Category Archives: Destination

1770 House

OVERVIEW of 1770 House

1770 House is a magnificently restored 200 year old white clapboard inn with black shutters, a white picket fence and lush gardens located in the heart of all the activity in East Hampton. An acclaimed restaurant, a cozy pub and luxurious rooms make this a very special weekend retreat.

The lobby area is wood paneled with a warming fireplace and comfortable antique chairs and couches. The downstairs pub has a bar and dining area with wood beamed ceilings and partially brick walls and the upstairs dining room is luxurious in beige and brown tones, wood beamed ceilings and a fireplace.

THE ROOMS at 1770 House

Rooms are appointed with period antiques, some with fireplaces and private entrances. All are air-conditioned and have flat screen TV’s. Beds have super soft Frette linens and plump duvets.

My favorite room is #4, with its own private entrance, fireplace, views to the side garden and Main Street, a separate study/dressing room, wood beamed ceilings and one of the most comfortable and luxurious beds I have ever slept in. The bathroom had reproduction bath fixtures, Molton Brown bath products and a killer shower with a pulsating/massaging shower head. Simple touches like Fuji water and fresh fruit, a simple, easy to use alarm clock, terry robes and a washcloth embroidered make-up help make this a very comfortable place to stay.

DINING at 1770 House

The restaurant is one of the most popular in the Hamptons and the casual Tavern is perfect when you just want something quick and easy. The restaurant is reviewed in our dining section.

RATES at 1770 House

From $925 Peak Season weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About 1770 House

Wine Spectator Award Winning List

For sheer luxury, East Hampton’s 1770 House is tough to beat some of the eight guest rooms have fireplaces, and all have private baths. New York Magazine

PROMOTIONS at 1770 House

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Allison Inn, Newberg OR

OVERVIEW of Allison Inn

Conceived by the Ken and Joan Austin and managed today by Waterford Hospitaliy,  Allison Inn is destined to be one of the best in the country and certainly the best in the Northwest. Located at the north entrance of Willamette Valley wine country and set on 35 lush acres, the resort is surrounded by vineyards, orchards and rich farmland with mountain views in three directions.

The Inn produced its own Pinot Noir with the 2012 vintage of Austin Knoll Pinot Noir and recently intoduced a Pinot Gris. Both are poured exclusively at their restaurant Jory.

The contemporary four level Inn blends perfectly into its natural surroundings with its polished wood, glass and stone exterior. Inside, the public rooms are elegantly decorated in warm colors of ochre, pumpkin, eggplant and leaf green. Walls are graced with original artwork from local artists and a dramatic circular staircase connects all four levels. The Living Room with a large stone fireplace looks out over the gardens and is a cozy spot for a quiet drink or a bite to eat. Friday and Saturday nights feature live jazz. Outside the Living Room is a terrace with wonderful views of the gardens. It’s the perfect place for a drink or a snack when the weather is nice.

Just outside the dining room is a wonderful little bar with an excellent small plate menu and a fantastic wine (1oz taste, ½ glass or 5 oz glass) and cocktail selection. They feature over 50 wines by the glass.

The 15,000 square foot spa and fitness center on the lower level has everything you’ll need to work off those dinners and feel refreshed and revitalized. An indoor pool and spa are added benefits. A full range of services is offered in a tranquil setting and prices are very reasonable.

The Allison Inn & Spa has been awarded LEED Gold certification, one of a handful of hotel properties in the world committed to achieving this “green seal‟ relating to building practices and sustainable ongoing operations.

THE ROOMS at Allison Inn

Rooms are large, starting at an ample 485 square feet. All have a private terrace or balcony, a cozy, comfortable window seat with great views (and a warming throw) and a gas fireplace. Colors reflect the surrounding woods with tones of brown, beige, gold and orange. The walls have original artwork and there are custom built-in closets and cabinets. There’s built-in satellite television with a 42″ screen and state-of-the-art technology including automated window shades and climate controls and Bose sound systems. Plush King beds are draped in luxury linens with down pillows and comforters.

Large marble baths have double vanities, soaking tubs and separate showers with plush towels and custom bath amenities.

DINING at Allison Inn

JORY, is the 100-seat signature restaurant that serves all meals. The décor in shades of burgundy and gold and highlighted by natural Oregon woods, is elegant yet casual. Guests can dine in the restaurant, at the Chef s table, at the kitchen counter or outside on the terrace. The kitchen counter was great fun being able to watch everything come together and as the chefs give you tastes of what they are preparing.

The menu makes great use of Oregon’s locally produced products. While it changes seasonally, here are some recent samples: Selection of house cured charcuterie; cherries, hazelnuts, pickles, mustards, pumpernickel toast; Rabbit cannelloni: braised rabbit-ricotta filled pasta, foraged mushrooms, natural jus, spring herbs; Green garlic soup: smoked salt spring mussels, garlic chives, pickled shallots, crème fraîche; Pan roasted rack of lamb: lamb bacon, chickpea salad, cucumbers, yogurt mint dressing, zhug; Grilled heritage pork loin: Peruvian purple potato, pork belly confit agrodolce, shallot vinaigrette; Dark chocolate-pinot noir cake: cocoa nib granola, vanilla bean ice cream, espresso sauce; Berry pudding crumble: vanilla brioche custard, almond streusel crunch, Jory garden honey.

Jory has assembled a wonderful wine list, heavy on Oregon Pinots as you might expect, but also with excellent choices from around the world, including some hard-to-get cult wines.  This is a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence wine list.

THE SERVICE at Allison Inn

From the minute you arrive and your car is met to the time you leave equipped with bottled water for the ride, you enjoy a sense of well-being that truly enhances your visit. The staff is friendly and genuine in their desire to help. The front desk is manned 24 hours and room service is available throughout the day and night.

Unlike many properties, parking is complimentary as are snacks from your mini-bar. When is the last time you saw that!

Managing Director Pierre Zreik brings a wealth of experience in upscale accommodations, including at one of our other Featured Properties, Cavallo Point in Sausalito, understands the guest experience and has great plans for the Inn.

THE RATES at Allison Inn

From $785 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Allison Inn

AAA 4 Diamond Award
Conde Nast Traveler- Gold List
Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

PROMOTIONS at Allison Inn

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American Hotel, Sag Harbor

OVERVIEW of the American Hotel

Located in a quaint, waterfront village, with just 8 rooms, an excellent restaurant with a spectacular wine list and a bar everyone seems drawn to, the American Hotel is what I would want my hotel to be like if I owned one. This place has personality in an age of minimalist and sterile accommodations.  It reminds me of the charming Algonquin Hotel in New York City. Since purchasing the property in 1972, Ted Conklin has lovingly restored and maintained this little gem while building its reputation for great food and wine. A favorite of celebrities in the know whatever the season.

The comfortable lobby with its antique check-in counter, easy chairs, couches and board games strewn about opens to the bar area with an old wood bar that has probably been there since the beginning. This is a great bar, manned by veteran bartender Vinnie, and flanked by dining tables and a fireplace. It is a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike and has a “Cheers” kind of atmosphere.

The front porch has tables and chairs on which you can enjoy a glass of wine, read the paper and watch the people go by. Life doesn’t get much better.

THE ROOMS at the American Hotel

The rooms are simple, but very comfortable. Elegantly decorated in antiques and fine fabrics, rugs and artwork, each has a character of its own. My recent room was done in Shaker furniture. All rooms have a two person Jacuzzis, a fully stocked mini-bar, imported Italian towels and bathrobes and a thick down duvet. The shower takes its place among our Hall of Fame Showers!

DINING at the American Hotel

Plan at least one meal here. The food is excellent and the atmosphere warm and inviting. After dinner, take a stroll through the delightful little village and stop in one of the pubs for an after dinner drink. The perfect end to a day in the Hamptons.

OTHER at the American Hotel

A few years back, Conklin purchased a wonderfully restored 75′ 1965 Trumpy that is available for charter. It has 3 beautifully appointed staterooms. Home port will be Sag Harbor from May-September, then Newport and New York in October, the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo in November and then in Palm Beach from December-May. Take a look at trumpyamerica.com. Something for 3 couples to share for a really special occasion.

THE RATES at the American Hotel

From $650 Peak Season weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the American Hotel

You could get “lost in time” at this 1846 hotel on Long Island’s South Shore, if it wasn’t for the “eclectic cast” of cutting edge “local celebrities, writers” and other “A-listers” in the bar and “fabulous restaurant” (with the best wine list”); most say it’s filled with “old world” charm perfect for a “romantic” stay, but others who are put off by “snobby” service and “no facilities to speak of” insist it’s “coasting”. ZAGAT

Andaz Napa

OVERVIEW at Andaz Napa

The Andaz Napa is located in the heart of downtown Napa, accessible on foot to everything in town and by car for the surrounding areas. Part of the Hyatt chain, this upscale brand offers luxury accommodations at affordable prices.

THE ROOMS at Andaz Napa

The 141 rooms are elegantly decorated with contemporary furnishings, plush beds with crisp cotton linens, hardwood floors, designer area rugs, marble bath, and waterfall shower heads. Rooms feature ergonomic work space, a  Keurig coffeemaker, free Wi-Fi and a minibar with welcome snacks and beverages on the house. Room options range from standard rooms at 310 sq feet to the Tower Suite with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of downtown Napa, dual sided fireplace and retractable glass walls that open to your private balcony. The suite is just shy of 1000 sq feet.

DINING at Andaz Napa

Mercantile Social is the hotel’s cocktail lounge featuring hann crafted cocktails, boutique local wines and casual foods from salads and smoothies to pizza pops and grass fed beef burgers to shrimp baked mac n’ cheese.

Andaz Farm Table starts the day with delicious breakfasts including organic fruit and yogurt parfaits to the completely indulgent stuffed baguette French toast to cage-free egg preparations served with traditional accompaniments.

The Andaz Artists program centers around live music and local musical talent. Andaz Artists (mainly acoustic guitarists) all hail from the Bay Area to come play in either Mercantile Social or the Lobby Lounge every Wednesday and Saturday from 8-11pm. The artists play a collection of covers and some of their own music, and all are a great reflection of the spirit and inspiration of Andaz.

THE RATES at Andaz Napa

From $574 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at Andaz Napa

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Andaz Savannah

OVERVIEW of Andaz Savannah

We became fans of the Andaz luxury boutique brand of Hyatt when we stayed in one in Napa and loved it. They are very well done with service and amenities seen more often in hotels a class or two higher. Best of all they are very reasonably priced. Here we were greeted with a welcome cocktail, escorted to our room, asked which newspaper we would like in the morning and told there were complimentary drinks and snacks in the mini bar. The hotel is ideally located downtown, is pet-friendly

THE ROOMS at Andaz Savannah

There are 151 rooms and 37 suites that start at a generous 305 sq feet and offer views of Ellis Square and downtown Savannah. Decorated in whites and grays with stunning artwork adding color, rooms feature comfortable beds dressed in crisp linens and a Cuisinart Coffee Maker and an MP3 docking station, alarm clock, radio and sound machine. There is a mini bar with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and complimentary sweet and salty snack.

DINING at Andaz Savannah

22 Square Bar serves handcrafted cocktails, stirred and shaken with fresh juice and homemade tonics and syrups. The complimentary candied bacon is delicious.

22 Square Restaurant serves breakfast, dinner and room service.  The cuisine is modern Southern made from locally grown produce and sustainable ingredients. Enjoy items like Fried Green Tomatoes, Pimento Deviled Eggs, Kurobuta Pork Chops, Truffled Shrimp & Grits and more.

OTHER at Andaz Savannah

There is an outdoor pool with cabanas, a 24 hour fitness center and a patio and fire pit. The hotel is pet friendly and WiFi is complimentary.

THE RATES at Andaz Savannah

From $266 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Andaz Savannah

If it’s good enough for the celebs, it’s good enough for us. Savannah’s recent frequent selection as a location for major motion pictures has caused the Andaz to be a potential spot to catch a glimpse of A-List stars. FODOR’S

PROMOTIONS at Andaz Savannah

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Antrim 1844, Taneytown

OVERVIEW OF Antrim 1844

Built in 1844 by Col. Andrew Ege, an immigrant from Country Antrim, Ireland, the home and property, then comprised of several out buildings on a site of approximately 2500 acres, was named after the county of his wife’s birthplace in Ireland.  The property changed hands many times over the years and much of the original land was sold off until 1987 when the current owners, the Molletts, purchased the home and its adjacent outbuildings. Following extensive and complete renovations, the home was opened as a four bedroom inn in the fall of 1988.  Since then, the Molletts have renovated the outbuildings, expanded the number of rooms at the 24-acre site to 40 in its eleven outbuildings and have added an adjacent ballroom capable of serving 250.

Arriving at the Antrim 1844 House (as it’s customarily known) in the afternoon of a dark and dismal day, not unlike the day in 1987 when the current owners, Dort and Richard Mollett, first viewed the “grand Greek Revival mansion with Federal influences,” we were transported from black and white (and gray) to color, not unlike one of the opening scenes from “The Wizard of Oz,” where Dorothy too opens the door of her house to find that the tornado has landed her in a color laden land of fantasy.

We were greeted not only by staff offering to assist us with our baggage but, perhaps even more importantly, by a most delightful color palate of blue, gold and rose, dependent upon which of the first floor public rooms were visited. Most charming indeed, made even more so by fourteen foot high ceilings, superior plaster work, period-style draperies and wall coverings, historic artwork and antique furnishings. We were immediately made to feel right at home.

This delightful and historic retreat, a bit off the beaten path in the rolling hills of northern Maryland, is a haven of serened their staff have found a formula for success and we can’t wait to pay another visit – possibly in the late summer or early fall when the colors of the season will, no doubt, be spectacular – just as spectacular as the gracious service!

THE ROOMS at Antrim 1844

Our room, The Meade Room, is immediately to the right at the second floor landing and when we entered we were immediately delivered to another era – an era of graciousness and comfort. We noticed the extremely high ceilings with original blown glass windows reaching to the sky (and a neat feature – inside pocket shutters which can be closed at night). We turned to the right to see the beautiful four poster king-size feather bed perched high off the floor (not to worry – a wooden step stool rests near the bed), and a working, wood-burning fireplace – quite romantic, indeed. After dinner, we were rewarded with possibly the most comfortable and relaxing night’s sleep either of us has experienced!

The marble bathroom, while small, featured a steam shower with two shower heads and lovely accoutrements, including fragrant soaps, shampoo, conditioner and bath gel. As we unpacked we could just feel the stress of the trip wash away.

DINING at Antrim 1844

Following a brief afternoon rest, we headed downstairs for tea in the drawing room, a delightfully cheery room featuring a baby grand piano, comfortable seating and period antiques. Delicious bagged teas were made available on the piano and delectable pastries, cookies and tea sandwiches were also provided, all included in the daily rate.

We dressed for dinner (jackets for men are appreciated – no ties required) and decided to explore the Pickwick Pub about which we’d heard stellar praise. We weren’t disappointed. It’s just about the coziest place on the planet featuring a roaring fireplace, a lovely, well-stocked bar (specializing in Scottish single malt whiskies), tartan wall coverings and tremendous hospitality.

The dinner bell being sounded, we were graciously escorted through several of the mansion’s public rooms to the Smokehouse Restaurant, aptly named, as it was, in fact, the smokehouse for the original home. As we entered the Restaurant we were greeted by stunning opposing portraits of Generals Meade and Lee, the lead protagonists in the Battle of Gettysburg, as well as paintings of many other important generals in that historic conflict.

Once seated at table, in front of yet another warm and roaring fire and beneath a portrait of a blue eyed General Stonewall Jackson, we were presented with a menu personalized for our party and signed by the Mansion’s Executive Chef, Michael Gettier. Following the presentation of the Amuse Bouche (an opening chef’s treat) we were greeted by the Maitre d’hotel, Siavash Ayrom, a gracious gentlemen who was instrumental in advising us of appropriate wine selections.

At Mr. Ayrom’s recommendation, we selected a glass of Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2007, a delightful French varietal white wine full of acidic fruits including pineapple, pear and grapefruit. It was the perfect choice for our country baked oysters and artichoke with bacon & Parmesan cream starters. For our entrée, Mr. Ayrom suggested Silkwood, Red Duet (NV) a delightful 50/50 combination of cabernet sauvignon and syrah from Stanislaus County, in Modesto, California. It was truly delicious and a solid partner with the venison and veal entrees. Dinner service ended with a delectable and outsized Panache of Chef’s desserts. No calorie counting here!

Throughout dinner, patrons in the Smokehouse were entertained at the piano by Calvin Jackson, a Bobby Short-style regular at Antrim 1844 House. He played and sang both Broadway and Hollywood show tunes as well as songs ranging from Cole Porter to Andrew Lloyd Webber. He was so good that most of the tables, and one in particular, took great joy in joining in the singing, so much so that at the end of the evening most everyone was in on the act!

The next morning we were delighted to be awakened by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, fresh baked muffins and the morning paper served by “Jeeves,” the wooden butler table just outside our door. A complimentary continental breakfast is “de rigueur” at the Antrim 1844 House and it’s a perfect start to the day. We then dressed and went downstairs for a full house served breakfast which included a juice of choice, and choices of a full hot breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon, etc), fresh fruit bowl, granola with milk or hot oatmeal.

On our second night, we met Ryan, Antrim’s wine steward, who invited us to tour the Mansion’s newly renovated and quite extensive wine cellar. Home to some 17,000 bottles of fine wine, the wine cellar can be booked for private parties up to 10. It was here, in consultation with Ryan,

Entry foyer, Antrim 1844, Taneytown MD

that we decided upon the evening’s wine selections: Bug Juice (really, that’s the name), a Moscoto d’asti, from Italy’s Piedmont region, perfect for the starter course of Brioche Toast with Foie Gras, and then the piece de resistance, a 1998 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, a beauty of a Bordeaux from Saint Julien! It was paired perfectly with Chef Gettier’s delicious Bistro Steak with Blue ‘Mac.’ While we splurged a bit on the Bordeaux, both wines were priced reasonably.

THE SERVICE at Antrim 1844

Check-in at the front desk/gift shop was a breeze and our greeter then escorted us up the stately spiral staircase to our room on the second floor. As our greeter explained the room’s amenities, we noticed and opened a welcoming letter from the general manager accompanied by a plate of fresh fruit and a half-bottle of chilled French champagne – a most delightful welcoming gift.

As our greeter departed, we were advised that afternoon tea would be served in the drawing room from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM and complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres would be served, also in the drawing room, beginning at 6:30 PM, in advance of our 7:00 PM dinner reservation in

At Antrim 1844, you will find more than 50 varieties of English Tea roses. (Courtesy Antrim 1844)

the adjacent Smokehouse Restaurant.

When we returned to our room after the first evening’s meal, we were delightfully surprised to see our evening reward, delicious chocolates surrounded by yellow rose petals formed in the shape of a large heart! Talk about heart-warming! Returning on the second night, we again found those delicious chocolates together with a turned-down bed and a single pink rose. Perfect!

We were so glad to have had the chance to discover and enjoy such a wonderful service oriented facility. Thinking back at our stay during our 3.5 return trip, we couldn’t remember anywhere we’d been that featured staff who were so conscious of and concerned for the well being of their guests. Everyone was on the same page, a tribute to the owners, the Mollets, and their management team. We can’t wait to return.

THE RATES at Antrim 1844

Prime season weekend rates from $339

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Antrim 1844

Civil War buffs bivouac at this “charming base for visiting Gettysburg” (15 minutes away), a former plantation-turned B&B; “gorgeous rooms” have antiques, wood burning or gas fireplaces, feather beds, and double jacuzzis (but no phones), and sophisticated touches include afternoon tea in the drawing room, croquet on the lawn and “devine” gourmet dinners; the “exceptional service” and “romantic ambiance” (along with a policy that doesn’t allow children under 12) inspire some guest to “propose”. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Antrim 1844

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Baker House 1650, East Hampton

OVERVIEW of Baker House 1650

Baker House 1650 is the most magnificent B&B we have encountered in all our travels. Designed in 1910 from a 1648 farmhouse, this architectural marvel is a stunning property and unlike anything you have experienced before. Beautifully decorated in period antiques and comfortable furniture, the public rooms include a wood paneled reading room with a fireplace and a living room, also with a massive fireplace, with 3 separate sitting areas.  One overlooks the rear gardens, one is in front of the fireplace and one surrounds an antique piano, a John Broadwood & Sons, from London. There are cushioned window seats throughout the cottage and in many of the rooms.

THE ROOMS at Baker House 1650

There are only 5 bedrooms and with the exception of Room #15, which has twin beds, any one will do fine. My two favorites, however are Room #12, a huge room, overlooking the village green, with a king sized bed, love seat and ottoman, fireplace and Jacuzzi tub and Room #14, also overlooking the green, with dark walls, beamed ceilings, a queen bed, fireplace and claw footed tub. Other amenities include television, a sound machine, down comforters, big thick towels and L’Occitane toiletries.

DINING at Baker House 1650

The low, beamed ceiling breakfast room with French doors to the patio also has a bar and a couch and chair fronting a wood stove. Guests gather here at cocktail hour and help themselves to an honor bar. Have what you like and just write it down on a pad. Liquor, beer, wine, champagne and soft drinks and snacks are available 24 hours a day.

Coffee, juice, cereal and homemade muffins, fresh from the oven and newspapers are available at 7:30am in the breakfast room or on the patio. A full breakfast is served at 8:30am.

THE SPA at Baker House 1650

The music filled oasis is a soothing and tranquil respite from the drinking and dining pleasures of your weekend. The slate floor, brick walled facility has a steam room, sauna, exercise equipment and a swim-in-place lap pool. Thick terry Frette robes are provided and massages can be arranged by management.

THE RATES at Baker House 1650

From $685 Peak Season weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Baker House 1650

Selected by Conde Nast Johansens(a division of the Condé Nast Group) THE MOST EXCELLENT INN OF THE AMERICAS FOR FOUR YEARS.

PROMOTIONS at Baker House 1650

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Ballastone Inn

OVERVIEW of the Ballastone Inn

The wonderfully restored 1838 Ballastone Inn is the choice of accommodations for virtually every visiting celebrity; Paul Newman and JoAnne Woodward, Kevin Spacey, Matt Damon and more. The Inn’s walls are filled with accolades from its noted visitors and from the travel press. This is truly a very special place to stay when in Savannah.

Located just a few blocks from the center of town, the public rooms of this Inn are just magnificent, filled with antiques and antique reproductions.

THE ROOMS at the Ballastone Inn

You arrive to a room where your comfort has been thoughtfully anticipated.; fresh flowers and fruit, ice and bottled water, plush robes, oversize towels, featherbeds and luxury linens, a wonderful shower, reading material, Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, fireplaces (most rooms) and Jacuzzis.

My room, Sorgum Cane, was a large corner room facing the garden courtyard. An area rug covered hardwood floors, local art adorned the walls and there was a club chair and ottoman next to the fireplace. My High Boy 4 poster king bed was so luxurious, it enveloped me when I laid down in it. An antique armoire and dresser completed the elegant décor.

There are 12 other rooms and three suites in the Inn and all are lavishly decorated. Scarborough Fair and Mulberry Tulips are my favorite other rooms and the Gazebo Suite my choice of the three suites.

This is one of those places where each room evokes a “wow,” just the kind of thing we look for everywhere we go. Don’t miss this wonderful Inn.

DINING at the Ballastone Inn

The day starts with coffee and tea at 7am in the Tea Room. A full breakfast is served from 8am in the same room, the Garden or the Bar, where an intimate table for two is reserved for you. Mid-day brings fresh lemonade and sweet iced tea. High tea is served at 4pm and cocktails and hors d’ouevres at 6pm in the Bar. The day ends with complimentary port or brandy.

THE RATES at the Ballastone Inn

From $249 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Ballastone Inn

AAA Four Diamond

“Savannah’s historic district is blessed by this Southern “charmer”, a “stately” antebellum inn housed in a restored four story 1838 Victorian mansion; it emits a truly “gracious” air, from the “delightful” staff to the “fantastic” hardwood furnishings and canopy beds in all the individually decorated Victorian rooms to the “lovely” courtyard that’s a “perfect spot for breakfast”; guests also appreciate “fabulous” nearby shopping.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Ballastone Inn

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Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor

OVERVIEW of Baron’s Cove

Baron’s Cove was built in the 1950’s as the first resort development in Sag Harbor. It quickly became a hub for the creative community and enjoyed visits from a diverse group of celebrities and artists like John and Elaine Steinbeck, Paul Newman, Art Garfunkel, Richard Kind, Jackson Pollock, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Truman Capote, George Plimpton, and Kurt Vonnegut and more.

By the end of the 20th century, the hotel had fallen into disrepair and its future unsure. It was was finally purchased by Cape Resorts, a management company with a primary focus in Cape May, New Jersey. After a two year top to bottom renovation, the property re-opened to the public in 2015.

Today, it is an absolutely charming and comfortable property, just blocks from the center of town with a new pool area, elegant guest rooms, custom interiors and a wonderful bar and restaurant.

THE ROOMS at Baron’s Cove

There are sixty-seven village and harbor-facing guestrooms, gorgeous lofted suites boasting sweeping harbor views, village rooms featuring intimate private gardens, and cozy dog-friendly accommodations.

Guest rooms are bright and cheerful, decorated with white walls, white bed furniture and white luxury linens. Color is introduced with artwork, carpeting and chairs. Village Garden Rooms and Harbor Rooms have private patios.

DINING at Baron’s Cove

The Lounge is the perfect place for end-of day cocktails, some bar bites or an after dinner drink. Warm and intimate with cozy seating (wing chairs inside, rocking and Adirondack outside) surround indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

The Dining Room with cathedral ceilings, hardwood floors and a fireplace is located on the second floor. Guests enjoy wonderful harbor views from the dining room and seating on the outdoor porch.

The classic American menu is prepared with fresh and local ingredients sourced from across the East End. It features items like Lobster Caesar Salad, Cove Chowder, Grilled Oysters, Bang Bang Shrimp, Roasted Organic Raised Roast Chicken, Brandt All Natural Steak Frites and more.

Good wine list was awarded Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator.

THE RATES at Baron’s Cove

From $1449 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Baron’s Cove

“…Reimagined and completely remodeled by Cape Resorts hotelier Curtis Bashaw and his sister, decorator Colleen Bashaw, the new Baron’s Cove is a far cry from its former identity. Steps away from the marina, those irreplaceable waterfront sunsets are still there but its new rooms, lobby, restaurant, pool and amenities are now destinations in themselves.” Town & Country

PROMOTIONS at Baron’s Cove

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Bellmoor Inn, Rehoboth DE

OVERVIEW of the Bellmoor Inn

There is something oddly romantic about a nearly deserted beach town in the winter. In season, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is a bustling seaside resort overflowing with vacationers, but off-season, the pace slows and its real charm shows through. Casually browse the shops in town, stroll the isolated beach, enjoy a fireside drink…..just what you need to recharge the batteries.
The Bellmoor Inn is an exquisitely furnished and maintained Inn with immaculate grounds with mature plantings and brick and slate patios.

A waterfall adds a sense of tranquility and I could just imagine a summer day with the gardens all in bloom and a warm morning breeze off the ocean….what a way to start a day.

It is not easy to achieve elegance and comfort at the same time, but the public rooms here hit the mark. They are wonderfully decorated with stylish furniture, antiques, beautiful accessories and artwork and fresh flowers. The lobby, library, sun porch and game room are as nice to relax in as they are to look at.

THE ROOMS at the Bellmoor Inn

There are 78 total rooms including 21 suites and 1 cottage. Accommodations range from somewhat modest Garden Rooms at about 260 square feet to Deluxe Rooms at about 425 square feet to the sumptuous Bellmoor Club Suites at 700-1100 square feet. We stayed in the Dagsworthy, one of the Bellmoor Club Suites. At 710 square feet it was wonderfully spacious with a sitting area, a private balcony, fireplace, two person Jacuzzi and a web bar. The pillow top bed had a rattan style head and foot board, luxury linens and a down comforter and pillows. The marble bath had natural toiletries, plump towels and silky robes. Access to the Club level is by a private elevator and there is a beautiful library with a fireplace, lots of reading material and complimentary drinks and snacks.

DINING at the Bellmoor Inn

Breakfast is the only meal served at the Inn and it is provided by the popular local restaurant Porcini House. The delicious buffet includes fluffy scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, pancakes, oatmeal with vanilla and brown sugar, yogurt, fruit and pastries and muffins. On weekends a chef prepares omelets to order.

THE SERVICE at the Bellmoor Inn

The Inn provides a computer center for checking email, free wireless if your brought your laptop, a “Today” flyer with local events, 24 hour coffee and 4pm tea and cookies….all wonderful amenities, but it is the gracious and subtle level of service that makes this experience so enjoyable. The staff is pleasant and friendly and always willing to help. The on-site concierge, Drew, truly relished helping us decide where to have cocktails before dinner, where to eat and what to do after dinner.

THE RATES at the Bellmoor Inn

From $436 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Bellmoor Inn

-Member, Select Registry, Small Elegant Hotels.

“You’ll “feel like you aren’t anywhere near the sand” at this “surprisingly elegant” Rehoboth Beach B&B with “immaculate rooms”, including “top-shelf” suites on a child-free “private floor”; sybarites savor the “divine” massages while relaxing at its “upstairs pool” and “wonderful” spa, and surveyors unanimously swoon over the “delightful” complimentary breakfasts “overlooking the garden”; alas, there’s no full-service eatery, so for other meals, ask the “helpful” staff for nearby dining recommendations.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Bellmoor Inn

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Bernardus Lodge, Carmel CA

OVERVIEW of Bernardus Lodge

With vineyards in the foreground and the Santa Lucia Mountains as the backdrop, Bernardus Lodge is the quintessential “Relaxing Retreat”, a property so special it raises the bar for all others.

The setting could not be more idyllic, but it is the care that went into the design, both inside and out, the attention to detail, the impeccable service and the marvelous food and wine that make this property a standard for others to emulate.

The Main Lodge which houses reception and the restaurants feels more like an elegant home, but one that is not just a showplace, but a warm and inviting oasis from the world. Rich fabrics, beautiful area rugs, bookcases, comfortable sofas and chairs and a limestone fireplace make these public rooms ideal for quiet conversation, an afternoon cocktail or just to curl up with a book.

Outside there is a wonderful patio, set with tables and chairs and umbrellas which is great for lunch or a casual dinner. At one end is a stone fireplace surrounded by Adirondack chairs and is a favorite spot for an after dinner drink.

Spring through Fall, the property is ablaze in color, the lush green countryside, gardens brimming with herbs and vegetable, vines thick with grapes and lavender everywhere. In fact, there is even a lavender festival in July when the plant is harvested and finds its way into drinks and menus and cooking demonstrations.

THE ROOMS at Bernardus Lodge

The 73 beautifully decorated rooms are oversized by any standard, beginning at 525 square feet. My luxury room had 625 square feet of space and vaulted ceilings which made it seem even larger. It overlooked the croquet lawn and had two sets of French doors onto two patios. The open floor plan had a sitting area with a couch, coffee table and two chairs. Nearby was a writing desk and across the room a small dining table with two chairs. A large limestone fireplace centered the room. The color palette was soothing beiges and grays, the décor a French country. The wonderful feather bed was dressed in Italian linens with goose down pillows and comforter.

The large bath had tile floors, a double vanity, two person soaking tub, a killer shower, oversized, soft towels and Spa Blend toiletries.

A copper-top complimentary “wine grotto” mini-bar was stocked with Bernardus wines, fruit and cheese and other refreshments. There was a coffee pot and coffee and tea for the morning and a newspaper was delivered before 7am. Fresh roses in vases around the room was an elegant touch.

DINING at Bernardus Lodge

Bedrnardus is a chef’s dream; your own vineyard, gardens brimming with fresh herbs and vegetables, strong relationships with local purveyors and the freedom to create innovative menus. Chef Cal Stamenov has cooked with some of the greats of the culinary world; Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Masa Koboiashi, Jean-Louis Palladin and Michel Richard. Before Bernardus he was the Executive Chef at Highland Inn’s Pacific Edge and before that the Chef de Cuisine at Domaine Chandon in Napa.

Lucia Restaurant & Bar is the signature restaurant serving all meals and the food, presentation and service at any meal is so good you won’t feel the need to venture beyond the grounds. At dinner an amazing Monterey Bay Red Abalone was served with potato hash, bacon, leeks and cauliflower cream. I would travel across the country just for this dish. Sonoma Duck Breast came with English peas, spring onion, fava beans and a red wine jus. Dessert was a wonderful Lemon Olive Oil with strawberry rhubarb compote, meringue, strawberry mousse and vanilla ice cream.

This is a wonderful wine list with an extensive selection from the best regions in the world and it is very fairly priced. A lengthy wine-by-the glass menu and lots of ½ bottles offer opportunities to sample. Since we were at a winery, we opted for a bottle of  Bernardus Chardonnay, Rosella’s Vineyard for our appetizer and the Marinus Cabernet Sauvignon for our entree. Both were excellent.

THE SERVICE at Bernardus Lodge

From the glass of their own Sauvignon Blanc I was offered upon arrival to the copy of the menu I requested and they walked all the way to my room, to the complimentary wine and cheese in the room, a high level of service was evident throughout my stay. How they train people to remember guest’s names is still a mystery to me, but it is one of many ways that Bernardus is special. Another was our dinner server, a delightful chap who got us to order way more than we intended, but his enthusiasm for the menu was just so infectious.

THE RATES at Bernardus Lodge

From $1,321 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Bernardus Lodge

Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award – Spa
AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence

Lodge
“You’re welcomed with a glass of wine” (poured like water) by an “attentive staff” “as you enter the lobby” of this “amazing sanctuary” “tucked into the Carmel Valley”; “superb rooms with terraces, fireplaces and Jacuzzis” “situated in the middle of a vineyard” along with an “outstanding spa” and “unreal” fare at “culinary genius” Cal Stamenov’s restaurant make it the “ultimate” spot for “pampering, indulgence and relaxation.” ZAGAT

Restaurant
This “fabulous treat from beginning to end” starts with Cal Stamenov’s “phenomenal” New French menu (prix fixe only), which is backed up by “the best wine list in the area” and a “top-notch sommelier”; a “staff that can’t do enough for you” presides over an “exquisite dining room” with a “fabulous fireplace”, all of which leads romantics to rave “life doesn’t get much better” than here at the Bernardus Lodge “in sunny Carmel Valley”; P.S. the bistro next door “is also fantastic if you don’t want to splurge” for the full experience. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Bernardus Lodge

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Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA

OVERVIEW
Hidden behind 80 year old palm trees and banana leaves, the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel sits on 12 acres of tropical gardens and exotic flowers. The familiar “pink palace” is part of the esteemed Dorchester Group of super luxury hotels. Steeped in history the hotel’s Polo Lounge has been the scene of many Hollywood deals and the intimate bungalows the home of many a celebrity tryst. From WC Fields to Katherine Hepburn to Frank Sinatra and Warren Beatty and the Beatles, the hotel has long been the playground of the rich and famous.

Strangely though, a visit yields no pretension. The staff is friendly and polite and no one is made to feel “left out” because they don’t have a TV or movie deal. A visit here should be on everyone’s “bucket list”.

THE ROOMS
Rooms start at a generous  400 sq feet, but most are over 500. The majority of the rooms are decorated in shades of beige with throw pillows and artwork adding splashes of color. Beds feature bespoke cotton linens embroidered with The Beverly Hills Hotel logo and topped with a soft duvet. Oversized marble baths offer dual sinks, huge towels, a beautifully deep bathtub and separate shower.

The Bungalows, like #5, are so luxurious and private they will take your breath away. This one was Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite and features a fireplace, private kitchen and its own pool.

DINING
The legendary Polo Lounge serves all meals either in its dining room or outside on the beautiful flower festooned terrace. The Lounge offers live music daily. The menu is American cuisine with an Italian bent. Signature dishes include: Steak Tartare, 4oz Organic Beef Tenderloin, Classic Garnish, Herb Fries; Tortilla Soup, Grilled Jidori Chicken, Queso Fresco, Green Onion, Avocado, Crispy Tortilla Strips; the McCarthy Salad, Romaine, Grilled Chicken, Organic Eggs, Beets, Tomatoes, Cheddar, Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Balsamic Vinaigrette; the Wagyu Burger, House-Ground Wagyu Chuck, Smoked Blue Cheese, Balsamic Onions, Arugula, Tomato, Chipotle Aioli. Keep in mind you are going here for the “experience.” If you look at the prices you’ll be on the next plane.

The Fountain Coffee Room is a 50’s style lunch counter where you can get silver dollar pancakes and fresh OJ at breakfast and delicious sandwiches at lunch.

Bar Nineteen 12 (named for the year the hotel opened) is a stylish cocktail bar with a terrace that is perfect for watching a California sunset.

THE SPA
The Spa offers a full range of services from facials to massages to body treatments to private or group yoga classes.

THE SERVICE
From the friendly bellman who take your bags to the housekeepers who remember your name the staff is well trained to make you feel comfortable and pampered. The front desk has a ton of newspapers every morning, you can use the house car to take you anywhere in a three mile radius and there are lots of other little touches like fresh fruit in your room, cookies at turn down and a lavender spray for your sheets and pillows to help you sleep.

THE RATES: From $545 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHER SAY…
AAA Five Diamond Award
Forbes Five Star Award

PROMOTIONS
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Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

OVERVIEW of Blackberry Farm

Few places can match the beauty of the 4200 acre Blackberry Farm. Add exquisite accommodations, exceptional food, an amazing wine cellar and near perfect service, and you have a weekend like few others.  It’s rolling hills are bordered by sparkling white fences, there’s a dazzling pond and Boathouse at the base of the Main complex hill, a wonderful farmhouse used as the appropriately named Farmhouse Spa and a delightful pavilion set on another pond and used for various functions.

The main complex consists of three buildings; Reception, Chestnut Cottage and the Main House. Reception, also houses the Gift Shop; Chestnut Cottage, is the property’s recreation spot with a fireplace, comfortable chairs and couches, a pool table, piano, game tables, a bar and a complete fitness center. The Main House which sits majestically atop a knoll overlooking the foothills, is home to the Dogwood restaurant and bar and guest rooms. Outside the buildings are white shingled with stone facades and slate roofs. Inside, they are marvelously decorated with rich fabrics, heavy draperies, oriental carpets, stunning artwork and the always dramatic mountain vistas from nearly every window.

THE ROOMS at Blackberry Farm

There are 68 rooms on the property ranging from smaller historic and estate rooms to 3-5 bedroom homes. Interiors are designed by BF Interiors and feature rich fabrics, luxury linens, custom bath products and stunning artwork. All of the rooms are wonderfully comfortable, but the Cottage Suites are about 600 sq feet and have covered porches with rocking chairs, wood burning fireplaces, a King featherbed, large bathrooms with double vanities and a whirlpool bath. Oh my…

DINING at Blackberry Farm

Dining at Blackberry Farm is truly a “foodie’s” paradise. Helmed by Executive Chef Cassidee Dabney, a veteran of the Four Seasons brand, the Farm’s signature Foothills Cuisine®, is inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce grown in a garden a short walk away from The Barn. Blackberry Farm brings together a rare collection of artisans – the chef, the master gardener, the baker, the cheesemaker, the forager, the butcher, the preservationist, the restaurant manager, the sommelier.

Breakfast and lunch are served in the Main House restaurant and dinner in The Dogwood, a relaxed fine-dining experience or in The Barn,  a turn-of-the-century, bank-style barn, which offers an elevated dining experience.

Menus change frequently, but a recent sampling included, Asparagus & Beemster Cheese with crispy ham, roasted garlic aioli, crispy shallots and herbs; Alabama Red Royal Shrimp with leek puree, crispy potatoes and chive; Elysian Fields Farm lamb with crispy polenta, herb puree, creme fraiche and grilled cauliflower and carrots; Brown Butter Poached Trout, with smoked whipped pecans, picked ramps, Marigold syrup, mushrooms and garden greens. And for dessert, Georgia Oil Oil Corn Cake with Spring citrus and Earl Grey.

The wine cellar boasts some 9,000 different selections and The Barn’s Bar program offers an impressive spirits list with over 300 Whiskies and Brandies, many of which are simply unattainable outside of Blackberry Farm.

THE SERVICE at Blackberry Farm

The staff is exceedingly well-trained and go out of their way to make your experience special, as befits a Relais & Chateau property.  Golf carts are available to transverse the property.  Each morning guests receive a “Times Digest”, a summary of current news from the New York Times and a copy of the Blackberry News, a round-up of the days activities.

RATES at Blackberry Farm

Rates from $1.045 per night and include room for two, three meals for two per day. Three night minimum

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Blackberry Farm

Forbes 4 Star-Lodge and Restaurant
Travel + Leisure 500 Best Hotels & Resorts Around the World
Conde Nast Gold List
Relais & Chateau Member
Relais & Chateau Grand Chef
Wine Spectator Grand Award
James Beard Foundation – Finalist Best Chef, Southeast

“Even” “rainy days” are “perfect” at this “cream of the crop” “getaway” in the Smokey Mountains where “beautiful” cottages with stocked pantries and a “doting but discreet” staff are “absolutely the best”; expect to “gain weight” from the “phenomenal” food at the Relais Gourmand eatery, then be distracted by the “breathtaking views” and “acres of gardens” (as well as by wonderful spa services); just be warned: you may “miss your first and second born when you hand them over for payment.” ZAGAT

Blantyre, Lenox MA

Temporary closed for renovations. Scheduled to re-open in 2023.

OVERVIEW of Blantyre

In 1902 Robert Paterson built Blantyre as a model of his mother’s ancestral estate in Blantyre, Scotland. Complete with towers, turrets and gargoyles, the grand property served as the family’s summer and fall retreat where they entertained frequently in a lavish style befitting the times. These magnificent properties were the Berkshire’s version of the Newport Mansions and the Great Adirondack Camps.

After numerous owners, the property fell into disrepair and in 1980 Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick purchased the abandoned estate for their daughter Ann Fitzpatrick Brown. She began the painstaking process of restoring the Tudor mansion to its former glory, but this time as a luxury hotel. Much of what Blantyre is today is a credit to Ms. Brown’s vision. Sadly she passed away a few years back and the property was sold to new owners.

Most of us don’t have royal blood in us, or for that matter will ever meet a “royal”. But for the length of your stay at Blantyre, you’ll get a taste of what that might feel like. Driving up the tree lined gravel driveway, a magnificent structure appears, perched on a hill at the end of the road. Draped in ivy, it appears to be a European castle, and as you step inside the Main Hall you can almost convince yourself that it is. The baronial Hall has dark wood paneling, soaring wood beamed ceilings, a massive stone fireplace, wonderful antiques and heirlooms and vases filled with beautiful fresh flowers. To the right is the bright and airy Music Room, to the left the Dining Room and Conservatory. A sweeping staircase with massive oil paintings gets you to the bedrooms on the second floor. This is going to be fun.

THE ROOMS at Blantyre

There are eight rooms and suites in the Main House, all on the second floor and many with fireplaces. We stayed in the Crimson Suite, an enchanting room with 12 foot ceilings framed in wide crown molding, a fireplace with a carved mantelpiece and a hand carved four poster bed set in an alcove of bay windows. Fabrics are lush damask and chinz in shades of beige, crimson and burgundy. Beige carpeting was offset with colorful Oriental throws. Gold framed mirrors and artwork graced the walls. Colorful snap dragons filled the vases. The room looked out on the front lawns and had a wonderful terrace with table and chairs, perfect for breakfast or an afternoon cocktail. In the dressing room, there’s a mirrored vanity and stool and a glorious bench piled high with pillows that made for a great nap before dinner. The large bathroom had a deep claw foot soaking tub and our newest addition to the “Hall of Fame Showers”, a glass enclosed gem that I had trouble leaving. Magnificent accommodations.

There are twelve rooms in the Carriage House, which is just 200 yards from the Main House. Many guests prefer these rooms for their total privacy. First floor rooms have a landscaped patio and second floor a balcony. These rooms are individually decorated, by Ann, showcasing another of her many talents. No exaggeration when I tell you that each room evoked a ‘wow’ when we opened the door.

Finally, there are four cottages, two of which have two bedrooms. These are for longer stays, two couples or just complete privacy. All but one offers a kitchen or kitchenette. They are enchantingly decorated (you won’t believe the hand painted murals) and unbelievably cozy and warm.

DINING at Blantyre

The Bistro serves breakfast lunch and dinner in a cozy and intimate space with a traditional brasserie menu with a New England bent. You’ll find French onion soup, Moule Frites, Trout Amandine, Steakk Frites and more. Each night offers a special like Dover Sole on Fridays.

The Conservatory is a more formal dining experience, offeing a seasonal four-course tasting menu that changes nightly. Selections reflect the freshest ingredients and flavors of the local area.

The Champagne Salon in partnership with Dom Pérignon has both indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing guests and visitors to enjoy inventive champagne cocktail creations and light bites during all seasons.
The Cloister: Located in the estate’s secluded 24-person outdoor garden, the “Tin to Table” menu of this champagne restaurant features an upscale twist on caviar in a casual and laid-back setting, surrounded by the estate’s carefully manicured flora.
La Cave: Nestled inside the estate’s speakeasy-inspired space, La Cave’s intimate 30 seats embodies a sleek and sophisticated design, with a cool color palette featuring rich charcoal greys adorned with gold and brass accents. The Berkshire dining menu specializes in raclette, fondue, and charcuterie.

The wine list is quite remarkable and an obvious hobby of the owner. The cellar has some 18,000 bottles and 2500 choices. True wine lovers will really enjoy the depth and breadth of this list. Virtually every major wine region is represented and while there are certainly expensive wines here, there is also plenty under $60. 14 wines by the glass and an amazing 100+ ½ bottles.

THE SERVICE at Blantyre

The achievement of near “perfect” service is elusive to many, but somehow Blantyre has managed to figure out what many cannot. Here, it goes beyond just the human interaction, which in itself is wonderful, but it extends to little touches that make the visitor experience quite extraordinary. They could get away with doing less and it would still be a wonderful experience, but it wouldn’t be a Blantyre experience. There is a piano player in formal attire every night whether there is one guest or 20. The flower arrangements in the rooms, public spaces and restaurants are truly magnificent; I’ve never seen such beautiful table arrangements in a restaurant. Your morning newspaper arrives at your door early in the morning, slippers left at turndown are tied with ribbon and our breakfast basket had fresh roses tied with a colorful ribbon. And the hits just kept on coming…

We were greeted at the entry as we arrived in our car and escorted into the building where we were given a brief tour of the downstairs. No check-in, the “paperwork” is handled when you reach your room. A personal welcoming note from the owner and a complimentary cheese platter filled with fruit and breads and crackers greeted us. After a brief orientation, a waiter arrived with a half bottle of chilled Champagne (you can also choose a red or white). Nice start.

A little later when we went downstairs for a spa appointment, we asked a tuxedoed staff member (turns out he was the dining room manager) how to get to the spa. He promptly grabbed 3 umbrellas and walked us the 200 yards to the spa in the pouring rain.

Before dinner guests congregate in the Main Hall or Music Room for cocktails served on linen napkins. The setting is wonderful with piano music in the background and lively conversation all around. As you enjoy your drinks and complimentary canapés, menus are brought and your order is taken before you are taken to your table.

When we returned from dinner, the lights had been set low, the bed turned down, chocolates set by the nightstand and a note from the manager with a delightful gift to take home with us.

THE RATES at Blantyre

From $835 Peak Season Weekend. Rates include full breakfast, on property activities (excluding spa treatments). 10% Resort fee.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Blantyre

Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Dining
Member Relais  & Chateau
Wine Spectator Grand Award winner

“Ever wonder what it would be like to live like a Tudor?” Head to this “formal” 1902 Birkshires country estate, a Relais & Chateau lodging where “luxury comes in many forms”; arise from your “charming” room (“be sure to stay in the main building”), “play shuffleboard or go touring and hiking” and then finish with a “superlative” meal that’s “unlike anything you’ve ever experienced”; indeed “it lives up to all reports”, so there’s no better place to stay in the area.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Blantyre

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Boar’s Head Resort

OVERVIEW of Boar’s Head Resort

The history of the Boar’s Head Resort property dates back some 300 years and has ties to Thomas Jefferson. The 3,000-acre tract that the resort resides on was part of Virginia’s first land grant in 1734, and Terrell’s Ordinary, an inn for westward travelers, opened at the exact location of Boar’s Head in 1759.

In 1834 a waterwheel gristmill was constructed on the property and today many of the materials of the old gristmill; fieldstones, heartwood pine beams, old pine planking and grain bin paneling have been incorporated in the contemporary property design.

This delightful AAA Four Diamond property now encompasses 573 acres of rolling Virginia countryside and is owned by the University of Virginia Foundation. It is a classic full service resort with on-property golf, tennis, spa and fitness center.

THE ROOMS at Boar’s Head Resort

175 rooms and suites offer historical charm and modern conveniences. Rooms are decorated in soft pastels with color added through draperies, bed throws and pillows. Walls feature historical artwork and furniture is classically styled. Beds are draped in Garnier-Thiebaut 300 thread count sheets. Many rooms have balconies or patios overlooking the manicured grounds and some have fireplaces. Rooms are equipped with wireless Internet, coffeemakers, cable TV and a writing desk/work station. Pet friendly rooms are available.

DINING at Boar’s Head Resort

Already a popular local restaurant, The Mill Room completed a multi-million dollar renovation in late 2018 that cemented its place in the Charlottesville dining scene. Serving all meals including bar snacks like the fantastic Polyface Eggs & Bacon; Kentuckyaki Smoked Pork Belly,  Polyface Deviled Eggs and Pickled Onions, the restaurant also has a notable wine list featuring many excellent Virginia wines. Guests can dine in the Main Dining Room with its glass enclosed wine room or outside on the wonderful Terrace overlooking the lake. This restaurant is reviewed in our dining section.

The Birdwood Bar & Grill offers wonderful golf course and mountain views and is ideal for lunch while playing golf. It offers  salads, appetizers, sandwiches, and more.

The SERVICE at Boar’s Head Resort

The staff is friendly and helpful, always ready to assist in navigating the property. A local dealership arrangement with Lexus provides local transportation.

THE RATES at Boar’s Head Resort

Peak season weekend rates from $385

WHAT OTHERS SAY about Boar’s Head Resort

AAA Four Diamond Award for Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award for Dining

PROMOTIONS at Boar’s Head Resort

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Boston Harbor Hotel

OVERVIEW of Boston Harbor Hotel

With spectacular harbor views, excellent service, an award winning restaurant and a wonderful outdoor entertainment arena, it is no wonder the Boston Harbor Hotel is a favorite of many travelers, myself included. This is not a cookie cutter chain hotel. It has a style and character all its own.

Located on Rowe’s Wharf, it is just a short walk to the Financial District, Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall.

The lobby prepares you for the elegance within; beige colored raised panel walls, marble trimmed doorways, oriental rugs, chandeliers and large vases of fresh flowers. This comfortable hotel is rich in traditional appointments; dark wood furniture, patterned carpeting, raised panel ceilings, thick crown moldings, brass table lamps and striped wallpaper. The colors are soft browns and golds and blues and everything works together to create an atmosphere of sophistication.

THE ROOMS at Boston Harbor Hotel

There are 230 guest rooms including 24 one bedroom suites, 97 deluxe rooms with a separate sitting area and 107 superior rooms. All are good sized (starting at a very comfortable 500 sq. feet) and have all of the amenities you would expect of a fine luxury hotel. I stayed in a King Harbor View room that had a huge window overlooking the harbor with spectacular views, a separate sitting area and a large marble bathroom. Very comfortable and immaculate. Turndown includes fresh ice, a bathrobe and slippers laid out on your bed and the radio set to soft music

DINING at Boston Harbor Hotel

Rowe’s Wharf Seagrille, which in the warmer weather spills out onto the patio with breathtaking vistas of the harbor and luxury yachts in the basin is a great place for lunch, or a cocktail before dinner. Inside The Rowe’s Wharf bar is clubby and handsome with wood paneled walls and comfortable chairs.

The Summer in the City entertainment series features music and movies on a floating barge behind the hotel overlooking the harbor. It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening. Tuesdays feature R&B and soul, Wednesdays, swing music, Thursdays blues and Fridays movies.

THE SERVICE at Boston Harbor Hotel

Service is impeccable here. Doormen meet your car and quickly get you to check-in which is fast and problem-free. One of them is a closet Yankee fan, but I won’t tell you which one. Staff members remember your name, you are given a specific time to expect a room service order (and it came early) and my car came swiftly from the garage at my departure. The concierge was helpful in giving directions and finding a gas station for refueling.

OTHER Things at Boston Harbor Hotel

The hotel has a full service luxury spa and a fully appointed health club with all the equipment you would need for a great work-out. There’s also a wonderful 60 foot lap pool and a Jacuzzi for after your work-out or just to soothe your muscles after a day of sightseeing.

The Business Center is open during the day and has lap-tops for you to check your e-mail. Otherwise there is a slight in-room charge to use their wireless service.

