Riding the Natural Vibes of 1 Hotel South Beach

1 Hotels Group has mindfully created a healthy, service-focused environment with a focus on sustainability that does not come at the expense of the guest experience.

When GoodLife Report first launched in 2010, I pledged to dedicate a certain amount of our coverage to the natural, eco-friendly lifestyle niche—from hotels, to restaurants, to products you can buy on Amazon. At that time, though, most of the applicable products and places, especially those within the travel industry, came with a bit of a caveat: Continue reading

The State of Travel: 2021

In December of 2020 Airbnb, after a long-awaited debut, finally went public on the NASDAQ Stock Market. I watched on CNBC as the newly issued stock went from $68 a share to $150 within milliseconds of the initial offering—establishing its market capitalization at a cool $100 Billion. As Scott Wapner, host of the channel’s “Halftime Report” show, astutely pointed out, Airbnb was now worth roughly the same market cap as Hilton and Marriot…COMBINED!

This led me to two quick conclusions. First, travel hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s just taken a breather—albeit a mandatory one—for obvious reasons. The explosion of Airbnb, both quantitatively (pick your metric, whether it be revenue or listings or share of US lodging market) and qualitatively (the company’s name is both a noun and a verb) shows that the market for travel and lodging is not cooling off, if you can look past 2020. Secondly, if Airbnb has roughly the market value of Hilton and Marriot combined (at least on its first day as a public company), then that can’t be good for those two juggernauts and other large hotels alike.

The success of Airbnb should be no surprise to anyone who travels regularly. Travel habits are constantly changing, especially in the technological era we live in where new products and services that facilitate our travel needs seem to be coming to market everyday. In this report we look at some of these trends and services, with analysis and commentary from bona fide travel insiders such as travel advisors, hotel executives and wellness experts.  We also look specifically at what the state of travel might look like post-pandemic, including “Key Findings” from a survey we conducted exclusively with travel industry executives.

To make it easier to read we have provided an abbreviated version (below) that includes all of the editorial content in the report. You can also access the full report, which is available in a vivid, easy-to-read PDF format with data from our “Key Findings” section collected from our industry survey, here.

We hope you enjoy the content!

 

Resurgence of the Travel Agent

If there’s one thing we can collectively embrace in 2020, it is a bit of nostalgia. Sure, we are still trying to be mindful, and grateful, and present, but the past can be a comforting balm when living in the moment looks more like “Groundhog Day” than “Eat, Pray, Love.” Whether you have been staring dreamily at old vacation photos on your camera roll or grinning at the sight of Mark Hamill and R2D2 back on your TV screen, being reminded of the days of old (or, you know, any day prior to February 2019) has been energizing and damn near delightful. GLR doesn’t mind that you’re fondly reminiscing—we are, too!—but might we suggest a tip for marrying the comfort of the past with the prospects of a vaccinated future? If “Saved By the Bell” can get a reboot, so can an old travel industry standby. (Re)enter:  the travel agent. (Read more)

 

Yucatan Three Ways

As we dip our toes back into travel after a year of social distancing, it may feel hard to decide where to go and what to do first. Does a beach vacation sound most appealing or would you prefer an urban getaway focused on shopping, dining, and culture? Perhaps an escape to the country and days of waking to birdsong, dining on farm fresh meals, and exploring small towns is the trip you are dreaming of.

 

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula makes the process of picking a destination easier, as you can choose from all three of these holiday options in one place. It also offers the convenience of flying into and out of Cancun, with flights from more than a dozen American hubs. After you land, you just have to decide whether to drive south, to the beaches along the Riviera Maya; west, to the lively and charming capital of the state of Yucatan, Mérida; or into the countryside, for a stay at a sprawling hacienda reborn as a luxury hotel. (Read more)

 

Interview with Lead Flights Analyst Adam Kwan of Contemporary Travel Agency TomFlies.com

Q. It appeared for a while that the Internet (and D.I.Y. booking) would deal a major blow to travel agencies, however they have actually seen a strong resurgence in recent years. Why is this and how does the pandemic factor in?

A. What we try to do for each one of our clients is to identify where we can add value above and beyond the services they can book themselves. Whether it be monetary value from negotiated rates or service-oriented benefits such as expertise and personal vetting of providers and vendors, we think this goes a long way in showing clientele the benefits of booking with us.

People nowadays are inundated with what are essentially cookie cutter options that provide instant gratification. Just go on Amazon and you’re a couple clicks away from getting whatever you want, shipped straight to you from a warehouse containing hundreds of the same whatever-you-wants. We believe that this type of standardized mass merchandising is not befitting of people’s travel needs. People don’t buy vacations as nonchalantly as they do household goods. They want to be sure that they will get the best experience and best value for their travel. Especially since, for many people, a vacation is a significant expense relatively. (Read more)

 

Interview with LeAnn Campas, CEO of Social Platform Travevel

Q. Why are travel and social media so synergistic?

A. Social media is visual and there are few things more visually interesting than travel images and videos. The two were made for each other. Additionally, the vast majority of us put more weight on personal experiences, and there is no better way to share our adventures, explore others’ experiences and interact with them than through a social platform. (Read more)

 

Wellness Warriors

They say you can foretell future trends by looking at what the big thinkers and pioneers are doing now.  So, what’s up with wellness warriors in 2020?

Let’s start with an example of the future of business travel in the wellness arena.  In spite of in-person events being canceled across the board, the Global Wellness Summit—an international organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively impact and shape the future of the global wellness industry—had the fortitude and determination, in spite of some resistance, to go forward with their first ever hybrid (both in-person and virtual event) Nov 8 to 11 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. (Read more)

 

Nomadic Nutrition—Foraging in the COVID Era

Kitchen Unnecessary Episode Three, foraging for burn morels in Washington with Ashley Rodriguez and Langdon Cook. Photos by Gabe Rodriguez.

