Search Model

Archive for June, 2010

Ensuring Your Safety While Hiring hookups

Posted in New York hookups on June 29th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

One of the best ways of relieving yourself of boredom when you are visiting a new city is to hire an hookup. Even the most exciting city like New York can be boring if you do not have friends or acquaintances in the new city. You will not know how to spend your evenings or weekends without the right company in the new city. You will not have to endure boredom anymore. You will be able to have all the fun you want even if New York is a new city. You can hire experienced NY hookups who will give you company with their enchanting presence. It is worth spending money on beautiful NYC hookups.

However, when you are new to NYC and if you want to hire an hookup for company and to have fun, you need to be a little cautious. You will have to make sure that the hookup that you are hiring is a safe person to deal with. By cautioning you we do not intend to say that all NYC hookups are risky people to deal with. There are many highly reputed and brilliant hookups that make their clients happy. This just means that you should not become an easy victim by your carelessness.

It is best not to pick your hookups in the street corners because you can never know anything about their history and about to what kind of people they are associated with. Today you can book your hookups online even before you visit New York. The internet has become one of the most powerful tools of this era and you will be able to find the best hookups in the New York City by making a simple search online. When you do fancy someone, it is best to run a quick background check online. If there are any unpleasant events associated with the NY hookup that you are planning to hire, it will come to light because dissatisfied customers will always try to find a platform to make things public. If do come across any such negative remarks or reviews with your hookup never ignore them or take them lightly.

Though it might consume your time before you identify the right NY hookup, you will certainly not regret spending time to pick your hookup. With the company of the right hookups, you can certainly have the most enjoyable time of your life. So when you are in a new city and if you don’t have company, do not miss the opportunity to hire the best New York hookups in town. Make the best out of your visit to New York and do not let boredom haunt you.

London Theatres

Posted in London hookups on June 28th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

There are hundreds of other theaters thought it all over London, some of them large

and famous, but theatrically speaking this is Londons West End.  This is where you

can see spectacular musicals, classy revivals of classic plays from the 1920s and

1930s, imported or homebred farce, the latest transfers from Broadway, and the

mousetrap, which has been running in London for 45 years. The finest theaters in the

West End were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, following the last

great slum clearance in central London.  As the rotten rat infested houses were

pulled down impresarios rushed forward, checkbooks and hand, to grab the best sites.

Between 1880 and 1913.  The most ornate and beautiful of London’s theaters opened:

the London Pavilion, Balearic, the Princess, the palace, the Garrick, wyndham’s, the

Coliseum and many others.  The Coliseum rivaled its Roman predecessor.  When it

opened, the stage had three revolving platforms to accommodate spectacles that

included chariot races, a reenactment of the Derby, and elephants playing cricket.

The proprietor, Oswald stoll, Leeward Sarah Bernhardt to the Coliseum to play Hamlet

for 1000 pounds a week an enormous sum of money in 1910.  After each night’s

performance, the Divine Sarah made stole paid her personally in gold. London hookups can be seen frequenting this venue.

London Bridge

The London Palladium

it used to be the ambition of every comedian, variety artist and singer from

California, Caucasus to play the London Palladium.  It is vast, built in 1910 on the

site of henglers circus.  Its most famous days as the home of variety and reviews.

In the 1930s, it was the home of the crazy gang, a collection of British comedians

headed by Bob Flanagan and Chesney Allen, much loved by Londoners for their mad,

anarchic humor.  And every Christmas time, barries Peter Pan was staged here.  In

the 1940s and 1950s, the Palladium became the showcase for the finest American

talent: Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Frankie Laine, Bing Crosby, and hundreds more.  Today,

it’s the venue for large-scale, bright, brash musicals.

Theatre Royal, drury Lane

for many Londoners, this is the finest theater in the capital.  It’s certainly the

oldest still in use.  The first theater on the site was destroyed by fire in 1672,

with the loss of all its costumes and scenery.  There were many fires in London in

those days.  Like so much of the capital, the theater was rebuilt by Sir Christopher

Wren.  He was always a likely place.  There was an attempted assassination of George

III there in 1800.  Lavish melodramas were staged, and spectacles with herds of

elephants and troops of performing dogs.  Despite the introduction of an irony

safety curtain in 1794.  wrens Theatre burnt down in 1809.  Once again it was

rebuilt, this time with funds provided by the London brewer Samuel Whitbread.  For

much of the early part of the 19th century, the stable diet for playgoers was a

series of melodramas.  It’s a very beautiful theater, and if you can’t afford a

ticket, least penetrate the foyer.  As far as the box office, and pretend you can.

Going to the theatre tickets in the West End are expensive, though going to the theater isn’t the dressy business.  It was a couple of generations ago.  Whatever the fashion world

says, whatever devotees of Opera may insist, it’s perfectly acceptable to go to

almost any West End theater in smart casual and comfortable dress.  How you behave

when you go threre does matter.  In the last 20 or 30 years theater goers have

become more talkative and ever more prone to Russell packets of sweets, crisps or

biscuits.  It may be that, once they have become absorbed in a play, they forget

that they are not at home watching television, and feel free to chat to each other

about the plot, the characters and even the costings.  It may be that they simply

don’t become absorbed in the play.  Either way, actors would prefer audience to be

respectively quiet.  If the price of a ticket is intimidating, then it’s worth

paying to visit to the cut price ticket booth in leicester Square.  You can’t book

for anything and advance, but you can pick up some half-price bargains on the day of

the performance itself.  Queues begin to form at the booth in the late afternoon,

when the starling start to screech in the autumn, and when the setting sun’s rays

slant along Panton Street in the spring and early summer.  Many London theaters are

architecturally delightful, inside and out, particularly the fortune in Russell

Street, the two theaters facing each other across the bottom of haymarket, her

Majesty’s and Haymarket Theatre, the Duke of York’s in St. Martin’s Lane, wyndhams

and the garrick in charring cross road.

Tips for the traveler.

From a practical point of view, here are a few hints on traveling by London taxis.

First, through the city, especially outside hotels and stations, they’re a taxi

ranks were taxis wait for passengers.  At Heathrow Airport.  There is also a

separate rant for taxis operating a cab share scheme: passengers pay a standard fare

for a trip in the central London within London that it is fairly easy to hail a cab

by shouting or waving.  It is usually worth hailing taxis on the opposite side of

the road just for a quick demonstration of how London taxis can turn on a sixpence,

and of how drivers are impervious to the sound of screeching tires and elbows on

horns all around them.  There are the easy bits; the difficult choice confronts you

after settling into your seat.  Do you try to strike up a conversation?  Most London

taxi drivers, particularly the older ones, love to talk.  London social gatherings

are formed for anecdotes about taxi drivers.  The reason is not because the drivers

can negotiate the the rabbit warren under the barbican; it’s because, given the

chance, cabbies never stop talking.  Traffic, foreign policy, they miss people they

have chauffeured, worksheet in the Canary Islands, why the wife has walked out, are

all topics of conversation.  Having a two-week conversation is almost out of the

question.  For one thing, the passenger can see only the back of the drivers had

where the cabbie can see the passenger in his rearview mirror.  And, for another,

the driver can hear much because of the engine.  What tends to happen is that he

shouts a monologue over his shoulder through the statutory 6 inch gap in the glass

partition, or the passenger makes feeble and ignore attempts to join in.  Most cabs

carry a notice that reads: thank you for not smoking.  A cartoon in the secure call

magazine Private eye, which had long-running column supposedly written by a cabbie.

When the conversation or a journey is over, there is the matter of paying the fair.

Displayed on a meter, it is shown usually as two separate amounts: an amount for the

trip, plus a second amount for any extras.  Additional passengers, luggage,

traveling at certain times of the day or at weekends.  Drivers don’t expect enormous

chips, though they claim they are taxed on an expectation of receiving 15% vote with

their.  They generally prefer around getting up of the fair by about 10 to 15% to

the nearest 50 pence or 1 pound and they will occasionally huff about having to give

change at busy periods, as it takes up their time.  It is worth having the right

money ready.

The double-decker.

No matter what happens, the big red vehicle just won’t go away.

The red double-decker buses to London with the cable car is to San Francisco or the

gondola to Venice.  It’s part of the fabric of the city.  It is rather more than

that: in the form of the traditional robe master, it is a mechanical miracle,

introduced in 1959 and expected lifespan of 17 years and still on the road.  Of 2825

originally built, 900 or going strong.  They been threatened with the scrapheap many

times.  In 1970 London transport decided to phase out conductors.  This meant facing

in pay as you enter buses with driver operated doors, thus elevating the joys of

hopping on and off the platform of a passing vehicle and of chatting with the

conductor.  Conductors survived, though in fewer numbers, and are still appreciated:

indeed, in 1994.  The Queen gave Dominican born Tony Severine, a conductor on the

number 12 route from Dulwich to shepherds Bush, an honor standing for member of the

British Empire for outstanding service to the traveling public.

Safety first.

In 1996, the European Union pronounce the open platforms were dangerous and that

routremasters should be banned because of instability.  Hypothesis rather than

statistics supported this assertion.  In a bid to prove their safety, London

transport staff of the top deck of a boss, which was then quartered at a tilt of

40°.  It didn’t topple over.  Routemasters have undoubted charisma.  TV

documentaries have been made about them, a 1963 feature movie starred one.  And they

have crossed deserts and confidence to continue life in all corners of the world.

They are simply built with aluminum panels that can be bolted on and off, and the

mechanics so simple that an engine change takes only seven hours.  In 1992 at

10,000,000 pound refurbishment program began, to ensure routemasters were kept alive

into the 21st century.  A single innovation was a flexible roof The only part to be

made abroad, in the US which would stand up to falling trees, a fear caused by

recent storms.  Two years later, with privatization of bus services threaten to

change their vehicles, livelihood, the transport minister had to bow to public

pressure and intervene, promising to keep the vehicles right.

Theater land.

From Shakespeare to Sondheim, wilde to Lloyd Webber, the best and the worst of plays

and musicals turned up in the West end.

The opening of Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside has been seen as a triumph of culture

over commercialism.  Here, for the price of a ticket, you can sit on rockhard

benches, squint through the Sun slamming it over the thatched door, pure round

pillars to try to catch lines from the acoustically challenge stage, and even, if

the youthful director Mark rylance is to be taken at his word, cat Call and lob the

occasional tomato for performance is not to your liking.  If this is a theater

heritage to appeal to the tourist as well as the purest, and Elizabethan Playhouse

risen from the rubble of time.  And even if its location, at the south end of London

Bridge, is a bit off the beaten track, many will make for its doors simply to savour

the unique experience.  The brainchild of American actor and director Sam Wanamaker,

who didn’t live to see it completed, the theater is a replica of the 1599 Auditorium

in which William Shakespeare had shares and where he staged many of his plays.  Like

many theaters over the years, the original Globe was destroyed by fire.

The best way to buy tickets.

Despite the prevalent notion that everything in London is so successful that it

sells out fast, most shows have some seats.  It’s the more expensive tickets

generally for musicals that are usually hardest to obtain.  Unlike New York, where

most of the ticket buying is done through agencies, in London tickets can be

purchased at the box office, cutting of the feed of the middlemen.  There are,

however, a number of good, reliable ticket agencies, which sometimes have more to

offer than the theater itself.  A day or so before the performance, they return

their tickets at the box office.  These tickets are then sold to students,

pensioners and the unwaged.  On the day of the performance, unsold tickets are also

available from a booth in leicester Square selling at around half price.  The

cheapest performances are matinees, but understudies may then replace the stars.

Tickets at the Royal national Theatre are considerably cheaper if bought on the day.

Tickets are offered outside theaters by touts or scalpers for anything up to 10

times their face value.  There’s nothing illegal in this, but it is good sense to

ask the face valur of the ticket on offer , and the exact position of the seat.


Just about any item you ever wanted can be found in London.  The trick lies in

knowing where to start looking for it.

There are some things real snobs wouldn’t be seen dead doing.  Shopping inherits is

one of them is far too full of tourists, you know, although they might just sneak

into its food hall on the basis that it serves as their local corner grocery store.

Visiting Oxford Street, even in a Rolls-Royce, is another.  As for souvenir shop,

they wouldn’t even be carried there after rigor mortis headset and.  But of course,

there are exactly the places visitors to the city want to go.  And they should.

Oxford Street stretches from Tottenham Court Road, Center for hi-fi gear and

computers, to marble arch at what was once the less fashionable West End, where to

tyburn gallows stood.  But the roles have now been reversed.  At the Tottenham Court

Road and, Virgin megastore occupies one of the former stores in ladies mile, part of

the street that the respectable when to end at war in times to find a bold new

department stores.  Let your eyes rise above the tawdry trinkets of the current

shops and you’ll see the fine façades that held the aspirations of those golden

shopping summers.  The department stores that remain from ranks in the more upmarket

stretch, west of Oxford Circus: Dickens and Jones, debenhams, D..H.evans, John

Lewis, Selfridge’s, they are cosmetic halls smelling sticky sweet and staffed by

thickly caked alchemist, they’re upstairs galleries piled with bolts of cloth rolled

out by the last few people on earth who know how to sew.  Designers have their

niches in many of these stories, which try to be all things to all people and, like

trendy grandmothers, are desperate to appeal to the young.

On shopping,

for the sheer exuberance of shopping, Covent Garden shouldn’t be missed.  Overhyped,

maybe, but there are always shops to pop into, such as Paul Smith’s, the smart

designers in floral Street.  And while you’re here, you might just see what’s in the

boutiques and specialty stores.  Buy anything oriental in Neil Street, and anything

herbal or vegetarian in Neal’s Yard in King Street, row six floors of darker

Martin’s, which has come a long way since the black boot.  In the Piazza get a

blowup Mono Lisa from museum store.  Also in King Street is the Irish job.  A new

row, naturally British shows the nation at its most traditional.  Anything else you

want is all within reach: statues of Egyptian gods from the British Museum cast

service in blooms bury Street; antique cameras at classic collection in nearby pied

bull Yard; anything electrical and Tottenham Court Road.  There is theater

memorabilia in dress circle in Monmouth Street, just down from obsessions at seven

dials, where gadgets and gizmos are worth a browse.  Cinema memorabilia can be had

in the vintage magazine shop in Bird Street, just along from anything left-handed, a

shop that sells left-handed versions of tools and implements.  Book buyers should

head for Long acre and Charing Cross Road.  Trophy hunters will visit the Scotch

house in Knightsbridge for woollens, BurBerry in the Haymarket for overcoats.  The

vintage house in old Compton Street for malt whiskey, caviar house, next to the

ritz, for sevurga, Oscietre or Royal Black caviar.  Everything you ever wanted is in

London.  All you need bring is your cash.


