Columbus Calling at the James Beard House



New York, New York — The recent Columbus Calling dinner brought the team from Gallerie Bar and Bistro in the Hilton Columbus Downtown to the James Beard House. The dinner, a showcase of Chef Bill Glover’s commitment to the produce of Ohio and the region bordering the state, featured six courses and was preceded by a reception on the patio, featuring cocktail from Columbus’s Watershed Distillery and Seventh Son Brewing Company’s beers.


The hors d’oeuvres included Gallerie’s sous vide egg prepared with potato puree, tarragon creme fruit, and topped with Bowfin caviar.



Smoked Ohio trout was served with trout roe, steelhead tatare and a ginger panna cotta. Lake Erie Walleye tempura had an eggplant puree and a lemon labne. It was finished with chioggia beets and  dusted with beet powder.  Rabbit confit was accompanied by sage gnocchi, smoked red cabbage, and walnuts. A fine during of leek ash was an inspired finish.


It wouldn’t be an Ohio dinner without pork and Glover chose non-factory farmed, and paired it with corn puree, blackberry ketchup, and a jalapeño hush puppy. Ohio beef short rib followed and was paired with a sweet bread croquette, spelt, goat cheese, and pickled chanterelles. Dessert was a beautiful presentation of Ohio sweet corn shuffle with a honey sabayon and apricots. The honey was from the hotel’s rooftop apiary.



Quirky Quirk Hotel opens in Richmond


Model room with bed 2

Richmond, Va. – Richmond welcomed the design-driven boutique Quirk Hotel, which, according to a press release is a “new immersive hotel concept that showcases the world of local creatives.” Sounds fun. The pretty pink bedroom palette looks it too.

The hotel’s opening in September adds momentum to downtown Broad Street’s revitalization and brings a new eatery and bar to the area: the lobby-located restaurant Maple & Pine led by Chef David Dunlap, and the rooftop terrace bar and lounge, adjacent to the Quirk Gallery.

In celebration of the opening of Quirk Hotel, the property has partnered with local favorite, The Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre, to offer a special, limited time package. The November Theatre originally opened in 1911 and featured stars like Lucille LaVerne and John Bunny until a fire damaged the space in 1927, after which it lay dark for several years and then reopened to feature films and vaudeville performances. After various usage, in 2012 the Empire Theatre opened after a $2 million renovation and was renamed the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre.

The package includes:

  • Overnight stay in a suite
  • Dinner for two at the hotel’s on-site restaurant Maple & Pine
  • Tickets for two to the latest show at November Theater with a choice of:

o   A personal guided tour of The November Theater including a complete history of the theater scene in Richmond, backstage access and meet-and-greet with the actors

o   A personal guided tour of The Props and Costume Archives including time to “play”

  • Prices start at $599

For more info:

Photo credit: Destination Hotels



Millenium Hilton, New York, NY


Millenium HIlton - exterior

Location Lower Manhattan is where modern, bustling, commercially driven New York City began in the 1600s — firstly as a Dutch Colony, before the British finally took control in 1664 — and it remains the city’s financial center, and that of America, too. It is the home of the notorious Wall Street and the World Trade Center site. Within steps of the hotel is One World Trade Center, which was initially dubbed Freedom Tower, and is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The reflecting pools and 9/11 memorial are also on hand. Lower Manhattan is also home to Columbia University, which was founded in 1754, and the first Congress of the United States sat at Federal Hall on Wall Street, circa 1789, while New York City was the nation’s short-lived capital. To the south, towards New York Harbor, lies both the new-built community of Battery Park City and the historic South Street Seaport. Northwards, the SoHo, Meatpacking District, West Village, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, Nolita, and the East Village offer a myriad of bars, restaurants, and shopping, much of it boutique and individual to the city — if you get off the main, more subscribed streets, that is. Lower Manhattan is referred to as Downtown and since the 1950s offered lower rents and became the home and work space for artists and musicians. The massive development has threatened the area culturally, pushing artists over the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Manhattan and Long Islands in Lower Manhattan.


The Hotel Millenium Hilton opened in the Fiancial District in 1992 after two years of construction. Rather childishly, the developers chose to deliberately misspell the name, leaving off one n and perhaps rendering its title meaningless. Nevertheless, the hotel’s 55 stories and monolithic smoked black exterior have a late-20th century grandeur, both modern and minimal. The hotel has 569-rooms and suites. Less than a decade after its opening, the Millenium Hilton was severely damaged by the events of 9/11, which unfolded right in front of the hotel, right before some guests’ eyes. The flag that flew outside the entrance up until that day was recovered by some staff members. It now hangs discreetly in the lobby. The lobby is a bright area with a corner bar and lots of seating.  Check in and the concierge desk, as well as a small shop, complete the ground floor space. Notably, by the Fulton Street entrance, the hotel’s American flag, which was rescued by staff after the 9/11 blasts tore up the hotel’s frontage, hangs, framed on a wall.


View of a Room: 4711 This corner suite offers views far up the west side of Manhattan — construction, ever ongoing, has blocked off some of the magnificent city vistas, though. The bedroom has views over the Hudosn to New Jersey, too, but the sights are dominated by One World Trade Center, whihc is smack bang in front of the picture window. Look down from that window and the North Pool, part of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, glistens below, surrounded by dozens of fledgling trees. It’s an oasis of calm, and a much vivisted one.


Besides astounding views, the bedroom also offers an amazingly comfortable king bed with a large flatscreen on the dresser. The bathroom has Philip Thomas Roth toiletries, and robes and slippers await in the closet. The separate living room has a couch, a work desk, coffee/tea station, mini bar, and another TV. The decor is muted: beige, caramel, and brown. The art work is understated, too. This stylish, but neutral interior contrasts well with the complex city backdrop all around the room. At the night, the city lights never cease to astound.


Restaurant and bars The first floor lobby bar, Liquid Assets, the title a nod to the hotel’s location, is accented by sunshine yellow and has views to the bustling street. There’s complimentary WiFi in the lobby area. Church & Dey Restaurant, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is located on the third floor. Both the restaurant and lobby were renovated in 2012.


Fitness, pool There is a fitness center and an indoor pool.

Parking There is valet only parking at the Fulton Street garage, but no in-out privileges.


55 Church St, New York, NY 10007

Phone: 212-693-2001
Photo credit: Hilton Hotel Group/Hotel Junkie

Have a Perfect Day at the Hilton Westchester, Starting with Breakfast



Rye Brook, New York — Wandering through acres of wooded grounds, swimming in the outdoor or indoor pools, a game of tennis perhaps? These are a few of the things to do at the Hilton Westchester.


There’s also this wonderful thing called doing nothing, so about simply relaxing on the terrace adjacent to Härth restaurant?

Harth Restaurant (outdoor patio area)

There’s lunch and dinner to be had at Härth, of course: locally made creamy burrata tops an arugula salad and is served with pillow-y flatbread; pan roasted salmon is glazed with white wine; and the succulent succotash has butter beans. It’s all very tasty. Then, later, curling up with a glass of wine or a cocktail and a cheese plate, and sitting by the fireplace in the lobby lounge, well, that’s a dose of bliss.


Can there be anything as pleasurable than starting the day with a wonderful breakfast in the privacy of your room? The breakfast menu includes what has to be the best Eggs Benedict ever. Yes, the eggs are nicely poached and perch on a bed of fresh, wilted spinach. For meat lovers, there’s a generous layer of ham, omit that if you like. And the hollandaise is lovely and lemony, and the color of marigolds. But the secret weapon is a brioche bread pudding “bun”underneath it all. Beats a muffin any day of the week.


For more info: HIlton Westchester

DoubleTree by Hilton Boston’s Stay with the Kennedys package celebrates two Kennedys


Boston, Massachusetts — The DoubleTree by Hilton Boston’s “Stay with the Kennedys” package, giving access to the life and legacies of both John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his younger brother, Ted. Both served their country and community as President of the United States and Senator, respectively.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Boston’s package includes:

  • Overnight accommodations in a standard guest room at either the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston – Downtown OR the DoubleTree Club by Hilton Boston Bayside
  • Two adult admission tickets to the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate
  • Two adult admission tickets to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

The package is available through July 31, 2016, but guests must book one week in advance. For rates and to book:

DoubleTree Club by Hilton Boston Bayside

DoubleTree by Hilton Boston – Downtown

Sultry summer in Pittsburgh? Hit the Kimpton Rooftop Biergarten



Pittsburgh, PA — It can get pretty steamy in Pittsburgh during the summer months, especially downtown. So catch a breeze on the Kimpton hotel’s newly-opened seasonal rooftop biergarten.


This ninth-floor rooftop space not only provides some respite from street level heat, but honors the city’s German heritage with an all-German beer list and accompanying bier friendly food.



The biergarten is shadowed by the mighty modernist ALCOA building, which was built in 1951 as the corporate headquarters for the Aluminum Company of America. Hence, the extensive use of aluminium used in the building. It is now apartments.




