Take a tour of the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common’s Presidential Suite



Boston, MA — Just in time for Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays, the Ritz-Carlton gave Hotel Junkie a tour of its reimagined Presidential Suite. Firstly, there is the amazing view, complete with a new coat of snow (above). Then there is a chandelier made of mock bi-focals, recalling the suite’s muse: Benjamin Franklin. (True, Franklin was never a president.)


Many such fittings are bespoke, including a reading chair and daybed, which is placed for maximum views by the window.






And get the TV over the tub — every home should have one!

For more information: Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common

Take the Presidential Appeal package at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston

Pres Suite Ritz-Carlton
Boston, MA — Valid through November 30, the Ritz-Carlton Boston’s Presidential Appeal package includes accommodations for two in the luxurious Presidential Suite, access to the Ritz-Carlton Club Level lounge for two, an in-suite dining experience for two prepared by the hotel’s chef, and a 24 Karat Gold Signature Facial for two at The Spa at Equinox Sports Club, adjacent to the hotel. Also, includes a $1,000 shopping spree through the designer boutiques on Newbury Street and curated tours of Boston for two including:
    • A private tour of Fenway Park, home of the world champion Boston Red Sox who were cheered on by fans like U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and FDR
    • A tour of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate
    • Private sedan transportation from hotel for both tours
    • A copy of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, the Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators.
    • Airport transfers

The package starts at $15,000 for a two night stay (taxes not included). For more info: click here.

Pres Suite Ritz-Carlton Living Room


Enjoy the Norman Rockwell Experience with the Red Lion Inn



Stockbridge, MA — What with all the artifacts, the Red Lion Inn is a veritable art gallery and museum in its own right. Take advantage of the Stockbridge icon’s Norman Rockwell Experience and enjoy overnight accommodations, breakfast for two, and two passes to the treasured Norman Rockwell Museum.


Rates begin at $235 on weekdays and $305 on weekends, per night, inclusive of taxes and meal gratuities. Offer runs through May 26, based on availability. For more information, click here.



Express Inn & Suites, Lincoln, New Hampshire



Location A stone’s throw from I93, Lincoln is a hamlet whose main commerce is leisure. Situated in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains, Lincoln is at the base of Loon Mountain Ski Resort, which has summer attractions too, and includes a 300-year-old steam locomotive that shuttles visitors from one end of the resort to the other. That saves hauling your skies around! Of course, the summer and then fall foliage seasons bring in a different kind of activity. Lincoln is also home to Hobo Junction, a train station where defunct train carriages from all over the country are put to good use on scenic rides.


Lodging The Express Inn & Suites was formerly a comfort inn and it shows on the outside. But, once inside, this privately owned franchise shows its individual and local character. In the lobby, snowshoes hang on the wall and a wooden train sits on a track running above two-sided fireplace which makes the lobby and breakfast room cozy.



Just off the lobby are the fitness room and the pool area, which also has a hot tub. Surrounded by trees, yet close to Lincoln’s shops and restaurants, the Express Inn offers a rural retreat with treats on tap.


View of a Room 124 This spacious first floor room has a king bed, armoire with a TV, and an arm chair. That sounds rather basic, but the room is warm and friendly, and pleasantly decorated and has nice comfy touches, such as a gold bed throw.


A kitchenette with ‘fridge and microwave and the bathroom, which is handicap fitted, complete the amenities. The view over the parking lot is of the woods that surround the property.





An Ice Castle opens in Lincoln, New Hampshire




Lincoln, New Hampshire — Just steps away from the Express Inn and Suites… Last weekend, at Lincoln’s famed Hobo Junction,  a fairytale castle of glistening ice was opened to the public. It was hard to say which was more entrancing: the nighttime version with its colorful lighting, or the daylight version with its unique cool blues.Part art installation and part magical space, and painstakingly crafted, it’s a winter delight.


For more information: icecastles.com

Kearsarge Inn, North Conway, New Hampshire



Location The Kearsarge Inn is perfected placed just off North Conway’s main drag, the White Mountain Highway, otherwise known as Route 16. It is on a quieter side street, yet restaurants and shops are all close by, including the legendary and amazing Zeb’s General Store, which is reputed to stock more New Hampshire made items than any other in the state. It probably stocks more items than any store any where.


