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 five 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.

5. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

The Living Room at Park Hyatt Sydney offers a front-row seat to the Sydney Opera House and world-renowned harbor. With a glass of Penfolds in hand, everything is looking good from “down under.”

 

 

 

ringing in julia’s 100th with a berry tart from oléron

August 23rd, 2012

At AMPR, we’re lucky to work a stone’s throw away from the Union Square Greenmarket. With August’s cornucopia of locally grown produce, it’s hard to shake that “so-many-recipes-so-little-time” feeling while meandering through the various stalls. But fruit-wise, delicate berries from the Hudson Valley – in our opinion – always steal the show.

Fruit tarts are a common sight in France, a country that’s home to a number of exciting properties represented by AMPR. Last week would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and we’re celebrating her legacy of French cooking with a classic tart native to windswept Oléron, a scenic island off France’s Atlantic coast. The recipe is featured in Ruth Reichl’s book Tender at the Bone (a joy to read, by the way!) preceded by a few descriptive lines that had us chomping at the bit to get our hands in the flour:

Danielle took her finger out of her mouth and took a bite. I watched her. She took another. And another. I took a bite myself.

It was magnificent. The fruit was intoxicatingly fragrant and each berry released its juice only in the mouth, where it met the sweet, crumbly crust. “Why is this so much better than other tarts?” I asked.

Madame Deveau looked at me with something like interest. “The American wakes up,” she commented. “It is that the products here are so good,” she said. “Good butter from fat cows and wild berries grown in the island air.”

While we can’t comment on how the Big Apple’s Greenmarket compares to the fat cows and island berries of Oléron, we can happily confirm that this tart is a welcome taste of summer – anywhere , anytime.  Now, be inspired!

Oléron Raspberry Tart

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Pastry:

1½ c. sifted flour

¼ c. sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch squares

2 tbs. heavy cream

1 egg yolk

Filling:

¾ c. blanched almonds, toasted

¾ c. sugar

3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened

3 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 c. raspberries

2 tbs. currant jam and/or powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Place sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter squares to the flour mixture and blend using a pastry blender or forks until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add cream to the egg yolk and pour into flour mixture. Mix lightly with a fork until the pastry holds together in a small ball. If it’s not moist enough, add a tablespoon or so of water.

Sprinkle some flour across a counter and push the dough with the heel of your palm until it has been worked through. Do not over-mix. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the dough and allow to warm on the countertop for ten minutes. On a floured surface, flatten the ball and roll it into an eleven-inch circle. Fit gently into an eight- or nine-inch tart pan with a fluted edge and removable bottom. Press into pan gently, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim off the edges and freeze for ten minutes to firm.

Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and filler and bake for five minutes more or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool while making the filling.

Blend the almonds and three tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor until it is a fine powder. In a separate bowl, cream butter with the remaining sugar, and then add the yolks. Fold in the almond-sugar mixture and vanilla to combine.

Spread the almond mixture into the pre-baked crust and top with two cups of the fresh berries. Sprinkle the tart with two tablespoons of sugar and bake for 40 minutes or until just set. Cool at least two hours.

Just before serving, cover the tart with the remaining two cups of raspberries. Garnish with powdered sugar or brush the top with a simple glaze made from two tablespoons currant jam heated with one tablespoon of water. Bon appétit!

Photo was taken by Ben from the AMPR team.

la réserve ramatuelle joins the elite ranks of france’s palace hotels with prestigious new rating

July 20th, 2012

La Réserve Ramatuelle has officially been named a palace hotel. Only 11 other hotels of the 188 five-star hotels in France have earned the prestigious title since it was created in 2010. Appointed by the French Government, according to specific criteria, palace hotels are considered the best of the best, adhering to the highest standards in quality of service, accommodations, and care for guests.

Nestled on a hillside just outside St. Tropez, La Réserve Ramatuelle is composed of nine rooms and 19 suites designed by internationally renowned architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and 12 villas designed by interior architect Rémi Tessier. The property features strong lines and a minimalist design, creating a modern yet natural environment, with the ocean-facing side of the building made mostly of glass.

An integral part of the guest experience, the spa focuses on anti-aging without the use of invasive procedures. Individual treatments from La Mer, as well as the hotel’s signature line, are available. The spa’s signature offering is an all-encompassing six-day program that offers a bespoke plan to promote anti-aging and wellness.  After a consultation with onsite experts, guests are prescribed a combination of up to four spa treatments each day, an exercise regime, custom meal plans, and stress-reducing practices. Spanning more than 10,000 square feet, the spa features an indoor pool with a jet lane, an outdoor pool and pool house, a steam bath, and a fitness center with Technogym equipment and a Kinesis Wall. Outdoor physical activities include walking, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.