Selling high-priced antiques, tawdry trinkets and bric-a-brac, London’s markets are

full of life and a magnet for browsers.

The sign reads: Billy buys almost everything.  Billy’s selection of almost

everything is piled high within a 6 foot square cubbyhole in one corner of Camden

lock market: beside Regents Canal in Camden.  Billy himself is tiny and stands on to

milk crates so that he can see over shoppers heads to watch his junk.  Around him an

enormous variety of vendors, whose accents come from all parts of the globe, not

just London, selling earrings made out of innards of clocks, and painted shoes, and

even life membership to the Finsbury Park insect club.  Fly pickers, illegal traders

selling from suitcases appear and disappear like shadows on the pavements outside,

according to whether or not a policeman is in sight.  Like so many other areas of

London, hearts have attracted the attention of the read developers.  On the other

hand, stallholders in petticoat Lane and brick Lane in the East End would claim

their prices are rock-bottom, although goods here could be dodgy meaning either

acquired below the counter illegally are liable to go wrong.  There is a popular

saying that, by the time of tourists is walk the length of petticoat Lane market, he

could be sold his own handkerchief by the last stall.

Dubious merchandise.

Brick Lane market starts very early in the morning.  While the Camden markets

reflect the hidden riches of the city, brick Lane reflects the hidden poverty in the

side streets, East Enders spread their wares on the wet, gray pavement, within a few

hundred yards of the stock market.  Here is the latest cd player retails at a

bargain price, on ship despite falling off the back of the truck.  There are

tremendous bargains for the Braves, and tremendous ripoffs for the unwary or

unlucky.  The West End’s Covent Garden is well known, and neighboring Jubilee market

as gimmicky crafts dolls, but in fact it is the city which has hosted London’s major

markets.  Billings gate, the home of fresh fish and fowl language, has since been

moved from the city to docklands; Smithfield meat market still functions, although

there are plans afoot to move it; Middlefield, organic produce market has expanded

to include crafts; leadenhall. Has been reviewed, and now provides market shopping

for city workers; ironically, most of the produce sold here is struck in from the

surrounding countryside, but ends up being eaten in the suburbs near where it is

grown.  Antique markets are widespread throughout London.  Shells using closed

markets,chenil galleries and antiquarius, are networks of tiny, stall cramped

passages on Kings Road, staffed by experts, but rather stuffy.  There is a better

chance of picking up a bargain at Portobello Road, near Notting Hill gate, where

dealers do their shopping.  It’s many antique shops spill their wares out onto

market stalls on Saturdays, attracting huge crowds mainly tourists.  Stallholders

here may seem almost unaware of what they have on their stalls and more concerned to

perpetuate their image as Street characters.  But don’t be fooled.  They know

exactly what they have, and what their neighbors have, and what it is worth..


New restaurants open as frequently as new movies and are just as subject to the

whims of fashion.  So how do you tell the good from the bad

London is a great place for dining out, and its 12,000 restaurants offer some of the

world’s most memorable gastronomic experiences.  This may come as news to people who

have not been here for some years, for the last occasion on which the words London

and cuisine were convincingly linked was at the turn of the century.  Today the city

is straining under a bombardment of accolades.

New York Tribeca, Fashion and Beauty

Posted in New York hookups on June 27th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

As a New York hookup, if you’re only going to buy one pair of leather trousers in your life, make sure they’re from Behrle. And for fetish inspired pieces that will turn anybody into a sex goddess, try the owners label world domination. Shack inc, as much an art
gallery as a shop, features ethereal, romantic clothes, all handmade in hand dyed in situ plus home furnishings and handbags. Linda St. John, the designer behind DL Cerney, freely admits to being obsessed with the 40s, 50s and early 60s, which is reflected in her new vintage clothes tailored shirts simple skirts trousers for men and women and all at reasonable prices. Working class has elevated workwear to a new level of elegance, seen in their vintage jeans with leather pockets, handmade clogs and work boots, and schoolboy satchels all in bright shades. But for more of a hip feminine love to Sorelle Firenze, run by two Italian sisters, is a fine line in flirty skirts and tops, lacy dresses and delicate accessories eating and drinking dark streets, loading docks, lots and lots of groovy restaurants to find Tribeca.
Mr. cool himself, DeNiro, is part owner of Nobu and next-door Nobu, both beautifully designed, inundated Japanese restaurants that regularly attract celebs. And next-door distinguishes itself by offering a range of noodle dishes and in no reservations policy, make a restauranteur Drew Nieporent, DeNiro’s partner, started out in Tribeca with the three-star montrachet, a minimalist bistro serving ravishing nouvelle French cuisine. Then came Tribeca Grill, a warehouse sized restaurant with cross-cultural American food and an award-winning wine list.

Layla is also part of the empire, an opulent Middle Eastern Palace with belly dancers, featuring mezze, tajines, kebabs, and couscous fit for assault and period. There’s more razzle-dazzle at Danube, David Bouleys luxurious downtown tribute to Vienna,
offering refined middle European fate in a sumptuous setting at seriously uptown  prices. Some say it is rather overpriced. But the Odeon continues to be the preferred upscale canteen for the fashion and art scene. Even if you can’t get a table, it’s fun to observe the action from the bar, or try Bar Odeon, its annex across the street, which has its own fair share of celebrity sightings. For a spot
of sangria and paella, flor de sol, reminiscent of the Spanish Parador, it’s an appealing option: it’s bar serves tapas to. The independent is another local hangout in warm, rustic surroundings. The menu is inspired and moderately priced.
Alternatively, give thanks at Grace, for another helping of innovative American food and interesting buttons. The kitchen is open till 4 a.m., and there is a great bar scene to. Spartina has all the ingredients for success superb Mediterranean cuisine in a romantic setting, though perhaps one of the most unusual dining choices and Rebecca is the retro style Screening room, which provides the perfect one-stop venue for that movie followed by dinner date. The movies are independents and the food is new American.

