dog day afternoon

August 26th, 2014

In honor of National Dog Day, we’ve decided to let our blog go to the dogs, much like the VIP treatment at some hotels…

WOOF Cottages, Nantucket

The Woof Cottages at The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin welcomes its furriest guests with Draper Canine beds, welcome basket of treats and toys, personalized pet tags, doggie turndown, walking, and more.

 

Park Hyatt

From Argentina to Chicago, most Park Hyatt hotels offer fido friendly amenities.  In the newly opened Park Hyatt Vienna, the concierge recommends local walking hotspots and the kitchen is happy to prepare a special meal.  Park Hyatt New York has also gotten into (dog)bed with Friends of Finn.

 

Cliveden House, Berkshire, England

No better place to treat a pooch like royalty than the English Countryside and Cliveden House offers more than 250 acres of dog-walking woodland paths with views of the Thames.

the AMPR gold standard

July 17th, 2014

Gold is the new black. From Vienna to Jamaica, our “Gold Standard” will pave the way to a truly gilded vacation.

 

The pool at the new Park Hyatt Vienna, located in a 100-year-old bank vault, is lined in real gold tiles as an homage to the bricks that were once stored there.

 

The Halkin by COMO’s basque-inspired Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is dripping with golden icicles from every inch of the ceiling.

 

Ian Fleming has always taken his readers on the ultimate gilt trip with “The Man with the Golden Gun” and “Goldfinger.” Now, to mark the 50-year Golden anniversary of Fleming’s passing, Island Outpost is allowing guests to book a single room in his former villa at GoldenEye in Oracabessa, Jamaica.

 

All that glitters is gold in the Arrow River, where families can take a 30-minute day trip from Matakauri Lodge to pan for golden nuggets.

 

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.”

 

 

 

Revealed: The Results of the 2013 Mr and Mrs Smith Awards

November 12th, 2013

COMO Shambhala Estate, Winner of Best Spa Hotel

In its inaugural year, the Mr and Mrs Smith awards showcased the best boutique hotels across the globe in 12 categories.

Members voted for favorite hotels; the top three were chosen by a panel of judges composed of Mr and Mrs Smith editors and experts.

Congratulations to all the winners in the 2013 Mr and Mrs Smith awards including:

Mr and Mrs Smith Judges’ Choice:

Best Spa Hotel: COMO Shambhala Estate

Best Newcomer: Fogo Island Inn

Best Dressed Hotel: Runner up, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

Mr and Mrs Smith Readers’ Choice:

Sexiest Bedroom

  • #6 Cocoa Island by COMO
  • #7 Chewton Glen

Hottest Hotel Bar

  • #6 Park Hyatt Tokyo

Best Hotel Restaurant

  • #4 Metropolitan Bangkok

Best Spa Hotel

  • #7 GoldenEye
  • #10 Parrot Cay by COMO

The Greatest Outdoors

  • #2 Cliveden House

Above & Beyond

  • #1 Chewton Glen

Best Smith Hotel:

  • #4 Chewton Glen
  • #10 UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

 

For a full list of results, please click here: http://smithhotelawards.com/2013/.

2013 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award Winners

October 15th, 2013

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

The results of Condé Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards are in. This year, the 26th annual Readers’ Choice Awards boasted its highest-ever participation with 79,268 readers casting 1.3 million votes. The result is a compilation of the best cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and resorts in the world.

The #1 spot for Top Hotel & Resort in the World was a tie between The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in Matauri Bay, New Zealand and La Residence in Franschhoek, South Africa.

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards including:

Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World: #1 The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, #7 One&Only The Palm Dubai, #22 (tied) Phinda Private Game Reserve, One&Only Palmilla, #63 Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens, #75 Park Hyatt Dubai

Top Midsize-Ship Cruise Lines: #1 Crystal Cruises

Top Hotels in the Middle East: #1 Park Hyatt Dubai

Top Resorts in the Middle East: #1 One&Only The Palm Dubai, #2 Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, #5 One&Only Royal Mirage

Top Resorts in Central & South America: #1 Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens

Top Resorts in Baja, Mexico: #1 One&Only Palmilla

Top Hotels in Australia & the Pacific: #1 Park Hyatt Sydney

Top Hotels in the Atlantic: #2 One&Only Ocean Club, #4 Parrot Cay

Top Hotels in New England: #3 The Wauwinet, #7 White Elephant Hotel

Top Resorts & Safari Camps: #4 Phinda Private Game Reserve, #25 Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

Top Hotels in Chicago: #4 Park Hyatt Chicago

Top Hotels in Northern Europe: #5 Park Hyatt Hamburg

Top Hotels in South America: #4 Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau

Top Hotels in Washington, D.C: #5 Park Hyatt Washington, D.C.

Top Resorts in the Caribbean: #5 The Caves, #6 Hôtel Saint-Barth Isle de France, #10 Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

Top Hotels in France & Monaco: #6 Park Hyatt Paris-Vedome, #18 Pavillon de la Reine

Top Hotels in Africa: #7 One&Only Cape Town

Top Hotels in Japan and South Korea: #7 Park Hyatt Seoul, #8 Park Hyatt Tokyo

Top Islands in the Caribbean: #7 St. Barths

Top Hotels in the Southwest: #8 Inn on the Alameda

Top Resorts in Europe: #10 Chewton Glen

Top Cities in the United States: #10 Napa

Top Hotels in Southeast Asia: #13 Park Hyatt Saigon

Top Resorts in Asia: #16 Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp

Top Hotels in Central Europe: #17 Park Hyatt Zurich

Top Hotels in China: #29 Park Hyatt Shanghai, #37 Park Hyatt Beijing

 

For the complete list of 2013 Readers’ Choice winners, click here: http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-choice-awards

Hotels that Brew Their Own Booze

June 18th, 2013

Hotel bars are making a serious comeback; for some simply being the cool kid again isn’t enough, so they are upping the ante. From Tokyo to Nantucket, these hotel bars are offering exclusive, limited edition whiskys, wines, and craft beers that travelers won’t find anywhere else…

The Wauwinet’s Woody 25

Nantucket Island, MA

In celebration of The Wauwinet’s 25th anniversary year, the inn’s award-winning restaurant, TOPPER’S, has teamed up with Triple Eight Distillery in collaboration with Cisco Brewery to create a custom-made 10-year-old Woody 25 single malt whisky.

  • Aged 10 years on island, the whisky, with its robust 44.4% alcohol content, is the color of a deeply strawberried golden straw.
  • Its nose evokes an equally rich aroma of sweet almond, apples, and cranberries that is balanced with warming vanilla and earthy oaken tones.
  • The taste, initially spicy and herbal, quickly mellows to flavors of honeyed treacle and caramel, with a long, dry finish of toasty oak and herbal anise – perfect to savor along with freshly shucked oysters or a decadent Lazy Lobster Bake from TOPPER’S.

How is it best served? Neat, of course! But for those who like a little something extra, a menu of carefully-crafted Woody 25 cocktails has been created for TOPPER’S to celebrate the silver anniversary of the inn. While individual servings of Woody 25 will be on the menu for those dining at TOPPER’S at $25/glass, the option to purchase one of the limited run of 200 bottles at $250/bottle is only available to those guests staying at the hotel.

The Calistoga Ranch Sotero Cabernet

Calistoga, CA

Located in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, Calistoga Ranch offers an exclusive Sotero wine to its hotel and restaurant guests. Made with cabernet grapes harvested from the hotel’s on-property vineyard, this private label is grown sustainably and aged in 70% new French Oak for 28 months.

  • Incredibly smooth and polished, in the nose there is a familiar presence of soft barrel vanillin, warm black cherry, and a little spice box.
  • Once in the mouth, this wine is a swirling rollercoaster ride of milk chocolate and caramel with a little dash of espresso supported by layers of generous black fruit riding on the rails of youthful tannin and moderate acidity.
  • As the wine opens up over time, more red fruit fumes gush from the glass and the young texture improves.

The Calistoga Ranch Sotero is available for guests to purchase at $90/bottle in the restaurant, gift shop, or via room service. Depending on the harvest, about 100 cases are produced each year. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, it is 100% Calistoga Cabernet.

Park Hyatt Tokyo’s Exclusive Craft Beers – Park Brewery and Citrus Amber Ales

Tokyo, Japan

Each summer, Sankt Gallen Brewery creates two extraordinary craft beers to be exclusively served at Park Hyatt Tokyo for a limited period. This summer, the brewery, known for its citrus infused craft beers, has created the Park Brewery Ale and Citrus Amber Ale for the hotel.

