tapas bars get crowded, and the plethora of street performers on Las Ramblas can be a bit much. But these things are also what make it so charming. The city is exciting, and there is much to experience together while trying to keep up with the pace of life here. However, when it comes to your home base during the stay, you will likely want a quiet hotel that is far from the city center since it goes all night (and is noisy). Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona is a high-rise set across from green space and a large park, complete with exceptional views of the Mediterranean Sea. This is a newer area, but reaching the famous La Rambla Boulevard is just a few minutes by taxi. The Presidential Suite’s views to the sea are spectacular. Pair your stay with the “PuroBeach Luxury Day” package, and you will have a sunny romance paired with champagne, a couple’s massage and lunch for two. Salud! Barcelona: www.barcelonaturisme.com
Photography Courtesy Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona: www.hilton.com
If by now you have still not decided where to spend your romantic European getaway, think about what you like to do together, what kind of weather you like, and what you enjoy when you are home. And then take a leap of faith, and do the exact opposite. As John Steinbeck said, “People don't take trips, trips take people.” Besides, there is nothing better than expanding your horizons while exploring unfamiliar destinations with someone you love! Bon Voyage!
Couples Travel Hawai’i
Exclusive Hawaiian Hideaways For Your Romantic Getaway BY MICHELLE M. WINNER The Islands of Hawai’i form a graceful arching archipelago of the eight main Hawaiian Islands of Hawai’i, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, O'ahu, Kaua’i, and Ni’ihau tethered to what is called the Hawaiian Ridge. Each island differs in age and topography, and each with its own romantic charm.
1.O’AHU O’ahu is a bustling metropolis. So where is the romance? O’ahu has so much to offer by way of the culture, history, museums, natural beauty and the arts; and it should be considered. No one can take the breathtaking sights from the Pali Highway for granted while taking-in the panoramic view of Kane’ohe and Kailua, regardless of how often they may have driven this road.
Photo by Kurt Winner
During the early 1900’s, the world was entranced by the exotic nature of Hawai’i after listening to popular music of that period, and subsequently tourism landed in Hawai’i. Imagine your first view of the Pink Palace (The Royal Hawaiian Hotel), as you sailed by Waikiki aboard your Matson steamer to “discover“ the islands. Today, visitors arrive by the millions in search of the culture and beauty that was Hawai’i. Thoughtful travelers, especially those seeking a romantic interlude together no longer seek the “wicky-wacky-Waikiki”
of the popular songs in the 1920’s, Magnum, P.I.’s red Ferrari 308, or even Don Ho’s bubbles. Instead, they are looking for a truly authentic stay, and a place to relax into the rhythm of the islands and discover romance with their partners — sometimes even with kids in tow to enjoy Hawai’i. Wander with us to several of these special places on O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i, Lana’i and Hawai’i. These are each treasured destinations, so take your time to get to know each of them, and to allow Hawai’i into your heart.
Splurge on O’ahu: Hide Away At The Halekulani
Thrifty on O’ahu: Surfer’s Paradise Value At Turtle Bay Resort
Our favorite O’ahu stay is right on Waikiki beach. The venerable Halekulani has a slower rhythm than the cacophony of Waikiki’s nearby Kalakaua Avenue. Here, service is meticulous, and the views of Diamond Head are incomparable. Be sure not to miss this local favorite: a sunset cocktail at the “House Without a Key” while listening to Hawaiian music and watching a lovely hula dancer tell you a story with her graceful hands. Be sure to savor these moments with your partners, and share a kiss as the sun drops into the ocean. Halekulani.com
Many best know Oahu’s North Shore for surfing contests and huge winter surf. Turtle Bay Resort is right in the middle of all the action, while also offering golf, horseback riding, great restaurants, a killer spa and various types of lodging. You can book a hotel room, or an Ocean Villa directly on the ocean. But our favorite for a true North Shore Surf romance is one of the Hawaiian-style Beach Cottages. You will love it. TurtleBayResort.com
Photography Courtesy Hawaii Tourism
Brown sugar beaches, the Haleakala Crater and incredible golf make Maui a true paradise. However, our pick for the ultimate “lovecation” is far away from the rest of the island. In fact, it might be said that you travel back in time to discover this destination on Maui.
Splurge on Maui: Get Away From It All At Travaasa Hana To reach the verdant “Heavenly Hana” you have to drive 52 miles, which consists of 600 curves in the road and 54 narrow bridges to cross. But oh baby is it worth the trip! Going to Hana is like traveling back in time no less than a hundred years. At Travaasa Hana, they understand what you are looking for in a getaway; and they have re-imagined the worker's cottages of the Maui sugar plantation, but of course in a grand way. Relax on your lanai under the coconut palms while delighting in the unobstructed views of the ocean, and catching a glimpse of Hawai’i as it once was. Maybe you will want to hike a little through the tropical rain forest; or swim in the Seven Sacred Pools; or even learn to throw a fishing net Hawaiian style. Regardless of what you decide, the cultural offerings and laid-back luxury will delight the true romantic. Do not worry about having to leave for meals since the restaurant is perfection. Travaasa.com
Thrifty on Maui: Island’s Best Value, Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas Ka’anapali is a 3-mile stretch of beach lined by hotels and condos, and then wrapped in 36 holes of golf. There are so many terrific restaurants, casual oceanfront tables, and hidden spots for a romantic sunset drink and pupu (nibbles) that you will have to try one for every meal. Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas occupies a huge property in the Ka’anapali Beach Resort. It is officially a vacation club property, but you can stay there without joining, or getting into any long commitments. They offer a lot. Every room or villa has a fully equipped kitchen, but with so many options, you will not be restricted to your accommodations. You can barbecue near the beach with everything provided by the store on property, or hire a private chef to cook for you while you sit back with a cocktail in your hand. You only have to light the candles. WestinKaanapali.com
Photography Courtesy Travaasa Hana
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Couples Travel Hawai’i
Kaua’i and romance are intertwined. Elvis filmed Blue Hawaii here. The “Bali Ha’i” peaks of Hanalei starred in the movie South Pacific. From green and lush areas; to dry and desolate landscapes; or the striking Nā Pali coast and lovely beaches, every part of this beautiful island has a different look and feel.
Splurge on Kaua’i: Kickin’ It At Kukui'ula Kukui'ula is a resort community on Kaua’i’s south side offering property to build your very own vacation house. But most people do not realize that you can actually book a stay here at an island-style cottage, bungalow or villa. For romance, it is hard to resist your exclusive one- or two-bedroom luxury cottage that is surrounded by a grassy lawn and tropical flowers. At night on your lanai, breathe in the balmy air and watch the stars come out between the coco palms. Kukuiula.com
Thrifty on Kaua’i: Sweet Value For Waimea Plantation Cottages
Photography Courtesy Kukui’ula
An entire plantation village of restored sugar plantation workers' cottages awaits you just outside Waimea, fronting a black sand beach. At Waimea Plantation Cottages, these simple-looking cottages dating back to the 1920's and 1930's open to reveal beautiful period furnishings (not what you would find in the worker's homes, but perhaps the plantation manager's home), and all the amenities you could desire. Come for the peace and quiet. This place will slow you down, and allow you to feel the real rhythm of Hawai’i. WaimeaPlantation.com
Couples Travel Hawai’i Pineapple trees once covered Lana’i. Most who have lived here in the last one hundred years have worked on the plantation. Still a small community, there is a sense of being very self-reliant. It is a pretty little island with an incredible heart, and a true getaway-from-it-all place to spend time with someone you love. A billionaire who has two luxury hotels, and continues to keep the island undeveloped, owns much of Lana’i.
Splurge on Lana’i: Private Island Ambience Pervades at the Four Seasons The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i has completed an extensive renovation, and has recently reopened. What sets this hotel apart is the secluded beachfront location with nary another hotel in sight, the over-the-top luxurious renovations, and the one-of-a-kind experiences. It does not hurt that Chef Nobu has a restaurant here, or that one of the best spas in Hawai’i is here either. And who wants to bother with a room key in your swim shorts? Here, you wear a bracelet that provides access to your room. Prepare to be pampered every step of the way. FourSeasons.com/Lanai
Thrifty on Lana’i: Find Funky Fun Value At Hotel Lana’i This little gem is not on the beach, nor does it have resort amenities. What is does have, however, is an ambience of old Hawai’i that is now sadly vanishing on most islands. Plantation owner James Dole, who wanted a hotel for his executives, built Hotel Lana’i in the 1920’s. Here you will find board and batten walls typical of the time, Hawaiian quilts on the beds, local art on the walls, and the great little restaurant called Lana’i City Grille here is simply a bonus. HotelLanai.com
Photography Courtesy The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i
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Couples Travel Hawai’i If you have visited the Big Island of Hawai’i, you know how varied the terrain is around every corner. From the mist and waterfalls of Hilo you can view a volcano spewing fire; ride a horse through green cow grass waving in the wind; and drive on a road along the ocean next to stark black lava. Big Island is the most geographically diverse in the island chain.