It is not without good reason that Chanterelle is one of New York’s, top-rated restaurant creative French cooking in a friendly environment. Another gem is bouley bakery. Which serves exquisite seasonal new French cuisine, while its bakery holds a myriad delights. Old card French food is served in the loft like space of Capsouto freres. Big names go there, not only for the elegant food, but
also because they’re left alone. Even more secluded is Rosemarie’s, a posh Italian, specializing in robust flavor dishes, well Pepolino is much more homey, and even the most basic of pastors won’t fail to please cafés and diners for cheap child try kitchenette, a sweet American roadside stop with hearty country cooking open till 10 p.m. Bubby’s is another neighborhood favorite for unpretentious
food like roast chicken, and pancakes: it’s weakened brunches are terrific. And walkers is a friendly watering hole, serving burgers with beer on tap. Settle in and enjoy the live jazz bars and clubs this area’s bars have all the glamour of neighboring so close, but mostly without the suffocating crowds. Weekends, however, tend to be packed at the ice bar one of the hottest tickets in town, with its all-white interior, sexy crowd and wizard DJs.
Dylan prime is another recent arrival, where a sophisticated set come to save her
elegantly mixed cocktails. Meaty dining options are also available. Adding a touch
of luxe to Tribeca’s financial district is lush, a quietly swank champagne bar,
where you can also indulge in caviar. If you’d rather pop your cork in a crowd,
tried bubble lounge, located in considerably more fashionable area. For a more
casual public atmosphere, SJ South and sons serves classic British Irish fare like
beef stew and pints of Guinness. Liquor store, another friendly local, features
wall-to-wall windows pervert for people watching or just settling in with a pint and
the paper. For more rough-and-tumble experience trie the Nancy whiskey pub, an
authentic dive that has steadfastly resisted gentrification. A youngster scene can
be found at the knitting factory is tap bar, where 18 beers are offered on tap.
Free, live music ranges from funk to bizarre, experimental acts 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
nightly. Meanwhile DJs spin hip-hop, funk and soul at actor Michael Rappaport’s
dark and atmospheric bar and club, Tribeca blues. With its large, promoter driven
parties, the club has a secure future.
Soho, so chic
New York’s most conspicuously fashionable neighborhood is compact to a fault, every
big-name designer has a story somewhere in this tiny pocket of intersecting streets.
Such a cluster of important shopping venues alongside swanky commercial art
galleries, elegant restaurants and exclusive bars can only act as a magnet for
fashion and media types. Even if you don’t run into Gwyneth Paltrow in miu miu,
catching sight of some impossibly thin beauty dashing to shoot at one of the
neighborhoods many photo studios is an everyday occurrence. Despite so many
manifest distractions, so most magnificent architecture is hard to ignore. The
monumental 19th-century buildings are some of the finest and most varied examples of
cast-iron architecture in the US. The days of Soho was the epicenter of New York’s
artistic life have gone, and while there are still plenty of highbrow art galleries
and longtime resident artists, blessed with favorable rents, the cutting-edge art
scene has shifted to Chelsea, causing many to observe that Soho’s reign as the
coolest neighborhood in New York City could well be over.
Shopping, women’s fashion
Betsey Johnson, one of the first designers in Soho when it was no where is Bill,
makes crazy” my aunt has a dramatic flagship store to match. An eccentric American
girl, Betsys aesthetic is feminine and frilly, with the rock-and-roll edge. Another
designer who consistently whips up the prettiest party dresses and excess trees is
Cynthia Rowley. In her homey shop, the racks are filled with rich fabrics and
plenty of beads and embroidery. Another local lady, Nicole Miller has made a name
for herself designing wearable evening dresses in cheek separates. Vivienne Tam’s
sleek, exotic close formfitting, beaded dresses; saucy suits; handbags and
loungewear with an oriental flair have become a staple of fashionable gals,
including Julia Roberts. Another store with an Asian flavor, Dosa, has grown into a
cult favorite with its girls. Using classic shapes, it’s the special fabrics and
interesting details that give these elegant pieces their appeal. For designer
atsuro tayama, however, it’s all in the cut: check out his boldly asymmetric,
deconstructed garments, but only if you’re feeling confident. Always the Queen of
hippie inspired Glamour Anna suis purple Pass is a haven for the young and fabulous.
Her letters are divine, and her accessories based on vintage designs adorable.
Emerging as America’s biggest fashion star is Marc Jacobs, whose airy, minimalist
shop is an important stop, even if you can only afford to look. Everything here is
the height of sophistication and luxury. Along the block is Toca, with its range of
very girly, but eminently wearable designs as well as a pretty range of bad light
linens. Fashion addicts from all over flock to get their fix of miu miu. This more
useful and less expensive line from Miuccia Prada is always on the cutting edge of
fashion, especially the undeniably fabulous and inventive shoes and bags. While the
close vary wildly from season to season, the mood is always seductive in a Lolita
sort of way. ethrreal and romantic is the theme at Morgane le fay, where dresses
resemble origami creations conjure up that urban Gypsy look. Meanwhile at Vivienne
Westwood, every customer is a star when they step out of the dressing room onto a
stage in one of her theatrical creations. More genius close almost upstaged by the
architecture are to be found at philosophy di Alberta ferretti. Scoop is an
important destination if you’re looking for well selected separates by young names.
Well Kirna Zabete calls itself Shangri-La for swinging style and boasts a collection
of hard-to-find clothing, footwear, and accessory designers from around the world.
In addition to the pieces by Joseph thiminister, Lulu Guinness, Balenciaga ET AL
code this two-story honeypot also sells beauty products and flowers, and there’s
even a couple of iMacs to play on for the all shopped out. Another fashion pioneer
is Louie, who also showcases the talents of a small group of burgeoning style stars,
with the unique collection of accessories. In a similar vein, big drop houses a
colorful collection of clothing, including lots of little sweaters and items by New
York industry or Earl Jean. Best described as a grown-up urban outfitters,
anthropologie is the kind of place where labels are less important than the lock.
Think colorful cowgirl sheet, Latin flounces and ruffles, and lots of lovely
housewares and furnishings. Trufaux, two has a very definitive style: everything is
made of faux materials. All very PC, but fun! Catherine, is all about creating a
lifestyle rather than just getting dressed sharp, young girl clothes, lots of the
designer’s signature fedoras, and home furnishings, all the shop looks more like an
apartment in a store.
Men’s and women’s fashion
creating what sure he is, brightly hued, modern close for both sexes, with bold,
graphic shapes is what Alpana Bawa, born in New Delhi, does best. Men love her
filmy, in brighter church in muted hues, if expensive oblong card is what you crave,
if soho New York has inspired collection from the fashion stars of today and
tomorrow. Check out the Johnny farah begs, surprisingly affordable. Artsy but
tailored shapes, unexpected fabrics, and fascinating details are responsible for
costume nationals icon status. They also make distinctive, comfortable shoes. If
you want a mix of styles under one roof, Steven Allen has the best of New York
City’s up-and-coming designers as well ask accessories and watches. Just around the
corner is Steven Allen menswear, filled with sharp looks for men. At Helmut Lang,
the futuristic communications obelisk is as entrancing as the Geo Metro clothes,
well everything in yohji Yamamotos amazing gallery like store is almost too
beautiful to wear. How to look fabulous when you’re actually doing something more
than posing? Prada sport has filled the obvious gap in the market with its
utilitarian designs, well Polo sport goes for an equally casual but more preppy
look. For men only Yves Saint Laurent rive gauche boutique provides bearing
clothing. In that proverbial Saint Laurent kind of way. Edgy, trendy, and
occasionally kitschy clothes and accessories from around the world are to be found
at Hotel Venus. This is still the only place in town to get the hugely desirable
Courreges collection. And there is even an in-store wig salon. If you’re looking
for super cheap close more on the casual side, there’s plenty to choose from, all
along Broadway, where discount sportswear stores dominate, including good sneaker
outlets. In their mix is Canal Jean Co., a kind of New York institution filled with
almost every kind of vintage and new jeans, and cheap T-shirts. A branch of the
Spanish change Zara international is also worth investigating for reasonably priced
and stylish separates and shoes. Stussy is still the epicenter for upscale skate
wear, meant for men but worn by everybody. Definitely for men only is Sean, a
welcome addition to the men’s clothing scene, with a mix of well priced separates,
by various designers, they are smart without ever being stuffy.
Eating and drinking, restaurants.
Expensive SoHo rents mean many restaurants in the historic district are overpriced,
catering to tourists, celebrities and brash Wall Streeters with million-dollar
bonuses to blow. The place to check out what the rich and famous are eating is the
Mercer kitchen, where celebrity chef Jean georges Vongerichten excels at is unique.
American provincial cooking. The brick wall with, subterranean space in the Mercer
Hotel is the height of Glamour. The scene stealer canteen is just across the
street, featuring colorful Decorah, 60 style and a very cool crowd. The food ain’t
bad either from the rather nostalgic macaroni cheese to the thoroughly modern
pumpkin crusted red snapper, though it is rather overpriced. Catty sparks at
quiltys is a much honored chef, creating highly innovative seafood, poultry and meat
dishes for a sophisticated clientele. The creamy dining room is more homey than
intimidating. In contrast, the rather more austere Honmura an has been esteemed for
years as one of the city’s top Asian restaurants. It’s hard to imagine more artful
noodle concoctions, and equally hard to imagine paying higher prices. Places that
are big on atmosphere rather than bucks include penang, a Malaysian outpost that
combines an industrial design with hot like booths and a waterfall. The exotic
dishes are flavorful feast on roti canai and seafood. Colored lights welcome you
into the tiny interior of the country Café, which is filled to the brim with
charming knickknacks. The French and Moroccan food is richly prepared and served by
an affable staff. Alison on Dominick Street is pure romance, a small, out-of-the-way
place with straightforward French and new American food. You go there to kiss and
share bites not be blown away by innovative cuisine. More passion is almost sure to
follow after a night at Casa la femme, a candlelit Middle Eastern casbah, with
tinted booths and an incredible belly dancer. The food is good but not point
especially for all the skinny models who slink in. Meigas boasts a handsome,
sophisticated, lofty space where chef Luis Angel Bollo plate of threat with seems
destined for the same celebrity status enjoyed by David bouley for the creative take
on traditional cuisine, expect refine grilled fish and meat dishes plus options like
roast suckling pig with honey and sherry vinegar sauce. To savor what SoHo used to
be like, pushed through the etched glass doors of fanelli, a dark to what corner
tavern that opened in 1847. The crowd is interesting, dressed down and boisterous,
and it’s a safe bet for a burgers, Chile, and chicken pot pie. Further west, the
intimate blue ribbon is popular for its wide-ranging menu in cocktails, and
dispenses both until 4 a.m., while Lucky strike is a rollicking bistro that also
serves competent food into the wee hours. It’s the ideal place to nibble and drink
your way closer to solving the world’s problems or at least your vacation agenda;
it’s also one of Manhattan’s smoker havens. Meeting friends for dinner, are looking
for new ones? Consider Auqagrill, where singles gather in the brightly decorated
front lounge, or at the bar while waiting for a table at this perpetually jammed
seafood restaurant. The piscatorially inclined can also try ideya which features a
culinary tour of the Caribbean, Central and South America, and a range of potent
tropical drinks. Homemade plant paint chips and fresh salsa adorn every table at
this warm casual Latin American bistro. Seeking is tight at both John Claude and
soho steak, rendering conversation with your neighbor effortlessness. The simply
design pair are owned by respected restauranteur John Claude lacovelli, who prides
himself on serving quality bistro fare at affordable prices.
Cafés and diners
if you’d rather splurge on lavish niceties and costly meals, several affordable
possibilities await. The cheap bisas del caribe is a ramshackle Cuban lunchoenette,
which attracts a mixed bag of ragamuffins and Kool SoHo-ites. Basic breakfast, rice
and beans, and sandwiches provide quick fixes. Every day the soup kiosk ladles out
16 he seasonal stoops to slurp on the move. Once upon a tart is more upscale,
offering terrific baked goods, crusty sandwiches, salads and relaxed café
atmosphere. Take a table, spread your newspaper and ease those tired feet. Pepe
Russo is also fantastic for scrumptious focaccia and low-price pastas. Seating is
cramped, so it’s prime for takeout. Or there is Kelly and ping, and Asian grocery
and noodle shop, and a trendy, modestly priced just bought best for the buzz at
lunchtime. The bustling open kitchen, healthy stir fries in vasty selection are the
appeal. Off the beaten track, but worth seeking out herban kitchen, a dimly lit,
engaging café, serving uncommonly tasty organic specialties. Moon dance diner is
friendly shack, heavy on bygone charm. Satisfy your appetite with hearty soups, big
sandwiches and piles of fries. Solos idea of modern dinner, however, is Jerry’s,
frequented by rakish arty types and locals. And any time of day or night the
American Mediterranean fare is appealing, but pricier than any old-school diner.
Bars and clubs
Sohos once cozy neighborhood bar scene as alas, in recent years, fallen prey to
velvet ropes and guest lists. As one of the first white bars to move in bar 89.
Set the standard: its high ceilings bottomless cosmopolitans, and coed bathrooms
with see-through doors, That turn opaque at the flip of a latch, have yet to be
rivaled. Less grand in scale, but equally intimidating is 357, a lounge bar which
has both the rope and the list, and all the right ingredients to perk you up after a
hard day, including food. Speaking of tough, the door policy at super trendy veruka
may be the area’s directives, the women dressed in Gucci and prada farewell, and
models are a shoe in. Arrive early at sway, a hot Moroccan lounge frequented by
mystic musicians and Manichaeans. Thursday nights are best, but avoid weekends,
when the crowd pressing the door is impenetrable. If you can’t abandon your posse,
head to nearby denial, a dark sensual bar where your social pedigree is, thankfully,
it irrelevant. For a taste of SoHo is edgier side, pay a visit to avoid a
semi-secluded cyber bar that features tables cum Web browsers, cult film screenings
in cocktails. Another good option for the attitude weary is Café noir, a sexy,
smoker friendly, Moroccan themed bar restaurant. Raouls is one of SoHo is remaining
old guard bar restaurants. Reserved for the dining room, but nothing beats their
bar steak special enjoyed with a glass of Cabernet. Jimmy the barman is one of the
best in the business. And if all you want is a swift drink before bed, you can
hardly do better than the elegant and relaxing grand bar in the Soho grand Hotel.
The upper Eastside
the upper speech side is a stomping ground of New York’s financial aristocracy, and
every inch of the privileged enclave, from the designer stores of Madison Avenue to
the magnificent museums along the edge of Central Park, screens big money. Fifth
Avenue is punctuated by 19th-century mansion houses built by some of America’s
legendary millionaires, and now home to the city’s premier museums. The magnificent
town houses apartments and exclusive clubs of New York’s averagely rich whiny
adjacent street of fifth, Madison and Park Avenue. Madison Avenue is, of course,
New York’s most important shopping address, with its flagship stores in commercial
art galleries. East of Lexington Avenue, the prevailing atmosphere becomes more
neighborly and family-oriented, but it’s still far from edgy
if you’re off to shop on the upper East side, chances are you’re heading for Madison
Avenue. Every inch of the strip is devoted to selling luxuries: expect to pay high
prices, encounter snooty staff, and rub shoulders with the fake tan and for code
purveyed. There are a couple of top department stores in the area: Bloomingdale’s
is a revered New York institution, and much more old-school than Barney, every
upwardly mobile New Yorkers style barometer. It’s fantastically talented buyers
consistently discover the most exciting, unique and interesting designs. Nearby
Shanghai Tang is an altogether wackier affair. The richly decorated spaces filled
with owner Alan Tang’s modern take on the traditional Chinese aesthetic: Coolie
jackets in acid colors and beautifully tailored Cheongasms. The fashion heavyweights
are all shoulder to shoulder on Madison Avenue, and the fashion hungry flock here
for the latest creations. American uber designer Calvin Klein’s five store flagship
is filled with the entire range of kliens signature understatements, from evening
wear to underwear. Opposite is the city’s first DKNY store, stalk with donnas rather
glamorous take on streetwear. A few blocks north to find Giorgio Armani’s more
reserved flagship, Emporio Armani, showcasing every aspect of the designer’s work,
including his cheaper diffusion lines, all against a minimalist black backdrop. In
contrast, the verse all she store is out and out exuberant. Although the late
designer’s flagship is located in Midtown, the smaller store is just a little ass
intimidating and replete with Donatella’s wild designs. Whimsical and pricey
fashion is the order of the day at Moschino, although there is a cheaper line for
those who can afford the four figure price tags. Vying with Moschino for the most
irreverent designer is Britt star Alexander Mcqueen, who reigns at givenchy. His
genius couture is a marvel of tailoring and innovation. Chloe has recently opened
its first American store on Madison to house the feminine womenswear by another
British star. Stella McCartney. The list of big names continues with Valentino.
His elegant emporium is beloved of the neighborhoods for code brigade. And few
stores can rival the magnificent polo Ralph Lauren flagship. Housed in a former
mansion, and decked out to resemble an English stately home, it’s filled with the
designers collection of classically influenced clothing. Across the street is the
Polo sport store, which carries Lauren sportier creations. Italians dolce and
gabbana have two enormous stores on Madison, one to house their less expensive d&g
line. Fabulous sweaters and leather goods from Italy can also be found at etro, or
pop into Emillio Pucci, for clothing, swimwear, undies, and home accessories
featuring retro style psychedelic swirls. Prada is also in the nabe it’s biggest
out let stalks a large range of menswear, while diesels trendy superstore has genes
and stylish sporty clothes that don’t cost a bundle. Yet another Latin born
designer Roberto Cavalli, has recently made inroads on Madison Avenue. This is his
only boutique in North America, providing a home for his outre, multimedia designs
for men and women. British favorite Joseph has two stores on Madison, one for his
perfect fit pants and the other for his luscious knitwear. The British invasion
continues at Nicole farhi, who has opened a store for her elegant, easy to wear
clothing that also accommodates a stylish, in-store restaurant, Nicole’s. Searle is
an exclusive upper Eastside and fair, which is no fewer than four stores on Madison.
They specialize in clean lined coats, sportswear and comfortable knitwear.
Cashmere is the raison d etre at tse, where brilliant designer Hussein chalayan
spins the soft stuff into coats and sweaters. Missoni also excels in unusual and
sensuous knits in gemlike colors.
One offs
although most of the neighborhood street level real estate is given over to designer
stores, there are still a few unique in unusual places to be discovered. Chrome
hearts, is a mecca for leather fans, is hidden away in an unmarked brownstone. The
look, here is biker chic meets rock star. All the more sedate affair is to be found
at nocturne, which, as the name might suggest, specializes in sleepwear. It’s also
one of the only places in town to stock up on cult favorite Lily Pulitzer flowered
frocks and separates. Hard to believe, but one of the biggest thrift stores, out of
the closet, is in the upper Eastside. The merchandise is pristine and varied, and
thanks to wealthy neighborhood types who regularly donate their unwanted treasures,
bargains are likely. There are plenty of Chi Chi home furnishings stores on the
upper East side, but the enormous gracious home, which takes up nearly 2 blocks,
can’t be beat in terms of price, range or service. Get a key cut, spend hundreds of
dollars on Lenin’s, or shop for state-of-the-art kitchen equipment: this place
covers all the bases.
Eating and drinking
epicenter of the social register, upper East side is filled with chic, chubby
restaurants, which, not surprisingly, are run by some of the most celebrated chefs
in New York. The affable, well-known Daniel boulud is at the stove at Daniel, a
supremely grand Renaissance style restaurant with a seasonal French cuisine. This
smaller and more informal, Café boulud serves global cuisine alongside traditional
and seasonal elect classics. The room is comfortable and inviting, and the
clientele cultured and service impeccable. As if boulud doesn’t have enough on his
plate, he also co-owns the dreamy payard patisserie and bistro. Rapturous deserts
and savory items are featured in the patisserie; at the back is a deluxe French
bistro on two floors. Another titan of the food world, jean georges vongerichten, is
behind Jo Jo, a jewel box of a townhouse restaurant. The crowd is refined, the
staff unfailingly pleasant, with inventive French French cooking the specialty. The
$28 prix fix lunch is a bargain. The lenux room is another genteel option, with a
great raw bar and exceptional new American food. The polished dining room attracts
affluent, mature types until 9 p.m., when a younger crowd arrives for drinks and
elevated snacks. Deluxe French seafood is the order of the day at cello, one of the
toughest and most expensive tickets in the upper East side. A more homey
neighborhood Pat Place is Miss Saigon, serving tasty, delicately prepared Vietnamese
dishes at pocket friendly prices. The whimsical architecture of folks a village
hut, its walls adorned with Asian artifacts. For old-fashioned Sicilian food in a
charming bygone atmosphere, carino will warm your heart, especially knowing that
octogenarian mamma Carino is in the kitchen.
Cafés and diners
the welcome mat is always out at comfort diner classic American favorites at
affordable prices in an atmosphere to match, complete with a gleaming soda fountain.
For a real old-fashioned soda fountain, the Lexington candy shop is the business;
grab one of their amazing flavored seltzer is. You’ll feel like you’re in that
episode of friends at downtown uptown, a mellow coffeehouse. They have beer and
wine to with comfy chairs for reading. Bolton to the uptown branch of Jackson hole
for an energy enhancing hamburger or one of their blue plate specials. But for the
best hot dog/shake combo around, try Papaya King: the hot dogs are delicious and the
shakes freshly made. Unsurprisingly Papaya is the specialty here. For good quality
fair and fast service, the ultraclean first wok scores pretty high. The Chinese
dishes are ample, but the real incentive is there free unlimited house wine.

this simply is in the neighborhood to visit for a wild night out on the town, go for
a taste of New York’s toniest bars, look no further. Of all the upper East side
institutions lanes may be the most famous. Frequented by litterati, glitterati, and
anyone who aspires to socializing with the, it can be intimidating. Act like you
belong and you’ll do just fine. Understated designer clothing and a generous credit
line are all also boots at harry Cipriani, the New York relative of Harry’s bar in
Venice, and home of the famous, believe me, made of prosecco peach puree. Cabaret
cleans won’t want to miss Café Carlyle, where Earth a kitt and other legends perform
regularly. Just down the hall, another Carlyle Hotel classic, bemelmans bar offers
all the swank of Café Carlyle without the speed tab. Hotel guests tend to prefer
Bemelmans, were piano players perform nightly. Torch song trilogy star Michael
Feinstein, recently opened a self-titled Feinstein at the Regency, I Cabaret bar
serving up an electric range of performers and fine cocktails. If you can’t muster
the energy to put on a tie, head to subway in, easily one of the upper Eastside’s
most beloved theme bars. The booze is cheap and everybody is welcome.
Upper West side
characterized by its spacious avenues, landmark apartment buildings and proximity to
Central Park, the upper West side has the feel of a genuine, residential
neighborhood, albeit a very rarefied one. Celebrity sightings are plentiful and if
you’re lucky, you might even run into upper West sider’s like Woody Allen at zabars
deli or Jerry Seinfeld at the Reebok gym. More likely he’ll just stumble over the
baby strollers of the many well-to-do families who live here. Without the
distraction of happening nightspots are cutting-edge stores, residents take pride in
two of the city’s most important cultural institution. The Lincoln Center and the
American Museum of Natural History plus a healthy sprinkling of dining options.
fashion, beauty and accessories
the upper West side has always been something of a shopping waistline, so unless
your preference is limited to the preppy staples offered by the gap and Banana
Republic, you’re probably look elsewhere. There are some boutiques worth making a
detour for, however olive and bettes continues to bring downtown style uptown. This
entirely girlish boutique carries hot young designers like Darryl K. and Vivienne
Tam, as well as fun T-shirts, cute bags and witty jewelry. Another neighborhood
duo, Allen and Suzi , fill their racks with the riot of fairly warned and vintage
couture, Versace and gaultier are the designers of preference, and although you can
find jeans, though probably be studded with rhinestones. With a less ostentatious
vibe, only hearts, showcases the stores online of dreamy cotton Lycra lingerie.
The rest of the story is replete with great PJs, pressing gowns and gift items, most
of which are heart-shaped. Naughty and nice, on the other hand, is the
neighborhood’s friendly sex store the sign outside says romance boutique. Inside
our sex toys, naughty lingerie and erotic videos. This being the upper West side,
it is only slightly tacky. Face Stockholm’s largest New York store offers a new look
at a reasonable price. A favorite with makeup artists and those in the know, it
offers an intoxicating array of all-natural beauty products, cosmetics and unique
and seductive colors as well as cool makeup bags. And for looking good when you
work out, the members only Reebok sports club, New York’s most prestigious jam,
carries requisite sweats and cycle shorts at the in-house store.
Zabars is a New York legend and with good reason. This marvelous deli has been
supplying locals with bagels, freshly ground coffee and cold cuts since 1943.
Upstairs kitchen supply store is a superb resource for culinary equipment. Fairways
is another upper Westside deli that while its duties, and is open 24 hours
one offs
the question most often asked at Maxilla & mandible is are they real? They were
first to the human bones for sale at this extraordinary place, and the answer is
yes. If dem bones aren’t your thing, the store also has fascinating fossils, sea
shells, bugs, butterflies and other natural history related phenomena.
Eating and drinking
restaurants and cafés
until recently the upper West side was disparaged for its scarcity of fine or trendy
establishments, but that is rapidly changing. Jean georges vongerictens signature
showplace, Jean georges astonishes pallets with new French flavor combinations and
is managed a silent upper West side restaurant skeptics. The tasteful, subdued
dining room has an air of privilege, with skyhigh prices to match. Nougatine, it’s
adjacent café, is slightly more affordable. The time-honored Café des artistes
cleaves to classic French cuisine in a formal, old world setting lush with flowers
and paintings of frolicking nudes, it’s a romantic sight to behold. Most modest
budgets are accommodated at pampa, a lively South American spots out of that
satisfies from start to finish. Steaks, spit roasted chicken and fish are all made
with gusto. Rain is also a fun place for spicy and Earl Maddock tied Vietnamese
dishes. Golden hues, exposed brick in tropical plants of local colonial field.
Alternatively, pan Latino flavors are featured at Calle ocho, a magically designed
place, with warm colors, where chef Alex Garcia packs a punch with shrimp chowder
and Cuban steak with, yuca fries. At any time of day, Avenue, a French country
charmer with brick walls and dark wooden tables, delivers quality food at moderate
prices, including a cornucopia of Galicia spake goods, Josie’s, an attractive, earth
friendly hang out, is the place to be after dusk. Do your body a favor and feast on
the muriatic fresh juices, free range meats and innovative begin choices. Or do the
opposite and grab some cholesterol from Artie’s New York delicatessen. That this
Jewish style deli is new for its breed, but attracts all sorts of New Yorkers with
its fine pastrami and garlicky frankfurters. Adult couple of the deli that’s been
around forever and feel straight out of Seinfeld Barneys green grass is a veritable
Jewish general store. It’s few tables are completely packed for weekend brunch is,
so stop in during the week for bagels, pickled herring and knishes. Meanwhile the
pretty, European-style Café Lalo is an ideal date place, which is a full coffee and
liquor menu as well as light salads and sandwiches make sure you save room for
their luscious desserts.

hookups 12 favorite Los Angeles restaurants celebrate the city's culinary diversity

Posted in Los Angeles on June 26th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Dining in Los Angeles blurs the line between formality and informality without sacrificing a whit of culinary creativity, devotion to high quality ingredients or the chance to drink some good wines with the food. At least that’s true at my favorite restaurants, whether the bill makes a big dent in my wallet or a small one. Los Angeles hookups favorite restaurants take advantage of the elements that make L.A. special for food-and-wine lovers. Southern California’s mild weather invites patio dining. Menus rely on the proximity of local farms for great raw ingredients. Chefs’ innovations are inspired by the town’s easy acceptance of A ian and Mediterranean cooking. Wine lists often snag some of the state’s rarer finds. My list of personal favorites includes some decidedly casual restaurants, where I can find a warm welcome and food with big personality without spending a fortune, and some big-deal restau­rants, where inventive chefs deliver refined plates that push the boundaries of fine cuisine’. The majority of my choices, however, give the option of scaling up or down, allowing me to indulge in multiple courses of elaborate creations for the whole evening, or to just order a dish or two-even create a meal of appetizers-drink some great wine and be out in an hour. At heart, Los Angeles is not a formal city. At none of these restaurants will a man feel uncomfortable jacketless and in an open­collar shirt. The city has the easvgoing-yet-Iuxurious approach down welL Geographically, Los Angeles sprawls; it can take hours to cross the city by car. Fortunately, most of the best restaurants lie on the Westside, which includes Beverly Hills and West Hollywood in a swath that runs from downtown westward, to Santa Monica. You can find good restaurants in San Fernando Valley, Pasadena and Orange County, but as is the case anywhere else, the best tend to collect where there is a ready clientele. Convenient to the wealthy enclaves of Bel Air, Brentwood and Holmby Hills, the Westside is the L.A. equivalent of Manhattan to New York’s boroughs, Paris to its environs, San Francisco to its suburbs. It is home to nine of the dozen restaurants on my list. L.A.’s downtown, much of it downscale only 10 years ago, con­tinues a revitalization that today includes the stunning Frank Gehry­designed WaIt Disney Concert Hall and a forest of luxurious new apartment buildings. Destination restaurants are blossoming there too, and several make my list. A further indication of how good LA’s restaurant scene has become is that more than half of the restaurants on my list opened their doors just this decade. In a place where being new is almost as impor­tant as being good, that’s saying a lot. No one knows the value of inno­vation quite so well as Wolf gang Puck. LA’s most famous chef has been inventing genres since he opened SPAGO in West Hollywood in 1982 and traded in his chef’s toque for a baseball cap to signify the restaurant’s casual A dessert of profiteroles as serve nature. Serving creative pizzas and melding stylish modernism of this trailbla American, Italian and Asian ingredients and ideas as if they had always belonged together, Puck paved the path for what we now know as California cuisine. Chinois on Main, where he introduced Asian-American fusion in 1983, is still going strong. Other Puck restaurants came and went over the years, but all were fun while they lasted. Anyone remem­ber the long-gone Granita, overlooking the ocean” in Malibu, or Eureka, an early brewpub? Lee Hefter has kept the food vibrant at Spago since it moved in 1997 from funky West Hollywood to upscale Beverly Hills. There are some Spago regulars who never explore the menu past the famous smoked salmon pizza and the Cantonese-style roast duck, but I always start with the sashimi, as good as any sushi bar’s, and then look to see what Hefter and his crew have come up with lately. On my last visit, it was pan-roasted king salmon fillet with eggplant-shallot masala, cilantro-mint raita and Indian spices, a phenomenal balance of flavors with the fish. A list of 850 wines bristles with lesser-known California wineries and discoveries from around the world, and pricing is not excessive. No one makes des­sert taste quite so perfect as pastry chef Sherry Yard. Even the mignardises, or small bites of sweets, are memorable, including Yard’s tiny, soft and creamy caramels. In 2006, Puck redefined another genre with CUT, which ranks among the best of the new, chef-driven steak houses sweeping the country (see “The New American Steak House,” Aug. 31, 2007). The open kitchen and the clean lines, shiny hardwood floors and white walls of the bright dining room, designed by architect Richard Meier, feel more like an indoor veranda than the clubby interior of a typical American steak house. The entree choices include several types of beef delivered with no frills, including insanely rich, true Kobe from Japan, but also feature whole fish and other options. The appetizers and side dishes show what a creative chef can bring to a classic steak house. The ever-changing five­way appetizer plate is a must-order; in one instance, burrata and prosciutto dressed a first course of figs. In a side dish, a sunnyside­up egg was cut into creamed spinach. The wine lists at Spago and Cut don’t bowl you over with deep verticals, but they vary widely enough to include some blue­ribbon options and even some older Cali­fornia wines not available in many other places. A who’s who of California Chardon­nay, Burgundy whites, Austrian whites, Rhones and Syrahs typify the Spago offer­ings, and 1997 California Cabernets, includ­ing Dalla Valle, Harlan and Caymus Special Selection, cap Cut’s steak-friendly list. For something more elaborate, I could turn to Melisse in Santa Monica, where chef [osiah Citrin honors the modern wing of French cuisine, or to Patina, ]oachim Splichal’s Grand Award winner at Disney Hall. (XIV, from San Francisco chef Michael Mina, opened too late for review for this story.) But for me, the nod goes to two of L.A.’s most adventurous chefs. At SONA, David Myers gears his hypermodern cooking to dovetail with the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list, which exceeds 2,000 options. The otherwise downscale stretch of La Cienega Boulevard belies the elegance and sophistication of the restaurant’s cool interior, and of the food. Myers uses foams, emul­sions, gels and other artistic touches but doesn’t overdo them. He ranges far and wide for ingredients, and his plates look stunning. But what really matters is how subtle and fine everything tastes, and how it cozies up to great wines. Trust sommelier Mark Men­doza to make great pairings. I especially like what Myers does with vegetables and herbs. He smokes eggplant to make a puree; dresses roasted beets with can­died Meyer lemon peel; sneaks a kaffir lime leaf into a lobster emul­sion. His wife, Michelle, brings a similar outside-the-box approach to desserts, often slipping in a haunting chile-hot or savory note into her sweets. Michael Cimarusti brings a similarly modern perspective to sustainable seafood at PROVIDENCE, which occupies the old Patina space on a remote, anonymous block of Melrose Avenue. He frames the sweet natural flavor of halibut with a delicate basil crust and tomato compote studded with tiny fried clams. But he also knows when to keep it simple, as when he cooks Santa Barbara spot prawns by burying them in hot salt. During my visit, a waiter deftly carved them tableside and drizzled on a peppery Spanish olive oil as a final touch. The plates always look like they’re ready for an art book. Providence’s wine list of 400 includes easy-on-the-checkbook options such as fresh Spanish whites and Australian Rieslings, whil
e some blue-chip white Burgundies and California Chardonnays can put a serious uptick on the credit card balance. Three more fish restaurants that reflect L.A.’s cultural mix rank among my favorites: one a traditional American seafood house, another a phenomenal sushi bar and the last a family-owned restaurant that dresses up fish with spicy Mexican flavors. At WATER GRI LL, the club by downtown restaurant where Providence’s Cimarusti first came to prominence, chef David Le­Fevre takes the traditional American seafood house up several levels. Tile floors, vaulted ceilings, polished wood paneling and brass rails-not to mention an impressive display of seafood on ice-present a classy picture. LeFevre upgrades classic fish house fare, filling his sensational crab cakes with both blue and Dungeness crab and very little bread­ing, serving them with harissa to spice it up and lime-yogurt­cucumber sauce to cool things off. He echoes the creamy texture of bigeye tuna with green tea-flavored noodles and sets it off with a citrusy sauce. Dishes like these, plus a smart, 800-selection wine list, a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner with plenty of offbeat picks to consider alongside the classic choices, would make this the best fish restaurant in town in most other American cities. I could happily eat sushi daily, and in a city where sushi bars dot the landscape as coffee shops once did, I could have easily filled my list of favorite L.A. restaurants with a dozen sushi bars, or turned to some ofL.A.’s ground breaking Japanese fusion restaurants. Nobu Matsuhisa, who launched his far-flung restaurant empire from Bev­erly Hills, now has three restaurants here. Hokusai ranks among the best of the Asian fusion restaurants he inspired, but nothing can compare with URASAWA. To eat at this hidden-away, 18- seat sushi bar, you must ride a private elevator to the second floor of a Beverly Hills shopping mall and pay $300 for Hiro Urasawa to craft 20 to 30 tiny courses for you. Imagine having a three-star chef personally prepare your dinner before your eyes. It’s easy to forget how a great practitioner of this Japanese spe­cialty can take your breath away with ‘Simplicity, quality and sheer artistry. Urasawa worked with Masa Takayama here when the space was the legendary Ginza Sushiko, before Takayama moved to New York in 2004. Urasawa might start you off with eight or 10 appe­tizers, such as a golf ball-sized serving of hairy crab from Hokkaido, delicately flavored with a yuzulike citrus; or nuggets of sweet shrimp and diced matsutake mushroom suspended in a silky egg custard, topped with caviar and a fragile square of gold foil. A block of carved ice serves as a plate for sashimi artfully rolled into a rose shape, the fish a revelation for its clarity of flavor and impeccable texture. Slices of toro tuna cook on a hot stone set before you. Then comes a succession of nigiri sushi, with the recommendation to eat each one within 10 seconds of its delivery for the best effect. Poles apart from the Beverly Hills exclusivity of Urasawa, LA SERENATA DE GARIBALDI occupies a stucco building in Boyle Heights, east of downtown. The family-owned restaurant extends a welcome as generous as the portions and celebrates the diversity of California seafood with brilliant sauces and preparations from south of the border. Chef-owner Jose Rodriguez’s vivid, clean flavors emphasize the unmistakable taste of spanking-fresh fish and shrimp, and preparations favor olive oil over lard. You can choose how you want your fish prepared. Grilled and served with pico de gallo, olive oil and lime? In a fresh sauce: spin­ach, cilantro, chipotle or garlic? Oaxacan style, with chunks of vegetables and a zap of chile de arbol? Then there are Rodriguez’s creations, such as salmon bathed in salsa verde with a serious chile kick and served over squash. Don’t forget to start with sopes, thick corn cakes topped with shredded beef in a peppy guajillo sauce. Neither Urasawa nor Serenata lists more than two dozen wines, but the choices transcend the usual options found at Japanese or Mexican restaurants. Serenata offers some good mid-priced bottles, including Duval-Leroy Champagne NY, a repeat visitor to the Wine Spectator Top 100. Urasawa focuses on high-ticket white Burgundies and Champagnes, but you can always bring your own, or indulge in a fine sake.


