ampr march 2018 update

April 10th, 2018

What’s New?

The Lowell’s ever-popular Pembroke Room, known for its chic Afternoon Tea and polished service, is relaunching in April 2018 – complete with a new outdoor terrace for alfresco brunching.

PONANT announces the first electric hybrid Icebreaker ship coming in 2021, which will safely cut through ice flow up to eight feet thick and travel to the true geographic North Pole (at 90 degrees North Latitude).

andBeyond Phinda Homestead in KwaZulu-Natal will reopen on September 1, 2018 after a complete rebuild. This standalone safari lodge allows travelers a completely private safari experience, ideal for family or group travel – no sharing safari vehicles and total control over the day’s schedule.

From March 1 through April 30, The Dupont Circle in Washington DC is celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival with a special ‘In Full Bloom’ package including a stay at the hotel, the chef’s cherry blossom themed welcome amenity, a $25 dining credit, and complimentary valet parking.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort has officially opened two of the five ultra-luxe Beachfront Collection residences. Images of the new homes – complete with infinity pools and floor-to-ceiling glass windows – are available for stays now.

Domaine de Manville in the heart of Provence received its first Michelin Star for its restaurant, l’Aupiho, helmed by Chef Matthieu Dupuis Baumal.

Vista Collina Resort in Napa is projected to open Summer 2018 and will feature 145 guestrooms. Adjacent to the property will be the Village, featuring nine tastings room, a food and wine center, and a 16,000 square foot lawn for concerts and events.

Jamaica’s GoldenEye launches veggie cocktails, featuring local produce from Pantrepant, the hotel’s farm. New elixirs include: the Cucumber Martini; Beetroot, Bourbon, and Scotch bonnet cocktail; and the Arugula and Celery Sour.

Royal Mansour Spa has unveiled a new series of bespoke hammam treatments where each step of the hammam process can be customized beginning with three types of body wraps, two types of kessa gloves, and a variety of Leonor Greyl shampoos for varying hair types.

Belmond has expanded its Italian portfolio with the acquisition of Castello di Casole, a historic castle hotel in the heart of rural Tuscany. The intimate 39-room hotel sits within 4,200 acres of farmland, vineyards, and olive groves – one of the largest private estates in Italy.

Travel to Brazil is easier than ever with a newly-launched e-visa system for American travelers To make the most of a Brazilian vacation, travelers can book Belmond’s ‘Grand Tour of Brazil’ – a five-night itinerary that includes the brand’s properties on Copacabana Beach and in Iguassu falls – or go off-the-beaten-path with a visit to UXUA on the remote shores of Trancoso.

Strawless and Flawless

Hotels are eschewing plastic straws for more sustainable options like paper or bamboo. According to The Last Plastic Straw project, 500 million straws are used and thrown away every day in the US, which is about 175 billion per year.

Nayara Springs, set on the fringes of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, only uses bamboo straws across the property’s restaurants and bars – mixologist Monica Gonzalez is on-hand to whip up poolside cocktails made with local fruits.

The Doyle Collection’s London hotels (The Marylebone, The Kensington, and The Bloomsbury) just officially became plastic-straw-free and are now moving to roll out this policy brand-wide, from Dublin to Cork to Washington DC.

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and the new andBeyond Bateleur Camp (reopening this month after a complete renovation), both on Kenya’s Masai Mara, have discontinued all plastic straw usage – falling into line with their ethos: care of the land, care of the wildlife, care of the people.

Go Global with Locals


andBeyond’s new philanthropic-focused itineraries in Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa give guests first-hand experiences with the locals in the community, like participating in school conservation lessons in Tanzania.

Guests of Nayara Springs can visit the source of the resort’s chocolate at a local farm. The owners will teach travelers the process of chocolate-making.

During PONANT’s voyages through the Northwest Passage, guests will have opportunity to meet with locals in charming Inuit villages to learn about the culture.

Majestic Hotel & Spa has an exclusive relationship with local marine biologist Anna Bozzano, the only tour guide approved to visit the Barcelona Fish Market where she teaches about the market’s innerworkings.

Connecting guests with the local community is elemental to every Belmond experience. Highlights include art lessons with Jose Luis Arias, a graduate of the local Instituto Allende, at the newly renovated Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, and a walking tour with a former prison guard of Nelson Mandela’s that begins at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

Sugar Beach guests who hike the Gros Piton follow a guide from the local village up the two-hour climb.