  • Hopped with seven different aromatics, the Park Brewery Ale has a sharp, hoppy flavor similar to an IPA.
  • The Citrus Amber Ale is made using Shiranui – a Japanese orange and grapefruit hybrid.

From July 1-September 16, Park Hyatt Tokyo will host the Park Brewery Craft Beer Happy Hour daily from 6-8pm. During the happy hour, guests can enjoy unlimited glasses of these two refreshing brews alongside the chef’s special German-style appetizer plate that includes pretzels, sausage, gherkins, and more for JPY 3,800/person (approx USD $38).

 

 

Sea Turtle Travel Guide from Caribbean to Middle East

May 10th, 2013

While sea turtles have been swimming the Earth’s oceans for more than 100 million years – pre-dating even dinosaurs – all seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered today.

Nesting season begins this month, making conservation programs topical while hotels and resorts from the Caribbean to the Middle East draw travelers to witness the delicate nesting and hatchling rituals.

Some examples:

Jamaica’s Turtle Whisperer, GoldenEye

Those visiting GoldenEye in September for five days or more are guaranteed sea-turtle sightings at neighboring Golden Sea Beach. For a $10 donation, guests of any age have the rare opportunity to observe turtles nesting and hatching in their natural habitat while being educated by a local sea-turtle expert known as the “turtle whisperer.” More than 13,450 sea turtles hatched on Golden Sea Beach in 2012—an incredible 3,745% increase in hatchings over the launching of the program in 2005.

Kids Name the Turtles in Mexico, One&Only Palmilla

Guests at One&Only Palmilla between July and October have a chance to participate in the baby sea turtle release. Each summer, sea turtles return to One&Only Palmilla’s aptly-named Turtle Beach to lay their eggs, and 45 days later, the baby turtles break free from their shells. “Young biologists” have the opportunity to learn about the turtles and their yearly return to Los Cabos, name the turtles, and receive a certificate acknowledging their sea-turtle release participation.

Turtle Safe Haven in Abu Dhabi, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi seeks to peacefully co-exist with the Hawksbill turtles that find their way to the hotel’s beach every season. The hotel installed an elevated boardwalk to transport guests to the beach and clearly marked nesting spots to ensure the nests remain undisturbed. The turtles are monitored continuously in a joint program by the Tourism Development and Investment Company and the Environmental Agency in Abu Dhabi, and guests may donate to these organizations to support the Hawksbill turtles.

Private Island Hatchlings, AndBeyond Mnemba Island

On the private island off the coast of Zanzibar, Green Turtle nesting season is year-round, peaking in February and March. The turtles lay their eggs on the island’s beach, and in September and October, baby turtles immerge. With only 10 thatched roof bandas on the island, guests can watch the tiny hatchlings make their way down to the water without a crowd for an incredible experience.

 

now open: park hyatt chennai

October 1st, 2012

Park Hyatt Chennai, Park Hyatt’s third hotel in India and the first Park Hyatt hotel in the “Gateway to southern India,” opened today. Located next to the prestigious Governor’s Residence and adjacent to the thriving green area of the Guindy National Park, the hotel is but a 15-minute drive from the city’s domestic and international airport.  It features 201 luxury rooms and suites, two restaurants, the Antahpura Spa, a fully-equipped fitness center, and The Apartment – the hotel’s state-of-the-art meeting facility.

The hotel offers an array of epicurean tastes and experiences with its two restaurants, The Dining Room, overlooking the beautiful lily pond, and The Flying Elephant, opening in early 2013. At the Dining Room, guests can enjoy convenient, all-day dining featuring traditional South Indian cuisine and European bistro favorites. The Flying Elephant will be the hotel’s speciality restaurant offering diners a selection of exotic cuisines in an awe-inspiring ambience.

Designed as a contemporary oasis of wellness and rejuvenation, each of the six treatment rooms overlooking the tranquil greenery of the Guindy at the Antahpura Spa offers a blissful refuge from the strains of modern life. Indulge in a treatment inspired by the legendary therapies from the illustrious lineage of Chettinad or a holistic spa experience, which have been recreated by indigenous herbs and primordial beauty and wellness practices. The hotel’s fully equipped fitness center, Sphere, features hot and cold plunge pools, steam and sauna facilities, a yoga studio, and separate cardio and strength training areas.

