June 2010

Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel

When the average watering hole won’t do — whether you want to impress clients or just luxuriate in fabulous environs — a hotel bar is the place to go.  New York is full of boutique and iconic hotels, but these five have something more.  It’s that “it” factor that just can’t be replicated.  They’re the spots to go when you really want to feel glamorous or partake in some “see-and-be-seen” scenery.

Rose Bar in The Gramercy Park Hotel
You’re sure to find the city’s glitterati and at least one canoodling celebrity couple behind these notoriously tight doors. If you can make it inside (calling ahead for a reservation is a must), there’s nothing like the subtly perfumed interior with its functioning fireplace, lush velvet couches and priceless artwork adorning the walls.
2 Lexington Avenue

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

The new Loreley Williamsburg is a great place to enjoy beer and German food outdoors

Once summer arrives, New Yorkers love to head outside to drink, and biergartens are one of their favorite places to do it. Although many tourists stick to the island of Manhattan, a trip to Brooklyn to check out the new Loreley Williamsburg biergarten is well worth it.

I’m glad this place exists in such a convenient location (a short ride from Manhattan on the L subway), and it’s definitely a less-hipstery “people under 25″ outdoors option as compared to Union Pool, a less fancy, less beer-oriented option as compared to A Night of Joy, and a more-intimate and more-convenient option as compared to Berry Park.  True, German food (which is served at Loreley) is totally inferior to pretty much any type of Mexican food (especially that amazing Union Pool taco truck), but they have table service (as it’s really more of a restaurant), and if you like eating meat, well, there’s certainly tons of that going on in various forms.  During the World Cup, they even have these special little pretzel dough rolls filled with various things that are meant to represent the competing countries.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Rooms at the Trump have been updated with huge, 52-inch flat-screen TVs, new and improved decor designed by Ivanka, and Schonbek chandeliers in the dining areas.

Rooms at the Trump have been updated with huge, 55-inch flat-screen TVs, a new and improved decor and color scheme (designed by Ivanka), and Schonbek crystal chandeliers in the dining areas.

When our reporter visited the Trump International Hotel & Tower last year, the rooms fell a little short of expectations. He wrote that they were “frankly, kind of boring. It’s hard to believe a place associated with the Donald could ever be accused of understatement, but I inexplicably found myself yearning for more of his trademark excess.”

Last Friday, we headed over to the hotel to take a peek at the hotel’s recently-completed $30 million room renovation to find out if that had changed. We have to say, we were pretty darn impressed by what we saw. The new rooms have certainly amped-up the Trump factor: Ivanka Trump herself designed every detail of the decor, which we found luxurious, plush, and tasteful, and the Donald was responsible for selecting the 55-inch flat-screen TVs that now adorn every room. (That’s right: 55-inch flat-screens. In every room. We don’t think we’ve ever encountered a hotel with TVs that large, never mind in all of the room types. It’s oh so very Trump.) Take a look at more photos of the gorgeous renovation after the jump.

Read More »

{ 1 comment }

World cup fans at Zum Schneider Restaurant & Biergarten

If you’re a sports fan and want to watch the World Cup games, but you’re on vacation in NYC, why not combine the two? There’s no better way to do that then get out on the town, and get into Zum Schneider. This little German beer bar buried south of Tompkins Square Park on Avenue C has a unique European flavor that almost makes you forget you’re in New York. With a big-screen TV, inside and outside seating, upbeat sports atmosphere and great drink specials, this place is a lower Manhattan World Cup score for soccer fans.

The Best Beer on the Menu:

Choose from a wide selection of over 20 German beers. If you’re having trouble selecting one, ask the tall blond German bartender for suggestions–he knows his stuff. My favorite is the light colored wheat beer called Weihenstephaner Weissbier. It’s most like a Blue Moon, but it has a citrus-kick and a smoother taste.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

The Setai is one of Miami's best boutique hotels

The Setai is one of Miami's best boutique hotels

Today is the first official day of summer, and in honor of the holiday (yes, it’s a holiday — and summer is its religion), we’ve decided to focus on a place that does summer in style: Miami. Summer in Miami means sand and salt water, bikinis and bars, vibrant nightlife and alfresco dining. And although there are plenty of big, attractive hotels in South Beach, Miami is also home to some of the country’s most stylish, intimate boutique hotels.

Slideshow

Slideshow

We’ll take you on a tour of the best boutique hotels in Miami, whether you’re planning your next trip or simply want to flip through some travel eye candy. We’ll show you some big name properties like the Delano Hotel, but you may also discover some lesser-known spots we love like Hotel Victor and the Betsy Hotel.