ood Italian restaurants abound in Los Angeles, prob­ably because the informality of the cuisine and emphasis on freshness fit completely with local preferences. The up-to-the-minute ideas at Drago, the crudo at Il Grano, the old-school vibe at Madeo, and the soulful roasts at Vincenti have serious fans, but my three choices represent very different aspects of Italy, and of Los Angeles itself. One is a true Italian trattoria, a style prevalent in L.A., and the only restaurant on this list in the hip Melrose Avenue-Beverly Boulevard-Third Street restaurant district that emerged in the 1990s on the Westside. Another restaurant not only has unusually fine Italian food but represents something more, with both a bar dedicated to mozzarella and a pizzeria next door that rates among America’s best. The third has been around for three decades and offers one of the world’s great wine cellars. At ANGELINI OSTERIA, on Beverly Boulevard, Gino Angelini serves traditional Tuscan trattoria food, such as down­home pastas and a great rendition of bistecca alla Fiorentina, to diners who rub shoulders at closely spaced tables. Calamari retains its creamy texture inside its crunchy fried shell in a fritto misto that includes fennel and lemon slices. Duck ragu cooked to a heady essence makes a great foil for pappardelle, and the freshness and simple vitality of whole branzino is a reminder of how comfortably the Italian approach to seafood fits in California. The compact wine list often has some nice surprises on it, in­cluding good Chianti and Brunello from the mid-1990s. Prices are moderate. The cozy space vibrates with spirited conversations. A few blocks from Providence stands the two-year-old OSTERIA MOZZA, the partnership of local heroine Nancy Silverton and New York stars Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich. You can book a table in the main part of the restaurant for upscale Italian cuisine, or take a seat at the mozzarella bar where, from be­hind the counter, Silverton dolls up plates of great fresh mozzarella with savory garnishes. Next door, at Pizzeria Mozza, the wood­burning brick oven provides the final touch to pizzas that taste like classics even though you probably never had these particular com­binations elsewhere: I swoon over the version with wild nettles, salame and cacio di Roma cheese. Fennel sausage with cream (and no cheese), anyone? Osteria’s wine list bulges with mature Barolo, Barbaresco and Tuscan classics, perfect for chef Matt Molina’s gentle updatings of traditional Italian dishes such as maccheroni alla chitarra with guanciale and tomato, striped bass Livornese, and beefbrasato with polenta. Silverton being a peerless baker, this is one Italian restau­rant where you want to save room for dessert. I favor the torta della nonna, a ricotta pie with pine nuts and several different honeys. At VALENTI NO in Santa Monica, owner-host Piero Selvag­gio can match his kitchen’s refined specialties with apt choices from the far corners of Italy off his Grand Award-winning wine list. The list, numbering more than 2,500 labels, overflows with insider favorites from every region on the boot, and if Selvaggio is in the house, he can reach into the cellar to find a whole meal’s worth of unexpected wine hits. The list also addresses California and the rest of the world impressively. Or you can get a glass to go with a bowl of spaghetti at the casual wine bar out front. In recent years, the kitchen at Valentino has had its ups and downs due to a succession of chefs, but it seems to have found its footing again with chef Tomasso Tarantino. After working under Luciano Pellegrino at Valentino Las Vegas until 2007, Tarantino spent six months in Sicily immersing himself in Selvaggio’s native cuisine. On a recent visit, the Sicilian dishes sparkled with fresh­ness and delicacy. Creations such as thinly sliced eggplant with olives and lemon, tuna with blood oranges, and spaghetti in red chile pepper oil with tiny onions won me over anew.

For Chinese food, which L.A. has always done well, I could have gone with any number of bustling Hong Kong- or Shanghai-style restaurants east of downtown, where fish and shellfish swim in big tanks until you order. But none of them so much as pays lip service to wine. At YUJEAN KANG’S in Pasadena’s Old Town, inventive, deftly prepared Chinese cuisine meets a surprisingly savvy wine list, and for me that tips the balance. On a recent visit, a remarkably tender stir-fry of silken squash and chicken brought out the best in a dry, minerally, seven-year-old Stony Hill Riesling, one of the unsung heroes of Napa Valley and hard to find any­where. Kang’s operates out of a modest storefront, and on Saturday nights it does a re­sounding takeout business, which can slow down the dine-in service early in the evening. But it’s worth the trip to be reminded of how smoothly wine and Chinese food can coexist. French restaurants are con­spicuously absent from my list of favorite L.A. restaurants, One of the newest lights in l.A.’s dining firmame although not because L.A. lacks good ones. Aside from the afore­mentioned Melisse, you won’t find a better evocation of a classic French brasserie anywhere in America than Comme Ca, opened last year by Myers ofSona. I have been impressed with Christophe Erne’s modem touches at Ortolan and with Michel Richard’s return to L.A. with Citrus at Social. Bastide at times has looked as if it might challenge the best French restaurants in the United States, but multimillionaire owner [oe Pytka keeps changing chefs and revamping the place. At this writing it is closed, awaiting another remodel. (Bastide's first chef, Alain Giraud, recently opened Anisette, a French brasserie in Santa Monica.) So for now it's clear that French cuisine peaked here in the 1970s, when several now-defunct French restaurants dominated the fine­dining scene. That group included Ma Maison, where Puck made his name as a fancy French chef; Le Dome (now the site of a BLT Steak); l'Ermitage; and L'Orangerie, the last of this group to go, in 2006. In a telling changeover, Nobu Los Angeles recently opened on the site of L'Orangerie, but the turning point actually came much earlier. When Puck got into a dispute with Ma Maison's owner and left, in 1981, to start Spago, he turned L.A. dining in a whole new direction. Puck's mix of casual and sophisticated elements has become the most prevalent style of L.A. dining today. The model makes a fe­tish of market-fresh ingredients and clear-eyed preparations, lifting the idea of neighborhood cafes to an art form. Suzanne Goin has three fine examples: her glorified wine bar on Third Street, A.O.c.; her husband's pared-down seafood cafe in Hollywood, the Hungry Cat; and her flagship, the casually elegant Lucques on Melrose. At his similarly refined but comfortable ]oe’s in Venice, ]oseph Miller is making great unpretentious dishes. Meanwhile, Eric Greenspan, once executive chef of Patina, upgrades good neighborhood fare with unexpected balances at the Foundry on Melrose. At CRAFT LOS ANGELES, however, New York chef Tom Colicchio does them one better. His food starts with the same local-local-local idea and opens it up into something even more vibrant. This outpost of his original Craft in New York occupies a low-rise, modem, freestanding building set among the tall, anony­mous structures of Century City. Chef Matthew Accarino’s unflag­ging devotion to ingredients is·apparent in the a la carte menu, which lists dozens of dishes based on what’s best and freshest in the market. That leaves it up to us to make dinner out of one or two dishes, or to expand it into a tasting menu. I love that flexibility. An example of Craft’s creative approach is the salad of baby romaine, tender and sweet as butter lettuce, with whole fresh anchovies fried in a light batter and scattered on top. It’s a knock­out. Fifteen or 20 vegetable dishes offer a veritable farmers’ market tour. Pastas compare with those of the best Italian restaurants in L.A. The wine list of 400 selections focuses on discoveries from Austria to Australia, including some nice verticals. Despite his New York roots, Colicchio gets what L.A. dining is all about: a menu full of great choices that focus like a laser on ingredients, presentations that rely on color and freshness rather than architectural structure, and a friendly wine list. The view gazes upon greenery-you can see the sky from your table-and service is buttoned-up but still relaxed. There was a time when dining in L.A. seemed derivative. It was either trying to outdo its intrastate rival San Francisco or make dining glamorous in a kind of Hollywood version of New York or Paris. Today, it has a style all its own, good enough to attract out­siders. In addition to Colicchio, empire-building chefs such as Mina, Batali, Gordon Ramsay, Jose Andres and Laurent Tourondel (of BLT Steak) are currently wooing Los Angeles diners. As long as they can deliver the relaxed but elegant food and wine experience that makes L.A. special, they can count on me as a patron.

Luxury Hotels in United States

Posted in Luxury Hotels on June 25th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off



IlI32) The Battle House, A Renaissance Hotel (80.97) This Beaux-Arts landmark in the city’s historic downtown blends old¬world grandeur with modern amenities, including a new 1 O,OOD-square-foot spa. Stats 238 rooms; 2 restaurants; I bar. Cost Doubles from $209. 26 N. Royal St.; 800/228-9290 or 866/316-5957;



• Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa (82.03) One of Phoenix’s most iconic hotels: a 1929 grande dame with understated interiors, built by disciples of Frank Lloyd WriO’htjust outside the city center, stats 738 rooms; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from 5465. Phoenix; 800/950-0086 or 602/955-6600; arizonabiltmor e. com •..• “” I:l, <\ t i’; • Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa (82.88) Lavish Sonoran Desert golf resort with adobe casitas scattered across a millennia-old rock outcropping, plus a legendary spa. stat~ 160 rooms; 60 villas; 6 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles Cram $499. Carefree; 866/397-6520 or 480/488-9009; •..• “”

• Camel back Inn, A JW Marriott

Resort & Spa (81.11) Family-friendly pueblo-style resort, recently renovated to the tune of $52 million, near the foot of lvIummy Mountain. stats 453 casitas; 5 restaurants; I bar. Cost Doubles from $359. scottsdale; 800/242-2635 or 480/948-1700; •..• “” I:l, o, t i’;

• The Fairmont (81.62) Mcorish¬inspired palace on 450 manicured acres in northern Scottsdale. Emerged from a 830 million renovation with updated rooms and a new restaurant and bar. stats 649 rooms; 4 restaurants; 3 bars. Cost Doubles from $419. scottsdale; 800/441-1414 or 480/585-4848; •..• “” I:l, o, t i’;

• Four Seasons Resort at Troon North (82.69) This secluded, pueblo-inspired casita complex-e-still gleaming from a tasteful 18 million top-to-bottom redo-is adjacent to a high-desert nature preserve (a perfect setring for outdoors

lovers). stats 210 rooms; 3 restaurants; 1 bar. Cost Doubles from 525. scottsdale; 800/332-3442 or 480/513-5039; •..• “” I:l, o, i’;

• The Phoenician (84.41) Opulent 250-acre resort on the south side of Camclback Mountain. A world unto itself with its 9 pools, 12 tennis courts) and a 27-hole golf course-not to mention the $25 million art coUection. stats 643 rooms; 7 houses; 5 restaurants; 1 bar. Cost Doubles from $759. scottsdale; 800/325-3589 or 480/941-8200; •..• “”I:l,<\ti’;

• Ritz-Carlton (80.47) Stucco-and-glass high-rise with formal, European-style interiors; ideally situated for business travelers, thanks to its location in the heart of the Camelback Corridor. stats 281 rooms; I restaurant; 1 bat: Cost Doubles from $449. Phoenix; 800/241-3333; •..• “”

• Royal Palms Resort & Spa (88.15) One of the area’s most romantic hotels: an intimate 1929 Spanish colonial-style mansion with antiques¬filled rooms, on 9 picturesque acres near Camelback -lountain. Stats 119 rooms; 1 restaurant; 1 bar. Cost Doubles from $450. Phoenix; 800/672-6011 or 602/840-3610;

• Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa (83.92) Whitewashed adobe casitas with sleek contemporary interiors that are a striking departure from those of other area properties, on Camel back’s north slope. stats 105 rooms; 7 houses; I restaurant; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $415. Paradise