The hotel also showcases beautiful, custom-made art installations that have been curated around the concept of Indian textiles and heritage. The impressive series of installations have been set up to lend a distinct character to the spaces and to enhance and create an unparalleled guest experience that is synonymous with the Park Hyatt brand.

Park Hyatt Chennai embraces the serenity of the surrounding Guindy National Park with flowing landscapes and relaxing interiors, complemented by a graceful lily pond dotting the heart of the inner courtyard. The elegant and chic interiors create a unique and calming ambience, reflecting the quiet and refined side of Chennai. With the new developments of Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), Sri Perumbudur, and the Guindy Industrial Estate all in close proximity, the hotel provides a serene and tranquil retreat for the astute business traveler in the bustling city of Chennai.

To learn more about Park Hyatt Chennai and the inspiration behind the hotel’s design, please visit http://bit.ly/OnLX4R.

About Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt provides discerning, affluent business and leisure guests with elegant and luxurious accommodations. Guests of Park Hyatt receive highly attentive personal service in an intimate environment. Located in several of the world’s premier destinations, each Park Hyatt is custom designed to combine sophistication with a distinctive regional character. Park Hyatt features well-appointed guestrooms, meeting and special event spaces for groups, critically acclaimed art, food and beverage programmes, and signature restaurants featuring award-winning chefs. There are currently 30 Park Hyatt hotels in the following locations: Abu Dhabi, Baku, Beaver Creek, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Canberra, Carlsbad, Chennai, Chicago, Dubai, Goa, Hamburg, Hyderabad, Istanbul, Jeddah, Maldives, Melbourne, Mendoza, Milan, Moscow, Ningbo, Paris, Saigon, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington D.C., and Zurich.  parkhyatt.com.

 

park hyatt masters of food & wine september 2012 series

September 19th, 2012

The final weekend of the 2012 Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine, a global series of seasonally- and locally-inspired culinary weekend workshops, will occur at Park Hyatts around the world from September 21 – 23, 2012.

Through engaging and interactive programming, resident and visiting gourmands and oenophiles can become ‘masters’ of regional cuisine. Park Hyatt chefs and sommeliers will lead masters-in-training in three hands-on ‘courses’ on the designated day:

In the Field: Interaction with artisanal food or beverage purveyors
In the Kitchen: Onsite cooking and prep workshops
In the Moment: Tips on service and presentation

Sample hotel itineraries during the September series include:

- Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi will introduce guests to a culinary weekend that will focus on the local and sustainable resources of the region. It will open with a “Sustainable Grill Dinner” hosted by Executive Chef Laurent Pommey and will feature a seven-course menu with dishes such as Seared Tuna and Omani Lobster Carpaccio with Coriander, Local Mackeral Fillet with Herb Crust, and more. The hotel’s signature restaurant, The Park Bar & Grill, will be offering a special four-course vegetarian grill menu throughout the weekend that will include specialities such as Orange Couscous and Mint Salad and Stuffed Purple Kohlrabi with Sweet Potato-Chili Puree and Kenia Beans. Chef de Cuisine Maik Lilenthal will also be hosting a cooking class that will focus on vegetarian cooking and feature a three-course menu.

- Park Hyatt Aviara will take guests to Orfila Vineyards & Winery where they will be greeted with a unique tribute to the European tradition of tasting the Bourru, a young wine derived from fermentation of the Must. Long celebrated during the harvest season, this tasting of the Bourru traditionally takes place from early September to late October and is generally served with savory foods or chestnuts. Masters of Food & Wine is honored to introduce guests to this unique and rarely seen experience. Guests will experience a tour of the winery and enjoy a family-style lunch led by Park Hyatt Aviara’s Executive Chef, Pierre Albaladejo, that will incorporate different types of estate grapes into each dish.

- Park Hyatt Buenos Aires will host an “Organic Springtime” event where organic producers and suppliers create a premium Organic Market in the gardens of the hotel, inviting guests to experience a uniquely organic universe. Attendees will be able to meet, taste, and learn about organic trends while celebrating spring’s arrival in Buenos Aires.

- Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme will offer a special workshop with Mr. Cohen at Les Vergers St. Eustache, the official supplier of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. Guests will have the opportunity to discover amazing and forgotten vegetables thanks to Mr. Cohen, a real fruit and vegetable storyteller.

For more information and additional itineraries for Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine September series, please click here.

 

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.

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