The property joins 11 other hotels on the list. These include:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Goerge V, Paris
  • Le Bristol, Paris
  • Le Meurice, Paris
  • Le Plaza Athénèe, Paris
  • Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, Paris
  • Le Byblos, St. Tropez
  • Le Chateau de la Messardière, St. Tropez
  • Les Airelles, Courchevel
  • Le Chevel Blanc, Courchevel
  • Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz
  • Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, St. Jean Cap-Ferrat

 

LA RESERVE HOSPITALITY COLLECTION

6, Cours de Rive . 1204 Genève . Suisse

DIRECT T+ 41 22 317 16 16  . P +41 79 909 95 08  . F+  41 22 317 97 13

www.lareserve.ch

 

 

europe this summer? mais oui!

May 7th, 2012

With the spring weather upon us, we have our hearts set on Europe. Whether you’re traveling to London for the Olympic Games or hoping to stay as far away as possible, we have a suggestion for every traveler’s delight.

For the Olympics:

The Halkin

London, UK

The Halkin is a hidden gem in Belgravia. Clean lines and impeccable service define the London favorite, along with its award winning nahm restaurant serving up authentic Thai fare. Guests can even order this haute Thai cuisine for room service!

What’s New: Celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, The Halkin has certainly made its mark on the London hotel scene. To celebrate, The Halkin has partnered with William Curley, renowned patissier and chocolatier, to fashion a Couture Chocolate Afternoon Tea. This is a Champagne tea service inspired by the chocolatier’s new book, Couture Chocolate, and will include a selection of chocolate patisserie, homemade scones with clotted cream and preserves, and a selection of freshly made sandwiches.

Rates: Rates start at £260 ($422) per night.

 

Metropolitan London

London, UK

This well known London hotel is famous for its Met Bar that first opened in 1997 and set the trend for the ultimate great night out in the heart of London! Now the Met Bar has re-opened its doors with a whole NEW look featuring an expanded and innovative cocktail menu and classic seasonal British cuisine. For the first time, the Met Bar ended its “Members-Only” policy, making it accessible to all from early in the day to late at night.
What’s New: The new COMO Shambhala Urban Escape offers key Asian-inspired therapies as well as a resident acupuncturist. Among the treatments on offer are the Dr. Perricone facials (the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape is the only spa in the U.K. to work with this popular U.S. product line) and COMO Shambhala PURIFY facials, suitable for men and women.

Rates: Rates start at £229 ($372) per night.

 

For the Culture:

Belmond Afloat in France

France

Discover the French countryside from a new perspective with Afloat in France, a small fleet of luxury barges ideal for a group of family or friends on vacation. Fashion an itinerary that matches the interests of the crowd (think golf, cycling, or antiques), and relax in Belmond style over fine French dining and wine while meandering through the ever-changing scenery.

What’s New: Explore the finest vineyards from the Rhône Valley to Gevrey-Chambertin on the new seven-day “Wine Discovery Tour” aboard the Napoleón, which features instructive tastings, wine-centric French dinners, and guided walks through some of the region’s most famous vineyards. To ring in the new tour, each “Wine Discovery Tour” attendee is rewarded with a free one-night stay at a luxury five-star hotel in Paris.

Rates: Rates start at €4,450 ($5,825) per person, based on double occupancy of a cabin.

 

Le Pavillon des Lettres

Paris, France

The charming Pavillon des Lettres, an impossibly chic retreat for art and literature lovers, is the perfect alternative to Paris’ traditional hotels. Combining art, literature, and fine design, each of the hotel’s 26 rooms is devoted to a letter of the alphabet and a corresponding international writer (think B for Baudelaire or H for Hugo).

What’s new: Crazy Horse Cabaret, the avant-garde icon of provocative Parisian nightlife, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2012 with Le Pavillon des Lettres. Together they are offering a package that includes amour-inducing accommodations and VIP tickets to the show.

Rates: Rates start at €265 ($351) per night.

 

Crystal Cruises Royal Explorer Sailing

Stockholm to London

From the old-world charm of Stockholm’s Gamla Stan to Helsinki’s cutting-edge Ice Bar, revel in the rich cultural life and fascinating museums of these Baltic capitals. From August 14 – 25, spend 11 days exploring these spectacular lands with Crystal Symphony, with calls in St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Berlin/Warnemünde, Germany; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

What’s New: Fresh from a $15 million drydock, Crystal Symphony will be showing off her newly redesigned public spaces. Guest chefs Orjan Johannessen and Odd Ivar Sovod will also be joining the cruise, along with wine expert Eugenio Jardim and mixologist Simon Ford to celebrate the Crystal Wine & Food Festival.