For more information: Kimpton Monaco Pittsburgh

Photo credit: Adam Milliron

Sleeping next to the tallest building in the western hemisphere… at the Millenium Hilton



New York, NY — As another year passes and another day of remembrance for the victims of 9/11 is marked in Lower Manhattan, the evening brings calm to the area where throngs visited earlier in the day. The barricaded streets are now open and life returns to normal. It’s not often the average person sleeps within view of One World Trade Center, aka the Freedom Tower, its cobalt blue spire lit up and spectacular against the black night sky. But, by sheer chance, the Millenium Hilton was built adjacent to the World Trade Centers twin towers. So, by inheritance, views from some rooms look over the reflecting pools and right smack at the tower. But this hotel sustained considerable damage from that horrifying day and it took millions to restore its structure. So, this hotel has a 9/11 connection like no other.






Langham, Boston adds Express Spa Treatments



Boston, Massachusetts — It’s amazing what you can achieve in 45 minutes. How about deep cleaned, rehydrated skin, or knotted muscles soothed? The Langham, Boston hotel’s Chuan Body + Soul spa now has Express Treatments lasting 45 minutes, which means busy people, both local — the hotel is in the city’s Financial District — and visitors, can experience a relaxing treatment during lunch break. Though all are welcome, the Express Treatments are aimed at business travelers and are only available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 11 am-5 pm.

The four treatments on the new Chuan Body + Soul Express Menu are:

– Express Source Marine Facial is designed for dehydrated skin that is occasionally subject to flakiness and tightness. This 45-minute treatment uses a specific mask made with active marine ingredients and vegetal milks to improve texture and leave the skin feeling soft and silky. $99.00

– Express Oxygenation Facial is a 45-minute booster treatment that oxygenates, revitalizes and brightens the complexion, resulting in a radiant, healthy glow. It’s the ideal remedy for tired, sluggish skin, polluted by stress and a busy lifestyle. $99.00

– Express Swedish Massage is a superb 45-minute massage that includes soothing scented oils which are worked by hand into the muscle and soft tissue to induce a deep sense of calm. $99.00

– Express Deep Tissue Massage is a 45-min western-style massage that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and very deep strong finger pressure on the contracted areas. $112.00

For more information: Langham, Boston


Photo credit: Langham, Boston

Hilton Columbus Downtown Chef Bill Glover hits the Big Apple



New York, New York — Chef Bill Glover will bring a touch of Midwest cooking to the James Beard House this fall. The Hilton Columbus Downtown chef, who heads the Hotel Junkie recommended Gallerie Bar & Bistro, has been invited to present a dinner at the fabled James Beard House.  The event is Friday, September 11, and promises to feature dishes with a Central Ohio regional twist over a six-course menu. the evening begins with a reception at 7 p.m., with dinner following at 8 p.m.

For tickets: James Beard House 
167 W. 12th St., New York, NY

Gallerie Bar & Bistro at Hilton Columbus Downtown


IMG_2777Columbus, Ohio — Midway on the renowned High Street, and up on the second level of the Hilton Columbus Downtown, is the open-plan bar and restaurant, Gallerie Bar & Bistro. The large, separate bar has window-side couches and comfy chairs, and a tempting list of cocktails, wine, and local beers such as North High Hefeweizen, Elevator Dark Force lager, or Seventh Son amber ale.


Across the way is the bistro: look up through the towering atrium of the hotel. Oh and beware, guests might looking back down at you from their rooms! No matter, it’s the food that counts here and, under the guidance of Chef Bill Glover it’s better than the average hotel restaurant, much better. There are starters and small plates, and the small plates are not those horribly inadequate sized dishes. They are actually big enough to share, if you want to. But with such tempting items as shrimp and grits with andouille sausage and crispy polenta replacing the usual puddingy grits, you may decide to go solo. There’s also a charcuterie plate and local Ohio cheeseboard; and goat cheese agnolotti with English peas, beech mushrooms, chioggia beets, and pine nuts. Among the entrees is a seared salmon with roasted fingerling potatoes and a roasted red pepper and smoked almond tapenade; and Ohio pork chops with herb spatial, blackberry jus, and fried leek straws.Expect dishes to change seasonally, dictated by fresh local produce that becomes available.

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Desserts? These are the kind of desserts you want to save room for–the roasted banana semifreddo with gianduja and an espresso creme Anglaise is inspired and delicious. Wow.