In the Time of COVID, the wide blue yonder is both my escape hatch and my sanity maintenance pill. Specifically the swath of public lands east and west of my home in Seattle. Out there, in the ancient forests and lonesome mountains of the Cascades and Olympics, I can breathe in the fresh air and not worry about tainted particles of disease, those “air-born droplets” we’ve heard so much about.

Only, those same mountains aren’t so lonely these days. (Read more)

 

The Family Truckster

I work in the travel industry as both a travel advisor and a travel writer. I’ve owned the travel blog, Fifi + Hop, for the past 6 years, and write mainly about family travel, as I have two kids. Between my conversations with other family travel bloggers and my colleagues in the travel agency world, there are certain trends that will no doubt play a part in family travel in 2021. We’ve seen them already, and they will continue for a while. (Read more)

 

Read full report 

 

Yucatan Three Ways

As we dip our toes back into travel after a year of social distancing, it may feel hard to decide where to go and what to do first. Does a beach vacation sound most appealing or would you prefer an urban getaway focused on shopping, dining, and culture? Perhaps an escape to the country and days of waking to birdsong, dining on farm fresh meals, and exploring small towns is the trip you are dreaming of.

 

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula makes the process of picking a destination easier, as you can choose from all three of these holiday options in one place. It also offers the convenience of flying into and out of Cancun, with flights from more than a dozen American hubs. After you land, you just have to decide whether to drive south, to the beaches along the Riviera Maya; west, to the lively and charming capital of the state of Yucatan, Mérida; or into the countryside, for a stay at a sprawling hacienda reborn as a luxury hotel.

 

Escape to the Seashore

With its dramatic Maya ruins sitting atop a bluff overlooking the Caribbean and its small resorts strung along the sea, it’s not surprising that Tulum has become a favorite of those travelers looking for beach time in the winter but who aren’t interested in the mega-resorts of Cancun.

 

God of Winds Temple, Tulum, Mexico (Shutterstock)

 

The plus of Tulum’s emergence as a destination has been the opening of new hotels and restaurants that have transformed what was once a sleepy backpacker destination into a decidedly stylish one.

 

Getting There: From Cancun it’s a straight shot south on a well-maintained highway. If you are driving, expect the journey to take between 90 minutes to two hours. There are also buses and shuttles, though renting a vehicle will give you the freedom to explore some nearby sites like the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and the Maya ruins at Coba, a much larger complex than the one in Tulum.

 

Where to Stay: Olas Tulum is a small B&B that has a very Tulum-like boho-chic atmosphere and attitude. A plus is that it is to the south of most of Tulum’s hotels—you can enjoy the quiet of the location for naps on the sand in the afternoon but when cocktail hour comes around it’s a short walk to Tulum’s other bars and restaurants.

 

Don’t Miss: Make sure to have at least one meal at Hartwood Tulum which helped lead Tulum’s transition from modest beach town to jet-setter destination. Chefs and owners Eric Werner and Mya Henry opened the restaurant in 2010 and it has made its way on to many “best-restaurant” lists thanks to dishes featuring farm-fresh produce from the Yucatan and seafood straight from the Caribbean in simple preparations that let the ingredients shine.

 

Country Living

Much of the Yucatan peninsula is dotted with haciendas that used to produce henequen (a fiber that is, in English, more commonly called sisal, after the port of Sisal where much of it was exported from). Sisal was essential to rope-making and huge fortunes were made growing the crop. The Mexican Revolution and, more importantly, the invention of nylon led to the bust of that boom though today many haciendas are enjoying second lives having been reborn as luxury hotels where you can spend days lounging by pools or visiting off-the-beaten path villages, convents, and Maya sites. You’ll fall asleep each night to the captivating sounds of the jungle wildlife at night.

Getting there: There are haciendas throughout the peninsula, though there tend to be more of them in the states of Yucatan and Campeche (on the northern and western sides of the peninsula—Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located, runs along its eastern side). You’ll want to rent a car if you intend to spend your days exploring the backroads, but most haciendas will happily arrange for transfers to their properties if you intend to spend your days relaxing on the grounds.

Chablé, Yucatan

Where to Stay: Chablé Yucatan is the most luxurious of the reborn haciendas, though most accommodations there are in newly built free-standing casitas while the historic buildings house common areas, lounges, and restaurants. Hacienda Petac is an appealing smaller hacienda that is rented exclusively to one group at a time and can accommodate up to 14 guests. Marriott’s Luxury Collection includes five beautifully restored haciendas.

 

Don’t Miss: The Maya sites of Chichen Itza and Coba are world-famous, and the crowds at them are evidence of that. An advantage of a stay at a hacienda, however, is that it’s easier to visit some of the less-popular Maya sites. Uxmal, which is just over an hour south of Mérida, is one of the most magical of them. It is built in the so-called Puuc style which is known for being more decorative than other Maya styles with intricate carved geometric patterns and designs.

 

Uxmal Pyramid

 

A City Escape

Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatan (and the largest city on the Yucatan peninsula) has emerged in recent years as one of the most exciting cities in Mexico. It has long been known for its laidback pace and impressive collection of historic buildings spanning the 16th to 19th centuries (within Mexico, only Mexico City has a larger historic district). Now the city can also boast about its lively dining and shopping scene, supported by both a growing expat community and travelers who have discovered Mérida’s appeals.

 

Getting There: Mérida is roughly 3.5 hours from Cancun on a toll road. The colonial town of Valladolid and the Maya ruins at Chichen Itza are appealing stops en route. (It is also possible to fly to Mérida directly.)