THE RATES at Boston Harbor Hotel

From $463 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Boston Harbor Hotel

AAA Four Diamond
Forbes Five Star
Wine Spectator Award
“The city has never looked better than from this classic waterfront hotel where there are gorgeous views of the harbor from expansive rooms; better still, service is superb, Meritage Restaurant is top-notch and the indoor pool is terrific for kids; N.B. hop on the water ferry from Logan International to beat the Boston traffic.” – ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Boston Harbor Hotel

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Bucks County Cottage on the Delaware

OVERVIEW of Bucks County Cottage

On a recent overnight to the New Hope/Lambertville area we enjoyed a wonderful alternative to traditional inns and B&B’s, an absolutely charming little private cottage set on the banks of the Delaware River about 13 miles south of New Hope/Lambertville. It was so cozy and comfortable, we had to think twice about going out to dinner. Set on a couple of wooded acres with tall trees, gardens and great views of the River, this delightful cottage is the perfect getaway for a couple or even a family of four.

THE ROOMS at Bucks County Cottage

As a house, the cottage is small at about 700 square feet, but compared to a normal size room in an inn or B&B, it’s huge, with plenty of space. The decor is colonial Williamsburg, furnished with 18th century reproductions, polished pine plank floors covered with colorful Oriental area rugs. Light colored walls are offset with dark hunter green crown moldings and chair rails. Outside the small but well equipped kitchen is the “tavern room” which has a single bed and pop-up trundle bed, a place to set up your laptop (free wireless) and contains all the area guides, lists and brochures you’ll need to explore the area. You’ll also find books, movies, and games here.

Down the hall is a good size bathroom that leads into the bedroom. Wonderfully thick and soft towels, terry robes, fragrant Yardley of London soaps and great shower pressure make this a terrific place to start or end your day. The bedroom has a queen size 4 poster bed with a canopy and luxury linens and dark wooden blinds keep out the morning light.

DINING at Bucks County Cottage

We woke to a rainy, dreary day, but delicious granola, hot coffee and a roaring morning fire made it bearable. We had a marvelous time here and can’t wait to go back.

THE SERVICE at Bucks County Cottage

The attention to detail…to anticipating guests needs is remarkable, something we usually find only in 5 star properties. It runs the gamut from things you’ll want (travel guides like Frommer’s and Zagat, lists of restaurants and farmer’s markets and activity brochures) to things you may need (umbrella, fly swatter, extra toiletry items) to nice touches (croissants, coffee, milk and fresh OJ for breakfast, cheese sticks to enjoy with wine and a delicious orange peel chocolate for a late snack). Firewood is stacked and ready to light in the fireplace and there are fresh flowers in most rooms. The kitchen table was set for morning breakfast with fresh flowers and a welcoming note. Wherever Emily or Alfred thinks you may not understand how to operate something, you’ll see a little note explaining it. I can’t think of anything they missed.

THE RATES at Bucks County Cottage

$290 per night with a 3 night minimum. $300 refundable security deposit. Credit cards accepted.

Buttermilk Inn & Falls, Milton NY

OVERVIEW of Buttermilk Inn & Falls

A short 90 minute train or car ride from New York City, Buttermilk Falls Inn + Spa is located in Ulster County directly across the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie. This delightful property sits on a 75 acre spread on the banks of the Hudson and yes, there really is a “falls” right on the property. Fields of wildflowers and lush gardens dot the property in the summer months. Perched on a hill with sweeping lawns and views of the river and ponds, Buttermilk is an ideal retreat for a romantic getaway for two, for couples traveling together or for a girls’ weekend. The short drive makes it a great Quick Escape, in Saturday am and out Sunday night, but you’ll want to stay longer at this relaxing and utterly charming Inn.

The main building houses reception, 10 guestrooms, a wonderfully warm and cozy living room with a fireplace and the breakfast room with French doors and windows with views out onto the stone patio and the river beyond. A short walk from this structure is the Inn’s restaurant Henry’s Farm to Table, the free-standing spa, a fitness center and guest houses and a former barn with an additional two suites.

Just across the bridge from Swan Pond is Millstone Farms, a 40-acre working organic farm and the source for peaches, nectarines, pears and apples served at breakfast and an array of heirloom tomatoes, crisp carrots and an assortment of leafy greens served in Henry’s. Heritage bred chickens provide the Inn with organic eggs and the farm is also home to a brood of proud peacocks, angora goats, llamas and alpacas.

For pet lovers, the Inn welcomes your favorite pet in the guest houses. Some deposits and cleaning fees apply.

THE ROOMS at Buttermilk Inn & Falls

The 10 rooms and 8 private cottages/guest houses spread throughout the property are an eclectic blend of styles and furnishings, all with working fireplaces, striking artwork, private baths with whirlpool tub and / or shower, flat-screen TVs, cable and air-conditioning. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in some of the guest house suites and is always available throughout the Inn’s main building.

My room, Juniper, had 16 foot cathedral ceilings, a porch overlooking the front of the property and another overlooking the rear grounds and the river. It had a fireplace, whirlpool tub and shower, hardwood floors and area rugs and a soothing hunter green palette. The linens were luxurious and the bed, oh so comfortable.

DINING at Buttermilk Inn & Falls

Your day starts with a buffet of cereals, house made granola, fresh fruit, fresh baked breads, juices, tea and coffee. Shortly after you are settled in, the breakfast chef takes your order for one of the two cooked entrees offered daily. Organic eggs, Applewood bacon, multi-grain bread and excellent coffee was a delicious beginning to my day.

For lunch Henry’s provides wraps and salads for poolside dining or for a picnic on the property or elsewhere. Thursday through Sunday, in the dining room, there are extensive lunch or brunch options available.

From 3-5 pm the Inn offers a selection of herbal teas with house baked scones and assorted local cheeses as well as homemade sweets like double fudge brownies, macaroons, oatmeal raisin cookies and lavender pound cake.

Dinner is served at Henry’s which also has an outdoor terrace for dining al fresco in the warmer months. The terrace overlooks one of the ponds and is a particularly charming setting. Apart from what is grown on the property, the restaurant sources only the freshest, finest ingredients and works primarily with local purveyors who practice organic farming and humane animal husbandry.

The menu changes almost daily and I was fortunate to try a number of savory items. Crispy French fries with roasted garlic aioli, yellow curry aioli and ketchup were wonderful. A special appetizer of pasta made with cranberry and beets and stuffed with ground turkey and served with a sage butter was amazing. Finally, a slow roasted braised short rib of beef with bourbon pecan sweet potatoes was perfect for the chilly Fall night.

The basic wine list is small but with some good choices. The reserve list adds some additional choices and is very reasonably priced.

THE SERVICE at Buttermilk Inn & Falls

The staff is exceedingly pleasant and cheerful and willing to accommodate your needs. Except for late at night there is always someone around to help.

THE RATES at Buttermilk Inn & Falls

From $735 Peak Season weekend. Afternoon tea and full breakfast included.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Buttermilk Inn & Falls

“Nestled in among 70 acres of wooded, river-hugging land fronting the Hudson, this spectacular inn is a real find in the Mid-Hudson Valley” FROMMER’S

PROMOTIONS at Buttermilk Inn & Falls

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Casa Madrona, Sausilito, CA

OVERVIEW
Just across the Bay from San Francisco is the charming seaside town of Sausilito, filled with wonderful shops, cafes and art galleries. If you want to escape the rigors of a big city, yet be close enough to get there when you want, Casa Madrona is the perfect choice.

Perched on a hillside overlooking the bay, Casa Madrona was originally built in 1885 as a private residence. In 1906 it was sold and converted into what became a 40 year, successful B&B. After WWII the property fell into disrepair and it was resurrected by the French Deschamps family in 1959. Today the historic property is managed by MetWest Terra Hospitality and was most recently renovated in 2014.

ROOMS
The property offers 64 guest accommodations including 31 Bayside Guest Rooms, many boasting Harbor and Bayside views; 15 Lower Hillside Cottages, many with private decks, fireplaces and San Francisco Bay views; 7 Upper Hillside Cottages; 11 Hillside Mansion Guest Rooms including the 5,000 square foot Alexandrite Suite located atop the property within the historic Mansion, originally built in 1885. Rooms include pillow-top mattresses, luxury linens, locally sourced organic coffee and in-room coffee maker, marble baths with dual sinks and Bvlgari bath amenities.

Our Mansion Suite was gorgeous and particularly comfortable with 600 sq ft of space, a wood burning fireplace and French doors opening to a balcony with views of Richardson Bay.

DINING
Poggio Trattoria sits adjacent to the hotel and serves breakfast lunch and dinner. It specializes in Northern Italy’s comfort food and sources fresh ingredients and herbs directly from the restaurant’s backyard garden. This is a cozy, bustling neighborhood restaurant that would be worthy of a visit even if it was not attached to the hotel. The food is wonderful, the vibe convivial and the wine list is interesting and very reasonably priced. I enjoyed a great Amarone, served by the glass, something you don’t see often.


THE SERVICE
The hotel offers complimentary WIFI and local toll-free calls, a Tesla charging station, a pet program, same day laundry/dry cleaning services and an on-call movie library.

THE RATES
From $275 Peak Season Weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
This 19th-century landmark mansion first opened as an inn in 1906, expanding over the decades to include modern hotel rooms, private cottages, and mansion suites, along with a 3,000-foot full-service spa, all tiered down a hill in the center of Sausalito. The spacious hillside cottages are made for indulgence. FODOR

PROMOTIONS
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Casa Marina Resort

OVERVIEW of the Casa Marina Resort

If a full service hotel is what you are seeking, The Casa Marina will fit the bill. Opened in 1920 it has the charm of an old world hotel with all the modern amenities. It is located just outside the heart of town on the largest private beach on the island. Many of the 311 rooms and 71 suites have balconies facing the water.  There are two pools, a whirlpool, 3 lighted tennis courts, a full service health club, a poolside café and a salon/spa. Key West Water Sports, located on the grounds, can arrange snorkeling, para sailing, scuba, boat trips, fishing and also rents bicycles and scooters.

The property was acquired by the Waldorf Astoria group who undertook a complete renovation and it has been significantly upgraded as a result.

THE ROOMS at the Casa Marina Resort

Rooms are tastefully decorated in warm shades of brown and cream with colorful contemporary art adding flashes of color. Ocean side rooms (3rd floor) in the old building or the oceanside rooms in the West Wing (again 3rd floor or above) are preferable. The rooms in the old building overlook the grounds with the ocean in the distance, are smaller rooms, but have a large deck with lounge chairs and a table with umbrella and chairs. (make sure you specify with the patio or deck when making reservations). The West Wing rooms are larger, with a smaller patio, but look right out onto the ocean. 

DINING at the Casa Marina Resort

Sun Sun Beach Bar & Grill serves all meals and overlooks the ocean from an outside deck. HMF Sidecar is a lobby bar serving snacks and rum drinks. Four Marlins at sister property Reach. has water views and features fresh seafood and prime steaks.

THE RATES at the Casa Marina Resort

From $745 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Casa Marina Resort

Built in 1920 by railway tycoon Henry Flagler, this lodging (on the National Register of Historic Places) has the “best location” in the area and its also just about the only one with “its own beachfront” and two oceanfront pools; the “redone rooms are lovely”, the staff pleasant and the atmosphere “very old Key West…” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Casa Marina Resort

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Castle Hill Inn

OVERVIEW of The Castle Hill Inn

The stately and elegant Castle Hill Inn is a top choice for accommodations in Newport. Slightly formal, yet very comfortable. The property sits on 40 acres of magnificent oceanfront, just a short drive from town on Newport’s renowned Ocean Drive.  Perched atop a small bluff, the water views from almost anywhere are nothing short of magnificent.

The lobby is dark and warm with polished oak walls, beamed ceilings, comfortable chairs, a fireplace and views of the water. The restaurant is among the best in Newport (see our Featured Restaurants)and the bar is a great place for cocktails before dinner

THE ROOMS at The Castle Hill Inn

There are 9 guestrooms in the Inn, all of which are beautifully decorated and comfortable, many with ocean views. The best rooms are Mrs. Agassiz’s Room and the Turret Suite. Our choice of accommodations here, however, is the private and secluded Harbor House and Beach Houses and the new Beach Cottages. The Beach House Rooms rent by the week ($5,000+) from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but are available nightly in the Spring, Fall and Winter.

Harbor House Rooms
Down a winding path from the main building, the 6 Harbor House rooms enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of Narragansett Bay with the Newport Bridge in the distance. As you enter the room, you are greeted with a welcome note and homemade chocolate chip cookies and turndown service includes the next day’s weather forecast. The rooms are decorated in subtle colors of celery and white and the furniture and floors are a bleached pine. The plump queen bed is adorned with high count linens and a soft down comforter. There’s a gas fireplace, ceiling fan, bathtub Jacuzzi and a wonderful shower with lots of water pressure. French doors open to a semi-private porch with Adirondack chairs overlooking the Bay, a great place to read a book or enjoy the sparkling lights on the bridge after a night on the town. These are wonderful rooms.

Beach Houses
If you really want to treat yourself, reserve one of the breathtaking Beach Houses, where your private deck is literally right above the surf on a perfect white sand beach. Cathedral ceilings, stone gas jet fireplaces, king-sized beds, queen pullout distressed leather sofas, original antiques and replicas, and wide oak hardwood floors conspire to make this an ideal romantic getaway.

The galley kitchen is equipped with a microwave, small refrigerator, stovetop and dishwashers. You can cook an intimate meal for two and eat in the cottage’s dining area or out on the private deck overlooking the beach. It doesn’t get any better.

The bath has a double whirlpool cast iron tub and a large marble and tile shower complete with a marble seat, and extra large shower head in a custom tiled bath with windows viewing the ocean. These are quite spectacular.

Beach Cottages
These bright and airy cottages are smaller than the Beach Houses, but sit on the same section of the property, right on the water overlooking the ocean. Decorated in sea greens, pale blues and crisp whites, with wicker furniture these oh so intimate cottages have fireplaces, a small deck onto the water, a small kitchen and a luxurious bath.

DINING at The Castle Hill Inn

The Dining Room at Castle Hill is reviewed in the dining section.

THE RATES at The Castle Hill Inn

From $1091 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY at The Castle Hill Inn

Forbes Four Star Award for Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award for Dining
Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator Magazine

“Sit on an Adirondack chair” and “watch sailboats on the Narragansett Bay” at this “elegant”, “historic” Relais & Chateau member that “charms” guests with “romantic” beach houses, a “wonderful” staff that “treats” them “like family” and “fantastic dining” that includes an “exquisite brunch”; the “unique” “out of the way setting” provides a “serene” atmosphere and “dramatic” views that add up to an “unforgettable vacation” for those whose only “wish” they “had more money” to “stay longer”. ZAGAT

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Cavallo Point, Sausilito CA

OVERVIEW
Leave it to the government to appropriate a setting so amazing, but that’s what happened at Fort Baker, an army post created in 1866 for the defense of the San Francisco Bay. Located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, the views of the bridge and San Francisco are nothing short of spectacular. In 2002 when it was no longer needed by the military, the base was transferred to the National Park Service, who ultimately leased the property to a hospitality group. The Fort Baker Retreat Group, a project of Passport Resorts, Equity Community Builders and the Ajax Capital Group began the process of converting the 24 buildings into a luxury resort called Cavallo Point. Most of the buildings, officer’s homes, were converted to luxury guestrooms. Others would house reception and private meeting rooms, still others the resort’s signature restaurant, bar and cooking school. The Healing Arts Center & Spa was constructed, additional contemporary guestrooms were built and enlisted men’s barracks were converted to offices and a fitness center.

THE ROOMS
There are 68 historic (officer’s homes) rooms, most surrounding the 10 acre parade grounds and 74 contemporary rooms, located on a hilltop overlooking the grounds. The hilltop contemporaries have the best views of the Bridge. Historic room buildings 603 and 604 have views of both the bridge and downtown San Francisco and buildings 605-632 have the best downtown views which are amazing at night.

My contemporary room was large with a separate living room that had a big screen TV, couch, reading chair and a desk. A fireplace went through from living to bedroom. The bath had twin sinks, a large soaking tub and a separate shower with a rainforest showerhead. Outside there was a small deck with chairs. Slate floors, blond woods, and contemporary art completed the look, a kind of upscale Ikea. Everything is “organic” from the sheets and towels to the soaps and toilet paper.
While I enjoyed my room and the fantastic views it afforded, the historic rooms are more to my liking. Built in a Colonial Revival style with columns, wrap-around porches and decorative windows, they are warmer and more comfortable to me.

DINING
The lively Farley Bar (piano player and violinist the night I was there) and the excellent Murray Circle restaurant are ample reason to add Cavallo Point to your Bay area itinerary. Using local purveyors, organic farms and ranches and Bay area artisans, Chef Monique Feybesse crafts a California menu, using local purveyors, that features simple, yet bold, techniques.

A black tin ceiling, soothing earth tones, small dining rooms and cozy booths create an intimate feel in the 100 seat dining room. Add a fireplace and superb views and you have the makings for a great evening.

As wonderful as the food is and it is delicious, it is the wine list that really distinguishes Murray Circle. Representing a wide range of styles, vintages and regions, the list has two parts. The first is an amazing collection of hard to find boutique wines at prices so reasonable people will come here just for the wine when word gets out. The second part are carefully chosen wines from around the world that wine lovers will recognize from their acclaim. This is a Wine Spectator Grand Award winning list

THE SERVICE
A number of bellman await you as you arrive on the property and escort you to reception which is efficient and quick. Golf carts are used to transport you and your luggage to your room. Everyone was friendly and engaging. Bar and restaurant service was excellent, my dinner waitress was very knowledgeable about the menu and wine list. When I asked about the SF ferry schedule a manager went into the back and printed one out for me. Well trained staff who seem to really enjoy their jobs.

THE RATES: From $613 Peak Season Weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Four Diamond Dining
Hotel
“The 142-room hotel may have one of the most enviable settings around. Located on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge, near Sausalito, it lies in a waterfront, forested glen in the shadow of one of the bridge’s soaring towers.”
Travel Weekly
Restaurant
“Spectacular” views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge impress diners at this Sausalito Californian offering a menu of “higher-end”, locally focused cuisine that’s “elegant and delicious” at the Cavallo Point Resort; a “relaxed, spacious” setting in converted army officers’ quarters provides “a breath of fresh air” for city dwellers, while a “wonderful” wine list and “knowledgeable” staff make for an overall “fantastic find.”  ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS
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Century House

OVERVIEW
The Century House is the oldest continuously operating inn on the island, yet its condition is so pristine you would think it was just built. Gorgeous wall coverings, freshly painted trim, original plank flooring buffed to a brilliant shine and a wonderful collection of antique furniture all contribute to an overwhelming feeling of comfort and contentment. An artist-in-residence program, started in the 80’s, has resulted in a stunning collection of artwork featuring island locations. As B&B’s go, this moves into our list of favorites.

I love the two patios set among gardens where you can enjoy coffee and a newspaper in the morning or a good book at any time. There’s also comfortable seating on the veranda places to enjoy a private breakfast if you don’t feel like joining other guests at the communal kitchen tables. Single travelers will be as comfortable here as couples.

The location on Cliff Road is ideal, just a 10 minute walk to town, and a short distance from the beautiful Steps Beach and two of our favorite restaurants; Galley Beach, right on the water and American Seasons, just down the street.

THE ROOMS
Open May-October, the Inn features 12 rooms and 1 suite. Rooms are equipped with a desk or wrIting nook, a flat screen TV, a DVD/CD player, refrigerator, air conditioning, oversized plush

Christy Renaissance Egyptian Cotton Towels, triple sheeted king or queen beds, Egyptian cotton robes, feather or down pillows and Molton Brown toiletries (a favorite of ours). The beds are super comfortable

and the shower has great pressure. what more could you want? All the rooms are well appointed but Black Orchid, Red Dahlia, Daffodil and Partridge Berry are the most popular. 3rd floor rooms are smaller.

DINING
And then, of course, is the Berry Breakfast – a charming spread that includes Gerry’s homemade oatmeal and granola (both to die for) a vast assortment of fresh berries, home baked breads, scones, muffins, juices and more. Join the other guests in the lovely eat-in kitchen, or take one of the antique trays and enjoy your breakfast on the veranda.

The icing on the cake is that JeanE and Gerry, the innkeepers are fun and helpful, full of wonderful stories and their love for their baby is evident in everything they do.

THE SERVICE
The best accommodations have two things in common…attention to detail and the personal touch of the people managing the property. Here you’ll find both in abundance. Refreshments and snacks are set out in the living room and on the veranda throughout the day. You’ll find a beach bag with towels hanging on your door. The Inn has WiFi throughout, but just in case, there’s terminal on each floor. All day, every day, you’ll find hot coffee and tea available in the alcove off the kitchen, and some sort of fresh baked goodies set out in the parlor from cookies to macaroons to cinnamon swirls. There is a huge collection of DVD’s also available in the parlor, along with extra beach towels and a library of books spread thorough out the house (inside, outside, guest rooms, hallways and sitting rooms) that rivals any we’ve seen.

THE RATES: From $449 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
“Classic styling is met with luxurious modern amenities.” – ZAGAT
“Top Five U.S. Summer Inn Destinations” – FORBES

Charlotte Inn

OVERVIEW of the Charlotte Inn

If I only had one more day on this fine earth, I just might want to spend it at the Charlotte Inn. This is a magnificent inn with museum quality antiques and oil paintings that still manages to be one of the most comfortable places I have ever stayed. The owners, Gery and Paula Conover have created and maintained one of the most glorious inns I have ever encountered. The attention to detail is extraordinary. Unobtrusive staff members are constantly trimming bushes, clipping dead flowers, sweeping sidewalks and polishing brass railings.

The Inn is a tranquil oasis located just a block from the bustle of Main Street in Edgartown. The property is actually a compound of 5 buildings surrounded by a waist high heavy black iron fence. Within, the manicured lawns are bounded by sculpted hedges, potted ivy and colorful flowers. A brick walk meanders through the property past a gold fish pond with a softly bubbling fountain and under an arched hedge leading to small secluded patios along the way, festooned with flowers, comfortable patio chairs and sofas.

On one visit I spent a wonderful cloudy afternoon on a sofa on the porch at the Summer House. I read, I dozed, I read, and I dozed. The only sound I heard was the fountain in the gold fish pond.

Guests are welcomed in the Main Building at an antique mahogany desk and asked to sign an old guest ledger. A welcome diversion from our computerized world. The Living Rooms are formal and beautifully decorated in Edwardian era antiques, but the most stunning public room is the Green Room. There can be no finer room in any private men’s club in the world. Mahogany paneled walls, softly lit hunt oil paintings, a ceiling to floor paned bay window overlooking the gardens, easy chairs in front of the fireplace and subdued lighting from brass floor lamps. The room, used for breakfast, tea and cocktails, is set with three groups of mahogany tables and chairs and a serving cart and sterling tea set. A fire, a cocktail, something to read…not a bad way to spend your time.

THE ROOMS at the Charlotte Inn

While all of the rooms are spectacular, many with fireplaces, private terraces and brick courtyards, my favorite is Room 14 on the first floor in the Summer House. I could have never left this room during my visit, it was so comfortable. The room and the bathroom are huge and feature an antique desk and chair, a baby grand piano, a fireplace with two very comfortable club chairs on either side, book shelves, a dressing table with sterling silver brushes, combs and mirrors, oil paintings, a table with a sterling wine bucket and two decanters, one scotch and one gin, sterling silver vases with fresh flower bouquets, a Bose radio and plasma TV, Bvlgari toiletries, a 4 poster queen bed, brass lamps and colors of hunter green and burgundy. High quality linens on a feather bed made for a wonderful sleep. Wow!

The bathroom is equipped with two mirrors, a heated towel rack, a clothes hamper (don’t you always wonder where to put your dirty clothes?) and the best shower, bar none, that I have ever used. They even think to provide q-tips, cotton swabs and feminine products. Oh yes, the bathroom glasses are cut crystal.

The Inn is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux organization. I will return to the Charlotte Inn every year. Not just because of my business, but because it is one of my favorite places to stay anywhere. A romantic weekend here will rekindle or ignite any relationship.

A recent visit reinforced my belief that this is a very special place. My room, #3, was a suite over the Carriage House. It was spacious and comfortable with a fireplace, wonderful antiques and, once again, a killer shower.I didn’t want to leave…

DINING at the Charlotte Inn

The Inn’s restaurant, The Terrace, has, in a relatively short time, become one of the island’s best fine dining restaurants. See our review.

THE RATES at the Charlotte Inn

From $875 Peak Season Weekend. Breakfast is included in the rate.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Charlotte Inn

AAA Four Diamonds Award
Forbes Four Star Award

“Like staying in an English aunt’s home, this romantic Edgartown Relais & Châteaux inn that dates to 1864 is a charming choice for a weekend on the Vineyard; wonderfully kept lawns, cozy common areas with fireplaces and sophisticated dining…are to be expected from a member of Relais & Châteaux…” ZAGAT

Chateau Inn & Suites, Spring Lake

OVERVIEW of The Chateau Inn & Suites

Long the standard for accommodations and service in this part of the Jersey Shore, The Chateau Inn and Suites in Spring Lake remains the choice of many, including celebrities who visit the area. They raised the bar even higher a few years ago with their departure from the “Victorian and wicker” decor that characterizes so many places at the Shore.

The location couldn’t be better, set in a serene section of Spring Lake, just blocks from the beach and the delightful downtown area, filled with boutiques, galleries and antique stores. The Inn is flanked on one side by Potter Park with a gazebo that features musical events in the summer and on another by Divine Park and “The Lake”.

Your introduction to the Inn is a warm lobby with polished mahogany paneling and front desk, fresh flowers and palms and soft lighting. To the right of the front desk is the antique filled Brighton Room with leather chairs, a library, and marble fireplace. Breakfast, afternoon refreshments and coffee and tea are served here at tables looking out onto the park.

THE ROOMS at The Chateau Inn & Suites

The 37 rooms and suites are decorated in a soft palette of beige, cream, gold and brown and offset by dark mahogany furniture, rich Italian fabrics and deep chocolate leather sofas and chairs. Plump pillow top beds are covered in luxurious 300 count linens. Artwork is a blend of local, historical and colorful modern and Impressionist styles. Tin ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, paddle fans, potted palms and sea grass and mahogany blinds complete an elegant “Tommy Bahama” kind of feel. Marble bathrooms feature Aveda toiletries and many have Jacuzzis and/or soaking tubs. Flat screen TV’s, DVD’s, wireless Internet access and refrigerated wet bars head the list of other amenities.