Save up to 40% with Nantucket Island Resorts’ Summer for Less offer


image001Nantucket, MA — It might be the height of summer, but there are deals to be had on the exclusive island of Nantucket. Nantucket Island Resorts’ “Summer for Less” offer means nightly rates start at $295 on select dates this season at all its properties.

Jared Coffin House from $295 A former Whaling Captain’s mansion, the landmark is located in the heart of Town and steps away from Nantucket’s top restaurants, shops and museums.


The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin from $475No yacht? No problem. Enjoy all the benefits of staying on Nantucket’s Boat Basin. Furry first mates are welcome at the pet-friendly Woof Cottages.


The Wauwinet from $595 | For romance and relaxation, escape to the northeast end of the island and enjoy the The Wauwinet’s two private beaches.

White Elephant from $625 Sip Brant Point Grill’s famous Lobster Bloody Mary, throwback freshly shucked oysters, and take in the sparkling harbor view from Nantucket’s most iconic hotel.

White Elephant Village Residences & Inn from $1295| Steps from Town, the multi-bedroom accommodations are ideal for families. Little ones will love Children’s Beach located across the street, while the hotel’s complimentary bikes are perfect to explore nearby beaches, like Steps Beach and Jetties Beach.

For more information about travel dates and rates, visit, or call 800 475 2637.

The Plaza offers Christmas Spectacular Package


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New York, NY – Too early to be thinking about the Holidays? Not if you want to book The Plaza’s Christmas Spectacular Package, which includes a deluxe guest room and two tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the beloved Rockets. Guests who book an Edwardian Suite or above receive four tickets to the performance, and additional tickets are available for purchase through the hotel with a confirmed reservation.  And, guests who book before September 1, 2015 will receive The Plaza’s collectible 2015 Christmas ornament and snow globe.  The Christmas Spectacular Package is available from November 23, 2015 through January 3, 2016 starting at $1,125 USD per night. The Christmas Spectacular Package must be booked at least 10 days in advance.

For additional information: or call (212) 546.5350.

Twin Farms and CorePower Yoga collaborate




Barnard, Vermont —  Twin Farms and CorePower Yoga have reunited for a woodland yoga retreat, August 28-29. Twin Farms, which is an all-inclusive Relais & Chateaux property and the only five-star resort in Vermont, and CorePower Yoga first collaborated to  launch Twin Farms’ new yoga pavilion this spring.

During the woodland retreat, guests can experience tailored stream-side yoga classes led by CorePower Yoga’s expert instructors, cooking demonstrations with award winning Executive Chef Nathan Rich, a breakfast juice bar, and healthy in-room amenities. All-inclusive rates start at $1,650/night based on double occupancy.
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Win win win: Hilton Westchester’s private NYC helicopter package


Hilton Westchester - Main Entrance - NEW Rye Brook, New York — See New York City without the heat and hustle: the Hilton Westchester’s special NYC helicopter package deal adds a birds-eye view of the city and, this summer, the hotel has a contest for a lucky prize winner to enjoy the ride. The prize includes:

  • One night stay for two at the Hilton Westchester hotel
  • Transportation to and from the Port Chester and Rye train stations
  • Buffet Breakfast for two
  • 30-minute private Helicopter Tour of NYC for two compliments of Wings Air Helicopters
  • Transportation to and from the hanger from the Hilton Westchester
  • Bottle of Champagne upon your return to the hotel

To enter, go to the hotel’s Facebook page. The winner announced on Facebook on August 16, 2015.

The 443-room Hilton Westchester is nestled on 37 naturally landscaped acres in the suburban town of Rye Brook and has two pools (indoor/outdoor), the Harth restaurant and bar, and is close to many popular historic and recreational Westchester County attractions including the following: Rye Playland (the 1928 Art Deco amusement park designated a historic NYS landmark and where the Tom Hanks movie “BIG” was filmed); Rye/Oakland Beach located on Long Island Sound; Port Chester – home to many hip and trendy ethnic restaurants from Peruvian to Italian (including Mario Batali/Joe Bastianich’s Tarry Lodge); Historic Hudson Valley tourist attractions including Sleepy Hollow, Sunnyside (Washington Irving’s ancestral estate), Kykuit, the historic home of the Rockefeller family located in Pocantico Hills, and the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. The package costs $899 for two and includes the following:

For more info: Hilton Westchester

Harth Restaurant (Hilton Westchester)

Dandelyan at Mondrian London wins Best New International Cocktail Bar 2015


Dandelyan 2 copy

London, England — Dandelyan at Mondrian London won Best New International Cocktail Bar 2015 at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirit Awards in New Orleans, last weekend. Head bartender Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana also won Best International Bartender of the Year 2015.