Yalley; 800/245-2051 or 480/948- 2100; •..• “” I:l, o, IlI32) Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (79.03) Sprawling resort adjacent to Kierland Commons, one of the area’s top shopping centers, witb a kid-pleasing pool scene that includes a 900-foot tubing river and a 11 O-foot waterslide, stats 700 rooms; 32 casitas; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from S349. Scottsdale; BOO/22B-3000 or 480/624-1000; •..• “” I:l, o, t i’;


• Enchantment Resort (85.22) This Southwestern-style property inside a stunning red-rock canyon offers an extraordinary range of activities (pottery classes, Native American culture seminars)-plus Mii Arno, one of the country’s best spas. Stats 220 rooms; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from S350. 800/826-4180 or 928/282-2900;

• L’Auberge de Sedona (80.14) Cozy English country-inspired inn and COllages in a wooded, creekside setting that is a refreshing change from t\le desert, but still within easy reach of ale red rocks. Stats 21 room~; 31 cottages; 1 house; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from $325. BOO/272-6777 or 928/282-1661; •..• I:l, i’;


• JW Marriott starr Pass Resort & Spa (81.53) Four-year-old pueblo-style resort with hiking and biking trails galore, in

a cactus-filled region of the Sonoran Desert. Stats 570 rooms; 5 restaurants;

2 bars. Cost Doubles from $329. 1100/228-9290 or 520/792-3500; •..• “” I:l, <\ t ,. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (81.35) Ivy-covered hotel with private golf and tennis clubs on 600 acres in the Santa Catalina foothills that offers an intimate scale and a plethora of activities. stats 398 rooms; 4 restaurants; 1 bar. Cost Doubles from 3279. 866/563-9792 or 520/299-2020;

• Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa (79.56) Familv-oriented Mission Revival resort in the S;’nta Catalina foothills with over-the-top amenities, such as a I 77-foot waterslidc, and a celebrated 27-holeJack Nicklaus golf course. stats 487 rooms; 5 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from ~249. 800/228-3000 or 520/742- 6000;



~ Disney’S Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (80.60) Family-friendly hotel situated in the center of the Disnevland Resort; an ongoing expansion will’add 250 rooms, a roof top deck, and a new swimming pool later this yeal: stats 745 rooms; 2 restaurants; 1 bar; Cost Doubles Cram $450. 714/956-6425;


• Post Ranch Inn (89.65) Cluster of environmentally sound redwood-and¬stone cottages with diffside views overlooking the Pacific that features extensive activities, including yoga, hiking, and stargazing stats 39 rooms; 2 villas; I restaurant. Cost Doubles from

550, including breakfast. )/0 guests under 18.800/527-2200 or 831/ 667-2200;

• Ventana Inn & Spa (85.69) Like a New ge c,unp for adults: a cruncby collection of cedar lodges on 243 wooded acres that offers nature excursions, a clothing-optional pool, and, after an $18

million renovation, one of the area’s top spas. stats 60 rooms; 1 restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from 3550, inclutling breakfast. No guests under 18. 800/628-6500 or 831/667-2331;


• Bernardus Lodge (89.27) This Mediterranean-style resort in the Santa Lucia Mountains is one of Carmel’s most romantic retreats, with featherbeds, in¬room fireplaces, and surrounding vineyards. Stats 57 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles horn $535. 888/648-9463 or 831/658-3400;

• Highlands Inn, A Hyatt Hotel (81.33) Crafisman-style hotel on a bluff above the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, 4 miles south of downtown, offering standout views of the rugged coastline from almost every room. Stats 48 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $635.800/233-1234 or 831/620-1234;


• Ritz-Carlton (82.99) A golf-and-spa resort dramatically SC( on an oceanfront bluff less than 45 minutes from San Francisco, with 1.\’\’0 of the region’s best golf courses-plus plenty to keep non¬putters busy. Stats 261 rooms, 2 restaurants; 2 bars, Cost Doubles from $499.800/241-3333 or 650/712-7000;


• Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa (79.93) Elegant Mediterranean-style resort with one of the largest pools in the Coacheila Valley desert, just 15 miles from Palm Springs. stats 560 rooms; 2 restaurants; 3 bars, e’ost Doubles from $329. 800/446-9875 or 760/773- 4444;


• Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows (88.99) Minutes from Rodeo Drive, this Mission-style 1912 hotel on 12 acres of tropical gardens marries Old Hollywood style with au courant buzz. stats 183 rooms; 21 bungalows; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from 500.9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; 800/ 283-8885 or 310/276-2251;

• Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel (83.34) 1928 Beverly Hills legend and a shopper’s dream for los angeles hookups at the intersection of Rodeo Drive WilshirevBoulevard.just steps away from the tony boutiques. Stats 395 rooms; 3 restaurants; 3 bars. Cost Doubles from 595. 9500 Wilshlre Blvd., Beverly Hills; 800/332-3442 or 310/275-5200;

• Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (83.31) Modern 16-story tower a mile from Rodeo Drive, with irnpeccable and discreet service worthy of its many celebrity guests. stats 285 rooms; 2 restaurants; 1 bar. Cost Doubles from $585. 300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles; 800/332-3442 or 310/ 786-2227; •..• “” tt mE Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village (82.48) Recently opened 7-stor), hotel set on 20 acres of landscaped gardens in a Los Angeles suburb; home to the California Health & Longevity Institute, one of the COUI1oy)s most progressive wellness cenrers, Stats 270 rooms; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $335. Westlake Village; BOO/332-3442 or 81B/575-3000; •..• “” tt i’;

• Hotel Bel-Air (92.32) This 1920′s hideaway, set on 12 lush acres (complete with its own swan lake) in a serene

residential neighborhood a short drive from Beverly Hills) was recently rebranded as part of the Dorchester Collection; a new spa will debut later this year. Stats 91 rooms; 1 restaurant; 1 bar:

Cost Doubles from $425.701 Stone Canyon Rd., Los Angeles; 800/ 648-4097 or 310/472-1211; t+ ~

mE Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Hotel & Spa (79.51) Contemporary, business-friendly resort with excellent amenities-including Cezanne, one of the area’s best restaurants-in the heart of Santa Monica, steps from the beach. Stats 175 rooms; I restaurant; I bat: Cost Doubles from $385.

1740 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; 800/228-9290 or 310/395-9700; •..• “” tt

• Peninsula Beverly Hills (91.15) Polished and urbane resort modcled after an 18th-century French country estate,

5 blocks from Rodeo Drive, that is both tranquil (quiet gardens, a serene spa) and high-wattage (rooftop pool, buzzy bar). Stats 180 rooms; 16 villas; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $665. 9882

S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 800/462-7899 or 310/551-2888; •.• ~ tt

• Rltz-carlton, Marina del Rey (81.74) Sophisticated waterfront hotel with unparalleled marina access (yacht and sailing charters, boat slips, and harbor¬side jogging trails), just a 10-minute drive from Santa Monica. Stats 304 rooms;

2 restaurants; I bar. Cost Doubles from $499. 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; 800/241-3333 or 310/823-1700;

• Shutters on the Beach (83.97) Nantucket-style shingled property, centrally located along Santa Monica

• Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nlguel (88.35) Grande dame overlooking the Pacific blending classic Ritz style with the area’s largest offering of activities (waterfront fitness classes, whale-watching, surfing at Dana Point). Stats 396 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cast Doubles from

495. Dana Point; 800/241-3333 or 949/240-2000;

•..• “”~C\i’;

• St. Regis Monarch Beach (84.61) This Tuscan-inspired resort has a refined atmosphere, thanks to details like a Dale Chihuly sculpture collection-plus, at 535 square feet, the largest standard rooms in Orange County. Stats 400 rooms; 5 restaurants; 6 bars. Cost Doubles from 675. Dana Point; 877/787-3447 or 949/234-3200;

• Surf & Sand Resort (79.05) Mediterranean-style resort with a casual vibe and unbeatable access to the secluded 930-foot Bluebird Beach. Stats 167 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from 545. Laguna Beach; 8B8/869-7569 or 949/497-4477; sur!


• The t.anqham, Huntingtan Hatel & Spa (85.59) 1907 landmark (formerly the Rirz-Carlton) at the base of the San Oabriel Mounrains, with the area’s best restaurant; a $25 million renovation is slated to start this spring. Stats 380 rooms; 2 restaurants; I bar. Cost Doubles from 8269. 800/591-7481 or 626/568- 3900;


• Inn at Spanish 8ay (85.57) Contemporary hacienda-style oasis on the Monterrey Peninsula that combines a hip vibe with the amenities of a world¬class golf resort (guests have access to the Pebble Beach Golf Links). Stats 270 rooms; 4 restaurants; 4 bars. Cost Doubles from 8580. 800/654-9300 or 831/647-7500;

•..• “”I:tC\t

• Lodge at Pebble Beach (86.48) Traditional and gentlemanly 1919 Georgian-style golf resort with a prime location on the Pebble Beach Golf Links and the area’s largest standard rooms (650 square feet). stats 161 rooms; 3 restaurants; 4 bars. Cast Doubles from S675. 800/654-9300 or 831/624-3811;


• Hotel Sola mar (80.53) Ten-story hotel with a chic, urban fed, minutes from San Diego’s burgeoning Gaslarnp Quarter. Stals 235 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cosl Doubles from $389. 435 6th Ave.;

877/230-0300 or 619/819-9500;


• Four Seasons Resort Aviara (85.42) Spanish colonial-style property 30 minutes north of San Diego, with the area’s only Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and easy access to the beach. Stats 329 rooms; 4 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $405. Carlsbad; 800/332-3442 er 760/603-6800; !

• Hotel del Coronado (80.90) Stoned 1888 Victorian resort on 28 oceanfront acres on Coronado Island; the resort has just finished a $150 million upgrade that added the Beach Village, a private villa enclave. Stats 679 rooms; 50 villas; 28 cottages; 2 restaurants; 4 bars. Cost Doubles from 5380. Coronado; 800/468-3533 or 619/435-6611;

• La ValencIa Hatel (80.11) 1926 historic hideaway in the middle of the village of LaJolla, overlooking the Pacific, that exudes a resolutely old-world fed, with details like manually operated elevators, Slals 115 rooms; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $300. La Jolla; 800/451-0772 or B58/454-0771; •.• 5

• Lodge at Torrey Pines (85.51) This Craftsman-style resort features stunning design touches (William Morris wallpaper, Stickley furniture) and a location right on the TOITey Pines Golf Course, 5 minutes south of the village of LaJolla. Slals 170 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $425. La Jolla; 800/656-0087 or 858/453-4420; lcdqetcrrevplnes.ccm


• Campton Place, A Taj Halel (80.35) Business-friencUy lodgings half a block from Union Square, with a quiet residential style thanks to the soothing design and soundproof windows. Stals 110 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from S575. 340 Stockton St.; 866/969-1825 or 415/781-5555; •.•

• The Fairmont (83.16) Grand 1907 hotel atop Nob Hill, centrally located at a spot where all of the city’s cable-car lines meet. Stats 591 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from 8299. 950 Mason St.; 800/441-1414 or 415/772-5000; ! •..•

• Four Seasons Hotel (86.07) This sleek high-rise in the Yerba Buena district has a stellar contemporary¬art collection and, at 460 square feet, some of the city’s largest standard rooms.

Stats 277 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from $405. 757 Market st.; 800/332-3442 or 415/633-3000; •.• 5 ~

• Hotel Vitale (79.48) Stylish boutique hotel in an 8-story landmark building on the Embarcadero waterfront, with a range of resort-like amenities (access to top-notch athletic facilities, kayaking on the bay). Stats 199 rooms; 1 restaurant; 1 bar. Cost Doubles from $399.

8 Mission st.; 888/890-8688 or 415/278-3700; I:t

• Kimpton’s Prescott Hotel (79.10) Business-oriented 7-story boutique hotel, one block from Union Square shopping and adjacent to Wolf gang Puck’s fusion restaurant, Postrio. stats 164 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from S189. 545 Post St.; 800/546-7866 or 415/563-0303;

• Mandarin Orienlal (83.67) Glamorous hotel occupying the top 11 floors of a Financial District tower, with sophisticated, Asian-inspired rooms offering bird’s-eye city views. Stats 158 rooms; I restaurant; I bar Cost Doubles from $675. 222 Sansome St.; 800/526-6566 or 415/276-9888;

• Ritz-Carlton (85.03) lOO-year-old Neoclassical hotel in [ ob Hill, ideally situated blocks from Union Square and Chinatown, with great on-site dining (don’t miss the made-to-order sushi dinners in the lobby lounge). stats 336 rooms; 2 restaurants; 3 bars. Cost Doubles from $449. 600 Stockton St.; 800/241-3333 or 415/296-7465;

ITIID st. Regis (81.47) Turn-of-the- 20th-century building and modern tower with high-tcch details (in-room touch¬screen systems, privacy indicator lights outside rooms), in the Yerba Buena neighborhood. Stats 260 rooms; 2 restaurants; I bar. Cost Doubles from 3589.125 3rd St.; 877/787-3447 or 415/284-4000;


• Bacara Resort & Spa (81.70) Mediterranean-style ocean front villas sprawled over 78 lush acres between the Pacific and t.he Santa Y nez Mountains, offering a laundry list of activities. Stats 360 rooms; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from 3475.877/422-4245 or 805/968-0100;

•..• “”I:tC\i’;

• Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore (88.82) 1927 Spanish-colonial beachfront grande dame, with a super¬luxe feel thanks to its tony Montecito address and a private beach club that’s open to guests. Stats 207 rooms; 3 restaurants; 4 bars. Cost Doubles from $600. 800/332-3442 or 805/969- 2261; !