Rates: Check here for current pricing and special offers

 

For the Cuisine:

Park Hyatt Milan

Milan, Italy

Cozily situated in the heart of Milan next to the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, this hotel is a natural favorite for visiting celebrities, design mavens, and vacation travelers alike.

What’s New: After a recent collaboration with the famous English fashion designer, Paul Smith, Park Hyatt Milan now serves their culinary creations upon beautiful, hand-painted dishes designed specifically for the hotel by Smith.

Rates:  Rates start at €540 ($715) per night.

 

Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme

Paris, France

Recently accepted into the prestigious Palace Hotels Group, the five-star Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme offers a sensual, understated elegance that extends throughout the hotel – from the lavish rooms and suites to the captivating social areas and exquisite spa.

What’s New: Refreshed and ready for spring, guests can enjoy lunch or dinner on the terrace in an intimate and confidential ambience in the most glamorous neighborhood in the city. Make sure to try the chef’s newest creation, the Non-coupable, a guilt-free dessert that features fresh market strawberries, a base of low-fat cheesecake and cream, finished with a tangy spark of crystallized thyme and lemon.

Rates: Rates start at €1180 ($1550) per night.

 

For the Scenery:

La Réserve Ramatuelle

St. Tropez, France

Located just outside St. Tropez, this stunning property, with 360° views of the Mediterranean Sea, is an intimate, elegant getaway that is ideal for discerning travelers.

What’s new: La Réserve Ramatuelle just added four new health and wellness programs that combine medical assessments, personal training sessions, physical activities, and personalized diets for a total care approach.

Rates: Rates start at €650 ($861) per night.

 

Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

Interlaken, Switzerland

Located in the picturesque mountain setting of the Bernese Oberland, this five-star hotel and spa, known as one of the most beautiful hotels in Switzerland, is in the ultimate location for a summer vacation. Whether visiting for a wellness weekend or a family holiday, the unique grand hotel atmosphere is sure to provide memories that last a lifetime.

What’s New: Offering everything from snacks to cakes to tasty drinks, the hotel has recently renovated its outdoor dining area, the Victoria-Jungfrau terrace, adding a new lighting system designed to create the perfect atmosphere for dinners under the starry, summer night sky. With the addition of 110 seats, the terrace can now accommodate up to 150 guests.

Rates: Rates start at 443.10 CHF ($488.16) per night.

la réserve ramatuelle’s new well-being programs for 2012

April 6th, 2012

La Réserve Ramatuelle, an intimate French retreat dedicated to health, wellbeing, and relaxation, just added four brand new programs for Spring 2012. Combining medical assessments, spa treatments, personal training sessions, targeted physical activities, relaxation, and appropriate diets, La Réserve Ramatuelle’s new health and wellness programs range in length from three to six nights and feature a total care approach. With never-ending views of the Mediterranean and a host of new health inspired programs, La Réserve Ramatuelle offers the most discerning travelers and spa aficionados an escape on the French Riviera unlike any other.

Energy Program (7 days, 6 nights)

Following a medical assessment and personal trainer consultation, the invigorating retreat will devise a health plan with personalized energy-boosting diet. Participate in daily sport and health activities – Pilates, yoga, aqua strength training, Nordic walks, and healthy cooking lessons. Freshen the skin with “Better Aging” treatments and a therapeutic therapy (choice of relaxing massage, reflexology, acupuncture, or shiatsu – finger and palm pressure.)

Dates: April and May 2012

Cost: 1650 € for activities and meals. Accommodations are an additional cost.

Weight Loss Program (7 days, 6 nights)

Following a medical assessment and personal trainer consultation, this healthful weight loss retreat includes three personal training sessions, daily sport and health activities, a Cellu M6 endermology session to reduce fatty tissue, La Réserve’s signature “Better Aging” Body Treatment, a hydrotherapy session, one therapeutic treatment, and a personalized health plan with a customized slimming diet and therapeutic natural drinks.

Dates: April and May 2012

Cost: 1650 € for activities and meals. Accommodations are an additional cost.

Beauty and Well-Being Break (5 days, 4 nights)

This pampering program includes only the best treatments – a Crème de la Mer Excellence Facial Treatment and a Crème de la Mer Excellence Body Treatment, a La Réserve Better Aging Face Massage and Better Aging Body Treatment, a hydrotherapy session, manicure, feet beauty treatment, daily sport and health activities, and a customized well-being diet.

Dates: April and May 2012

Cost: 1390 € for activities and meals. Accommodations are an additional cost.

Express Fit & Beauty (4 days, 3 nights)

For a quick ‘get fit’ fix, La Réserve Ramatuelle’s Express Fit & Beauty program includes three Nordic Walking sessions, a hydrotherapy session, one therapeutic treatment, a La Réserve Better Aging Body Treatment, a Crème de la Mer Excellence Facial Treatment, daily sport and health activities, and a customized well-being diet.