Photo credit: Mondrian London

Sofitel New York extends its New York City Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus through to August 14


Exterior at night

New York City, New York — Gaby Brasserie Française, the charming restaurant at the decidedly French Sofitel New York, extends its New York City Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus through to August 14. Offered Sunday-Friday only, wine pairings are available for an additional charge.


Photo Credit: Sofitel New York

Saint Lucia’s Ti Kaye Resort & Spa receives Wine Spectator award



Saint Lucia, West Indies — Ti Kaye Resort & Spa‘s Kai Manje Restaurant has been awarded the Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Awards’ second level award of excellence. Owner Nicholas Pinnock says, “The award gives Kai Manje recognition for our island grass roots Creole cuisine, tradition and culture combined with our superb breadth and depth of wines. The ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ puts Kai Manje in a very elite group of being one of only seven restaurants in the entire Caribbean to have this second level award, and is the first and only one in . It also means Saint Lucia is one of only three Caribbean islands to have a second level award winning restaurant, and is the only island in the Lesser Antilles.”


Martha’s Vineyard’s Kelley House marks its roots with Jaws filming


image003Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts — With Jaws, the movie, hitting its 40th anniversary, Martha’s Vineyard’s hostelry, Kelley House, which began as housing for the film’s cast and crew, is giving guests a blast from the past with an exclusive Cisco Shark Package. The Vineyard establishment, the sister hotel to the nearby Harbor View Hotel, invites guests to stay in the same rooms as the cast, and the package also includes a bucket of local Cisco Shark Tracker Light Lager Beer, a Cisco swag bag, and breakfast at the Newes From America Pub. Based on double occupancy rates start at $449 per night.

Reservations can be made online at or by calling 800-225-6005.


Veuve Clicquot Summer Brunch Series at The Nantucket


Entrance- Nantucket

Nantucket, Massachusetts — Summer treats come in all shapes and sizes, and if you’re lucky it comes with bubbles. The Nantucket’s bubbles and brunch series at the Breeze Bar & Café adds a splash of Veuve Clicquot. Launching July 26, the bubbly brunch is available August 9 and August 26, too.

Executive Chef Josh Schoen’s New England seasonal menu includes oysters with rose vinegar and ginger, Maine lobster bisque, smoked salmon salad and a signature Nantucket omelet, all to be paired with chilled Veuve Clicquot brut.

A la carte brunch for two plus a 750ml bottle of the signature Veuve Clicquot Brut starts at $100. To book, call the Breeze Bar & Café: 508.228.4730,


Photo credit: The Nantucket

Never underestimate a bottle top at the Red Lion Inn



Stockbridge, Massachusetts — We make no apologies, but Hotel Junkie just loves this little guy. He lives at the Red Lion Inn, waving at guests from a bookshelf. His legs and arms are made of bottle tops. Nearby, this chair is another example of human waste as art. Bottle tops transform an old chair into a mighty throne!

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The Colonnade Hotel’s Brasserie JO takes a tour de France


Colonnade Boston Exterior


Boston, Massachusetts — It’s not too late to enjoy Brasserie JO’s Tour de France menu. This wonderful French bistro inside The Colonnade Hotel will offer Executive Chef Nick Calias’s changing plat du jours inspired by  the regions of France the riders cycle through.


Here are the menus for rest of the month:

Normandy July 7th-9th

Watercress Soup, Mussels—10.95

Sole Meuniere—22.95

Clafoutis aux pommes á la normande—9.95


Brittany July 10th-12th

Oysters, Cider Mignonette—14.95

Monkfish in Sauce Armoricaine—23.95

Crepes, Hazelnut Chocolate Sauce, Strawberries—8.95


Midi-Pyrenees July 14th-18th

Pan Seared Duck, Foie Gras, Currents—27.95

Pan Seared Scallops, Piperade, Spinach—23.95

Basque Torte -8.95


Rhone, Alps July 19th -22nd

Fondue, Baguette, Apple, Potato, Broccoli—14.95

Eggs Meurette, cooked in red wine—13.95

Chicken Fricassee, Aged Vinegar—22.95

Mille-feuille, Walnut Verona Chocolate Mousse –10.95


Paris July 23rd -26th

Chicken Liver Mousse Pate-12.95

Entrecôte, Pommes Frites, Béarnaise—37.95

Sole Bercy-24.95

Assorted French Macarons—9.95

Brasserie JO Boston Entrance


The Commoner dazzles Pittsburgh’s dining scene



Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–Since opening last winter, The Commoner, tucked below street level in the new Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, has brought boutique tavern dining to Downtown Pittsburgh. Set inside the turn of the twentieth century built former Duquesne building near Mellon Square Park, the menu is inspired by heartland America but with coastal flair, and the ambiance is retro modern, with the building’s industrial heart displayed in exposed girders. This is, after all, the city that steel built. Chef Dennis Marron and his team labor in the open-plan kitchen, which is dominated by a massive wood fired oven. The alleyway behind the hotel is filled with the smell of BBQ smoke, and a pile of wood stands there, ready for the kitchen fire. IMG_0685 This being a Kimpton hotel, one of the most pet friendly of hostelries, Marron does not neglect those most delightful of visitors: the guest in-room dining menu includes grilled Amish chicken breast with gravy, or an Astro burger with dog treat fries; and a Garfield tuna sandwich, or Sylvester’s salmon for kitties–or pups! On the Commoner’s menu items is a speciality for human diners: Marron’s Scotch deviled egg, which is the usual deviled egg, but wrapped with sausage meat and deep-fried, and served with the wonderful in-house made hot sauce. There’s also charred cauliflower with a sage and walnut pesto, and a wonderful grain and veggie salad, rightly dubbed Hearty Greens. It’s a toss of bitter radicchio, shaved Brussels sprouts. avocado, barley, and pickled pine nuts in a light but creamy lemon vinaigrette. It’s topped with a sheaf of crisped, fried kale. Of the main dishes, a de-constructed seafood chowder might raise eyebrows in New England, but it’s a dish that works out lighter and brighter than heavy real chowder. A pan-roasted striped bass steak is topped with clams, mussels, ham, corn, and potatoes, and a smoky, creamy “chowder” sauce is served in a jug, to be added to taste. As for the onion soup burger, well, this is an absolute innovation: the beef patty is topped with onion soup, including a slice of Gruyere cheese, which soaks into an onion bun. A full compliment of desserts, local beers, and an astutely curated wine list complement the menu. Desserts are irresistible: the Whitepot is a bread and butter pudding, made with raisin brioche and lemony custard. A grand finale indeed.


For more info: The Commoner/Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh

Photo credit to Adam Milliron/Hotel Junkie

Hilton Columbus Downtown, Columbus, Ohio



Location: Though the Hilton Columbus Downtown sits opposite the Convention Center, and even has a connecting skybridge, this hotel isn’t only about commerce and business. Its address midway on Columbus’s five-mile long High Street places the hotel near the arts district. Known as Short North, the area was once a no-go neighborhood riddled with crime, but as is often the case, it provided cheap living for artists who civilized the neighborhood. Further on lies the University District and the Wexner Center. In the opposite direction, turn right out of the Hilton and the Downtown area holds historic theaters and the riverfront, and the Arena District is exactly that: a sports and entertainment hub. There is also the famous German Village, where homes have an annual open-day to show off their style and the German heritage. Behind the Hilton, in the opposite direction of the Convention Center is the city’s historic North Market. The High Street is easily walkable, but also there’s a free bus service running right along this stretch. Columbus also has a communal city bike and even CoGo, communal Smartcar program.


The Hotel: Built on a former empty lot in 2012 from the ground up, Hilton Columbus Downtown has a towering 12-storey central atrium with 532 rooms surrounding its four sides. Two sides overlook the second floor restaurant area. Being so closely connected to the Short North Arts District, this Hilton has adopted a strong arts presence itself. Throughout the hotel, there’s a permanent collection of works by local artists, including Christian Faur’s skyline created from crayon tips, which is behind the check-in desk. There is also a monthly changing display on a side corridor, which changes in conjunction with Short North’s First Saturday Gallery Walk.


The stark modernism of the lobby is warmed by natural wood and a spiral staircase, which leads to the second floor restaurant and social area. Apart from sitting and a work/play space with communal computers, the second floor is where you’ll find the fitness center.

The hotel is LEED Gold certified, meaning it was built with strong positive environmental and health initiatives, including a saline cleaned pool, also on the second floor. There is also a Whirlpool hot tub.


View of a Room: 943 This one-bedroom suite echoes the simple clean lines of the hotel, and its muted palette of neutral grey and beige. The living room has a couch and arm chairs and TV, as well as a kitchenette with an empty ‘fridge. There is a coffee and tea making facility, too.


The bedroom has a comfy king sized bed, a TV, and a day bed and desk built-in by the window, which looks over the convention center. It’s not an appealing view particularly, but with the city’s winding elevated highways weaved into the near-distance, it has a certain hum to it.