Guilermina Restaurant, Merida

Where to Stay: Mérida has an abundance of rental properties in historic homes that have been lovingly restored and you will want to check out the options on AirBnB and VRBO. If you prefer a hotel, the recently opened Wayam has a cool, contemporary style and also one of Mérida’s best new restaurants, Cuna, which serves delicious updated takes on Yucatecan cooking.

Cuna Restaurant at Wayam (Photo: Orbitz)

Don’t Miss: Mérida is not only a state capital but a culinary one too. It’s a place to sample both street food like the simple tacos served at stands at the Santiago Market (a small neighborhood market that is less intimidating than the central one) to the innovative Mexican cuisine of Picheta which overlooks Mérida’s cathedral and central square.

—John Newton, Founder, Signal Custom Content. (John previously worked as an editor at AFAR, Condé Nast Traveler, and Travel+Leisure and has written travel stories for many other publications and websites.)

culinary appliances

Culinary Comforts—Best Kitchen Appliances

If your personal preference is centered on design and style, or on food and entertainment, here’s our list of the top high-end culinary brands that will suit your preferred lifestyle.

Live, and dine, in luxury with these incredible kitchen appliance brands, as Pursuitist presents the Best Kitchen Appliances for 2020:

Bertazzoni. Italians are renowned for their passionate love of food. Bertazzoni continues that tradition, as a fifth-generation, family-owned Italian manufacturer of high-end kitchen products. The company’s products include free-standing ranges, built-in cooktops, ventilation hoods and other design-coordinated accessories.

Gaggenau. Gaggenau is the world’s preeminent brand of high-performance restaurant-grade cooking technology for the modern home. Specializing in cutting-edge, built-in home appliances, its sleek portfolio includes ovens, gas, electric and induction cook-tops, ventilation, dishwashers, modular refrigeration and freezer columns and wine storage units. Gaggenau also produces specialty appliances such as steamers, grills and deep fryers, and the Asian-influenced Teppan Yaki – all crafted for the luxury American kitchen.

La Cornue. Each Château and each Cornuchef is assembled by hand and by one person; this person will follow production through to the end and finalize every last detail. Each kitchen range is monitored, controlled and tested at all the stages of production. Even if you happen to be the Queen of England, you will have to wait at least two months for your Château La Cornue. The superior ranges simply cannot be made any quicker. For three generations, La Cornue has loved and served cuisine in the same way as a stringed-instrument craftsman loves and serves music. La Cornue cultivates an ideal of excellence.

Dacor. Working together to redefine the modern kitchen, the Dacor family has produced an impressive array of industry firsts. Patented features abound throughout their full line of cooking appliances. Features like an infrared gas broiler inside an electric oven, a Pure Convection system for even heat distribution, a Butterfly Bake Element for an extraordinary traditional bake, and extra-large Dacor Greats that simplify cooking with large pots and pans.

Miele. Each Château and each Cornuchef is assembled by hand and by one person; this person will follow production through to the end and finalize every last detail. Each kitchen range is monitored, controlled and tested at all the stages of production. Even if you happen to be the Queen of England, you will have to wait at least two months for your Château La Cornue. The superior ranges simply cannot be made any quicker. For three generations, La Cornue has loved and served cuisine in the same way as a stringed-instrument craftsman loves and serves music. La Cornue cultivates an ideal of excellence.

Viking. In spite of its tremendous growth and success, Viking Range Corporation remains essentially the same entrepreneurial company it was at its inception. This small, close-knit company culture serves Viking and its customers well, and greatly contributes to the company’s ongoing growth and success. By carefully preserving this unique, creative and stimulating environment, and through offering only the very finest, highest quality products, Viking plans to continue its aggressive growth and expansion to further increase its already strong presence in the worldwide major appliance and related culinary lifestyle industries.

 

Sub-Zero Refrigeration. For 60 years, Sub-Zero has offered innovative, aesthetically appealing and technologically advanced solutions to meet virtually any home refrigeration need. Through foresight and responsiveness, the company has earned its position as an industry leader – a position Sub-Zero intends to maintain well into the new millennium.

GE Monogram. GE has been a leader in American manufacturing for years, gaining a corporate reputation for unmatched reliability and innovation in their products. Their Monogram line consists of their premier professional-grade products, from refrigerators to cooking appliances and everything else you can dream up for your kitchen. Should you ever take issue with a Monogram product, GE employs a nationwide fleet of vans and repairpeople to provide prompt service on your appliance.

 

Thermador. Thermador has been at the forefront of cooking technology for more than seven decades, fusing state-of-the-art performance with classic design to satisfy the most demanding culinary enthusiasts. From introducing the first built-in wall oven almost 50 years ago, to revolutionizing gas cooktops with the patented Star Burner, Thermador’s innovations have helped to transform the kitchen from a mere workplace into the social and entertaining center of the modern American home.

Wolf. For more than 70 years, Wolf has been synonymous with professional cooking equipment for restaurants and hotels. Now, as part of Sub-Zero, the Wolf line has been adapted for the serious in-home cook. With their superior performance and leading-edge design, Wolf instruments fuel a passion for cooking.

Bosch. Also for 70 years, the beauty of Bosch exterior design is how well it blends with your kitchen decor. Their integrated system allows you to match the dishwasher to your cabinets, complementing the entire look of your kitchen with ergonomically-designed controls are at your fingertips.

 

Jenn-Air. This company creates luxury appliances that are more than a facet of your kitchen, they make your house more of a home. Ranked #1 for the last four years in their creation of built-in refrigerators, Jenn-Air will never fail to impress guests in your home.

AGA. Aga has nearly a century of experience of enriching kitchens around the world. The Classic Aga Range employs cast iron construction and energy efficient heating, which combine to offer a truly unique cooking experience. Available in a variety of enameled colors; Aga ranges offer tremendous design flexibility. Now enhanced with complementary undercounter refrigeraton Aga continues to redefine upscale kitchen design coupled with professional cooking prowess.

 

And that concludes our list of the best luxury kitchen appliances for 2020. What culinary brand, from refrigeration to cooking, do you own? Share this on social and add your favorite brands!

The Resurgence of the Travel Agent

If there’s one thing we can collectively embrace in 2020, it is a bit of nostalgia. Sure, we are still trying to be mindful, and grateful, and present, but the past can be a comforting balm when living in the moment looks more like “Groundhog Day” than “Eat, Pray, Love.” Whether you have been staring dreamily at old vacation photos on your camera roll or grinning at the sight of Mark Hamill and R2D2 back on your TV screen, being reminded of the days of old (or, you know, any day prior to February 2019) has been energizing and damn near delightful. GLR doesn’t mind that you’re fondly reminiscing—we are, too!—but might we suggest a tip for marrying the comfort of the past with the prospects of a vaccinated future? If “Saved By the Bell” can get a reboot, so can an old travel industry standby. (Re)enter:  the travel agent.

 

We know what you’re thinking:  you have a plethora of online booking options at your fingertips, which are already almost permanently glued to your keyboard or phone at this point. Redirect that side eye and hear us out, though. Sure, widespread, global travel is not greenlit just yet and we understand if you are still too spooked to count the proverbial chickens of 2021. With the FDA’s approval and roll-out of vaccinations now on track, though, it just might be high time for wanderlusters to seek out a helping hand in a changed landscape.

 

“The role of the travel advisor has become more important now than ever, as people need help navigating all of the Covid details, including which counties are open for travel, entry requirements, testing sites, and more,” says Corey Cook, an agent for Elli Travel in Larchmont, NY and GLR’s resident travel advisor.

 

Jolie Goldring of the NYC-based agency In The Know Experiences (ITKE) has a similar take on the logistical benefits of using a travel advisor. However, the veteran advisor also points out the additional perks she can get her clients, noting amenities such as resort credits, daily complimentary breakfast, small personal touches and often confirmed upgrades—not to mention the general hand-holding that her clients have become accustomed to receiving.

 

“Whether it be leveraging our relationships to help with more flexible deposit and cancel policies, deciphering airline cancel and refund policies, or guiding clients about testing and quarantining policies that may be required, we are offering an invaluable service and peace-of-mind,” says Goldring.

 

 

Cook also sees the role of travel agent as similar to other sought after experts that the average person seeks out on a regular basis, such as a financial adviser or interior designer. Due to all the travel sites that have spawned across the web for years, many think that planning a trip is no longer something they need to outsource. According to Cook, though, she has recently seen her job become en vogue again, and hey, we get it. After all, why scour the internet for the best flight deal or agonize over conflicting hotel reviews when you could instead enlist the help of an individual who has made a career of knowing these things?

 

“The web has become oversaturated with travel information, and it’s simply overwhelming for many people. Which hotel should I book? What are the better activities/tours to do? There’s a million options,” Cook opines. “That’s where travel advisors come into play. We cut through all of that confusion to properly guide our clients and help with the bookings.”

 

Furthermore, studies in recent years have shown that the use of travel agents, even pre-Covid, was still more prevalent than the average I-can-do-it-myself hodophile might have guessed . The 2018 Global Passenger Survey completed by the International Air Transport Association, which garnered 10,408 responses from 145 countries, found that about 43 percent of passengers preferred to use a travel agency, travel management company or corporate travel department to book flights. Another particular standout from that 2018 survey that rings particularly relevant was a finding from the responses that passengers wanted “a human touch when things go wrong.”

 

Ahem. Case closed, are we right?

 

See our full report on The State of Travel: 2021

 

LATEST

Kid Friendly Restaurants in NYC’s Times Square

When you think of all the restaurants in the theatre district, there surprisingly aren’t that many kid friendly restaurants in Times Square, or at least not the kind we typically like. There are a lot of upscale and fine dining restaurants in Mid-town, and then there are a lot of big chains and theme-style restaurants. But if you’re like us and don’t want to head to Applebee’s or Olive Garden, and certainly aren’t taking your wild childs with you to fancy Le Bernardin, what are you left with? There is a lot of sifting to be done in the mighty Times Square area to find the right place to eat for you and your family.

Here are 8 great kid friendly restaurants in Times Square to help you plan a pre- or post- theatre meal if you’re visiting the city or seeing a show.

 

Carmine’s

This always-popular Italian is a NYC institution and is great for big groups. It’s all about family-style sharing, so bring your appetite along with friends and the kids, and get down to business. Antipasto platters, garlic bread, any pasta you desire and their delicious chicken parm will leave you fully satiated and ready to take on a Broadway show! 200 West 44th Street, New York 10036/ 212.221.3800

Shake Shack

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Times Square would certainly not be complete without a Shake Shack! Considered by many to be the best “fast” burger in the city, eating at this Danny Myer chain is a win-win for kids and adults alike. Apart from their mouth-watering burgers and fries, their shakes are insanely good as well, especially the caramel and malted vanilla flavors. 691 8th Avenue, New York 10036/ 646.435.0135

 

Virgil’s Real BBQ

For years Virgil’s has been a well-known NYC BBQ joint. And after dealing with the masses of Times Square you just might be in a little need of some comfort food! Think pulled pork, bbq chicken, hush puppies and mac ‘n cheese. Make sure to book a res, and come hungry. 152 West 44th Street, New York 10036/ 212.921.9494

Havana Central

Who knew that this lively Cuban night spot had a kids menu? I certainly didn’t – last time I was there was over mojitos before a Dead show! But they do, and with lots of games to keep the young ones occupied. My older daughter had chicken fingers while my younger one had a heaping plate of rice and beans, followed by brownies and chocolate filled empanadas with whipped cream and ice cream. It’s their new favorite place to eat before a show. 151 West 46thStreet, New York 10036/ 212.398.7440

