Disney World’s Nicest Hotel Is Well Worth It

The newly renovated Four Seasons Orlando has 443 exceptionally designed guest rooms and suites plus a fitness center, golf course, outdoor pools and lazy river, luxurious spa and salon, six vibrant restaurants including Michelin-Star rated Capa Steakhouse. (Curated by renown luxury travel expert Christopher Parr.)

A family trip to Orlando Disney is one of the most memorable but chaotic experiences. Between arranging the meals, fast passes, and nap times for kids, it’s easy to forget that it’s parents’ vacation too. Visiting Florida’s Disney World could be more tranquil and orderly if you book your stay at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

 

The 101 on the Four Seasons Resort Orlando

The newly renovated Four Seasons Resort Orlando is in a private 26-acre lakeside setting with gardens, pools, tennis, and golf courses. It’s the only AAA Five Diamond rated resort in Central Florida that offers the ultimate luxury accommodation with a splash of Disney experience.

The hotel’s unique location and amenities allow you to have a balanced experience of active and relaxing activities. Spend some days enjoying the rides and attractions at Disney World, sleep at a pool when you feel like resting, or dedicate a couple of hours to outdoor sports.

 

 

Known as the best luxury hotel at Disney World, the Four Seasons Orlando is situated right in the middle of the magic. Here, you could experience all the top-notch amenities and services a luxury traveler could possibly expect from the five-star hotel and even more.

At Four Seasons Orlando, guests could book VIP-guided tours that allow skipping the lines or plan an exclusive event with private Disney character dining.

Thanks to the Disney Concierge services at the Four Seasons Orlando, you can effortlessly plan all the fun activities in the parks. The prime location of the resort ensures that you don’t spend too much time traveling and concentrate on relaxing and enjoying precious moments with your family.

 

SPA at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

 

In the Four Seasons traditions, the resort features a state-of-the-art SPA, a private 5-acre water park, three tennis courts, a free-of-charge kids club, and a Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course. Celebrate life with a champagne toast overlooking nightly Walt Disney World fireworks from a rooftop of a Michelin-Star-rated contemporary steakhouse, Capa.

 

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

 

What Seperates Four Seasons Orlando From the Crowd

At the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, there are plenty of top-notch amenities to create family memories and relax your body and soul in Florida’s finest hotels.

These are just some fantastic amenities to enjoy at the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

 

For adults:
  • A pristine and picturesque 18-hole Tom Fazio signature golf coursewith abundant wildlife (it’s a Certified Audubon Sanctuary) and professional gold instructors for hire.
  • Three Har-Tru tennis courts where you could take a private lesson from an on-site tennis expert Alain Labrecque or play with your friends and family at your leisure.
  • The SPA and salon are where you could indulge in body and facial therapies or get a haircut and blowout for your special occasion.
  • Adults-only pool if you need some time for yourself and family pools you could enjoy with the kids.
  • The luxury shopping experience at one of the boutiques where you can find apparel and accessories from the world’s renowned brands for the entire family. While at the resort, you could hire a personal stylist to assist you with picking the most flattering pieces and styling your outfits.
  • A state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness center offers complimentary classes like aqua aerobics, group cycling, bodyweight boot camp, and personal training sessions (additional charges apply).

 

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

 

For kids:
  • A kids’ camp (ages 4-12) is complementary to the Four Seasons Orlando Disney guests.
  • Explorer Island family water activities include a pool, splash zone, water slide, and lazy river.
  • The Hideout game spot is where kids can enjoy their favorite video games.

 

 

Additional perks:
  • Late departure lounge where you could comfortably spend time while awaiting an airport pickup.
  • Personalized room decorations could be arranged for special occasions, including play tents for kids and glow-in-the-dark terrace amenities for the Disney nighttime spectaculars.
  • Free meals for kids are available for guests under 5 in all hotel restaurants.
  • Also, enjoy free entertainment, including live music, happy hours, and snacks.

 

Capa Steakhouse

 

Dining Options at the Four Seasons Orlando Disney

Whether it’s a casual get-together with a family, a quick midday snack, or a special celebration, the Four Seasons Orlando Disney dining experiences satisfy even the choosiest foodies. From in-room dining and Disney characters’ breakfasts for kids to a Michelin-star steakhouse and a gelato stand, get your taste buds ready to experience all four Seasons’ delicacies.

While visiting the Four Seasons Orlando Disney, check out the following dining options:

  • Capa Steakhouse is a Michelin-star rooftop restaurant that showcases Spanish-influenced cuisine. Pair fresh seafood and exquisite hors d’oeuvres with exclusive cocktails and an extensive wine selection. Book your dinner on Wednesday or Saturday night to catch a live Spanish guitarist performance.

 

Capa Steakhouse

 

  • Ravello Restaurant is the place to visit for a night of modern Italian cuisine with the “Four Seasons twist” by executive chef Fabrizio Schenardi. Everything at the restaurant is made out of imported Italian flour and other authentic ingredients. Every Thursday and Saturday, the restaurant hosts a breakfast with guest appearances by Goofy and his friends.
  • Plancha is a popular Sunday brunch spot that serves Caribbean-inspired dishes and elegant cocktails.

 

 

  • Lickety Split Coffee Shop is a perfect grab-and-go coffee spot where you can also find gourmet snacks and breakfast options.
  • Pool Bar & Grill serves delicious poolside snacks and meals, from tacos and burgers to oysters and various salads.

The Four Seasons Orlando guests could enjoy 24-hour room service with an extensive menu for adults and children.

 

 

SPA at rooms at Rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando

 

The SPA at the Four Seasons Orlando Disney

Rejuvenate your body and soul at the Four Season’s world-renowned SPA. From facial treatments and massages to meditation sessions at a Somadome capsule, pick your favorite restorative ritual to look and feel your best.

  • Ayurvedic rituals are the SPA’s most unique beauty procedures that help to heal your body with the help of ancient Ayurvedic healing traditions.
  • Body treatments, from massage and body scrubs to detox wraps, will help smooth and tone your skin while relieving the stressing points.
  • Indulge in one of the Four Seasons’ facials that address your specific skin concerns. Whether it’s a quick hydrafacial or a remodeling treatment, you will nourish your skin, so it’s glowing from within.
  • Cryotherapy is a stylish and efficient way to rejuvenate skin with the help of extreme temperatures. Tone and slim your body using fat-destroying thermal procedures or age-defying facial treatments that nourish your skin so you can look and feel your best.

 

Rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

 

Rooms and Suites at the Four Seasons Orlando Disney

Stay at one of the newly renovated suites and guest rooms for an indulging and serene vacation experience at the Four Seasons Orlando Resort.

From 500 square feet, each of the 443 guest rooms offers panoramic views from a furnished terrace. Take a break from the sun and soak in a full-marble bathtub or enjoy your in-room breakfast overlooking the golf court.

 

terrace at Rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

 

Perfect for family vacations or romantic retreats, the Four Seasons Orlando suites offer a luxurious lodging experience with designer finishes and separate sleeping and living spaces. Each suite could also be configured as a two- or three-bedroom suite and includes two full-marble bathrooms.

The luxurious Royal Suite is the resort’s most significant floor-to-ceiling window accommodation with indoor and outdoor dining areas, a media room, and a wraparound terrace. The suite’s ability to expand to a 9-bedroom configuration makes it an ideal setting for family retreats and celebrations.

 

rooms at Rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

 

Final Take:

Staying at the Four Seasons Orlando in the Walt Disney World Resort is a magical visit to the lap of luxury with Disney spark and Four Seasons amenities. There are so many delightful things to do, from shopping to dining and playing, and the Pursuitist family always has an amazing time when we visit this modern and beautiful luxurious oasis sprinkled with pixie dust. It is a relaxing and fun getaway to Walt Disney World, accompanied by gorgeous surroundings and staffed by wonderful Four Seasons bartenders, housekeepers, servers and team members that will look after your every need. If you’re looking for the best luxury resort experience in Orlando, with is in the heart of Walt Disney World, Four Seasons Orlando is our top pick.

 

Rustic Elegance in the Heart of the Rockies

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.

Eleven Experiences

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.

 

Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested ButtePin this image on Pinterest

 

Scarp Ridge Lodge—The Flagship

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. Think Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, fat biking (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
Relax and Unwind

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
Bedrooms

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 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

 

See also: Rocky Mountain Resort Towns

 

Why ResortPass is a Great Service and the Company They Should Partner with to Be Even Better

Have you ever stayed at an impressive resort that, while teeming with the promise of pristine pools and soothing hot tubs, seems to be a bit lacking in any actual partakers? The offerings, sure, are plentiful, but the sauna and steam room in their world-class spa? Empty. This may sound problematic for their business, but in the efficiency-driven, “as-a-Service” economy we live in today, it also presents a smart opportunity for mutually beneficial partnership. Enter ResortPass, a service poised to connect locals and day trippers seeking relaxation with access to a partnering property’s all too available amenities.

 

Some might say the company has taken a page out of the Airbnb book by leveraging the under-utilized assets at resorts and selling them as an experience, for a fee. Well, the model is certainly working out for both parties. Launched in 2016—with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and “The Point’s Guy,” Brian Kelly, as early investors—ResortPass is starting to hit their stride this year. Not only have they grown their network significantly, but they also closed a $26 million “B” round this past November. They now partner with over 900 hotels and resorts around the world, all allowing users to enjoy luxury experiences on a day pass basis.

 

The price, you might be musing, is surely where the catch lies. Not necessarily, as it is more so reflective of the level of service and amenities offered, as well as the brand. The Four Seasons, for example, will likely cost you more than a Marriot. The range might be from $25-100 per day for a standard pass—more for daybeds and cabanas. The cost for children is less, if not free, depending on age.

 

Carneros Resort—Napa Valley, CA

 

It’s early days yet and hard to forecast the level of overall demand there will be for ResortPass, but I do have one prediction. The “stickiness” of this service will ultimately reside more with travelers than locals. According to Michael Wolf, CEO of ResortPass, the early data disagrees. So far, the majority of ResortPass’s users are locals who want to experience the amenities of hotels in their own or nearby cities. A staycation, or even “day”cation, as they say.

 

“Our local users never had the opportunity to access the hospitality industry locally,” says Wolf. “They thought they had to get on a plane to enjoy those sorts of amenities.”

 

Miramar Resort—Santa Barabra, CA

 

 

To be fair, ResortPass does acknowledge all types of users, from locals to cruise ship passengers alike, and I’m sure they are targeting all sorts of people in various situations where the service would be compelling. Whether the local demographic remains their top revenue source is anyone’s guess, but I would wager that the true value of this service lies with a certain type of traveler staying at a certain type of place.

 

For example, guests staying at a boutique hotel—one that offers a terrific experience but without resort-level amenities—would seem to be likely customers. Vacationers staying with friends are another plausible group to appeal to, as they might still want a bit of pampering and that vacation vibe while they’re out of town. And then there is their ultimate customer, the ones where the value of ResortPass truly becomes apparent—and for me, it’s full circle back to Airbnb and its guests.

 

I love Airbnb. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate the service. They created a whole new segment of lodging at price-points that are generally more attractive than hotels, especially if you require multiple bedrooms. What Airbnb sorely lacks, however, is amenities. Sure, you can get a great pad with a pool, large kitchen and epic view of the ocean or mountains, but you cannot get the kind of facilities and social intangibles that luxury hotels and resorts offer. There is no way to spell a bustling hotel lobby, or expansive pools surrounded by chaises and cabanas, with dining and cocktail service at your fingertips.

 

Williamsburg Hotel—Brooklyn, NY

 

Ritz Carlton Bal Harbor—Miami, FL

 

And therein lies the true value of ResortPass. The best products and services are the ones that fill a void. It’s fine to build a better mouse trap and plenty of companies have made a living doing this. Even the most innovative companies in the world owe a lot of their success to products and services that already existed which they simply improved upon. Apple didn’t invent the smart phone; they just made it better. A lot better. But filling a void is the ultimate goal for most entrepreneurs. See Uber, Venmo and yes, Airbnb.

 

I think Airbnb would be wise to partner with—or dare I say, even purchase—ResortPass. It may start out as just an incremental supplement to their service, as it’s only useful if there is a qualifying resort nearby. Nonetheless, it would be a natural fit that could yield larger, more impactful results in the future. The Batman and Robin of travel disruptors, if you will.

 

ResortPass gets the GLR stamp of approval as a rising star in the resort space. Mark my words, they’re going places—and not just for the day.

 

These are the Most “Googled” Travel Destinations in the World

Earlier this year TravelPulse parsed research from San Francisco-based luggage storage company “Bounce” to come up with an interesting take on the most googled cities for travel. In case you are wondering, Bounce enables consumers to book short-term luggage storage and package retrieval at local businesses throughout the world. It’s like Uber for luggage/parcel storage, complete with an app and easy lock/unlock access. While their core business may not seem entirely germane to travel data (like google searches) they have a research division and are in a unique position to provide granular insight into the travel space.

 

For their part, TravelPulse is a highly respected publisher of travel industry news, including in-depth editorial and key supplier and destination information that helps travel agents stay on top of their game. So we like the combined effort behind this research and the way in which it is featured.

 

So what is the most googled travel destination?

 

Note: While the data collected by Bounce was compiled earlier this year, we don’t think much has likely changed since then and thus is still worthy of your attention.

 

So what does the data reveal? It should not come as a huge surprise…Miami is the most popular destination for travelers! At least from one metric.

 

According to the research from Bounce, “Miami is the most popular city in the world when it comes to travel, ranking first for Google searches related to flights, hotels and vacations in as many as eight countries across the globe.”

 

 

While we like the angle Bounce has taken here—ranking popularity based on the number of countries who searched for this destination the most—it is a bit specialized and does not give the total, aggregate number of searches. When it comes to overall searches, regardless of where these people reside, “Las Vegas is easily the most popular city destination with 9,688,600 searches worldwide for flights, hotels and vacations” over the past year.

 

 

Interesting facts and findings:
  • Based on Bounce’s criteria for the most searched cities by specific countries, Miami finished 1st, Dubai 2nd, London and New York tied for 3rd place, while Las Vegas finished 5th.
  • The data that Bounce collected is not just Google searches on cities. It is specific to “airfare, hotels and vacations,” thus directly tied to travel to these cities and not just general information.
  • Dubai won the people of Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Ireland in terms of most searches
  • London was the most popular search for people from Greece, Sweden and Iceland
  • New York won the people of France, Italy, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic

 

Our take away

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who travels frequently that Las Vegas and Miami received the most searches on google as both cities are uber popular right now and very popular for both vacationers and business travelers alike. Covid clearly slowed down the corporate outings in Las Vegas but that traffic is coming back in droves. And with a slew of new hotel casinos including the mega resort, “Resorts World”— the first integrated resort to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in over a decade—there are more options than ever for travelers to Sin City.

 

Meanwhile, Miami remains a favorite hot spot for both Americans and International travelers for obvious reasons. Beautiful beaches, great hotels and restaurants, a diverse international culture and great weather during the winter months—when most of the US is freezing—are just a few of the allures.

 

Our coverage of Miami and Las Vegas

 

Riding the Natural Vibes of 1 Hotel South Beach

 

The Miami Beach EDITION—Five Things I Loved and Two I Did Not

 

Best Hotel Bars in Miami

 

Turnberry Isle, Miami—Something for Everyone

 

Las Vegas Refresh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of Las Vegas—Old and New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Travel Means Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Friendly in Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos has been a hot travel destination for years, but more recently, family-friendly resorts – those with activities for parents and kids to enjoy separately – have been popping up along its beautiful beaches, making the locale more popular than ever.

Continue reading

A Virgin Paradise

If the cruise ships and tourist hoards docking at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands make the chain a little too bustling for your Caribbean vacation, head further east to the quieter British Virgin Islands (BVI). Continue reading

Belmond Cap Juluca: Peaceful Luxury On Anguilla

If you think you’ve seen one Caribbean island you’ve seen them all, think again. Although popular spots like St. Johns and Antigua are beautiful, the tourist hordes have made finding a peaceful stretch of beach nigh on impossible. For blue skies, quieter beaches and hospitable locals, head to Anguilla. Continue reading

Remote Learning at Four Resort Orlando

With millions of children going to school remotely this fall because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is offering a “schoolcation” package.

“This new offering exclusively for our Resort guests will be both helpful to parents, as well as something really fun for kids to experience,” says Thomas Steinhauer, General Manager and Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. “Many kids have been completing school work in their homes for a while now. A chance to mix up their learning environment, and combine school and playtime at the Resort, is sure to be a welcome treat and create a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Supervised schoolwork

The supervised schoolwork sessions will be held in small-group classroom settings, physically distanced with no more than six children per class. The spacious event rooms of Four Seasons Resort Orlando are the classroom setting, featuring airy and open rooms with a wall of windows for natural light, and a private terrace for outside break time.

Each student will have a dedicated desk area, physically distanced from the other students, and high-speed premium WiFi will be provided.

Supervisors oversee the study sessions, and they have experience working with children. With peace of mind, parents can then spend the day relaxing and vacationing on their own.

The supervised study sessions are available Monday through Friday beginning Sept. 14, 2020 for $50 USD per child for a half-day session or $100 USD per child for the full session including lunch. Reservations must be confirmed at least 48 hours in advance. The resort is also offering a special package through December 18, 2020, which includes a $200 USD nightly credit for stays in a guest room, or a $500 USD nightly credit for stays in a one or two-bedroom suite.

After school program

Once the schoolwork is done, children can take recess at the resort, which includes an island playground, a lazy river, waterslide and outdoor recreation activities and spots. Or, take a quick shuttle to experience the magic at Walt Disney World, which recently reopened.

For more information or to book your next “schoolcation,” visit the Four Seasons Resort Orlando website.

8 Hip Hotels in NYC

Anyone who lives in New York City will tell you—fall and spring are the best seasons to visit. Spring in particular has an energy unlike any other time of year (sans the holidays). As the air warms and the trees begin to bloom, the city’s energy and effervescence—dormant for much for the winter—begins to bubble up from underneath. Continue reading

Dine and Unwind at Nobu Hotel Chicago

Pursuitist presents our review of Nobu Hotel Chicago, one of the best new luxury hotels in Chicago, curated by renown luxury travel expert Christopher Parr. The new Nobu Hotel Chicago has 115 exceptionally designed guest rooms and suites plus a fitness center, indoor pool and Nobu Restaurant, bar, and the Rooftop at Nobu Hotel Chicago.

Open since July, 2020, Nobu Hotel Chicago is a serene oasis of Japanese minimalism located in the busy Fulton Market District. The 115-room hotel, which has quickly become one of the top 5 luxury hotels in Chicago, engages the senses from the second you step in – and is brought to life through its architecture, which playfully blends elements of old world Japanese art and new world utilitarian, creating a sense of accessible sophistication.

Nobu Hotel Chicago Review
Inspired by Kintsugi, a traditional Japanese process that uses gold to glue broken porcelain, the Nobu Hotel Chicago lobby features a brass sculpture that “glues” the deep indigo walls together.

With tastefully appointed guest rooms and suites, a signature Nobu Restaurant, and the new-concept Rooftop at Nobu, Nobu Hotel Chicago is the perfect destination for a stylish stay in one of the Windy City’s culinary hubs.

Rooms & Design

The rooms and suites are quite obviously Japanese-influenced, equal parts Zen and ultra-modern post-industrial — check out the cedar tubs in the suites — and they’re as luxurious as they are stylish, with plush beds custom-designed for Nobu and upscale conveniences like Nespresso machines and 60-inch smart TVs.

 

 

 

 

Dining

True culinary immersion is evident with a 10,000 square-feet Nobu Restaurant — and Rooftop at Nobu Hotel Chicago — complete with elegant indoor and outdoor bar space overlooking Randolph Street’s “Restaurant Row.”

 

 

The Rooftop at Nobu Hotel Chicago culinary scene is an elegant, flawless experience. Not only do you get a breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline, you are surrounded by impeccable service and beautiful architrave design, food and drink.

Just a few blocks from Nobu Hotel Chicago, guests can get a full gastronomic experience going from sushi bar to sports bar, bakery to brewery, wine tasting to taquería, or by checking out the nearby Chicago French Market, the city’s only year-round, indoor marketplace.

 

Meeting and Events

The hotel plays host to a 3,320 square-feet of multi-use suite space available for private social functions and corporate events.

Wellness

A rejuvenating 2,800 square-feet facility featuring a state-of-the art fitness center with Technogym equipment.

Final Word

During your stay at Nobu Chicago, count on impressive skyline views; an indoor tranquility pool; calming, elegant decor; acclaimed dining at Nobu Chicago including a stone sushi bar; and the 11th-floor Rooftop at Nobu Hotel Chicago for inspiring views of the city, delicate bites and tasty cocktails. In-room amenities include Dyson hairdryers, yoga mats, steamers and exclusive Nobu beds. A stay at Nobu Hotel Chicago will make it feel like you actually got to transcend into another land, where gratitude meets luxury.

 

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

Business and Pleasure at San Francisco’s St. Regis

Located in San Francisco’s bustling, entrepreneurial-laden SOMA district, The St. Regis San Francisco affords guests magnificent views of the San Francisco cityscape and quick access to the city’s business hub. Rooms feature stylish contemporary decor in creams and dark woods, with standard features such as flat-screen TVs, crisp Pratesi linens and deep bathtubs.  

str1511gr.142664_xx

 

Special Perks

Known for their timeless hospitality and sophistication this legendary San Francisco hotel is also known for their signature Butler services, a treasured hallmark of the St. Regis experience for more than one hundred years.  

str1511po.149454_xx

The hotel is also home to Remède Spa San Francisco, a Forbes Travel Guide ranked four-star spa in San Francisco and The St. Regis Grill which serves modern California cuisine in a contemporary setting.

str1511re.141347_xx
 

Bermuda Like a Native

I’m intrigued by the fashionable buzzwords in “experiential travel.” “Isn’t all travel based on experience?” I wondered before my recent trip to Bermuda. My purpose? To experience the island like a native by celebrating the Cup Match Cricket Festival, a two-day public holiday held every August. Continue reading

Venice Beach—With Kids?

Fifi+Hop’s Corey Cook takes us to energetic Venice Beach which, despite it’s edginess, can be a great place to take kids. You just need to know where to go.

Some may look at the title of this post – Venice Beach with Kids – with speculation, but Venice was actually my girls’ self-proclaimed favorite part of our L.A. family vacation. They loved it. This post is all about things to do in Venice with kids, and why it should be on every family’s L.A. must-see list.

Venice Beach with Kids

 

Venice, CA, bohemian in spirit, has always been the funkier side of town, filled with eclectic shops and people, restaurants, street entertainers, and, in general, an off-beat vibe all its own. It’s never really had a reputation as a family-oriented kind of hood. Yet it’s this colorfulness of Venice which is exactly why I wanted to take my kids – all the action and eye-candy, I knew, would entertain them for hours.

 

We decided to allot 1 day in Venice, out of our 5 days. How did we go about planning our 1 day in Venice itinerary? I knew just who I wanted to show us around – my blogging friend Hilary from the blog HilaryStyle. She is the eyes and ears of L.A. and would be the perfect person to show my kids everything that makes Venice, Venice.

 

Venice Beach with Kids, HilaryStyle and mePin this image on Pinterest

 

Hilary and Me!

Hilary was on board for our visit, and then some. We covered it all, and by the end of the day my girls were reeling from all the fun they had. Here’s all the fun things to do in Venice Beach with kids. (Tip: we went first thing in the morning around 9:30, which was a perfect time to start our day, as there were hardly any crowds and it was very manageable with the kids).

WALK ALONG THE VENICE BOARDWALK (AKA OCEAN FRONT WALK)
Venice Beach with kids, walk along the Venice Boardwalk

 

The famous Venice Boardwalk spans about 1 ½ miles, with beautiful, white sand and the Pacific Ocean on one side, and funky storefronts and eateries on the other. Whatever bric-a-brac shops you can think of, the Ocean Front Walk has: souvenirs, sunglasses, surf and skate shops, t-shirts, tattoos, etc. My girls got their L.A. souvenirs here, in the form of sweatshirts, and have been wearing them ever since. Both say Venice Beach in different patterns, and they think they are the coolest girls in town when they wear them!

We walked for a while along the path, and Hilary pointed out all the other interesting things to see that make Venice the happening place it is. We saw people biking, rollerblading, playing paddle tennis, which are some of the activities you can do while you’re there (though we did not). And then there is of course Muscle Beach, an iconic part of the boardwalk where all the body builders work out. This is where Gold’s Gym got its start, begun by 70’s and 80’s superstar body builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

Later in our walk the girls got henna tattoos, which was a big hit – there are tattoo shops, fortune tellers and other off-beat things like that scattered all over the boardwalk. As well as restaurants – we ate at Wee Chippy at the recommendation of Hilary as having the best fries anywhere, and I have to say, she was right! In general, the Venice Boardwalk has an energy that appeals to any age, and is just plain FUN.

 

WATCH THE SKATEBOARDERS AT VENICE SKATE PARK
Venice Beach with kids, Venice Skate Park

Venice Skate Park is truly an amazing skate park, and definitely worth a visit. If you’re like us then you will love watching all the skate boarders do their tricks. The boarders span all ages, and you can see older men as much as younger kids skate about. It’s a lot of fun for the kids, and it can take up as much or little time as you want it to.

CHECK OUT ALL THE STREET ART AND WALL MURALS
Looking at the Venice Beach street art with kidsPin this image on Pinterest

 

Venice Beach wall mural

Venice is known for its abundance of street art, and seeing as Hilary is the street art expert, she showed us mural after mural, art piece after art piece, all throughout Venice. I’ll get to some of these places below, but we saw street art in many of the side streets off of the boardwalk, on our way over to the canals, and along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. There are wall murals everywhere, some I would have probably walked right by had it not been for them being pointed out – so make sure to keep your eyes open and on the look-out. They are colorful and whimsical and great fun for the kids to pose in front of for vaca pics.

 

Venice Art Walls with kidsPin this image on Pinterest

One of the highlights of our day in Venice was making some street art/ graffiti of our own! Hilary brought cans of paint with her, which the kids sprayed out on the beach. There is a designated area called the Venice Art Walls where the public can spray paint themselves, and the kids went to town – a great, unique activity that they will always remember!

 

WATCH THE STREET PERFORMERS
Watching the street performers and dancers on Venice Beach

We’re from New York, and whenever there are street performers doing their thing (always) in the subway, on the streets, Union Square, Times Square, wherever, we like to check them out. The girls love watching their shows. Venice is no stranger to street performers so we of course had to see them too. They are a big part of the chemistry that makes up Venice, with a contagious energy that you can’t help but feel a part of. Until they want you to join the show! We watched one group do their break dance, gymnastic stunts, etc. until they started to head our way to get the kids to participate. We immediately high-tailed it, but up until then it was a lot of fun for the kids, with a huge crowd getting into it.

 

WALK ALONG THE VENICE CANALS
Walking along the Venice Canals in Venice Beach, CA

It is no coincidence that the “Venice of America” has the same name as its Italian counterpart. Venice was founded by millionaire developer Abbot Kinney and modeled after his favorite European city, Venice. In the early 1900’s the canals that we see today used to be wetlands, and the perfect spot to build canals. Today (especially after a major renovation project completed in the 90’s), they are one of L.A.’s most unique neighborhoods and so much fun to walk around. I really enjoy walking along the canals and over the bridges, and so did my kids.

 

Giant Unicorn float in the Venice Beach canals in Venice Beach, CAPin this image on Pinterest

 

With the renovation came many newly built, modern homes, and looking at the houses is just as much a part of the appeal. So many of the city’s beautiful homes are located in the Venice Canals. We particularly liked looking at all the different boats home owners had, from canoes to kayaks to unicorn rafts!

STROLL ABBOT KINNEY BOULEVARD

Checking out the wall murals in Abbot Kinney in VenicePin this image on Pinterest

 

Having fun at Avatar Nation in Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach           

 

Perhaps the chicest part of L.A., Abbot Kinney Blvd. is filled with Boho fashion stores, home design shops, fabulous restaurants and an overall trendy vibe. You can’t go to Venice without hitting Abbot Kinney. What’s in it for the kids? Good question – it’s mostly for adults. But for the adults who are visiting with their kids and don’t want to miss out, there are some gems to take the kids. We went to Salt n Straw ice cream, which has amazing, unique flavors and which the kids loved. We found plenty of street art to take pics of them with, and we found fun stores to take them in too – one of them being Avatar Nation. The kids played ping pong in the back, it’s full of bright colors, and they loved it. It was a welcome respite for us adults too to take a break and let the kids play.

6 New England Beach Resorts to Stay at This Summer

While booking a summer rental has its merits, there is something about beach resorts—convenience, amenities and hospitality to name a few perks—that can make it much easier than hassling with the research and paperwork normally associated with summer rentals. Here are 6 resorts in New England that are sure to satiate your summer travel cravings, without any hassles. 

Continue reading

3 Hitter Hotel Suites in Miami

Pursuitist takes us inside 3 luxe suites in Miami Beach.

 

Faena Suite at Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Faena Hotel Miami Beach is set on a gorgeous stretch of pristine white sand beach, and the 169 rooms suites and 13 penthouse residences have all the Art Deco glamour of the 1950s.

 

 

 

 

The 4,515 sq. ft. Faena Suite showcases panoramic ocean views through floor-to-ceiling windows, a color palette of reds and blues alongside lush velvet and bold prints, and four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, furnished oceanfront balconies, a full kitchen, and an elegant living room.

 

 

 

 

Faena Hotel Miami Beach is also in an exclusive partnership with Red Bull for the Formula 1 race and will be the official Red Bull Guest House for Miami’s Formula 1 Grand Prix from May 5 – 9 2022. Guests who book four nights or more in a Premier Oceanfront One-Bedroom Suite or higher will enjoy access to specially curated events, DJ performances, and access to the official Red Bull Hospitality Suite offering the best views of the track.

 

 

 

Lanai Oceanfront King Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is known for glamour, allure, and luxe amenities. Located on Miami Beach, the hotel is zen-like with spacious and warm ocean color palettes throughout the hotel. The 1,100 sq ft Lanai Oceanfront King Suite is the perfect indoor/outdoor accommodation for the traveler seeking luxury, stunning views, and light-filled space . The expansive balcony provides an outdoor escape, and the spacious living areas and magnificent amenities include a full marble bathroom with plush terry robes to a large living and dining space ideal for entertaining and relaxing to the divine standalone tub, no detail has been overlooked.

 

 

 

Palace Suite at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

The stunning Palace Suite located on the 23rd floor of course offers panromantic views from four 210 sq ft balconies—three with chaise lounges, the other with a dining table for 10—accessible via sliding glass doors that let in ample daylight.

The  4 bedroom, 4 bathroom suite boasts an expansive living area boasting marble floors, a sleek table that seats four, as well as two large sofas. A well-equipped kitchenette and a glass dining table that can host meals for eight guests under modern pendant lights. State-of-the-art technology includes a wall-mounted 50-inch flat-screen TV in each living room and bedroom and a tablet that controls temperature, lighting, shades, and music.  All guests have access to St. Regis’s signature butler service.

 

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

Why ME Cabo Should Be On Your Travel List for 2022

Well-known as a chic, party-themed hotel, ME Cabo reopened in the fall of 2021 after a complete transformation. The weekend of the Day of the Dead, one of Mexico’s biggest holidays of the year was the rebirth of this popular destination. Drawing scores of bikini-clad, well-heeled travelers from the west coast, all over Mexico and a growing number from the rest of the United States, ME Cabo opened its doors again and is ready to impress after investing over $10 million in its total redesign. These are the five top reasons why the seaside ME Cabo resort should be on the bucket list for every Mexico-bound reveler.

The location

 

beach

Within walking distance of town, this resort doubles down on the nightlife and fun-in-the-sun vibe. Not only are you in perfect view of the famous El Arco from much of the resort, but you can be shopping, “cheersing” or boating just minutes after leaving the hotel. It may be hard to pull yourself away from the resort’s own beautiful stretch of beach, oceanfront pool and bevy of highly celebrated restaurants though.

 

The resort sits at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, and during the winter months, it is possible to see whales frolicking offshore. While the beaches are public, the resort does have a roped-off section with private chairs and umbrellas where guests can relax uninterrupted. The water is warm (this is Los Cabos’ only swimmable beach), and servers circle around to take orders from the nearby bar.

The party vibe

 

lounge

This is not the kind of place you come to for a quiet nap by the pool with cucumbers over your eyes. And the guest list here knows that. The upscale crowd here seeks out the party vibe making nightlife part of their daily routine, too. The rates here prohibit the Spring Break crowd from coming to the resort meaning it is ready and waiting for the often young, elite and chic crowds of Mexico City and Los Angeles.

 

 

saxophonist

As one of Meliá Hotels International’s brands, ME hotels are known globally for their sophisticated and fashionable party spirit. By the pool, dancers shimmy and shake from morning to night on pedestals as guests sip fruity cocktails or chilled Mexican beer. Clubby music emanates from speakers morning to night, and it is hard not to wake up in a good mood here. Even the hotel’s top suite has its own DJ booth for those that want to try their hand at mixing music. Poolside musicians perform throughout the day to entertain the crowd including jazz-style violinists and saxophonists.

 

A swim-up bar complements the roving pool servers, and visiting DJs often entertain at the beach club. The same thumping music continues in many of the bars and restaurants keeping the party mood alive throughout the day. It’s the kind of young and hip party place that is designed to impress.

This resort is not a mecca for conferences, but it does draw plenty of social events and weddings that take advantage of the beach club platform and pool area for parties.

Headline-worthy food and beverage

 

cocktail

Rosa Negra, famed for its numerous dining outlets in Mexico, is at the helm of the food and beverage experience here. It is responsible for the four dining and drinking outlets here, each with a focus to serve Latin American flavors using local ingredients.

 

Confessions Skybar & Tapas serves light bites of mostly Spanish fare with a mix of meat, seafood and veggie options. Arrive before sunset to catch the beautiful views, but once the sun goes down, the lights turn up for a DJ-fueled party atmosphere with coastal breezes. Dress to impress up here.

 

restaurant

 

Expect Thai, Chinese and Japanese fare at Funky Geisha while Mamazzita Mexican Soul serves three meals a day focused on traditional Mexican fare. Like the pool, musicians and entertainers perform throughout the space as guests dine on beautifully presented dishes. The Rosa Negra affiliation has brought tremendous buzz among foodies and from around the country to the resort. Don’t miss the fruit and grain bowls and chilaquiles at breakfast, which luckily serves until late.

 

lamb

At Taboo Beach Club, Mediterranean fare is the go-to option with everything from Greek-style rack of lamb to healthy platters of vegetables and chilled gazpacho. The outdoor setting is meant to feel like you’re at the beach on a Greek island or Turkish cafe.

 

The redesigned rooms

 

guest room

Perhaps the highlight of a stay here is the quiet spot you have to seek respite after a day partying by the pool or dancing on the beach. If you had stayed here before, you will hardly recognize the new look of the guest rooms. Polished tile floors and white-washed walls show off minimalist design with the occasional pops of color in the Mexican art and design pieces. Throughout the hotel, regional touches in Mexican art and design abound.

 

 

bed

The bedding features chic, yet unpretentious, bespoke bedding with power and USB outlets on either side of the bed. I particularly like how the bed is positioned to maximize the window views in many rooms. Open-plan bathrooms continue the edgy design with vanities stocked with towels and C.O. Bigelow toiletries. Separate marble rain shower and water closet sections make the entire bathroom and dressing area feel more spacious. Built-in luggage racks above drawers are another well-thought-out touch.

 

 

suite

Minibars (which the hotel calls “maxibars”) are stocked with regional Mexican products, but all rooms come with complimentary Evian bottled water. Suites add separate living room areas with day beds and Nespresso machines. There is a variety of suite types, some of which have outdoor whirlpools on the balcony and the most up-front-and-personal views of El Arco. Guests in the ME+ Suite enjoy a pre-reserved day bed at Taboo Beach Club each day of their stay.

 

The spa

lobby
The hotel’s redesigned lobby
PIN IT

With all of that partying, your body deserves a touch of pampering in between the ruckus. The spa is tucked away into a corner of the resort as if it were an afterthought, but once you pass through the changing rooms, you realize there is much more than meets the eye.

Grab a glass of chlorophyll water and head for the relaxation areas to feel the ocean breeze in the shade. Splashing waterfalls bring you into another world as you wait for your treatment. On the menu are facials, massages and medical treatments from a well-trained staff.

design details
The design details around the resort are beautiful.

In addition to sauna and steam room areas, there’s also a modern fitness center with the latest workout equipment, stacks of towels and a fridge stocked with chilled bottled water. It’s clear that many of those parading around the pool have spent at least some time in the gym or spa. For most of us though, the views and food are what clinches the deal when considering a top resort for a trip to famous Cabo.

Hunkering Down at The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker (sister hotel to Le Parker Meridien in New York) mixes casual, old school “Cali” with a bright, modern, yet minimalist facade. In addition to their signature restaurant, Mister Parker’s, the hotel houses Minibar, a retro cocktail lounge with light snacks, and Norma’s, an all-day diner. The centerpiece of the 13-acre property is the legendary pool. Towel claims start at the crack of dawn, so be sure to mark your chair early. A second, smaller salt-water pool is quieter and has an accompanying whirlpool.

 

starwood-hotels-Le-Parker-Méridien-Palm-Springs

Adjacent to the pool is the Lemonade Stand where you can cool off and quench your thirst with a lemonade made from fresh SoCal lemons. And of course “adult beverage” lemonades are available as well. The parker also offers a 16,500-square-foot spa, lawn croquet, pétanque, golf and tennis.

 

Edit_041-816x546

 

If the afternoon libation leaves you wanting more in the relaxation department, head to the Palm Springs Yacht Club (PSYC). A yacht club in the middle of the desert you ask? While the spa — which is open to the public — offers some serious pampering, it’s the sort of luxury experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

 

4146422406_eec9487a81_b

 

Dining out in downtown Palm Springs certainly has it’s place, but The Parker happens to be home to Mister Parker’s—a classic in it’s own right that can easily persuade guests into staying put. Beyond the velvet curtain entrance is a dining area that is more gentleman’s club than restaurant, with dark-wood paneling, a mirrored ceiling, and seductive artwork that begs for oysters and a Martini. The modern French/continental cuisine fits the décor and overall vibe with dressed up favorites like braised wagyu short rib, pistachio-crusted rack of lamb and duck confit with truffled potatoes. The dark, velvety, Palm Springs-of-old feel that Mister Parker’s exudes is exactly what the doctor ordered after a long day in the sun.

 

4200 E Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92264
760.770.5000

The London EDITION Hotel

Ian Schrager soared to fame in the 1970s as the co-founder of the infamous Studio 54 in New York City. Since then, the entrepreneur has served as a trailblazer in the hospitality industry.

By fusing his knowledge of pop culture and nightlife with time-tested traditions of accommodation, Schrager practically invented the concept of the boutique hotel in the mid-’80s.

Part of his ongoing EDITION Hotels brand, Schrager’s The London EDITION, can be found in London’s Fitzrovia neighborhood, a hip locale once favored by the likes of authors Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw. True to the hotel brand’s overall allure, The London EDITION combines the best in modern sensibility with exceptional service and innovative features.

The historic landmark that now houses London EDITION was once the home of the Berners Hotel. Schrager’s team sought to maintain the traditional charm of the building while adding updated design elements into the mix. The end result transcends time, offering echoes from its past and visions of its future. Just past the entrance, guests are greeted by “Portal,” a 3D digital piece crafted by Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn. Then mere feet away? There’s the reception area, which contains a tapestry, itself an elegant recreation of one that once belonged to King Louis XV of France.

At London EDITION, guests will also find a haven that offers majestic open spaces and luxuriously intimate rooms along with a restaurant, a fitness facility and two lounges. The hotel’s Lobby Bar looks like something that might have been dreamed up by the elusive aliens from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Green velvet couches linger beneath painstakingly restored interiors worthy of the Palace of Versailles. A portrait hangs over a marble fireplace across from a blackened steel bar, which rests besides four imposing antique mirrors. The Elderflower Power Sour, one the lounge’s signature cocktails, is definitely out of this world.

yabu-pushelberg-ian-schrager-the-london-edition-hotel-designboom-02

Berners Tavern, the hotel’s restaurant, is another jaw-dropper. Its intimate tables flow into a magnificent bar with golden shelves of bottles juxtaposed between rows of framed paintings and photographs. The menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner items that range from the savory to the sweet. Try one of the tavern’s grass-fed British steaks or the pan braised Atlantic halibut.

berners-tavern_3

Berners Tavern

There’s also the reservations-only Punch Room, an oak-paneled den that recalls London’s private clubs or a study in a 19th century manor house. As you may have guessed, cocktails rule here. Guests can order from a list of eight exquisitely mixed drinks that include gin-infused punch with oak moss. The lounge often features impromptu performances and a curated music selection that includes ragtime, blues, vintage soul and additional genres.

The-London-EDITION-Punch-Room-Please-credit-Nikolas-Koenig

yabu-pushelberg-ian-schrager-the-london-edition-hotel-designboom-20

Since its debut, and with good reason, London Edition has landed in the pages of Travel + Leisure, GQ and The Wall Street Journal. In terms of uniqueness and sophistication, Schrager’s most recent vision knows no equal.

Elegance and Opulence in NoMad

Elegant and upscale with a decidedly European feel, the NoMad Hotel—a design standout in it’s own right—is the crown jewel of the NoMad neighborhood. Housed in a turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts building with interiors by French designer Jacques Garcia and world-class dining and drinking from Daniel Hum and company (Eleven Madison), The Nomad has it all.

 

The rooms are cozy but elegantly appointed, featuring large beds with studded leather headboards, velvet tapestries, antique Heriz rugs, and free-standing clawfoot bathtubs. Throw in a breathtaking private rooftop, a Maison Kitsuné and the occasional cocktailed magic show starring Dan White, and there’s little reason to even leave the premises.

 

Perhaps our favorite feature? The fully curated, two-level library bar, connected by an original spiral staircase imported from the South of France. Guests can lounge throughout the day on custom-made furnishings and enjoy light fare and finger foods which are served alongside coffee, tea, wine and cocktails. An eclectic literary collection is available, featuring extensive volumes on such wide-ranging topics as The History of New York, Music, and Cocktails and Spirits. And if you’re feeling famished you can order off the regular menu, which includes their signature chicken for two—a whole chicken stuffed with foie gras (plus one optional).

1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

Fall Into Barcelona

Autumn can be a tricky season in Barcelona. The phrase “the rains in Spain fall gently on the plain” isn’t a misnomer and sometimes “gently” is a vast understatement. The weather tends to fluctuate between heavy rains and periods of sun that make Barcelona glow like a mythical lost city of gold. Usually by September, thunderstorms begin to drift in off the Mediterranean Sea, pounding the pavement along La Rambla.

Continue reading

A Midtown Mainstay for the Fashion Forward Traveler

Once home to a Garment District hat factory, the Refinery Hotel maintains its industrial aesthetic and fashion heritage with an updated sense of luxury. The decor is sleek and modern, yet inviting and comfortable. The location is convenient, and just steps from Bryant Park.

Drawing inspiration from their storied past, each of the spacious rooms at Refinery Hotel feature industrial accents such as 12-foot ceilings and distressed hardwood floors. While the 197 rooms call attention to the Colony Arcade’s early life as a hat factory, modern amenities like free WiFi, Noir bath products, and a mini bar stocked with Dean & DeLuca gourmet foods and local Hudson whiskey provide luxurious comforts.  

 

 

Serving breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner and cocktails in a nostalgic atmosphere, Parker & Quinn, The Refinery’s main restaurant, features classic design touches from the building’s early life as a working factory. Executive Chef Jeff Haskell takes a straightforward and rustic approach in his kitchen, relying on high-quality and locally sourced ingredients to produce balanced, approachable American dishes.  

The Refinery Rooftop, however, is the crowning jewel of the space; a rooftop bar and lounge featuring over 3,500-square feet of cinematic views of the Manhattan skyline and Empire State Building. A cozy interior space is complete with fireplace, water feature, and wooden ceilings constructed out of wood salvaged from the original building’s water tank. An expansive indoor/outdoor space capped by a retractable glass roof, an outdoor terrace with porch swings, and spectacular city views from every direction make the Refinery Rooftop one of the most dynamic and tasteful (if not a bit lavish) rooftops in the city.  

 

 

Lunch menu favorites on the Rooftop include Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Grilled Hanger Steak Flatbread and the Little Gem Caesar salad with watermelon radish and frico. At night, lively crowds gathers for signature cocktails developed by In Good Company mixologists with a focus on natural ingredients paired in surprising and refreshing combinations.

63 West 38th Street New York, NY 10002

Conrad Hotel & Resorts Comes to Los Angeles

Conrad Hotels & Resorts will be opening its first hotel in California in 2022. A part of Hilton’s luxury hotel brands, Conrad announced its debut in California with the signing of Conrad Los Angeles at The Grand LA, designed by Frank Gehry and located in downtown Los Angeles.

 

Downtown LA

 

“With Los Angeles experiencing its largest downtown development boom in nearly a century, we believe 2022 is the right time to introduce such a dynamic hotel and exciting development to this cultural epicenter,” said Danny Hughes, executive vice president and president, Americas, Hilton. “We’re thrilled to continue to expand Conrad’s footprint in the Americas and have the opportunity to bring this empowered and design-forward brand to a new market.”

 

 

Downtown LA

 

The 28-story Conrad Los Angeles is expected to open in 2022 and will include 305 boldly designed modern guest rooms, a spa, fitness center, elevated indoor/outdoor lobby with sweeping views of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a 16,000 sq. ft. rooftop terrace complete with a private pool deck overlooking bustling downtown Los Angeles. All amenities are set within the design-forward, 24-7 destination of The Grand LA.

 

POOL

 

The Grand LA will include 176,000 square feet of retail and dining space, more than 400 residences, and a landscaped public plaza that will host free arts programming throughout the year, including live concerts. Within walking distance of the Conrad include The Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, Grand Park, Colburn School, and The Music Center. A part of The Grand Avenue Project, the public-private partnership with the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority aims to revitalize downtown LA’s culture and showcase great public spaces with world-class architecture.

 

“The Grand LA is thrilled to host Hilton’s first Conrad property in California,” said Rick Vogel, senior vice president at Related Companies. “Conrad is one of Hilton’s high luxury brands for the Epicurean traveler in search of culture, arts and dining, which is aligned with The Grand LA’s landmark destination as the epicenter for arts and culture in LA. We look forward to welcoming Conrad Los Angeles’s first guests when The Grand LA opens in 2022.”

 

 

rooftop

 

For more information, please visithttps://newsroom.hilton.com/conrad.

 

The Beekman Hotel

An architectural gem hailed for its iconic nine-story atrium and pyramidal skylight, The Beekman unites some of the world’s greatest talent, including the sophisticated design of Martin Brudnizki and the culinary cachet of restaurateur and chef Tom Colicchio. Continue reading

Jimmy Buffet Comes To the Island of Manhattan

The newest Margaritaville Resort recently opened on an entirely different kind of island… the island of Manhattan!

 

PIN IT

 

Margaritaville Resort Times Square, the newest addition to the Margaritaville Lodging portfolio, is now open to the public. This 32-story laid back lounge-y resort destination sits smack in the middle of NYC’s hustle and bustle, truly transporting guests to an island oasis in the middle of Manhattan.

 

PIN IT

 

You can still nibble on a sponge cake and watch the sun bake from Margaritaville Resort Times Square’s 234 guest rooms, five restaurants and bars, year-round outdoor heated pool, and street-level Margaritaville retail store.

“The resort brings paradise to the island of Manhattan and offers something for everyone from families to happy hour with friends,” says Kori Yoran, General Manager.

 

PIN IT

 

Located at the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 40th Street, Margaritaville Resort Times Square is blocks away from the bright lights of Manhattan’s entertainment district and provides the ultimate location for a “no worries” vibe vacation immediately adjacent to New York’s most notable attractions, shopping, and museums.

 

 

PIN IT

 

Among its dining and drinks options, Margaritaville Resort Times Square’s LandShark Bar & Grill is home to Times Square’s only year-round outdoor heated pool, bringing the beach to Manhattan with a menu of poolside eats and drinks. And guests can also see jaw-dropping, 360-degree views of New York from Margaritaville Resort Time Square’s 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar without even changing out of their flip-flops!

Jimmy Buffett performs at Margaritaville Resort Times Square “First Look” at Margaritaville Resort Times Square on June 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
PIN IT

To celebrate the opening, the resort is offering a limited-time SummerzCool package, offering discounts for longer stays and a complimentary 1:00pm checkout… so they can sleep past noon in the city that never sleeps.

7 Great Hotels In San Francisco

While San Francisco may have become too expensive to live in, it is still relatively affordable to visit. Unlike New York City’s hotel scene, which seems to grow and grow, with trendy newcomers stealing the show, many of San Francisco’s top places to stay are the same properties they have always been—albeit some minor name changes.

Continue reading

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.

A new type of travel agent

“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?

A sea of information

“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 State of Travel: 2021

 

Having a Wild Time at Sting Ray City

One of the great things about visiting Grand Cayman in the Caribbean is the various day trips it has to offer. North, South and East of Seven Mile Beach, there are a number of scenic spots to visit and places to explore, including secret coves, underground caves, snorkeling and diving spots, botanical gardens, and pretty beaches.

One of our favorite day excursions was a boat tour to picturesque Rum Point, with a stop at Stingray City, Grand Cayman’s #1 tourist attraction (and for a reason), along the way.

 

Day trip to Stingray City in Cayman Islands

 

My family and I knew that we wanted to visit Stingray City to swim with the stingrays, and we knew that we wanted to check out another part of the island; Rum Point is on the north end of the island in a serene setting away from it all. So, a boat excursion to both seemed like a good fit.

 

Red Sail Sports

We booked our tour with Red Sail Sports directly through the Westin Hotel the day before, and it couldn’t have been easier. Depending on which hotel you stay at, you will have several options of tours to book. Some include Rum Point with snorkeling near the coral reef, while others include Stingray City with Rum Point and Starfish Point, while some focus on diving. And if you’re not staying at a hotel, you can just book through a local operator, such as Red Sail and Captain Marvin’s.

 

Red sail Sports Catamaran in Grand Cayman

 

“Public” Catamaran

We decided to book our tour on a catamaran. As it happened, friends of ours told us they went on the Red Sail catamaran the day before and said it was an amazing experience. So that’s what we did. We went with another group of friends and about 20 other people on the “public” catamaran (not a private charter), and it was perfect for us. Though it’s bigger than a private one, it still felt fairly small, and we even had a corner of the boat to ourselves where our girls could lie on the “trampoline”.

Let me begin by saying, from beginning to end, this day trip was perfect. The weather was fantastic, the Red Sail staff were great, and everything ran along seamlessly. From the moment we boarded the shuttle to the marina and onto the catamaran and throughout the entire day, there were no hiccups.

 

Part of the reason why the day went so smoothly was the Red Sail staff was superb. It was about 4 or 5 people, including a photographer for Stingray City, and they were all knowledgeable, fun, funny and engaging. They gave us a run-down of the day and informed us on how to handle the stingrays, and off we jetted into the sea.

WHAT IS STINGRAY CITY?

Our first stop, and about a half hour from the Seven Mile beach area, was Stingray City. What is Stingray City, you may be wondering? It’s a group of sandbars out in the middle of the sea, some very shallow at 3-4 feet, some much deeper (where the divers go). The shallow ones you can obviously stand on, and that’s where many of the tour boats go.

 

red-Sail-Stingray-City-tour-Grand-CaymanPin this image on Pinterest

It is said that in the 1970’s fishermen would clean their fish and dump the fish guts into the sandbars, and that the stingrays caught on and would frequent the fishermen whenever they were there. That turned into the fishermen and divers feeding them, and the stingrays swarming them every time they came. They were very docile and adapted to being around humans, and eventually the tours started. The stingrays are still completely in the wild, only now they’re used to being around humans.

 

Playing with a stingray at Stingray City in Grand CaymanPin this image on Pinterest
Swimming with the Sting Rays

Visiting Stingray City was a unique experience – we swam with them, touched them, and with the help of the staff, held them. All out in the middle of the turquoise water in the middle of the sea. It was pretty spectacular. My girls, ages 12 and 10, were a bit shy and nervous, but the Red Sail guys helped them with every move. All of us were able to hold a stingray, and even give it a kiss! As I mentioned, there was a photographer on board, so we were able to get pictures with the cute rays as well.

 

Touching a stingray at Stingray City in the Cayman IslandsPin this image on Pinterest

 

Stingray City will definitely go down as one of my girls’ favorite vacation activities of all time, for the playfulness and sheer joy of it. Once we re-boarded the boat (after about 45 minutes), we were on our way to Rum Point, where we were to spend the remainder of the day.

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

A Travel Advisor’s Take on Family Travel in 2021

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.

 

The first one is family vacations to national parks, such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Acadia and the Great Smoky Mountains. They offer wide open space in nature, and are much more easy to socially distance in than a city. The vaccine is encouraging news, but as it will take some time to distribute, people are still going to be more inclined to travel to places where they can be outdoors. The U.S. national parks have always been a favorite for family vacations—now more than ever.

Road trips, RV’s, and glamping were huge in the summer of 2020. They will continue to be big in 2021 as well. Families can be outdoors and socially distanced, and simply by themselves. It’s a great way for East Coasters to discover the west, and vice-versa. Speaking of “by themselves”, private home and small hotel rentals are going to continue to soar. With the onset of COVID-19, many hotel groups ramped up their villa and home offerings—simply by building more. There is a vast array of hotel homes to stay in, either with just your family or a group of families (or friends). A great example of a small hotel to rent out is Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte, CO. Want all the luxuries of staying in a 5-star hotel, but don’t want to be around a ton of people?  Lodges like this provide the perfect solution.

Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte, CO is a family ski vacation dream spot with all the amenities and Colorado style.

 

The bunk room at Scarp Ridge Lodge is like none other—perfect for kids.

As 2021 moves along, and so does the vaccine, international travel will undoubtedly pick up. It may be slow in the beginning as people adjust to the idea of long-distance travel, but one thing is for sure—once the vaccine is distributed and the country has “herd” immunity, international travel is going to come back with a vengeance—especially with those who like to travel a lot. Big trips will be a form of compensation for many, for the long hiatus.

 

As far as which places will be most popular first, that of course depends on the administration of the vaccine, and which countries open first. I don’t have a crystal ball, but it is generally considered that places such as Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and Bahamas will be hugely popular. Mexico and Costa Rica, for one, don’t require a COVID test to enter. That is appealing to some, and not appealing to others. While these countries may be easy to get into, they may also become more risky. But we are already seeing Mexico as a hugely desirable destination.

Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos is another family friendly dream spot with tons of hotels at different price ranges.

Another trend that is and will be big—even for families—is wellness travel. People have been put through the ringer in 2020, and what they really want is to relax, recharge, and renew…get a treatment, get a massage, get their body in shape. People (parents included!) want serenity and tranquility. Places such as the Caribbean, Costa Rica and Mexico can provide them with a sense of total relaxation among white sand beaches and turquoise blue water. And the kids won’t complain.

 

Europe is a bit hard to predict at this point, but Greece will most likely be a hot spot. It did well with COVID, and opened in 2020, just not to Americans. Much like the Caribbean being a place of beauty and peacefulness, so are the Greek islands. The sea, beaches, healthy Mediterranean food are all tonics for the soul. The Greek islands provide a sense of adventure too – they are in Europe and you can hop around from one island to the next. And the Greek culture is extremely family-friendly.

Mykonos Island, Greece. The Greek isles should be a hot destination when international travel bounces back.

Another European country very much in a similar vain is Italy. Italy is the mother of family-friendly destinations, and I have written a lot about the country, as I have taken a few family vacations there with my kids. Yes, Italy did not do well with COVID, but once the vaccine is in full-effect, Italy will be huge for family travel. Simply put, it always has been, and always will be.

 

Rounding out Europe, I suspect that Portugal, Spain and Switzerland will be popular for family vacations as well. Portugal has the Algarve, with its dramatic coastline and beaches; Spain has its beaches and islands, such as Mallorca, Menorca and the Canary Islands; and Switzerland of course has its mountains and stunning scenery—a nature lover’s paradise.

 

It will be interesting to see—as the vaccine takes shape—how each country progresses. No one can predict what will happen, and things are ever-changing, but I believe these trends give us an idea of where things are headed.

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