Author: Janice Nieder

Park City: The Premiere Winter Destination in the U.S.

We’ve all heard that the best things in life come in small packages (diamond rings, Krugerrands, chocolate truffles) but Park City has dispelled that myth with the recent opening of Park City Mountain Resort. The resort completed a $50 million improvement project last December, the highlight being the Quicksilver Gondola which connects the old Park City Mountain Resort to Canyons Resort. The result is an astounding 7,300 acres of ski-able terrain (300 trails and 41 lifts), making fun-filled Park City Mountain Resort the largest ski and snowboard resort in the U.S. For a slightly quieter, more sophisticated scene (no...

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Taiwan’s Top 12 Taste Treats: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Taiwan still remains largely undiscovered, particularly by Western travelers, but this seriously underrated, economically successful (it has become one or the world’s richest countries in less than fifty years) democratic little island is poised to nab the title of “Best Hidden Travel Gem of 2015.” Visitors will be blown away by the country’s eight pristine national parks, majestic Buddhist temples, line-up of spectacular festivals, which range from the traditional Dragon Boat Festival to the Fat Pig Festival, plethora of modern designer shopping malls, the 150 natural hot springs (and  many luxurious spa resorts) and the overwhelming friendliness of the...

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My Continuing Love Affair with Viking River Cruises

Me: “I’ll take ‘Unforgettable Vacations’ for $2000 please, Alex.” Alex Trebek: “And the clue is: This cruise line recently received its 9th win as the Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising by the prestigious travel industry publication, TRAVELAGE WEST; was awarded ‘Best Luxury River Cruise Company’ by Luxury Travel Advisor in their annual Awards of Excellence; and was declared ‘Best River Cruise Line’ in 2014 by Cruise Critic’s discerning international team of editors.” Me: Frantically pushing my little button thingy as I excitedly exclaim: “Having just returned from a fantastic cruise with them, I so have this one!...

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A Tale of Two Israeli Cities, Part 2 : Tel Aviv

Cosmopolitan Tel Aviv is really having a moment. With over 1,200 high-tech companies, it is often referred to the “Next Silicon Valley,” so it’s no wonder that their economy is booming. What this means to visitors is a seemingly endless array of fashionable new restaurants, funky art galleries, re-purposed hipster neighborhoods  and a variety of shopping choices that include everything from world-class designers to eclectic street markets. If/when you’re ever too tired to shop you can simply flop on one of the city’ golden beaches and soak up the sun. Suite Sleep The Intercontinental David Tel Aviv is a...

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A Tale of Two Israeli Cities, Part 1: Jerusalem

One of the best things about visiting Israel is that even though its two major cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, are only an hour’s drive apart they provide completely opposite experiences.  Jerusalem, as one of the world’s oldest cities, is the undisputed historic heavyweight, overflowing with important spiritual sights, while welterweight Tel Aviv is more like a sassy little sister who just wants to have fun. Together they offer a one-two punch for a knockout trip you’ll never forget. Jerusalem If this is your first visit you’ll definitely want to hire a guide or join a good walking tour...

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Heed Yukon’s Call of the Wild — Even in the Dead of Winter!

As a travel writer who specializes in luxury girlfriend getaways based around Michelin meals, five-star resorts, signature spa treatments and other non-essential indulgences, extreme travel might consist of sipping champagne out of a plastic flute, being forced to use powdered cream packets for my coffee or receiving only intermittent Wi-Fi. So I was, to say the least, a bit wary when I received an invitation to join a group of journalists (most of them were from Canada and accustomed to the cold weather) to experience “Winter in The Yukon”, especially The Yukon Quest, aka “the world’s hardest sled-dog race.”...

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Confirmed Anti-Cruiser Loved Viking River Cruising!

Let’s begin with why I strongly dislike (only because it’s not nice to say HATE) ocean cruises: seasickness; queuing  up with thousands of  peeps who all seem to be vying for the “how-high-can-I-load-my-plate-with-mediocre-food-from-the-buffet-table” award; long, boring days of bobbing around the high seas with nary a speck a land in sight; wasted hours getting  off ship at each port and then having to drive long distances to get to to town-repeat for return to ship, having to fork over additional big bucks for ‘canned’ shore excursions, being reduced to  watching Vegas wanna-be entertainment, etc. Which is why I wasn’t...

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Hidden Culinary Treasure in Cour des Loges

There is plenty to see in Lyon, France. They have a magnificent Basilica decked out with the most intricate mosaics, a plethora of world-class museums, including the Musee des Beau-Arts, a historic old town which had once been the center of the silk industry and a newly revitalized river bank district lined with eye-popping, industrial chic buildings and trendy art installations. But I was there first and foremost for the food. This 2,000-year-old city, considered the world capital of gastronomy by many, is home to approximately 2,000 restaurants, with 22 of them sporting Michelin stars. This is fabulous if you...

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Perfect Paris Weekend Getaway for First-timers

Here’s the problem. My bestie Joan and I were going on Viking River Cruise to Southern France, which certainly was not the problem. The problem was when I found out that she had never been to Paris before, which I found utterly appalling.  We needed to correct this grave error, ASAP.  But the problem grew much bigger  when she told me that she could only take off two more days from work. Covering Paris with a first-timer in just two measly days was the problem. Mon Dieux! This was a serious challenge, but I managed to come up with...

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Guide To Trendy Tallinn- Estonia’s newly cool capital

My first visit to Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, was about 15 years ago. I remember thinking that although the medieval buildings in Old Town were stunning, there wasn’t much else to see or do. Also, my meals consisted of barely discernible variations on chunks of pork and potatoes, cabbage and (thankfully) wonderful rye bread. WOW- what a difference a decade plus makes! After last month’s visit, Tallinn gets my vote for “Best Makeover Ever”! It’s been magically transformed into one of the trendiest capitals in Europe, scoring the title of European Capital of Culture in 2011. Did...

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New Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St. Petersburg, Fit For a Czar

When the iconic Four Seasons decided to open their first hotel in Russia, one might have expected them to head to the capital city of Moscow. But instead, they chose majestic St. Petersburg, the intellectual and cultural center of Russia, a stunningly beautiful city filled with extravagant historical palaces, cathedrals and royal gardens. Last year, the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg welcomed their first guests through palace doors guarded by twin marble lions, immortalized in Alexander Pushkin’s poem, The Bronze Horseman. Designed in 1820 by French architect Auguste de Montferrand, as an exclusive residence for Princess Lobanova-Rostovskay,...

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Chef Yves Le Lay Nordic Islands Cuisine

The latest and greatest food movements seem to have more twists and turns than a Shonda Rhimes series. The “New Nordic Cuisine” began in 2004, when Noma’s Danish chefs, René Redzepi and Claus Meyer, met with leading food professionals from other Nordic countries to promote a cuisine that would emphasis “purity, simplicity, freshness and seasonality.” Fast forward to Pädaste Manor, an exquisite 16th-century boutique hotel (the only five-star hotel outside Tallinn), located on the southern tip of Muhu Island, just off the coast of western Estonia. This beautifully renovated manor house, once the residence of a 16th century Danish...

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