The photo on the left will lead you to our slideshow of the best boutique hotels in Miami. Bienvenido a Miami!

{ 0 comments }

The Gramercy Park Hotel endures as a New York City hot spot.

The Gramercy Park Hotel endures as a New York City hot spot.

When boutique hotelier Ian Schraeger reopened The Gramercy Park Hotel in 2006, it quickly emerged as the new hot spot for New York’s rich and glamorous. With a bohemian-inspired design seamlessly blending the old (velvet, wood, antiques) and the new (artworks by Warhol, Basquiat and Haring; celebrities mingling in the Rose Bar), the Gramercy Park Hotel reestablished itself as a New York City institution. (Decades ago, Humphrey Bogart was married here, and the bar was a favorite haunt of Babe Ruth). Today, it continues to draw New York’s notables. Not only is The Rose Bar still popular with a see-and-be-seen crowd  — a party here in April drew the likes of Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Lucy Liu, Penn Badgley and Susan Sarandon — but the new Danny Meyer restaurant Maialino, which opened this year, is currently one of the hottest restaurants and the city (you’ll have to wait weeks for a reservation).

Curious to take a peek behind the velvet curtain? Oyster is currently offering rooms for 20% off, with rates starting as low as $340/night.

Book Now

See our exclusive photos after the jump. Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Union Station is a dazzling entry point to Washington, D.C.

Union Station is a dazzling entry point to Washington, D.C.

A few weekends ago, I rediscovered the wonder that is Union Station in Washington, D.C. when I took my family to visit for National Train Day, a fun annual event featuring a scavenger hunt and educational exhibits.

The beautiful Beaux Arts-style building, completed in 1908, is a magnificent site to behold: The towering vaulted ceiling is adorned with over 70 pounds of gold leaf, and when light streams in through the arched windows, it’s momentarily blinding. The building, located on Massachusetts Avenue at Columbus Circle, was designed to be a gateway to the capital city, and it’s certainly an impressive entry point. Today, a whopping 25 million people visit Union Station each year — more than any other tourist spot in D.C.

Read More »

{ 2 comments }

Terranea Resort in TK, California

Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California

One of the most gorgeous properties in southern California is more affordable than ever this summer, and we’re so giddy about it that we decided we just had to spread the news. Terranea Resort, just opened one year ago this month, is a sprawling 500-acre escape nestled into the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. For almost every night this summer, rooms can be had for 40% off, with rates dipping as low as $215. It’s hard to believe that a hotel this beautiful with such high-quality amenities can be snagged for prices like these.

Below we’ll take you on a photo tour of this gorgeous hotel, and we’ll tell you a bit more about why we love it.

To check rates for this summer (or beyond!), visit our full Terranea Resort review and plug your trip dates into the calendar on the right.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Griffith Peak in Mt.Charleson

South Loop Trail at Mt. Charleston, Las Vegas

Did you know there’s a place just 35 miles from Las Vegas that’s 25 to 40 degrees cooler? At Mt. Charleston, less than one hour’s drive from the Strip, you can enjoy gorgeous scenery in 70-degree weather, while Vegas bakes in 110-degree heat. Mt. Charleston is home to waterfalls, snow-covered peaks (even now, in June) and, most importantly, lots of hiking trails — which you can enjoy for free!

From the 100 foot waterfall at Big Falls to Charleston Peak (11,918 feet), there’s an adventure for everyone. Below, I’ve selected some of Mt. Charleston’s best day hikes.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Stunning vistas, dramatic waterfalls, imposing volcanoes, vibrant culture and beaches that go on for miles: Hawaii is a place that dreams are made of. To help you see all that Hawaii has to offer, we’ve compiled a list of can’t-miss attractions on Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, paired with recommendations of some of our favorite nearby hotels. Ready to start your Hawaiian adventure? Dive in!

Visitors to Maui should be sure to catch the nightly ceremonial cliff dive off of Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach.

Visitors to Maui should be sure to catch the nightly ceremonial cliff dive off of Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach.

Do: Watch a Ceremonial Cliff Dive (Maui)

Black Rock, an eroded cinder cone sacred to ancient Hawaiians on Kaanapali Beach, is the site of daily sunset cliff dives. A man dressed in a traditional loincloth lights torches on the rock, offers a lei to the Hawaiian gods above, and dives into the water below as a reenactment of the dive taken by the last chief of Maui.

Stay: The Sheraton Maui

The Sheraton Maui, a 508-room resort with spacious rooms, a big pool, and a full spa,  arranges the daily ceremony, and guests of the resort can watch (and photograph) the cliff diver as he lights Tiki torches on the hotel grounds on his way to rock.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }