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Category: Destinations

Canyon Ranch Hotel and Spa Miami Beach

My 12-step program for Canyon Ranch Hotel and Spa Miami Beach.  On a recent trip to Suriname, I had to fly from San Francisco to Miami to catch my international flight. I was just going to book a no-brainer airport overnight (which usually ranks somewhere between unmemorable to downright unpleasant) when I remembered that there was a Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach. I had so thoroughly enjoyed my stay at “ The Ranch” in Tucson that I thought this could offer a healthy sleepover between flights. It turned out to be a brilliant move. Follow my...

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4th Annual Napa Truffle Festival, January 17-20, 2014

  I don’t know about you, but I always thought it was criminal that the 12 days of Christmas don’t include a gift of truffles. I’d so kick those noisy “calling birds” to the curb and replace them with a basket of these fragrant fungi. If your sig other is any sort of foodie and you need a very last minute gift, there’s still time to score tickets to the 4th Annual Napa Truffle Festival , January 17-20, 2014. The American Truffle Company returns to Napa with the fourth annual Napa Truffle Festival – bringing together two complementary aspects...

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Wiesbaden’s Twinkling Christmas Market

Early spring, I was fortunate to have an inexpensive ticket to Frankfurt and ended up discovering Wiesbaden. The city, with its friendly residents, festivals and beauty, captured my heart. I had to share this historic find with my husband. December found us back in Wiesbaden for the Twinkling Star Christmas Market. After checking in at the Hotel Radisson SAS Schwarzer Bock, we bundled up and ventured out to the excitement of Schlossplatz, which was transformed by the Wiesbaden Twinkling Star Christmas Market. Walking the streets while sipping gluhwein (mulled spiced hot wine) in the cold allowed the holiday spirit...

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Tierra Patagonia – Luxury At The End Of The Earth

Our adventure’s luxe base camp was at the five star Tierra Patagonia which is the very manifestation of “organic elegance”.  Designed by chilean architect Cazu Zegers, it is built of smooth and rough hewn lenga wood and glass. The hotel curves and flows with the wind along the top of a small hill that overlooks Lake Sarmiento and the world famous Towers, those craggy mountain peaks that so uniquely define the park.

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Maui’s Unique Spa Adventures

Award-winning spas offer ancient rituals with indigenous products. Surrounded by breath-taking mountains, soothing ocean breezes and a relaxing calm that permeates the island culture, a visit to Maui is not complete without indulging in at least one rejuvenating spa treatment. The word maui actually means “life, alive, to live” in the Hawaiian language. To the early peoples of Hawaii, the earth, the sea, and the mountains were all intertwined with a person’s health and well-being. Embracing that same philosophy today, Maui’s spas offer many indigenous treatments that have been passed down from generation to generation. The Spa at Travaasa...

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Maui Magic at Lumeria

To interior designer and architectural conservator, Xorin Balbes, there was something magical about the derelict property on the foothills of Maui’s Mt Haleakala. The land was special – he had felt its energy, but he’d also seen the dry rot that now invaded the buckled timber buildings that, a decade earlier, had housed pineapple pickers. So Xorin knew the onerous task he faced, but believed it was important to restore the unique 1909 authentic Craftsman style property with its “neo-classical and vernacular Japanese details”. So today, when you first round the corner of the driveway and take in the...

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Dripping in Luxury – Sarasota Resorts Offer a Taste of the Good Life

Photography by Dale Sanders Is this a dream?  I would pinch myself to find out but at the moment my hands are a little busy floating in the shallow end of one of the most magnificent bodies of water I’ve ever dipped in.  No, it’s not the beach, or even one of those fancy showers with ten thousand jets.  This, friends, is the mac daddy of architectural feats in terms of pools.  A subtle, soft, sand-like entrance that envelops my soul and tempts me to linger in the shallow end way longer than I thought I’d be there.  And,...

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We Don’t Need Snow to Have Fun at Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

I’d been meaning to check out the new Ritz-Carlton at Lake Tahoe for the last year, but due to a jam packed travel schedule I missed last year’s ski season. Rather then wait for this years, I sent out a “yo” to my NYC sis, to see if she wanted to fly out and be my wing-woman. Her answer came as no big surprise. Read on for a recap of just how much fun girlfriends can have at The Ritz– no matter what season it is! No sooner had my sis and I pulled into the hotel’s driveway then...

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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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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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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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Raffles: Where Extraordinary Luxury Is Expected

by Maralyn D. Hill Raffles in Singapore had been on my dream list for years, based on movies and books. On my first visit to Singapore in 1989, my hopes were dashed, as it was closed for renovations. But all was forgiven when I returned in 2001  to enjoy its classic charm, attention to detail, wonderful history and naturally, a Singapore Sling. During our initial Singapore visit, not at Raffles, my husband and I spoke with the grandson of the bartender who allegedly invented the classic Singapore Sling. He proudly made our drinks (they were good) and later we...

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