Dining & Nightlife
Big Sur, California is one of the most amazing, awe inspiring places I’ve ever been to and a must visit for anyone traveling to San Francisco, Los Angeles or anywhere in between. I’ve been meaning to visit ever since my best friend from college did the drive down Highway 1 years ago- so when I was in California earlier this year, I decided to plan my entire trip around the same route. At the advice of one of my friends, I decided to check out Ventana Inn & Spa, an iconic property located right above the waters of Big Sur.
In so many ways, I feel that Ventana Inn embodies the rugged, organic grandeur of the town in which it resides. There is a certain authenticity to the property- from the way the buildings coexists with nature, to the genuine love of the area that their employees have, to the local ingredients used not only in their dinner menu but also in their spa menu, to the overall ambiance of wellness and peace. There is nothing engineered or over the top about this place- but rather a resort that is truly in line with their motto- the essence of Big Sur. (more…)
It’s really difficult for me to pick a favorite Ritz-Carlton property as I’ve had such a spectacular experience at every one I’ve visited, but if I had to call one out for being exceptionally amazing- it would have to be the Ritz-Carlton at Powerscourt in Ireland. Nestled among the lush gardens and rolling hills of Powerscourt Estate just 30 minutes south of Dublin, The Ritz-Carlton provides the ideal setting for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the romance of Ireland. Having long been a Ritz-Carlton fan, I decided to check in, and check out, the hotel when I was in Ireland last month. (more…)
The Fairmont Peace Hotel, located at the prestigious junction of Nanjing East Rd and The Bund in Shanghai was one of the most unique properties I’ve ever visited. Walking inside immediately transports you to the city’s most glamorous decades- the 1920s, 30s, and 40s where lavish galas were hosted almost every night at the hotel. The Peace Hotel recently underwent an extensive renovation before reopening in 2010 under the Fairmont brand. The renovations preserved much of the authentic charm of the original property, while incorporating modern touches and conveniences. As someone who has always been very attracted to Shanghai’s old school glamour, I decided that the Peace hotel was a must visit! (more…)
Equal parts fairy tale, opulent opium den, and downtown high-rise the new Mondrian SoHo brings an eclectic mix of fantasy and luxury to the edgier part of the neighborhood. The 25 story, 270 room hotel is the third Morgans property to be branded under the Mondrian name- joining its LA and Miami counterparts, delivering a signature sleek, trendy and exclusive vibe. I had the opportunity to tour the hotel during its soft opening. (more…)
Shanghai, I noticed, is a city that is somewhat obsessed with grandeur. Walk into any restaurant or hotel and chances are, you’ll almost feel as if you’ve walked into a banquet hall. Red and gold are liberally used in architecture and decor throughout the city- and it’s impossible not to notice the range of bright colorful lights that constantly illuminate the urban skyline. So in this city that can often be flashy, the understated and elegant PuLi Hotel is all the more a welcome respite for discerning travelers. Branded as an “urban resort,” the PuLi strives to be a different type of experience for the Shanghai visitor: the soothing ambiance, round the clock butler service, Zen aura, and focus on wellness makes this as close as you can get to a retreat in the middle of the bustling city. It’s one of the newest and most acclaimed luxury properties in Shanghai- so I made a point to check in- and check out the PuLi last month. (more…)
“This is Shangri-la,” said the concierge, nodding towards the thousands of sparkling chandelier crystals that illuminated silk tapestries and gilded artwork that decorated the hotel’s sky lobby. Located in the top floors of a corporate park and perched above Tokyo Station, the Shangri-la Tokyo, certainly was every bit the oasis worthy of it’s namesake, a gem among the city’s skyscrapers. Last month I ventured to Japan for the first time, and took the opportunity to check in- and check out- the newest luxury hotel in Tokyo. (more…)
I didn’t do anything I was supposed to do on Chinese New Year Eve: I didn’t wear red, I didn’t eat longevity noodles, and I didn’t wear new clothes ( I did call my mom though.) But I did celebrate it in Asian style by attending the opening of the newest Asian barbeque Todd English (Fig and Olive, Olive’s)/Ian Chalermkittichai (Kittichai) venture, The Ember Room. (more…)
Amazing hospitality, I’ve discovered, truly starts from the very top- so it’s no surprise that the Windham Hill Inn, with sophisticated veteran Katja Matthews at the helm, is one of the most luxurious, pampering and elegant destinations in the Northeast. As the innkeeper, Matthews oversees everything from the day to day operations to the nightly dinner menus to the small romantic decorations that adorn the 21 guest rooms and suites. Her thoughtfulness, attention to detail and natural warmth creates a personal and intimate experience for every guest. Matthews is so memorable, in fact, that many visitors who review the property make a special point of calling out her graciousness in their comments. It is certainly no surprise that under Matthew’s leadership, the Windham Hill Inn joined the ultra prestigious Relais & Chateaux association in 2009. As someone with the goal of visiting every Relais & Chateaux property in the world (they are certainly some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen), I made a point to check into the Windham Hill Inn for a night last December.
Located at Kilometer 14.5 on Cancun’s posh “hotel zone,” the Ritz Carlton Cancun easily occupies the best real estate on the famed strip. It is located within a stone’s throw from all the luxury shopping the city offers, is far from the traditional “party zone,” and boasts the best beach of all the hotels in Cancun. Combine that with a resort that is both family and couples friendly, large ocean view rooms, and award winning service- it’s easy to see why the Ritz-Carlton Cancun was top of my list when I booked my Mexican vacation last month. (more…)