Food and Drink Travel

It’s hard to resist the complex flavors and rich history that comes with drinking a glass of vino. And heck, it’s hard to resist sipping on wine even without all that history…but it is noteworthy: In a process dating back to 6000 BC (well before the Romans epitomized the drink across the Mediterranean), the transformation from crushed grapes to delectable alcoholic beverage has been an important part of the human tradition for reasons celebratory, religious, or just plain appetizing.

From the Greek Isles to Australia’s Yarra Valley, from Chardonnay to Shiraz, some variation of the grape stuff can be found the world over. And for the discerning traveler looking to explore a region’s gustatory offerings, many wineries await with open arms to offer tours of their operation and — most importantly — samples of their best vintages. Picturesque backdrops set the scene across the globe for a truly delicious (and perhaps tipsy) experience. So whether you’re a wine aficionado or an eager wino student, pack your bags and make sure to bring a corkscrew, because these far flung locales have just the bottle of wine for you.

1. Napa Valley, California

napa

Napa Valley — home to some of the most charming cities in the U.S. — is also one of the world’s best wine-growing regions, with hundreds of wineries sprawling across the rolling hills. Wineries can occasionally feel a little touristy (it’s not uncommon to see a tour bus parked outside), but perhaps that’s inevitable in one of the world’s top wine-tasting destinations. The valley is actually divided into fourteen sub-regions, each suited to a particular grape, so you can map your tour based on your wine preferences.

Where to Stay: If you’re daydreaming of a luxury stay in the heart of wine country — complete with impressive views, rustic-luxe charm, and lavish  amenities — you can’t do much better than the Harvest Inn. Each guest receives a bottle of wine upon arrival, and many rooms overlook the neighboring vineyards of St. Helena.  Read More »

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If you’re like us, you’re ready for this freezing weather — courtesy of the polar vortex — to be over. In fact, you’ve been ready for weeks now. And though the groundhog may not have predicted a quick return to warm weather, that hasn’t stopped cities across the U.S. from making plans to usher in the spring, which makes its official entrance March 20. From Atlanta to Los Angeles, from Vermont to Savannah, popular vacation destinations are already prepping for the season’s welcome with spring-themed festivals, parades, and parties. Here are seven destinations where you can celebrate spring.

Los Angeles, CA: Holi Festival of Colors, March 8

Traditionally a religious Hindu festival marking the beginning of spring, Holi has become a holiday celebrated around the globe by Hindu followers and non-followers alike, and few places stateside do the day justice like Los Angeles. This year, the festival takes place in L.A. on March 8 and includes group yoga sessions, musical performances, food vendors, and even “color throwings” ever hour. Dubbed by many as “the world’s happiest event,” Holi is all about reveling in the vibrant colors of spring.

Where to Stay: The Georgian Hotel

A picturesque Art Deco boutique hotel with a commanding view of the sea (from the sunny front porch, but not all rooms), the Georgian is a classy retreat with lovely rooms and a prime location on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. On-site amenities, however, are few. You’ll have to  drive to the festival, but when the festival is over, we recommend staying near the beach in Santa Monica to catch some rays.

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It’s a tradition to wine and dine your significant other on Valentine’s Day for a reason; after all, the way to a man’s heart (and many women’s as well) is through his stomach, and a candlelit meal with plenty of tasty treats and booze can be just the thing to kick off a romantic evening. With the amorous holiday falling on a Friday this year, there’s even more reason to celebrate in style, as plenty of delicious hotel restaurants are featuring special menus for the occasion. Here are the seven most romantic hotel restaurants across the U.S. for this Valentine’s Day.

Cleo at The Redbury at Hollywood and Vine, Los Angeles

redbury Aptly located at Hollywood and Vine, the Redbury is an eclectic boutique hotel that attracts a young, and sometimes famous, clientele. Along with the spacious, apartment-style rooms, the on-site Mediterranean restaurant, Cleo, is a major draw; the warm, cozy space serves tasty small plates and signature cocktails. For Valentine’s Day the restaurant is offering a prix fixe menu at $65 per person which includes mezze for the table followed by a choice of second course and entree. Dessert is a sexy flourless chocolate cake with roasted banana, chocolate parfait, and chili doughnuts.

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The weather outside may be frightful, but in these snug hotel bars, things are – well – quite delightful. Our top picks exude warmth and coziness, with features such as leather banquets, wood paneling, strong drinks, and hot fireplaces. Let it snow!

Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City

Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York CityThere’s a reason the Rose Bar is a celebrity favorite. Despite its soaring wood-beamed ceilings, the space feels intimate and exclusive, with a billiards table, big limestone fireplace, and walnut bar. It’s the perfect hideaway on a chill winter’s night. Read More »

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The Red InnThe Red Inn in Cape Cod may not be where the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, but the Mayflower’s first landfall was at the beach directly in front of the hotel. Today, the luxurious inn, built in 1805, is a local hot spot, thanks to its extremely popular restaurant. The Thanksgiving meal it is serving is probably quite a bit more decadent than what the Pilgrims enjoyed; the menu features items such as lobster corn chowder, savory vegetable bread pudding, and braised pork shank. If we could pick a hotel to stay at this Thanksgiving, this would be at the top of our list. Read More »

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For true foodies, a vacation that doesn’t involve mouth-watering cuisine is hardly worthy of the title. In fact, food can often be a major focus of a trip; it’s hardly uncommon for the taste connoisseurs among us to plan a foodcation. And in our opinion, it should all start with your hotel. If you stay somewhere with a truly phenomenal restaurant right on the premises, your foodcation will be off to a wonderful start. Whether you’re heading to New York City for its famous fine dining, California wine country for its earthy farm-to-table fare, or Mexico for an elaborate upscale meal on the beach, we’ve got a first-rate foodie hotel for you. Take a look at the top hotel restaurants we’d travel for in the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean.

Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel Healdsburg, California

Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel HealdsburgCharlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen is one of the best – and best-known – restaurants in the Sonoma area, and for good reason. The farm-to-table, seasonal menu features items such as California Sea Bass with sweet corn fondue and Sonoma County Liberty Duck with crispy sunchokes. The restaurant’s outdoor terrace is situated under a shady arbor. Read More »

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Fall is prime time for visiting a New England B&B. And lovers of bed and breakfasts know that the breakfast is just as crucial as the bed. It’s half of the experience, after all! Some breakfasts are far, far superior to others, so we’ve selected five of our favorite spreads. Get ready to chow down on your next weekend escape.

Union Street Inn, Nantucket

Union Street Inn, Nantucket

Union Street Inn, Nantucket

This charming, elegant B&B advertises itself as the only inn on the island to offer a full, hot breakfast (available thanks to its commercial kitchen). Every morning guests can choose between a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, plate of fruits and artisan breads, or the daily hot entree. There are also homemade baked goods offered each afternoon. Read More »

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The marriage of travel and food has been a long and happy one. For foodies, a destination isn’t going to rank as a favorite unless its cuisine — be it Mexican food in San Diego, seafood in Seattle, or the hodgepodge of deliciousness that is New York –  is something special. For us, that logic applies equally to the hotels where you stay within a city: not just hotels with great restaurants, but places that incorporate gourmet treats into the overall hotel experience. These hotels we love offer awesome foodie freebies, from decadent a la carte breafkasts to free nightly wine hours. Talk about tasty extras.

A la carte breakfast

The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.

The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.

Spotlight On: Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Costa Rica

Free hotel breakfasts aren’t exactly a rarity, but they are usually comprised of cereals, fruit, and, if you’re lucky, some moderately edible scrambled eggs. Not so at Gaia Hotel and Reserve, where the free breakfast is a gourmet a la carte affair. Menu items include Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, Italian Egg White Frittata, Vanilla and Mango Pancakes, a Costa Rican Breafkast, and more. And the freebies don’t stop there: The room rate also includes a short spa treatment.

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Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

When we dream about our next beach vacation, we’re definitely picturing ourselves cooling off at a swim-up bar with fruity cocktail in hand. We’re not the only ones. And party-hearty Cancun is one of the best places in the world to indulge in some swim-up bar R&R, featuring options with stunning ocean views and well-stocked liquor supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to our friends at the Captivate Network, you can catch this story in your office elevator this week! And don’t miss Captivate’s Summer Fridays Sweepstakes!

The Manhattan skyline is of course one of the world’s most iconic, an awe-inspiring tribute to human ingenuity and America’s economic success. To see it at night is magical. To see it at night from atop a Manhattan roof — to be part of the skyline, in other words — is more magical still. And to do so with a well-mixed cocktail in one’s hand is an experience simply not to be missed.

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Empire Hotel

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Empire Hotel

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Empire Hotel

The Empire’s 12th-floor rooftop bar is one of the swankiest in town, but the crowd tends to be a little more down-to-earth than one might find at downtown options such as Gansevoort’s Plunge. Expect fancy cocktails, views of Lincoln Center, indoor and outdoor seating, and even a small pool. Read More »

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