ITIID The Ahwahnee (79.81) This 1927 historic landmark in Yosemite Valley has a stunning setting, surrounded by forest, waterfalls, and lowering cliffs and just minutes from the trailheads to El Capitan and Half Dome. Stats 123 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from 3449. 801/559-4949;



• Little Nell (88.23) Modern lodg

the town’s only ski-in, ski-out resort—-at the base of Aspen Mountain, with David Easion-designed public spaces and the area’s most glamorous apres-ski scene. Stats 92 rooms; 2 restaurants; 3 bars. Cost Doubles from $750. 888/ 843-6355 or 970/920-4600;

• St. Regis Aspen Resorl (82.64) This sprawling stone compound, two blocks from the main gondola, is Aspen’s most well-rounded resort, with amenities like a Todd English restaurant and a Remede spa. Stats 179 rooms; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $1, I 00. 877/787-3447 or 970/920-3300;


• Beaver Creek Lodge (81.81) Contemporary chalet, connected to the slopes via escalator, that offers a chic home-away-from-home vibe: each room has a sofa, fireplace, and kitchenette. Slats 72 rooms; I restaurant; I bar. Cost Doubles from $499.800/525-7280 or 970/845- 9800;

• Park Hyalt 8eaver Creek Resort & Spa (85.39) Ski lodge with one of the area’s top spas, in the heart of busy Beaver Creek Village–just 20 yards from the new Buckaroo Express gondola. Stats 190 rooms; I restaurant; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from 5599 . 800/233-1234 or 970/949-


• Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (88.78) This exclusive Western-style timbered lodge is a village unto itself,

with a fully stocked ski shop, cbairlift right off the property, and 21,000-square-foot spa. Slats 206 rooms; 3 restaurants; 2 bars. Cost Doubles from $575. Beaver Creek; 800/241-3333 or 970/748-6200;


The Broadmoor (84.22) Italianate lakeside resort set on 3,000 acres at the foot of Chcyenne Mountain, with loads of outdoor activities and a laid-back, family-friendly vibe. Stats 700 rooms; 8 restaurants; 6 bars. Cost Doubles from $420. 866/837-9520 or 719/634-7711;

Hotel France

Posted in hookup France on June 21st, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Land of Plenty

Hotel Guq en Terrasses

Cuq-Toulza, France

To grow well, sunflowers need full sun. Basking in the midsummer warmth, rows and rows of vibrant sunflowers are standing in their fields, bright battalions massed at the sides of the road as we drive past. Some of them are standing straight, heads held up high, others seem to be leaning over slightly as if they are still asleep, but all are facing the same direction: east. like pilgrims at prayer.

Sun worship is their religion. In a field of blooming sunflowers most flowerheads are turned toward the east. where the sun rises each morning Yet when the plant is still in bud, it actually follows the movement of the sun across the horizon as it moves from east to west.

This tracking motion is driven by motor cells in a flexible segment of the stem just below the bud. When the blooming stage is reached that stem locks, so that once the flower opens into vivid yellow petals it faces east for the rest of its short but colorful life.

In French, their name is tournesol; and the translation is a literal one – it means “turn with the sun.” Spread out like a quilt of ocher and green, sunflowers are a symbol of the radiant light here in the Lauragais, in the southwest of France. Sun seekers in the know track here, from all points of the compass, turning to the warmth and comfort of the Hotel Cuq en Terrasses.

The hotel loved by hookups France

Once a presbytery, the 18th-century building is now rejuvenated as a truly charming hilltop hotel in the hamlet of Cuq le Chateau in the region of Cuq­Toulza. It is well positioned in the heart of the ancient Pays de Cocagne, now the region of Tarn; in the center of a triangle formed by the cities and towns ofT oulouse, Carcassonne and Albi, and close to several of the loveliest villages in France. Simple and well-restored, the old house is much larger than it looks from its front entrance on the main street of what is almost like a film set of a tiny time-has-stood-still-here French village. The backdrop from one window in the library-living room is the village church; at the other end of the room the scene is of golden fields, green valleys and distant blue hills. Once you have arrived, y u will either go upstairs to your room, or downstairs, then walk down further, to the dining room and out on to the wide terracotta­tiled terrace: the heart of the hotel. From here, there are still more layers in this multileveled location: of gardens shaded by spreading mulberry trees, down to the swimming pool, and nearby a separate and secluded Tower suite. The bedrooms are all handsomely designed and outfitted in traditional midi style. one are alike, so you can return here at least seven times before you will have stayed in them all.

Dinner is on request here, but it seems to be more in demand; such is the reputation and standard of the cooking that when they have had a taste of it guests make sure they are in for the evening. Chef Andonis Vassalos creates the food, bringing extra flavors to the French cuisine from his native Greece, while partner Philippe Gallice complements the menu from the wine cellar. As many dream of doing, they left the city and moved to the country, when they discovered this special part of it to live in. Sitting out on the terrace, savoring a glass of velvety red or crisp cool white in the late afternoon sun, delicious aromas in the air as dinner is being prepared, you will start to fantasize making your own escape to somewhere as idyllic. That’s when most people decide to book here again.

La Lauragais bedroom

Yellow is a predominant color in this golden landscape, and blue is part of it too, woven into its history. Pays de Cocagne was the early name give to this area, when it was discovered that a rich blue pigment - cocagne, or “woad” – could be extracted from a local plant. It became a very valuable commodity much in demand for fabrics and art, and the region prospered.

Many intriguing destinations are within easy driving distance of the hotel. One is the City of Albi; at its center, the 15th-century St-Cecile Cathedral. This fortress cathedral is a masterpiece of Southern Gothic architecture and the largest brick building in the world.

But its most amazing feature is only on view from the inside. Painted with blue pastel by Italian painters from Bologna in 1509-1512, the frescoes on the cathedral’s arched ceiling form the largest work ofItalian Renaissance painting to be found anywhere in France. It is a visual biblical encyclopedia, an evocation of heaven played out on a blue and gold background, and just as they were when painted over five centuries ago They have never been restored, their colors still vivid and lustrous in the low light The spectacular scale, nearly 330 feet (lOO m) long by 92 feet (28 m) “vide, and the magnificence of the work makes it one of the most memorable Sights of my life. A gigantiC and graphic mural of the Last Judgement surrounds the church altar, no doubt as a reminder to the congregation of what could lie ahead.

Rich in history and scenery, as well as its many other food and wine assets, the region has also been described as a “Land of Plenty, a smiling country,” where everything is found in abundance; bright yellow fields of sunflowers, groves of oak trees, checkered hues of cultivated fields, warm clear light and friendly people. You can see and experience all of this, and turn your head to follow the sun, relaxing at the Hotel Cuq en Terrasses. Three stars is its appellation, but its surroundings make it more.

Hotel Cuq en Terrasses Cuq-Toulza – take your hookup france here and you will be well-rewarded.

Dublin, Ireland

Posted in Dublin hookups on June 21st, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

These words, forming a pink lettered neon sign, were written across the top of the Clarence Hotel when I first visited Dublin in October of 1997. It was a temporary installation, part of the Dublin Literary Festival. Neon quotes appeared all over the city center, recalling the words of writers who have lived in and written about Dublin – Joyce, Shaw, Beckett, Swift, Wilde … I wish these modern, poetic sign writings had been retained, as a unique tribute to the writers who shaped the literary heritage of this vital city. Jonathan Swift, the 18th­century author of Gu/liver‘s Ttevels, would not recognize the new dynamic Dublin, which he once described as “the most disagreeable place in Europe.” W.B. Yeats referred to his hometown as “blind and ignorant.” Criticized roundly by most of the writers now lionized by the city they spurned, contemporary Dublin is a favored European weekend destination, the most visited city after Paris by Dublin hookups.

Like the French capital, it is a city for walking – to savor the architecture and rub shoulders with Dubliners. With a fine collection of low-rise l Sth-cenrury buildings, wide streets and intimate pubs, this is a city of human proportions. Molly Malone may be a fond memory, but traders and buskers still work the busy streets. The heart of a revitalized Eire, modern Dublin has more buzz than blarney. The Ireland of leprechauns and begorrahs, for so long part of the Irish myth, is not to be found here, although the brogue is still evident. The Clarence Hotel edges a maze of cobbled streets known as the Temple Bar district, the city’s social hub. The building’s solid stone frontage overlooks the River Liffey, situated on Dublin’s “left bank,” between the Grattan and Ha’penny Bridges.

From its beginnings as a railway hotel in 1852, the Clarence has projected architectural dignity, a quality it retained even at its most shabby in the 1970s. Generations of Guinness and whiskey drinkers have frequented its bars. Bought by Bono and The Edge, members of the Dublin-based rock group U2, the Clarence has been restored as a spacious and aristocratic-feeling small hotel. A pale background of oak, leather and stone sets off its Arts and Crafts style. Traditional and contemporary are cleverly combined, with a simplicity reminiscent of Shaker design. Hotel staff are dressed in sharp gray suits with just a hint of the cassock in the cut of their jackets.

The warm relaxing environment is underpinned by the use of rich color – crimson, royal blue, purple, gold and chocolate – never all combined in the one scheme. Colorful and covetable original artwork by Irish artist Guggi is on show throughout the hotel.

The Study projects the feel of a country house or a gentlemen’s club. This is a comfortable place to settle into the leather chairs, read the newspapers and sip coffee (or something stronger) as the soft Irish light filters through the high windows.

The Reading Room Study

The stylish Octagon bar and especially the snug wood-paneled back bar tempt you to an Irish beer or whiskey, in that quintessential Irish establishment, the pub.

In the former ballroom, the Tea Room Restaurant offers a mouth-watering menu. Posted on the wall of the “back door” to the Ciarence, in Temple Bar, this also attracts passersby in search of good food.

The Penthouse Suite with grand piano, bar, great sound system, private garden terrace and open-air hot tub is a place to feel like a visiting member of the rock aristocracy. It offers one of the best views of Dublin, across to the Wicklow mountains and Dublin Bay.

If you want to get out and about, it is a short stroll to Grafton Street shopping, galleries, theaters, cafes, restaurants, clubs and bars, both traditional and contemporary. An impressive collection of contemporary design is on display and [or sale in the Irish Craft Centre, five minutes’ walk from the hotel. The parks of Merrion Square and St. Step hen’s Green are the city’s “emerald islands.” They are lovely even on “soft days” – an Irish euphemism for rainy weather.

A bedroom view

The “Celtic Tiger” can be heard as well as seen, with renovation and rebuilding underway throughout the city and new hotels, restaurants and bars opening at a rapid rate in response to the growing number of visitors and locals. Ireland’s economic success is founded on benevolent tax laws for overseas investors and European Union money. The mood of confidence and the country’s positive international profile have seen many ex-pats return to their homeland to share in its newfound pride.

‘When the sun goes down, this is a party town. Not much of the old Irish puritanism is here – Dublin has the youngest population in Ireland, and even the no-longer-young act it. The city stays up late. The huge number of pubs caters to virtually every musical taste from folk through to contemporary. Many weekend “riverdancers” who come to trip the light fantastic go home with a hangover they may not think so grand on Monday.

Visitors can retrace the steps of past Dublin writers on the Literary Pub Crawl, the best excuse for drinking and talking I’ve ever heard. Actors, not short of a well-crafted witty line themselves, guide the tours of pubs where many of the city’s famous (and infamous) drank and claimed their inspiration. Soaking up “culture” while testing the local beverages is an appealing combination even now.

For somewhere much quieter, no talking or drinking allowed, the Library at Trinity College is a bibliophile’s dream, with its timber-vaulted ceiling and rows of books. The university is also the guardian of the Book of Kells, the treasured ninth-century illuminated manuscript of the Gospels.

Dublin was the focal point of the struggle for and against home rule. The General Post Office still bears the scars of the violent 1916 Easter Uprising, and it remains the favorite starting point for demonstrations. Also the site of the 1921 Declaration of Independence, the post office is on O’Connell Street, a broad avenue on the north side of the River Liffey, now seen as the less gentrified “new” city.

Dubai Hotels

Posted in Dubai hookups on June 21st, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Burj al Aratk

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

At night the multitude of buildings under construction in Dubai are just silhouettes in the darkness. Lit up, though, are the congregations of cranes. They look like weird skeletal Meccano birds, feeding on the frames they perch on top of. It is said that one-fifth of the world’s largest cranes are in Dubai, hoisting floors higher and higher as the city literally reaches for most elevated status. Structural expressionism is definitely the ascendant architectural style here.

Worldwide, its most famous example is Burj al Arab, in English and in truth an Arabian Tower, standing many heads and shoulders above its neighbors. When architect Tom Wills-Wright was asked to submit designs for what was to be a landmark building on the Dubai skyline, he and the creative team reviewed other iconic buildings ­the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids­around the world. All have an unusual shape, so it was clear that for this new one to really catch the eye and imagination, it must have a remarkable form. Burj al Arab launched in 1999, and people have been looking up to it ever since.

The high-impact, high-altitude atrium is central to the prestigious hotel s unique design. It takes up a third of the interior space; with a height of 597 feet (182 m) it could shelter the Statue of Liberty. Its architect cites this as one of his favorite places; he likes to see people standing and staring up, or looking down to the lobby far below, amazed

Burj al Arab viewed from the Jumeirah Madinat hotel

Naturally, interior designer Ms. Kuan Chew wanted to continue the “wow effect” of the building inside, and deliver the timeless and unusual concept requested. The interior was viewed as radical when the hotel opened, its dazzling decoration making it an exuberant partner to the attention­attracting facade.

Then, in that era of minimalism, eschewing decorativeness, it would have been a surprise, a shock even, to see the great soundshell-like curves framing the reception desks, and the gold columns, curling gold garlands and silver-mirrored rails that frame the first five floors of the atrium.

Glamour in the atrium

Entrance to AI Mahara Seafood Restaurant

Colors of carpets and furnishings are vibrant and rich, not muted and pale. Pattern is conspicuous. The fact that thousands of square feet of 22-karat gold leaf have been used in the interior was met with astonishment.

To this recent viewer, the overall effect is stunning; a glamorous, even futuristic interior that appeals for its lively opulence and brave use of color within such an ethereal yet masterfully engineered white spire.

Water is a central feature; dancing arcs of it weave together in a graceful display, ajet of water shoots skyward, 138 feet (42 m) high. A waterfall cascades between the escalators to the atrium lounge in an artfully computer-choreographed sequence of mesmerizing movements. Even more captivating is the underwater-therned restaurant. Access is via a three-minute virtual submarine voyage. Once you disembark, you will dine on award-winning fare, seated beside the diverse sea life of the Arabian Gulf: leopard and reef sharks, manta rays, moray eels, butterfly, unicorn and parrot fish swimming in a massive floor -to-ceiling aquarium that wraps around the hotel’s signature restaurant.