Splurge on the Big Island: Cannot Beat The Mauna Kea’s Beach The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel sits above the best beach on Hawai’i; the sandy crescentshaped Hapuna Beach at Kauna’oa Bay is perfect for walking hand in hand. Originally built by Laurance Rockefeller to house an art collection, the hotel is sited so that the first thing you see as you walk through the doors is a magnetic view to the ocean that is framed by the open lobby. Oceanfront rooms are tastefully decorated with large lanais for hanging out and enjoying the views. Baths in the suites are also very sexy, again with ocean views and bathtubs big enough for two. You will see the magic of Mauna Kea’s Beach soon enough. PrinceResortsHawaii.com
5. THE BIG ISLAND
Thrifty on the Big Island: Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Nearby Value We did not have to go far. Next door to the Mauna Kea is the luxury deal. Reserve an oceanfront room here, and you will still have one of the most romantic views in the world. Guests at Hapuna Beach Hotel may also dine at the Mauna Kea and sign it to their room. Go early and watch the Manta Rays swirling at the point, and then dine under the stars overlooking the beach at the Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar. PrinceResortsHawaii.com
Final Thoughts Although many choose to island hop (holoholo), for a romantic stay, it is often best to select only one island for your trip. You will find much to do on each island, but remember that you and your loved one are visiting paradise so that you can truly connect with each other. Mahalo! Hawaii Tourism: www.gohawaii.com
Photography Courtesy Prince Resorts Hawaii
Fashion Jackets BY DAMON M. BANKS WITH ANDREW VILLAGOMEZ
Perfect Travel Jackets for Cool Evenings Men’s Jackets: Modern Slim Khaki Cotton/Linen Blazer Banana Republic | MSRP: $230 www.bananarepublic.gap.com
Renzo Navy Suede and Leather Bomber Jacket Mackage | MSRP: $760 www.mackage.com
Nonstop Blazer Lululemon | MSRP: $298 www.shop.lululemon.com
When it comes to traveling, there is always the need for that go-to jacket and swimsuit when packing your bags for your next exciting destination. The key to finding the perfect travel jacket is versatility. Several of our favorite looks include the classic trench and cinched-waist coats (ideal for unpredictable and in-between-seasons’ weather), a fitted blazer (for a professional finish to a look), a chic leather jacket (they never go out of style and can take you from day to night easily) and Athleisure (offers several choices from comfort to modern vogue).
Coated Canvas Hooded Parka Lacoste | MSRP: $385 www.lacoste.com
Freda Turquoise Suede Jacket Mackage | MSRP: $690 www.mackage.com
Women’s Jackets: Embla Light Summer Coat Helly Hansen | MSRP: $400 www.hellyhansen.com
Perfect Swimsuits for Hot Days Men’s Swimsuits: Gingham Taffeta Swim Short Lacoste | MSRP: $95 www.lacoste.com
El Matador Swim Trunk Mr.Turk | MSRP: $158 www.mrturk.com
Laguna Board Short – Blue Flamingo Bonobos | MSRP: $88 www.bonobos.com
Women’s Swimsuits: Black Diamonds Karo Swimwear | MSRP: $219 www.karoswimwear.com
Swimsuits are available in so many styles, sizes and patterns today that there is always a perfect swimsuit for each occasion. It often depends on your destination, and whether you will be relaxing in a spa and indoor pool environment; sunbathing on a white sandy beach; or living the posh life on a yacht. While women have a wider variety of swimsuits that are easily paired with cover ups, men’s selections are primarily about the colors and patterns; and then the decision of going with the briefs, longer board shorts, or somewhere in between – with the 5-inch short currently being the most popular choice for traveling, or fitting any situation. Colors and patterns are often the main priorities when picking swimsuits and jackets. Neutrals are always the best bet for making a style work year-round, but don’t be afraid of a pop of color that matches the destinations you frequent, and your personality. For some inspiration, we have pulled a few of our favorite jacket and swimsuit options for men and women this season so that you can discover the best solution for you to travel in style.
Cancun Triangle Bikini Blue Ikat Melissa Odabash | MSRP: $218 Top & Bottom www.odabash.com
Africana Cross Back One Piece Trina Turk | MSRP: $156 www.trinaturk.com
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A DVERTIS EMENT
Not All Smartwatches Are Created Equal BY DORON LEVY
TAG HEUER T H E M A NY FAC E S OF TAG H E U E R ’ S C ON N E CT ED…
TAG HEUER was one of the first luxury brands to map out a strategy for a smartwatch, and their Connected watch was met with great success. Affluent early adopters had no issue shelling out $1,500 for these smartwatches, which were quickly sold out. What sets this watch apart is the ability to change the watch face to classic and modern TAG designs with the swipe of a finger. TAG has taken that one step further and commissioned celebrities and sports stars to create their own watch faces that owners can download. www.tagheuerconnected.com
LG T HE UR B AN E LUXE IS OBTAIN AB LE LUXU RY…
While the Apple Watch Edition Rose Gold costs a bit more than $10,000, LG offers its own interpretation of the luxury smartwatch in 23k gold, complete with stylish alligator strap for about $1,200 (limited edition). LG is also known for their cutting edge television technology, which translates down to the Urbane Luxe’s stunning Full-Circle P-OLED Display. LG’s smartwatch runs on Android 4.3 or later, and can even run iOS (but with very limited functionality). This device supports cloud connectivity, which allows users to make and receive calls and notifications without their actual phone. Now that is really cutting the cord! www.lg.com
APPLE Y ES, APPLE IS NOW A LUXURY BRAND…
There is a lot of debate as to what brand actually created the smartwatch market. While that may still be in question, there is no argument that Apple is king among many areas of the technology world, including smartwatches; and has created such a strong following that anything branded by Apple can instantly become a lifestyle choice. Anyone familiar with iPhone will appreciate the intuitive interface on the Apple Watch. Functionality, apps and connectivity are generally the same across most models with memory sizes being the only difference. With various thicknesses, band styles and finishes, the Apple smartwatch is a very popular choice today. One of our favorites is a classic and elegant 38mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Space Black Link Bracelet, which is priced at approximately $1,000. www.apple.com
BREITLING T H E B 5 5 E XOS PAC E I S N OT YOU R E VE RY DAY S M A RT WATC H …
Breitling watches are known for their aviation themed designs, and are the favorite of pilots both recreational and professional for their functionality. The B55 Exospace is the aviator's smartwatch with specialized apps and data tracking that connect and send data to your smartphone. The B55 is true to its Breitling heritage with an analog watch face complimented by two scrolling display screens. While not your run of the mill smartwatch that makes phone calls and books airline tickets, the B55 Exospace defines itself as a high tech aviator’s instrument while still maintaining that classic Breitling design, and is priced at approximately $8,900. www.breitling.com
TEEING IT UP HAWAIIAN STYLE
on Kaua’i BY DAM O N M . B AN KS
With the vast number of world-class golf courses around the world these days, golf getaways are now better than ever. Kaua’i is one of those heavenly destinations with everything required for the ultimate golf getaway of a lifetime. But beware... if you are someone looking for a destination with action-packed days and late night festivities, this is not the place for you. What Kaua'i does offer is incomprehensible amounts of natural beauty, insane golf courses and a complete escape from the daily grind. Here are our top ﬁve places to tee it up on Kaua’i this season.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / nirutcs
1. Ocean Course at Hokuala
2. Puakea Golf Course
3. Poipu Bay Golf Course
Timbers Resorts purchased this property in late 2015, and they are now enhancing the resort so it will be better than ever. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the back nine includes the longest stretch of oceanfront holes in all of golf-rich Hawaii. Two of the par-3s are simply unforgettable – the 5th hole is a daunting one-shotter over a mango jungle ravine, while the 14th is a breathtaking hole with a shot required over an ocean cove to securely find a coconut tree-framed green. Make sure to swallow your pride on these holes, and take an extra club since the forced carries are stout.
Located in Lihue, near the airport, Puakea Golf Course is adjacent to the locations used by Steven Spielberg when filming Jurassic Park. This becomes abundantly clear on the 14th hole, which is a par 4 that typically plays downwind, and is framed by lush mountains that evoke primal awe. The 3rd hole is a short (yet tricky) par 4 where hitting less than driver will keep you from reaching the water that comes into play as you approach the green. Make sure you avoid the fairway bunker however – it is deep with a steep-faced front, and not much fun for even the best golfers.
Part of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Poipu Bay was the host course of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for 12 years, and Phil Mickelson holds the course record of 59. While his 59 infers that the course is a pushover, the trade winds often blow with gusto here, and makes players work for every shot. The best tip is to remember to focus. The views are astoundingly beautiful, and they tend to make it very easy to get distracted (in a good way).
...golf getaways are now better than ever!
