Category: Reviews

Luxury and History: Two Historic Seaside Hotels

Oceanfront hotels are a dime a dozen along the East Coast seaboard, but it’s a real treat to find two that have survived decades and still exist as stunning destinations. Their unique stories are woven into a tapestry of Southern charm and hospitality. I recently had the opportunity to visit the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort located on St. Simons Island, GA, and The Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville, FL. Both have fascinating histories and offer unique oceanfront experiences. The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort This legendary hotel, a member of the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, is located on one of the barrier islands that make up Georgia’s coast. It first opened in 1935 as a seaside dance club. Six years later, the main hotel building opened to the public as the King and Prince Hotel. During World War II, the hotel served as a naval coast-watching and training facility. The center of radar operations was housed at the King and Prince, which also provided officers’ quarters and classrooms. The bar at the hotel was an after-hours gathering spot for soldiers, their wives and members of the local Civil Air Patrol. The hotel’s current restaurant “Echo” pays tribute to the hotel’s crucial part in the island’s naval history. As radar sent its electromagnetic waves...

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Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, Review: Defining Relaxed Luxury in the U.A.E.

The Ajman Saray, A Luxury Collection resort, is a special property dedicated to providing a memorable and delightful vacation experience to the discerning guest. This is relaxed luxury set on a beautiful beach in Ajman in a hotel that provides the finest of accommodations, service, dining, and pampering perfect for the couples looking to get away, reconnect, and rejuvenate.

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Luggage Forward: Doorstep to Destination

Hopefully, you’re not the last to hear about Luggage Forward  — a forwarding service that ships your luggage worldwide before, during or even after your trip. I heard about the service some time ago, but didn’t initially understand the value of it. I kept thinking: I could just take my suitcase with me on the plane, so why ship it? That was the old me. The new me finally saw the light! I recently took a trip around the world and my luggage undoubtedly kept growing and growing with each new country I visited. Facing stiff fees from the...

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CityPASS: Luxury Two Ways

Everyone loves a bargain. CityPASS is a genuine bargain, a book of admission tickets to major tourist attractions with savings of up to 50% compared to the combined regular box office prices. But even better: CityPASS ticket holders have the luxury of saving time and the convenience by  skipping ticket lines (no matter how long they are) and heading straight for the entrance of whatever attraction they’re visiting. Some years ago, I became a hero to my family when we used my New York CityPASS booklets to visit the American Museum of Natural history during a school holiday period....

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Farmbox Direct Reliable Organic Luxury

Going organic may have been your New Year’s resolution, or perhaps you are simply a fan of eating healthy and going local. There is a new in-home delivery service that has made it easy to eat organic and they deliver! Farmbox Direct is a “subscription based service that brings 100% USDA certified organic seasonal, and pesticide-free produce” right to your door. They deliver throughout New England and have plans for expansion. The service was founded by Ashley Tyrner, as an answer to her busy lifestyle in the fashion industry, and a busy mother. She recently sat down with us...

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Pop Up Picnic San Diego Does Date Night Right

If you’re looking to up the ante on date night romance or turn an ordinary date into an extraordinary and memorable one, look no further than Pop Up Picnic. This company creates turnkey, one-of-a-kind experiences that are as elegant and imaginative as they are convenient and affordable. Conceived by Lauren Sharon Vintage Rentals & Design, Pop Up Picnic proffers an instant date replete with everything needed for a dreamy, vintage-themed daytime or sunset picnic for two. You simply choose the date, time and location and let Pop Up Picnic handle the rest—the food, beverages, accoutrements and ambiance—for an al...

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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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Whatever Happened To The Metric System? An Interview with John Bemelmans Marciano

Whatever Happened To The Metric System? How America Kept Its Feet by John Bemelmans Marciano (Bloomsbury, 2014, 310 pages, hard-cover with inset of colour and black and white photos) Quick: Where were you the day the Metric System died in America? Actually, it’s a trick (and tricky) question. For one thing, despite what the gas-station attendant pumping your gas in gallons would tell you, the metric system is very much alive in The U.S.A. Your medicine comes in metric doses (no one, on a long trans-Atlantic flight, asks for 1/18th of an ounce of Xanax), as does cocaine (in...

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Unraveling WWI’s Start – The Sleepwalkers By Christopher Clark

Review of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark This book covers in minute, but always interesting, details the events of June through early August, 1914 in Europe. The Sleepwalkers shows how World War I started, but also points out several cases where more resolute actions by leaders might have averted war. Several interesting arguments are made from Clark’s voluminous documentation not seen before: Leaders of Germany and Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas (first and second cousins, respectively of King George V of England), are not portrayed as absolute rulers who alone made the decisions...

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Review of D’Souza’s “America”

Book Review: America: Imagine a World without Her By Dinesh D’Souza I should emphasize that D’Souza does not mean a world where, literally, America never existed. Presumably, if that were his intention, it could mean that the colonies remained to this day under British rule, the British took over the Louisiana territory after Napoleon’s demise, Texas became an independent republic and Mexico retained control over California, Arizona and the Southwest (or similar scenarios). On an even stranger basis, if Canada and Mexico existed, but never the U.S., the territory in between those two nations could still be one inhabited...

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The Past Is Re-Invented With A FINEX® Cast Iron Skillet

As a child, my grandmother used a cast-iron skillet, as her mother had before her. A decade ago, I gave my 12-inch antique skillet to my daughter, who still uses it. Cast iron skillets have stood the test of time. I have a small 6” skillet I use for baking cornbread. Numerous times, I’ve considered purchasing another cast-iron skillet, but I knew I really did not need one. Much to my delight and surprise, I was asked to review a 12” FINEX® Cast Iron Skillet. I was quite excited by this opportunity, as they had told me it would...

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Debi Lander – Featured Luxe Beat Contributor

By Maralyn D. Hill and Sherrie Wilkolaski Debi Lander is a freelance travel journalist, photographer and seasoned international traveler who hails from St. Augustine, Florida. She has a keen interest in soft and active adventure, food and wine, history and culture. Her work has been published in Visa Black Card and Islands magazines, AOL Travel, FoxNews, Automotive Traveler, Business Jet Traveler, Taste of the South and many online publications. Debi is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. She maintains a website with a travel and food blog...

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