The billowing sail of a traditional Arabian dhow was chosen as the essence of the design, transforming five years later into a spectacular hotel. Currently the world’s tallest hotel, it soars 1,053 feet (321 m) into the air. A helipad cantilevered out from its top Iloor has also served as a grass tennis court for Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, and a green for Tiger Woods. The sail’s translucent white fabric is actually Teflon-coated fiberglass, stretched across the steel structural frame. By day the glow of the white wall lights up the atrium; at night, the facade becomes a beacon, with a kinetic display of light in changing colors. Fire and water shows make an even greater spectacle.

ot long after Burj al Arab opened, an understandably enthusiastic journalist reported that her stay here was a “seven-star” experience. Although in fact the hotel is rated the highest of the star system at five-plus, it is indeed in a different galaxy in terms of its innovative design, its luxury suites, butler service and spa, and its ability to impress even the most jaded. It has become the pin-up poster of destination architecture.

A new Colossus of Dubai is taking shape. Currently under construction, Burj Dubai is a 2,650 foot (808 m) – and could be even higher – skyscraper designed by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. When completed, it will be the tallest humanmade structure of any kind in history. Standing apart on its own island, curving white against the sky, Burj al Arab will keep its title as the instantly recognizable and iconic building on the Dubai skyline.

Caribbean Travel hookups

Posted in Caribbean hookups on June 21st, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

There’s something celebratory about cruise ships. Perhaps it’s the gor­geous tropical destinations, round-the-clock eating, or their seeming defiance of the principles of buoyancy. The beauty of taking a cruise for a celebration is that you can focus on the celebrating: Once you book your reservations and find your way to the ship, there’s no need to think past that. No puddle jumpers from island to island. No logistics, maps, tickets, or hunting out places to eat. It’s just peaceful intervals on the open sea and then mornings when you wake up to a new seaside town. And you had to exert exactly zero effort to get there.

With ships leaving from more North American departure cities each year, it’s an easier ride then ever to paradise. There are one-night dinner cruises to 14-day journeys to fit your budget. And cruise lines have evolved ships into incredible next-generation floating resorts (so get that image of shuffleboard out of your head). There are now climb­ing walls, surf-simulator pools, yoga studios, and movies under the stars. You can expect to get one of the best massages you’ve ever got­ten from their enhanced spas.

Simply the scale of their “boats” will blow you away: A number of these ships are nearly a mile long and 25 stories tall. It’s not unusual to find them loaded with marble atriums and shiny brass spiral stair­cases, a dozen elevators, multiple pools and whirlpools, a casino, Internet cafes, art galleries, ice cream shops, steakhouses, nightclubs, more bars than a college town, duty-free shopping and boutiques, all of which you’d think would sink the ship. And only occasionally can you feel the sway of the boat: These vessels are built like cities.

Where cruises differ from your typical resort is they actually move. In addition to a healthy dose of relaxation, you’ll explore the scenery and culture of the islands. Months in advance of when you set sail, you can pre-reserve onshore excursions, which include horseback riding, kayak­ing, scuba diving, and bus tours to famous attractions. There’s always striking out by cab or public transportation, too.


Up on the top decks you’ll experience an extraordinary version of a day at the beach, minus the sand and lugging beach chairs and coolers. Girlfriends find this scene to be the highest form of decadence: You’ll stake out lounge chairs for the day and let the cute waiters fetch you frozen drinks. By midday, the poolside area fills with the sounds of a steel drum or reggae from a live band. This is time for catching up and telling each other stories.


For those of you whose idea of a vacation is getting your heart rate up (or for those concerned about keeping their waistlines down from the constant cruise feedings), there are workout rooms, fitness classes, and jogging tracks on almost all ships.


There’s not a chance of getting bored on a cruise: Every hour of the day there’s something going on. Many women find a cruise a non-threaten­ing place to learn something new, especially in the company of girl­friends. Try your hand at ping-pang; give pottery making a go; have your golf swing analyzed; attend a wine tasting seminar; and practice your downward dogs all together in a yoga class.


Cruise lines love to make a big deal out of your occasion. When you book your reservations, let them know how you’d like to celebrate the big day: A cake with singing waiters at dinner, champagne in your room, or a private cocktail reception for your group.


At night you may find it difficult to act your age: What better pick-me-up for a birthday is there? There are magic shows, comedians, karaoke, gam­bling, Broadway-quality performances, discos, and movies. After a cardia workout on the dance floor or a few hours at the slot machines, there’s late­night snacking to be done. Depending on the ship, this can vary from 24- hour restaurants, to midnight buffets, to cookies coming out of the oven.


Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, and Norwegian Cruise Line are the cream of the crop when considering itineraries and ships to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii. All have their strengths and weaknesses

and versions of itineraries. But you can rarely go wrong with any of them as they have the youngest and biggest fleets to choose from.


The new Crown Princess should be a top choice for those seeking high­class dining and spa amenities. Unique to the ship are an indoor Piazza with cafes and street performers. Plus it departs from a new terminal in Brooklyn, with possibly the best view of the Manhattan skyline, giving those in the Northeast the option of not having to fly to Florida. It’s also the only ship to visit Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk on the same voyage.


Experience the world’s largest ship on Royal Caribbean’s new Freedom of the Seas. With the first-ever onboard surf park at sea; whirlpools cantlevering 12 feet beyond the sides of the ship; and their largest rock­climbing wall yet, it’s a big draw for adventurers. Departing from Miami, it sails to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Haiti.


Most ships offer suites with connecting rooms and mini-suites. But some of the latest options for a group are truly spectacular. NCrs Norwegian Jewel and Pride of Hawaii ships have Courtyard Villas-ten rooms surrounding a private courtyard with a private [acuzzi and pool, plus a sun deck upstairs. Their Garden Villas include three bedrooms with a living room, dining room, private sundeck, and Jacuzzi. The Presidential Suite on Royal Caribbean’s's Freedom of the Seas sleeps up to 14-perfect for an all-girl slumber party.


As an alternative to the traditional dinner seating times you’re assigned on cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line lets you choose your dining compan­ions and times. Princess offers this option too, along with the option of eating in a smaller specialty restaurant, such as a trattoria or steakhouse, just as you would if you were vacationing in a town. And not all cruises require black-tie dining anymore. They’re leaning more toward a policy of “resort casual” attire at dinner with the option of formal evenings.


If you’ve dreamt of the rugged mountains and dense rain forest of Dominica, the world-famous multicolor coral reefs of Turks & Caicos,


In my experience, the seven-night Mexican Riviera Cruises out of Los Angeles are the most popular on the West Coast. My clients usually prefer Princess Cruises because they have newer, elegant ships and offer open seating at dinner, not the traditional 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. seating every night.

  • The most popular East Coast cruise is from Miami to the Caribbean on the Royal Caribbean Line. Their ships have lots of lounges where you can enjoy a vari­ety of entertainment day and night, and women love their spas.
  • My advice for first-time cruisers is to use the services of a cruise specialist to select the correct cruise for their taste and budget as well as getting the most desirable cabin at the best rate available. A cruise specialist can also make all the proper airline connections, which can be complex when dealing with a cruise. Also, a cruise specialist can be called on to resolve any issues or offer advice on subjects such as wardrobe, shore excursions, or passport requirements.
  • Inexperienced cruisers who book on line may have no clue. as to where their cabin is located or what their view may be. For example, a cabin in the forward part of the ship may cause sea sickness from the roll of the ship. Or a cabin that’s listed as having an ocean view may be partially obstructed by a lifeboat.

visiting a deserted island, spying flamingoes, playing a round of golf in Bermuda, or snorkeling with stingrays, a cruise off the East Coast is your cup of tea. Now departing from more cities along the Eastern Seaboard, cruise lines offer the most choices with itineraries to the Caribbean all year round.

Routes for this region are typically divided into the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Southern, Eastern, and Western Caribbean. This is where you’ll find postcard-perfect clear turquoise water and white-sand beaches. Highlights of these tours include private islands in the Bahamas: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay, and Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay. In the Western Caribbean, ports of call typically include the Grand Cayman; Belize; Cozumel, Mexico; and Jamaica. Southern Caribbean places of interest consist of Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Dominica, and Tortola. St. Lucia, Antigua, and Martinique are part of Eastern Caribbean itineraries.


A bit like the “Love Boat” of yore, a West Coast itinerary is comprised of the cliff-hanging seaside towns of Mexico, migrating humpback, gray, and blue whales, horseback riding in the Sierra Madre, and peo­ple-watching in a Zocalo (town square). Los Angeles is the main departure city for year-round West Coast routes, followed by San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. Stops include Catalina Island, Baja, Acapulco, Ensenada, Ixtapa, Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. A few ships venture farther down the coast to Guatemala, Panama, and Costa Rica. Via the world-famous Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal, you can also pass through to the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Cruises range from 7 to 11 days.

Hawaii, Anyone? NCL is the only company to offer an inter-island cruise of Hawaii from Honolulu, as opposed to a west coast city, which tacks on extra days at sea. Three ships sail here year round, and their greatest luxury would have to be viewing the world’s most active vol­cano, Mt. Kilauea, at night.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Posted in Buenos Aires hookups on June 21st, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Argentina is a word that rolls off the tongue, a name with a satisfying rhythm to it; a “four-beat bar” that echoes the staccato tempo of perhaps its most famous export ¬the tango.
First introduced here by immigrants in the early 1800s, the popular theory is that visiting French sailors took back the exotic dance they learned from performers in the brothels, teaching it to men and women in Europe and other parts of the world.

Whatever its origins, it has become a universally known and loved dance, with fiercely devoted fans. Amateurs, professionals and the mere admirers of the spectacle make (or want to make) a visit, almost like a pilgrimage to Buenos Aires; considered the birthplace of the tango.

You have no need to wonder what to do, or where to do it when staying here, because this is a universe with Experience Managers. Each guest is assigned an Experience Manager of their own, who may well contact you before you arrive to introduce him or herself, and ask what experiences they might help arrange fOT you once you are in their orbit.
Across the hall is the library bar, more like a meeting room, a private large salon, with an almost random layout that means you can sit in anyone of several places. A drink at the bar, or at a small table with a light dinner, or relax down on a deep sofa .. Here you are an actor and also part of the audience, a player in the show looking on from both sides of the stage. You can be wearing a tie or a t-shirt, be young, old or in between; despite the lush surroundings there is a relaxed atmosphere. An eclectic mix of people seems to be at ease rubbing shoulders here. Diners in the very white Unicorn Bistro are likely to be more special-occasion dressers.

On this boulevard is the Faena boutique, an attraction in itself. It is one of the most interesting hotel shops there is, with an eclectic and whimsical mix of covetable objects, from miniature replicas of the room furniture [0 take home [0 your own doll’s-house universe, beautiful red mate glasses and silver spoons, [0 great clothes that are all or mostly white, as preferred by the fashion designer – Mr. Faena himself.

Young and attractive “greeters” politely direct those who walk through the Faena doors. The Grand Entrance – La Catedral in Faena-speak – looks not unlike a cathedral’s nave, and as though it should always be a clear space for better effect, but in fact it is constantly busy, much like a boulevard, with people crisscrossing it to go to the restaurants, the bars, the pool or the elevators. The air is perfumed in the hall, a woody and appealing aroma lingering lightly as though some elegantly perfumed creature has just passed through. This is the Faena fragrance; the hotel has its own room scent, so that the physical atmosphere of its world is controlled and agreeable.

Faena has its own Tango Cabaret, of course; a stylish and an intimate setting for a three-course gourmet dinner and a spectacular show. While tango is more often a street experience – open-air dancing at markets or in and out of cafes especially in city quarters Recoleta and La Boca, where the dance, often described as constantly evolving, may have begun – the show tango of theaters, cabarets and clubs is more dramatically costumed and choreographed. The Faena’s Tango Director, Tony Ruiz, with his musicians and team of dancers has concocted a head-spinning experience.

Tango – the dance and the music – is pervasive here, a major part of the visitor experience. It acts as a magnet for many who want to learn the dance or work on their technique Most of the hotels have tango teachers in¬house; one free lesson is often included with your stay. The annual Tango Festival is in March: the biggest milonga – tango dance party – of all.
Described as a synthesis of “machismo and sexual desire, with a blend of sensitivity and aggression,” the tango was historically associated with thugs, gangsters and the underclass. Now it has become gentrified, moving beyond the shady to Dancing with the Stars respectability.

Just as Argentine tango is about improvisation, modifying learned steps and sequences, so too perhaps is the country. A country recovering, as it has before, from difficult times: the last in 2002, being the near collapse of its economy. Now it is rebuilding both figuratively and literally, especially in the port area Puerto Madero, alongside the Rio de la Plata – River Plate. New restaurants, cafes and apartments are coming out from the shells of rehabilitated warehouses and new constructions. This spruced-up docklands is where “starchitects” like Santiago Calatrava and Norman Foster are adding their master touches, designing bridges and buildings to provide architectural eye candy.
It is in this neighborhood that Faena Hotel + Universe has recently landed, part of an urban renewal project spearheaded by its owner, Alan Faena, first a fashion designer, now a hotel- and personal universe – developer. The hotel will be at the hub of the El Porteno Art District, a cultural quarter with art galleries and workshops, design outlets and apartments. The Faena universe is also an expanding one.

Faena Hotel + Universe has breathed new life into what was once an old grain warehouse. There is a definite sense of arrival and anticipation as you walk along a red-carpeted runway to the stunning entrance doors. It is a good theatrical effect, one that has a showman’s touch. This is the very recent stamping ground of the ubiquitous Philippe Starck, uber-designer with an extensive list of hotels to his name. The Faena is one of his more playful and most comfortable styling projects. The austere exterior belies the opulence within. More is better here, with lavish touches that look back fondly to the French baroque and rococo eras. Gold swan chairs, white unicorn trophies, swags of ruby-red velvet curtains and a sequence of crystal chandeliers ornament and add flourish to what is an intriguing interior