The main bathroom has a walk in shower and there is a powder room–each is stocked with Peter Thomas Roth products.


Each guest room has individual artwork and this one includes a three-dimensional white wall hanging, and a vibrant cityscene in the loo. Above the bed, the ceiling is dominated by a pale blue abstract painting, which is soothing, rather than distracting from rest.


Restaurants and bars: The Coffee Bar is located by the front entrance. Gallerie Bar and Bistro on the second floor is split into two distinct areas. The bar is large with plenty of places to lounge, including by the window. Gallerie Bistro gives Midwest produce a French twist, and includes small plates as well as starters, entrees and desserts. Local beers are rotated seasonally, and the wine list is finely curated.


401 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 384-8600



Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



Location: How could the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh not be a grand hotel in the old sense of the word? After all, it is set in a Beaux Arts style building, completed in 1903. It was, for quite some time, the headquarters of Pittsburgh power company, Duquesne, and then, in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it became the home of the Reed Smith law firm. Set on William Penn Place, near Mellon Square Park, the hotel’s neighbors across the street span the architectural spectrum: there’s the aluminum built Alcoa building, which has been converted into residential and retail, and then, right next door to the space age Alcoa, is the deep pink Colonial era Allegheny Harvard Yale Princeton Club, next to a quaint alley called Strawberry Way. A short walk away, Market Place Square is very much a local haunt for sitting and people watching, or eating from or at one of the many food joints surrounding the square. Most entertainment is within walking distance, but in the hotel lobby a couple of bikes await guests, all ready for them to explore the city on. Don’t forget to smile: Pittsburgh is one of the friendliest cities you’ll find.


The Hotel: Being a Kimpton hotel, a company that put the stamp on whimsical pack-rat boutique style, Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh fits today’s re-use, recycle adaptive style. Just done with a huge dash of fabulousness. Guests are greeted by a giant Great Dane cast in white porcelain, which sits by the entranceway. Great Danes are the Pennsylvania state dog, and the noble hounds pop up throughout the hotel, either on cushion covers or wallpaper print. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, so its no idle idol. The marble clad lobby is softened by a spectacular chandelier of cascading silk flowers that many might miss unless they look up. However, from the second floor Living Room, this pretty fixture all but blossoms before your eyes.


The Living Room is filled with couches and ad-hoc furnishings. Two large, body decorated armoires, from which morning coffee and the early evening wine hour (5 p.m. – 6 p.m.) are dispensed, stand on one wall, behind a dining table and chairs.


The art work and fixtures here, as throughout the hotel, echo local icons and the individual theme for this particular hotel, which is birds. There are old ornate birdcages dipped in turquoise paint; brass bird claw table legs; and bespoke chandeliers crafted from talons–thankfully not real, but of metal.


One bird in particular is highlighted in the yellow table lamps, which is shaped like a penguin. These are dotted throughout the hotel and honor the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course, one of the oldest hockey teams in the US.

The hotel’s quirky, peeping eye artwork stares mysteriously from some walls, too. And for the fitness freaks, there’s a fully fitted exercise room.


View of a Room: 721 Despite being chock full of colors and patterns and fun furniture, this room is spacious–plenty of room to stow your stuff without feeling like you’re tripping over things. The decor continues the birdcage theme this Monaco adopted with an ornate bedside light shade.


Honestly, there are comfortable beds and then there was this one. There’s no one thing pinpointing just why this high, plush bed was so comfy–and the pillows so convivial, too. It just is — appreciate it!


The bathroom has a step-in marble tile lined shower, excellent lighting and a magnifying mirror, and toiletries by C. O. Bigelow. And, the bedroom closet houses a pair of grey pinstripe robes. The bespoke wallpaper lining the closet is a riot of color and city scenes, and there’s that trusty hound again.


Restaurants and Bars: The Commoner is a relaxing bar and restaurant with down to earth dishes, artfully reimagined. It is open morning till late at night, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late night bar menu.



620 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Oh boy, these Cape Cod hotels are sharing ice cream (recipes)


Cape Cod, Massachusetts–It’s sum-sum-summertime and nothing says summer like ice cream treats. Here are two recipes from seaside hotel kitchens for you try your hand at.

Peanut Butter & Beach Plum Jelly Ice Cream

Executive Chef Daniel Kenney, Sea Crest Beach Hotel – Cape Cod, Mass.


