December 2010

Marketing photo of Breezes Runaway Bay Hotel, Jamaica

Hotel's Photo

Breezes Runaway Bay Resort, Jamaica

Oyster's Photo

There’s no denying that the hot tub at Breezes Runaway Bay Resort, Jamaica is bright and colorful, but there’s something just a little too pristine and perfect about this hotel photo (on the left) that we found on Orbitz.com. The reality — our photo on the right — shows that chairs are strewn every which way and the grounds aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Luckily, there are two larger pools, and this hotel sits on one of the best hotel beaches in Jamaica.

See more of our hotel Photo Fakeouts.

See the full hotel review for Breezes Runaway Bay Resort, Jamaica, or see all of our photos from the hotel.

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The Cardinals hotel: Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach

The Cardinals hotel: Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach

The Hokies hotel: Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club

The Hokies hotel: Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club

Earlier this year, we broke down which Super Bowl team scored a better hotel room. Now the Stanford Cardinals and the Virginia Tech Hokies are headed to the Orange Bowl, and we’re at it again. We know the main contest is going to be on the football field January 3rd, but we can’t help but wonder — which team got the sweeter hotel deal?

The Cardinals will be shacking up at the snazzy Fontainebleau Miami – the same hotel where the Cincinatti Bearcats stayed for the 2009 Orange Bowl, before a raucous New Year’s Eve party headlined by Diddy forced them to move to quieter quarters, and before losing to Virginia Tech 20-7. The Hokies, for their part, are staying at the quiet, elegant Fairmont Turnberry Isle Miami — along with a slew of excited fans. (The Hokies also moved hotels in 2009 so the players could get some peace and quiet). Keeping both teams from getting distracted before the big game will be a challenging task. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any last-minute hotel swaps.

Parties and super-fans aside, let’s take a look at how the two hotels stack up. Read More »

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Tomato soup at Filomena's in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

Tomato soup at Filomena's in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

For my husband’s birthday dinner, my parents offered to take our family out to Filomena, a Georgetown institution. We readily agreed. It’s funny how you can live in a city for years and think you know every landmark, museum, restaurant, or tourist spot. I was anxious to see what I had been missing all these years.

Filomena looks tiny from the outside. As we walked in to Filomena, I got that old country feel. I could see Tony Soprano and his crew heading there for a fancy dinner. Definitely the kind of place famous for Mama’s meatballs, I was certain.

As I peered through the window to see what the restaurant was like, I spotted a pair of ladies in white aprons hand rolling and cutting pasta. Wow. I was amazed at the trays and trays of gnocchi and tortellini. How did these ladies hand-make pasta that looked so much like store bought? Each piece was perfectly shaped by hand before being placed on a large tray. Filomena must go through trays and trays of pasta each day.

Once I descended the stairs I saw how large the restaurant really was. As a tuxedoed manager greeted us at the bottom of the stairs, I spotted the dessert counter to my right. Scrumptious! My children squealed when they saw the life-size Santa Claus in the downstairs lobby. It’s an understatement to say that Filomena decorates for the holidays. I spied more than a dozen Santas — vintage Saint Nick  rather than the Santas of today — displayed on shelves in the main dining room. Numerous Christmas trees were dotted about the restaurant. Our kids were largely silent during the early part of the meal as they observed and then mentioned the different Christmas decorations they saw. Read More »

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Interior of 1500 at Eden Roc

Interior of 1500 at Eden Roc

If you are looking for a kind of late 1950s, early 60s glamour, it’s hard to beat Eden Roc Resort, Miami on the upper “Golden Mile” of Miami Beach. Though just a short cab ride, it feels a world away from the thumpety-thump of South Beach where the party scene is inescapable. The $200 million renovation has the place feeling fresh and modern with a cool and shimmery color palate, and nods to a time when it was the resort of choice for entertainers like Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Lena Horne, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Elizabeth Taylor.

The property has multiple pools and a great view of the ocean, but not a lot of choices when it comes to dining. Fortunately, I found the new restaurant there, 1500 Degrees, to be absolutely wonderful. Hell’s Kitchen fans will recognize the name of the chef, Paula DaSilva, a past contestant on the show who was named one of the “Top 40 under 40″ by Gold Coast magazine and “Best Celebrity Chef” by Broward/Palm Beach New Times.