Over-the-top Amenities

Guests at La Réserve Paris can create their ownbespoke scent with the help of a professional ‘nose.’

Thanks to Kinloch Anderson, kilt maker to Her Royal Highness the Queen, travelers on Belmond Royal Scotsman are swept to the showroom for a private fitting, and a fully customized kilt arrives at their doorstep 8-10 weeks later in the family tartan or a pattern from the train. During their journey, guests will find a complimentary set of Highland Dress (kilts for men, skirts for women) awaiting them in their train cabin.

One of the new Beachfront Collection residences available to buy or book for stay at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach will have a waterslide connecting an infinity pool to a lower level hot tub and yoga deck.

Guests who book the top, three-bedroom suite at the White Elephant, White Elephant Village or The Wauwinet will receive the keys to a BMW for the duration of their stay.

At andBeyond Mnemba Island, instead of your typical tray of room service arriving in your room, the lodge will dig a custom “sand castle” dining room on the beach in front of your suite and serve freshly caught seafood surrounded by lantern light.

Located on the shores of Lac Léman, La Réserve Geneva has its very own Venetian Motoscafo boat that takes guests to go to and from the city center.

Majestic Hotel & Spa’s Royal Penthouse Suite – the largest suite in Barcelona – is home to a Bar Au Parfum stocked with five 200 ml bottles of Atelier Cologne, available for use throughout the stay. Guests can take home a complimentary leather case, engraved with their name and filled with 30ml sized bottles of each of the colognes.

Calendar

April

April 2018: Belmond La Residencia will unveil a new suite created by fashion designer Matthew Williamson.

April 2018: Belmond will add two new barges to its Belmond Afloat in France fleet. The two “floating hotels” will travel the rivers of Champagne and Alsace

April 2018: The Pembroke Room at The Lowell completes a renovation

April 7-17, 2018: andBeyond’s Eat, Pray and Love journey departs in India

April 28-29, 2018: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda will serve as the official host hotel for the ITU World Triathlon, the first time it is held in Bermuda

May

May 4, 2018: In honor of its 100th anniversary, Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona will serve a new pre-fixe dinner replicating the hotel’s original restaurant menus

May 19, 2018: The Royal Wedding will be screened all day at The Kensington in London

May 25, 2018: La Maison du Chocolat’s Bien Être collection is available in boutiques and online

June

June 10, 2018: Sterling Vineyard’s 2nd Annual RoseFest will feature 30+ Napa Valley rose tastings with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation

June 15-16, 2018: In honor of the Nantucket Boat Basin’s 50th anniversary, the marina will host its first-ever Father’s Day Fishing Tournament where teams will compete for the top title in categories such as heaviest fish and most fish caught

ampr february 2018 update

February 5th, 2018

What’s New

Travelers can take on the trending neighborhood of Shinjuku in Tokyo with Park Hyatt Tokyo’s original English Shinjuku area map designed by Japanese fashion illustrator, Hiroshi Watatani. Guests can navigate the winding alleys and track down the best (and often hidden) pint-sized bars, restaurants, and shops per the map’s insider advice.

As part of the final phase of the renovation that doubled the property’s footprint, Royal Mansour will open their new Kid’s Club in Le Jardin this month.

Former Rockette-turned-celebrity fitness trainer, Amanda Kloots is heading to Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort this month to lead fitness classes under St. Lucia’s shady palms. Amanda will teach her signature classes The Dance and The Body, the same workouts she does with her celebrity clients like Zendaya, Hannah Bronfman, and Zach Braff.

andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge will reopen in June 2018 in South Africa after a complete refurbishment, inspired by the plantation-style homesteads of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar cane and pineapple barons.

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is launching ‘Slow Beauty’ wellness retreats in April 2018, including a workshop on the health benefits of Mayan-inspired rituals, a bicycle tour through the Mayan jungle, and a Shaman ceremony on the beach. The retreat will focus on anti-aging daily rituals that allow for personal reflection and connecting with the mind, body, and soul.

PONANT is introducing a new itinerary ‘Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites,’ including special access at Kew Gardens and Chelsea Physic Garden and a gala luncheon at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. The journey departs May 14-22, 2019 sailing to the British Isles, Belgium, and Norway.

La Réserve Genève is offering a special package for the Geneva International Motor Show, March 8-18, 2018. The offer includes a stay in a superior room, daily breakfast, entry to the show, and transfer to/from the Palexpo convention center in a Bentley Flying Spur or Bentayga.