Photography Courtesy Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
4. Wailua Golf Course As a municipal course owned and operated by Kaua’i County, it admittedly does not have the resort grandeur as many of the other Kaua’i golf courses. However, it is outstanding nonetheless, evidenced by having hosted three USGA Amateur Public Links Championships over the years. It is long, well maintained and has great ocean views. As an added bonus, it is a very affordable option, and the pace of play is brisk… a golf win-win if there ever was one!
Photography Courtesy Wailua Golf Course
Photography Courtesy Puakea Golf Course
Photography Courtesy Timbers Resorts
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Sport Travel Hawaii Golf
5. Princeville Makai Golf Club
Make An Impact on the Course This Season
As part of The St. Regis Princeville Resort, this Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course is a pure delight, and a true must-play experience when on Kauaâ€™i. The 7th hole offers views of Mount Makana (the mythical Bali Hai from South Pacific fame), and it requires a tee shot over Turtle Cove. It is both intimidating and thrilling at the same moment. As an added option, they also offer Sunset Golf Cart Tours that offer spectacular vistas for golfers and non-golfers alike.
B IG M A X AU TOFOLD The ultra fast flat fold technology enables the product to be flat packed in a matter of seconds with a single hand movement that automatically folds down all three wheels at the same time. The overall quality and design is unbeatable!
www.bigmaxgolf.com MSRP: $299.99
VA R IC K G OLF B A LLS Varick Classic golf balls are the newest technology in making competitive golf balls that not only bring a bit of style to your golf game, but also are highly playable and durable. Plus, these make great conversation starters!
www.varickgolfballs.com MSRP: $10.00, per sleeve
B II ON FOOT W EA R Biion Footwear was born out of a vision to create a versatile slip-on shoe that is unapologetically fashionable, and features a color spectrum and exciting patterns unlike any other. We love the diversity of styles!
www.biionfootwear.com MSRP: $100.00
Photography Courtesy St. Regis Princeville Resort
An Exciting New Way To Explore
Peruâ€™s Sacred Valley Always looking for new adventures and localized experiences, several of the opportunities with Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas this season grabbed our attention. BY DAMON M. BANKS
Photography Courtesy Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas
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Adventure Travel Peru
LIBERTADOR HOTELS, RESORTS & SPAS This boutique hotel brand is preparing to celebrate their 40th anniversary, and currently consists of eight hotels in several of Peru’s most attractive destinations. The Sacred Heartbeat is a three-day adventure that provides guests with a way to see Peru in a truly unique fashion, while also being able to escape to either Tambo del Inka or Palacio del Inka each night to savor the deliciously authentic cuisine and bask in these South American luxury hotels. These properties are two of Libertador’s finest, and are sure to delight its guests with luxuries such as a full-service spa, heated swimming pools and numerous modern amenities.
When seeking a raw and once-in-a-lifetime getaway in South America, The Sacred Heartbeat by Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas should be considered for a uniquely beautiful look at Peru. By day, guests venture out into the local environment, and will probably find themselves slightly outside of their comfort zones as they mountain bike through picturesque villages and fields of the Sacred Valley with views of the Andes Mountains; visit the legendary Maras salt mines; hike with llamas through the Valley of Pumahuanca; and kayak either Huaypo or Piuray Lake. Each day ends with guests being able to relax and enjoy the many amenities found at the hotels, including exceptional Peruvian pampering at the world-class spas, restaurants and lounges. When seeking a raw and once-in-a-lifetime getaway in South America, The Sacred Heartbeat by Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas should be considered for a uniquely beautiful look at Peru.
Learn more at www.libertador.com.pe
Where to Eat, Sleep & Explore in Washington, D.C. BY DAM ON M . B AN KS
It is fair to say that Washington, D.C. remains in the international spotlight, but with a very bizarre presidential election process that is taking place in 2016, the entire world has their eyes on D.C. now more than ever to see what might happen next. For those preparing their own visit, we wanted to provide the basic essentials for planning your getaway so that you can be close to all of the political action – or stay clear of politics altogether, and focus on the dining, shopping and other cultural activities available in Washington, D.C. The neighborhoods of the District (and the surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland) each provide something entirely unique to the locals and tourists alike. In the District, dive into the history and politics on Capitol Hill; walk the streets filled with great bakeries, boutiques and high-end stores in Georgetown; explore the For the complete story, visit luxegetaways.com/fall-2016-washington-dc
up-and-coming areas of trendy Penn Quarter and Chinatown; navigate the chaos on foot (or in a car) that surrounds the area of Dupont Circle; or enjoy the pockets of quiet areas mixed into the intriguing museums and historic landmarks along the National Mall. In Virginia, visit the malls in Tyson’s Corner; mingle with the locals in Clarendon; explore the history of Old Town Alexandria; dine with the locals in a neighborhood filled with numerous restaurants in Shirlington Village; or venture into Maryland for great dining in Bethesda, or the shopping and entertainment options at National Harbor. With so many international influences and things to see and do; take the time to get to know the area, and then create your own Washington, D.C. getaway!
What To Do… Museum Experiences Smithsonian Museums www.si.edu/museums
International Spy Museum www.spymuseum.org
National Postal Museum www.postalmuseum.si.edu
Performing Arts Venues John F. Kennedy Center www.kennedy-center.org
National Theatre www.thenationaldc.org
Arena Stage at the Mead Center www.arenastage.org
Spa Locations Gaylord National at National Harbor www.marriott.com
Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC www.mandarinoriental.com
The Red Door Chevy Chase www.thereddoor.com
Unique DC Experiences The Dumbarton House www.dumbartonhouse.org
Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens www.hillwoodmuseum.org
Tudor Place Historic House & Gardens www.tudorplace.org
The neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. each provide something entirely unique...
Photography Courtesy Destination DC
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Featured Destination Washington, D.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Washington DC
Salamander Resort & Spa
The Hay-Adams Hotel
The Embassy Row Hotel
Where To Stayâ€Ś
DC Area Resorts
The Fairmont Washington, DC
Four Seasons Hotel
The Fairfax at Embassy Row
Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
www.fairmont.com/washington 2401 M Street NW (202) 429-2400
www.fourseasons.com/washington 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 342-0444
www.fairfaxwashingtondc.com 2100 Massachusetts Avenue NW (202) 293-2100
www.goodstone.com Middleburg, VA (540) 687-3333
The Hay-Adams Hotel
Henley Park Hotel
The Inn at Little Washington
www.hayadams.com 800 16th Street NW (202) 638-6600
www.mandarinoriental.com/washington 1330 Maryland Avenue SW (202) 554-8588
www.henleypark.com 926 Massachusetts Avenue NW (202) 638-5200
www.theinnatlittlewashington.com Washington, VA (540) 675-3800
The Jefferson Hotel
Omni Shoreham Hotel
The Mayflower Hotel
Keswick Hall & Golf Club
www.jeffersondc.com 1200 16th Street NW (202) 448-2300
www.omnihotels.com 2500 Calvert Street NW (202) 234-0700
www.themayflowerhotel.com 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW (202) 347-3000
www.keswick.com Keswick, VA (434) 979-3440
The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown
The St. Regis Washington, DC
Lansdowne Resort & Spa
www.ritzcarlton.com 1150 22nd Street NW (202) 835-0500
www.ritzcarlton.com 3100 South Street NW (202) 912-4100
www.stregiswashingtondc.com 923 16th Street NW (202) 638-2626
www.destinationhotels.com Leesburg, VA (703) 729-8400
Rosewood Washington, DC
Sofitel Washington, DC
The Willard InterContinental
Salamander Resort & Spa
www.rosewoodhotels.com 1050 31st Street NW (202) 617-2400
www.sofitel.com 806 15th Street NW (202) 730-8800
www.washington.intercontinental.com 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 628-9100
www.salamanderresort.com Middleburg, VA (540) 687-3600
Business Stay Hotels
AKA White House
JW Marriott Washington, DC
American Guest House
The Donovan Hotel
www.stayaka.com 1710 H Street NW (202) 904-2500
www.marriott.com 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 393-2000
www.americanguesthouse.com 2005 Columbia Road NW (202) 588-1180
www.donovanhoteldc.com 1155 14th Street NW (202) 737-1200
Park Hyatt Washington
The Georgetown Inn
The Embassy Row Hotel
www.avenuesuitesgeorgetown.com 2500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 333-8060
www.washingtondc.park.hyatt.com 1201 24th Street NW (202) 789-1234
www.georgetowninn.com 1310 Wisconsin Avenue NW (202) 338-8900
www.destinationhotels.com 2015 Massachusetts Avenue NW (202) 265-1600
Beacon Hotel & Corporate Quarters
Renaissance Washington, DC
The Phoenix Park Hotel
www.beaconhotelwdc.com 1615 Rhode Island Avenue NW (202) 296-2100
www.marriott.com 999 9th Street NW (202) 898-9000
www.phoenixparkhotel.com 520 North Capitol Street NW (202) 638-6900
www.thegrahamgeorgetown.com 1075 Thomas Jefferson Street NW (202) 337-0900
Capitol Hill Hotel
The Tabard Inn
Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
www.capitolhillhotel-dc.com 200 C Street SE (202) 543-6000
www3.hilton.com 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW (202) 483-3000
www.tabardinn.com 1739 N Street NW (202) 785-1277
ww.masonandrookhotel.com 1430 Rhode Island Avenue NW (202) 462-9001
Homewood Suites by Hilton
Washington Marriott Marquis
Washington Plaza Hotel
The Liaison Capitol Hill
www.homewoodsuites3.hilton.com 1475 Massachusetts Avenue NW (202) 265-8000
www.marriott.com 901 Massachusetts Avenue NW (202) 824-9200
www.washingtonplazahotel.com 10 Thomas Circle NW (202) 842-1300
www.jdvhotels.com 415 New Jersey Avenue NW (202) 638-1616
FEATURED DC A DVERTIS ER
FEATURED DC A DVERTIS ER
FEATURED DC ADVERTISERS
Where To Eat… Best Romantic Dinner
Best Weekend Brunch
Best Coffee Break
Kapnos by Mike Isabella
Baked & Wired
www.kinshipdc.com 1015 7th Street NW (202) 737-7700
www.kapnosdc.com 2201 14th Street NW (202) 234-5000
www.bakedandwired.com 1052 Thomas Jefferson Street (703) 663-8727
www.makotorestaurantdc.com 4822 MacArthur Boulevard NW (202) 298-6866
www.station4dc.com 1101 4th Street SW (202) 488-0987
www.oliviamacaron.com 3222 M Street NW (202) 965-1000
Pineapple and Pearls
www.marcelsdc.com 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 296-1166
www.richardsandoval.com/zengodc 781 7th Street NW at Gallery Place (202) 393-2929
www.pineappleandpearls.com 715 8th Street SE (202) 595-7375
Best Formal Dining
Best Rooftop Experience
Best Cocktail Menu
Best Wine Menu
The Grill Room | The Rosewood DC
www.rosewoodhotels.com 1050 31st Street NW (202) 617-2424
www.richardsandoval.com/masa14 1825 14th Street NW (202) 328-1414
www.ambarrestaurant.com 523 8th Street SE (202) 813-3039
www.bibianadc.com 1100 New York Avenue NW (202) 216-9550
The Lafayette | The Hay-Adams Hotel
www.hayadams.com 800 16th Street NW (202) 638-6600
www.perrysam.com 1811 Columbia Road NW (202) 234-6218
www.espitadc.com 1250 9th Street NW (202) 621-9695
www.fioladc.com 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 628-2888
Plume | The Jefferson Hotel
POV Rooftop | The W Hotel
www.plumedc.com 1200 16th Street NW (202) 448-2300
www.rosesluxury.com 717 8th Street SE (202) 580-8889
www.povrooftop.com 515 15th Street NW (202) 661-2400
www.ottomantaverna.com 425 I Street NW (202) 847-0395
Best Power Lunch
Best Steak Dinner
Best Gluten-Free Menu
Best Vegetarian Menu
Firefly | Kimpton Hotel Madera
I-Thai Restaurant & Sushi
www.701restaurant.com 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (202) 393-0701
www.delcampodc.com 777 I Street NW (202) 289-7377
www.firefly-dc.com 1310 New Hampshire Avenue NW (202) 861-1310
www.i-thairestaurant.com 3003 M Street NW (202) 580-8852
Blue Duck Tavern | Park Hyatt Hotel
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle
Jaleo by José Andrés
www.washingtondc.park.hyatt.com 1201 24th Street NW (202) 789-1234
www.delfriscos.com 950 I Street NW at CityCenterDC (202) 289-0201
www.jaleo.com/dc 480 7th Street NW (202) 628-7949
www.mangotreedc.com 929 H Street NW at CityCenterDC (202) 408-8100
Old Ebbitt Grill
www.ebbitt.com 675 15th Street NW (202) 347-4800
www.richardsandoval.com/torotorodc 1300 Eye Street NW (202) 682-9500
www.masseria-dc.com 1340 4th Street NE (202) 608-1330
www.shouk.com 655 K Street NW (202) 652-1464
Best Dessert Menu
Best Afternoon Tea
Best American Burger
Best For Families
The St. Regis Washington, DC
Bobby’s Burger Palace
www.1789restaurant.com 1226 36th Street NW (202) 965-1789
www.stregiswashingtondc.com 923 16th Street NW (202) 638-2626
www.bobbysburgerpalace.com 2121 K Street NW, GW University (202) 974-6260
www.theblackwallhitch.com 5 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA (703) 739-6090
DBGB Kitchen by Daniel Boulud
The Tea Cellar | Park Hyatt Hotel
www.dbgb.com/dc 931 H Street NW at CityCenterDC (202) 695-7660
www.washingtondc.park.hyatt.com 1201 24th Street NW (202) 789-1234
www.greatamericanrestaurants.com 4000 Campbell Avenue | Arlington, VA (703) 931-0777
www.thehamiltondc.com 600 14th Street NW (202) 787-1000
Wilkes Room | Henley Park Hotel
www.tedsbulletin.com 1818 14th Street NW (202) 265-8337
www.henleypark.com 926 Massachusetts Avenue NW (202) 638-5200
www.dukesgrocery.com 1513 17th Street NW (202) 733-5623
www.mitsitamcafe.com American Indian Museum (866) 868-7774
Photography Courtesy Greg Powers
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Special Beaches Coronado | A Family Favorite Named one of the Top Beaches for Families in 2014 by Family Vacation Critic, San Diego’s Coronado Beach sits right between San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. From the tidepools at low tide at Coronado Central Beach to the fishing at Ferry Landing to s’mores at one of the many fire pits dotting the Coronado beachside, Coronado Beach is sure to be a family favorite.
Photography Courtesy Hotel Del Coronado
Local Tip: There is certainly no shortage of great hotels and resorts for the family here, and two of our favorites for the level of service, amenities and great family activities include Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Hotel del Coronado.
Folly Beach | An Under-The-Radar Experience Just ten miles from Charleston, Folly Beach is a 12 square mile barrier island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Folly River. This casual and laid-back southern town offers visitors an authentic beach town experience with amazing eateries and breath-taking beachside rentals. With six miles of beaches to explore, visitors can choose from a variety of activities including eco-tours, fishing, surfing and kayaking, or simply relaxing and enjoying the southern sun. Photo by Justin Morris
Local Tip: Get a true feel of the local environment and friendly locals here with a visit to Ocean Surf Shop and an authentic and fresh local meal up the road at Bowens Island Restaurant.
Kalaloch Beach | An Amazing Wildlife Experience Tucked within Washington’s Olympic National Park, Kalaloch Beach offers sanctuary to marine mammals and birds alike. Large nesting colonies of tufted puffins, bald eagles, harbor seals and harbor porpoises are a common site along the rocky beaches while whales and otters are a rare treat. Various hiking trails along the beach offer unparalleled views of both the Pacific Ocean and marine wildlife. Photography Courtesy Kalaloch Lodge
Local Tip: If you are not into camping and want to spend a few days, check out the Kalaloch Lodge and Creekside Restaurant for uniquely localized experiences.
Pirate’s Cove | A Clothing Optional Experience Pirate’s Cove in Pismo Beach, California offers beachgoers the chance to sunbathe in the buff while enjoying an incredible beach experience. The south-facing cove offers not just a clothing optional atmosphere but also fantastic hiking. Aspiring explorers can venture into Pirate’s Cave and other caves in the area, or venture onto a segment of the state-long California Coastal Trail.
Photography Courtesy California Beaches
Local Tip: When you get done at the beach, take a drive up the coast to Avila Beach for a fun visit to Morovino Winery, and if you decide to stay the night, try one of the Owner’s Suites at Avila Lighthouse Suites.
Miami | A People-Watching Mecca Perhaps one of the most famous beaches in the U.S. is Miami’s South Beach, which sprawls along the highly populated Ocean Drive in the heart of Miami. From the kid-friendly South Pointe Park Beach to the gay-friendly 12th Street Beach, Miami’s South Beach could not be more inclusive. With countless restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance, Miami is the perfect place to take in the view and join in the fun.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / ventdusud
Local Tip: The beaches are fantastic, but the pool scene at the many hotels along Collins Avenue should not to be ignored. At the end of the day, walk over a few blocks to discover a host of restaurants at the pedestrian-only promenade, Lincoln Road Mall.
BY DAMON M. BANKS WITH SHELBIE LANDRY
AMERICAN BEACHES 110
Surfer: Blue Spivey / Rusty Surfboards and Rusty America | Photo by Justin Morris
Nantucket | A Quiet Charmer Off the coast of Massachusetts, the island of Nantucket could not be quainter. From the cobblestoned streets and Whaling Museum to the trendy boutiques and happening bars and restaurants, Nantucket is the perfect blend of historic and hip. Surrounded by water, Nantucket offers ten beaches, including Children’s Beach with a playground; Jetties Beach that is just a quick bike ride from downtown; and west-facing Madaket where you can catch amazing sunset views. Local Tip: It is only fitting to stay in an elegant and quaint bed and breakfast when enjoying the shopping, dining and scenery around Nantucket, and the Old Historic District – the beautiful Brass Lantern Inn will not disappoint.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / mooncusser
Waikiki | A Must-Experience Located on the island of Oahu, Waikiki Beach is most famous for its hotels and resorts, surfing and, of course, beaches. Surrounded by the beauty of Leahi on one side, and the ocean on the other; beachgoers can fulfill their dream of surfing and sunbathing in the Hawaiian rays, while enjoying world-class shopping, dining and entertainment along the main strip of Kalakaua Avenue. For true beach lovers, Waikiki is an absolute must. Local Tip: While a number of hotels are great options, The Royal Hawaiian Resort (“The Pink Palace”) and Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa offer some of the best amenities and services to make the most of your time at Waikiki Beach.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / heyengel
West Beach | The Magical Gulf Shores Sand The powdery white sands of Gulf Shores are nothing short of incredible. With miles of beachfront condos and homes spanning the Alabama coastline, Gulf Shores can offer a family-friendly vacation, girls’ or guys’ weekend getaway or even a romantic couples retreat. For those looking to spend a day out of the sun, the Gulf Shores area is also home to great outlet shopping and endless fresh seafood restaurants. Local Tip: It is all about relaxed fun when in this area, and the restaurants become a place you visit for an afternoon of hanging out with friends and family, or staying into the evening – our favorite spots are The Hangout and LuLu’s Gulf Shores.
Photography Courtesy Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
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Top 5 Paris Cafés
BY PRIS CILL A PILO N
Favorite Places to Enjoy Outdoor Dining in Paris
1. Le Mini Palais Best Afternoon Hangout Warm weather, artisanal cocktails and a spectacular view of the famous deck arch bridge, Pont Alexandre III, makes the architecturally significant terrace at the Mini Palais (inside the Grand Palais) one of the best summer hangouts in Paris. Michelin-three star chef Eric Frechon, with his partner, Executive Chef Stéphane d’Aboville, created a chic meeting spot for a romantic rendezvous or giggle session with great friends. My plan of attack is to eat a light lunch and then split a “Giant rum Baba” (amusing bouquet of ice cream, candies, whipped cream and chocolate) for dessert. Believe me, the extra calories are totally worth the indulgence. Another perk is that they are open until 2:00am, making it a perfect destination for late night snacks.
Photo: Mini Palais
Website: www.minipalais.com Hours: Everyday 10:00am to 2:00am Location: In the Grand Palais on Avenue, Winston Churchill – 75008 Paris
2. Café de Paris Best Local Ambiance Surrounded by one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty food shops, I love being in the thick of this local neighborhood. Sitting on Café de Paris’ large covered patio in any weather is a treat, but I find it particularly nice under the awning on those warm afternoons. French comfort foods like coq au vin, onion soup, beef tartare and a generously sized chef salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing are a few of their beloved specialties. Reasonably priced bottles of Haut Medoc Bordeaux and delicious bar snacks are just two of the other reasons why this is one of my preferred cafés in Paris.
Photo by Priscilla Pilon
Hours: Seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night drinks Location: 8 rue, de Buci – 75006 Paris
FALL 2016 Photography Courtesy Hôtel Raphael
There are few places in the world that are more idyllic than a Parisian café for locals and tourists alike to enjoy fresh air during the quintessential Paris afternoons and evenings. Yes, the heat can be intense at times during the summers, but the charm of Paris tops the heat anytime. I have spent a lifetime getting to know this city from a local’s perspective, and I am excited to share my favorite café suggestions for your next visit to this magical city. –Priscilla Pilon
3. Le Café Marly
Best View of the Louvre
Café Marly’s terrace, under the archways that flank the Napoleon Courtyard of the Louvre, has inspirational views of Chinese American architect I.M. Pei’s iconic glass and metal pyramid entrance to the world’s most famous museum (Musée du Louvre). I find it to be a wonderful place to enjoy the flowers in the square that offer a colorful landscape while savoring the features of the day. A personal favorite combination is a refreshing glass of Rosé Champagne, paired with a rich lobster salad. Website: www.cafe-marly.com Hours: Everyday 8:00am to 2:00am Location: 93 rue, Rivoli – 75001 Paris (facing the Pyramid, you can access from rue de Rivoli by the Passage Richelieu) Photography Courtesy Café Marly
Photography Courtesy Maison Blanche
4. Maison Blanche
Best Contemporary Roof Bar
If a stunning view is one of your goals while in Paris, Maison Blanche delivers in spades. It boasts breathtaking views of the Seine, the Dôme des Invalides and the iconic Eiffel Tower from atop the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. As the name suggests, the contemporary and trendy spaces are decked out in white décor. The only pops of color come from changing lights at the bar and the greenery in the potted plants on the mezzanine terrace. Note that it tends to
be most crowded before and after theater performances, so I recommend trying to avoid these times. Website: www.maison-blanche.fr Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 12:00pm - 2:00pm | Dinner Daily 8:00pm - 11:00pm Location: 15 avenue, Montaigne – 75008 Paris
5. La Terrasse at Hôtel Raphael
Best Champagne Bar
Do not forget to bring a camera to snap a few photos at sunset for a memorable experience on the rooftop terrace at Hôtel Raphael. It offers diners and happy hour enthusiasts a fantastic panoramic outlook of the Parisian skyline. No reservations necessary for this Paris hotspot, and one that is my personal favorite for frosty sparkling libations at the "Champagne Bar by Lanson" with dramatic 360-degree views that should be experienced by tourists. However, if you want one of their coveted corner tables for drinks, then you should reserve online. Dinner reservations are required. Website: www.leshotelsbaverez.com Hours: Bar Daily 4:00pm - 11:00pm | Lunch Mon-Fri 12:30pm - 2:00pm | Dinner 7:30pm - 10:00pm (Schedule is seasonal, so inquire directly) Location: 17 avenue, Kleber – 75016 Paris
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Getaways Germany’s Wine Country
By Janice Tober
An Inside Look at Where To Stay in Germany’s Wine Country For the adventurous travelers looking for a piece of luxury in Germany's wine country, here is an inside look at three of the top hotels in Germany’s resort playground. The state of Baden-Württemberg, commonly known as Southwest Germany, is home to several scenic medieval towns with bounteous vineyards on the gently sloping hills surrounding them. Amidst these villages and vines are some of the country’s best hotels, each with a stunning spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant. And, although luxurious, these hotels also offer tremendous value. I visited three of these star-rated hotels during a recent trip, which are part of a hotel collection known as the “Best of Southwest Germany.” Nine five-star hotels make up this group – most family-owned and operated since the 1700’s – and each has its own unique style. Find out which hotel is the one for you on a guided tour of this under-rated region, and an inside look at three of these luxury resort hotels.
FALL 2016 © Can Stock Photo Inc. / boule
Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa Baden-Baden
aden-Baden is found on the northern edge of the Black Forest – a lovely spa town dating back 2,000 years. Driving in from Frankfurt along the super speedy Autobahn, all the while trying to figure out how to work the German GPS system, I arrived jet-lagged and harried to the Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa.
Photo by Janice Tober
As soon as I checked in, I went for a rejuvenating tea in the French country-styled Salon Lichtental, where the delicious breakfast was served until the decent hour of 12pm. Five minutes in, I was noticeably more carefree, taken in by the quiet charms of the sophisticated room and gracious service. Service throughout the hotel was impeccable. While I was having breakfast at these very same digs the next morning, I asked my waitress if they happened to have rhubarb yogurt. No biggie – but it is often fairly common in Europe. Before I knew it, the hostess was also involved as we worked to clarify what “rhubarb” was in German, but it was a bust – the hotel did not have any.
Photography Courtesy Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa
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Things to do in Baden-Baden: Visit the Museum Frieder Burda to see this collection of contemporary art. Splurge and enjoy a cocktail at the James Bond-like Casino Baden-Baden. Walk around the lovely French-inspired town of Baden-Baden for shopping, and be sure to pause at an outdoor café for a freshly baked croissant.
Photography Courtesy Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa Photography Courtesy Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa
The next morning – and you know where this is going – as soon as I sat down, both the waitress and the hostess came to my table, smiling, as they presented me with four jars (two for me and two for my traveling companion, “just in case”) of the best rhubarb yogurt known to man or woman. The hostess had gone out of her way to pick up a variety just for little ol’ me. Five-star hotels are lavish in their design and furnishings, but service is where they are defined. Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa sits on some of the most beautiful gardens in this under-rated region of Germany, backing onto the beautiful Lichtentaler Allee. It is an elegant hotel purchased by its namesake, court tailor Anton Brenner, in 1872. It is now part of the Oetker Collection (as in the pizza people), who also owns the venerable Le Bristol Paris and The Lanesborough London. Most of the rooms and suites are decorated in a French chintz style that is traditional, but not frilly or old-fashioned, and all are a good size. For the best views, the rooms looking out over the park-like setting are the ones to book. The scenic backdrop is worth the extra pennies.
entirely devoted to the world of the spa, and everything you think that means. Sitting amongst the hotel’s shrubbery and flowers, it houses a plunge pool, gym, hamam, two saunas and 15 treatment rooms with private terraces. These are the rooms to reserve if you prefer modern over traditional décor. It also connects directly to Haus Julius, the hotel’s medical center. With Haus Julius, the hotel is a full destination spa that offers nutritional counseling, life coaching, and a digital detox program that takes you off the electronic grid with the press of a button in your modern room. Doctors here specialize in dentistry, dermatology, gynecology, physio and aesthetics – perfect if you are looking for a place to get a little “work” done and then hide out around the pool for a few days. Other amenities at the hotel includes a main indoor pool, two lounges, three restaurants onsite, including the two-star Michelin restaurant Brenners Park-Restaurant, and one just offsite on the Allee called Rive Gauche (my favorite, serving southern Italian food). There is also a full-service Kid’s Club so that the adults can enjoy that precious pool time. A Classic Room starts at €230.
In 2015 the hotel opened Villa Stéphanie, and unleashed their new wellness concept to the world. Villa Stéphanie is
Photo by Janice Tober
Visit the eggs and other exquisitely designed trinkets at the Fabergé Museum. Tour the nearby Rebland wine region, and in particular, stop by the scenic Weingut Schloss Neuweier to meet the personable winery owner and have a tasting. Baden means bath in German so bathe you must. The options are either the traditional (nude) Friedrichsbad, or the modern (clothed) Caracalla Spa. This is not a time to be a prude, so go au naturel, as many will not get a second chance to enjoy this localized experience in such a grand setting.
Service is where five-star hotels are defined.”
riving from Baden-Baden to Hotel Bareiss brings you right into the heart of the northern Black Forest. While you gently climb uphill to the hotel’s entrance, it is a fairytale approach with red flowers overflowing from the balconies – the perfect southern German-style architecture reminiscent of medieval structures. Spread out over several separate buildings, this luxe resort complex even includes the abodes of the Bareiss family.
Photography Courtesy Hotel Bareiss
The hotel’s interior does not disrupt the fantasy, with heavy, carved oak furniture, rich reds, forest greens and golden hues. It has a feeling of coziness rather than grandness, although the hotel certainly fits into the category of a grand hotel. Service was both admirable and warm during the stay. For example, someone from the hotel staff asked me one evening if I needed help in finding something. I responded that I was looking for the closest lounge to try the locally made, cult-favorite Monkey 47 gin. My plan was to sip on it while I packed. The friendly dirndl-draped staff member insisted that I head to my room while she got this juniper and herb delight for me.
Photography Courtesy Hotel Bareiss
The 99 rooms – traditionally decked out in a combination country house/regal salon design – are comfortable and large, with a double room starting at a mammoth 388 square feet. Whether a single room, double room, apartment or penthouse suite, each room also has a spacious balcony in which to take in the magnificent view. We suggest that you request a room at the front, in order to get a balcony draped in those bright storybook red flowers. Hotel Bareiss is truly a resort destination, as they leave a daily program of activities in your room every evening similar to what you find on cruise ships. You can take an aqua fitness class, go on a day trip to Strasbourg, watch a fashion show in the library, take a guided tour of the hotel’s heat and power plant to learn what the hotel is doing to support sustainability, or see some local ruins on a guided nature hike. Your day can be as jam-packed or “loosey-goosey” as you desire.
Hotel Bareiss Baiersbronn-Mitteltal Photography Courtesy Baiersbronn Tourism
If you do decide to go solo and hang around the hotel, it does not mean that you will be at a loss for things to keep you occupied. Hotel Bareiss has five restaurants, including the three-Michelinstarred Restaurant Bareiss. For only €99, you can enjoy a seven-course lunch here; this is truly a remarkable value with dishes that include the yummy goose liver crème brulée to start. This is where food and art meet. Additionally, if you are able to splurge for dinner, they offer a nine-course dinner for €178, or even an 11-course meal for €215. You will also find three lounges, a salon, a spa that offers every treatment imaginable, the Sattelei Hiking Hut (also serving food and drink), bike rentals, nine indoor and outdoor pools, and a sauna circuit. There is even a kid’s club and a teenager’s club so that Mom and Dad can enjoy some alone time. Hotel Bareiss also has something that no other hotel in the area has: the 300-year-old Morlokhof, a farm owned for generations by the Morlok family. For lovers of spirits, whether alcoholic or ghostly, Morlokhof has an eerie history that will feed your imagination. The
Morlok family was known to be “healers” whose lotions, potions and spells were a combination of Christianity and paganism. Since 1789, when Johann Georg Morlok first purchased the farmstead, each successive generation of townsfolk would visit “The Morlok,” and these miracle cure stories were passed down all the way to the present day. In 2003, Hermann Bareiss purchased the farmstead to simply ensure its preservation. During a renovation two years later, a hidden box was discovered under the floorboards, which contained the original Morlok’s recipes and concoctions that he had created using herbs from his garden. Inspired, the hotel went back to these herbal roots to make their own alcoholic concoction, the tasty Morlokhof Kräutelikör, in my non-expert opinion a more refined Jägermeister. Today, you can visit the farmstead and have dinner there in the original farmhouse… if you dare. A price for a single room at Hotel Bareiss starts at €216, which includes half-board (for those not familiar with this term, half-board means that your breakfast and evening meal is included).
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he five-star, 153-room Traube Tonbach Hotel sits on the brink of the newly formed Black Forest National Park. What this means to the intrepid traveler is that everywhere you look, you are surrounded by green fir trees and undulating slopes that beckon you to hike the 550 kilometers of trails.
Traube Tonbach also organizes daily activities for its guests, including the little ones, but know that this is the hotel to choose if a quiet, natural retreat is what you crave. Many of the activities focus on hiking, and often led by members of the Finkbeiner family, who have owned this property since 1789. In fact, the original house, which opened first as a restaurant for local loggers, is still one of the hotel’s restaurants today. The hotel boasts four full restaurants – including the three-star Schwarzwaldstube – plus the Blockhütte, their forest hikers’ hut serving hearty fare with a local slant including authentic Black Forest cake. My particular favorite was the multi-course Chef’s Menu at Restaurant Köhlerstube (Current Gault & Millau Rating: 16 points), with its modern take on regional foods. You should also make a pit stop at the Bauernstube, the original 1789 dining room serving traditional specialties, if only to get a feel of its quaint 18th century authenticity. Photography Courtesy Traube Tonbach
Things to do in Baiersbronn: Visit the historical Buhlbach Glassworks, where the champagne bottle was created. Hike, e-bike or Segway through one of the 54 trails in the Black Forest, stopping at a hikers’ hut to sustain yourself with local specialties. Baiersbronn has two three-star Michelin restaurants – one at Hotel Bareiss and one at Traube Tonbach – and one two-star Michelin restaurant, so gourmet-it-up (in fact, the state of Baden-Würtemburg has more Michelin stars than any other part of Germany). Go on a guided culinary hiking tour, or walk your way through a four-course dinner, with a visit to different restaurants for each course. Golf, fly-fishing, tennis, paragliding – any sport that suits your fancy is available. Visit the nearby Baroque town of Rastatt and its Residential Palace that was built to imitate a much smaller version of Versailles, or the Favorite Palace, housing the world’s largest collection of Meissen porcelain.
A standout at Traube Tonbach is the über-modern décor found in the Haus Kohlwald located across the street from the main hotel building. The 22 rooms and suites are done in grays and warm whites with hardwood floors, green-tiled bathrooms, and colorful accents. These, as with every room in the hotel, have a terrace or balcony with seriously serene views. I was impressed by the size of the rooms, as well as the clever design quirks – like the elk outline on the wall, which perfectly encapsulates the current Nordic design trend. The Haus Kohlwald also houses an equally modern sauna and plunge pool; and in the main building, there is a full-size indoor pool as well as an outdoor saltwater pool. Other wellness features include a fitness studio
that hosts a variety of planned classes, e-bike rentals, and a beautiful spa with an extensive menu that even includes a Thai-trained therapist for an authentic Thai Massage. Service at times proved to be exceptional: driver Michael led me on a private tour of the nearby Rastatt Residential Palace, and he was so personable and full of information on living in the area that I thought, maybe, I should just stay. And the Finkbeiner family was always on hand to say hello and talk to guests as they did the rounds at dinner every night. Now that is a hands-on approach. Prices start at €169 for a Standard Single room and €239 for a Standard Queen room.
Final Thoughts When it comes to getting there, many airlines in the United States and Canada fly to Stuttgart. Baden-Baden and Baiersbronn are about a 90-minute drive from Stuttgart (the capital of BadenWĂźrtemburg) and Strasbourg. Cars can be rented in these cities, or visitors can take a train to Karlsruhe. Hotels mentioned in this article offer a pick-up service from the rail station. Each of these hotels certainly has its own distinct charm: Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa is ideal if you want a city hotel fashioned in the lavish Grande-Dame tradition; Hotel Bareiss is perfection if you want an authentic German hotel experience that is also a luxurious one; and finally, Traube Tonbach is nice if you want a quiet luxury retreat in either modern or traditional surroundings. Regardless of which hotel you choose, you will surely be graciously taken care of each step of the way.
More Info: Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa: www.brenners.com Hotel Bareiss: www.bareiss.com Traube Tonbach: www.traube-tonbach.de Black Forest National Park: www.nordschwarzwald-nationalpark.de Museum Frieder Burda: www.museum-frieder-burda.de FabergĂŠ Museum: www.faberge-museum.de Weingut Schloss Neuweier: www.schloss-neuweier.de Caracalla Spa and Friedrichsbad: www.carasana.de Casino Baden-Baden: www.casino-baden-baden.de Residential Palace and Favorite Palace: www.schloesser-und-gaerten.de
story and photography By
Rob Goss 120
A combination of centuries-honed hospitality, fine cuisine, calmness and traditional pampering; the Japanese inn (the ryokan) is more than a form of accommodation; it is an experience. From the bows that greet you upon arrival, to your evening soak in the communal hot-spring baths, the ryokan immerses you in traditional Japanese culture like nothing else. With the welcome bows and formalities out of the way, it begins with your room; where (more often than not) you will find the classic blend of tatami-mat flooring, shoji paper screen doors, ikebana flower arrangements, calligraphy wall hangings and a low table at which your dinner is often served in many of the ryokan. The bed (a futon) will be rolled up in the cupboard upon arrival, where it will stay until the staff arrive to make it up in a silent blur just after dinner. And laid out for you will be your outfit for the duration of the stay, a cotton yukata (a lightweight, one-piece gown with a sash) that will allow you to shed your clothes, and with it say goodbye to the world outside. Then comes the first opportunity to try the baths, which are usually a selection of large communal, but gender-separated tubs and rock pools that are filled with piping-hot natural spring waters believed to alleviate all sorts of ailments. Whether they are inside, or outside surrounded by nature; at the very least, they relax and soothe every muscle. For most Japanese travelers (and for me), the baths define a ryokan just as much as the cuisine that follows. And that meal is usually a very elaborate affair, with a succession of small, beautifully presented courses based around seasonal produce and locally sourced seafood and meat (a style of cuisine called kaiseki). High-end ryokan or not, the kaiseki is like an A-Z of classic Japanese cuisine, featuring such things as delicate tempura, subtly flavored tofu, fresh sashimi (sliced raw fish), perhaps a little melt-in-the-mouth Kobe beef and many other regional delicacies. The odd thing is, you rarely feel like you have over eaten, and yet never feel undernourished. After staying at dozens upon dozens of ryokan, I still do not know how the chefs consistently manage that ideal level of satisfaction. What I do know, however, is that the relax-bath-eatsleep formula makes the ryokan Japanâ€™s ultimate traditional indulgence.
Photography Courtesy Kai Atami
KAI Atami A 45-minute bullet train ride from central Tokyo, in the hot-springs resort town of Atami, the cliff-top KAI is the quintessential traditional ryokan. As you might expect of a classic 160-year-old property like this, the 16 rooms here feature tatami flooring and a traditional futon put down at night. This is when the sound of the ocean lapping the shore in the distance seems to grow louder and more soothing, but the KAI then goes beyond the norm. Come evening, the sumptuous multi-course dinner, which is largely based around locally caught seafood, is one of the most creative ryokan dinners I have ever experienced; with signature dishes like whole red snapper and clams steamed in eight spices combined with more classic kaiseki flavors. This is followed by a nightly geisha performance, where you can play games with a local geisha, as well as watch her perform traditional dances and other performing arts. To wrap up the night, you then finish with a soak in the large, open-air cedar baths overlooking Sagami Bay, before retiring to the outdoor lounge for a nightcap. www.kai-atami.jp
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Photography Courtesy Zaborin
Zaborin Niseko in Hokkaido, the largest and most northerly of Japan’s four main islands, is Japan’s top winter sports area; a place known for its combination of natural beauty and perfect powder snow. With Zaborin, this destination also has the best contemporary ryokan that I have been fortunate enough to experience. From the hushed quiet that pervades the sleek property; to chef Seno’s multi-dish modern kaiseki courses that rely on seasonal, local produce and appear on the table like mini works of art on carefully selected ceramics and lacquerware; to the private indoor and outdoor baths in each of the 15 suites that combine Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics, everything oozes a calming luxury. It is difficult to select a single highlight, but wallowing alone in the outdoor bath, stark naked looking out through the woods in such a beautiful part of the world would have to be a serious contender. www.zaborin.com
Kikka-so, Hakone The Fujiya Hotel in Hakone (about 90 minutes by train from central Tokyo) is considered one of Japan’s classic Western-style hotels. It is a gracefully aging Meiji-era structure with a guestbook that includes the signatures of VIPs like Charlie Chaplin and John Lennon – but often overlooked is the Fujiya’s ryokan annex, called Kikka-so. Originally built in 1895 as a villa for the Imperial Family, Kikka-so and its three tatami-mat guestrooms are full of history. The main dining area, for example, used to be the then-emperor’s private room, and you can still see iron rings on some pillars from which his mosquito nets would have hung. You can also have his once-private stroll garden all to yourself at times, complete with a postcard-perfect vermillion bridge and seasonal blooms. And to cap that off, you have access to the Fujiya itself, where the old bar provides an old colonial setting for a cocktail or two, perhaps next to the grand piano that John Lennon is said to have played during one of his many family visits here. www.fujiyahotel.jp
Culinary Travel Portland
BY B R I AN GAR R ID O
Beast. Photo by Dina Avila
Chef Naomi Pomeroy
DISCOVERING PORTLAND’S FOOD FAVORITES WITH CHEF NAOMI POMEROY
is Portland, Oregon’s undisputed star chef. Over the past decade, she has created a culinary name for herself, and her restaurants – Beast and Expatriate 5424 & 5425 NE 30th Avenue (503) 841-6968 www.beastpdx.com
Photo by Kyle Webster
At Beast, she has been creating meat-centric and French-inspired dishes for the past nine years from this small dining space only large enough to serve twenty-four guests. At Expatriate, she and her husband, noted mixologist Kyle Linden Webster, have been serving drinks and food to guests for four years in this specialty cocktail and bar bites establishement. Pomeroy’s unique dishes, paired with Webster’s infusions, are motivated by the couple’s travels abroad, mostly to Asia and India. Pomeroy has been involved with Portland’s food scene since the early 2000’s when she and her former business partner/husband cooked up weekly private dinners before launching into their own brick and mortar operations. After the
demise of both the marriage and the restaurants, Pomeroy pulled herself up by her independent bootstraps, as a single mother, and set about re-creating new ventures. In 2007, she opened Beast. With only two induction burners for cooking, no dishwasher, no oven, and only two servers, Pomeroy reinvented her life with hard work and chutzpah. Her first major acclaim was being named “Restaurant of the Year” by The Oregonian in 2008. More accolades came with each progressive year: Bon Appétit named her one of the top six of the “New Generation of Female Chefs” in 2008. In 2009, Food & Wine Magazine named Pomeroy one of the “10 Best New Chefs.” In 2010, Oprah Magazine decreed her one of the
“Top 10 Women to Watch in the Next Decade.” Pomeroy then made her national television debut on Top Chef Masters bypassing Top Chefs in 2011. Finally, after being nominated in 2010, 2012, and 2013 as the “Best Chef Pacific Northwest,” the honor was granted in 2014. With her teenage daughter, new husband, two establishments to operate, and a cookbook coming out later this year, Pomeroy does not have many opportunities to explore her town these days. However, her passion for Portland is stronger than ever, and she offers her suggestions on how locals and visitors can best enjoy its ever-evolving dining scene.
Morning Coffee: “Extracto Coffee is where I go to get my coffee. It’s my neighborhood coffee house. I drink it black. No cream, and no sugar.” 2921 NE Killingsworth Street (503) 281-1764 www.extractocoffee.com
Breakfast and Brunch: “I love Olympia Provisions. The Benedict here is delicious.” 107 SE Washington Street (503) 954-3663 www.olympiaprovisions.com Beets and wild watercress with cherrywood smoked yogurt Cattail Creek lamb sirloin, walla-walla sweet onion ring, spring peas and carrots, harissa aioli.
Soup and Salad: “Mostly for me, it’s about the environment and atmosphere; and it’s about the company I keep. It’s usually just singular dishes, like the Gabriel Ruckers’ cauliflower soup at LePigeon, or one of their salads. It’s in the simple stuff, you know?” 738 E Burnside Street (503) 546-8796 www.lepigeon.com
Lunch: “Because I cook for a living, I want to go someplace where I can get good service and luxuriate. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it has to be good. And it’s the time I’m going to indulge in something richer. I try and eat heavier in the day and lighter in the evening. It’s good for you to do that and I try and watch what I eat. I love going to Roman Candle, where the flatbread crust is so good.” 3377 SE Division Street (971) 302-6605 www.romancandlebaking.com
Dinner: “Right now, Langbaan is the place to go. I think they sort of took my idea of Beast – in a good way, and used it in Thai food. They have eight seatings a week with prix fixe ($70 per person).” 6 SE 28th Avenue (971) 344-2564 www.langbaanpdx.com
Breakfast and Pastries: “I’m really into MÅURICE right now. Kristen Murray is making really delicious things. Her cooking is in keeping with my ideas.” 921 SW Oak Street (503) 224-9921 www.mauricepdx.com
Clams with Green garlic and Fava leaves
Poppyseed Pavlova with Sorrel sorbet and raspberry drops
Cocktails: “Even if I didn’t own it with my husband, I would still head to Expatriate. The drinks and global snacks are delicious.” Photography Courtesy Naomi Pomeroy
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Hotel & Resort Packages With so many hotels and resorts offering a variety of incentives to entice today’s travelers, LuxeGetaways has pulled together a collection of our favorite options that are available this season.
Aria Hotel Budapest www.ariahotelbudapest.com The “Feeling Groovy Spa Package” includes time for personal wellness and relaxation at this fun hotel, along with an unsurpassed level of pampering for two.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel St. Moritz www.badruttspalace.com The “1.2 Carat Cocktail Package” celebrates the 120th anniversary, and contains a Graaf 1.2 carat diamond with an accommodation package that includes a helicopter ride and Beau Rivage suite. Boca Raton Resort & Club www.bocaresort.com The “Uniquely Boca Inclusive Package” has the best of everything the Resort has to offer, including endless activities and savings ideal for a farmily getaway or staycation. A timeless resort experience! Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo www.metropole.com The “Just For You Program” provides a selection of bespoke leisure activities for memorable and unforgettable experiences with your family or your friends.
The London West Hollywood www.thelondonwesthollywood.com The “Suite Rewards” provides a food and beverage credit, roundtrip airport transfers, daily breakfast and more – The Metropolitan Suites are perfection! Mandarin Oriental Bangkok www.mandarinoriental.com The “140th Anniversary Package” is one not to miss at this iconic property, which includes their famous afternoon tea, breakfasts, butler services and more. Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa www.aviara.park.hyatt.com The “Aviara Golf Package” is the perfect way to experience some of the best golf in Southern California, together with exceptional amenities and service.
The Pierre New York www.thepierreny.com The “Weekend Rate” offer is one to try and take advantage of this season at this incredible property – don’t forget to enjoy Afternoon Tea and Perrine, the new restaurant with lovely outdoor seating steps from Central Park. Sonnenalp Hotel www.sonnenalp.com The “Stay And Play Package” allows the opportunity to enjoy this charming hotel in the heart of Vail, Colorado, while playing golf at the beautiful Sonnenalp Club. The Sea Pines Resort www.seapines.com The “Getaway Package” includes far too many courtesies and preferred rates to list for world-class golf, tennis, dining and more in beautiful Hilton Head Island.
To view the full list, visit luxegetaways.com/fall-2016-travel-deals
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BY DAMON M. BANKS Photography Courtesy The Omni Homestead Resort
A TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING AT THE OMNI HOMESTEAD RESORT 2016 is a very specal year for The Omni Homestead Resort, as this iconic property is celebrating their 250th anniversary. Considered Americaâ€™s first resort, and without a doubt, one of the most storied resorts, The Omni Homestead Resort offers an unparalleled level of hospitality and that quintessential southern charm we all love. With amazing views of the Allegheny Mountains from every inch of this 2,000-acre property, guests can relax in the natural healing springs; savor the fine and
casual dining options available around the resort; pamper themselves at the award-winning spa; tee off on the oldest first tee in America still in use while enjoying golf at one of their two resort courses; breath-in the fresh air while horseback riding, fly fishing or other outdoor activities; or simply walk the halls and enjoy the luxurious surroundings and service. This is all in a day while living the good life at The Omni Homestead Resort. OmniHotels.com
Each year, Executive Chef Greg Barnhill and his team kick off the Holiday Season with a Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration that is centered around the amazing meal that showcases the best of the best when it comes to enjoying an impressive feast in glorious surroundings. Barnhill has a culinary career that spans three decades, and has been involved in almost every aspect of food service from NFL stadiums, free standing restaurants, private clubs, and iconic resort hotels to private and commercial airline catering. Barnhill arrived to the historic Omni Homestead Resort in 2012, after a five-year stint at the famed Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Since his arrival, Barnhill has been deeply entrenched in the renovation and repositioning of the food and beverage offerings at the resort, in addition to participating in
many gastronomic throughout Virginia.
The Thanksgiving weekend is a magical time at The Omni Homestead Resort, complete with the many resort activities available to the entire family, as well as the annual tree lighting event and Thanksgiving menus guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning of guests. Executive Chef Greg Barnhill’s menu on Thanksgiving includes a variety of salads, seafood, turkey, ham and favorites like potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, vegetables and decedent desserts to round out the meals perfectly. Barnhill is sharing several favorite recipes from The Omni Homestead Resort with LuxeGetaways so that we can inspire your Thanksgiving menu this year. Have a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family.
Roasted Heritage Turkey Ingredients • 1 (14 to 16 pound) fresh Heritage Tom Turkey For the brine: • 1 cup kosher salt • ½ cup light brown sugar • 1 gallon vegetable stock • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns • 1 ½ teaspoons whole cloves • 1 ½ teaspoons star anise • 1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics: • 1 red apple, sliced • ½ onion, sliced • 1 yellow onion, quartered • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 cup water • 4 sprigs rosemary • 6 leaves sage • Canola oil
Two days before Thanksgiving: Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, cloves, and star anise in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate overnight.
cold water. Discard the brine. Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
The morning before Thanksgiving: Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird with a heavy saucepan to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area overnight, turning the bird once half way through brining. On Thanksgiving Day: Preheat the oven to 500°F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500°F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Set the thermometer alarm to 161 degrees or roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours if you do not have a probe. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 15 minutes before carving.
Sausage & Cranberry Stuffing Ingredients • 16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 ½ pound loaf) • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter • 2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions) • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks) • 2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley • 1 tablespoon kosher salt • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper • 3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed • 1 cup chicken stock • 1 cup dried cranberries Directions: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.
In the same sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.
Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.
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Compound Butter Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • •
Pine Bough Baked Prince Edward Isle Mussels Serves 4 Ingredients: • 2 lbs mussels • 4 fresh cut pine boughs approximately 4 inches in length • 1 Samuel Adams Winter Lager • ½ lb compound butter (see recipe on the right) • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary • Extra virgin olive oil • Sea salt
Directions: In four small to medium cast iron skillets divide the beer into each. Place a sprig of rosemary and one pine bough on top of the beer. Divide the mussels into the four skillets (be sure to wash in cold water and remove the beards and any debris from the shells). Divide the butter into four
portions and place on top of the mussels. Place in a preheated 375°F oven and bake for 15 min or until shells open and remove from oven, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Serve immediately with crusty sour dough bread to sop up the butter.
1 lb unsalted butter 1 medium shallot minced 2 tbl minced fresh garlic 3 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 tbl minced anchovy 1 tbl Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp Tabasco sauce 2 tbl minced Italian parsley 1 tbl minced fresh thyme 1 tbl sea salt 2 tsp ground white pepper
Directions: Bring butter to room temperature and mince all the ingredients while butter is tempering. In an electric mixing bowl, add butter and all the minced ingredients and blend on low speed. Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire and Tabasco and blend. Remove from bowl and place on sheet of plastic wrap, roll into cylinder and place in refrigerator.
Chocolate Cherry Cobbler Ingredients:
Executive Chef Greg Barnhill
• 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour • 2-1/2 cups white sugar • 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon baking powder • 2-1/2 teaspoons salt • 1-1/4 cups butter • 5 cups chocolate chips • 5 egg • 1-1/4 cups milk • 5 (21 ounce) cans cherry pie filling
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 2 quart casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray. Melt chocolate chips in a measuring cup in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the dough is a uniform crumbly texture. Beat the egg into the melted chocolate chips, and then stir the milk in. Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until well blended. Pour the cherry pie filling in an even layer in the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter over the cherries in a random pattern. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until top crust is not doughy when lifted. Serve warm.