You’ll find everything from soaps to hot sauce, and from Zeb’s own candies to a jar of pickled eggs!


A few minutes drive away is Cranmore Mountain Resort, a bustling ski and snowboarding area. It is one of New Hampshire’s oldest ski areas and dates back to 1937, when it opened with just one rope tow. Now fully updated, Cranmore also has an adventure park, a snow tubing slope, and a 25-mile per hour Mountain Rollercoaster. It’s a year round resort, of course. Also a short drive away, the Red Parka Restaurant and Pub in Glen serves up great casual American food, and is a local favorite.


Lodging The cozy Kearsarge Inn keeps things very simple: There is no breakfast or food on offer, just coffee, tea, and juice in the parlor each morning.


However, it is far from a basic lodgings house. There’s a variety of rooms and two cottages at the rear of the property. Each is cozy and furnished in a typical New England homely style. Some rooms have fireplaces; some have a jacuzzi. There is ample off street parking in the driveway. The Kearsarge Inn has some pet friendly rooms.


View of a Room: 12 Room number 12 is on the ground floor of one of the cottages. It has a grand entrance, just like the room was your own condo. And this is grand sized room: very spacious, with a big king bed and en suite bathroom.


Perhaps best of all is the corner fireplace with its gas fire, which heats the room via a thermostat. It’s just the coziest thing in winter.


There’s a big couch, which pullout into a bed. And a spacious hot tub, too! Really, it’s such a fun room and with tons of space.



42 Seavey St, Conway, NH 03860


Just Steps away from The Envoy Hotel… The Barking Crab




Boston, Mass. — Just steps away from The Envoy Hotel, the Barking Crab has graced the Boston Harbor for more than two decades. Who knew this casual seafood restaurant and local bar hang would be one day be surrounded by high end hotels, corporate HQs, and swanky restaurants. As Boston’s harbor is developed further, with new buildings blocking the water views that were wide-open even ten years ago, the Barking Crab is a last bastion of the salty old harbor, where fish catches was once the focus.


Fresh fish is the name of the game at the Barking Crab: dishes are reasonably priced, simply put together, and cooked with care. Local oysters are always a must-have and the old pot bellied stove turns them into a winter treat.


The perennial New England favorite, the lobster roll, served with fries, is another popular Barking Crab dish. And, unlike many places in the harbor these days, it is served with a water view.


The Barking Crab

Address: 88 Sleeper St, Boston, MA 02210
Website: barkingcrab.com


Celebrated Boston Chefs present Baby it’s Cold Outside charity event at The Envoy Hotel


Outlook Kitchen3

Boston, Mass. — Executive Chef David Verdo of Outlook Kitchen & Bar at The Envoy Hotel and Chef/Owner Rachel Klein of RFK Kitchen unite fora pop-up dining event, Baby it’s Cold Outside, February 2, Proceeds go directly to the New England Center and Home for Veterans, a downtown Boston facility dedicated to ending homelessness for veterans.

A local DJ will spin and spirits and wines by the glass from top sponsors Perrier-Jouët, United, Papa Pilar Rum, and Tito’s will flow.

The event is 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets are $48.47 including tax & gratuity and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

See in 2016 at Boston’s Envoy Hotel



Boston, Massachusetts — This New Year’s Eve, The Envoy Hotel offers the best seats in the house — twice over. Start the final evening of 2015 in Outlook Kitchen and Bar, enjoying a three-course chef’s tasting menu from Executive Chef David Verdo. Follow it by a festive Champagne toast at the top floor Lookout Rooftop Bar while watching the fireworks burst over the city.

Highlights from the New Year’s Eve Chef’s Tasting menu include:

  • Butter Poached Lobsterwith caviar, Moët & Chandon Granita
  • Sunchoke Soupwith morels, candied hazelnuts & melted leeks
  • Pineland Farms Filetwith oxtail ragout, chanterelle mushrooms, enoki, black truffle & pomme puree
  • Peppermint Patty Gateau with chocolate cake, peppermint cream, dark chocolate glaze & pomegranate seeds

Complete the New Year’s Eve experience with an overnight package including overnight accommodations for two, a bottle of Champagne upon arrival, dinner for two at Outlook Kitchen and Bar featuring the chef’s tasting menu, Perrier Jouet Champagne toast at Lookout Rooftop Bar, New Year’s Day brunch for two at Outlook Kitchen and Bar. The package also includes overnight, valet parking and a late check-out at 2 p.m. Pricing starts at $629.

For more information: The Envoy Hotel


Photo credit: Eric Levin/The Envoy Hotel/Hotel Junkie

Bubbles and Bites in Ritz-Carton, Boston Common’s Avery Bar


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Boston, Massachusetts — It is the season to sparkle and nothing gets a little sparkle going on like a glass of Champange. Ritz-Carton, Boston Common’s elegant, modern Avery Bar has a new Bubbles and Bites menu running through February 15. The Ritz-Carlton’s exclusive relationship with Moet Chandon means a bottle of Moet Chandon can be purchased for $75 (suggested retail $150) or enjoy a glass for $17 (suggested retail $34). Complete your Bubbly experience by pairing with a bite from Avery Bar’s Taste & Share menu.  Mixologist Sterling Jackson recommends pairing a glass with Avery Bar’s smoked bluefish and salmon served with grilled sour dough, or the charcuterie board comprised of fennel salami, prosciutto, chorizo, coppa di testa.

For more information: Ritz-Carton, Boston Common

The Ritz-Carlton Westchester, White Plains, NY, USA



Location Flanked by the Hudson River on the West and the Long Island Sound to the Southeast, Westchester County lies a short drive or train ride just north Manhattan. White Plains is ideally situated in the middle of southern Westchester, an area known for historic Hudson River estates like the Rockefeller’s Kykuit, author Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, Van Cortlandt Manor, Lyndhurst, and Montgomery Place. By the Hudson, Tarrytown’s Philipsburg Manor is a family-friendly educational representation of 18th century farming, milling and trading. Nearby, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the setting for Irving’s tale of Ichabod Crane’s run-in with the Headless Horseman, is a beautiful place to walk. The adjacent Old Dutch Church is New York’s oldest standing church and dates back to 1685. Over by Long Island Sound, Rye Playland, the 1928 Art Deco amusement park designated a historic landmark and the spot where the Tom Hanks movie “Big” was filmed, is a unique experience. White Plains is a city with lots of good dining and lively bars, and its central location makes driving to most locations easy.


The Hotel  The Ritz-Carlton Westchester is a luxury hotel with a sleek grandeur. The marbled lobby has a dining area and lounge, and modern fireplace, which is central to the area. There are two inhouse restaurants: the signature space, 42 The Restaurant, and BLT Steak , an outpost of Manhattan’s BLT Steak, which offers a menu of superlative steaks and seafood. If the weather is warm BLT Steak’s patio offers dining en plain air, and overlooks White Plains’s fun musical fountains in Renaissance Square. The hotel has an indoor rooftop pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The Ritz-Carlton’s signature spa offers extensive treatments and is the largest spa in Westchester County. There is valet parking.


Room 404 This one-bedroom suite echoes the hotel’s calm, elegant decor. It is extremely spacious with an entrance hallway leading to a large lounge with sofa, armchair, and coffee table. The suite has a DVD player, iPod docking station, WiFi, a fully-stocked honor bar, and coffee and tea facility, A large flatscreen TV completes the comforts. The Ritz-Carlton’s decor harkens to classic American art deco, but with a modern simplicity.


A perfectly appointed work desk is off to the side.



The bedroom leads to a closet where robes and slipper await.


The bathroom is lined with a warm, toffee colored marble. It has a luxurious tub and shower, and double washbasins. The beautiful amenities include Asprey toiletries — it’s all very relaxing and comforting. Everything you would want from a hotel and more.



Ritz-Carlton Westchester

3 Renaissance Square,

White Plains,

New York 10601 USA



Sofitel New York adds Holiday Joie de Vivre



New York, New York — The stylish Sofitel New York’s holiday celebrations include Executive Chef Sylvain Harribey’s special prix-fixe menus at Gaby Brasserie Française for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

On Thursday, December 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Friday, December 25 from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., guests can enjoy a Christmas prix-fixe menu priced at $95 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity), which includes a celebratory glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne  A children’s menu is also available for $24.50. Children 12 and under dining at Gaby on Christmas Day can also participate in gingerbread house building activities from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at no charge.

On New Year’s Eve, offers two New Year’s toasts. At Gaby, guests will enjoy a live DJ from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., as well as a special screening of the fireworks in Paris beginning at 6 p.m. and the Times Square Ball Drop from 11:30 p.m. Diners will enjoy a prix-fixe menu for $120 per person for seatings from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and for $190 per person for seatings from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It includes a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne. An open bar offering house drinks and Veuve Clicquot Champagne will be available from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. for $100 per person, or $50 for guests who dined at Gaby.

A splurge-worthy New Year’s Eve VIP section will also be available from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and it includes private mezzanine seating, two toasts of Grande Dame Champagne, free-flowing Veuve Cliquot Rosé and open bar, and specialty high-end hors d’oeuvres and canapés from Chef Harribey. The VIP New Year’s Eve is priced at $500 per person, or $450 per person with the Early Bird special available through December 20.

Reservations may be made by calling 212-782-3091.

For more info: Sofitel New York


The Envoys Exactly Like Nothing Else Package Means Seats at the Chef’s Table



Boston, Massachusetts — The recently opened boutique hotel, The Envoy Hotel, introduces a special package for foodies. The Exactly Like Nothing Else Package unites guests with Executive Chef David Verdo, who oversees the hotel’s Outlook Kitchen and Bar.


The package includes:
A visit to the new Boston Public Market with Chef Verdo to source and select ingredients to be featured in the evening’s meal.
Participate in a one-hour teaching and demo session with Chef Verdo.
Dinner reservations for two at the Chef’s Table to enjoy a four-course signature menu with wine pairings.
Take home recipe cards for the dishes prepared

Oh and you even get to have your photo taken with Chef Verdo!

The package is valid through September 15, 2016. For pricing, contact: The Envoy Hotel

Skating turns to swimming in Newport, RI



Newport, Rhode Island — The Newport Skating Club just announced that the warm weather and rain has quashed tonight’s event:

Well, you can swim with Santa!
The rain last night coupled with the warm temperatures today have forced us to close the rink while we repair the ice. We will announce a new date to Skate with Santa shortly. Bring on the North Pole!


Happy Birthday Catie and Carly Copley



Catie For the Holidays LR

Boston, Mass. — It might be one of Boston’s most refined and luxurious hotels, but it is also one of the city’s most dog friendly. And, every year in December hotel doggie guests and neighborhood hounds head in to say Happy Birthday to the hotel’s beloved black labs, Catie and Carly. At 14 years old, Catie is in retirement now, but she lit up at being back in the Copley Plaza, where she once graced the lobby as a young lady. Carly, who was adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston, now lies in Catie’s bed, keeping up the tradition. The birthday event benefited the ARL via bags of toys and useful pet items brought in by guests. Oh, and the birthday cake made by Boston’s Polka Dog bakery was a huge hit!

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Queen Vic, Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA



Location The Queen Vic is located in the heart of Provincetown, right on Commercial Street, this seaside town’s main drag. Yes, there’s a pun there, because Provincetown is known for its LGBT oriented lifestyle. It’s also well-known as an artist colony and writer’s favored retreat: the writer and author Normal Mailer is buried here. During the seaside season, it’s a colorful display of tourists: there’s cabaret to enjoy, there’s the Provincetown Theater — the town is also home to the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, and the Provincetown International Film Festival. It is not only Cape Cod’s most colorful town, arts and lifestyle wise, but it is its most remote, set at the tip of the Outer Cape. Provincetown claims ownership of the dawn of Colonial America and marks the landing the Pilgrims there before heading to what would become Plymouth in 1620 with the Pilgrim Monument. There is also a frieze bearing the names of those early economic migrants, who wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown. These days, Boston is just a ferry ride away; Cape Air operates to Provincetown’s small airport; and the rest of Cape Cod — including Barnstable Airport — lies down Route 6. During the busy season, P’town, as it’s known, is bustling and Commercial Street awash with visitors. Though the town quietens during the winter and some businesses close till April, the town becomes slow and sleepy, and Provincetown’s wondrous remoteness and stillness is revealed.