Read More »

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Studio Suite at The Setai Fifth Avenue

Studio Suite at The Setai Fifth Avenue

This year has been a huge year for hotels in New York, with a slew of luxury hotels opening even in the wake of a down economy. In November, The Setai Fifth Avenue became the newest member of the 2010 gang, with a brand new 60-story tower on one of the world’s most famous streets, just blocks from the Empire State Building. The hotel — which shares its name with one of Miami’s top luxury hotels, though the owners and managers are completely different — is hoping to wow guests with huge rooms (they start at 425 square feet), a restaurant and bar by Michael White (of Marea fame), and a first-floor bar where jazz musicians perform nightly. There’s also an Auriga Spa and a 24-hour fitness center, but service will likely be the differentiator at this 5-star hotel: For example, each guest is assigned a personal assistant, who calls the guest before arrival to offer assistance with any preparations (dinner reservations, theater tickets, and so on).  10 more photos after the jump

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Seito Sushi

Seito Sushi

Yes, there is actually a town, just outside of Disney World, called Celebration (perhaps not surprisingly, though,  it was originally developed by Disney). Taking a stroll around the Town Center in Celebration is one of my favorite things to do in Orlando.  It’s even better during the holidays and is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.  While you’re there, make sure you check out three fun things to do in Celebration:

1.  Enjoy “the snowfall.”  That’s right folks, it snows nightly in Celebration.  Through Friday December 31st, you can enjoy and experience the holiday season in a unique way in Orlando.  Snow falls in the Celebration Town Center at the top of the hour between 6pm and 9pm.  You can also enjoy other seasonal festivities such as ice skating, horse and carriage rides, photos with santa, and train rides for the kiddies.

  • Ice Skating:  $10 for a minimum of 1/2 hour (skates included) 4pm -10pm daily
  • Horse and Carriage Rides:  $25 for the first two passengers, $10 per additional
  • Horse and Carriage Holiday Home Tour  $25 per person
  • Train Rides: $5
  • Singing along with the Charles Dickens Carolers:  Free

Read More »

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The Orlando's image

The Orlando's image

Oyster's Image

Oyster's Image

Like we saw in our previous Photo Fakeout at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Beverly Hills, by showing only a small part of the pool, a hotel can lead consumers to believe that the pool is larger than it is. It’s only when you can see the entire pool that you’ll really get a true sense of its size. As Oyster’s photo shows (above right), the pool at The Orlando hotel in Los Angeles is really quite tiny.

See all of our hotel Photo Fakeouts.

See the full The Orlando, Los Angeles hotel review, or see all of our photographs of The Orlando hotel, Los Angeles.

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Rose Bar at Delano Hotel

Rose Bar at Delano Hotel

Miami is known for hot sand and sun, toned bodies, and one of Will Smith’s best 90s singles ever. It’s also one of the country’s biggest party towns. If you’re visiting Miami and looking for nightlife, these are the hotels that will surely deliver.

Delano Hotel, Miami

The Delano is one of the coolest and most popular spots on South Beach, drawing a wide range of clientele. The party begins in the the lobby’s crowded and red-lit Rose Bar, and then the crowds continue out the back and around the pool, and also underground to Lenny Kravitz’s Florida Room nightclub, where Miami club promoter Tommy Pooch hosts a weekly party every Saturday night. There are live DJs, $17 mojitos, and tight security — a well-known, see-and-be-seen party scene. 

Read More »

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The Royal Hawaiian Band

The Royal Hawaiian Band

Visitors to the islands will find plenty of music to enjoy, but one continuing musical tradition dates back to 1836. Founded by King Kamehameha III, The Royal Hawaiian Band (formerly known as The King’s Band) still performs regularly throughout Hawaii and around the world. The heart of the Royal Hawaiian Band, the only full time municipal band in the United States, is Hawaiian music. Featuring stylized Hawaiian melodies including “Sophisticated Hula” and “Hukilau” the band always closes with the famous “Aloha Oe” composed by Queen Liliuokalani. There are several standing dates on Oahu where you can catch a free concert: Read More »

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Chelsea Market is home to the holiday market Jingle, which features clothes from 19 different designers.

Chelsea Market is home to the holiday pop-up store Jingle, which features clothes from 19 different designers.

Tis the season, yeah yeah, I’m sure you’ve noticed the holidays are upon us. While I love to throw back eggnog and get sloshed at the holiday office party as much as the next guy, there is the whole issue of actual gift buying that needs to be tackled.  If you value your sanity, I would avoid department stores like the plague. And while I’m a big fan of online shopping, there’s a whole slew of holiday markets that are popping up all over New York City to choose from. After all, if you’re going to spend all that hard-earned money on other people, you might as well get them something cool that they won’t re-gift back to you next year.

Cool Hunting for Gap

Always with their finger on the pulse of the next cool thing, it makes sense that Cool Hunting launched a pop-up store of their very own. This year they teamed up with Gap and set up shop in Gap’s project space on 5th Avenue, to bring you an exclusive showcase of independent designers and companies.  Along with their expert product selection, they’ve also included a series of Cool Hunting collaborations, featuring limited-edition Mast Brothers chocolate and an Outlier cycling cap. It’s the perfect stop for those hipper-than thou, impossible to shop for, people on your gift list.

Open 7 Days a Week | Now through Jan 2 (except Xmas Day) | 680 5th Ave (at 54th St) |Mon- Sat 10:ooam-9:00pm, Sun 11:ooam-8:00pm | Midtown | Read More »

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