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Accommodations • Attractions • Events • Relocation • Maps

The Sandperl Resort

Beauty in Florida

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Issue One - 2010

Inside: • Hard Rock Las Vegas • Natural Bridge Caverns • Valencia Group of Hotels • FIESTA® San Antonio • Hotel Guide “Experiences” The Sandperl Resort - Clearwater, Florida


Contents

Hard Rock - Las Vegas Las Vegas, Nevada

Hotel Valencia - San Antonio, Texas

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Snake River Grill - Lake Charles

FIESTA® San Antonio

8

Hard Rock Hotel - Las Vegas

Holiday Inn Select

11

Las Vegas on a Budget

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Aldaco’s Stone Oak

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Hotel Urbano - Miami, Florida

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Natural Bridge Caverns

14

Ritz-Carlton - Key Biscayne, Florida

33

Hotel Sorella @ CityCentre - Houston

20

Hotel Guide “Experiences”

35

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

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Javier Garza - Daytripping

36

Sandperl Resort - Clearwater, Florida

26

Nice & French Riviera

37

L’auberge du Lac - Lake Charles

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About the Cover:

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Opened in August 2007 as the first new resort built on Clearwater Beach in 25 years, the Four Diamond Sandpearl Resort is tucked seamlessly into Florida’s pristine Gulf coast along miles of pearlescent white sand beaches. (Photo courtesy of the Sandperl Hotel)


Rejuvenation Redefined. Discover the award-winning luxury of the Watermark Hotel & Spa, ideally situated along the romantic banks of the River Walk.

Pamper yourself with renewing treatments and invigorating therapies in the tranquil surroundings of a four-star spa.

212 West Crockett Street ~ San Antonio, TX 78205 ~ 210-396-5840 ~ www.watermarkhotel.com


A Word From

the Publisher...

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n many ways the New Year brings a myriad of resolutions, new opportunities and a laundry list of “to-do’s”. As we embark on our 17th year in existence, our goal is to always get better and offer you - the traveler a better product that you can be proud of. This issue takes us all over the United States to some of the coolest and most unique getaways. If the bright lights and big city draw your attention, then check out our feature on the Hard Rock Hotel in Sin City. What an amazing adventure. For those of you Texas-bound, you can’t miss two of the finest sister properties in the Lone Star State. First, Hotel Valencia in San Antonio takes your breath away with exquisite rooms and the perfect location along the banks of the mystical San Antonio Riverwalk. Not to be outdone, the Hotel Sorella at CityCentre is at the heart of a thriving development that has hotel guests saying, “WOW!” When visiting Houston, this is the place to stay. Our journeys also whisk you away to Florida and Lousiana, where you will find features on the L’Auberge du Lac Resort and Casino, the Hotel Urbano and the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne. Book Your Travel... Remember, our comprehensive travel website allows you to book ALL your travel needs - including Accommodations, Car Rental, Airlines and even, Cruises. We are your one-stop shop for traveling in Texas and beyond! For great story ideas or to be a part of our “Experiences” section, send me a personal e-mail by clicking here. Travel Just Got Easier!

Edward R. Leos Publisher

Jennifer Leos

Associate Publisher

Catherine Irvin

Director of Sales & Marketing

Dale Blasingame

Senior Travel Writer

Daniel Leos Illustrator

Rudy Arispe Isha St. Amour Javier Garza Mae Escobar Jody Truly Amy Sanchez Contributors

Contact Information:

The Hotel Guide P.O. Box 592418 San Antonio, TX 78259

Toll-free

(877) HTL-GDE1 phone (210) 857-2003 info@thehotelguide.com www.thehotelguide.com

Special Thanks to:

• Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority • Texas Department of Tourism • Texas Department of Transportation • Texas Hotel and Lodging Association • Texas Travel Industry Association • Las Vegas CVB • Austin CVB • Tyler CVB •GalvestonCVB • Houston CVB • Corpus Christi CVB • New Braunfels CVB • El Paso CVB • Lubbock CVB • Institute of Texan Cultures • Amarillo CVB • Go Girl Go! •Fredericksburg CVB • Arlington CVB Copyright 2010 The Hotel Guide. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted in whole or without written permission from the publisher. The Hotel Guide does not assume any liability for errors in advertisements or editorial which may appear in this magazine.


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Hotel Valencia

A True

River Walk Oasis

incredible views and ambiance, and now has S it’s another truly inspiring reason to boast. The luxurian Antonio’s Riverwalk has long been known for

ous Hotel Valencia, the city’s only contemporary small luxury hotel, is nestled along the world-famous Riverwalk offering guests breathtaking views and amenities while bringing an exclusive brand of luxury to this tourist-friendly region. Old World meets New World The Hotel Valencia offers guests a blend of timeless and romantic sights, sounds and scenes. The hotel’s interior incorporates elements of nature to create a one-of-a-kind, yet timeless look. The hotel’s architecture features the rich, deep color finishes of a Tuscan farmhouse set against a distinct backdrop, with step-out balconies, plastered vault dome ceilings reminiscent of a 15th century monastery and trickling water over candle-lit brick walls. The second floor of the property boasts the hip “V Bar” - where locals and hotel guests can mingle and take in the breathtaking views of the Riverwalk. Venture up to the third floor and get taken away to another world in the open-air courtyard with Los Angeles-based designer, Dodd Mitchell’s signature reflecting pond, which sits at the base of a dramatic fountain backlit by a rhythmic line of fire. Amenities and More Hotel Valencia features a number of amenities unique to the city, including complimentary high-speed Internet access available throughout the hotel. Technology makes going from curbside to bedside a non-stop trip. All guest rooms feature a posh, custommade, seven-layer “Hotel Valencia Bed,” wrapped in luxurious cotton linens and topped with a downfilled comforter and a lush faux mink throw. Guests can melt into the down-stuffed leather club chair or ottoman and enjoy the 70-channel cable television line-up. Bathrooms come equipped with extra long, shawl collared waffle weave bathrobes and oversized waffle 6

weave bath sheets. Delectable Dining Citrus, the hotel’s topnotch restaurant, features New American cuisine under the direction of Jeffery Balfour. From Serrano Ham-Wrapped Mahi Mahi to Provencal Herb-encrusted Striped Sea Bass, Balfour adds his own personal touch to all of the menu items. Contact Information For more information on this incredible 213-room, San Antonio Riverwalk hotel, call (210) 227-9700 or visit their website at www.hotelvalencia.com.