Napa Valley’s Ink House opened as a four-bedroom Inn in January 2018. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property was first built in 1885 by prominent Napa farmer, Theron Ink as a single-family home.

Bermuda’s Hamilton Princess & Beach Club now offers complimentary BMW bicycles for guests to explore the town and waterfront.

Laces and Limos provides a new Napa Valley winery tour experience with its fleet of eco-friendly electric Tuk Tuk vehicles.

Isn’t It Romantic?

Adventurous couples on andBeyond’s 11-day Romantic East Africa safari sleep in cozy stilted treehouse suites at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, picnic on Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater floor, stargaze on the Serengeti plains, and swim with dolphins at andBeyond Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar.

Couples at the adults-only Nayara Springs indulge in a private romantic dinner in their own newly-built stone pavilion tucked amongst the flora and fauna of Costa Rica’s rainforest – complete with a personal chef and specially-designed gourmet menu, featuring herbs and vegetables grown on-property and cheese sourced from the nearby dairy farm.

Valentines can laze in bed all day with special his and hers Valentine’s Day pajamas with The Lowell’s Valentine’s Day package.

Park Hyatt Tokyo’s Pastry Boutique will offer an array of Valentine’s chocolates and sweets for 2018 – from sake truffles to apple-shaped cakes to rose petal macarons. The goodies have a longer shelf life as in Japan, the holiday White Day follows Valentine’s Day (where boys are expected to give sweets to the girls who gifted them Valentine’s Day treats).

La Réserve Paris is celebrating the holiday with a Valentine’s Day Offer, including a complimentary upgrade, Champagne, and a surprise VIP welcome in the room, followed by dinner at the two-Michelin-starred Le Gabriel.

Domaine de Manville is welcoming guests with a couple’s spa treatment including a relaxing bath, followed by Champagne, and capped off with a five-course caviar dinner at La Table.

For a night out on Broadway, The Chatwal offers its guests two tickets to the Tony-Award-winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical with a three-course, pre-theater dinner at The Lambs Club and a ‘Beauty’ manicure at The Chatwal’s Red Door Spa by Elizabeth Arden.

Royal Mansour’s ‘St. Valentine’s Stay’ package includes a three-night stay in a one-bedroom Riad and a Valentine’s themed dinner at La Table. Guests can relax with a spa treatment for two in the hotel’s three-story spa in the privacy of their own Spa Suite, featuring a hammam, a plunge pool with a terrace, and a relaxation area.

Belmond Charleston Place Hotels ‘Glamorous Getaway’ package is perfect for a Galentine’s Day in the heart of downtown Charleston. It includes accommodations on the hotel’s privately-accessed Club Level, with full access to the two-story Club Lounge and its complimentary all-day food and beverages, and a $50 toward the new in-house Elysium Salon.

Take a private sabrage lesson with Verve Napa Valley. Learn the ancient art form and how to sabre a bottle of sparkling wine.

Enjoy a sunset picnic for two at Firefly, Noel Coward’s former hilltop home, offering the best views of the sunset in Jamaica.

A Special-tea Offer

andBeyond takes travelers to the family-run Glenburn Tea Plantation, set against the back drop of the Himalayas, to witness a tea harvesting and brewing from start-to-finish – from the withering, rolling, fermenting, drying, and sorting of tea leaves to a tea tasting along the banks of the River Rungeet.

Belmond British Pullman is hosting themed Paddington Afternoon Tea journeys in honor of the movie release of Paddington 2. While onboard the 1920s and 30s carriages – which are featured in the movie – parents and their little cubs will be treated to live musical entertainment along with an array of sweet and savory snacks including mini-cakes and marmalade sandwiches.

For Park Hyatt Tokyo’s proprietary blends of tea, the leaves are picked from the hotel’s very own plot 300 miles away in the Inokura tea fields in the city of Nara with exclusively-grown black, green, and oolong teas.

Inspired by the movie release of Beauty and the Beast, Town House at The Kensington in London is offering a ‘Tale as Old as Time’ Afternoon Tea, with Mrs. Potts and Chip Potts dishware, a Cogsworth Chocolate Tart, and a Lumière White Chocolate Mousse.

The Pembroke Rooms Afternoon Tea at The Lowell is one of New York City’s best kept secrets and has a Tea Sommelier to help guests choose their perfect match from over 15 teas on the menu. The blends are sourced from French purveyor Dammann Frères and are paired with traditional English tea sandwiches, caviar blinis, and foie gras canapés.

The famous afternoon tea at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town offers a range of teas from around the world, including the hotel’s very own Mount Nelson Tea – a blend of six teas from India, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and rose petals from the hotel’s own signature pink roses.

Majestic Hotel & Spa is launching a dedicated Vegan Afternoon Tea in February, featuring mini almond mousse, Gianduja chocolate short bread with confit lemon, and a Majestic vegan cookie.

Spring Break Ideas for the Family

In Paddington’s homeland of Peru, Belmond has created new four- and seven-night itineraries that include family-friendly activities such as bear-shaped cookie making, a Paddington-themed movie-under-the-stars night, afternoon tea in a secret garden, and of course plenty of marmalade to go around.

The Chatwal welcomes its ViBabies to New York with new amenities designed to help the youngest VIP guests and their parents travel in comfort and style. Delivered in a cherry-red Margherita Missoni backpack, ViBabies will receive an Honest Oh Baby! Kit filled with a line of all-organic toiletries, a Chatwal Charlie plush toy, a bedtime story book, and a menu of organic baby purées curated by The Lambs Club.

andBeyond Bateleur Camp on the Masai Mara will reopen with a new family suite in March, just in time for spring break. The littlest andBeyond travelers can enroll in the WILDchild program for fun (and educational) safari activities with the rangers, such as Maasai obstacle courses and building a fire the Maasai way (and of course roasting marshmallows) – a scrapbook is on hand to document their memories in the bush.

Explore the streets of Barcelona with Majestic Hotel & Spa’s scooter program, offering folding scooters and helmets (both child- and adult-size), a backpack with water and snacks, and an iPad loaded with themed maps and itineraries. For extra credit, families can select the Spanish language tour option to take in La Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila in the native tongue.

From ziplining to kayaking to nature and waterfall hikes, Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens is the adventure-packed vacation of every kid’s dreams. Families can explore the Arenal Volcano, with all its flora and fauna (including Nayara’s sloth sanctuary), by foot – or add a little thrill via bike, horseback, or ATV.

Nantucket’s White Elephant offers the Mini Chef program, where children are invited to decorate cupcakes and cookies in 45-minute weekly sessions. For a fun night in at the hotel, children can snuggle up in kid-sized robes and have an in-room camp-out, complete with teepees and faux, indoor campfires.

St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort’s Sugar Club and Spice Club offer kids and teens their own version of paradise. The Sugar Club welcomes children ages 4-12 and offers treasure hunts, arts and crafts, and coconut bowling, while the Spice Club caters to teens and tweens with ping pong, croquet, pool tournaments, and pinball machines, as well as a sailing school.

Jamaica’s GoldenEye was the former home of Ian Fleming and the site where he penned all 14 James Bond novels. His gardener, Ramsey Dacosta, still works on the property and leads activities, including coconut carving and nature walks for children.

While Napa Valley is famous for wine, the region has plenty to offer to families. Sign up for a tour of the Castello di Amorosa, a 13th-century Tuscan castle and winery perched on a hill just south of Calistoga, where kids can sip on grape juice. Stroll di Rosa, a museum where families can participate in activities including painting portraits.

Calendar

March

March 2018: andBeyond Bateleur Camp reopens after an extensive renovation on the Maasai Mara

March 4, 2018: The Napa Valley Marathon celebrates its 40th anniversary

March 6-18, 2018: andBeyond’s Snow Leopard Expedition departs in the Himalayas

March 21, 2018: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express launches new Grand Suites

April

April 2018: The Pembroke Room at The Lowell completes a renovation

April 7-17, 2018: andBeyond’s Eat, Pray and Love journey departs in India

April 20, 2018: La Réserve Ramatuelle will re-open for the season with renovated villas

April 22-25, 2018: Domaine de Manville is introducing a new, three-day wedding workshop with Style Me Pretty editor Stephanie Weers and photographer Tamara Gruner

April 28-29, 2018: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda will serve as the official host hotel for the ITU World Triathlon, the first time it is held in Bermuda

May

May 2018: La Maison du Chocolat’s Bien Être collection is available in boutiques and online

May 16-20, 2018: Nantucket Wine Festival will feature more than 600 wines from 150 global wineries

 

what we want for valentine’s day

February 13th, 2015

This Valentine’s Day, it’s not only flowers and chocolate on our minds. We want…

A cocktail class at The Brooklyn Kitchen

This colorful book to sit on a coffee table

One of these, in red, to whip around in

An assortment of (one is never enough!) mini cupcakes from this Upper East Side bakery

This personalized bag for traveling

This little gadget for when our hearts get pumping

A bottle (or two or three) of this chilling in the fridge

Kleenex, Maker’s Mark, and this ice cream

 

Have a good weekend!

how to celebrate national rum punch day

September 18th, 2014

This week in  NYC we really started to feel the chill creep up.  Instead of rushing for cashmere throw blankets and Farmer’s Market hot apple cider, we’re burying our heads in the proverbial sand and grasping one last inch of summer.  How?  By throwing a Rum Punch Party! We highly recommend you do the same to celebrate National Rum Punch Day on Saturday, September 20.  Here’s how:

Step 1: Mix up one or all of our preferred rum libations (recipes below)

Step 2: Tune into some Reggae and steel drum beats (may we suggest the Jolly Boys?)

Step 3: Fill your home with sand and palm trees and transform your bathtub into a swimming pool (optional)

Traditional Rum Punch at Sugar Beach in St. Lucia

3 oz fresh pineapple juice
3 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz g St. Lucia Distillers Crystal White Rum
1 oz St. Lucia Distillers Bounty Rum
1 oz grenadine syrup for color

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into an ice filled glass. Sprinkle the top with fresh nutmeg and dress with fresh pineapple.

Blackwell Rum Cooler at Island Outpost’s GoldenEye in Jamaica

  • 2 oz Blackwell Rum
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 orange
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • 1 can of ginger ale
  • 6 to 10 ice cubes

Mix Blackwell Rum with muddled lime and orange, brown sugar and crushed ice, top with ginger ale and garnish with orange slices.

 

AMPR TOP FIVE: bars with a view

July 15th, 2014

This summer, we’re taking our olives and twists on tour.

Here are our top four destinations for the most luxurious 5 o’clock somewhere.

1. MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE, KENYA

AMPR’s favorite garnish this summer is the sound of the Great Migration rattling the ice cubes in our gin and tonic. The only barrier between you and the wild is the drink in your hand at andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, situated where the forest meets the plains.

2. TOKYO, JAPAN

Sip Yamazaki neat at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s The Peak Bar, 41 stories into the sky and lit entirely by washi paper lanterns.

3. RAMATUELLE, FRANCE

Suspended between the clouds and the Mediterranean Sea, La Réserve Ramatuelle’s bar overlooks the crystal waters of the French Riviera. Hotelier Michel Reybier serves his private label Cos d’Estournel, a Sauvignon Blanc grown from his personal vineyard.

4. NANTUCKET ISLAND, MASSACHUSETTS

Sit under the Brant Point Grill’s shady canopy and gaze out at The White Elephant statue, a harbor-side symbol of the eponymous hotel’s history. Drink of choice: Lobster Bloody Mary.

 

 

 

global coffee culture

July 10th, 2014

The New York Times recently reported that the place to find great coffee in NYC is everywhere. Cult roasters and specialty ateliers are king.  Starbucks is out.  Dunkin’ Donuts who? Sipping Muganjo at Kaffe1668 and browsing cafe-slash-design shop Budin has put us in a coffee state of mind.  Let’s take a closer look at coffee culture across the continents. How do you take your coffee? Elephant dung or two shots of rum?

 

CALIFORNIA
Dotting the vineyards of Napa Valley are specialty coffee shops serving brews with coffee ice cubes. The sun shouldn’t water down your morning routine.

GERMANY
Nothing says “guten Morgen” like two shots of rum, a cube of sugar, and whipped cream. Oh, and coffee, of course. You will typically find Pharisӓer coffee in Northern Germany. In the shopping-savvy Cologne or the posh-centric Düsseldorf, seek out the locals-only spots.

 

THAILAND
Brought to you by the elephant you rode in on, Black Ivory Coffee is made from native Arabica coffee beans that have been consumed by the local elephants, digested, dried, and then brewed in a special 19th century Austrian-style siphon.

 

ITALY
Affogato (literally meaning “drowned”) is a “hot-meets-cold” specialty, adding the richness of vanilla gelato to Italian espresso.  Enjoy a cup on your break from winding around the Venitian canals or navigating the Roman ruins.

 

JAPAN
The Tokyo bustle leaves no time for waiting in coffeeshop lines. While on the go, pick up a Boss coffee from local vending machines. Depending on the season, this delicious canned coffee can warm you in the winter, or cool down your summer.

AUSTRALIA
Made from caffeine-free wattleseeds, the Wattlecino is popular for its chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut profile. Enjoy buzz-free relaxation at the Sydney harbor, beverage in hand.

 

MOROCCO
While shopping the Souks of Marrakech, stop for a café des épices. Stall owners brew their choice of spices into coffees laced with everything from ginger, black pepper, sesame, cardamom, and more.

 

one&only hayman island to launch in april 2014

September 5th, 2013

Mulpha Australia has entered into an agreement with Kerzner International Holdings Limited, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury resorts, to assume management of the highly acclaimed luxury island resort Hayman, Great Barrier Reef. Hayman will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation and be re-launched as One&Only Hayman Island in April 2014 – One&Only’s first resort in Australia.

Positioned in the most beautiful locales in the world, One&Only offers an unparalleled commitment to the finest holiday experiences on every possible level, catering to the most discerning travelers around the globe. Each award-winning One&Only resort offers memorable experiences through a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, genuine hospitality and vivid energy that is unrivaled.

Hayman is located in the very heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, surrounded by an amazing natural ecosystem of pristine coral reef formations and diverse marine life. Showcasing the natural elements of the iconic location, One&Only will present a number of unique guest experiences, enhanced accommodations, new culinary options and signature One&Only service throughout the resort.

Fashion Week Spotlight: Christian LaCroix-designed, Hotel du Petit Moulin

February 21st, 2013

As Fashion Week winds down in New York and continues on, escape to Paris, the city that is home to Chanel, Hermes, Dior, and Louis for your own Fashion Week experience.

Hôtel du Petit Moulin, designed by Christian LaCroix and located in Paris’ trendy Marais district, is offering the “Ooh Là Là Vintage Fashion Masterclass” package. This experience evokes a bygone era with custom-made vintage clothing matched with a decadent champagne and tea service. Ooh Là Là Vintage, a top purveyor of retro fashion, first consults with guests to pinpoint their favorite vintage looks. Then, following a fitting, dressed in their chosen attire, guests enjoy a grand afternoon tea. And for true fashion enthusiasts, sister company Madame Tra La La is on hand to custom-design vintage pieces to be taken home as a souvenir.

Rates from €335 (approx. $440) per night (minimum stay of two nights), including daily breakfast. The package is offered through December 31 (perfect if you want to avoid the hub-bub of Fashion Week).

To book visit www.hotelpetitmoulinparis.com or call 33 (0)1 42 74 10 10

 

January is Napa Valley Restaurant Month

December 14th, 2012

 

The third annual Napa Valley Restaurant Month is coming back in January! Over 35 restaurants, both Michelin-starred and hometown favorites, are offering special lunch and dinner menus that celebrate the region’s world-renowned wines and artisanal produce. Savor exotic bites such as sea urchin carbonara at Morimoto Napa, smoked trout Lyonnaise at Fish Story, coq au vin at Bistro Jeanty, or sweet, crispy pork belly at Cindy Pawlcyn’s new Wood Grill and Wine Bar.

Throughout the Napa Valley, from Downtown Napa to Calistoga, wineries will offer tastings of decadent reds and whites, the boutiques and galleries that line each town’s charming main streets are open for those in need of retail therapy, warming geothermal spring waters are at the ready for refreshing mind and body, and the miles of hiking and biking trails are accessible for adventurous outings.

Many of Napa Valley’s hotels are offering special lodging packages, making it easier for guests to enjoy the region’s “Cabernet Season” including the Harvest Inn in St. Helena with its country estate-like accommodations, Mount View Hotel & Spa, which is located in the heart of the spa town of Calistoga, and the Inn on First, a quintessential Napa B&B experience.  For a complete list of participating restaurants and to book special hotel offers, click here.

About Napa Valley Cabernet Season

After harvest, when the wines are safely aging in barrels, the pace slows as the weather cools and the Napa Valley’s chefs cook heartier seasonal dishes that pair beautifully with the region’s famed Cabernet Sauvignon and other great red wines – hence the moniker “Cabernet Season.”  From late November through April, the Napa Valley’s hills are carpeted in vibrant green grasses, and the brilliant hues of yellow wild mustard flowers, purple lupine, golden California poppies, and crimson clover are scattered through the vineyards and along country lanes.  It’s a time to relax, savor and restore.  For information on special lodging packages that make it easier to stay longer, go to VisitNapaValley.com.

 

toast to toast: the perfect New Year’s Eve party

December 10th, 2012

The perfect New Year’s Eve Bubbly Party, and the perfect breakfast to soak it up, courtesy of One&Only Cape Town

(A recipe for success, and a recipe for the morning after)

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE

New Years Eve is for bubbles. Instead of just uncorking one bottle of champagne at midnight, start at 9 and pop a new brand each hour on the hour, starting with the finest and working down to that last 1am bottle for lingering party guests. We spoke with Luvo Ntezo, head sommelier at One&Only Cape Town and the top young sommelier in Africa, for his top bubbly picks for a perfectly planned New Year’s Eve party that will raise the bar for all future fêtes. Pass off Luvo’s expertise as your own and wow the crowd – we won’t tell!

Bubbles

Start with the nicest champagne and work down – guests will be in festive, New Year’s mode after a flute or two.

Supplies

The total bottle-to-guest ratio should be 1:1 – this ensures that each guest has at least one flute of champagne per hour. Depending on your guests’ drinking preferences, double or triple the amount of champagne purchased based on the number of flutes you think will be consumed per person per hour because according to Luvo, “only a poor host leaves glasses without a good pour.” Also be sure to have several extra champagne flutes on hand “just in case”.

 

Schedule

9PM       Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1998

Tasting Notes: Named after Winston Churchill, the Cuvée is made in his favorite style – robust, full-bodied, and dominated by Pinot Noir.

10PM    Armand di Brignac Brut Rosé

Tasting Notes: Touted as one of the best champagnes in the world, this Brut Rosé has aromas of black currant and strawberries, with a bouquet of delicately smoky grilled notes and red fruit.

11PM    Krone Borealis Brut Rosé MCC (Methode Cap Classique)

Tasting Notes: Elegant, classic biscuity bouquet, with yeasty creaminess and fine, persistent bubbles.

12AM    Steenberg ‘1682’ MCC (Methode Cap Classique)

Tasting Notes: The 1682 Brut has aromas of fresh granny smith apples with overtones of freshly baked cookies, and a creamy and fresh mouth feel.

1AM      Korbel (USA)

Tasting Notes: Korbel Brut is light and crisp with spicy fruit flavors and a medium-dry finish.

 

NEW YEAR’S DAY

After all of that toasting, how about some toast? Not just any toast – this rich and savory take on Eggs Benedict from South African celebrity chef Reuben Riffel will have you shipshape in no time. Reuben is the chef of eponymous, award-winning Reuben’s restaurant at One&Only Cape Town.

Poached Eggs with Steamed Crayfish Tail, Sautéed English Spinach, and Light Hollandaise with Toasted Fennel Seeds

Ingredients:

2 eggs, fresh

1 crayfish whole, fresh

2 cups baby spinach, washed

 

Hollandaise

2 egg yolks

Juice of ½ a lemon

Salt

1 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

A dash of warm water

 

Fennel seeds, dry roasted in a pan

Well buttered toast

 

Directions: (dictated by Chef Reuben Riffel)

Cook the crayfish preferably in well-salted water (or seawater if it’s available!) for three minutes, switch of the heat and leave them for 2 minutes in the water. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Cut the crayfish in half lengthwise; remove all the grit and guts and pick out the meat, keep warm.

For the hollandaise, place the yolks in a metal bowl, add the lemon juice and the water. Place over a simmering pot of water without allowing the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk slowly until the sauce starts to thicken slightly; add the butter in a thin stream, whisking continuously. To prevent the sauce from separating, always add a little water if it gets too thick. Also remove the sauce from the heat if it starts to get too hot. After all the butter has been added, season with salt.

Heat 2 cups of water in a small saucepot, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. When it reaches boiling point, reduce the heat and leave to simmer. Break the eggs one at a time into a cup or soup ladle and drop carefully into the water. Cook for 3-4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon and allow the water to drain off.

Quickly blanch the spinach in boiling water, remove, drain and serve topped with eggs, hollandaise, crayfish on the side, and sprinkled with toasted fennel. And a side of well buttered toast!

 

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