 

Patzeria Family & Friends

If you’re looking for pizza, try this low-key family-run restaurant. A bit of a hole in the wall, but Broadway posters all around make it fun. And sometimes a slice of pizza is just what you need. Pastas and other dishes on the menu as well. 311 West 48th Street, New York 10036/ 212.245.4343

 

Junior’s Restaurant

Photo: TripAdvisor

This famed Brooklyn restaurant – serving the “best cheesecake in New York” – has an outpost in Times Square and has a full menu beyond cheesecake, including things like wings, hummus, potato pancakes, salads and soups. And my favorite kind too – split pea soup. 1515 Broadway, New York 10019/ 212.302.2000

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Ok, so the food may be overpriced for what it is – diner food – but how can one resist the singing waiters at this swinging retro 1950’s style diner? Known as the Stardusters, the singing wait staff, many who continue onto Broadway, are sure to entertain the kids and keep them at bay – half the battle while eating out as a family. People come back to this hopping diner again and again for a reason – it’s just so much fun. 1650 Broadway, New York 10019/ 212.956.5151

Becco

For a more upscale experience, but not necessarily so that you can’t bring the kids, try this popular Italian restaurant. With items such as lasagna and spaghetti on the menu, as well as paillard and pan-seared salmon, there’s something for everyone. A nice little retreat from the Times Square chaos outside.

35 West 46th Street, New York, 10036/ 212.397.7597

The Right Way to Open Champagne and Sparkling Wine

Not all food and wine traditions—like grilling certain meats, decanting certain wines, or “popping” the cork off of a champagne bottle—results in a better product. Champagne is supposed to open with a bang, right? Not necessarily. In fact a huge celebratory “pop!” is actually a sign that it was opened by an amateur. Experts contend that a bottle of champagne opened with skill will make only a very small popping sound, or perhaps none at all.

Here is exactly how to open a champagne bottle like a pro:

Chill thoroughly-Properly chilled champagne will fizz and/or froth over less
Towel dry the bottle- if there’s condensation to ensure a good grip and prevent slippage
Cut the foil- using a knife, only tearing with fingers after you’ve scored the foil.
Tilt and aim- Tilt the bottle to 45 degrees and aim it away from yourself, others, and anything breakable (like windows)
Hold the cork down- with one hand while twisting open the wire cage with the other
Twist the bottle- with one hand while continuing to hold the cork down with the other
Listen- for the sound of air escaping to signal that the bottle is open. There may also be a small cloud of gas.

The pop can be fun when among friends in a party atmosphere but if opened gently and quietly the champagne will have more bubbles and taste better. As the old saying goes “The ear’s gain is the palate’s loss.”

Once you’ve successfully opened the champagne the next step is pouring it. For the best results make sure the bubbly has been chilled to the proper temperature, 46º F – 57º F depending on age, and then further preserve the bubbles by using a ‘beer-like’ technique and pouring the liquid down the side of a tilted champagne flute.

 

How to Open Champagne

 

This article was originally published on Pursuitist. Republished by permission. 

pool at Baha Mar

Baha Marvelous

1,000 acres—3 Deluxe Hotels—2,300 rooms—100,000 square foot casino —8 Pools—30 Bars—42 Restaurants—$4 Billion in total cost: These are just some of the staggering statistics that accompany the newly opened, much ballyhooed, longtime-in-the-making mega resort Baha Mar in the Bahamas—which was famous long before it ever opened due to multiple bankruptcies, a revolving door of owners, and the now well documented, stutter-step fashion in which it was conceived and ultimately built. Continue reading

Escape to Crested Butte’s Scarp Ridge Lodge

I toured Eleven Experience’s flagship property, Scarp Ridge Lodge—in the heart of downtown Crested Butte, CO—this past summer and loved it! I can only imagine how comforting it must be to stay here after a long day of skiing in the winter. Perhaps even “snowcat skiing” via their partnership with Irwin Guides (more on that).

A former Croatian saloon, with its Western façade still in tac, this European ski chalet-meets-Rocky Mountain lodge makes for an ideal place to stay for private groups and families.

You may be wondering, what is Eleven Experience? Eleven Experience is an exclusive accommodation and experiential travel brand which seeks out unique and authentic places and properties around the globe. They tend to be off the beaten track, and are mostly all-inclusive, full buy-out type properties. Think 5-star accommodations, but in the comfort of a private home. In addition to seeking out these special properties, Eleven Experience also provides customized experiences with private guides.

 

Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte, COPin this image on Pinterest

 

The bar at Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte ColoradoPin this image on Pinterest

Eleven Experience has a few properties in Crested Butte, Scarp Ridge Lodge being its lead property. I visited the lodge this summer, when I was in Crested Butte, and had a wonderful tour. The property is fabulous. I debated whether or not to ask if I could bring my kids, and was going to leave them with my brother, but when my brother said he wanted to go on the tour too, they welcomed us all with open arms – a good thing, because as you will see, this property is not only amazing for groups of friends, but for families as well.

 

Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested ButtePin this image on Pinterest

 

Scarp Ridge Lodge, with its 5 King bedrooms and bunk room with 7 beds (including a nanny’s room), functions as a retreat for private groups during the winter, and as an upscale B&B during the summer. During winter, Crested Butte is known for its excellent skiing, as well as a plethora of other outdoor winter sports including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, fat biking (bikes with extra fat tires to allow you to bike on the snow), and cat skiing.

 

Scarp Ridge Lodge living roomPin this image on Pinterest

The lodge has its own, custom snowcat that comes each morning and takes guests to exclusive ski terrain in nearby Irwin. This is part of the “experience” Eleven Experience offers its guests here. Along with a private snowcat, private guides, amazing terrain, and two mountain cabins for eating and apres skiing, guests of the lodge can enjoy a completely unique and plush experience.

 

Rooftop hot tub at Scarp Ridge LodgePin this image on Pinterest

 

Indoor pool at Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte, COPin this image on Pinterest

 

After a long day on the mountain, Scarp Ridge Lodge itself is the perfect place to relax and unwind. With a rooftop hot tub, indoor hot tub, indoor salt water pool, sauna and steam room, gym, and media room, there’s not much the lodge doesn’t have. It even has its own oxygen-enriched air system for those who are having a hard time to adjusting to the high altitude. There is a bar for post-skiing drinks, and an open kitchen with fully stocked fridge accessible 24/7. And no worries about cooking – a private chef will do that all for you. Though I must say – the restaurants in Crested Butte are pretty great! You can dine out too.

 

Bedroom at Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte, ColoradoPin this image on Pinterest
Playing in the bunk room at Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested ButtePin this image on Pinterest

 

Each of the 5 bedrooms has its own en-suite bathroom and is uniquely decorated, with rustic touches in a contemporary setting. We were able to see a bunch of them, all cozy and inviting. The lodge really does feel like a home. The bunkroom, with its 7 beds, is awesome – it had my kids grinning from ear to ear. Based on the board game Chutes & Ladders, it’s adventurous and fun, and just plain cool. There is a loft you can climb up to, and if the kids are young and need some watching after, no worries – there is a nanny’s room right next to it. My kids have been begging to go back. I keep telling them, we will.

 

Hanging out in the media room at Scarp Ridge LodgePin this image on Pinterest
The kitchen at Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte Colorado

 

As I mentioned, we toured Scarp Ridge Lodge during the summer, when it is a B&B. Not only a ski town, Crested Butte is amazing to visit during the summer. Known for its impressive mountain biking, hiking, flower festival, a happening downtown, and gorgeous scenery, Crested Butte is a special place to visit any time of the year. The lodge is conveniently located in downtown, making it a very easy and accessible home away from home.

 

—Corey Cook, Luxury Travel Advisor at Elli Travel Group and founder of Fifi+Hop Travel Blog

Wellness Warriors

They say you can foretell future trends by looking at what the big thinkers and pioneers are doing now.  So what’s up with wellness warriors in 2020?

 

Let’s start with an example of the future of business travel in the wellness arena.  In spite of in-person events being canceled across the board, the Global Wellness Summit—an international organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively impact and shape the future of the global wellness industry—had the fortitude and determination, in spite of some resistance, to go forward with their first ever hybrid (both in-person and virtual event ) Nov 8 to 11 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.

 

The organizers of the event—which included 17th Surgeon General of the U.S, Dr. Richard Carmona—felt that since the pandemic could, by some estimates, continue to affect our lives for at least another year, a model needed to be created for a safe, in-person gathering.  Their thinking was, who better than the wellness community to do that.  Everyone was tested upon arrival, mask wearing was strictly enforced at the event; the conference rooms had socially distanced seating, exercise balls and stationery bikes to sit on; and Far UV Light was quietly cleaning the air all around us. No cases were traced to the event afterwards either.

 

While there and interviewing Fred Maxik, the lead scientist of Healthe Inc—a company pioneering Far UVC light’s role in combatting Covid—for the GWS Podcast which I host, I asked him why he thought the entire in-person attendee list of about 124 people from all over the U.S. and Mexico tested negative for Covid upon arrival at the summit.  He said “Check their Zip Codes, their lifestyles and their established medical care.”

 

In the destination spa category, I refer to my well-heeled, regular spa-going friend who has been uber careful during Covid—groceries always delivered and the only activities done outside her home were masked hiking and masked golfing.  Before the pandemic she had booked a trip to a hiking-forward destination spa in California for this December.  Since she’d been before and knew the lay of the land, she knew each guest would have their own bungalow.  She said she also trusted that management would follow the Covid safety protocols they had put in place – private massage bungalows that were disinfected between treatments, smaller exercise classes and more buses driving guests to hike trails each morning so they could space out as well as the option to eat their vegan, delicious meals outside, which she and a friend always did.  She said after months of lock down she made a conscious decision to choose a local travel/wellness experience that would reinforce her immune system and overall health.  She also said that she has just rebooked her cancelled trip to the Galapagos Islands for 2022.

 

It also stands to reason that with so many people “giving up” on healthy eating during the pandemic and gaining that extra “Covid-19” pounds, they will be seeking out ways to shape up after things open up.  Look for spas that specialize in weight loss to find a strong uptick in business.

 

Also, with depression and suicide at record levels even before the shutdown, resorts and wellness retreats know full well that it is just straight necessary to have spiritually and mental wellness rooted activities on the menu.

 

And, while it may sound simple enough, let’s not forget that humans are intrinsically drawn to the healing power of nature.  With Apps like CALM taking us to streams and mountain tops and rain forests virtually during Covid, we long even more to get out to the real thing; the wide open spaces, and take a really deep, mask-less breath.

 

In fact, Douglas Drummond, Healing Arts & Somatics Director at the iconic Esalen Institute in Big Sur, the birthplace of the Human Potential Movement, predicts that besides being Nurtured in Nature, travelers in 2021 will be looking for ways to do the following four things:

 

 

-Be Intentional: Help in setting realistic goals.  Taking inventory of what is now and setting a course for the future.

 

-Have Real Talk:. This pandemic has underscored the value of truth and what really matters. Wellness centers will teach us how to be honest about how we feel and how to interpret what that might mean for the road ahead.

 

-Practicing Movement as Medicine: Hike, Dance, Swim, Do Downward Dog  study after study shows that at least 30 minutes a day makes a real difference in longevity.  Wellness retreats need to show us HOW to WANT to move everyday.  Interestingly, Esalen was a bit prescient on this.  Somatics—which is the mind/body connection enhanced by movement – was built into the Institute’s 1963 charter.

 

-Experiencing the Power of Touch—Masks are always welcome.  But, never before have we needed to connect and rejuvenate as much, and there’s no more effective way to help the body heal itself than with a fabulous massage.

 

And what about the best kept secret of soaking in a hot spring as Mother’s Nature’s way of boosting your immune system?  In fact, a peer reviewed study by Australian-based, hot springs aficionado, Dr. Marc Cohen, shows that raising the body’s core temperature from a hot springs soak – and hopefully a cold dip to seal off the contrast bathing experience—does all the right things a fever does to kickstart the body’s immune system, but without the negative side effects.  There’s a reason Native American warriors followed a code of: “No fighting in a hot spring.”  It is the most natural way to just be still and let the healthy minerals rejuvenate body and mind.  And, more often than not, hot springs vacations are among the most affordable options available.  For a road trip with the bonus of immune boosting magic, check out this historic hot springs loop in Colorado:

 

 

A friend who is a Business Travel Manager says that people are definitely rethinking the necessity of traveling for business in the near future but—with a lot weighing on the vaccines providing herd immunity—they are also already booking destination weddings and travel adventures for Summer 2021 and beyond.  And airlines and hotels are to be commended for offering ongoing flexible fares and generous cancelation policies.

 

Travel—both internationally and domestically—has been a way of life for so many of us for decades.  But as the founder of Ageist.com said to me in an interview recently, “If you’re not in the Wellness Business now, you’re really not in business.”  So travel destinations, take heed.

 

The figure that always amazes me is that the travel industry was the number one employer in the world before the pandemic.  Let’s face it—whether we work in the wellness travel or hospitality industry or are happy participants in it, we’re all ready to have that joy and delight in connecting with each other again—whether it’s a bellman, a massage therapist, a yoga instructor, a hike guide or a seat mate on a plane while we’re on our way to one of our “bucket list” adventures.

 

Wellness Seekers Unite!  2021, here we come!

TRENDING

Nomad Hotel Library Bar

Best Library Bars

Ah, the library bar. An urban oasis steeped in history (quite literally). Vintage, deep-seated armchairs, mahogany shelves and leather bound books ease the soul, while a single malt scotch calms the nerves after a long day of work. Ron Burgundy’s kind of place. My kind of place. Continue reading

culinary appliances

Culinary Comforts—Best Kitchen Appliances 2020

If your personal preference is centered on design and style, or on food and entertainment, here’s our list of the top high-end culinary brands that will suit your preferred lifestyle.

Best Kitchen Appliances 2016jpg

Live, and dine, in luxury with these incredible kitchen appliance brands, as Pursuitist presents the Best Kitchen Appliances for 2020:

Bertazzoni. Italians are renowned for their passionate love of food. Bertazzoni continues that tradition, as a fifth-generation, family-owned Italian manufacturer of high-end kitchen products. The company’s products include free-standing ranges, built-in cooktops, ventilation hoods and other design-coordinated accessories.

Bertazzoni

Gaggenau. Gaggenau is the world’s preeminent brand of high-performance restaurant-grade cooking technology for the modern home. Specializing in cutting-edge, built-in home appliances, its sleek portfolio includes ovens, gas, electric and induction cook-tops, ventilation, dishwashers, modular refrigeration and freezer columns and wine storage units. Gaggenau also produces specialty appliances such as steamers, grills and deep fryers, and the Asian-influenced Teppan Yaki – all crafted for the luxury American kitchen.

GAGGENAU

La Cornue. Each Château and each Cornuchef is assembled by hand and by one person; this person will follow production through to the end and finalize every last detail. Each kitchen range is monitored, controlled and tested at all the stages of production. Even if you happen to be the Queen of England, you will have to wait at least two months for your Château La Cornue. The superior ranges simply cannot be made any quicker. For three generations, La Cornue has loved and served cuisine in the same way as a stringed-instrument craftsman loves and serves music. La Cornue cultivates an ideal of excellence.

La Cornue

Dacor. Working together to redefine the modern kitchen, the Dacor family has produced an impressive array of industry firsts. Patented features abound throughout their full line of cooking appliances. Features like an infrared gas broiler inside an electric oven, a Pure Convection system for even heat distribution, a Butterfly Bake Element for an extraordinary traditional bake, and extra-large Dacor Greats that simplify cooking with large pots and pans.

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Miele. Each Château and each Cornuchef is assembled by hand and by one person; this person will follow production through to the end and finalize every last detail. Each kitchen range is monitored, controlled and tested at all the stages of production. Even if you happen to be the Queen of England, you will have to wait at least two months for your Château La Cornue. The superior ranges simply cannot be made any quicker. For three generations, La Cornue has loved and served cuisine in the same way as a stringed-instrument craftsman loves and serves music. La Cornue cultivates an ideal of excellence.

MIELE

Viking. In spite of its tremendous growth and success, Viking Range Corporation remains essentially the same entrepreneurial company it was at its inception. This small, close-knit company culture serves Viking and its customers well, and greatly contributes to the company’s ongoing growth and success. By carefully preserving this unique, creative and stimulating environment, and through offering only the very finest, highest quality products, Viking plans to continue its aggressive growth and expansion to further increase its already strong presence in the worldwide major appliance and related culinary lifestyle industries.

THERMADOR

Sub-Zero Refrigeration. For 60 years, Sub-Zero has offered innovative, aesthetically appealing and technologically advanced solutions to meet virtually any home refrigeration need. Through foresight and responsiveness, the company has earned its position as an industry leader – a position Sub-Zero intends to maintain well into the new millennium.

SUBZERO

GE Monogram. GE has been a leader in American manufacturing for years, gaining a corporate reputation for unmatched reliability and innovation in their products. Their Monogram line consists of their premier professional-grade products, from refrigerators to cooking appliances and everything else you can dream up for your kitchen. Should you ever take issue with a Monogram product, GE employs a nationwide fleet of vans and repairpeople to provide prompt service on your appliance.

MONOGRAM

Thermador. Thermador has been at the forefront of cooking technology for more than seven decades, fusing state-of-the-art performance with classic design to satisfy the most demanding culinary enthusiasts. From introducing the first built-in wall oven almost 50 years ago, to revolutionizing gas cooktops with the patented Star Burner, Thermador’s innovations have helped to transform the kitchen from a mere workplace into the social and entertaining center of the modern American home.

THERMADOR

Wolf. For more than 70 years, Wolf has been synonymous with professional cooking equipment for restaurants and hotels. Now, as part of Sub-Zero, the Wolf line has been adapted for the serious in-home cook. With their superior performance and leading-edge design, Wolf instruments fuel a passion for cooking.

WOLF

Bosch. Also for 70 years, the beauty of Bosch exterior design is how well it blends with your kitchen decor. Their integrated system allows you to match the dishwasher to your cabinets, complementing the entire look of your kitchen with ergonomically-designed controls are at your fingertips.

Bosch

Jenn-Air. This company creates luxury appliances that are more than a facet of your kitchen, they make your house more of a home. Ranked #1 for the last four years in their creation of built-in refrigerators, Jenn-Air will never fail to impress guests in your home.

JENN-AIR

AGA. Aga has nearly a century of experience of enriching kitchens around the world. The Classic Aga Range employs cast iron construction and energy efficient heating, which combine to offer a truly unique cooking experience. Available in a variety of enameled colors; Aga ranges offer tremendous design flexibility. Now enhanced with complementary undercounter refrigeraton Aga continues to redefine upscale kitchen design coupled with professional cooking prowess.

aga

And that concludes our list of the best luxury kitchen appliances for 2020. What culinary brand, from refrigeration to cooking, do you own? Share this on social and add your favorite brands!

Raw Bar Hopping – 8 Great Oyster Bars in NYC

In the book The Big Oyster, Mark Kurlansky writes “before the 20th century, when people thought of New York, they thought of oysters.”  Though that sentiment along with New York’s oyster population has diminished over the past two centuries with the city’s drastic growth, oysters are currently making a strong comeback in Mahattan via the Oyster Restoration Research Project. Continue reading

Best Hotels for Active Travelers

While relaxing vacations certainly have their virtues—think pina coladas on a white sand beach, or a deep tissue massage at a desert spa—many people prefer a daily dose of action and adventure on their vacations. No, I’m not talking about golf, or tennis or long walks on the beach. I’m talking about real activities and adventure—perhaps even a little danger.

Continue reading

MOST POPULAR

Nomad Hotel Library Bar

Best Library Bars

Ah, the library bar. An urban oasis steeped in history (quite literally). Vintage, deep-seated armchairs, mahogany shelves and leather bound books ease the soul, while a single malt scotch calms the nerves after a long day of work. Ron Burgundy’s kind of place. My kind of place. Continue reading

OPINION & VARIETY

Take Your Tequila to the Garden Party

Tequila sometimes has to struggle with its brawling-bikers-under-a-hot-sun reputation. Rarely do people write on their garden party invites, “tequila drinks being served.” Which is a shame, because even though a shot of tequila may be the drink of choice for those wearing leather jackets in July, this base spirit also plays well in a variety of cocktails, from traditional numbers such as the Margarita to lighter and less-known summer fare that pairs tequila up with intriguing ingredients.

 

One such lesser-known tequila recipe that’s getting more popular by the minute, and one that’s perfect for backyard gathering when the mercury has risen up the thermometer, is the Green Garden from Paul Abercrombie’s wonderfully green cocktail book “Organic, Shaken and Stirred.” The Green Garden mixes organic Blanco tequila with a cucumber-infused syrup (if your own garden isn’t overflowing, pick up English cucumbers – what Abercrombie suggests using here – at a local farmer’s market), a hint of lime and Italian sparkler Moscato d’Asti. The end result is a drink that doesn’t sacrifice anything in tequila taste, but one that also stays light on its feet. Because even a biker doesn’t want to be weighed down by their drink when the summertime dancing starts.

 

Green Garden

 

1-1/2 ounces organic blanco tequila

1/2 ounce Cucumber-Infused Organic Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed organic lime juice

1 ounce organic Moscato d’Asti

Several edible organic flowers (such as small roses or lavender blossoms)

 

1. Combine the tequila, simple syrup, and lime juice in an ice cube-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, then strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass or champagne saucer.

 

2. Add the Moscato d’Asti and garnish with the flowers.

 

Cucumber-Infused Organic Simple Syrup: Juice one English cucumber (leave the skin on for flavor and color). Place the juice in a small glass bowl with an equal volume of Organic Simple Syrup (see below) and 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed organic lime juice, and stir to combine. The syrup will keep, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to one month.

 

Organic Simple Syrup

 

Makes 2 cups

 

1 cup organic granulated sugar

8 ounces water

 

1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. The syrup can be stored, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to one month.

 

Recipe Copyright 2009 by Paul Abercrombie, “Organic, Shaken and Stirred,” The Harvard Common Press; photo copyright 2009 by Jerry Errico

28 Beautiful Bars Across the Country

Looking to explore your favorite restaurant from a new vantage point, or maybe ease your way into a spot you’d like to try? Pull up a bar stool and experience all the atmosphere has to offer with a delicious drink in hand. Whether you’re ordering cocktails, snacks or going all out with a full meal, these beautiful bars are a great spot to take a seat and enjoy. Continue reading