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Category: Featured

One Aldwych Equals One Fabulous London Hotel

One popular travel website has over 1000 hotels listed in London, with 322 of them in the luxury category. It’s difficult to know where to begin your search…by number of stars, location, price point, or perhaps more specific requirements such as on-site gym or a decent on-site restaurant. After an absolutely perfect stay at One Aldwych (and I don’t say that lightly) where my every creature comfort was met and often surpassed, I wholeheartedly suggest you save yourself from tedious research and simply go online immediately and book a room, any room. However, for a real treat, try and...

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Tuscon’s Canyon Ranch, Like Fine Wine, Just Gets Better With Age

Last week, I visited Canyon Ranch in Tucson for my third time in about 20 years, accompanied by my rather stressed-out friend, Joan, who was a newbie there.  One afternoon, as I was “mindfully” eating my delish lunch (that included healthier-versions of fish tacos heaped with salsa and shredded cabbage, a cup of aromatically-spiced dal soup, minty zucchini feta pancakes and a frozen chocolate-dipped banana for dessert, which to my way of thinking was all guilt-free all since I had just returned from a pretty steep 5.5 mile mountain hike) while sprawled on a poolside lounge chair, I picked...

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Get Cultured in the Wild West at Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Big Sky, Montana

The Back-story: Joan and I, two girlfriends on the dark side of 50, had made plans to meet in Big Sky, Montana, to explore the Wild West in luxurious style and discover the answer to Life’s Big Question, “If we stand under the Big Sky, will our butts looks smaller?” We also couldn’t wait for our maiden visit to Yellowstone Park. The Problem: We arrived right after the *!@#$%^&* Government closed all the National parks! The Perfect 2-part Solution: 1. Luckily we were booked for a superb R & R getaway at Rainbow Ranch Lodge, where a wilderness stay...

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An Undiscovered Paradise: Inn at Park Winters, Ca.

Many San Franciscan’s come for the afternoon to explore the unbelievably cute town of Winters, California, complete with a John Boy Walton town square, white gazebo, flowering  parks, quaint historic homes, a coupe of delish restaurants (The Buckhorn and Putah Creek Cafe were my favorites) and at least four wine tasting rooms and head back home at the end of the day, which is a BIG mistake! For an absolutely perfect overnight or two, may I strongly suggest (ok-let me say you’d have to be a complete idiot to stay anywhere else) the Inn at Park Winters. The Inn...

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The Moana Surfrider Hotel of Waikiki, Hawaii—Elegance for the Ages

“Proud as a Peacock” is a phrase sometimes used to describe individuals who, deservedly or not, carry themselves with a distinct air of pride. Since the Moana Hotel was the vision of W.C. Peacock, a prominent Honolulu businessman, this luxury edifice justly deserves such a description. When we walked into this elegant hotel, we felt like we were transported back in time, yet surrounded by present day luxury. Peacock saw that Waikiki, the Honolulu suburb, needed a first rate luxury hotel. He made this decision in 1896. At that time, Hawaii was not yet a territory of the United...

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Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam Fit for Royalty

by Janice Nieder I recently received a stellar invite to join a small group on the  christening river cruise of the Avalon Expression. We’d begin in Frankfurt and end in Amsterdam and jackpot, I could bring along a plus one. I immediately thought of my BFF, Joan, a single working mother, who, although she had purchased a passport about 10 years ago,  never had the chance to use it.  I decided her  pristine passport also needed christening. A quick phone call later and the plan was set. After the cruise we would stay at the Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam Hotel ...

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Avalon Gets My Vote for Queen of the River Cruise

Just between us I feel it’s only fair to let you know that when I first received my invitation to join a group of journalists for the christening of the Avalon Expression I was a little hesitant, since I’ve never been a big fan of ocean cruises…actually, it’s fair to say I pretty much detest everything about them.  But since every trade magazine I’ve read lately has been about the explosive growth in the river-cruise market I decided to take one for the team and give it a try.  Fast forward to one week after my return and I...

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Prosciutto Di Parma Rolls from Chef Ivan Flowers

Ahhhh antipasti, is there anything better.  That magical word of delight, what you are going to eat before the pasta.  I am crazy for good antipasti plates.  But I do have one problem with them, what do I eat first?  I want a little of everything all at once!  So I created these Prosciutto Di Parma Rolls.  The buttery prosciutto, the sharp parmigiano, the sweet creamy mascarpone, the tangy basil dancing with the roasted peppers.  Now imagine all of this in a single bite, yes a single bit I tell you.  You will be popping these little beauties till...

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Seabass Ravioli With Stewed Mussels and Clams

Seabass Ravioli With Stewed Mussels and Clams Ingredients (Serves 4) 300 gr (about 1-3/4 cup) semolina flour 3 eggs 250 gr (about 9 ounces) seabass 100 gr (about 3.5 ounces) mussels 100 gr (about 3.5 ounces) clams olive oil salt cream parsley Method Prepare the fresh hand-made pasta, mixing the eggs, the semolina flour, and the olive oil last, and let the dough stand for 30 minutes. Prepare the sea bass, cooking in a pan and add a pinch of flour and some cream. Prepare the ravioli, rolling out the dough until it is paper-thin. Cut squares from the...

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Saint-Tropez’s Fairytale Castle: Chateau de la Messardiere

Saint-Tropez, or “St. Trop” as it is often called by those who frequent southern France’s playground, started off quite humbly as a port city and fishing village. By the early part of the last century, Bohemian artists from Paris made it their summer playground and soon jet setters from around the world flocked to this Mediterranean gem. Made famous by Brigitte Bardot, Saint-Tropez has become the ultimate summer playground. One of the best places to call home while visiting the charming town on the French Riviera is Château de la Messardière. Perched on a hillside overlooking not only the...

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Interview with French Master Chef Hervé Laurent

During 1996, I was fortunate to meet French Master Chef Hervé Laurent, while attending a class at Le Cordon Bleu in London with my good friend Brenda Hill. We were so impressed with his teaching skills, methods, and personality, that we developed and maintained a friendship, featured him in our first book, Our Love Affairs with Food & Travel, and then worked with him on a book of tips, Cooking Secrets, The Why and How… As we watched Hervé advance from Le Cordon Bleu to the Paul Bocuse Institute of Culinary Arts to having his own successful school in...

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The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa—A Historical Icon Flourishing with Time

by Norman Hill This venerable gem of Arizona hotel establishments is getting stronger than ever. As a child growing up in the Chicago area, I studied two hotels that possessed quite a mystical, ultra luxurious quality, even though it would be years before I visited them: The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island in upper Michigan and the Arizona (Wrigley’s) Biltmore in Phoenix. The Biltmore was built in the late 1920s, starting from the insight of two visionaries, Charles and Warren McArthur. They saw that Arizona, the last state to join the Union, was ready to transform itself from a Wild...

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