Yield 1 quart of ice cream

½ cup organic sugar

3 organic eggs

1 cup organic whole milk

¾ cup organic peanut butter

¾ cup Cape Cod beach plum jelly

¾ cup condensed milk

½ cup organic heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla beans, fresh from pod


  1. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until thick, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Pour milk into a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Gradually drizzle the hot milk into the eggs while whisking vigorously. Then pour the whole mixture into the saucepan.
  3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not boil.
  4. Remove from heat, and whisk in peanut butter. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream and vanilla beans.. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  5. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fold in beach plum jelly when mixture is still soft, then transfer to a container, and freeze until solid.

Banana Split

Executive Chef Caleb Lara, Harbor View Hotel – Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.


Makes one dessert

1 scoop vanilla bean ice cream

1 scoop chocolate ice cream

1 scoop strawberry gelato

1 banana, sliced lengthwise

Dark Rum Pineapple Sauce (recipe below)

2 tablespoons Italian cherries in liqueur

Freshly whipped cream

1 waffle cone, broken into pieces

Dark Rum Pineapple Sauce


1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup dark rum


  1. Make the pineapple sauce by simmering all the ingredients together until a glaze forms

and the alcohol cooks off.  Let cool before serving.

  1. Arrange the ice cream ingredients in a platter (ice cream, banana, Italian cherries) and

drizzle with pineapple rum sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream and waffle cone pieces

and serve immediately.

Harbor View Hotel opens Lighthouse Grill


image003 Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts — Bye bye Water Street, hello Lighthouse Grill. Gorgeous Cape Cod island getaway, the Harbor View Hotel, has revamped its main restaurant, and renamed it too. The new Vineyard hotspot will welcome guests for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Caleb Lara will continue the hotel’s tradition of using produce, meats and poultry from established local farms and fishermen. Lighthouse Grill will be open daily for breakfast with brunch on Sundays, and Thursday-Sunday nights for dinner. Starting June 14 it will be open daily for dinner.

For more info: Harbor View Hotel

Father’s Day, or any day: you’re guaranteed a memorable stay at Ti Kaye Resort



Saint Lucia, West Indies — Trust us, Ti Kaye Resort’s special lunch makes for one Father’s Day dad won’t forget. Not there already? There’s always next year… But this is what you’re missing:

Fathers Day Lunch 2015

For more info: Ti Kaye Resort & Spa

Photo credit: Ti Kaye/Hotel Junkie

Pittsfield’s Hotel on North opens


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Pittsfield, Massachusetts–The Main Street Hospitality Group opens Hotel on North in Pittsfield, June 1. The Berkshires family owned hotel group is also behind the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Porches Inn at MASS MoCA in North Adams, and the Williams Inn in Williamstown,

Located in a pair of buildings dating from the 1880s, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hotel on North’s renovation retains many original Victorian features, like the building’s original birdcage elevator, which has been converted into a cozy seating area in the lounge. The accommodations include a grand book-lined Library Suite and, unusually for a Berkshires inn, extended stay rooms with kitchenettes and washers/dryers. Red Lion chef Brian Alberg oversees the inn’s restaurant, Eat on North.

Hotel on North has an introductory rate priced from $199 per night, which includes overnight accommodations, continental breakfast for two, and all taxes and meal gratuities (available June 1 through June 18, 2015.) For more info:

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Photo credit: Hotel on North

Falmouth’s Sea Crest Beach Hotel adds dog package



Falmouth, Massachusetts — Bring your best friend to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel and have him, or her, or them, enjoy a specially curated dog package, which includes treats and toys from local store, The Black Dog. This package includes nightly accommodations, a reusable bag, dog treats, an Orbee ball, a Black Dog squeaky toy, bandana, ID tag, sticker, and travel snack bag. Rates start at $289 and include pet fee.

For more info: Sea Crest Beach Hotel

Catch it while you can: Boston’s Via Matta closes May 30



Boston, Massachusetts — After 13 years, one of Boston’s best Italian restaurants, chef and cookbook author Michael Schlow’s Via Matta, closes May 30. Hurry along for exquisitely prepared pastas–the wild mushroom mezza luna with truffle in a creamy sauce is unmissable–and Italian classics, such as crispy eggplant parm topped with shaved parmesan, cherry tomatoes, and pungent basil.


Although this stylish restaurant, tucked between the Public Gardens and Park Plaza Hotel, will be sadly missed, Schlow plans to open a new Greek styled restaurant in the spot in September. A menu of Via Matta classics, which will be in place until it closes.


Chef Schlow is on hand to chat with guests and say goodbye to Via Matta.

For more info: