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


image-14 mock-up_edit


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: hotelonnorth.com

image-5 (1)

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: www.viamattarestaurant.com




The Embassy Row’s new patio gives D.C. a shot of wow!


Embassy Row Hotel , SKC Patio

Washington, D.C. — The Embassy Row Hotel completed a floor-to-ceiling $15 million renovation in March. At the cornerstone of the redesigned property is a fully integrated lobby lounge, anchored by new restaurant Station Kitchen & Cocktails. But just take look at the beautiful new patio–perfect for people watching. And a great place to see and be seen!

For more info: www.embassyrowhotel.com

Boston’s Hotel Commonwealth unrolls its one million dollar facelift


Boston, Massachusetts — Hotel Commonwealth, which opened 12 years ago in Boston’sKenmore Square, recently debuted its redesigned lobby. The renovation represents the second stage in an overall expansion for Hotel Commonwealth, which will be completed in November 2015, and features the addition of 96 new guest rooms, a designated Fenway Park Suite overlooking the nearby Green Monster, two additional suites with Fenway facing balconies, 6,000 square feet of meeting space, and 2,000 square feet of outdoor space overlooking Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

The new lobby swaps the traditional check-in desk for two free-floating pods that allow for a more customized, interactive check-in experience. At check-in, guests will also have the option to purchase snack boxes with hand-selected, locally sourced items from Olives & Grace, an award-winning artisan shop in Boston.  Additionally, NINE Dot ARTS®, an art consulting firm based in Denver, curated works from local artists that play off of local themes, including a wall featuring artworks of Boston Terriers.

For more information, please visit www.hotelcommonwealth.com, or call (617) 933-5000.

A sneak peak at Austin’s Hotel Van Zandt




Model Room 1

Austin, Texas — Hotel Junkie has a pictorial preview of Austin’s upcoming Hotel Van Zandt, which is set to open late July. This Kimpton property’s name is loosely drawn from its historic Texas muse, Isaac Van Zandt, the Republic of Texas Ambassador to the U.S., as well as his great-grandson, musician Townes Van Zandt. The property will feature specially-commissioned art works in collaboration with the Van Zandt family, including a special piece by Townes Van Zandt’s son, JT. It being Austin, expect lots of nods to music.

And books: here is the Library.


Model Room 3

Note: The Lumineers poster on the wall, music fans. And, the bespoke carpet design echoes the Van Zandt name.

Kimpton day one - Van Zandt-1149-Edit-Edit.jpg



The Ludlow’s Zaragoza is good for Cinco de Mayo, and any day of the week


Zaragoza - The Ludlow

New York, NY — You really don’t need an excuse like Cinco de Mayo to enjoy the Zaragoza, a sophisticated and delicious tequila cocktail created at the Lobby Lounge & Garden at The Ludlow on the Lower East Side, and available every day.

The Zaragoza mixes tequila with vanilla yogurt, creme de peche, lime, and a hint of clove.

Enjoy in the Ludlow hotel’s trellis-covered “secret” outdoor garden, or when it gets chilly, by the lobby lounge’s grand fireplace. Pair with the Lobby Lounge & Garden’s light bites by Dirty French.

180 Ludlow Street. http://www.ludlowhotel.com

Charles Hotel offers Tea and Dessert with Cokie


IMG_3371Cambridge, MA — Harvard Square hub The Charles Hotel hosts a series of author events and this month’s guest is NPR and ABC News contributor Cokie Roberts. Roberts will be signing her latest book, Capital Dames, The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868, and presiding over  dessert and tea, or coffee.

For more info: The Charles Hotel

Tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/meet-the-author-with-cokie-roberts-tickets-16586324142

Catch more zzzzzs with the Carlton hotel’s Sleep Better package



New York City, New York — So, according to whoever dreams these things up — there may be a pun there — May is being promoted as Better Sleep Month and  the Carlton hotel is taking it seriously with a Sleep Better travel package. Guests can enjoy all-natural sleep-inducing aromatherapy oils, sleep masks and pillows, relaxation tea service, and an in-room sound machine.

Rates for the Carlton hotel’s “Sleep Better” package begin at $449/night during the week and at $329/night on weekends. The package is offered throughout May beginning on May 1, 2015, and includes

  • 21 Drops Proprietary Sleep Essential Oil Blend– this sleep-promoting  blend from 21 Drops, the line of 100 percent natural, therapeutic-grade essential oils, features Palmarosa (helps diminish anxiety), Sandalwood (quiets the mind), Vetiver (soothes, help with relaxation), and Ylang Ylang (encourages peace)
  • Bucky Eye Mask and Pillow– Bucky’s sleep eye mask and dream pillow offers the perfect combination to ease tension and calm headaches and eye strain.  The chill-able eye mask is filled with premium buckwheat seeds to retain cold longer than traditional therapy packs, and the calming satin dream pillow is filled with premium millet husks that are soft, soothing and slightly heat-conserving.  Both items are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and eco-friendly
  • Evening Tea For Two– relax before bedtime with in-room tea service. Guests choose from a selection of herbal tea blends (must be ordered by 10:30 p.m.).
  • In-Room Sound Machine – guest rooms will be furnished with a state-of-the-art sound machine, allowing customers to select from a variety of background noise options to provide a peaceful descent into sleep
  • Ear Plugs– for guests who prefer silence while they sleep, ear plugs will also be offered in-room

For more info: The Carlton

Robin Thicke headlines 24th Annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival




Saint Lucia, West Indies — Don’t feel too bad for Robin Thicke. Though the pop star has had his fair share of love and legal woes of late, Thicke will soon be heading to the beautiful island of Saint Lucia. Not that we call this work, but Thicke isn’t vacationing–he’s among this year’s line-up at the 24th annual Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, which kicks-off April 30 and lines up star-studded musical performances, art showcases, and a couture fashion show, all the way through May 10.

Joining Thicke is two-time Grammy winner Jon Secada, Jamaican reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, Latin sensation Timbalive, American rapper Flo Rida, acclaimed Paris-based pianist Alain Jean Marie featuring Grant Stewart, two-time Grammy nominee Joey DeFranceso, and another reggae great, singer Beres Hammond.

For more information about the 24th Annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival visit http://www.stluciajazz.org.

Check out one of our favorite places to stay on the island, Ti Kaye Resort and Spa


InterContinental Boston takes part in Earth Hour and saves menu for Earth Day

Boston — For the fourth consecutive year, the InterContinental Boston took part in the World Wildlife Federation’s Earth Hour, a worldwide grassroots movement to take action for the planet by turning off non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. Let’s face it, hotels love their non-essential lights. Still, let’s not leave the burden of change to hotels: SOS — switch off something at home.
So, on March 28 at 8:30 p.m., the lights were dimmed and switched off where appropriate and the InterContinental Boston was bathed in a soft, calm twilight. So relaxing as many guests ordered Chef Iain Falconer’s three-course, sustainable dinner in the hotel’s pretty Miel Brasserie Provençale. It didn’t hurt to try the signature Earth Hour cocktail – the Blue Tahoe, made with tequila, blue curaçao, and Champagne.
The good news for those who missed the feast is that the hotel will reprise the menu for Earth Day, April 22.
On this cold, snowy — what’s new, it’s Boston’s snowiest winter on record –spring night, the menu included a warming

Butternut Soup with Roasted Hazlenuts and Pecorino, and for the spring thinking forward,  a crisp apple, pear and fennel salad with baby kale.
Entrees included a wild mushroom and faro risotto with asparagus, sweet potato and a Parmesan cream; and a Georges Bank caught cod with roasted purple and white cauliflower, sweet pea puree, and creamy honey (from the hotel’s rooftop apiary) emulsion.
For dessert, the kitchen prepared berry creme brûlée and a white chocolate and pecan tart.
In 2014, over 162 countries and territories and 7,000 cities and towns came together to break records with the largest movement in human history by creating a magical lights off moment on every continent of the globe.
For more info: InterContinental Boston
Photo credit: InterContinental Boston


Sea Crest Beach Hotel adds spa packages



North Falmouth, MA — The Sea Crest Beach Hotel has partnered with nearby Bellezza Salon Medspa for two new spa packages: the Bellezza & the Beach  includes overnight accommodations, a customized facial, hot stone massage, a pedicure, and welcome goodie bag. Rates start at $398 and include gratuity. The Beach Stone package includes overnight accommodations, a hot stone massage, and a welcome bag, and starts at $230, including gratuity.

Package rates are based on spa services for one guest. Guests should book at least four days in advance to ensure spa availability. Upon booking, Sea Crest Beach Hotel’s reservation department will assist in scheduling spa services.

For more information: Sea Crest Beach Hotel

Photo credit: Sea Crest Beach Hotel


Conrad New York adds The Bruffin and gets ready to Pop



New York — The Conrad New York hops on the hybrid pastry-breads trend by adding the Bruffin to the menu at the hotel’s coffee counter and in the hotel’s restaurant, Atrio. The Bruffin is a cross between a brioche and a muffin–sort of. Try the Bruffin Eggs Benedict, or the Bruffin burger and slider.

Also, as spring sunshine thaws New York City, Conrad New York’s rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy, is stocking up on People’sPops for its Prosecco & Ice Pop cocktails. Atrio’s kitchen is also adding pops to the menu with Mocha Pop and Churros dessert: hazelnut cream-filled churro, a mocha-flavored ice pop, and two dips – mascarpone and cocoa &  espresso foam. Loopy Doopy will reopen on Memorial Day Weekend for the 2015 season with a new look, including high-top seating for enjoying the bar’s remarkable views, and abstract “loop-de-loop” chairs.


For more info: Conrad New York


Photo credit: The Bruffin/Conrad New York

Doubletree Hotels in Boston celebrate Earth Hour




Boston, MA — DoubleTree by Hilton hotels in Boston will celebrate Earth Hour 2015 by asking guests and social media fans to take the DoubleTree pledge by turning the lights out from 8:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 28.  

Those taking part are DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Boston – Cambridge, DoubleTree by Hilton Boston – Downtown and DoubleTree Club by Hilton Boston Bayside. Guests staying on property can show their support by writing their names on a leaf to add to each property’s Pledge Tree to be displayed in their lobby. For every pledge made either on property via a Pledge Tree or through each hotel’s social media channels using the hashtag #DTPledge, $2.00 will be donated by the hotels to benefit Roxbury city school gardens via our partner Citysprouts (up to a $700 value). On Thursday, April 23, the hotel teams will further their commitment to living sustainably by planting blueberry bushes at the David Ellis School and a tree at the Orchard Gardens Pilot School for this and future generations to enjoy.

These three DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels in Boston will be joining hundreds of Hilton Worldwide’s more than 4,300 global properties that will once again connect with guests in demonstration of their commitment to living sustainably.

“This year, we wanted to plan an Earth Hour event that would reach beyond the walls of our property and really encourage our guests and neighbors to join us in support of this global effort,” said Danny Dwyer, Senior Events Services & Catering Manager for the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston – Downtown. “Rallying our sister properties and partnering with Citysprouts will allow us to not only reach more people, but also extend our sustainability commitment beyond Earth Hour.”

Make Earth Hour a daily habit and just SOS–switch off something!


Photo credit: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels

Chef Caleb Lara returns to Martha’s Vineyard’s Harbor View Hotel



Edgartown, Mass. — Chef Caleb Lara has decamped from the kitchen at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts, and returned to Martha’s Vineyard’s historic Harbor View Hotel, where he will serve as executive chef,  overseeing the hotel’s food and beverage program, which includes Water Street, its signature fine dining restaurant, and the popular gathering spot Henry’s Hotel Bar, as well as event and wedding catering.

“We’re pleased to have Caleb back on board and look forward to sharing his culinary talent and experience with the island’s residents and visitors,” said Andrew Bartlett, general manager of Harbor View Hotel, in a press release.

Lara has also worked as a sous chef at Steel & Rye in Milton, Massachusetts and at The Ritz Carlton in Boston, and held the position of chef de partie at The Ritz Carlton, Naples and Harbor View Hotel.

“I’m thrilled to be back at Harbor View Hotel,” said Lara. “My time here left a lasting impression on my cooking style and gave me a great appreciation for locally sourced ingredients and I’m looking forward to exploring again all that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer.”

Lara is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, New York and received his Chef de Cuisine Certification from the American Culinary Federation.

For more information:

Forest Bathing at L’Auberge de Sedona



Forest Bathing

Arizona — Just last year, L’Auberge de Sedona launched the L’Apothecary Spa, which includes custom body care blends with local ingredients, and earthing-inspired spa treatments. Located along the famed Oak Creek and Coconino National Forest, and nestled within the enchanting Red Rocks of Sedona, Ariz.,
L’Auberge de Sedona has taken this interactive nature offering one step further with the new Forest Bathing experience. Guests are led by certified forest bathing experts at the resort on a gentle, guided walk

Forest Bathing, also know as “Shinrin-Yoku,” draws on the traditions of mindfulness and is rooted–no pun intended–in a range of transcultural practices honoring the healing benefits that time spent in nature can bring. Forest Bathing is complimentary to guests each week, or private sessions can be scheduled, starting at $195 per session.


For more info: L’Auberge de Sedona

There’s something fishy going on at Sofitel New York




New York, NY — It must be a French thing: On April Fool’s Day, Sofitel New York’s charming Gaby Brasserie Française will put a French twist on tricks and bluffs and honors its French roots with a Poisson d’Avril (April Fish) theme. As part of the French tradition, the target of a prank will unknowingly be tagged with a paper fish taped to his or her back. Gaby guests (one lucky diner per table) who discover a fish on their back will be the recipient of a pleasant surprise. The surprise might be appetizers to share, various desserts, or glasses of wine. Three tables will receive a complimentary bottle of wine and one table will receive a gift certificate for dinner for two valued at $100.


For more info:

Biophilic hotels anyone?



Design rooted in nature doesn’t sound like the blueprint for hotel corporations like Weston and 1 Hotels, but in the greening of business, in order to stay relevant with consumers, some hotels are trying to get in touch with nature.

It’s a principle that’s around a hundred years old and dates back to  the Art Nouveau and Bauhaus movements, really. but the idea of living with nature inside as well as out, and considering the nature of the space are being incorporated into the interior design of Westin, EVEN and 1 Hotels, to name but three. Here’s what each has to say about it:


  • The brand’s new guest rooms create a meandering path that is reflective of nature and evokes the feeling of a more open space through asymmetrical positioning of its furniture and walls.
  • As the first global brand to incorporate vertical gardens in the lobby space, Westin is introducing new, vibrant plants to incorporate into these “living walls,” intended to lower blood pressure, enhance mental stamina and elevate the mood of guests.
  • Westin developed its own portfolio of fractal patterns and textures reflective of the colorful beauty in wildlife to further enhance the nature within the space.


  • EVEN’s public spaces provide visually appealing natural touches with curated terrariums stationed throughout the hotel.
  • To further enhance the guest experience and evoke the feeling of the great outdoors, each hotel emits fresh, natural scents to revive senses in the lobby.
  • The hotel’s furniture features real wood surfaces, unique for a large hotel brand.

1 HOTELS (Starwood Capital)

  • Designed with nature in mind, each property showcases the sounds and smells of nature unique to its region.
  • 1 Hotels engage with its region with the use of reclaimed materials and the freshest organic ingredients in each aspect of the property.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts meets World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Savers Program targets


The Plaza Hotel

The Planet — Calling hotels eco-friendly is a stretch at the best of times. But some at least try to lessen their carbon footprint, thus helping us feel better about staying there. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has met World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Savers Program targets, reducing its operational CO2 emissions by 20 percent below 2006 levels. In doing so, the luxury hotel brand is the first to meet this necessary environmental goal.

WWF’s Climate Savers Program was designed to inspire companies to change their thinking about climate solutions, while also encouraging them to transform themselves into low-carbon leaders. This leaves member companies better placed to avoid carbon-related risks while realizing opportunities within their long-term business strategies.

“According to the United Nations, emissions generated directly from the tourism sector account today for 5 percent of global CO₂ emissions but may be higher. When Fairmont joined WWF’s Climate Savers Program in 2009, our mandate was to help address this issue as part of our long standing commitment to sustainability,” said Jane Mackie, vice president, Fairmont Brand, in a press release. “Achieving this goal is a testament to our colleagues’ commitment to their local communities. Thanks to their hard work, and through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, we have removed as much CO₂ as is generated by 13,569 passenger vehicles.”

Fairmont also has the Fairmont Sustainability Partnership, a comprehensive approach to reducing the company’s impact on the environment, and to the brand embracing the Climate Savers Program.

“Leading companies like Fairmont are proving that strong environmental action leads to business success,” said Alberto Carrillo, Head of Climate Business Engagement for WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative. “Successful actions like these are critical to mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change on people and nature.”

To meet the Climate Savers agreement, Fairmont undertook a wide variety of initiatives globally, this included:

  • Reducing operational CO2emissions by 20 percent below 2006 levels
  • Created and implemented a Green Procurement Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Educated and encouraged top suppliers (representing approximately 25 percent of the supply chain) to provide products in accordance with the Green Procurement Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Updated Design and Construction standards to incorporate and reflect Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)standards.

Fairmont hotels around the world also took their own unique approach to the challenge of reducing the brand’s carbon footprint, upgrading infrastructure and changing behaviors to reach the company’s goal. Activities were often driven by the actions of dedicated and passionate colleagues who were, and continue to be, committed to protecting and preserving the environment. Colleagues organized Sustainability Teams, leading the process as proactive, engaged, partners in the program. At the Fairmont St. Andrews, for example, the colleague Sustainability Team hosted open debates and pushed colleagues to propose initiatives that their department could then implement to create savings.

Some other notable activity and initiatives undertaken by Fairmont to achieve its Climate Savers target included:


  • At Fairmont Le Montreux Palacepumping water from Lake Geneva saves more than 60% of annual electricity consumption, compared to a standard air-conditioning installation (340’000 kwh/year).


  • In London,The Savoy, which is managed by Fairmont, installed a centralized compressor plant for all kitchen walk-in fridges and freezers. The hotel’s refrigeration plant reclaims waste-heat to preheat domestic hot water by 5 degrees Celsius. Reclaiming waste heat produces an approximate saving of £38,500 ($59,440 USD) over the course of the year, and reduces the loading and firing rate of the boilers which also extends the expected life of the boiler and reduces maintenance costs.


Middle East, Africa & India

  • Using outside breezes instead of air conditioning to circulate cold air into the Fairmont Dubai during the winter. This reduced energy consumption without impacting guest comfort.



  • Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii heats its pool using waste heat from a chiller system at no cost. If the hotel were to heat its pool using conventional heating methods (like propane) it would cost more than $90,000 per year. The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii is now examining the potential to apply solar films on windows and panels on the roof of the hotel to generate more of its power from a more sustainable source.


  • In the heart of the Canadian Rockies, theFairmont Banff Springs began utilizing outdoor ambient temperatures for its chilled water system. It estimates that this will save approximately 368,750 kWh of energy consumption annually.


Asia Pacific

  • At Fairmont Singapore, the in-house Sustainability Team conducts monthly audits of offices, kitchens, and rooms to ensure energy efficient practices.


“Fairmont was very motivated through our partnership with WWF to help tackle climate change, achieve significant CO2 reductions, and deliver results worldwide,” said Allison Long, Fairmont’s business analyst, environmental affairs. “We are pleased with the results achieved thanks to our dedicated colleagues and are excited to be the first luxury hotel brand to reach the Climate Savers Program targets.”


For more information: fairmont.com.


Photo credit: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts



Spring into Central Park at The Pierre package launches



New York, NY — This iconic Gotham hotel, located directly opposite Central Park, gets ready for spring with a Spring into Central Park at The Pierre package. Launching on March 20, in time for the vernal equinox,  the package is available until May 31, 2015. This special two-night springtime package includes:

  • Two nights at The Pierre, based on two guests sharing a room/suite
  • One customized 60-minute walking tour of Central Park led personally by Central Park Conservancy Historian Sara Cedar Miller for you and your friends (up to 15 guests if walking, up to 6 guests if taking a private Hybrid Toyota Highlander–but who wouldn’t to walk in this beautiful park?)
  • One signed copy of Cedar Miller’s book Central Park An American Masterpiece
  • One Molton Brown Black Peppercorn and Pink Pepperpod Shower Gel gift set
  • Continental breakfast for two guests served in-room daily
  • One dinner for two at Sirio Ristorante

From $879.00 for a Room or $1199.00 in an Executive Suite based on two guests sharing two nights, subject to availability, valid March 20th – May 31st, 2015. Reservations: thepierre.ny@tajhotels.com; toll-free: 1.800.743.7734. www.tajhotels.com/thepierre


Photo credit: Taj Hotels

Scampo chef Lydia Shire shares her soda bread recipe


Boston, MA — Lydia Shire, fabled Boston chef, who helms the Liberty Hotel’s gorgeous Scampo restaurant, sent this recipe for soda bread over, all writ in green. She’s a colorful chef, and a colorful character, just check out her luscious version of this humble Irish staple! But the color is, of course, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Lydia’s Irish Soda Bread
4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 ½ tsp. level sea salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 T. caraway seeds
4 T. butter or lard  + extra to butter the pan + extra butter to brush on the finished loaf
1 c. ea. golden and dark raisins plumped in ½ c. dark rum and cooled
1½ c. buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg yolk
1 T. heavy cream

METHOD:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bread loaf pan and line w/ wax paper or parchment paper. Butter the paper.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder + caraway seeds together. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter or lard. Sprinkle over the raisins that you have cooked w/ the rum gently until the rum is absorbed. Fold together delicately. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg and baking soda until well mixed. Pour over the flour mixture and with a fork gently mix together until the dough barely holds. It will look like biscuit dough. Do not over mix. Place in buttered pan. Cut an X in the top of the dough and brush the yolk + heavy cream you have mixed together as a “wash “over the top.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until you test with a wooden pick and it comes out clean.
To gild the lily… melt an additional 3 T. of butter and brush over all as soon as it comes out of the oven .

Info: Scampo at The Liberty Hotel
215 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
P: 6175362100



Sneak peak at Boston’s Godfrey Hotel, due this fall




3D Rendering

Boston, MA — The Godfrey Hotel is due to open this fall in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood.This historic area was once home to corset, hat, and millinery shops where fashionable ladies in the 1800s would shop. By the 1960s, it was part of the Combat Zone, a city-sanctioned red light district that ripped the heart out of the area well into the 1990s. This century, Downtown Crossing has slowly clawed it’s way back to stand as part of Boston’s colorful history. The Godfrey is part of a wonderful renaissance, which includes rehabilitation of the Paramount Theater and the Burnham Building, and it’s steps away from the beautiful rococo Opera House and Boston Common.

MR Interior View


3D Rendering

Eco-friendly sunscreens are a win-win for travelers



We’re hearing a lot more about coral reef destruction and efforts by dedicated conservationists to grow new coral. It’s a difficult and painstaking process. One that will be helped by swimmers and snorkelers adopting coral-friendly sunscreen. These hotels are helping guests make better choices with organic and eco-friendly sunscreens, which won’t harm coral, mussels, and phytoplankton, among other wildlife. Also, if it’s less toxic to the environment, and preserves the coral reefs we love to snorkel through, it’s also less toxic to you: Win-win!

  • Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives has partnered with skincare company Aethic to sell Sôvée in the property’s boutique. Sôvée is a certified marine positive sunscreen with eco-compatible ingredients that do not damage the environment.
  • UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, Brazil recently launched UXUA Beach Balm, which is 100% organic and made with raw ingredients from the hotel’s garden. Made on property, the sunscreen is a carefully concocted mixture of shea butter, extra virgin green coconut oil, frankincense and myrrh, as well as Ylang Ylang, grape seed, and buriti essential oils.


Photo courtesy of Cocoa Island

Charles Hotel offers Pi Day flash sale


Hotel Exterior high-res


Cambridge, MA — It’s not exactly a national holiday, but Pi Day, if there be such a day, occurs on March 14. Math types get it already, but for the rest of us, pi is approximately 3.14, which is why March 14 — 3-14 — is Pi Day.

Suitably, given it’s proximity to Harvard University, and being a favorite haunt with local and visiting academics, the Charles Hotel, whose punning motto is ‘the smart place to stay’,  has a flash sale taking place the day before, March 13. The hotel website will take 31.4% off the best available rates across all rooms categories. The sale will run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m and is available for travel dates: March 14th 2015 (Pi Day) – May 1st 2015.
For more info: Charles Hotel

Nine-Zero Hotel offers birds-eye view of New England Patriots’ victory parade




Boston, MA — Boston closed down on February 4, but not because of snow, this time. The city stopped for the New England Patriots victory parade, which wound its way through the Back Bay, past Nine-Zero Hotel on Tremont Street.

As usual, the football team was introduced by musket fire from re-enactors dressed in early 1700s militia garb.


And there was the truck bearing beaming cheerleaders.


However, Julian Edelman, the Patriot’s wide receiver and punt returner, stole the show. Early on in the parade, he ripped off his hoodie, and then danced and prowled atop the moving duck boat like a superstar, all the way to City Hall Plaza.



In a New England winter where record snow and more to come has frozen the area in more ways than one, Edelman and the Patriots warmed-up Boston, if only for a day.