Lodging The Queen Vic Guest House is a beautiful, converted Victorian house that bears her 175 years well. The name plays on the inn’s former name, the Prince Albert, named for Queen Victoria’s consort, but adds a gender ambiguous twist and a dose of camp — something P’town does with aplomb. The large house, spread over three floors, was refreshed in 2015 by new owners and convivial hosts, Stan and Josh. As much as the house has an airy seaside feel due to lots of white wainscoting and seafaring knickknacks, it is also warmed by huddles of Victoriana and other unique tchotchkes.


The lobby is a delight — check out the cabinet filled with antiques and ephemera — and has a small bar for grabbing a drink — the sign outside does say bed and beverage after all — and heading bed wards, or to the parlor where a round table dominates and encourages chit-chat.


In the morning, a continental buffet breakfast is set up, and there’s coffee and tea available 24/7 there, too. Welcome treats like cookies and fruit are left out. Pets are also welcomed with a treat. Out back, there is a hot tub. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this charming old guest house is that the hot tub area is clothing optional. But this is Provincetown, both a salty seaside town, a LGBT stronghold, and an artist colony with a tradition of live and let live, and flaunt and let flaunt!


View of a Room: 16 Room 16 is located on the second floor at the end of the hallway, which likely accounts for the lack of noise from other guests. (The amount of noise being relative to how busy the guest house is, of course.) It feels quite private anyway. This small suite includes a bedroom and sitting room and ‘twixt the two is a roomy bathroom with shower and a refrigerator.

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There are windows throughout, allowing P’town’s famed wonderful light to pour in. White wainscoting lines the walls and the furnishings are classic and eclectic in style, echoing the rest of the house’s mix of modern and Victorian ad hoc chic.


The queen bed dominates the bedroom, which also has a small closet and TV, and a wonderful Queen Anne style drawing-room chair. An ironing board and hair dryer are provided alongside toiletries. The sitting room has a comfy modern couch and dark wood dresser, and another small TV — it’s a great spot for working or lounging, and with two windows, despite its small size, it doesn’t feel cramped.


Info 166 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657 USA




Fairmont Hotels introduces Classics. Perfected.


This month, Fairmont Hotels launches its new cocktail list, created by four of its top mixologists, which will be featured in the hotels group’s bars worldwide.

Under the logo banner of  Classics. Perfected., Fairmont’s new global cocktail me features three sections: popular classics, refined classics, and the “neats” for those who wish to savor the richness of the program’s carefully selected spirit partners. Above, a rum laced Old Fashioned and a Sparkling Collins, the latter elegantly finished with a sprig of mint. Below is the colorful Pomegranate Paloma and the Perfect Martinez, named for its equal parts gin and vermouth.





Sage Inn & Lounge’s annual Holly Folly Food Boutique returns


P'town mural of famous woman, LC

Provincetown, Massachusetts — On Cape Cod this weekend, the Sage Inn & Lounge’s activities include the annual Holly Folly Food Boutique, Saturday, which will include 15 New England vendors. The hotel’s lounge is also introduce its new winter menu of food and cocktails, and the Calamari Sisters’ Feast of the Seven Fishes  — not food, cabaret! — is running all weekend. For more info: Sage Inn & Lounge



Providence Biltmore Hotel offers Skate & Stay package

Providence, RI — Enjoy traditional winter fun at the Providence Biltmore Hotel this upcoming season with the hotel’s Skate & Stay Package. It includes an overnight stay in a newly renovated Junior Suite with two king beds — enough space for the entire family.
The Skate & Stay special also includes admission and skate rentals for four at the popular Providence Rink, located right outside the hotel. and $20 to spend at the hotel’s Starbucks, useful for warming up with hot chocolate and cookies. The package is available through March 5, 2016, weather permitting. Limited availability.