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Fiesta San Antonio

11 Days of Pure Magic

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he citizens of San Antonio will celebrate their city’s diverse history, heritage and culture for 11 days starting April 15, 2010—the 119th anniversary of Fiesta® San Antonio.. Fiesta® San Antonio takes place every April to honor the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. More than three million people take part in Fiesta. They can choose from more than 100 events that contain something to please every age range, pocketbook and taste. Some 100 local nonprofit groups, members of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, stage most of the events, with the help of 75,000 volunteers. Local military organizations also take part, producing their own activities and supporting many others. It’s a really big party, with an economic impact of $284 million for the city of San Antonio. Fiesta events include three major parades—two along Broadway and past the Alamo, and one on the San Antonio River, where the floats really do float. San Antonians and visitors can attend fancy balls, a queen’s coronation, a satirical review or a carnival. They can choose from Louisiana’s cuisine at Taste of New Orleans, all kinds of oysters at the St. Mary’s Oyster Bake or the multicultural offerings of Night in Old San Antonio. Musical options range from Tejano to jazz to Mariachi to rock ’n’ roll to Big Band. History buffs can remember the Alamo at the Pilgrimage to the Alamo or The Alamo: These Sacred Walls. Want athletics? Look for races, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and more. Overseeing this massive effort is a single nonprofit organization—the Fiesta® San Antonio Commission. The commission is governed by an all-volunteer board of community leaders and representatives from its 100 local nonprofit participating member organizations. This dedicated group works year ’round coordinating the 8

thousands of details and day-to-day tasks essential to plan this huge citywide event. The commission also serves as a liaison between those nonprofit members, local military activities and the City of San Antonio. City services are essential to the conduct of Fiesta. The Fiesta Commission returns more than $1 million to the community each year: --It gives allocations to Fiesta events that are not financially self-supporting. --It provides bleachers for seating sales to the Battle of Flowers® and Fiesta Flambeau® Parade associations. --It licenses more than 100 small nonprofit groups (church groups, youth groups, civic organizations) to sell street chairs along the parade route. The commission receives no government funding. Its income comes from corporate partnerships, sales in The Fiesta Store®, membership dues and proceeds from the Fiesta Carnival. The Fiesta San Antonio Commission is a nonprofit organization that plans, coordinates and preserves Fiesta San Antonio through the support of its participating member organizations. Visit its website at fiesta-sa.org or its Facebook page at facebook.com/FiestaSA. www.thehotelguide.com


Enjoy San Antonio at Fiesta® time!

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Fiesta® San Antonio! April 15-25 Named the top festival in the U.S. for 2010 by the American Bus Association

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The excitement that is Fiesta® San Antonio is brought to you by more than 100 local nonprofit organizations and military groups. Fiesta® never ends because these organizations give back to their community throughout the year.

For information about Fiesta® San Antonio, contact us today! (877) 723-4378 fiesta@fiesta-sa.org www.fiesta-sa.org

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Visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/FiestaSA Follow Fiesta on Twitter at Twitter.com/FiestaSA

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Holiday Inn Select

Airport Property Helps Set Standard

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an Antonio has a list of historical figures, great leaders and natives as large as the Lone Star State. Well, one of the city’s airport-area properties is taking leadership to another level when it comes to service, charm and being environmentally friendly. Setting the Standard... The Holiday Inn Select is leading the way to becoming a true example of a “green” hotel and guests are certainly taking notice. For instance, you will find simple, yet nicely displayed, recycle bins in each of the guest rooms - keeping the property at the forefront of helping the environment. Don’t think that the property is sacrificing quality with this emphasis. Quite the contrary. After undergoing an extensive renovation, guests will find soothing organic tones in all of the 397 luxurious guest rooms along with complimentary high-speed wireless internet, coffee makers, microwave ovens, mini refrigerators, Ergonomic work desk with lamp and cable/satellite television. The property also has a sparkling outdoor pool, a terraced area and a spa, and health club to keep guest’s active lifestyles in check. Dining Options Options are abound at the Holiday Inn Select when it comes to dining. Guests can saunter down to the Bravo Grill which features delectable dining options and provides guests with a warm, relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant serves up some of the best breakfast, lunch and dinner options on a daily basis. In the mood for a casual cocktail or beer? Then make your way to the stylish Bravo Bar for great company and more. If you are looking for something quick, then the Java Express offers the perfect solution. The venue serves up fresh Starbucks coffee, espresso, cappuccino, gourmet deli sandwiches, croissants, ice cream, assorted baked goods and other beverage. Perfect for meeting family, friends or colleagues.

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Meeting Facilities The property boasts more than 10,000-square-feet of flexible event space and features 12 impressive meeting and event rooms. The space can easily accommodate that distinctive board meeting in the Executive Boardroom or the grand event in the Hill Country Ballroom that holds up to 500 guests. The hotel also has all the state-of-the-art, audio-visual equipment to make your function a complete success. Finally, guests can revel in the free parking provided onsight which is a true bonus! Contact Us For more information on the Holiday Inn Select Airport, visit their website at www. hiselect.com/sat-intlapt or call (888) 615-0518. www.thehotelguide.com


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Ride the “Rio” San Antonio

Don’t walk the river...cruise it. Our Rio Taxi services are available throughout the River Walk. We have close to 40 different stops - making your options plentiful. Cost: $5 - One way $10 - 24-Hour Day Pass $25 - Three Day Pass For reservations or more information, call (210) 244-5700 or (800) 417-4139. www.thehotelguide.com

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Aldaco’s Stone Oak

pick Award-Winning Food and More r’s

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MARGARITAS LUNCHDINNER

an Antonio has long been known for incredible Mexican food and for the past 20 years, Aldaco’s has kept up the tradition. Founded by it’s namesake, Blanca Aldaco, the restaurant has won many awards for their food, delectable desserts, tasty margaritas and unforgettable ambiance. After launching the original Aldaco’s near Sunset Station and subsequently moving into the facility adjacent to the Alamodome, the restaurant has earned local, regional and national acclaim. Appetizers with a Flare If you are looking for little bit everything then you must try “La Botanaâ€? which comes with two quesadillas al carbòn, three flautas, four fried cream jalapeĂąos, four bean & cheese nachos,guacamole and sour cream. As you gear up for dinner, the choices range from incredi-

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ble enchiladas to steaks to freshly-prepared seafood. Try the incomparable, Chile Relleno or their scrumptious Fish Tacos. Aldaco’s also offers a Gluten-Free and Celiac menu for their guests. Delectable Desserts Your dining experience isn’t complete without a serving of Blanca’s famous Original Pastel Tres Leches dessert. It is sinfully delicious and melts in your mouth. Another “dessert� that Aldaco’s is known for are their award-winning margaritas. You have to try the infamous Avacado Margarita or the Margarita Pour Off winner. Either way, if you love these tasty treats, Aldaco’s has the answer. Groups The restaurant also has a private dining room that holds up to 100 guests for those intimate gatherings. For more info, visit www.aldacos-stoneoak.com.

PATIODINING

&REESHUTTLEAFTERPM (OEFGEN 3UNSET3TATION 3AN!NTONIO 48 WWWALDACOSNET A San Antonio Tradition for 20 Years.

20079 Stone Oak Parkway San Antonio, Texas 78258 (210) 494-0561 www.aldacos-stoneoak.com Delicious Food• Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner • Award-Winning Drinks • Delectable Desserts 12

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Natural Bridge Caverns A True State of Attraction

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here is always something fun for everyone epitomizes your trip to Natural Bridge Caverns. This family-owned attraction is an opportunity to combine education and fun all into one magical journey. Situated minutes from San Antonio, Texas, this state historical site has an array of things to do for everyone. The Discovery Tour Here you can discover incredible underground chambers that are filled with spectacular formations on a guided tour along paved, lighted pathways. On your journey, expect temperatures in the Cavern to be 70 degrees with high humidity. Illuminations Tour This unique tour combines the essence of light and dark as you explore two huge underground chambers that are dramatically illuminated by a state-ofthe-art lighting system. On your tour, you will see some of the most rare formations found in Natural Bridge Caverns. Experience the sensation of total darkness on this 70-minute tour. Adventure Tours This is the perfect opportunity for all adventure-seekers out there. Guests can partake in one of two unique Adventure Tours - the Discovery Adventure Tour or the Hidden Passages Adventure Tour. Both of these unique tours offer guests the ultimate in being real-life explorers. You get to experience the same path created by the original explorers. The paths wind across the floor of the cave and are covered with loose rocks, mud and some formations. The tour includes walking, climbing and crawling. 14

Natural Bridge Caverns provides all the necessities to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, including all caving gear, harness, helmet, headlamp, rappelling gear, spare batteries, spare light and water. Advance reservations are required for both Adventure Tours. Natural Bridge Mining Company This new addition to the attraction gives guests the opportunity to pan for gems and minerals just as miners once did in their search for gold at Texas’ largest sluice. Once guests pan for gems and minerals, they also identify their finds at one of the assay stations, or by using an identification chart. Watchtower Challenge The new climbing tower named after the tallest formation in the Caverns, The Watchtower, stands 50 feet tall and features two climbing surfaces along with two 350-foot zip lines. The zip lines allow guests to glide from the top of the structure in a matter of seconds. Contact Us For more information on pricing, advance reservations, etc....please call (210) 651-6101 or visit them at www.naturalbridgecaverns.com. www.thehotelguide.com


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Hotel Sorella

Elegance & Style Combined

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ometimes you need to just take a step back and take it all in. That is exactly how you feel when you walk into the new Hotel Sorella at CityCentre. Just heading to the front desk to check in you can’t help but feel overwhelmed with customer service and an impeccable array of decor. Rooms to Make You say, “WOW” The Hotel Sorella obviously prides itself on the guest experience and completely delivers that and more. When you enter your rooms you are greeted by pristine floors, bedding and decor. The property has 244 contemporary guestrooms, including 30 suites and yes, even a Presidential Suite for the A-List. Each room is fitted with its own customdesigned Hotel Sorella bed - making your sleeping experience even that much more dreamy! Guests can expect goose down pillows, luxurious Egyptian cotton bed and bath linens and plush terry robes in each room. For the business traveler or one that just needs to stay connected to the world, each room is also equipped with complimentary wireless, high-speed Internet access along with an MP3 compatible, plasma flat-screen television. Making Your Visit an “Experience” The Hotel Sorella has a wealth of amenities on site and within the confines of the rising CityCentre. Guests can be amazed at the memorable outdoor pool that overlooks the CityCentre plaza and adjoins to “The Monnalisa”, which is a stylish bar and lounge and a must-see spot for a drink. Guests can also embellish in the lobby lounge wine and espresso bar or partake in Bistro Alex and Cafe Rose by acclaimed restaurateur Alex Brennan-Martin. And if health and well16

ness is in your cards, the property has access to some of the finest spa and fitness facilities around. A Place to Meet The Hotel Sorella has approximately 18,000 squarefeet of meeting space, including two private and elegant Hotel Sorella VIP Boardrooms. With the Norris Conference Center adjoined to the hotel by a glass skywalk, the property can offer a 7,800 square-foot ballroom and a 5,200 squarefoot meeting room that features state-of-the-art lighting and sound, plus high-speed Internet access throughout. This partnership allows for half day or full day meetings, exhibitions, weddings, receptions and other special events. Contact Information For more information on this incredible 244-room hotel in CityCentre, call (866) 842-0100 or visit their website at www.hotelsorella.com. www.thehotelguide.com


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Rosewood Crescent Hotel Immaculate and Luxurious

allas, Texas is known for some incredible Texassized hospitality and the Rosewood Crescent Hotel delivers on that mantra. From the moment your drive through the incredible archway leading up to the bellman, you know that you are in for an unforgettable stay. At the Center of it All The Rosewood Crescent Hotel is a refreshing experience of contrasts and is as culturally vibrant as the neighborhood in which it sits. The property sits within walking distance of the art, culture and energy of Dallas. With a bold palette of rich colors, chic European-style guestrooms with all the modern amenities, innovative cuisine, and the serenity of The Spa, Rosewood Crescent Hotel offers discreet and professional service with a Texas charm. Wonderful Accommodations The Rosewood Crescent Hotel has 191 recently renovated guestrooms, ranging from 380 to 460 square feet, that all include a sitting area and bath. Each guestroom comes with customized Lady Primrose bath amenities with shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and lotion. If you are looking for the “suite life,” the property doesn’t disappoint. With 29 suites ranging from 625 - 3,035 square feet, the Crescent is sure to meet your every desire. Some of the suites have their own full kitchens with larger suites offering a bi-level layout and featuring spiral staircases and all coming with 42” flat screen HDTV.

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Dine to Your Heart’s Content The Rosewood Crescent Hotel offers some of the area’s most delectable cuisine. Dining at the fabulous Crescent Club is a must. Located on the 17th floor of the Crescent office tower, this powerful restaurant specializes in impeccable customer service with fare to match provided by Chef Juan Rosado. Nobu, located off the hotel lobby, features the most innovative new style Japanese restaurant in America. The Conservatory is a stylish, glass-enclosed sunroom overlooking the Crescent gardens with incredible dining options provided by Chef Gianni Santin. Finally, check out Beau’s, which is located in the lobby and also serves tapas, desserts and cocktails. The Spa at the Crescent The hotel is home to one of the world’s most highlyacclaimed spas. Situated within 23,000 square feet of space, The Spa offers guests 77 unusual and one-of-akind treatments with services for both men and women in the state-of-the-art treatment rooms. Let’s Meet Here The Rosewood Crescent Hotel also has more than 19,375 square feet of meeting space and 13 meeting rooms making the property a perfect choice for your next meeting. Contact Information For more information on the the Rosewood Crescent Hotel, visit their website at www.rosewoodcrescent.com or call them toll free at (800) 654-6541 or (214) 871-3200.

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beautifully immersed in dallas. s tay i n t h e h e a rt o f i t a l l at ro s e w o o d c r e s c e n t h ot e l .

p e r f e c t l o c at i o n

enjoy the convenience of being minutes from major entertainment venues and walking distance from exciting shopping, neighborhood galleries, interesting nightlife and dallas’ world-class arts district. g r e at c u i s i n e

look foward to renowned fare at nobu. dining and cocktails at our private club and lobby lounge. or venture out to the shops and galleries and nearby restaurants. l u x e c o m f o rt

rejuvenate with soothing treatments at our spa, rated the best hotel spa in the nation by condĂŠ nast readers. tone up at the fitness center. and experience the gracious charm of being a rosewood guest.

214.871.3200 rosewoodcrescent.com

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Elegance and More...

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

reathtaking. Elegant. Aweinspiring. These are just a few distinct adjectives readily available to describe the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. When you arrive at the hotel, a dramatic floral arrangement greets you at the entrance along with 32-foot high marble rotunda. This leads to the welcoming reception desk, concierge and a lobby elegantly appointed with antiques, comfortable lounge chairs and sofas grouped around a fireplace. Incredible Accommodations The Mansion is a world-renowned, nine-story hotel with 127 beautifully-appointed guest rooms and 16 phenomenal suites. The rooms have comfortable sitting areas, private label bed linens, spacious bath and vanity, deluxe terry velour robes and amenities by Lady Primrose. In the Mansion’s premier rooms, guests will be awed by oversized marble baths with soaking tubs, and glass-enclosed showers and double sinks. Delectable Dining The Mansion’s world-famous restaurant, was recently renovated showcasing the hotel’s historic character with a new, contemporary design. Guests are treated to modern lighting elements and honey-colored walls - creating a warm ambiance. The food at this tasty dining establishment is just as delightful as the decor. Revel in the exquisite variety of appetizers and main courses. On a side note, make sure you get feedback from your waiter about

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popular items and specials made daily by renowned Chef John Tesar. Chef’s Room and Mansion Bar The Chef’s Room allows guests experience to begin with cocktails and canapés. Prix-fixe menus and chef tasting menus reign supreme. As well, there is an extensive selection of cheeses, teas and confections available. If you are looking for a little more libations, then visit the cozy Mansion Bar draped in Cognace colored leather and a blend of contemporary and traditional hunting themed artwork lining the walls. The Bar offers comfort cuisine and an extensive wine list and variety of cocktails. Live music is available Wednesday through Saturday. Staying Healthy... The Mansion has a state-of-the-art health and fitness studio, including universal machines, free weights, Stairmasters, and treadmills with personal televisions. Additionally, guests can massages, facials and have access to steam and sauna rooms. If you want to beat the heat, then the spectacular Mansion outdoor pool will definitely suit you. Bask in the clear blue skies while taking in the sun or simmer in the heated whirlpool during the cooler months. Regardless, this pleasure oasis is the perfect getaway for you. Contact Information For more information on the the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, visit their webiste at www.mansiononturtlecreek.com or call them toll free at (888) ROSEWOOD or (214) 559-2100.

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PRAIRIES & LAKES

three new takes.

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three engaging experiences.

refreshingly spontaneous

elegantly rejuvenated

quintessentially delicious

the mansion restaurant

the mansion bar

the chef’s room

make it a date or drop in

a gathering place for

decades of the mansion and

on the spot.

those in the know.

now a new dawn.

jackets are op tional

great music, food and drinks,

in the chef’s room you’ll

and je ans , why not.

all part of the show.

find the legend lives on.

2 8 2 1 t u rt l e c r e e k

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dallas

214.559.2100

m a n s i o n o n t u rt l e c r e e k . c o m

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destinations

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Restoration and Renewal

The Sandperl Resort

pened in August 2007 as the first new resort built on Clearwater Beach in 25 years, the Four Diamond Sandpearl Resort is tucked seamlessly into Florida’s pristine Gulf coast along miles of pearlescent white sand beaches. For nearly a century the original Clearwater Beach Hotel – built as a summer bungalow by a Florida lumberman in 1917 – reigned as the crown jewel of the destination, and passed its rich legacy onto the Sandpearl, for future generations to call their own. This fresh resort blends eco-conscious luxury with unparalleled amenities and features 253 guest rooms and suites, full-service spa, upscale and “toes-in-the-sand” dining and state-ofthe-art meeting/event space, as well as Enrichment Programs from Astronomy Nights and Artistsin-Residence to Marine Discovery Kayaking and Organic Cooking Classes. As the sun sets over the Gulf, the day wanes with a nightly beach sunset ritual, where a select guest is chosen to ring the original dinner bell from the historic Clearwater Beach Hotel. LAID BACK LUXURY Reflecting an elegant island style, the laid-back unpretentious atmosphere embodies a “British Colonial meets Tommy Bahama” feel. The resort décor is elegant, yet always comfortable, with a “no jacket required” philosophy. Plantation style espresso wood doors span the width of the first floor, opening graciously into the lobby, welcoming guests with the crisp scent of Island Breeze and unveiling conch chandeliers ensconced in wrought iron, as well as other marine life including Egret sculptures, coral and shells displayed among cozy clusters of “sink in” furniture. A collection of $1 million of artwork from legendary Florida artist Christopher Still and other renowned names

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graces the walls with classic Florida scenes. ACCOMMODATIONS Capturing the sophisticated, yet comfortably casual essence of Southwest Florida, guest rooms feature airy, Olde Florida inspired décor with citrus-hued interiors, wainscoting and black and white photography of seascapes and marine life. Evening turn-down service with “pearls of wisdom” and daily morning newspaper “doorstep” delivery. Bathrooms with expansive marble vanity, lighted makeup mirror and Gilchrist & Soames amenities. 50 suites offer one- and two-bedroom floor plans and feature additional amenities including in-room washer and dryer, full gourmet kitchen and roman tubs. The hotel also features a Presidential Suite with striking Gulf views and expansive terrace and a free-standing two story Gulfside Suite right on the beach. As a part of the resort’s conservation efforts, an in-room energy management system monitors room temperatures remotely so that occupied rooms are controlled by the guest, but unoccupied www.thehotelguide.com


rooms can be adjusted to reduce expending excess energy. System cutoffs on sliding glass doors automatically prevent unintentional energy waste when guests are enjoying a balmy breeze from their balcony. COASTAL CUISINE Caretta on The Gulf Named for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta on the Gulf offers a AAA Four Diamond specialty dining experience featuring seasonal cuisine, without the worry of being on “the list.” Three daily seatings feature palate-pleasing entrees including a breakfast menu with favorites such as Crab Cake Eggs Benedict; lunch menu with gourmet flatbreads, sandwiches and salads; and dinner menu with infusions of South American, Caribbean and other international inspirations including Five Spiced Poached Pear and Fried Lobster “Mac and Cheese” to Striped Bass and Sweet Pea Agnolotti Pasta. (offerings vary seasonally) An organic menu is also available offering entrees such as Wild Florida Grouper and Tea Smoked Duck. An intimate Wine Room is ideal for special events and tastings, with an extensive collection of wines from around the world, while the Ceviche Sushi and Raw Bar offers a fresh selection of local seafood and sushi along with a wood-burning oven boasting a myriad of rustic options. Tate Island Grill Nestled between Sea oat-covered sand dunes and poised directly on the Gulf, Tate Island Grill provides a laid-back setting to enjoy casual cuisine with live island music at dusk. Fresh seafood, salads and sandwiches are complemented with an extensive cocktail menu featuring the signature Blue Pearl, a frozen concoction of Cruzan Coconut rum, crème de banana, coconut and a blue Curacao swirl. As the sun sinks into the Gulf, guests relax in one of the Adirondack chairs around the beachside fire pit. The Marketplace A quick grab-and-go dining option, fresh pastries, fruit, cereal and rich Starbuck’s cappuccino refuel guests before a day on the beach. The Marketplace also offers sandwiches, salads, snacks and cold beverages throughout the day. Personal Chef For a truly private dining experience, a chef will prepare a customized dining experience in-room (available in suites only). SPAAAAH A sanctuary bathed in iridescent oyster hues concealing seven treatment rooms, therapeutic whirlpool with cool shower, private relaxation rooms, steam room and www.thehotelguide.com

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deluxe couples treatment room with European-style soaking tubs, as well as salon services. Restorative spa treatments are inspired by the tranquil Gulf waters and healing elements of the sea and are divided into Water Therapies and Touch Therapies, as well as facials and fitness classes. Dating back to 520 BC, the pearl is the oldest known gemstone and a universal symbol of wisdom and spiritual rebirth, known for its healing properties. Organic pearl paste and pearl extracts are found in Sandpearl Signature therapies. One of only two resorts in Florida to offer the Zen Shiatsu- inspired Watsu treatment. MEETINGS 25,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including a grand ballroom and beachfront function lawn. With more than 5,200 sq. ft. of event space, the Hunter Ballroom can be divided into three equally sized rooms, each more than 1,700 sq. ft. The pre-function space provides 2,300 sq. ft. and room for 300 reception guests. The Harbor Ballroom encompasses 3,400 sq. ft. overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and can be divided into three equally sized rooms more than 1,100 sq. ft. each. The elegant Cove Room as well as Channel and Reef boardrooms showcase dramatic views of the Gulf of Mexico from floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. Alternatives to the traditional ballroom/boardroom include a Gulfside Suite and Presidential Suite, as well as a Gulf Lawn and Pool Lawn. Contact Us For reservations or more information, call us at (877) 726-3111 or visit us online at www.sandpearl.com. 27


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L’Auberge du Lac A Louisiana Masterpiece

article by: Dale Blasingame

hat do you get when you mix Las Vegas with the Texas Hill Country? Sounds strange, but it’s the best way to describe L’auberge du Lac Casino Resort - an oasis in the Louisiana outback. Incredible Scenery L’auberge du Lac is just a few miles off of I-10 in Lake Charles. The hotel was inspired by the Hill Country - one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire country - and it shows. As soon as you walk inside, you can’t help but notice the dark woods, natural stones and fireplaces in the lobby. One of the most interesting things about L’auberge du Lac is, like the mega-resorts in Las Vegas, everything you need to relax or have fun is all located on one property. Plenty of Rooms First, let’s start with the hotel rooms. There are more than 1,000 of them at L’auberge du Lac. The standard rooms have that Las Vegas elegance - easily comparable with the best hotels on the Strip. There are also three different types of suites here. They feature hardwood ceilings - a truly unique feature that will cause you stop and stare for a few minutes. The best part of it all, the rooms have breathtaking views of either the pool or golf course. Outdoor Recreation Speaking of pools, you’ve probably heard about the pools at Hard Rock or Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas - and this one at L’auberge du Lac ranks right up there. It has everything you need to relax: two huge, swim-

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ming areas (including an adults area), a lazy river with inner tubes to float, a swim-up bar and private cabanas. You can also grab lunch at Nevie Beach Club. One piece of advice: be there for a Thursday during the summer so you can witness the Party by the Pool. It’s just you and a couple thousand of your closest friends, with some great music by national acts like Everclear and

Blue October. Golf Anyone? L’auberge du Lac also has its own 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Tom Fazio. You really get the experience of the Louisiana environment at the Contraband Bayou Golf Club because it’s built right into the course. If battling the lakes and marshes is too much for you, there’s also a driving range to practice on your game. Shopping and Spas If golf’s not your thing, how about some shopping? L’auberge du Lac has its own area of shops where you can buy everything from jewelry to clothes to lingerie. After that, you can head over to the spa and get a massage. A day at the pool, golf course or shops can build up quite an appetite. Luckily, L’auberge du Lac has several restaurants to keep you well fed. The lineup is highlighted by Snake River Grill - the steakhouse that made its name in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. L’auberge du Lac features the only www.thehotelguide.com


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other location in the entire country. And what casino is complete without a buffet? You can eat until your heart’s content at Le Beaucoup Buffet. There’s also Le Café, which is open 24 hours a day, Jack Daniel’s Bar and Grill and Asia. L’auberge also has a coffee shop and a dessert shop to finish off the meal - no matter where you eat. For the Gamblers... And finally, there’s the casino. The action never stops here - it’s going 24

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hours a day. The casino features 30,000 square feet of gaming. Everything from slots to blackjack to roulette and all the other favorites - it’s all here. There’s even a high-limit room, if you’re feeling adventurous. So throw out everything you may have heard or remember about Lake Charles. L’auberge du Lac changes all of that. For more information on L’Auberge du Lac Resort,

World-Class Dining

Snake River Grill

article by: Dale Blasingame

’m starting to get pretty spoiled. I’ve had the chance to eat at some of the top steakhouses in the world recently. Now I can add Snake River Grill to that list. There are only two Snake River Grills in the entire country. The original is in Jackson Hole, Wyoming - one of the most gorgeous skiing spots you‘ll ever see. The only other location is inside L’Auberge du Lac Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Incredible Ambiance As soon as walk in, you instantly feel like you’re in some type of exclusive ski lodge - a hard feat to pull off in southwest Louisiana. There are dark woods everywhere, a fireplace, natural stones. It really sets the mood for a fantastic dining experience. Delectable Dining The menu has something for everyone and they‘ve catered it to bring in the local flavor. Start with an appetizer. They have everything from onion rings battered in Shiner Bock beer to Louisiana crab cakes. But this is a steakhouse - so they also have delicious prime sirloin steak tacos and lamb chop lollipops.

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From there, it’s on to the main course. I had the 14- ounce New York strip and a baked potato. It definitely hit the spot. The steak was so tender and juicy. It practically melted in my mouth. It really was a perfect piece of meat. The menu is also full of other steaks - filet mignon, porterhouse, ribeye and even Kobe strip loins. Picking a cut of meat (and the sauce to accompany it) may be the toughest decision you make here. If steak isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Snake River Grill has an extensive list of fish, Maine lobster and chicken to choose from. One tip - if you’re by yourself, avoid the wait and try to sit at the bar. They offer a full menu there and you can usually grab a spot immediately. Spoil Yourself So go ahead and spoil yourself. Take a break from the gambling and the shopping and the golf to enjoy Snake River Grill. 29


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The Hard Rock Hotel

Plenty of Great Stuff Going On Article by: Dale Blasingame

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wo new hotel towers, a new casino, new nightclub, new convention center, new concert hall, new spa, new parking garage, new restaurants and new shops. Besides that, there isn’t much going on these days at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. That’s sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch it. The Hard Rock has undergone some of the most dramatic renovations in recent Las Vegas memory. What used to be a boutique hotel off the strip is now a major complex of gambling, entertainment and convention space. It’s something you really have to see to believe. Let’s start with the hotel rooms. Hard Rock has added two new towers: the HRH Tower and Paradise Tower. HRH Tower opened the last week of 2009. Besides 359 new suites, the HRH Tower also features eight villas that open to the pool area and seven penthouse suites. All the suites share the clean, crisp look of Hard Rock’s original rooms. The HRH Tower also has its own private check-in area. Then there’s the Paradise Tower, which opened in late July 2009. These 490 rooms are more on the rock ‘n’ roll side, with dark leathers and velvet everywhere. The Paradise Tower also features suites that open to the pool and, on the higher levels, some great views of the Strip. Hard Rock is also evolving when it comes to its legendary nightlife. Gone is Body English, which had a run on top that other clubs can only dream of. Body English is being renovated and will reopen soon, under a different name, as an after-hours spot. Taking the reins at Hard Rock is Vanity, which debuted on New Year’s Eve. Vanity is run by the same people as Body English, so rest assured that you will be taken care of. Set on the 2nd floor of the new HRH Tower, Vanity is 14,000 square feet of bars, dance floors, 50 VIP tables and a cyclone chande30

lier with 20,000 LED lights! Get there early, especially on Sundays. The long lines that used to wait to get into Body English have simply moved to the new area for Vanity. Hard Rock is also known for live music. The New Joint is a brand new concert spot that’s already paying dividends. Santana became the first rock star to sign a long-term deal in Las Vegas. The Joint will be his home for the entire month of February. The small, circle casino at Hard Rock now has a lot of company. Hard Rock took the space that used to be The Joint and turned it into 40,000 square feet of new casino space. There are plenty of new tables for blackjack, more slots, a new High Limit area and a new center bar in this expanded casino area. How much did all these renovations cost? How does $750 million sound? That’s a lot of money, even in Las Vegas. However, it was money well spent. Hard Rock is offering up several specials to get people in the door and check out all the new features, so take advantage. Just don’t be surprised when you see the map of how to get around the property.

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Living the Nightclub Life

Las Vegas

ou’ve probably heard about casino hosts, who do what it takes to get you to visit their properties. But there are also hosts for all the nightclubs in Las Vegas. I sat down with Eric Noe, an executive club host at The Bank Nightclub at Bellagio, to find out how you can take advantage of the best in Las Vegas nightlife.

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Dale Blasingame: Explain what a club host does. Eric Noe: A true club host does everything. He caters to the needs of his clientele. In essence, a club host is continuously networking with others and providing a service and experience that an individual may not receive if they were to go out on their own. I party for a living. It’s my job to show people a good time. From the moment they land in my city, I’m already working for them to make their life easier. I set up transportation to their hotel, dinner and shows. It’s all about building the relationship with the guest. Now those are just nights that I work. On my off nights, I’m still going out and showing my face around town. I support other clubs and venues constantly to drum up new business, as they would say. A typical host should work at least 80 hours a week. DB: Is this an exclusive client base or can anyone take advantage of club hosts? EN: Anyone can take advantage of a club host. However, the hard part is finding a good host who is willing to go the extra mile for you. Many club hosts are just about working with you at the club, but if one wants to succeed in this industry he needs to go the extra mile and take care of his guests. It’s the little things a host will be remembered for and the reasons that host will get a call when the guest is coming back into town. DB: How much money does one need for a typical night out and what do they get out of it? EN: A typical night out depends entirely on the individual www.thehotelguide.com

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and the night. An average upscale club that’s actually busy usually does a minimum of one bottle per every three people in the party. So let’s say six guys go out - you’re looking at two bottles at $500 apiece, plus tip. Then there are the little things, like taking care of your busser, your host and the security guard by your table. That may seem like a lot up front - but when you really look at it, it’s roughly the same cost with a lot more enjoyment. Would you really rather wait in line for an hour and pay a $30 cover and then have nowhere to sit? Cocktails are $20 apiece at the bar. In the end, you’ll realize bottle/table

DB: What are some of your best tips for having a good time out in Las Vegas? EN: Las Vegas is all about service, so take full advantage of it. It’s a 24-hour city of people paid to take care of you at all times. If you’re on a small budget, take the time to see the sights like the Freemont Street Experience, Bellagio Fountains or just go walk the Strip. If you’re looking to go out, find a good host who’s going to cater to your needs, not his. Of course, I want you to spend money in my venues, but if you’re looking to go to other clubs, I’ll be happy to accommodate and set up your reservations. Reason being: you’re going to call me next time you come into town. Also, take full advantage of the fine dining and entertainment available in casinos. Las Vegas has many world-renowned chefs with their own restaurants in the various hotels. There are also many shows to be seen, from Cirque de Soleil to the new Lion King production. Now if you’re a gambler, enjoy the comps that you build up with your play. Casinos are happy to offer you free shows, rooms and food. Take advantage of what’s out there and don’t be scared to share your experience. If you’re looking to experience all the Las Vegas nightlife has to offer, contact Eric Noe at 702.501.8650. 31


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Miami’s Newest Haute Spot

Hotel Urbano

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iami’s highly anticipated Hotel Urbano at Brickell, the city’s newest “Art Hotel”,is now open for business. This chic 65-room boutique will provide Miami visitors with an art-inspired hotel alternative – while offering locals a new stylish venue for functions, after work cocktails and tantalizing cuisine. Located in the eclectic and sophisticated downtown Brickell neighborhood, Hotel Urbano will celebrate art in the following ways: · Miami’s very own Art Fusion Galleries will display an array of original artwork from several new, emerging and well-known artists throughout the hotel lobby, hallways, rooms and restaurant. All artwork will change seasonally and will be readily available for guests to purchase. · Hotel Urbano’s award-winning Executive Chef has created masterful art-inspired pre fixe menus, fusing South Florida and Cuban cuisine. These ever-changing delectable dishes will be certain to please everyone’s palette. · The 65 stylish guestrooms are artfully designed by Marcie DeLaRosa – one of the country’s top interior designers · A tropical, free form swimming pool and waterfall provides a perfect backdrop to the spacious deck with private cabanas, fire pits and vibrant poolside lounge featuring alfresco dining. · The Hotel’s concierge will provide guests with information about local and well-known Miami art events, including gallery openings/showings, local art parties, art festivals and more. · Hotel packages, promotions and deals will reflect the current art happenings and events throughout the city. · An art educational series will be shown on the hotel’s in-house cable TV channel, so that guests can 32

learn about the various pieces of art at the property and the artists who created them in the convenience and comfort of their room. The new Hotel Urbano at Brickell is located at 2500 South Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami, at the intersection of Brickell and the Rickenbacker Causeway. Centrally located, Hotel Urbano offers easy access to downtown Miami, Brickell Avenue, the shops and beaches of Key Biscayne and most of Miami’s major tourist attractions, including Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Seaquarium, Jungle Island, The Museum of Science and Space Planetarium, and more. In addition, the hotel is ideally located to sample Miami’s art galleries, special events and sporting options, such as Miami Design District’s Art Walk, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Ericsson Tennis Open, The Miami Heat and Florida Panthers games at American Airlines Arena, and endless rounds of golf at the renowned Key Biscayne Golf Course. For more information or to make reservations, call 1-888-657-3448 or visit www.HotelUrbano.com. www.thehotelguide.com


Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne Pure Luxury minutes from Miami iami’s hidden oasis beckons visitors to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.Though just 15 minutes from downtown Miami, Key Biscayne remains an enigma to even seasoned travelers. This largely undiscovered island oasis is a close alternative to international destinations and its close proximity to vibrant Miami provides guests the best of both worlds. Culinary Jet-Setting With four global-inspired restaurants, The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne has morphed into a true dining destination with authentic cuisine and leading wine & spirits collections crafted by a Sommelier, Tequilier and Rummier. Guests can experience culinary journeys to Tuscany, Coastal Mexico, South of France and vintage Havana via the “Around the World” dining package with personal sit-downs and tastings with chefs and wine & spirits experts. The package is $149 per person. Destination Spa This spa destination is where locals and international celebrities come to unwind. The scent of mango leads the way to 21 treatment rooms and a menu of more than 60 therapies that harness the many health and beauty benefits of oceanic elements, and the large wellness center offers innovative classes such as Pool-Ates (Pilates in the pool), Zen Jump and the Atlantic Walk, which incorporates Key Biscayne island history. Play Like a Pro Groundstrokes are perfected at the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center, the largest tennis facility of any Ritz-Carlton in the world. Seasoned pros conduct daily clinics for all skill levels from toddlers to octogenarians, offer game-matching services to those

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traveling solo and can arrange fantasy clinics with tennis legends Cliff Drysdale and Owen Davidson. Each spring, the resort becomes “tennis headquarters” during the Sony-Ericsson Open, when top pros often warm up on the courts. The Stay & Play package includes overnight accommodations in a resort view room, unlimited court time for one, complimentary game arranging service (matching guest with tennis club member of the same skill set), complimentary sleeve of balls and complimentary non-alcoholic beverages throughout game. (Additional players can be added for $15 daily). Early 2010 rates start at $404. Destination Weddings from New York, to India, to London, brides seek out The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne for its tranquil, exotic ambience for a picturesque destination wedding. A new trend is Culturally Authentic Weddings, where couples incorporate their family heritage and traditions into nuptials. Wedding Director Elda Brower, a renowned expert, is known for her creativity, attention to detail and flair that has included a groom arriving by elephant. Little Guests, Big AdventuresChildren ages 5-12 have actionpacked adventures, discover and learn local lore in the Ritz Kids program. Adventurers will embark on beach treasure hunts for long-lost pirate booty, fish from the Atlantic shores and learn about their catch before gently releasing them, engage in friendly sports competitions and meet Ritz Kids Mascot, Gonzo, a friendly blue and gold macaw, who revels in attention.

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History Lesson Historic Stomping Ground dating back to the Tequesta Indians, Key Biscayne has been home to Ponce de Leon, legendary pirate Black Caesar, the largest coconut plantation in the United States, Miami’s first zoo and the only lighthouse in Florida to have ever sustained an Indian attack during the Seminole Indian wars. Great for families and history buffs, all this history is just steps away from the resort. Glowing Sunrise/Moonrises from the Atlantic Ocean are perhaps the biggest highlight of Key Biscayne’s natural beauty, while the island embodies its original Tequesta name “Bischiyano” (meaning “favorite path of the rising moon”) when the full moon shimmers over the Atlantic and Cioppino restaurant hosts magical “Moonrise Dinners.” Every full moon features a special four-course menu and Sommelier wine pairing underneath a starry sky, while tabletop telescopes on the outdoor terrace offer first-rate views of the moon and constellations. The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne has the unique

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ability to cater to every life phase and celebration from Bachelor/Bachelorette getaways, romance & engagement retreats, oceanfront weddings, BabyMoons, family vacations and multi-generational trips. Contact Information For more information on the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, call (305)365-4500 or visit the corporate website at www.ritzcarlton.com.

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Experiences

Javier Garza

Daytripping in the Texas Hill Country

by: Javier Garza

e tend to think of a vacation as something that requires an enormous amount of preparation, but small daylong excursions can be just as refreshing and fulfilling as their lengthier counterparts. A short drive can be the channel that transports you into a world of novel experiences and blissful relaxation. Solo day trips can be a wonderful way to unwind from the stresses of routine existence while simultaneously feeding the soul. And when you choose to share your day trip with someone you care about, a leisurely drive becomes a chance to talk about childhood, recall favorite songs, or simply spend time enjoying one another’s presence.

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You may be surprised to see how many day-trip possibilities exist within a mere hour’s time from your home. Forests, beaches, lakes, mountains, rivers, and deserts can serve as the perfect spot for a minivacation. The physical and mental rejuvenation you experience in an unfamiliar and engaging setting are enhanced by meditation, journaling, deep breathing, or just being still with nature. Though the cost of gasoline can make taking a day trip seem frivolous, and our commitment to environmental well-being may cause us to hesitate before utilizing our cars in this manner, there are numerous ways we can effectively offset our carbon signature while still seeing to the needs of ourselves on a soul level. Since day trips tend to require much smaller investments of time and money than traditional outings, you can enjoy a diverse range of experiences day by day. On one weekend, you may be motivated by a need to connect with your natural heritage to explore a vast state park or nature preserve. On another, your curiosity can inspire you to visit a historical site that has long piqued your interest. In the end, where you go will often be less important than your willingness to broaden your hori36

zons by removing yourself from the environment already so familiar to you. Each minigetaway you take will imbue your existence with a sensation of renewal that prepares you for whatever lies ahead. So what you may ask is MY favorite day trip? A loing leisurely drive through my beloved Texas Hill Country; to me it’s a slice of heaven here on earth, Not only is it the 2nd most visited wine region in the US ; it’s only a 25 minute drive from where I live when I’m not out wanding the states on the Big Iron Horse. It is here among the Hill Couuntry’s natural beauty that I find solace among the two dozen wineries, the cypress lined spring feed creeks, the historical sites and a good company with people I don’t even iknow in that small little town called Luckenback. To me this is what a day vacation is all about; it’s whatever makes you happy. For more information on the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail, click here.

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It’s Heaven on Earth

Nice & French Riviera

Experiences

by: Jody Truly

he French Riviera... It’s absolute georgeousness amid humming mopeds and pooches pooping on the sidewalk... you look up at the snow covered French Alps on one side and the Mediterranean on the other and you’re in heaven. While walking on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice you might pass by a pair of 80 year old women walking their old little pooches while being swiftly passed by a shirtless man on rollerblades. It truly is a place where everyone can relax and take a deep breath. Europeans walk and walking in most any city on the Côte d’Azur can get you to beachside restaurants, pubs, shopping and entertainment. During the summer months there are lovely, but pricey, restaurants along any of the beaches. In Nice make sure to breeze through the Zone Pietone for some shopping and eating (La Pizza Cresci for unbelievable pizza). The Cours Saleya in old town Nice has a breathtaking flower market in the AM, great dining (Le Safari) and a fun night market with lots of things you will think you need. Buy a table cloth from Provence to remember the trip and eat up on the baguettes because it’s impossible to find such crispy and soft perfection in bread anywhere else. Cities along the coast will give you a fantastic rock (not sand) beach experience, high end shopping if you wish, Italian gelato and food, and people watching... Saint Tropez, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco. If you are looking to take a day or two away from the beach try St. Paul de Vence, Biot or Eze. The historic village of St. Paul de Vence is a great place to take your time and wander in and out of unique art galleries and shops. It’s quaint atmosphere is complemented with stone steps leading you up and through the village to

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an amazing view over the cemetary and surrounding hillside. Travel back down from the village and any art lover must stop at the Fondation Maeght. It’s on exceptionally kept grounds with many modern pieces housed inside. The village of Biot brings you glass like you have never seen! The glassblowers are right before your eyes creating the pieces that they sell. There is also a wonderful village to shop for pottery and enjoy lunch. Eze is a clifftop village between Nice and Monaco. You are in for a hike up, but it’s worth the sore legs and sweat to see the amazing sea view from so high up. There is a unique cactus garden at the very top along with, of course, wonderful restaurants. A few pointers: • Rent a car and drive the coast to Monaco. • If you stay in Nice, pick a hotel between the fancy schmancy Hotel Negresco and Old Nice… there are plenty to choose from. • Spend the extra cash to rent a parasol and cot on the beach and take time to relax and listen to the water crash into the rocks on the beach. • Try using their language (even if you feel dumb) because they will appreciate it. 37


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The Hotel Guide - Volume 1, 2010