Dates: April and May 2012

Cost: 1090 € for activities and meals. Accommodations are an additional cost.

For more information visit www.lareserve-ramatuelle.com. To book, call +33 4 94 44 94 44 or email inforamatuelle@lareserve.ch.

la réserve ramatuelle re-opens with expanded boot camp programs

February 24th, 2012

April 1 marks the re-opening of St. Tropez’s La Réserve Ramatuelle with expanded Boot Camp offerings. The cliffside hotel has some of the best views of the Mediterranean; the entire sea-facing exterior is made up of floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize exposure and fill rooms with natural light (Goodbye darkness before 5 PM!). The star is the 13-room spa that offers an exclusive La Mer treatment (the renowned beauty company designed a series of treatments for the hotel).

Shed that winter weight with the hotel’s signature Boot Camp – a five-night personalized program encompassing yoga, Nordic walks, invigorating spa treatments, and healthy, low calorie cuisine – perfect for getting in shape for the summer months to come.

Sample itinerary

6:30 AM               One-hour yoga session

7:30 AM               Breakfast

8:30 AM               Departure on a 3-4 hour countryside walk

1:00 PM                Lunch at the hotel

2:30 PM                Balneotherapy session (bathing healing treatment involving minerals)

3:00 PM                Body wrap

3:30 PM                Jet shower

4:00 PM                La Réserve Better Aging body treatment

6:30 PM                Relaxation session

8:00 PM                Dinner

The Boot Camps are offered in *April, May and June with rates starting at 2700 euros per person including accommodations. Minimum four persons per program.

For more information visit www.lareserve-ramatuelle.com. To book, call +33 4 94 44 94 44 or email inforamatuelle@lareserve.ch.

*Dates:

April: 2-7; 9-14; 16-21; 23-28

May: 14-19; 28 – June 2

June: 11-16

 

boot camp, commes les françaises

August 31st, 2011

Who doesn’t want that inherently French, effortlessly slim look? La Réserve Ramatuelle has the best way to maintain that swimsuit-ready figure you worked so hard to attain without fasting or quick-stepping through tires. The très français boot camp will have two sessions in September and October. Set just outside of St. Tropez, La Réserve Ramatuelle is surrounded by quintessential Cote d’Azur scenery and nearly 360 degree views of the Mediterranean Sea – a great spot for hikes through the Cyprus trees and olive groves.

While strenuous, this boot camp is hardly roughing it, chéries! Walks through the Mediterranean countryside, spa treatments, and delicious (and healthy) local flavors cooked up by Chef Eric Canino will have you feeling svelte, not spent. Designed for groups of 4-8 people, it’s a great excuse to bring along some friends.

The Boot Camp is a five-day (four-night) program. Guests start with a medical assessment to measure physical aptitude. The next day, training kicks off with an hour-long yoga session and healthy breakfast before a guide leads a fast-paced walk through the hills and along the coast. While sure to get hearts pumping, the duration and pace of these walks is determined on an individual basis. After the walks, guests can relax for the rest of the day, enjoying a healing and rejuvenating spa program that includes balneotherapy, body wraps, and the La Réserve Better Aging body treatment. (This detoxifying, slimming, and draining treatment enables cellular regeneration while eliminating blockages and tensions in the body.) Guests can also add à la carte experiences such as beauty and body therapies exclusively crafted for La Réserve by La Mer.

Dates:

September 18-23, Price: €5450

October 10-15, Price: €4950

Rates include accommodations in a Deluxe room and full board. Prices are per person based on single occupancy. Boot Camp program not including accommodations cost €2700 per person for the five day program.

Example of a typical day’s activities – day 1

6:30am                 Yoga session (1 hour)

7:30am                 Breakfast

8:30am                 Morning Walk

1pm                       Lunch at the hotel

2:30pm                 Balneotherapy

3pm                       Body Wrap

3:30pm                 Jet shower

4pm                       La Réserve Better Aging body treatment

6:30pm                 Relaxation session

8pm                       Dinner at the restaurant

wilmotte’s vision

June 29th, 2011

With designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte receiving accolades for his designs for the just-opened Mandarin Oriental in Paris, we can’t help but let our minds wander south of the City of Lights to Wilmotte’s impeccable work at La Réserve Ramatuelle.  Do as the French do this time of year and head to the slice of paradise, just minutes from the heart of Saint-Tropez and overlooking the majestic Mediterranean Sea.

In addition to its luxurious rooms and suites, the ultra-private rental villas are the perfect escape.  Take advantage of one of the spa’s signature treatments from La Mer specially crafted for the property.  Or, kick things up a notch by participating in the spa’s six-day program promoting stress reduction, weight loss, and overall mind-body relaxation.

 

 

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