For more info: Providence Biltmore Hotel

Photo Credit: Providence Biltmore Hotel

Loews Hotels helps out with Holiday entertaining



Something like an advent calendar, Loews Hotels is answering all of your questions about holiday entertaining, and offering remedies for general everyday home-keeping travails, via video how-tos, available every day throughout the month of December. Ever wonder how to make a guest room more welcoming or how to get rid of red wine/coffee stains from your holiday party dress? Maybe your stumped on how to get crayon stains off the wall or floors. Beginning December 1, get tips from hospitality pros at Loews YouTube Channel


Conrad New York gets in the Holiday Spirit


Conrad NY Winter Workshop copy

New York, New York — The Conrad New York will host its third-annual Winter Workshop, bringing a host of family activities to Battery Park City.

Every Saturday afternoon through December, the event will feature an art station for ornament making and decorating provided by the Children’s Museum, and Christmas cookie decorating. There will also be opportunities for having a photograph taken with the big guy, Santa Claus, and the Mr. Snowman hot chocolate bar, where guests can create their own hot chocolate using fun toppings like candy canes, crystallized ginger, and crushed ginger bread crumbs. Tea sandwiches, cookies, and holiday treats will also be available for both children and adults

The Winter Workshop takes place December 5, 12, and 19, from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 for children, and $20 for adults.


Photo Credit: Conrad New York

The Boxer, Boston, Massachusetts, USA



Location The Boxer is situated in Boston’s lesser known, but revitalized West End neighborhood. The area was pretty much obliterated in the late 1950s when homes were razed to make way for Boston’s oft-maligned Government Center, which sits on the land formerly occupied by Boston’s infamous burlesque and bar laden Scollay Square. The Brutalist style design of the self-explanatory Government Center, which lies right in front of The Boxer, took decades to become appreciated, but, while few would call this behemoth pretty, it is a fascinating piece of architecture. The “urban renewal” ripped the guts out of the neighborhood for decades, but just when the West End looked like fading into history, it saw revival in the 21st century and is now home to a growing population again. The West End Museum has preserved much of the area’s history. There are several bars nearby the hotel and the massive sports and entertainment complex, commonly referred to as The Garden, is within walking distance. The Garden is home to the Boston Celtics and the Bruins, and was once known for its professional boxing matches — hence, the hotel’s name. Boston’s restaurant packed “Little Italy,” the North End, and the wonderful cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill are both adjacent to the West End. Faneuil Hall is just a short walk via North Station.


Lodging  The Boxer inhabits one of the West End’s most distinguished buildings: the city’s triangular Flatiron Building. Originally constructed in 1904, The Boxer may be named for pugilistic pursuits at the nearby Garden, but it tips its hat to a whimsical canine theme of boxer dogs. It is a true boutique property: small, individual, and although it is part of the Independent Collection group, there really are no hints of it being a chain. The lobby’s windows over Merrimac Street and the rear of Government Center, an acquired taste when it comes to views. Past the comfy couches in the lobby lies The Finch bar and restaurant, which has a casual menu and an eclectic bourbon program. The Boxer sits within what is known as the Bullfinch Triangle—named for Boston native, architect Charles Bullfinch. There is a fitness center in the hotel’s basement, plus the hotel is partnered with Boston Sports Club. The hotel has bicycles for guests’ use.


View of a Room 902 Because of The Boxer’s natural triangular shape, this room is wonderfully angular. Windows give views all the way to the Hancock Tower and even the the State House’s gold dome. Look down and there is the drab colored, but still interesting Government Center’s manicured concrete. The king bed has a gray fabric upholstered bedhead. A well-stocked mini bar tray holding drinks, nuts, and candies, is placed dangerously close to the bed. making resisting that Toblerone while you’re watching TV all the harder.


A natural wood and metal work desk, upholstered bench seat, and a metal framed hall stand that doubles as a closet complete the furnishings.


The bathroom has a marble tiled shower and L’Occitaine toiletries — the latter a signature Independent Collection amenity. (Nothing local? Or American?) Two robes — why do so many hotels only offer one, even if two guests check in? — are thoughtfully provided. The room’s rich gray base color is accented by a pink line drawing of a girl on a bicycle leading a boxer dog. There is also a a painting of a boxer with pinned ears, a terrible, cruel practice, adorning the wall. The drawing depicts a boxer with natural ears though! Still, despite that food for thought, the overall design of the room is tasteful and calm.



The Boxer Boston

107 Merrimac Street

Boston, MA 02114

Telephone: 617. 624.0202

Website: theboxerboston.com


Avery Bar’s Hot Cocoa Bar warms up Boston for the holidays


avery bar

Boston, Massachusetts — Every Saturday through December, the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common‘s Avery Bar offers its Hot Cocoa Bar. Create your own hot cocoa with your choice of toppings, such as homemade orange blossom marshmallows, candy canes, mini gingerbread men, cinnamon sticks, toasted coconut flakes, Oreo cookies, chocolate shavings, heath crunch pieces, whipped cream and dulce de leche — and pair with Pastry Chef Kerry Meister’s special holiday sweets. 3-5 p.m. Dec. 12, 19, and 26. $36 adults, $28 children. Reservations recommended: 617-574-7184. 10 Avery St., Boston. Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common

Photo Credit: Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common

Iconic French fragrance house Guerlain takes over One&Only The Palm’s spa




Dubai, United Arab Emirates — One&Only The Palm in Dubai has partnered with iconic French fragrance house, Guerlain, which will take over the resort’s spa operations this month.

“Lovers of beauty and wellbeing will appreciate Guerlain Spa at One&Only The Palm,” says Louis de Vilmorin, Guerlain International Spas & Institutes director. To make the experience even more unique, Guerlain has designed exclusive treatments for One&Only The Palm, such as “Dubai Harmony,” a vitality boosting treatment; or “Désert d’Orient,” a true oriental treatment journey to experience in the exclusive Spa Suite.

A selection of Guerlain products will also be available at the Guerlain Spa boutique at One&Only The Palm, where guests will also Guerlain’s exceptional fragrances andrange of cosmetics. An exclusive selection of shimmering powders and extraordinary lipsticks have been chosen for Dubai from the Guerlain collection for an illuminating effect.

For reservations or for more information on Guerlain Spa at One&Only The Palm, email spa@oneandonlythepalm.com or call +971 4 440 1040.



Nu Hotel’s Cyber Monday Sale



New York, New York — A deal at a New York City hotel at this time of year? Better get on it!

Now through Tuesday, save on select premium rooms at Brooklyn’s Nu Hotel with a fabulous Cyber Monday Preview Sale with  discounts of up to 30% off!

Fo more info on the Hu Hotel, click here. For the Cyber Monday sale click here and use access code: CYBERM


Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread Competition has winners

2 Grand Prize Adult, Team Jengerbread, Chapel Hill, NC.2015
Asheville, N.C.– In mid November, the winners of the 23rd annual National Gingerbread House Competition, hosted by The Omni Grove Park Inn, were announced. With the requirement of being made of at least 75 percent gingerbread, each holiday display was judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. Here are the delicious winning Gingerbread Houses.
Child 1st Place, Team Spirit Girls, China Grove, NC 2015
Teen 1st Place, Team Courtland High School German Program, Spotsylvania, VA 2015
Youth 1st Place, Coilin Anderson, Conover, NC 2015

Duane Street Hotel, New York, New York USA




Location Situated on the western side of Lower Manhattan in Tribeca, the Duane Street Hotel is in one of the city’s most interesting neighborhoods. Tribeca is packed with boutique bars, restaurants, and stores, and lined with daycares and other indicators of the area being home to many young families. There’s so much within walking distance, particularly the new One World Trade with its Observatory and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. A couple of blocks south of Duane, just across Broadway, is City Hall, and just further down Broadway is the wonderful neo-Gothic Woolworth Building, which is open for tours. The Brooklyn Bridge and Midtown, and the East Village are minutes away, too. The Duane Hotel’s location offers easy access to much of Manhattan, but with the benefit of feeling like you’re in a less commercial area, and in a real neighborhood where people live at a marginally slower pace.


The Hotel The Duane Street Hotel is a small property with just 43 rooms. It is part of the Independent Collection and like many IC hotels, there are bicycles available for guest use to explore the neighborhoods nearby, or to get some exercise riding along the banks of the Hudson River. The lobby is small, but has comfy window-side seating. Most of the ground floor is taken up by Mehtaphor, a casual, but colorful restaurant, which serves modern eclectic cuisine inspired by Asian and Indian flavors. It is overseen by Chef Jehangir Mehta, an Iron Chef America and Next Iron Chef contestant, and owner of the East Village’s noted Graffiti restaurant. The Duane has valet parking and the hotel has a free parking package — a huge boost for visitors who drive in the city. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi and iPad loan.


View of a Room 405 This room packs a lot of comfort and conveniences into a small, L-shaped space. Big windows give gritty downtown city views and lots of natural light. Chocolate brown and black are signature colors and the white linen lined bed dominates the space — sure it’s cramped, but visitors can get a taste of New York City’s legendary tight living space first-hand.


A desk gives adequate work space. Like all Independent Collection hotels, the bathroom is stocked with L’Occitane toiletries from Provence. There is a book nook stocked with select titles.



Duane Street Hotel

130 Duane Street

New York, NY 10013

Telephone: 212.964.4600

Website: duanestreethotel.com

Sofitel New York celebrates Thanksgiving with a French twist


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New York, New York — Gaby Brasserie Francaise, the signature restaurant at the stylish Sofitel New York, will celebrate America’s annual Thanksgiving Day meal with a French twist. Gaby’s Executive Chef Sylvain Harribey will offer an elegant plat du jour — what else but turkey, of course,  slow-roasted tturkey breast with sweet potato gnocchi and mushroom leek bread pudding, accompanied by balsamic-roasted Brussels sprouts and a cranberry Sauce with pinot and figs. Pumpkin crème brûlée will be offered for dessert.

Thanksgiving Day service is from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Gaby’s à la carte menu will also be available.

For reservations or more information, call 212-782-3040 or visit www.gabynyrestaurant.com.

Photo credit: Sofitel New York

Nu Hotel, Brooklyn, New York City, NY USA



Location Talk about being in the right place and ahead of time, the Nu Hotel opened in 2008 in Downtown Brooklyn, beating the post recession development fever. Of course, the Barclays Center was on its way and Smith Street was on its way up as a dining boîte hotspot, but the area was considerably less trafficked back then. Located on Smith Street, the hotel is in a perfect situation for a walk to eat and drink, and shop. But if you fancy a longer hike, the Brooklyn Bridge is nearby for walking into Manhattan, and also the Brooklyn Heights promenade with its beautiful view of Lower Manhattan is very close by. The Brooklyn Bridge Park offers an open space to play or find some peace. Check out Jane’s Carousel, a vintage carousel right by the river.


The Hotel Nu Hotel is part of the Independent Collection of boutique properties and each hotel is uniquely designed and furnished. At the Nu Hotel, parking is obtained right next door in what has to be the friendliest garage in the city. Outside the hotel are bicycles for guests to get around on, and take that once in a lifetime ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. Misdemeanor is the hotel’s lobby lounge and bar, and its name is inspired by the New York City corrections facility across the street. Here you can enjoy local Brooklyn brews and spirits, and small bites. The hotel is jumping on the Brooklyn brand (sigh, is everything a brand?) and also going for locally-produced beer and spirits, and snacks for the in-room mini bars. Whether it’s trend-jumping or not, hotels choosing to support local purveyors cuts down on transportation and helps the planet. The hotel’s reasoning is likely that it gives local character, something the Independent Collection aims for with its properties. Other on-site amenities include an incredibly — for a small space — well-stocked fitness center in its basement. Nu Hotel is pet-friendly.


View of a Room 304  Oh heavenly: this room has windows overlooking a tree lined courtyard. The window is not in direct view of the surrounding apartments and the room feels private even with the curtains wide open. What’s more, the windows open just enough to let in fresh air — for people who dislike the chemically cleaner smell of hotel rooms, this is a huge plus. The natural light is also very soothing. Most rooms in the Nu Hotel feature massive murals, each painted by a Brooklyn artist, who had free range with what they painted. This room has an odd sort of texan feel, or at least it looks like a desert scape with an oil rig. Besides a king size bed, armchair and coffee table, there is long desk and chair, which creates a great, uncluttered work space.


The bathroom is stocked with French made L’Occitaine toiletries and robes are provided.


NU Hotel

85 Smith Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Telephone: 718-852-8585

Website: nuhotelbrooklyn.com

Photo credits: M. Biernat/Hotel Junkie