As with many older properties, no two rooms are alike but all are elegantly decorated. Be sure to ask for details when booking as not all amenities are available in every room. We like the Luxury Parlor Rooms located on the second floor with views of the Lake. In particular, we like the Stockton Parlor with its corner fireplace, four poster bed, leather sofa and balcony overlooking the Lake. Suites and Parlors have sleep sodas so are ideal when traveling with children.

Most good hotels and inns offer special add-ons to enhance your stay, but frankly I find them to be generally overpriced and don’t include them in our review. Here, however, they are not and may explain why so many locals stay here…right in their own backyard….just for a little escape.

THE RATES at The Chateau Inn & Suites

From $305 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at The Chateau Inn & Suites

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Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham MA

OVERVIEW of the Chatham Bars Inn

Cape Cod is the body of land that extends from Massachusetts into the Atlantic like a beckoning finger.  Its year round population of 200,000+ explodes in the summer as Bostonians seek to escape the city and New Englanders flock to the beaches.

Among the most picturesque of Cape Cod towns, Chatham is home to the Chatham Bars Inn, a magical oceanfront resort that can serve as a romantic escape for two or a memorable vacation for the whole family. Built at the turn of the century, the property sits perched on a bluff overlooking  Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic. A recent $100 million renovation saw guest rooms, public spaces, the cottages and the restaurant refurbished and refreshed.

Set on 25 exquisitely manicured acres, the Inn  offers luxury accommodations, excellent food, outstanding service and enough to do to keep even the little ones happy.

THE ROOMS at the Chatham Bars Inn

The historic main inn has two floors of guestrooms, accessible by elevator or the original grand staircase that winds its way up from the elegant lobby. Rooms are cozy with a New England themed décor and have flat screen TV s, Bose Wave radios, luxury linens, L’Occitane bath amenities, Nespresso coffeemakers and wireless internet access. Premier rooms and suites have decks or balconies overlooking the harbor and ocean.
The Spa Suites are the most recent addition to the property and offer twelve, adult-only, exclusive suites appointed with oversized hydrotherapy tubs, saunas, steam showers, massage tables and fireplaces. Located above the spa, suite guests can enjoy the outdoor relaxation pool with private cabanas and the Japanese Zen gardens.

My stay was in one of the twenty-six cottages that dot the property on the water side of the street. Some are set high atop a bluff, some are nestled in landscaped gardens and some sit along the private beach. Mine had a cozy bedroom with a window seat and a living room with comfortable furniture, a fireplace and spectacular views off the outside deck.

DINING at the Chatham Bars Inn

Afternoon tea is served every Friday and Saturday in the South Lounge, a wonderfully cozy room with comfortable chairs and sofas and a roaring fire in the cooler months.  You’ll enjoy  the finest teas and infusions, and nibble finger sandwiches, tea breads, cakes and savories all freshly prepared in the Chatham Bars Inn kitchen.

The Veranda, with its stunning ocean views is open seasonally and serves cocktails, salads, paninis and lite dinner fare. Also open seasonally, The Beach House Grill is located on the private beach with indoor and outdoor seating. Lunch is served daily and the Grill hosts family theme nights during the summer, including their famous Cape Cod Clambake.

STARS, is a premium steakhouse, which is so good that it has become a destination on its own. With custom chandeliers, massive columns, a fireplace and fantastic views, the setting couldn’t be more conducive to a great meal. Serving mid-western grain fed and dry aged beef and local ingredients and produce from the Inn’s own farm, STARS has earned the AAA Four Diamond Award. The service is extraordinary and the menu distinctive enough to set it apart of other steakhouses. Start with the raw bar (the line ginger relish with the local oysters is fantastic) or the sashimi of tuna and hamachi served with chilled Himalayan salt rock and hot river rock, pickled scallion, ponzu gel and ginger vinaigrette.  While they’ll custom cut your grain fed beef at the table, opt for the dry aged beef, it is so much more flavorful. You can choose from 5 different sauces and select one side..the pale ale battered onion rings were amazing. Wines are served from an open wine cellar displayed on tables in the dining room. The selection is worthy of a good steakhouse and the pricing is reasonable.  Leave room for dessert..there are great choices.

For a more casual dinner or an after dinner drink, The Sacred Cod Tavern is cozy and comfortable with a menu of New England favorites, excellent by the glass wine list and over 30 local craft beers.

THE RATES at the Chatham Bars Inn

From $735 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About at the Chatham Bars Inn

AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Spa
Wine Spectator Award
“Occupying a “gorgeous spot on a bluff” this 1914 “grande dame of the Chatham cruise set” is a “place to take the family,” what, with the “great pool and beach”, children’s programs, spa, nearby “wide nine hole golf course”, championship croquet and tennis courts whose “mixture of carpet, sand and clay” means you “can play even after a heavy rain”; though, “small”, the rooms are “much better post-renovations”, and you “still get the old Cape Cod ambiance.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at at the Chatham Bars Inn

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Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorada

About halfway between Miami and Key West in Islamorada is a wonderful resort called the Cheeca Lodge & Spa. It’s George Bush the 1st’s favorite place in Florida. (at least I think so because there are pictures of him everywhere and there is a George Bush Suite) Anyway, I never miss an opportunity to stop here on my way to or from Key West.

Chesterfield Inn, Chesterfield NH

OVERVIEW of the Chesterfield Inn

Perched on a hill overlooking a pond in the front and a field of wildflowers in the back, The Chesterfield Inn is the ideal place to serve as your base when visiting southern Vermont and New Hampshire. Located just over the border from Brattleboro, Vermont and halfway between Keene, New Hampshire it is the perfect refuge when skiing at Mt Snow or Stratton , antiquing in the many great antique shops, or just relaxing in the mountain air. The sprawling Inn, originally built in the late 1700’s with an additional building constructed in 1992 is wonderfully maintained with beautiful rooms, excellent food and a delightful staff.

THE ROOMS at the Chesterfield Inn

There are 15 rooms in the original house and the adjacent Johanna Wetherby Building. Ten have fireplaces, two have whirlpools and six are pet friendly. Mine, #20, in the Wetherby Building could not have been more comfortable. I had a hard time gathering up my things and getting on the road the next morning. A private entry led past an antique secretary to an oversized room made larger still with cathedral ceilings. Two club chairs and ottomans with a throw draped over one surrounded the fireplace and were perfect for reading, glass of wine and early morning coffee. Decorated with toile wallpaper, rich burgundy floral draperies, traditional furniture and antiques, the room was both elegant and intimate. A wonderful Temperpedic bed with luxury linens guaranteed a great sleep and in the morning a personal Keurig machine helped start the day with a great cup of coffee. The bath had a huge two person Jacuzzi, a stall shower and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. A good sized deck looked out over an open field which I was told is filled with wildflowers in the summer.

DINING at the Chesterfield Inn

Cocktails are served in the parlor or outside on the Terrace. The views of the back meadow and the rolling hills beyond are soothing and colorful when the wildflowers are in bloom. The formal dining room is elegantly decorated with traditional furniture set with crisp linens, crystal and china and fresh flowers. A small 4 table porch next to the main dining room juts out over the meadow and is a wonderfully intimate setting for dinner. Under the direction of Chef Bob Nabstedt, the menu is innovative, well prepared and quite good. It features fresh fish from Boston, local game and herbs from their own gardens. I started with a roasted butternut squash ravioli with a balsamic brown butter, toasted hazelnuts and shaved Parmesan that I didn’t want to end. I really wanted to order the braised bison short ribs with a zinfandel and roasted shallot reduction sauce, but opted for the healthier sesame encrusted Atlantic swordfish with a bourbon, ginger and soy glaze and wasn’t disappointed in the least. A pumpkin creme brulee ended a great meal.

The wine list, although totaling only 40 selections has some well thought out choices like a Louis Latour Chardonnay, a Trimbach Pinot Blanc, Bogle Phantom and a Kermit Lynch Cote du Rhone, all well priced.

Breakfast was equally as satisfying with fresh Green Mountain coffee, fresh juices and fruits and a choice of delicious entrees including eggs, omelets, pancakes and French toast. Breakfast is included in the room rate.

THE SERVICE at the Chesterfield Inn

The owners are also the managers and that attention to detail is evident everywhere. The staff is well trained and gracious, the grounds are meticulously maintained and the rooms are comfortable and in pristine condition. Your favorite pet is welcome and the Inn has set aside six rooms for your canine traveler.

THE RATES at the Chesterfield Inn

From $187 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Chesterfield Inn

Member Select Registry

PROMOTIONS at the Chesterfield Inn

Click here for this property’s promotions.

Cliffside Beach Club

OVERVIEW of the Cliffside Beach Club

Begun as a private beach, The Cliffside Beach Club became a private club in 1949 where the same members returned year after year to get the same locker, the same umbrella and the same spot on the beach. The Currie Family bought the Club in 1959 and in the 80’s and 90’s added hotel rooms and suites. Its blue, yellow and green beach umbrellas are a familiar site to long time visitors arriving on the ferry.

The location right on the beach is spectacular and is only a short 15 minute walk to town. The Beach Club rooms, which I prefer, are set at an angle so that each enjoys delightful views of the beach and Sound beyond. There’s something wonderful about falling asleep with the moon on the water outside your room and waking to the sun rising over the beach. The best rooms are the ones directly facing the Sound with a private deck that opens right onto the beach.

THE ROOMS at the Cliffside Beach Club

Rooms are a good size, @400 square feet and made to seem even larger with cathedral ceilings. The decor is pleasant, if somewhat eclectic. Local art adorns the walls and the color scheme is bright and cheerful. Bed and bath linens are very good quality and we slept wonderfully on a plump and comfortable bed.

The Club has a terrific state-of-the-art exercise facility that includes a whirlpool spa and steam room. In 2006 the Club opened a wonderful outdoor pool and whirlpool area. A nice touch for adults is that the pool is closed to children in the afternoon. Another recent addition is a private bar/cafe area just off the lobby for guests only.

DINING at the Cliffside Beach Club

Continental breakfast is included in the rate, coffee and newspapers are available for early risers. The Galley Restaurant, located on the property and on the beach, but operated by another party, is open for lunch and dinner.

What makes this place special is the feeling of tranquility you get here. Whether you are sitting in the Adirondack chairs in the Pavilion looking at the Sound, lounging on a beach chair or strolling the waterline, the rest of the world seems far away. Add cocktails at sunset and dinner at The Galley and you’ve got just about as good a day as you will find anywhere.

THE RATE at the Cliffside Beach Club

From $895 Peak Season Weekend

Cliffside Inn

OVERVIEW of The Cliffside Inn

Just outside of town and about a block from the legendary Cliff Walk is one of the most charming B&B’s we have seen, the Cliffside Inn. Once the home of noted artist Beatrice Turner, it has retained all the wonderful subtleties of days gone by, while including all the modern conveniences travelers look for today.

The walls of the public spaces are covered with an amazing collection of over 100 works of art, all by Ms. Turner. Even more incredible is that the subject of this art is Ms. Turner herself!

THE ROOMS at The Cliffside Inn

The 16 guestrooms and suites are all different and have wonderful touches only an old Victoria house could offer like window seats and tiny alcoves. Antiques abound, some very rare, most notably some wonderful antique Victorian beds.

The Inn has 25 fireplaces; each room has at least one, and some have two or three. 14 of the rooms have whirlpools and two have steam rooms. One even has an antique Victorian birdcage shower.

I prefer the rooms in the Main House rather than the newer annex. They are much more interesting and have much more charm. The Library Room is one of the smallest, but it is just so cozy with its mahogany trim, bookcases and fireplace. Beatrice’s Room is a junior suite with a window seat, flat screen TV and great bathroom with a whirlpool set in a bay window. Finally, the Governor’s Suite has an amazing bathroom suite (the Victorian birdcage shower) with a fireplace and two person whirlpool.

DINING at The Cliffside Inn

You decide when you want coffee or tea in the morning and it arrives at your room at the appointed time on a silver tray. Breakfast follows in your room, beside the fire in the parlor or out on the veranda. Lots of fresh fruit and juices and an amazing array of pastries and muffins precede a delicious hot entrée. So this is how they lived…

Afternoons, the Inn hosts what many believe to be the best tea service anywhere. Scones with Devonshire crème, finger sandwiches, fruit tarts and savories are served with tea on antique china.

AMENITIES at The Cliffside Inn

Pretty amazing list of amenities here:
*Gas fireplaces in every room
*An extensive wine list available on site for our guests
*Afternoon wine and refreshments offered from 5-6pm everyday
*Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and bottled water available in common area (self-service) 24/7
*Bluetooth radios in every room
*LED flat-screen TVs
*Free high-speed wireless internet
*On-site parking included in room rates
*Complimentary use of beach chairs, beach towels, coolers, and sunscreen
*Bath amenities from Lather
*Blackout shades in rooms for leisurely mornings
*Waffle kimono robes

THE RATES at The Cliffside Inn

From $596 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY about The Cliffside Inn

AAA Four Diamond Award
Frommer’s Top B&B in Rhode Island

Promotions at The Cliffside Inn

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Cottages on Charleston Harbor, Mt. Pleasant

OVERVIEW of the Cottages on Charleston Harbor

One of the fun things about what we do is finding those undiscovered places that didn’t show up in any of our research. Such is the case of the marvelous Cottages on Charleston Harbor in Mt. Pleasant, SC just over the bridge from Charleston. Perfect accommodations for couples or families traveling together.

THE ROOMS at the Cottages on Charleston Harbor

Cottage interiors are bright and crisp with white clapboard walls offset by dark walnut tables, mirrors and an entertainment center. The furniture has a kind of Pottery Barn look with a pale green couch and leather club chairs and ottomon. The floors are polished wide plank pine covered with beautiful woven area rugs and plantation shutters filter out the early morning light. A plasma TV tops a gas fireplace and the entertainment center houses a DVD player, DVD’s, a Bose sound system and books from local writers.

The full kitchen has dark green walls that contrast wonderfully with white cabinetry and top-of-the line white appliances. Williams Sonoma cookware, tea and coffee, bottled water and a welcome basket of cheese and crackers were just some of the nice touches.

The Master was decorated in pale yellow with blues and greens, had a 4 poster iron bed sheer curtains surrounding it. The furniture was a casual rattan (ala Tommy Bahama). The other bedroom, also done in pale colors had two full size beds and its own bath as well. The beds are luxurious pillowtops with high count linens and embroidered with a “B”. Bathrooms are large, equipped with Molton Brown toiletries, Frette robes and towels. The Master also has a jacuzzi for two.

The resort has a beautiful clubhouse overlooking the pool and heated spa and is available just to relax or for private functions. Guests have access to the adjacent Patriot’s Point Links or the Arnold Palmer designed RiverTowne Golf Club, named South Carolina Course of the Year. There are old time Schwinn bikes for a little exercise, Adirondack chairs on the small sandy beach for daydreaming and a BBQ if the cooking urge sneaks up on you.

THE SERVICE at the Cottages on Charleston Harbor

In the evening a card is left in the cottage to fill out for the complimentary continental breakfast, which was delicious and delivered promptly at the time we specified, just another indication of a high level of service.

Charleston is just a few minutes over the bridge by car or there is a water taxi at the pier next door that will take you downtown.

THE RATES at the Cottages on Charleston Harbor

From $659 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at the Cottages on Charleston Harbor

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Crowne Pointe Inn, Provincetown MA

OVERVIEW of the Crowne Pointe Inn

Provincetown or “P-Town” as it is affectionately called by locals and fans sits at the northern tip of Cape Cod, bordered on three sides by the Atlantic. Its history goes back nearly 400 years…this is where the Mayflower actually landed and the Mayflower Compact signed. Today, it is a thriving colony of artists and writers and maybe the world’s most popular gay and lesbian resort. There are about 3,000 year round residents and the population explodes to nearly 60,000 in the summer. While the gay population may dissuade some from visiting, they would be missing a lot. This is a delightful town with exceptional art galleries, wonderful restaurants and bars, amazing beaches, spectacular sunrises and sunsets….and maybe the world’s best people watching!

Crowne Pointe Inn is perched on a hill overlooking the town. The main building is a classic 140 year old restored sea captain’s house that serves as the anchor for a wonderful compound of five other restored historic buildings. In pristine condition, the Inn is just minutes from the center of town and the beaches, ideally located to everything. The fenced courtyard has meandering pathways bordered by colorful flowers and plants and there’s a hot tub, small pool and lots of tables and chairs to relax, enjoy a cocktail or read a book. If you are lucky you may even see the resident ghost, thought to be the original sea captain.

When super comfortable rooms, delicious food and wine and thoughtful service come together, it results in the “perfect storm” for the traveler, creating memories you won’t soon forget. Crowne Point is that “perfect storm.”

THE ROOMS at Crowne Pointe Inn

Rooms are bright and airy with soothing colors, ceiling fans, hardwood floors, antique reproductions and comfortable chairs and reading lamps. Premium mattresses are draped in 450 thread count linens and down pillows and comforters. Many rooms have fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and private decks. All rooms are equipped with flat screen TV’s, DVD players and Keurig coffeemakers.

DINING at Crown Pointe Inn

The kitchen is helmed by Robbin Haas, named one of the “Top 10 chefs in America by Food and Wine Magazine. Whether it’s the scrumptious made-to-order breakfast, the homemade cookies in the lobby or an elegant meal at The Pointe, you are in for a culinary adventure. Stop at the cozy bar for a whimsical cocktail or glass of wine and then on to one of two dining rooms; the indoor dining room beside the fire or the glass enclosed porch with stunning views of town. The lobster and mussels are from local waters, so as fresh as they can be. I loved the bacon and deviled eggs to start and the pan roasted chicken breast and slow roasted thigh, served with green pea risotto, crispy spinach and mustard sauce as an entrée.

The wine list has some 125 wines and 4,000 bottles and an excellent by the glass selection. All the major regions are represented and pricing is very reasonable. Try the delicious Shea Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Two other great choices for dinner are Front Street for Italian and Ten Tables for New American.

 

THE SERVICE at the Crowne Pointe Inn

The staff is friendly and helpful. John (concierge extraordinaire!) took out a map when I checked in and circled everything in town I shouldn’t miss. Thoughtful touches abound. Guests enjoy a spa pass for use of the eucalyptus infused steam room, mineral soaking tub and sauna. Every afternoon there is a complimentary wine and cheese social on the patio or in the Club Room. There are home baked cookies and treats in the lobby every afternoon, complimentary WIFI throughout, morning newspapers and beach towels are provided.

THE RATES at the Crowne Point Inn

From $455 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Crowne Pointe Inn

AAA Four Diamond Award
The Shui Spa-Five Stars from New Beauty Magazine

PROMOTIONS at the Crowne Pointe Inn

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Delamar on Greenwich Harbor CT

OVERVIEW of the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

The Delamar on Greenwich Harbor is ideally located in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, easily accessible from NYC, New Jersey, New England and even Philadelphia. Waterfront rooms and great dining make this a wonderful weekend escape.

Opened in 2002 after extensive renovations, this absolutely charming 83 room luxury hotel overlooks Greenwich Harbor in a wonderful waterfront setting. A day or two here will leave you relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to do battle on Monday.

The first floor public rooms are elegantly decorated with rich fabrics, beautiful rugs and smart artwork. When I visited in December there was a towering, brightly lit Christmas tree in the center of the lobby. The library, just to the left of the entry is a wonderfully comfortable room with plump couches and chairs, a warming fireplace and coffee and other refreshments available at all times. Just beyond that room is another cozy sitting area overlooking the Harbor. In nice weather the doors are opened to an outdoor patio, perfect for a meal or cocktails.

THE ROOMS at the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

There is really no point in getting any room other than one with views of the Harbor. Most of these also have a balcony with iron patio furniture that makes breakfast overlooking the Harbor a romantic event in itself. The rooms are spacious and luxuriously decorated in a way that feels more like home than a hotel. My room had a hand painted armoire and headboard, antique end tables, a kind of faux finish beige wallpaper with pale green crown moldings, interesting artwork including a cloth tapestry and metal framed mirrors. The bed was covered in soft Italian linens with down pillows and a down duvet. A flat screen TV, a CD player and a mini-bar with Dean and Deluca treats round out the amenities. The marble bathrooms are also oversized and equipped with coral marble vanities set with a vase of fresh Gerber daisies, iron lamp sconces, a hand painted framed mirror and a deep soaking tub framed in curtains of hand embroidered linens.

DINING at the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

L’escale is everything you want a hotel restaurant/bar to be; it is almost always open, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the drinks, wine list and food are wonderful and the setting, either inside or on the terrace could not be more conducive to a romantic evening. Cocktails at the Terrace Bar, dinner on the patio overlooking the Harbor and dancing to the Saturday night DJ will surely be one of those “perfect” evenings you’ll long remember.

Start at the bar and try one of the Seven Deadly Virtues cocktails and if you are lucky the delightful Louie will be behind the bar. He will end up being part of the evening’s enjoyment.

When the weather is nice you will certainly want to eat out on the terrace, but the huge stone fireplace imported from France in the chic all white dining room will keep you warm and cozy on a winter night.

The menu is deliciously Provencal with the generous use of fresh herbs, light broths, roasted vegetables and fresh seafood. Start with clams, oysters, shrimp or mussels. Maybe try the onion tart or the charcuterie. I had a terrific pumpkin ravioli with a brown butter sage sauce with pine nuts. For entrees the aromatic bouillabaisse looked fantastic and the Dover Sole was tempting, but I chose the grilled tuna that was cooked just the way I like it…just pink and served with a peppercorn sauce and tomato compote. For dessert, do not miss the black and white chocolate soufflé with pistachio sauce and treat yourself to a glass of port.

The wine list understandably favors France, but also has a good selection of hand crafted, small production wines from all over the world. The list is not long, but there are excellent choices and the pricing is fair

THE SERVICE at the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

Everything seems so effortless that it is not until later that you realize how good the service was. From the efficient check-in (where we were automatically upgraded and they never even mentioned it) to the quick check-out (where we were offered bottled water for the road) the staff was friendly and accommodating yet I never felt it was forced. The front desk escorts you to your room, your room is prepared for the night when you return from dinner and room service arrives when they say they will. Coffee is available in the Library for early risers and there is a full time concierge available to assist in your visit.

THE RATES at the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

From $422 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

The Restaurant
“Class distinction is alive and well” at this “gorgeous”, “upscale” waterside French in Greenwich’s Delamar Hotel, where “hedge-funders and wannabes” sit outside and “watch the yachts dock”

in the harbor in the warmer months, and warm up by the wood-burning stove in the “elegant”, candlelit dining room in winter; the “tasty”, “inventive” fare is served by a “well-trained” staff, though some find it “aloof” and “pretentious”, while others chafe at the “decibel level” and the “bumper-to-bumper” bar scene at night. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Delamar on Greenwich Harbor

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Edson Hill Manor

OVERVIEW of Edson Hill Manor

Make-overs are popular today, on the web and in magazines. People love the “before” and “after” shots, I think because of our innate appreciation of “second chances”.

Edson Hill Manor in Stowe, Vermont has always been the quintessential Vermont inn; cozy, fireplaces roaring, pine paneled walls and welcome hosts. While it was a comfortable place to stay, it had not kept up with the amenities travelers have come to expect.

Enter designer Susan Stacy of Gauthier Stacy in Boston, who purchased the circa 1940’s inn and began to transform it into the luxury abode it was meant to be. Set on 38 acres of rolling hills and just minutes of Stowe’s famed slopes, the 24 room inn takes its place with the best Stowe has to offer. GS has managed to retain the country charm of the inn, while upgrading its look and feel for today’s travelers. Still there, great views over rolling hills, warm and cozy public rooms, roaring fireplaces and genial hosts. What’s new are contemporary amenities, beautiful antiques and artwork, a decided food and beverage upgrade and great plans for the future.

THE ROOMS at Edson Hill Manor

The rooms have been painted in soft shades of gray and beige and white and decorated with antiques and sophisticated accessories with a “mountain: theme. All have flat screen TV’s, heated bathroom floors, glass walk-in showers, plump beds with luxury linens and oh-so-soft bath towels. Most have either wood burning or gas fireplaces and some have soaking tubs and separate seating areas.

DINING at Edson Hill Manor

Dining options include the main dining room upstairs, a delightful space with views out over the pond, its own fireplace and a soothing color palette of white and creams. Unusual lighting adds a touch of whimsey to the room and crisp linens and gleaming tableware contribute just the right amount of formality. The intimate tavern downstairs has cozy seating, a bar and another fireplace. Dining outside on the patio in warm weather is a special treat.

The bar is under the direction of Don Horrigan, the “bar chef”, a noted Vermont bartender and co-founder of Sumptuous Syrups. Horrigan can mix up a classic cocktail or one of his own concoctions, neither of which will disappoint. Try his margarita!

Vermont native Jason Bissell helms the kitchen with a menu emphasis on locally sourced classic New England fare. While the menu changes seasonally you’ll see things like a Charcuterie and Cheese Board, the Edson Hill Burger, Braised Lamb Stew, Venison Carpaccio, North Atlantic Halibut and more.

I sat on the patio overlooking the pond on a beautiful summer’s night, enjoyed a delicious white Rhone and had a wonderful meal.

OTHER THINGS at Edson Hill Manor

On property, guests have access to over four kilometers of groomed cross-country trails, appropriate for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. There’s an in-ground swimming pool, two natural ponds for fishing, bocce, badminton, and croquet. After dinner, relax at an outdoor fire pit for a nightcap or a s’more.

RATES at Edson Hill Manor

From $634 Peak Season weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Edson Hill Manor

“Most Romantic Hotels” Travel + Leisure
Conde Nast Traveler “Hot List”

PROMOTIONS at Edson Hill Manor

This property’s promotions.

Eliot Hotel

OVERVIEW of the Eliot Hotel

Privately owned and operated by the Ullian family, the The Eliot Hotel,  is a stone building with green awnings and an ornate iron entry portico that suggests an exquisite European hideaway. Ideally located in the heart of the Back Bay, the hotel is only steps away from Newbury Street and other attractions, yet just set apart from the bustle of the city.

The marble lobby of this elegant and luxurious hotel is small and intimate and check-in at the antique desk is quick and efficient. The staff is friendly and engaging and quick to hail a taxi or offer directions. The acclaimed Uni Restaurant is one of the city’s most popular Japanese restaurants and sushi bars.

THE ROOMS at the Eliot Hotel

The suites, decorated in shades of beige and green, are large with a bedroom and marble bath separated by French doors from the living room. Heavy, toile curtains keep out the noise from the streets below and the sun in the morning. The rooms are decorated in antique furniture and chinz fabrics and the living room has a couch, two easy chairs, a television in an armoire and a large writing desk. Books and magazines on the coffee table, and a little card with jogging/walking routes are just some of the personal touches that make this a wonderfully comfortable home away from home. Each room is equipped with high speed internet access, a lavish mini-bar, thick, plush towels, down comforters and silky soft bed linens.

My favorite room is #704. Large windows, that actually open, provide sweeping views down Commonwealth Ave. and Massachusetts Ave. This spacious suite is a great place to come home to at the end of the day or evening.

DINING at the Eliot Hotel

Under the direction of celebrity chef Ken Oringer, a James Beard award winner and the winner of an Iron Chef competition, Uni  has been named Best New Restaurant in Boston by Boston Magazine and among the “Best Restaurants in America” by Zagat.

OTHER Things at the Eliot Hotel

There is 24 hour room service available and the hotel offers complimentary passes to the Boston Sports Club a few doors down.

THE RATES at the Eliot Hotel

From $403 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Eliot Hotel

AAA Four Diamonds Lodging

“Expect “comfort to the max” and a “welcoming”, “attentive” crew at this “elegant” and “charming” hotel offering “luxurious”, “European-style” guestrooms and mini-suites in a “perfect” location for exploring Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood; amenities include pet sitting, free WiFi and access to a nearby fitness club, and star chef Ken Oringer is behind its esteemed Uni Sashimi Bar…, where you’ll find inventive cocktails that are nothing short of “superb.” – ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Eliot Hotel

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Embassy Circle Guest House

OVERVIEW
Traveling to a major city for a weekend can be very expensive. So it was with a sense of utter joy that we recently found a marvelous B&B, the Embassy Circle Guest House, in Washington, DC that I wish the owners would clone all across the country. Located on stylish, quiet and safe Embassy Row and just steps from Dupont Circle and the Metro, the Inn was a former embassy that laid dormant for 20 years before innkeepers purchased it in 2003. After a meticulous renovation that uncovered lots of surprises, they opened the Inn in 2007.

My experience with city B&B’s is that they are often dark, laden with heavy old Victorian furniture and not always equipped with modern conveniences. Embassy Circle could not be farther from this profile. The first thing you notice is how well the exterior is maintained. As you enter the hallway, the parlor and dining room to the left are bright and airy, beautifully decorated with rich fabrics, Persian carpets and antiques. The walls are adorned with some amazing and colorful artwork, much of which has been painted by guests. How cool. Many of the things that make old homes special, moldings, floors and chandeliers have been retained and
refreshed.

THE ROOMS
The 11 guest rooms are spacious by any standard and are elegantly decorated in different styles with antiques, various furniture styles, unique colors and textures. Each room has hardwood floors and a Persian carpet as its centerpiece. Many rooms have retained some of the original brick walls. Beds are super comfortable with luxury linens and plump pillows. Windows actually open to let in the fresh air. Each room has a completely modern private bath with a stand-up shower, fluffy towels and high end toiletries. Rooms have a wireless network and phones with message and wake-up capabilities.

DINING
In the wonderful southern tradition of B&B’s the innkeepers host an afternoon wine and snack reception from 5:30-7pm each day and a delightful breakfast is served each morning in the dining room from 7:30am during the week and 8:00 on weekends. Coffee is available a half hour before, so you can enjoy a newspaper in the parlor. Breakfast includes pastries baked fresh daily, organic breads for toasting, hot and cold cereals, salmon with cream cheese and capers, a platter of assorted cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, orange juice, and a selection of coffees and teas. The signature dish is a delicious fresh fruit salad, which includes at least a dozen kinds of fruit every day. In nice weather you can enjoy breakfast on the rear patio.

THE SERVICE
On occasion, owner Raymond, an avowed “foodie” will whip up something impromptu for his guests. in fact, on the day we arrived, he had prepared a steak salad to enjoy with some friends and they asked us to join them. we were on our way out…..but boy it looked good.

As if all this wasn’t enough, innkeepers Raymond and Laura make you feel as if you are old friends visiting for the weekend. Being in their presence makes you feel as if you have known them for years. They enjoy people, enjoy engaging their guests in conversation and love to share their knowledge of Washington and all it has to offer.

It is going to be hard to stay anywhere else when we come to town.

THE RATES: From $190 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS
Click here for this property’s promotions.

Encore at Wynn

OVERVIEW of Encore at Wynn

Wynn and Encore are sister properties in Las Vegas. They sit next to each other on the Strip and are, in many ways, interchangeable. Here are the differences; Encore is slightly newer, debuting about 3 years after Wynn opened, it is slightly smaller in terms of number of rooms (although at 2,000 plus rooms each, who cares) and the basic rooms at Encore are about 100 sq ft larger than Wynn. Rooms at Encore are suites with a separate bedroom/living area. Make no mistake though, these are huge properties with casinos, big name entertainment, nightclubs, shopping and lots of dining options.

Both hotel’s public spaces are beautiful, Wynn’s Atrium entry may be the most stunning in town, but Encore has a more intimate feel and its casino is elegant vs opulent, more Monte Carlo than Vegas.

THE ROOMS at Encore at Wynn

Encore has about 2,000 rooms and all are suites measuring 745 sq feet and up. Decor is modern contemporary and rooms feature Pillow Top Dream beds with 507 thread count sheets. Bedside console charges your phone and controls lights, draperies and suite privacy. Large bathroom has an oversize marble bathtub and a separate glass enclosed shower.

The Tower Suites offer a little more privacy, extra amenities and higher floors.
-Each has an exclusive area with their own check-in desk.
-They have their own private pool, only for tower guests.
-Private entrances so you can avoid the casino
-Private Lobby Bar

DINING at Encore at Wynn

There are 18 restaurants between the two properties. These are the highest rated:
Wing Lei – AAA Four Diamond, Forbes Five Star
SW Steakhouse – AAA Four Diamond, Forbes Four Star
Mizumi – AAA Four Diamond, Forbes Four Star

Lakeside and SW Steakhouse have beautiful lakeside dining and Costa di Mare overlooks a romantic lagoon. Jardin is a delightful, airy spot for lunch overlooking pools and manicured gardens. Lakeside has a fantastic Sunday jazz Brunch.

THE SERVICE at Encore at Wynn

Service is professional and pleasant, but it is tough to be personal with so many people. You’ll find it more personal in the Towers which are designed to be more exclusive.

THE RATES at Encore at Wynn

Encore: $359 Peak Season Weekend. Tower Suites $539. Wynn: $299 and $479 for Tower Suites

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Encore at Wynn

Encore
AAA Four Diamond – Encore
Forbes Five Star Spa
Forbes Five Star – Tower Suites
Forbes Four Star – Encore

Wynn
AAA Five Diamond – Tower Suites
AAA Four Diamond – Wynn
Forbes Five Star Spa
Forbes Five Star – Tower Suites
Forbes Four Star – Wynn

PROMOTIONS at Encore at Wynn

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Estancia La Jolla, La Jolla CA

OVERVIEW of Estancia La Jolla

Just north of San Diego lies the upscale enclave of La Jolla (pronounced hoy-a), and within it, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, a peaceful refuge from the bustle of the city. The impeccably manicured grounds are designed in Spanish hacienda style and bloom with vines, flowers, trees and plants that infuse colors and exquisite scents into every nook of the property.

Colorful tile, warm terracotta tones, fireplaces, cozy chairs and the tinkling of myriad fountains contributes to the Zen-like atmosphere that permeates the property. Though a few public rooms boast comfortable, weather-proof seating, San Diego’s exquisite year round temperature draws guests to the out-of-doors. Estancia La Jolla offers countless benches in the garden, fire pit studded patios and lounge topped verandas in which to kick off your shoes and catch up on your latest Kindle book. Perhaps while enjoying a glass of the resort’s home-made sangria?

THE ROOMS at Estancia La Jolla

There are 210 rooms on the property. The small yet serviceable balcony looked down upon an inner, grass and palm tree filled courtyard, and the room itself was swathed in the colors of a vibrant sunset−reds, oranges and golds. The guestroom and the resort itself offer myriad throwbacks to the days of the Wild West, with horse blankets topping the luxuriously soft beds and wagon wheels artistically hung in corridors.

DINING at Estancia La Jolla

The casual Adobe El Restaurante serves breakfast and lunch with indoor and patio seating overlooking the gardens. Mustangs & Burros is the premier restaurant offering a spacious patio that ties the beauty of the outdoors into the rustic, ranch infused décor. Southwestern inspired cuisine is served using only the finest locally grown, sustainable ingredients−think black bean empanadas or delectable stuffed chicken flautas. The homemade sangria is also a not-to-be-missed treat. Feeling lazy? The room service is particularly good at Estancia offering a wide selection with bounteous portions….the herbed butter and warm bread are a real treat. The Trinitas Wine Bar makes for a fantastic après dinner stop. Well-known in the San Diego area for offering one of the most diverse selections of California wine, this leather covered, dimly lit space is just right for a romantic evening.

THE SERVICE at Estancia La Jolla

My car was promptly taken and my bags unloaded upon arrival in the verdant courtyard of Estancia La Jolla. The terracotta hued lobby was spacious and comfortable, and I was quickly checked into my room. After having driven four hours in afternoon LA traffic, I was tired and hungry, so room service was just the ticket. It arrived promptly and was delicious. The following morning, I went for a reflexology treatment at the spa, which was spectacular. It wasn’t the largest spa I have visited, but the amenities were abundant−lavender infused cold towels and cucumber slices on ice outside the sauna−and the staff was beyond helpful. When I checked out, I was given extensive directions and suggestions on afternoon activities, as well as a cold bottle of water for the road. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience.

THE RATES at Estancia La Jolla

From $336 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Estancia La Jolla

AAA Four Diamond Award
Best Spa in San Diego – San Diego Magazine

PROMOTIONS at Estancia La Jolla

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Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Del Mar CA

OVERVIEW of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

The magnificent 249-room luxury San Diego resort, Fairmont Grand Del Mar,  captures the elegance and comfort of an old-world Mediterranean estate with an enviable Southern California locale. Its design honors the indelible style of visionary architect Addison Mizner (1872-1933) who drew his inspiration from Spain’s palaces, France’s sun-washed coastal retreats and Florence’s decorative arts to define the revered communities of Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Mizner’s aesthetic is especially well suited, given San Diego’s warm climate and the community’s affinity for outdoor living.

THE ROOMS at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

All guestrooms have stunning views of either The Grand Golf Club or Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and start at a very generous 550 square feet. Accommodations include regular guest rooms, 31 suites, a pair of Presidential suites and three bedroom villas.

Rooms are decorated in soothing shades of gold, brown and navy with traditional furniture, luxury fabrics and draperies and gold framed artwork. They feature pillow-top beds with Pratesi linens and goose-down pillows, marble bathrooms with deep European-style soaking tub, dual sinks, a separate shower, 100% cotton, Italian-woven towels and plush bathrobes and luxury bath amenities designed exclusively for The Grand Del Mar by Red Flower.

DINING at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Addison is the only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Southern California. Under the direction of William Bradley, a Grand Chef Relais & Château, dining at Addison is an extraordinary experience. The service level is impeccable, the food sublime and the wine list is a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner. La Salon offers cocktails and small plates, but you will not want to miss the 4 course dinner in the Addison Rotunda.
Amaya is the Mediterranean inspired restaurant with Spanish, French and Italian influences, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the elegant main room or on the shaded terrace.
The Clubhouse Grill at the golf course serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere and more casual menu.
Lobby Lounge. Warm fireplaces and elegant furnishings highlight this San Diego luxury resort’s beautiful lobby centerpiece, flanked on one side by the handsome Library, an intimate setting with antique books and comfortable chairs and on the other, a commanding marble bar and rich colors set a sophisticated mood.
Cenn’ Anni is a gourmet café offering organic iced teas, steaming espressos, breakfast on-the-go, pressed sandwiches, seasonal soups, fresh salads, gelato and daily special offerings.
Snacks, fresh fruits and ice cream delights add to a menu of salads, sandwiches, grilled favorites and a host of refreshing, specialty drinks offered at Poolside.
Club Mis the resort’s elegant nightclub, featuring live music, DJ’s and dancing.

THE RATES at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

From $679

WHAT OTHERS SAY about the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

AAA Five Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Five Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Spa
Forbes Five Star Award – Dining
Wine Spectator Grand Award

Dining – Addison
Among the “best of the best” say fans of this “splurge”-y New French in Del Mar Mesa’s posh Grand Del Mar resort, where chef William Bradley puts out “inventive”, “elegantly presented” prix fixe meals and “great wines” in “beautiful” surroundings complemented by “exceptional service”; some find portions a bit “small” given the “sky-high” pricing, but the general consensus is “everyone should go at least once.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

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Fearrington House, Pittsboro NC

OVERVIEW of the Fearrington House

For over 200 years the Fearrington property, located in the beautiful countryside between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill in North Carolina was a working farm, passing from generation to generation until it was purchased by RB and Jenny Fitch in 1974. Today, the property includes homes, specialty shops and a market along with the Inn and restaurant.

The original Fearrington home is now the restaurant and the magnificent inn has 32 individually decorated rooms and suites set in and around a stunning array of gardens and bucolic pastures with grazing Belted Galloway cows.

Fearrington House, is a perfect example of the very high standards set by the Relais & Chateau organization of which they are a member.The grounds are immaculately kept, the buildings in perfect condition and the overall experience exemplary.

The views of the rolling countryside are beautiful and the Inn employs 7 full time gardeners to tend the magnificent English gardens, the Knot garden and the White Garden (all white flowers and shrubbery).

Should you decide to partake in things other than just relaxing there’s lots to do on and around the property. The delightful college town of Chapel Hill is right down the road (ACC fans, this is college basketball heaven) and Fearrington itself has become a major stop on the book tour circuit providing a great opportunity to hear and meet top authors

THE ROOMS at the Fearrington House

All of the rooms are oversized and are each decorated in a slightly different style and color scheme. What are consistent are the English antiques, original artwork and luxurious fabrics. Canopied beds covered in plush featherbeds and butter soft linens sit on bleached wide plank pine floors covered in area rugs. A local designer puts it all together with help from the GM who, I am told, has a great sense of style and color as well. Many rooms have wonderful views of the pastures or gardens.

Our two room suite had a bedroom and a separate sitting room. There were two flat screen TV’s, a fireplace, beautiful antiques and artwork and wonderfully soothing colors. The canopied plump pillow top bed was covered in luxury linens and oh, so comfortable.

Of all the places we have visited, this has the ultimate “Hall of Fame” shower one you could stand under forever! And it’s like that in all the rooms. Add heated floors and a heated towel rack, big, fluffy towels and Molton Brown toiletries and you may never want to leave.

DINING at the Fearrington House

The property offers three places for meals and/or food. The Belted Goat is the place for a casual or quick breakfast or lunch and has a great selection of sandwiches and salads for a picnic. You can also pick up a bottle of wine for your room and there are some excellent choices at very reasonable prices. The Roost Beer Garden is open Thursday through Sunday with a wonderful beer and wine selection, wood fired pizzas and live music.

Dinner, however, is the main event at the Fearrington House and one not to miss. Colin Bedford heads a stellar team and draws on his experience at Michelin restaurants in England and Canada. It’s a dream job where he gets to grow his own herbs and vegetables and has the freedom to realize his vision. The Fearrington House has been awarded AAA Five Diamond status and Chef Bedford was named a Grand Chef by Relais & Châteaux, the international culinary world’s highest honor.

The restaurant, which was the former Fearrington home, is divided into three intimate dining rooms and a bar. Two of the rooms look out large paned windows onto the lush gardens. The lighting is soft, the walls a soothing gold framed by flowered draperies. As with the rooms, the restaurant is decorated with interesting antiques and local art. Tables are classically set with white linens adorned with fresh flowers in small silver vases and candles in cut glass Waterford globes.

The menus change often, but here’s some highlights of a recent Tasting Menu that illustrates the creativity and innovation of the restaurant: Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Strawberry, Black Truffle, Celery Root, Green Almond; Black Truffle Agnolotti with Walnuts
Rainer Cherry, Celeriac, Madeira; Pheasant with Morels, English Peas, Mustard, Prosciutto, Basil; Maine Lobster with Butternut Squash
Sherry, Sage, Celery; Robiola Bosina
Cranberry, Benne, Juniper; Vacherin with Spiced Apples
Maple, Quatre Epices, Parkin; Valrhona Cœur de Guanaja Chocolate Soufflé
Dark Chocolate, Vanilla, Whipped Cream

The wine list has been recognized for its excellence by the Wine Spectator and is notable for its depth, unusual offerings and very fair pricing. Such a nice departure from many fine restaurants who feel compelled to gouge diners with their wine list.

Other examples of their attention to detail; the temperature in the Wine Room is kept quite cool, so they have Pashminas available for the women in multiple colors. If you forget your glasses, they have plenty, again in numerous colors.

THE SERVICE at the Fearrington House

From the time you arrive in your car, until you drive away with a special gift and bottles of water for the road, you want for nothing. What the staff does not anticipate, is yours just for the asking and always with a smile and a genuine desire to be helpful.

When we returned from dinner the room was as if we had never been there; fresh towels, clothing organized and basins wiped clean. Our bed was turned down, pillows fluffed, bottled water set out, slippers put by both sides of the bed and a note with the next day’s weather was on the pillow. Best of all was a small decanter of port and two glasses with delicious homemade chocolates to enjoy before retiring.
We were dining one evening with my wife’s cousin, so I asked our server to have a cheese plate sent over to our suite to go with a bottle of wine I purchased that afternoon at the Belted Goat. When we arrived in the room, 3 glasses were set out with napkins and silverware on the coffee table in the living room. The wine was in an ice bucket and a wonderful cheese course was waiting to be enjoyed. As I always say, the difference between good and great is in the details.

THE RATES at the Fearrington House

From $440 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Fearrington House

AAA Five Diamond Award -Lodging
AAA Five Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Dining

Wine Spectator Award Winning List

“This “quaint and quirky” Relais & Chateau “country escape”, set about 8 miles south of Chapel Hill, “could convince even the most hard core urbanite to move to the farm”- a “luxurious” one, as the rooms are “commodious”, the restaurant “exceptional” and the staff “eclectic and interesting”, so “plan to spend several days relaxing” on the romantic “beautiful” grounds that are “perfect” for long walks. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Fearrington House

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Four Seasons Encantado Resort, Santa Fe NM

OVERVIEW
Just outside the Sante Fe city limits, Encantado is tucked away against the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The adobe style design is integrated perfectly to the stunning desert terrain and is positioned to take maximum advantage of the magnificent sunrises and sunsets. Characteristic of Four Seasons resorts, there is an understated sense of luxury here and warm and gracious service.

The main lodge is home to reception, the dining room and bar, meeting space and large courtyard with outdoor fireplaces and wonderful views. The spa and yoga studio are located next to the pool, all steps from the main building.

THE ROOMS
65 casitas are spread throughout the 57 acres and range in size from 630 square feet to over 1000. This is nearly twice the size of an average hotel room. Decorated in the warm colors of the dessert with splashes of brown, gold and rust, the sense is of a kind of rustic elegance. Original local artwork adds color and wood burning Kiva fireplaces add warmth. Beds are draped in luxury Italian linens and down comforters. Marble bathrooms are huge with radiant heated floors, soaking tubs and separate showers. All have private outdoor terraces. Custom blended bath products reflect the scents of the desert with aromas of sage, lavender and rosemary.

DINING
Terra, the restaurant, serves a simple, but regionally influenced menu with much of the organic product sourced locally. All meals are served here and each meal brings exciting surprises like blue corn pancakes and green chile sausage at breakfast; Rubin’s Tortilla soup and a lamb quesadilla with jalapeno jelly at lunch and cumin roasted pheasant with mountain morels, fiddlehead ferns, new potatoes and kumquat relish at dinner.

Good wine list with interesting choices and very reasonable prices.

THE SERVICE
Effortless, best describes the service level at the resort. Staff members are attentive and friendly, but never intrude. I was greeted immediately upon arrival, bags taken, car parked. A staff member was not available to take me to my room (and they were very upset about it), but rather than make me wait, they loaded up a golf cart and let me take it to my room. Before I could reach the room someone arrived to take my luggage, light the fire in the fireplace and acquaint me with my room. A few minutes after arrival, a staffer arrived with fresh ice.

THE RATES: From $577 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Spa

“Set on 57 acres in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and minutes from downtown Santa Fe, this sun dappled Auberge outpost sits on the site of the former Rancho Encantado; along with suites and casitas featuring fireplaces, soaking tubs and beds piled high with Italian linens, hedonists find a 10,000 square foot spa with 15 treatment rooms, a fitness center, nearby hiking and horseback riding and Chef Charles Dale’s regionally inspired Terra restaurant. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS
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Four Seasons Hotel

OVERVIEW of the Four Seasons Washington DC

Georgetown is my favorite part of the City with its quaint boutiques, bistros, bars and particularly the C&O Canal whose tow path is a great place to walk or run. The Four Seasons Hotel is perfectly located in Georgetown, right on the Canal.

THE ROOMS at the Four Seasons Washington DC

One of the great things about this hotel is that all the rooms are oversized and most have excellent views. Even the lowest category rooms, Deluxe, are nearly 450 sq. feet and provide views of Rock Creek Park, the Canal or the garden courtyard. Our 800 sq. ft. two room Executive Suite was about as comfortable as a room can get. Decorated in a soothing pale green with dark wood furniture and beautiful artwork, it was a perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing. The bed, covered in luxury linens was sublime and the marble bathroom was huge and had one of the best showers we have encountered in our travels. As with most great places, it is the details that set it apart of others. The bathroom was equipped with any toilet articles you may have forgotten; razor, deodorant, nail products, even collar stays. Plush robes with collars hung in a walk-in closet. Bottled water was left on the nightstand at turn down. A writing desk had a stapler, paper clips and a ruler.

DINING at the Four Seasons Washington DC

The Garden Terrace Lounge is a delightful and very comfortable place for a cocktail, set among an indoor garden with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Canal. The hotel’s acclaimed restaurant, Seasons, is open for breakfast daily, lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Bourbon Steak is the place to be for cocktails and a unique take on an American steakhouse.

THE SPA at the Four Seasons Washington DC

There is a wonderful health club, including a pool, whose windows (and treadmills) overlook the canal and the Spa is considered the best in Washington. They also have a unique Private Spa Room, where you can enjoy a massage, steam and whirlpool in total privacy.

THE RATES at the Four Seasons Washington DC

From $397 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Four Seasons Washington DC

AAA Five Diamond Award
Forbes Five Star Award

“Terrific” even before its makeover, this “amazing” hotel on the edge of Georgetown offers rooms, dining and service “you just can’t get anywhere else”; ‘every stay tops the last” say regulars who relish its feeling of “understated luxury”, from the “discreet” staff to the “lovely, classical” accommodations to the sightings of “George Clooney eating at the next table”; in sum you’ve “got everything you need” at this “fabulous” “power” property. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Four Seasons Washington DC

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Four Seasons Las Vegas

OVERVIEW of Four Seasons Las Vegas

Four Seasons hotels are among the finest in the country. Their design, service level and amenities are matched by few other hotel chains. While the hotels can be very expensive in places like NYC, sometimes, like in Las Vegas, you get an incredible value for this level of lodging.

The Four Seasons Las Vegas is a wonderful oasis at the far end of the Strip, away from the hustle and bustle of other parts of town. It is a non-gaming hotel which makes it a quieter and more intimate lodging choice. An arrangement with Mandalay Bay Resort, next door, offers guests access to gaming and an indoor pool when the Four Seasons pool is closed for the season.

THE ROOMS at Four Seasons Las Vegas

There are 424 rooms, 81 of which are suites. All rooms occupy the 35-39th floors of a 43 floor building. Rooms feature an Art Deco design and start at a very generous 500 square feet. Floor to ceiling windows look out on the Strip or the mountains in the distance. Beige and gray serve as the background palette and splashes of bold colors are introduced in artwork, furniture and accent walls. Beds are draped with plush mattress toppers, down pillows and duvets. Marble baths feature L’Occtaine bath amenities, plush towels and a killer shower you won’t want to leave. Coffee and tea service, a mini bar and daily newspapers complete the list of amenities.

DINING at Four Seasons Las Vegas

Veranda is an Italian themed restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Guests can dine inside in a room with floor to ceiling windows or outside on the patio. Acclaimed celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, has created Charlie Palmer Steak on the ground level of the hotel. Flawless preparation and creative presentation make this one of the top steakhouses in the City. Press is a vibrant and lively indoor-outdoor cocktail lounge where Happy Hour draws both locals and tourists.

THE SERVICE at Four Seasons Las Vegas

The service level here is flawless which Four Seasons fans have come to expect. From the time you are greeted at the front door with a bottle of water to the Evian spritz and fresh fruit

skewers at the pool to the complimentary car service to another hotel, your comfort is paramount. Staff is friendly and engaging and you always feel it is genuine.

THE RATES at Four Seasons Las Vegas

From $225 Peak Season Weekend. This is a real bargain for a Four Seasons Hotel.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Four Seasons Las Vegas

AAA Five Diamond Hotel
Forbes Four Star Hotel
Forbes Five Star Spa

PROMOTIONS at Four Seasons Las Vegas

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Four Seasons, San Francisco CA

OVERVIEW
Just steps away from the popular Union Square shopping area of downtown San Francisco lies the inimitable Four Seasons Hotel. It may not look like much from the outside, as it is simply another building hiding indiscriminately among the skyscrapers in the financial district, but step inside and let the gilded treatment that the Four Seasons is famous for envelop you from head to toe.

The modern and contemporary design of the hotel is stunning by itself but is enhanced by an outstanding contemporary art collection with more than 90 paintings, sculptures, prints and works in glass by more than 40 California-based artists. Guests can procure an I-pod guided tour of the artwork.

THE ROOMS
There are 277 guestrooms and suites starting at a very generous 460 square feet. All feature floor to ceiling windows with varying city views. My room boasted a plush window seat, with a view of the Moscone Center and the bay beyond. Each room is decorated in decorated in shades of grey, blue and white. The functional yet beautiful office furniture adorning each room was designed by renowned architect Herman Miller. If you are a connoisseur of hotels bathrooms, then you won’t be disappointed here. A large bathtub, a separate glass enclosed shower, a large marble vanity area and L’Occitane toiletries make this a delightful experience.

DINING
Perched on the fifth floor and looking out over the vibrant area of San Francisco’s Market Street is MKT Restaurant  – Bar offering a “California-centric” menu of sustainable seafood, local meats and seasonal produce

THE SERVICE
Four Seasons hotels are renowned for their service and this one is no exception. The immensely accommodating staff is ready and waiting to cater to your every whim. They seem to anticipate all your needs. But little things like welcome milk and cookies and child-size bathrobes for kids, fresh fruit in the rooms make this a special place.

THE RATES: From $635 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Five Star Award

“I left my heart’ here gush guests of this ‘spectacular’ SoMa/Union Square property with ‘marvelous views’, service that ‘can’t be beat’ and ‘acres of marble’ in the ‘stunning lobby’, ‘modern rooms’ have an ‘understated elegance’ and ‘special touches’ (like fresh fruit and truffles) while the ‘wonderful dining’ and ‘impeccable’ staff ‘keeps up with the Four Seasons tradition” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS
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Francis Malbone Inn

OVERVIEW of Francis Malbone Inn

Conveniently located downtown, within walking distance to everything, The Francis Malbone is our choice as the best B&B in downtown Newport. That says something because this town is filled with wonderful B&B’s. This gorgeous inn was built in 1790 for a shipping merchant and stands today as an elegant respite from the frenzy of downtown Newport.

THE ROOMS at Francis Malbone Inn

The Inn has 18 spacious rooms, decorated in antiques and period furnishings. Many have fireplaces, some have garden, others have harbor views. The public rooms are exquisitely decorated with comfortable furniture and warmed by fireplaces.

My favorite rooms are the Courtyard Garden and Courtyard Suite, large rooms with fireplaces and French doors onto the patio.

I had a delightful room, however on my last visit, Room #2 on the second floor, with wide planked floors covered in a Persian rug, a Colonial highboy, a 4 poster feather bed with luxurious lines, a fireplace, a view of the Harbor and a wonderful marble bathroom. Very, very comfortable. An incredible night’s sleep.

DINING at Francis Malbone Inn

A full gourmet breakfast is served in the dining room, or you can sit on the enclosed courtyard amidst the gardens. Their signature buffet consists of an array of croissants, muffins, fruit parfaits, granola, fruit crisps, coffee, and juices. They serve a choice of two main courses accompanied by either smoked bacon or sausage.

RATES at Francis Malbone Inn

From $595 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Francis Malbone Inn

The “home cooked” “breakfast is included and never disappoints” at this 1760 “elegant” B&B “right in the center of Downtown Newport”, where “charming rooms” are “well restored” to offer “modern amenities such as whirlpool tubs”; the innkeeper not only shows “attention to detail” but also has “good ideas for dining and activities”, and there’s a “lovely courtyard” where “they pull out all the stops for afternoon tea” ZAGAT

“In a town of great B&B’s, the best is The Francis Malbone House.” – Glamour Magazine

“In a city where Bed & Breakfasts set national standards, the Francis Malbone House is outstanding.” – Gourmet Magazine

PROMOTIONS at Francis Malbone Inn

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French Quarter Inn

OVERVIEW of the French Quarter Inn

The 50 room French Quarter Inn is a sister property of the Harbourview Inn and overlooks the Market Square in the heart of the historic district.  Up the maghogany railed stairway from the

street level, you enter a large richly appointed lobby and upon check-in are offered a glass of champagne and lady fingers. The lobby serves a number of functions for the inn; a wonderful gourmet breakfast each morning, a lavish (and complimentary) afternoon wine and cheese reception when guests gather in the Southern tradition to recount their days activities and mango and peach tea and lemonade throughout the day. There’s also jars of gummy bears and M&M’s around! The lobby has a wonderful large fireplace for colder days and a delightful terrace when the weather turns warm

THE ROOMS at the French Quarter Inn

Designed in an 18th century French urban style, the Inn’s oversized rooms boast 14 ft. ceilings, luxury bedding, large marble bathrooms and all the other amenities you would expect of a first class inn.  They even offer you a selection of six different types of pillows to insure a great night’s rest. There is small difference between the lowest category room and the one bedroom suite, so that’s the way to go. They are spacious and have a separate sitting area. Decorated in light colors with dark patterned carpeting, they are a picture of simple elegance. Be sure to ask for one with a fireplace, Jacuzzi and balcony, not all have these amenities.

THE RATES at the French Quarter Inn

From $429 Peak Season Weekend. Rates includes gourmet continental breakfast (served in your room, the lobby or the patio), all day snacks and flavored teas, afternoon wine and cheese reception, evening port wine service, home made cookies and milk at bedtime and turndown service with sweets.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the French Quarter Inn

AAA Four Diamond Award

“The prompt and friendly staff at this conveniently located, utterly romantic and charming old-world hotel pampers guests with champagne and ladyfingers upon check-in and uniformly stellar service; the hot coffee and tea available on every floor and high-quality Colonial room decor and furniture earn further kudos, although some feel the baths could use updating and others note that a pool would be nice.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the French Quarter Inn

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Glasbern Country Inn, Fogelsville PA

OVERVIEW of Glasbern Country Inn

Just outside Allentown Pennsylvania and under 2 hours from New York and Philadelphia, Glasbern was an old run-down farm from the 1800’s when new owners purchased it in 1985. Seven of the original farm buildings have been restored and converted to luxury accommodations. The 50+ acre setting is wonderful with rolling hills and ponds and lots of rustic charm.

Today, Glasbern grows its own flowers and organic vegetables and herbs. Two greenhouses, heated by a wood furnace, provide produce year-round. Laying chickens provide fresh eggs. Glasbern sources its meats and poultry from local farms.

This is a great escape from Philadelphia or New York and the perfect “home base” if you are visiting one of the 7 colleges in the Valley.

THE ROOMS at Glasbern Country Inn

38 rooms and suites are spread over the property in the seven original farm buildings. Each is decorated with a blend of country and antique furnishings. Much of the rustic charm of the old buildings has been retained, while flat screen TV’s, DVD’s, refrigerators and Internet access add a modern touch. Most of the rooms have fireplaces and whirlpool tubs and many also have wonderful patios with rocking chairs overlooking the rolling hills and ponds that dot the property.

While all the rooms are nicely appointed, our Garden Cottage was exceptionally comfortable. Downstairs was a living room with a stone fireplace, mission style furnitire, a wet bar, a large flat screen TV and a desk. Upstairs was a spacious bedroom with a King bed, another stone fireplace and another large TV. A door led, off the bedroom, to a private patio with two rocking chairs overlooking a tranquil pond. The bed had some of the softest linens I’ve experienced in a long time and Select Comfort controls that allow you to adjust the firmness of each side of the bed. Nice…. If the Garden Cottage isn’t available, we also liked The Stables and the Farm House rooms and suites.

DINING at Glasbern Country Inn

Knowing that the farm produced all its own produce and sourced other products locally, we eagerly looked forward to our dinner and were not disappointed. Seated before a fire in an elegantly rustic former barn, we enjoyed Local Charcuterie & Cheese Board: House Made Country Pate, Glasbern Raised Leberwurst, Nello’s Duck Prosciutto, Valley Milk House Cheeses,
Dried Fruits in Mustard Syrup; A Free Bird Farms Free-Range Chicken Breast with Butternut Squash Risotto, Sugar Snap Peas and a sage Sage Beurre Blanc; Glasbern Raised Beef Meatloaf: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato, Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots and House-Made BBQ Glaze; Glasbern Flourless Chocolate Cake: Kreider Farms Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce,
Fresh Strawberries and a Chevre Cheesecake: Fresh Strawberries in Basil Syrup, Balsamic Glaze

Breakfast the next morning brought lots of choices, but we opted for an excellent bacon, Gruyere frittata with caremelized onions. Great coffee and juices, homemade yogurt and granola.

THE SERVICE at Glasbern Country Inn

The staff was attentive, pleasant and well trained. An innkeeper was always on duty and ready to help. The service in the dining room was particularly crisp and efficient. The innkeeper/bartender/server working the night we were there was also well-versed in the wine list and recommended some excellent wine pairings with our dinner. The grounds are very well maintained and even the maintenance crews greeted us as we walked around the property.

THE RATES at Glasbern Country Inn

From $263 Peak Season Weekend. Breakfast included in the rate.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Glasbern Country Inn

10 Great Places to Find an Offbeat B&B. USA TODAY
“Seven beautifully restored buildings on a 130-acre working farm now house guests at this luxurious Pennsylvania countryside inn. “Livestock still graze here, and the meat and vegetables from well-tended gardens offer up a delicious bounty for guests’ meals…The romantic suites have seamlessly blended barn-board authenticity with rustic elegance. Most rooms include a fireplace and a hot tub.

PROMOTIONS at Glasbern Country Inn

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Glen Gordon Manor, Huntly VA

OVERVIEW of Glen Gorden Manor

Every so often we come upon a property that is so exceptional that we just can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Such is the case of Glen Gordon Manor in Huntly, Virginia. This is our best find thus far in 2020. Set on 45 acres in the Shenandoah Valley at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Glen Gordon began life @1833 as a stage coach stop. Later it was an upscale hunting lodge that entertained members of the British Royal family.

In 2005, the property was purchased by Dayn Smith and his wife Nancy Moon and they have transformed this wonderful property into one of the best weekend escapes on the Eastern seaboard. Exquisite room design, world class dining and a Wine Spectator award winning wine list make this worthy of anyone’s “bucket list.” The bucolic setting with spectacular mountain views, horses running in the fields, chickens and roosters in the yard will calm even the most ardent Type A.

THE ROOMS at Glen Gorden Manor

There are 10 rooms and suites, decorated in soothing colors with wonderful antiques, quality furniture and window treatments and stunning artwork. Some rooms feature two headed rain showers, claw foot tubs, IPads, private porches and more.

Beds are draped in luxury linens and duvets and modern bathrooms feature fantastic showers with lots of pressure, thick towels and luxury bath amenities.

My favorite room is the The Kenmure Suite  located in the Mews Cottage atop a hill about 50 yards from the Manor House. Very private with great views, a sitting area, a private porch and a large bathroom with a claw foot tub and glass enclosed shower.

DINING at Glen Gorden Manor

Chef/owner Dayn Smith began his culinary career at the Culinary Institute of America and became an executive chef at the early age of 21, followed with successful stints at renowned hotels and restaurants throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Switzerland. He has been featured in numerous publications and TV shows, including Great Chefs of the World. He also competed in the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, an exclusive invitation-only event for award-winning chefs.

Guests dine in the main dining room, or in the cozy Hunt Room as we did, overlooking the pool. With just two tables, the Hunt Room was intimate and private. Dinner features five courses for $99 with wine pairings a very reasonable $49 from an excellent list. The menu changes often, but we started with a Tr-Colored Beet Salad with almonds and goat cheese that was paired with a 2018 Les Petits Roucas Sauvignon Blanc. Next up a Golden Gazpacho with cucumber sorbet paired with a 2017 Willm Reserve Pinot Blanc. A Triene of Duckling followed with a dried cherry sauce and an apple and fennel sald. This was paired with a delightful 2017 Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir. The main course was a Prime Aged Tenderloin with a port shallot reduction served with a 2017 Ravenswood Merlot. Dessert was a wonderful Chocolate Caramel Dome with vanilla creme Chantilly, raspberry vanilla swirl ice cream and a salted caramel sauce.

Breakfast started with a delicious banana nut bread, was followed by a house made granola with fresh fruit and then by a Spanish egg fritatta served with Manchego cheese and chorizo. Wouldn’t have thought to put these things together for breakfast, but it was wonderful.

THE SERVICE at Glen Gorden Manor

The staff is pleasant and engaging. After check-in, which was quick and efficient, we were offered a glass of Champagne and shown around the property.

The wait staff in the dining room was as professional as we have seen in any restaurant. After dinner we asked our server, Dana, how early we could get coffee in the morning. She led me into the kitchen, set up the coffee pot and told me how to get it started whenever I wanted in the morning.

THE RATES at Glen Gorden Manor

From $349 Peak Season Weekend. Packages available.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Glen Gorden Manor

Select Registry property
Travel Advisor Certificate of Excellence – Hall of Fame
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

PROMOTIONS at Glen Gorden Manor

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Glenmere Mansion, Chester, New York

OVERVIEW of Glenmere Mansion

Perched on a hilltop with sweeping lawns and stunning views of Glenmere Lake, the 1911 pink hued Tuscan style Glenmere Mansion is surrounded by spectacular formal gardens and graceful terraces.

Inside the villa surrounds a central, flower filled cortile that is romantically set for dining in the warmer weather. Much of the original architecture has been preserved including marble-columned porticoes and sweeping staircases. The public rooms are exquisitely decorated with beautiful furniture, luxury fabrics (Loro Piana draperies) and stunning artwork from one of the owner’s private collection. The dark walled library is the perfect place to curl up with a book next to the fireplace. The expansive living room anchored by two fireplaces with views out over the terrace is ideal for pre and post dinner cocktails. Noted interior designed Scott Snyder has masterfully blended the old with the new to capture the glories of the past with today’s edgier, more contemporary look.

THE ROOMS at Glenmere Mansion

Glenmere has 18 rooms including 5 premium suites, all differently configured and designed. Snyder has taken the historical elements of the property and blended them with one-of-a-kind furnishings, amazing beds, and wonderful antiques. Many rooms have working fireplaces, and some offer balconies with views of Glenmere’s grounds and gardens. There’s a state-of-the-art Bluetooth-compatible AV system, with a large flat-screen TV, DVD player, iPod docking station, and high-speed Internet access.

Our Junior Suite, room number 5, was decorated in soothing shades of cream and beige. It had wonderful French doors that looked out onto the grounds. The linens are Casa del Bianca, custom-designed in Italy and the Cararra marble baths have heated floors, large soaking tub, a shower that converted to a steam room and La Bottega toiletries with a custom scent created by noted Italian perfumer Laura Tonatto. There was a love seat and coffee table at the bottom of the bed and two club chairs facing each other next to the fireplace. When the lights went down at night, a soft blue light under the bed gave just enough light to see your way around in the dark…very cool. If ever there was a room you didn’t want to leave, this is it.

DINING at Glenmere Mansion

The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Gunnar Thompson whose credits include Taittinger “2012 Grand Chef of the Year” for Relais & Chateaux worldwide, Executive Chef for the renowned Erna’s Elderberry House, where he held a Mobil/Forbes 5-Star and AAA 5-Diamond recognition. Before coming to Glenmere he was Executive Chef at Primland Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Guests can enjoy breakfast, brunch and dinner in the Supper Room or outside on the Terrace. Lunch is served in the Cortile or the Frog’s End Tavern.

Dinner in the Supper Room or out on the Terrace is a magical experience. Tables are set with luxury linens, sparkling glassware, beautiful china and flickering candles help set the mood. Gorgeous, custom made, hand painted eglomise panels depicting the hills of Tuscany surround a room anchored with a massive fireplace. Leather banquettes line the walls facing French doors that open onto the Terrace.

THE SERVICE at Glenmere Mansion

The service touches are what elevate a property over all others and Glenmere has mastered the concept. Arrival through entry gates leads to the drive up the hill which brought us to a courtyard centered with a fountain. Our car was instantly met by the butler and we were assured that it and our bags would be taken care of as we were ushered to reception. Check-in was efficient and swift and we were offered a Bellini before being escorted to our room.

After dinner we returned to our room to find a fire in our fireplace, two glasses of port and a bowl of chocolate truffles. In the morning, a tray with a French press pot of coffee sat outside our door. On departure, we were handed a bag filled with bottled water, cookies and note cards.

There are so many levels of service that one experiences when traveling from frankly, none, to the formal, almost practiced type at some top level hotels. Here, the feeling is that you are a guest in someone’s home and your hosts are uncommonly considerate and have anticipated those things that will make your visit special.

RATES at Glenmere Mansion

From $675 Peak season weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Glenmere Mansion

Vote #1 Romantic Hideaway in the world. Hideaway International

PROMOTIONS at Glenmere Mansion

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Grand Colonial La Jolla

OVERVIEW of the Grand Colonial La Jolla

La Jolla is our favorite part of San Diego and The Grand Colonial is the ideal base for your activities in the area. The hotel is a wonderful and warm European style boutique hotel steeped in history, but perfectly suited to these modern times. Opened in 1913, the hotel has gone through numerous iterations over the years. At one point the pharmacist at the drugstore next to the hotel was the father of actor Gregory Peck who grew up in La Jolla before heading to Hollywood for fame and fortune.  In the 40’s the Colonial was a temporary home to some of Hollywood’s up and coming stars who were performing at the La Jolla Playhouse, founded by Peck. Charlton Heston, Dorothy McGuire, Groucho Marx, Jane Wyatt, Eve Arden, Pat O’Brien, David Niven and many other celebrities occupied the hotel well into the late 1950s.

It’s been a common rumor for years in La Jolla that the hotel is haunted…like when the phone rings at the front desk and it’s from a room that is unoccupied. See more stories.

THE ROOMS at the Grand Colonial La Jolla

There are 92 Guest Rooms and Suites, 52 Ocean or Village views and 45 Junior and 1 and 2 Bedroom Suites (some with kitchens and fireplaces). Rooms are decorated with cheerful colors of yellows and blues and whites perfectly suited to a waterside location.  My corner room was delightfully oversized and had views of the ocean from windows that opened to let in the sea breezes. Amenities include; free high-speed Internet access; HD TVs with full HD channel lineup including HBO; Keurig single serving coffee makers; complimentary in-room bottled water; twice daily housekeeping service including evening turn-down service; goose down comforters; Serta iComfort Eurotop mattresses; complimentary access to Digital News Service; convenience charging outlets at nightstand and desk; speakerphone and cordless phone; ceiling fans; Gilchrist & Soames bath and body products; plush bathrobes; iron and ironing board; daily laundry valet service; and room service from NINE-TEN Restaurant.

DINING at the Grand Colonial La Jolla

Nine-Ten is the signature restaurant and is the recipient of the 2021 Michelin California Guide “Plate Distinction.” The cozy and intimate restaurant with seating both inside and out is led by award-winning chef Jason Knibb and where guests can enjoy the best from local artisan farmers and local fish selections and items arriving daily from Hawaii and the North Pacific and Atlantic regions.

RATES at the Grand Colonial La Jolla

From $309 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Grand Colonial La Jolla

AAA Four Diamond Hotel Award
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for Nine-Ten

PROMOTIONS at the Grand Colonial La Jolla

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Green Mountain Inn

OVERVIEW of the Green Mountain Inn

Since 1833, the historic Green Mountain Inn, located in the center of town at the base of the Mountain Road has been welcoming guests to this year round country inn. With 104 antique filled rooms and suites, the Inn has a complete list of amenities, including a restaurant, bar, health club and pool. Yet with all these modern conveniences, it is still able to retain its charm as a Vermont country inn. The cozy living room with bookcases, dark red walls and comfortable chairs around the fireplace is just what you thought a Vermont Inn would look like.

THE ROOMS at Green Mountain Inn

While the rooms in the main inn are quite nice, I prefer the newer luxury rooms in the Mill House and the Mansfield Suites. My last visit was in Room 704 in the Mill House. This was the perfect room for a cold winter night. The rich burgundy colored walls, a plump four poster canopy bed in front of a fireplace and a two person Jacuzzi that opened from the bathroom into the living area set a wonderfully romantic mood. Add a complimentary bottle of wine, a thoughtful piano concerto CD and thick terry robes and you’ve got the start to a great evening.

A coffeemaker and delicious Green Mountain coffee are provided and a newspaper is delivered to your door in the early morning. Gilchrist & Soames toiletries round out the list of amenities.

DINING at Green Mountain Inn

There are two restaurants Main Street and the Whip. The Main Street, used exclusively for breakfast, is a beautiful and warm colonial room with a fireplace and views onto Main Street. The Whip Bar & Grill is a dark, wood paneled room with booths and decorated with antique buggy whips. It is one of my favorite places in town for lunch, brunch or an afternoon drink.

OTHER at Green Mountain Inn

The Health Club located a few steps away from the Mill House, opens at 7am and has a complete assortment of treadmills, Lifecycles, rowing machines and weights. There’s a co-ed steam room, a sauna, a 10 person Jacuzzi and a year round outdoor heated pool.

THE RATES at Green Mountain Inn

From $196 Peak Season weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Green Mountain Inn

This “B&B” like mountain inn, consisting of a 19th century national Historic landmark building along with “comfortable” suites, apartments and townhouses, is the ideal base of operations for skiing and “catching the fall” foliage; though there’s a “friendly” staff and a “fun” “quaint” tavern, head into town for decent dining. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Green Mountain Inn

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Greenwich Hotel

OVERVIEW of The Greenwich Hotel

The Greenwich Hotel exudes so much charm. There is a “soul” to this place that you will find in few other places. The small sign marking the entry is indicative of the hotel itself…unobtrusive and unpretentious. The lobby foyer is small, but opens to a bright room with soaring ceilings, seating nooks set with couches and chairs…walls graced by artwork by one of the owners, Robert DeNiro.

Behind the lobby is the Drawing Room and behind that the outside Courtyard, both open only to hotel guests. The Drawing Room is a wonderfully dark and intimate room with an ever present fire burning, cozy sitting areas and a bar. The garden has lush foliage and patio furniture surrounded by the tall brick building.

THE ROOMS at The Greenwich Hotel

When was the last time you even noticed the door to your hotel room? Well, you will notice the distressed wood doors with a centered handle here among many other things like hand loomed Tibetan silk rugs and Moroccan tiles that make this hotel very special. I don’t know this to be true, but it seems that every time there was a construction or design decision they opted for the unique or charming over the normal and mundane. The door locking system is one I have never seen, the antique bathroom fixtures are Leroy Brooks Limited of England, the glass doors to the shower and toilet have panes in them creating the look of leaded glass, the beds, adorned with luxury linens are Dux beds. The rainfall showers have amazing pressure, the oversized towels are actually soft, room snacks (except alcohol) are complimentary, there’s a jar of candies on the book shelf and the list goes on.

Hallways leading to the rooms are dimly lit with sculpture or artwork splashed with light at the end of each hallway. Nice way to set the intimate mood.

There are only 88 rooms and each is furnished differently in a kind of shabby chic style with an eclectic blend of furniture, woods and fabrics. Our room was large and made larger by 12 foot ceilings. The closet was a French Country armoire, there was a bookshelf with books and a candy jar, an iPod docking station (they also have iPod loaners) one of the best showers I have ever encountered and nice little touches like tissues on the nightstand, McBride toiletries of the size you can take on a plane, motorized curtains and even a box with things you might need like a Daily Health Boost or…condoms.

DINING at The Greenwich Hotel

Locanda Verde, helmed by acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini serves all meals and is a charming, laid back Italian restaurant with a delicious rustic country menu of antipastas, homemade pastas and grilled meats and fish. Wonderful wine list.

THE SPA at The Greenwich Hotel

Downstairs there’s a wonderful 1000 sq. ft. fully equipped gym, a tranquil, lantern lit pool and a Japanese inspired spa with a steam room. The area has lots of restaurants including the hotel’s new Locanda Verde restaurant which was packed during our stay.

You can leave many hotels, however good, and not think of them again. The experience at the Greenwich will linger…..you’ll find yourself remembering the drinks by the fire or coffee in the garden or the wonderful shower or the great night’s sleep. You’ll be back….

THE RATES at The Greenwich Hotel

From $625 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Greenwich Hotel

Forbes Four Star Award
“Owned by actor Robert De Niro and partners, and designed by David Rockwell, this TriBeCa stunner feels like a stately country house; the distinctly different rooms feature soaring ceilings, reclaimed wood floors, DUX beds, libraries and worldly pieces like English leather settees or Tibetan silk rugs, plus baths boasting Moroccan tiles or Carrara marble; the Shibu spa and lantern-lit pool and lounge are set in a 250-year-old farmhouse transported from Kyoto, while cocktails can be taken by the drawing room fireplace.” ZAGAT

Gurney’s Inn, Montauk

OVERVIEW for Gurney’s Inn Montauk

Gurney’s Inn Montauk has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation led by new owners George Filopoulos and Lloyd Goldman that has transformed the once stodgy old resort into the new hot spot at the East End. Wunderkind designer Michael Kramer has created 38 new oceanfront suites with grand terraces overlooking the ocean and 71 other rooms, suites and cottages have been refurbished.

The Beach Club has undergone a complete make-over with day beds, a new beachfront restaurant and bar and a “Beach Concierge.” A new sand filtered seawater swimming pool has been added, the 30,000 square foot Seawater Spa (which has a wonderful ocean side indoor pool) has been refreshed and the food and beverage program has been completely revamped.

THE ROOMS at Gurney’s Inn Montauk

There are 146 rooms, suites, and beachfront cottages, all delivering dramatic ocean views. The new oceanfront suites have private terraces overlooking the ocean, floor to ceiling windows, custom built furniture, wire brushed hardwood floors and state-of-the-art Bluetooth technology.

DINING at Gurney’s Inn Montauk

Scarpetta Beach serves signature Italian dishes and fresh seafood in an elegant dining room with panoramic views of the ocean. An outside deck offers al fresco dining when the weather is warmer. The casual Tillie’s is a bistro style restaurant that is open all day. The seasonal Beach Club offers private cabana service, casual fare and refreshing drinks and Corso Coffee offers cold pressed juices, smoothies, fresh fruit, artisanal coffees and teas and baked goods from its own in-house bakery. Guests can enjoy beverage and food service on daybeds on the beach and can arrange private dinners on the beach.

THE SPA at Gurney’s Inn Montauk

The Seawater Spa features an authentic Thalasso Therapy program which utilizes seawater and seaweed in a marine enriched environment to deliver the purest and most effective therapeutic benefits.

Montauk and Gurney’s is obviously a great summer destination, as a couple or a family, but it is equally as attractive for a winter weekend for two. There’s something wonderfully romantic about a walk on a deserted beach as you are bundled up for the cold. And, when the temps drop they freeze the upstairs at the Spa into a skating rink.

THE RATES at Gurney’s Inn Montauk

From $1080 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at Gurney’s Inn Montauk

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Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

OVERVIEW of Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

A few years back, new owners George Filopoulos and Lloyd Goldman  transformed the once stodgy old Gurney’s Montauk resort into the new hot spot at the East End of Long Island. Now they have worked their magic again, this time in Newport, RI to the former Hyatt Hotel on Goat Island.

Where Montauk offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina is surrounded by Narragansett Bay affording stunning 360 degree water views.

New owners have renovated the property, painting, upgrading the lobby area, refurbishing the rooms, adding a new restaurant, Scarpetta and a new spa, Stillwater Spa. They have created a two tier outside deck that features cozy sitting nooks with lounge furniture and fire pits.

THE ROOMS at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

There are 257 rooms, nearly all with water views. A blue and gray color palette draw from the waters around the resort and amenities include luxury linens, pillow top beds, 47″ TV’s, a separate work area, a sitting area, complimentary WiFi, a spacious bath with granite counter tops, a glass shower and Gilchrist & Soames bath products. Rooms are equipped with a special plastic bag for guests to take their phone, sunglasses etc to the pool.

The outside is what sets this delightful resort apart from anything else in Newport. Two outside bars, a salt water pool, the two tiered deck with fire pits and Adirondack chairs set along the banks of the Bay, allow guests to savor the amazing views of the water, lighthouse and bridge.

DINING at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

The Lounge is a cozy bar off the lobby and also serves the outdoor fire pit. Live music plays on the weekends and the creative cocktail list will satisfy just about anyone. The Pineapple Club is a wonderful seasonal outdoor bar.  Corso is an early morning coffee bar offering coffees, teas and breakfast sandwiches.

The resort’s signature restaurant, Scarpetta, is the newest outpost of the popular Manhattan eatery. Offering delicious Italian fare in a sophisticated setting with wonderful views of the marina and Bay, Scarpetta is open nightly for dinner. An excellent wine list accompanies the menu.

SPA at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

The signature Seawater Spa offers a full range of amenities and services.

OTHER at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

Guests can visit the resident goats Cornelius and William (Goat Island, get it?), and the resort offers a complimentary boat shuttle to downtown Newport.

RATES at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

From $475 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

23 Unforgettable Fall Escapes –Forbes

PROMOTIONS at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

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Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, Montauk

OVERVIEW of Gurney’s Star Island

Gurney’s Star Island has been around for quite some time, (80+ years to be exact) and its distinctive lighthouse is familiar to many. An extensive 2009 renovation refreshed the property and it is now an even better destination, ideal for couples or families. The Yacht Club is the setting for numerous fashion and celebrity photo shoots.

The hotel was purchased in 2017 by the Gurney’s Hotel Group.

Montauk has a personality all its own, separate from the hectic Hamptons and the wine culture of the North Fork. It is a laid-back beach town, similar to what you might find at The Jersey Shore or on the Cape. The beaches are spectacular, the fishing world class, there are wonderful restaurants and the town has a unique charm. You can easily stay here and not have to travel anywhere else in the Hamptons to enjoy yourself.

The Yacht Club sits on 35 waterfront acres and offers 107 guestrooms and 23 Villa cottages. The marina has space for 232 boats and can accommodate anything from a Boston Whaler up to a mega-yacht. There is a full service spa and salon, a fitness center, a private beach, three swimming pools and Har-tru lighted tennis courts. For the kids there’s a playground, a surf camp, volleyball, horseshoes and bocce ball and complimentary paddleboats, kayaks and bicycles. During the season there are a host of planned daily activities for the children as well. Fishing, horseback riding and golf can be arranged locally.

THE ROOMS at Gurney’s Star Island

Guestrooms are decorated in a blue and white nautical motif and are spacious and comfortable. Many have balconies or terraces and water views. Rooms are equipped with 37 LCD HD flat panel televisions; custom designed nautical window treatments; goose down pillows, duvet comforters and 300-thread count sheets; Keurig coffee makers; iHome clock radios; refrigerators; spacious bath and vanity areas with plush oversized towels and luxury bath amenities.

DINING at Gurney’s Star Island

Showfish is the new (2019) signature restaurant which has been getting rave reviews. It won the Gold Award in the 2019 Dan’s Papers “Best of the Best” for Best Seafood Restaurant.  There is a seasonal Pool Club restaurant and Il Forno the casual “take-out” restaurant.

THE RATES at Gurney’s Star Island

From $967 Peak Season weekend.

PROMOTIONS at Gurney’s Star Island

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Hamilton Turner Inn

OVERVIEW of the Hamilton Turner Inn

The circa 1873 Hamilton-Turner Inn is a charming Victorian mansion located on the beautiful Lafayette Square. Surrounded by lush greenery and gardens, the Inn has some great architectural features like 13 foot ceilings, 12 foot. windows, delightful balconies and some rooms with private entrances. There are 18 individually decorated rooms and suites furnished with Empire, Eastlake and Renaissance Revival period antiques.

The main parlor with couches surrounding a working fireplace is the scene for complimentary afternoon wine and hors d’ouvres, prepared by Anna and Ben. They are quite delicious. I love this Southern tradition and on my last visit made some new friends during the cocktail hour.

THE ROOMS at the Hamilton Turner Inn

The rooms themselves are very interesting. My room, Isaiah Davenport, was very small but it was so charming that I quickly forgot about the lack of space. It had a private entrance with a gated outer door, exposed brick walls, a very comfortable queen bed and a delightful claw-foot tub in the bathroom. At night the gas lights were visible on the square across the street.

I also liked the Noble Jones room with its large windows, fireplace and double sinks and the Flannery O’Connor room with French doors opening onto the garden.

DINING at the Hamilton Turner Inn

A full breakfast is served each morning and you should ask for Anna’s delicious Praline French Toast the night before.

THE RATES at the Hamilton Turner Inn

From $326 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Hamilton Turner Inn

AAA Four Diamond

Southern Living, “Secrets of Savannah” The Hamilton-Turner inn earns top honors in Savannah’s Best Lodging category. Travel writer Cassandra M. Vanhooser dotes, “I love waking up at the Hamilton-Turner Inn….”

PROMOTIONS at the Hamilton Turner Inn

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Harbor Cottage B&B, SW Harbor

With its sweeping lawn set with colorful Adirondack chairs and views of the distant Harbor, the Harbour Cottage Inn in Southwest Harbor is a delightful respite on the other side of Mount Desert Island from Bar Harbor. This is the “quiet” side of the Island and it is charming and relaxing. The cozy public rooms provide a wonderful welcome with a feel as if you are visiting the summer home of a friend. With hardwood floors, plump couches and chairs, bookcases and a warming fireplace, I could easily imagine curling up here with a book.

THE ROOMS
There are 10 rooms and one cottage, most with views of the Harbor. All have private baths, plush robes, high speed Internet access and some feature a whirlpool bath or a steam/sauna shower. Rooms are tastefully decorated in soft shades and the beds are covered in summer quilts. Our room had a gentle cross breeze and a great bed, and we enjoyed one of the best night’s sleep of our trip. The sheets and towels smelled as if they were dried outside on a clothesline and the shower was wonderful.
THE RESTAURANT:
Breakfast is served in a cheerful dining room with a sunny blue and yellow theme and out on the beautiful porch. Rich custom-blended Maine roasted coffee, a selection of organic teas, fresh fruit and a variety of home-baked muffins make a great start and are followed by a delicious hot entrée that may be Maine blueberry pancakes or omelets with fresh basil and Vermont cheddar…..delicious.

For dinner we enjoyed a delicious meal at Fiddler’s Green. Get there early to sample one of their unique martinis. We had a Maine Blueberry Martini and a Raspberry Lemon Martini that were wonderful.

Terrific small plate appetizer menu, we enjoyed grilled spicy lamb sausage w/ peppers, onions, scalloped potato, asiago cheese with spicy mustard on a fresh baked torpedo roll and baby back ribs, smoked with mesquite & hickory and served with orange-chipotle barbeque sauce.

Entrees were Maine lobster strozzapretti, with fire roasted tomato, fresh basil, caramelized shallots, roasted pecans and a vino verde cream sauce and a wonderful 8oz. rib-eye with caramelized onions, fries and a broiled tomato. Simple, but very well done.

Pretty good wine list with lots of “by the gl;ass” choices and reasonably priced bottles. Good cross section of regions. Our Luigi Bosca,’06 Malbec, Reserva, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina at $28 was a steal.
THE RATES:
Most rooms are in the $145-$197 range with suites a little higher. Quite a bargain!

WHAT OTHERS SAY:
“Nestled in a picturesque harbor town on Maine’s popular Mt. Desert Island, the Harbor Cottage Inn offers a perfect New England getaway.” Few tourists discover the pleasures to be found in other parts of this popular Maine destination. Dubbed “the quiet side,” the western portion of Mt. Desert Island is home to quaint harbor towns, each of which provide a postcard-perfect picture of a quintessential Maine coastal village.

“From the delicious, home-cooked breakfast, welcoming ambiance and amazing hospitality of the Harbour Cottage Inn, to the stunning beauty and natural majesty of Mt. Desert Island, a visit to Southwest Harbor will never disappoint.”
“The inn is casually elegant and inviting.” Indeed it is — with pleasing color combinations and tasteful accessories found in each and every room.”
“When guests enter the reception area of the Harbour Cottage Inn, they feel that they are being welcomed into a private, yet exceptionally decorated, living room.” COUNTRY ACCENTS Spring 2008

 

 

Harbor View Hotel

OVERVIEW of the Harborview Hotel

At the eastern end of the Island, perched on a bluff overlooking the Lighthouse and Edgartown Harbor, the Harbor View Hotel opened in 1891 and remains the island’s premier full service hotel. While boasting all the modern amenities you would expect, it still retains the charm and elegance of days gone by. A wonderful wrap-around veranda with rocking chairs is a great place to sit and read or just watch the boats go by on the harbor. This is the best view on the Island for any accommodation.

New owners took possession at the end of 2006 and have been busy making changes and upgrades. The lobby has been brightened and freshened, the exterior has been renovated and many of the rooms have been refurbished.

The grounds are beautifully and meticulously landscaped, awash with flowers and bushes and trees. Behind the hotel there’s a heated pool surrounded by a brick patio and wonderful gardens. Food and beverage service is offered around the pool and if you feel like you need some exercise, there are lighted tennis courts just a few steps away.

THE ROOMS at the Harborview Hotel

The rooms are tastefully decorated in yellows, blues and greens with contemporary maple furniture. Many of the beds are canopied and most rooms are oversized. Rooms #313, 315, 316 and 415, in the Main Building, are particularly large, have great views of the Harbor and balconies. The new Guest Suites, while without the views, are elegantly furnished in cheerful colors with vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, 4 poster beds, porches and outdoor showers.

DINING at the Harborview Hotel

The restaurant, called Lighthouse Grill is under the direction of Executive Chef Richard Doucette who showcases native island seafood, produce, meats and poultry from centuries-old producers, including Allen Farm, Morning Glory Farm, and Whippoorwill Farm. How can you not like a menu that has Pigs in a Blanket as an appetizer? But also, Lobster Tacos, Lamb Cassoulet, Blackened Swordfish and Maple Brined Kurobuta Pork Chops.

The more casual restaurant, Henry’s, features a “small plate” menu and a new wine list about to be introduced of all California and Spanish wines. I had a wonderful Katama Farm chicken with Mennonite dumplings, braising greens and pan gravy on my last visit and it was delicious.

THE RATES at the Harborview Hotel

From $975 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Harborview Hotel

“It’s worth the ferry ride for the fantastic brunch (the food’s overseen by Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group) and to enjoy incomparable vistas from the wraparound porch, with rocking chairs overlooking the lighthouse at this Martha’s Vineyard hotel on the edge of Edgartown; though it opened in 1891, the rooms are modern and a bit glorified motel-like but the real problem is that the hotel occasionally attracts a tour bus group, which changes the ambiance; happily, one can escape to the lovely beach a short walk away.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Harborview Hotel

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Harbourview Inn

OVERVIEW of the Harbourview Inn

The 52 warmly decorated rooms at the Harbourview Inn, in shades of brown, are spacious with 14′ ceilings, triple sheeted 4 poster beds with luxury linens and coverlets, custom made armoires and original art. Many have overstuffed club chairs with ottomans. The large, European tiled baths are outfitted with replicas of old Charleston features.

THE ROOMS at the Harbourview Inn

The Historic Inn rooms have a special charm with old Charleston brick walls and plantation shutters and the Harbourview Rooms, offer, obviously views of the Charleston Harbor. The Penthouse Rooms are our favorite, furnished in much the same way as the other guestrooms, the Penthouse also offers a working fireplace, whirlpool tub, a mini bar stocked with complimentary snacks and a private balcony overlooking the harbor. The view of the harbor at night from your room is just wonderful.

DINING at the Harbourview Inn

The Inn does not have a restaurant or bar, but breakfast is served in your room, the Rooftop Terrace or the Atrium lobby. Complimentary wine and cheese are served in the afternoon.

The Rooftop Bar is open from 5-9pm daily and offers hand-crafted, maritime-inspired cocktails.

THE SERVICE at the Harbourview Inn

There are snacks and iced tea during the day, an afternoon wine and cheese reception daily, evening milk and freshly baked cookies and turn down service.

THE RATES at the Harbourview Inn

From $396 Peak Season Weekend. Rates include breakfast delivered to your room or in the Atrium lobby.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Harbourview Inn

AAA Four  Diamond Award
Top 100 Hotels-Conde Nast Magazine

PROMOTIONS at the Harbourview Inn

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Hawk’s Cay, Duck Key FL

OVERVIEW of Hawk’s Cay

Hawk’s Cay is a 60 acre AAA Four Diamond resort, located on the island of Duck Key about halfway down the Florida Keys. It offers one of the best values we have seen for family vacations. Amenities abound….there’s lots to do for adults and children alike and the price is unbelievable. Imagine rooms starting at $239 on a January weekend….where’s the plane?

The resort has a wonderful saltwater lagoon and 5 pools, one of which is adults only; hard surface and clay tennis courts; offshore, reefs, flats and backcountry fishing; scuba, snorkel and SNUBA diving; boat and kayak rentals; kite and paddle boarding; a fitness center and the full service Calm Waters Spa., Named 2009’s #1 spa in all of the U.S. and Canada in Travel + Leisure’s 2009 “World’s Best Awards,”

There are excellent children’s programs, broken into age groups of “Kids 5-12”, “Tweens” 9-12 and “Teens” 12-17. all supervised by a staff of licensed professionals. Hawk’s Cay was voted one of the “Best Hotel Kids’ Programs” by Travel & Leisure Magazine. The kids will love the Pirate Ship Pool and The Indies Club.

Hawks Cay Resort is the only hotel or resort in the continental United States that features an on-site dolphin research facility. The Dolphin Connection program is an amazing experience for your children and one they won’t soon forget. Worth the visit alone.

THE ROOMS at Hawk’s Cay

There are 177 guestrooms and suites in the main building and the resort offers a number of villa options, spread throughout the Key. Larger families or those preferring to stay in and cook once in a while will opt for a villa. For smaller families or couples, I particularly like the Premier Lanai guestrooms which have their own private sundeck and porch.
Rooms and marble baths are spacious and decorated in a breezy West Indies island motif in soft shades of yellow with rattan style furniture, ceiling fans and olive fern patterned draperies. Luxury linens cover Serta Perfect Sleeper beds with feather pillows, there’s a 37 inch LCD TV, Internet access and a Bose Sound System.

DINING at Hawk’s Cay

Sixty -One Prime is the signature restaurant serving prime steaks, chops and fresh seafood. Guests enjoy items like Braised Short Rib Onion Soup, served in a roasted sweet onion, smoked provolone, gruyere, Parmesan; Florida keys Seafood Pepperpot, local fish, shellfish, calabaza squash, orange, lemongrass, spicy potlicker; McCoy Ranch Grass Fed Delmonioco Steak, bone marrow fritter, mache, tobacco onions 16 oz and Free Range Venison Chop, dried cherry and blueberry bread pudding, Cumberland sauce.

Dockside Angler & Ale is a casual restaurant who will cook your day’s catch and Oasis Cay is a poolside, adults only restaurant. Tiki Grill is a lagoon side Tiki Bar and grill.

 

THE SERVICE at Hawk’s Cay

The staff is pleasant and efficient. Rooms and property are immaculately maintained. Our visit happened to be over Super Bowl Sunday and the resort offered a package of drinks and a buffet for a very modest price at Tom’s. It was great and fun and demonstrated a customer service mindset that makes this a special place.

THE RATES at Hawk’s Cay

From $691 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Hawk’s Cay

AAA Four Diamond Award

There’s “a lot for everyone to do” at this “highly recommended” 40 acre Duck Key “resort for families”, where a ‘wonderful” $30 million renovation to the rooms, suites and one-to-four bedroom villas (beds make you feel like “you’re sleeping on a cloud”), the addition of Nueva Latina restaurant, Alma, and a “relaxing” new lobby rum bar brings everything up a notch; from “feeding and swimming with the resident dolphins” (“a big hit”( to diving, fishing and partaking in a “great children’s program”, it’s a “dream vacation” for most. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Hawk’s Cay

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Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport ME

OVERVIEW of Hidden Pond

Set on 60 wooded acres, with manicured lawns and beautiful gardens, Hidden Pond is the perfect place if you are traveling with friends or family. 14 gorgeous and individually decorated (each from a different designer) 2-bedroom cottages and 1 bedroom bungalows are spread about the property. They call it “flip flop chic” which perfectly describes the mood and feel. Somehow you feel as if you have been coming here for years.

A magnificent Lodge centers the property and it is as inviting as any you have seen with a huge stone fireplace, lots of comfortable chairs and couches to curl up in and a cozy little bar, the Back Porch, where guests enjoy complimentary wine and snacks in the evening. French doors open to a beautifully landscaped pool surrounded with super comfortable chaise lounges. The Sandbar, another lounge area, is set out on the sand (who’d a guessed it?) where cocktails and grill specials are served around a nightly bonfire.

THE ROOMS at Hidden Pond

The cottages are exquisitely decorated, each in a different style, using wonderful quality furnishings. An open floor plan features a living room with a large stone fireplace, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen (they even stock it with juice, coffee, tea, water, olive oil and balsamic),two bedrooms, one with a king and the other with two twins, an open air front porch with chairs or couches and a side screened in porch with comfortable furniture and game tables. Bedrooms are large, each with their own bath. Beds are draped in Frette linens with down duvets, the towels are thick and plush and bathrooms offer Mario Russo toiletries.

Last but not least, each cottage has an outdoor shower which is one of life’s great pleasures.

DINING at Hidden Pond

Earth at Hidden Pond is the resort’s restaurant and it is fantastic. You’ll dine overlooking vegetable and herb gardens, surrounded by trees and sweet smelling breezes. The room is rustic and warm with flickering candlelight and the menu focuses on “farm-to-fork” freshness. In addition to local meats and seafood, ingredients are sourced from one of two on-site organic gardens — picked daily and incorporated into each dish to enhance the many flavors. Handmade pastas, house-made charcuterie, and wood-oven-fired pizzas are thoughtfully prepared. The wine program features selections from countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Lebanon, while inspired, signature cocktails are concocted with freshly muddled fruits and fresh herbs plucked from the garden.

Each morning brings a canvas basket hung on your door with warm baguettes, homemade muffins, fresh OJ and the NY Times. Locally, there are some excellent restaurants for lunch and dinner. Lunch one day was at Pier 77, a charming place on the water with white paneling, cherry wood tables and chairs, hardwood floors, a fireplace, a baby grand piano and a cute little 8 stool bar. The food was excellent and locals say its great for dinner. Adjacent to the restaurant is the Ramp Bar & Grill, a more casual sibling with outdoor seating overlooking the harbor.

THE SERVICE at Hidden Pond

Despite a wonderful laid back feel, the staff is both attentive and efficient. Everyone was pleasant and friendly and we never had to wait for anything. It is amazing that in such a short period of time, they “get” the customer service thing, something many places still haven’t gotten in years.

THE RATES at Hidden Pond

From $883 Peak Season Weekend for a one bedroom bungalow.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Hidden Pond

“Consisting of private cottages with screened-in porches, gas fireplaces set in river stone, kitchens with floor-to-ceiling windows and bedrooms with Frette linens and down duvets, this new Kennebunkport resort spread over 60 acres of lush birch and balsam fir offers a temporary home in the woods; other lovely features include a main lodge with a stone fireplace and a mezzanine overlooking the pool, a unique, tented spa, daily yoga classes and hiking trails” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Hidden Pond

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High Peaks Resort

OVERVIEW of High Peaks Resort

For many, many years the Hilton occupied the corner of Main Street and Saranac Avenue and in 2008 the property passed hands and became the High Peaks Resort. The owners took advantage of an ideal location with mountain and lake views and “kicked it up a notch” as Emeril would say. This is a great place to stay if you are on a budget as the rates are very reasonable.

The beautiful lobby has been redone in wood, stone and marble and is both elegant and cozy. Wood paneled walls, warming fireplaces and comfortable seating make it the ideal place to read a newspaper or have a drink at the end of the day at PJ’s, the lobby bar.

THE ROOMS at High Peaks Resort

Rooms, most of which have views of town below and the lake and mountains in the distance, have been redesigned in warm shades of brown, gold, burgundy and green. Many have walls of carpet sections, others with paneling. Most have leather couches or chairs, wood furniture, flat screen TV’s, an oversized desk with granite top and high quality bedding and linens. A frosted glass door leads to a European styled bathroom with a natural stone tiled walk-in shower with a rainforest shower head, plump towels and Molton Brown toiletries.

DINING at High Peaks Resort

The Lakehouse is home to the Dancing Bear restaurant and the outside Deck.

THE SERVICE at High Peaks Resort

The staff is pleasant and helpful, coffee is available in the morning in PR’s in the lobby and guests have a choice of USA Today, The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal delivered to their rooms.

OTHER THINGS at High Peaks Resort

There is an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness center, business center and the hotel offers complimentary kayaks, row boats and paddle boats on Mirror Lake.

THE RATES at High Peaks Resort

From $397 Peak Season weekend.

PROMOTIONS at High Peaks Resort

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Hob Knob Inn

OVERVIEW of the Hob Knob Inn

Affectionately named after her grandparent’s sprawling country home in Ohio….The Hob Knob, owner Margaret H. White has created a charming and comfortable eco boutique hotel which may be the only truly “green” property on the island.

Everyone has their preference for the type of accommodations they prefer; B&B’s, inns or full service hotels. The Hob Knob has managed to combine the best of all three…the intimacy of a B&B, the charm of a country inn and the amenities of a top notch hotel. Elegant and cozy public rooms, beautiful gardens, a wonderful wrap-around porch, a scrumptious organic breakfast and a terrific staff all come together for an ideal weekend retreat. Located on the northern end of Main Street, it is a a short walk to shopping, restaurants and beaches.

THE ROOMS at the Hob Knob Inn

The hotel has 17 guest rooms, 15 with king beds. Standard rooms are a good size at @ 300 square feet. The deluxe rooms are larger and have more amenities like skylights and one has a small kitchenette. I particularly liked my deluxe room, #14. It had a skylight in the both the bedroom and bathroom, a small dormer area with a reading chair, great antiques and a soothing color scheme. Rooms have luxury linens, down pillows and hand monogrammed comforters. Each room is individually and elegantly decorated in cheerful yet soft colors, beautiful antiques and hand painted furniture. You’ll find a flat screen TV, DVD’s, Bose radios, mini bars and fresh flowers. Bathrooms have plush terrycloth robes and towels and Aveda toiletries. I don’t know maybe it’s me but there’s something about washing your hair with rosemary mint shampoo in the morning. It feels so organic…..

DINING at the Hob Knob Inn

A delicious full organic breakfast is served each morning, with lots of choices like perfectly cooked poached eggs with grilled tomato and Canadian bacon on an English muffin. Don’t miss the scones….they’re legendary. Tea and fresh lemonade are served with homemade scones and local berry preserves in the afternoon. Sit on the porch or in the garden and while away the afternoon. After dinner help yourself to a vintage port in the library.

OTHER at the Hob Knob Inn

On the lower level the Inn offers a compact Fitness Center, a Business Center and a Spa. Steam and sauna are offered in the spa and massage and other treatments are available by appointment. Bikes are available to explore the island and there’s even a 27 Boston Whaler available for charter to fish or just cruise around. ($450 1/2 day or $225 for two hours) They’ll even prepare a sumptuous picnic lunch for you for a modest fee.

THE RATES at the Hob Knob Inn

From $899 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Hob Knob Inn

Conde-Nast Johansens – Recommended
Martha’s Vineyard Magazine – Best of the Vineyard
Cape Cod Magazine – Best Bed & Breakfast
Country Life – Inn of the Month

Hope & Glory, Irvington VA

OVERVIEW of Hope & Glory

Originally an 1890’s schoolhouse, the main building and cottages of Hope & Glory are set amidst lush English gardens with meandering brick pathways, whimsical sculptures and a cascading waterfall. The air is filled with heavenly fragrances and there’s even a moon garden which is in peak bloom and fragrance in the evening.

Best of all, however, is a magnificent “Garden Bath” an outdoor shower enclosed by an 8 foot fence that includes antique mirrors, a claw foot tub, and a rain forest shower. Grab a bottle of Champagne, light some candles, add some bubble bath and listen to the music of the garden…..you’ll never be the same.

The main building is home to guestrooms, a dining room where a delicious breakfast and dinner is served, the living and sitting rooms and the Detention wine bar…where the chalkboard admonishes the guest to write 100 times, “I will not drink bad wine and drive” The décor is a kind of elegant shabby chic with a decided touch of whimsy. You can almost envision the decorator smiling to herself as she selected these eclectic pieces of furniture and melded them with luxury fabrics and accessories. The effect is at once elegant and comfortable.

THE ROOMS at Hope & Glory

The main inn has 7 guestrooms and behind it 6 cottages scattered among the gardens. All are decorated in different color schemes in a style that evokes thoughts of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Some have fireplaces, some private patios, all have luxury linens and bedding, wonderful toiletries and fragrant towels. Our cottage, #6 had a charming sitting area downstairs that opened onto a private patio. Upstairs, a plump King bed looked out French doors to the beautiful gardens below. Getting out of that bed in the morning was a chore….

Over in the Vineyard are the “Tents”, beautifully decorated three bedroom, three bath cottages with an open floor plan, fireplaces, flat screen TV’s, outdoor showers and wonderful screened in porches with views out over Carter’s Creek. These are ideal for families or couples traveling together.

DINING at Hope & Glory

First, you won’t want to miss the Dog & Oyster Vineyard where you can taste wines made on the property, slurp local oysters and enjoy a small palte menu.

The kitchen is under the direction of Chef Meseret Crockett. Ms. Crockett, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was educated in French schools. She is a graduate of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and fluent in five language. Offering farm-to-table and boat-to-table dining, Crockett seeks out only the finest, locally sourced vegetables and seafood. The Inn offers a three course prix fixe menu for $75.

THE SERVICE at Hope & Glory

The grounds are immaculately maintained, the accommodations in pristine condition and the public rooms comfortable and inviting. Peggy and Dudley are always around and available to help, yet respect everyone’s privacy and seem to know when to initiate conversation and when to leave people to themselves. The kitchen staff is friendly and accommodating and seem to really enjoy turning out those terrific breakfasts. This is the best kind of service, there when you need it but never suffocating or overbearing.

THE RATES at Hope & Glory

From $325 Peak Season Weekend. Breakfast included.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Hope & Glory

Fodor’s Travel Guide – names the Hope and Glory Inn a Fodor’s Choice. “These places are the best of the best”.
Select Registry – designates the Hope and Glory as one its “distinguished inns of North America”.
Travel + Leisure has named it as one of their “30 Great Inns in the US”
American Historic Inns has ranked it one of America’s” Top Ten Most Romantic Inns” to which The New York Times has responded: “The description hardly does it justice”

PROMOTIONS at Hope & Glory

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Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles CA

OVERVIEW
The Hotel Bel-Air opened its doors in 1946 and quickly became a favorite of the Hollywood elite including Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Purchased in 2008 by Dallas businesswoman Caroline Hunt, the hotel became a member of the esteemed Dorchester Collection of hotels which includes the Dorchester in London, the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, the Hotel Eden in Rome and others.

The hotel closed in 2009 and reopened in 2011 after a renovation project with revered interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud and the Rockwell Group. All 103 guest rooms and various public spaces were updated yet retained the charm of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Today the property sits on 12 lush acres just a short distance from Beverly Hills. Paths wind through the gardens bordered by beautiful flowers and bushes in vibrant colors of the season. Swan Lake, with its graceful swans skimming across the water, epitomizes the tranquility and privacy of this secluded setting in the Hollywood hills.

THE ROOMS
103 rooms and suites are scattered about the property gardens affording maximum privacy. Starting at a generous 430 sq ft, the rooms feature custom limestone floors, natural wood ceilings and a soft palette of tans, browns and whites. Beds are draped in luxury Fili d’Oro Egyptian cotton bed linens. Marble bathrooms come with with heated floors, rain head showers and Anne Semonin bath amenities. We loved our Grand King Room that had a sitting area around a fireplace and French doors leading to an an outside patio.

DINING
The warm and cozy Bar and Lounge has a wonderful fireplace, Norman Seeff’s iconic photographs and a grand piano for nightly entertainment. Great drink and wine menu. Small plates including cheese, caviar, oysters and more.

In a spectacular outdoor garden setting with an outside bar and booths and private alcoves overlooking Swan Lake, Wolfgang Puck at the Bel-Air is a popular dining choice for guests and locals alike. The food is what one would expect from Wolfgang Puck, creative, well prepared and delicious. I enjoyed a fantastic Toriliia Soup, with Roasted Chicken, Crema Fresca, Avocado, Crispy Tortilla Strips, Cilantro and Guajillo Chilies and a wonderful Organic Jidori 1/2 Chicken, that was cast iron roasted with natural jus.

THE SERVICE
The staff is friendly and pleasant and greets you by name. There are excellent children’s and pet’s programs. The hotel provides transportation to anywhere within a 3 mile radius. A concierge can make travel arrangements, provide baby-sitting and dog walking services, can secure difficult reservations and more.

Puck and his team have created a gourmet à la carte menu for hotel guests to build their own picnic basket for a romantic picnic around Swan Lake. The experience comes complete with dining trays, blanket and plush pillows.

THE RATES
From $634 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Five Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Spa
Forbes Four Star Award – Dining

PROMOTIONS
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Hotel Fauchere, Milford PA

OVERVIEW of Hotel Fauchere

The hotel has a rich history and has entertained guests from Babe Ruth to Mae West to Robert Frost to three U.S. Presidents. Founded in 1852, by Delmonico’s master chef Louis Fauchère, the Hotel Fauchère was operated by the Fauchère family for 124 years, until closing in 1976. Current owners undertook a 5 year restoration project that transformed the hotel into an elegant country inn with two terrific restaurants. Just 70 miles from New York City and reachable by train, this is an ideal getaway to at least a few days of serenity and gastronomic exploration.

The Italianate style building has a wonderful wrap-around porch, set with rocking chairs and shaded by colorful red and white striped awnings. Inside, the elegantly furnished reception is to the right and Delmonico’s Restaurant to the left. Straight down the hallway is a tranquil Conservatory that opens onto a beautifully manicured lawn and gardens. The walls are hung with a wonderful collection of Hudson River School paintings. Downstairs in Bar Louis, the works of The Hilton Bros. are showcased, including a fantastic and huge Christopher Makos photograph of Andy Warhol and John Lennon.

THE ROOMS at Hotel Fauchere

The 16 guest rooms are elegant and luxurious. Our room #3 was decorated in a beige palette with original dark wide plank hardwood floors covered with a woven area rug. The windows had raw silk draperies and an antique desk and chair was nestled into the corner. The ample sized room was enhanced with a large outdoor deck that overlooked the gardens. Bathrooms of Carrerra marble and Pennsylvania blue stone have a shower of two rain forest heads and enough pressure to qualify for our “Hall of Fame” shower group. Floors have radiant heat and towel warmers to keep the towels toasty. Our queen bed was firm, draped in a two inch feather bed, Frette linens and covered with down comforters and pillows.

In-room amenities include flat screen TV with cable, telephone, iPod docking station, climate control and Kiehl’s bath amenities.

DINING at Hotel Fauchere

There are two restaurants in the Hotel and one off-site, The fine dining Delmonico Room,  the more casual Bar Louis and the casual 403 Broad. Delmonico is only open on the weekends.

THE DEMONICO ROOM
The Delmonico Room is named after Louis Fauchère´s friends and former employer, the Delmonico brothers who owned Delmonico´s restaurant in New York, creators of hamburger as a sandwich, Lobster Newburg, Lobster Thermidor, potatoes au gratin, Eggs Benedict and, of course, the Delmonico cut of steak.

The wine list, available in both restaurants is wonderful. Not only does it offer lots of diverse selections, but it is very reasonably priced.  Reason alone to come here.

BAR LOUIS
The sleek and stylish Bar Louis is where we enjoyed dinner during our stay. Brick pillars, modern furniture, and Hilton Bros. artwork create a casual, yet refined atmosphere. Enjoy a drink at the bar before dinner and try the Solstice Margarita, Jalapeño-Infused Platinum Tequila, Passion Fruit, Fresh Lime, Agave Nectar with salt rim. The menu is classic bistro fare with some delicious twists. Do not miss the Sushi Pizza, fresh Ahi Tuna, sushi rice tempura & Tobikko caviar. Bar Louis Burger was served with spicy fried onions with a choice of cheddar, gruyère, or blue cheese, on The Hotel’s own Patisserie Brioche Bun with French Fries. My Angus Steak Frites was a 10 oz. delight, perfectly cooked with Maitre’d Hotel butter and crisp pommes frites. On our Tuesday visit, the Gypsy Jazz Quartet was entertaining and may be the best jazz group I have ever heard.

403 BROAD
A bakery by morning, sandwich spot for lunch, and pasta shop by night. They grind their own coffee, smoke their own meats, throw their own pizzas, and make their own pasta.

THE SERVICE at Hotel Fauchere

The service is crisp, efficient and pleasant. Guests are escorted to their room for check-in and provided an informative overview of the hotel and local activities along the way. During your stay the staff is attentive, but unobtrusive.

THE RATES at Hotel Fauchere

From $300 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Hotel Fauchere

A Relais & Chateau property

“If you’re looking for a haute hideaway, program your GPS, drive straight into the über-romantic, 19th-century American landscape painting of the Delaware Water Gap — with its misty, tumbling cascades and craggy cliffs — and make a sharp right just after crossing the New Jersey state line into northeastern Pennsylvania. …. boldly set on one of Broad Street’s more picturesque corners (is) the three-story Italianate Hotel Fauchère, proud in pristine white with black shutters. …” LEXUS MAGAZINE

 

Hotel Viking

OVERVIEW of The Hotel Viking

The Hotel Viking opened to rave reviews in May of 1926 and quickly became a favorite of famous dignitaries and celebrities. Today, it is a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America. A recent A $6.2 million restoration maintained the hotel’s historical character while installing the latest comfort and technological amenities. Centrally located in town, the hotel is just a few blocks from Thames St.

THE ROOMS at The Hotel Viking

Rooms feature beautiful period-inspired furniture and the décor of Newport’s Gilded Age.Accommodations include pillow-top mattresses, Egyptian cotton bed linens, LCD televisions and beveled glass doors leading into bathrooms with ‘pillow’ carved marble showers. I particularly like the Estate Fireside Rooms which feature an electric fireplace.

DINING at The Hotel Viking

Bellevue Lounge offers a selection of house infused bourbons and a menu of wines by the glass. “Bite” menu items include oysters, crab fritters, bacon wrapped dates and more.

One Bellevue is the signature restaurant serving all meals. The delightful dining room is decorated in shades of blue with dark blue banquettes. It is an American menu highlighting fresh fish and steaks and chops.

Top of Newport Bar & Kitchen offers a menu of cocktails, wine and small plates. The views are astounding and the sunsets magical.

THE RATES at The Hotel Viking

From $763 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Hotel Viking

The historic Hotel Viking in downtown Newport is a local institution, offering travelers easy access to the bars and restaurants of Thames Street while still providing an elegant respite from the bustling city streets. FORBES

PROMOTIONS at The Hotel Viking

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Hotel Yountville, Yountville

OVERVIEW of Hotel Yountville

Hotel Yountville is in the center of the town which is in the center of the valley, making it an ideal base for your visit to Napa. In Yountville itself, you can walk to tasting rooms, Michelin starred restaurants, an amazing bakery and wonderful boutiques.

The hotel is an elegant compound of 80 rooms surrounded by a stone wall and grounds that are beautifully landscaped with lush gardens, oaks and olive trees and overflowing with flowers. The lobby has cathedral ceilings, the Y Bar and comfortable indoor seating areas around a stone fireplace. Outside there are more seating areas with fire pits and the Y Bar Patio has fountains and another stone fireplace. Whether you are having a cocktail with friends or just curling up with a book these areas couldn’t be more comfortable.

THE ROOMS at Hotel Yountville

The guestrooms are large by any standard, most in the 475-525sq ft range. They offer four poster King Beds dressed with Bellora Italian linens and a down duvet, a private bathroom with a walk in shower or tub/shower combo, a fieldstone fireplace, European Amenities, a mini bar and a coffee/tea maker. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected and a 42-inch LCD television offers premium TV channels.

DINING at Hotel Yountville

Thursday-Saturday from 5:30-6:30pm, the Hotel partners with many of the leading wineries in the Valley to provide a complimentary tasting in the Y Bar. Winery partners offer a range of benefits to hotel guests.

Breakfast is served at the Heritage Oak restaurant and it is a decided step up from standard breakfast fare.

THE SPA at Hotel Yountville

The Spa occupies over 4,000 sq ft of space and has six treatment rooms, a relaxation room, a poolside Manicure and Pedicure Salon and boutique store. Specialty features include two couple’s spa suites which feature Vichy showers, luxurious double hydrotherapy tubs and fireplaces. The pool and hot tub is the perfect place to unwind after a day of wine tasting and lite snack and cocktails are available poolside

THE SERVICE at Hotel Yountville

Thursday-Saturday from 5:30-6:30pm, the Hotel partners with many of the leading wineries in the Valley to provide a complimentary tasting in the Y Bar. Winery partners offer a range of benefits to hotel guests.

The hotel provides complimentary bicycles.

THE RATES at Hotel Yountville

From $1,080 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at Hotel Yountville

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Hudson Hotel

OVERVIEW
I am not usually a fan of trendy, boutique hotels. Their funky design and eclectic furnishings usually leaves me cold. The Hudson Hotel, however is an exception. There is so much to like about this delightful hotel on the West Side, not the least of which are some great rates that make this a real value. They call it “cheap chic,” but the Hudson is more chic and while not expensive, there’s nothing cheap about this place.

The hotel’s location is ideal, next to the hot Time Warner Center, a block from Central Park and convenient to the theater, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and a ton of restaurants.

Cars are greeted at the entrance by a contingent of doormen. Bags are taken and your car whisked away to the garage. An escalator flanked by green lit walls, takes you up to the dark lobby with a 40 foot sky light ceiling covered with ivy. Brick walls, a huge chandelier and a room length front desk complete the dramatic entry.

In the center of the hotel, there’s a wonderful indoor private park, a huge atrium with a sky light, trees, couches, chairs, little knooks and crannies and a couple of bars. It’s a great place for morning coffee and the paper or a late afternoon drink and a book.

THE ROOMS
The basic rooms are small even by New York standards, but somehow you don’t seem to mind. Phillip Starck’s amazing design evokes thoughts of an ocean liner cabin with dark wood paneled walls and hardwood floors, flowing curtains, stainless steel end tables and crisp white trim. The beds have down comforters and pillows and soft 300 count Egyptian cotton sheets.

DINING
Umami Burger features gourmet burgers and fries made with the finest ingredients. try their “breakfast burger.” Sky Terrace rooftop bar is one of the city’s best kept secrets. While soaking up the sun, guests can cool off with one of ten specialty sangrias including Red and White Wine, French Rosé, Pear-Limoncello and Kaffir Lime-Sake. The Library is a cozy bar with chairs and couches, Internet access and a great pool table. The Hudson Bar is a nighttime hot spot with its lit from below glass floor and a fantastic tequila menu.

THE SERVICE
The staff is young and hip. The women are beautiful and the men handsome. They are also very well trained, friendly and helpful. You will not go wrong staying here.

THE RATES: From $230 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
“Despite rooms so puny, you can’t change your mind (much less your black attire), this Westsider just off Columbus Circle is still a favorite for its sexy, Philippe Starck designed beautiful public spaces, its excellent bar and its location near Lincoln Center and the Time Warner Center; the staff ranges from attentive to exceptionally unhelpful and it’s so dark you may bump into every wall at least once, but affordable rates and an über-trendy scene still appeal to the clubbing set.” ZAGAT

Inn at Bowman’s Hill

OVERVIEW of Inn at Bowman’s Hill

You are just a short distance from New Hope as you drive down a narrow country lane looking for the Inn at Bowman Hill, a luxury B&B that sets a standard for accommodations in Bucks County. Suddenly the woods give way to a magnificent stone Colonial set on 5 beautifully manicured acres behind a tall iron fence. The setting is so idyllic that your pulse quickens in anticipation of what is to come.

 

Purchased initially as a private residence, Lynn and Michael Amery began to painstakingly restore the building and grounds. Somewhere along the way, they decided to use their travel experience to create an inn with the kinds of amenities they enjoyed when traveling. The result is a country house so warm and inviting that you’ll find it hard to leave.

THE ROOMS at Inn at Bowman’s Hill

There are 4 rooms and 4 suites, but they are large and magnificently decorated in soothing shades of peach, green, blue and beige. Hardwood floors are covered with beautiful area rugs and king size feather beds are adorned with down pillows and blankets and luxurious bed linens. Windows and French doors are surrounded by custom draperies and recessed lighting casts a soft romantic glow over the room. Fresh flowers add a delightful personal touch. All rooms have gas fireplaces, LCD televisions, DVD players, wireless Internet access and Bose radio/CD players. Italian tile bathrooms feature two person whirlpool tubs, glass showers, heated towel racks, Egyptian cotton towels, bathrobes and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries.

I particularly like the Pond Vista and Orchard Retreat rooms. Both have great views of the pond and forest and private verandas.

DINING at Inn at Bowman’s Hill

Not too many B&B’s can claim someone trained at the spectacular Inn at Little Washington and current chef at the acclaimed Evermay on the Delaware as a culinary consultant. The result, produced by owner Michael Ammery is a truly memorable breakfast served in your room, in the dining room or on the terrace overlooking the pool. Freshly squeezed juices, fresh fruit and home baked breads and muffins start you off and the signature breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, baked beans, sauteed potatoes and fried bread will fill you up for the day.

You can enjoy afternoon tea and sandwiches on the outdoor Vine Terrace, the indoor Conservatory or on the Manor Terrace overlooking the pool. All great spots to curl up with a book and a glass of wine. A stone patio surrounds a free form pool, set on a bluff overlookingthe gardens and a gazebo on the lawn, the perfect place to while away a summer day.

Among some delightful places to stay in the area, this wonderful inn has raised the bar….

THE RATES at Inn at Bowman’s Hill

From $365 Peak Season weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Inn at Bowman’s Hill

AAA Four Diamond Award
“One of the Top 10 Most Romantic Inns in the Nation” American Historic Inns

Inn at Dos Brisas, Washington TX

OVERVIEW of Inn at Dos Brisas

Every serious traveler, foodie and oenophile has dreamed of owning their own place, but few of us, have the resources or the experience to pull it off. Annapolis, Maryland and Houston businessman Doug Bosch and his wife Jennifer had both the resources and the passion to covert their 300 acre family abode into the Inn at Dos Brisas, a world class inn and restaurant in the Texas foothills between Houston and Austin.

Inspired by travels throughout Europe, memorable meals at places like The French Laundry, the Inn at Little Washington, Daniel and Chez Panisse and stays at world class properties like The Point, Bosch set out to create his own version of luxury and based on a recent Mobil Five Star award for the restaurant, he has succeeded.

No expense was spared in creating a hideaway guaranteed to relax even the most ardent Type A personality. Chefs from throughout Europe and the United States were interviewed, lighting, linens and coffeemakers were imported, a wine cellar master was hired to build the cellar and wine list, a magnificent 1760’s fireplace mantel was shipped from the Loire Valley and organic gardens were planted.

THE ROOMS at Inn at Dos Brisas

The spacious Spanish casita styled rooms (@800sq ft)  have vaulted ceilings with dark beams, leather furniture, iron head and foot boards, cement floors (to keep things cool) were painted a faux leather and covered with colorful area rugs and a charming patio looked out over the rolling meadows. Fresh flowers, local artwork and colorful striped duvets and shams offset the white walls. A comfortable window seat made for a great place to curl up with a book early in the morning and watch the sun rise over the dewy fields. Amenities include luxury linens, feather beds, a white stone fireplace, stocked mini kitchen, HDTV, DVD player and VCR. The large marble bath featured plush towels and robes and Lady Primrose amenities.

2011 saw the addition of the 1795 sq ft Haciendas which include a screened in porch and a private pool.

DINING at Inn at Dos Brisas

The Inn is the only Forbes Five Star restaurant in all of Texas and one of only 62 in the country. It is no wonder, though, with a culinary team unmatched in Texas or just about anywhere. Executive Chef Zachery Ladwig made his bones at Michelin starred Gordon Ramsay at the London and Bouley, at Corton, a two Michelin starred establishment. He played a significant role at The Garden of the Gods Club (Colorado Springs, CO); The Williamsburg Inn (Williamsburg, VA); Lautrec, the Forbes five-star, AAA Five Diamond fine dining restaurant at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa (Farmington, PA) and the American Club Resort (Kohler,WI,) a Forbes Five-star, AAA Five Diamond establishment.

Jonathan Cartwright joined the team as General Manager/Chef.  Cartwright was the General Manager and Executive Chef at the acclaimed White Barn Inn in Maine. His talents garnered an invitation to cook at the James Beard House in New York City, an honor accorded only to the country’s greatest chefs. Under his stewardship, The White Barn Inn Restaurant received a Five Star rating from Forbes and AAA’s Five Diamond Award. Cartwright is one of only 20 Grand Chefs of Relais & Chateaux in the U.S.

A certified organic garden produces vegetables, fruits and herbs and a 7,000 bottle wine cellar has earned the Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence”

THE SERVICE at Inn at Dos Brisas

With only 9 haciendas and casitas and a maximum of 18 guests, there is the opportunity to provide outstanding personal attention and Dos Brisas takes full advantage of the opportunity. The service is exceptional. In our case it was thanks to a young man named Christopher Roberts who could not have done more to make our visit enjoyable. He seemed to anticipate what we needed, even before we did.

Welcoming notes, evening quotations and weather on your pillow, chocolate covered strawberries and iced milk at turn down, candles lit on the patio at night and two sets of toiletries in the bathroom are just some of the many personal touches that illustrate that these folks get the customer service thing in a big way. You’ll never feel so pampered.

THE RATES at Inn at Dos Brisas

From $690 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Inn at Dos Brisas

AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Dining
Relais & Chateau property                           \
Wine Spectator Award Winning List

The “perfect” “romantic getaway” (about an hour from Houston), this ranch style Relais & Chateau inn is “one of the nicest resorts in Texas” say fans of the “read-your-mind service” and the “peaceful” Spanish-style casitas with remote controlled fireplaces, mini kitchens, satellite HDTVs, WIFI, baths with L’Occcitane toiletries and private patios overlooking meadows and ponds; each guest gets use of a golf cart to explore the 300 acres, which include a “phenomenal” restaurant with an “amazing wine list,” an infinity pool, 10 miles of groomed riding trails, skeet shooting and biking. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Inn at Dos Brisas

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Inn at Langley, Whidbey Island, Washington

OVERVIEW of the Inn at Langley

Whidbey Island is a wonderful weekend retreat, particularly for Seattle and Portland city dwellers. Its natural beauty, local wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, outdoor activities and quaint charm make an ideal place to relax and unwind. The island is about 30 miles north of Seattle, and is about 55 miles long and 12 miles wide. The cities of Langley and Oak Harbor are the largest towns and the island population suits at about 70,000 people.

The town of Langley overlooks Saratoga Passage, borders Puget Sound, and offers amazing views of Mount Baker and the Cascade Mountains. It is home to an eclectic band of writers, artists, performers and creators. The quirkiness of this town was evident during one visit when the entire town turned out for Oscar Night at the local vintage movie theater. Klieg lights, red carpet and all. Everyone came dressed as a nominee.

The Inn at Langley is a vibrant member of a vibrant community, renowned for its restaurant and hospitality.

THE ROOMS at the Inn at Langley

It would be hard to find more comfortable rooms. A wood burning fireplace, amazing views, a a soaking tub, balcony/patio to enjoy the view, great beds and shower. Just doesn’t get any better.

The Inn at Langley has sixteen waterfront king guestrooms, six waterfront corner king guestrooms

and two larger guestrooms with two queen beds. Each waterfront guestroom features a 180-degree view of the Saratoga Passage and a large outdoor porch-style balcony. All waterfront king rooms are spacious and are approximately 400 square feet. Guestrooms 36 and 46 are larger units at 600 square feet and contain two queen beds. Every room includes a soaking tub, wood-burning fireplace and a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning.

Two cottages sit on the bluff as town homes overlooking the Saratoga Passage and are 940 square feet in size. The open living area includes a wood burning fireplace,  a small water closet and two private patios. The lower level has the master bedroom with a king sized bed, a second wood burning fireplace and a full bath with soaking tub.

The Inn’s two suites, the Saratoga and the Gallery, are 1,500 square feet, boasting beautiful local architecture and interior design. A private deck faces panoramic views of the Saratoga Passage. Each suite features a fully outfitted kitchen, gas fireplace, and over-sized soaking tub.

DINING at the Inn at Langley

The restaurant is under the direction of Chef Matt Costello (a James Beard nominee) and Sous Chef Emily Bell. It overlooks the garden and features a double-sided river rock fireplace. An open kitchen allows you to watch all the chefs prepare a multi-course dinner, featuring Whidbey Island and ingredients from around the world. Dinner is served every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night year-round and Thursday through Sunday nights during the summer months of July-August. There is one seating per night.

Exceptional wine list with an emphasis on Washington and Oregon wines. May be the most reasonable pricing we have seen in a top quality restaurant. Had they applied, this list would surely have won an award from Wine Spectator.

THE RATES at the Inn at Langley

From $435 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Inn at Langley

“The setting alone, overlooking Saratoga Passage, may be enough to rank this place firmly among the best small inns in the region. However, Japanese-influenced styling, soaking tubs with water views, and fireplaces are all welcome luxuries at this romantic retreat.” Frommer’s

PROMOTIONS at the Inn at Langley

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Inn at Leola Village, Leola PA

OVERVIEW of Inn at Leola Village

Set in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster, PA, the Inn at Leola Village is a female owned and operated historic property. The original buildings date back to 1867 and served as farmhouses, a tobacco farm and a carriage house. This is a wonderful weekend destination where you can enjoy the charm of the Amish country, feast on five star dining and relax in luxurious accommodations.

THE ROOMS at Inn at Leola Village

There are 62 rooms spread over a number of buildings and no two are the same. All rooms have a flat screen TV, luxury bedding and Keurig coffeemakers. Additionally, most rooms are equipped with a microwave oven and a refrigerator. WIFI is complimentary. Hard to pick a favorite room, but the Wine Cellar, Bard House Loft Suite and the Ada Fisher Cottage were particularly unique and comfortable.

DINING at Inn at Leola Village

TE is the Inn’s signature restaurant earning Five Stars from Forbes and Five Diamonds from AAA. It has also won a Wine Spectator Award. Chef John Calabrese has created a delightful formal Italian restaurant experience, using 100% organic vegetables, edible flowers, herbs and fruits from their own gardens, meats and poultry from local sources and specialty Italian ingredients shipped daily from Italy. Five course dinner with wine pairing is a very reasonable $199. Prix fixe menu. Open weekends only.

Osteria Avanti is the everyday restaurant serving all meals with an Italian flair. Eat inside the rustic dining room or outside on the patio.

THE SERVICE at Inn at Leola Village

The staff is friendly and warm. And, for a little humor guests receive “whoopee pies,” traditional Amish desserts in stamped gift boxes reading: “Enjoy a little whoopee tonight.”

THE SPA at Inn at Leola Village

Destinations Hair Studio and Spa is a Forbes Four Star Award winner designed in a rustic Amish style with distressed wood and Amish designed antiques and artifact. men, don’t miss the Royal Shave.

THE RATES at Inn at Leola Village

From $259 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Inn at Leola Village

AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Five Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Dining
Forbes For Star Award – Spa
Wine Spectator Award

PROMOTIONS at Inn at Leola Village

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Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA

OVERVIEW of Inn at Little Washington

In the late 70’s Reinhardt Lynch and Patrick O’Connell had a successful catering business but dreamed of creating the perfect inn and restaurant. They found an old gas station in the sleepy little village of Washington, Virginia nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley and began the transformation. In no time the Inn at Little Washington began to win accolades from both guests and the media. The Inn was the first of its kind to receive the prestigious Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Awards for both accommodations and dining.

Take the imagination of a London stage and set designer, overlay a striking collection of art and antiques and combine rich fabrics, tapestries and wall coverings and you begin to envision the look and feel of the Inn. With fourteen rooms and suites, all decorated with a different mood,the Inn is what one would imagine a private English country home to be like. The public rooms are opulently decorated, yet warm and comfortable. Wander around and you will encounter small sitting areas with comfortable couches and reading material.

THE ROOMS at Inn at Little Washington

Every amenity imaginable is provided in the rooms; feather beds, Frette linens and bathrobes, heated towel racks, fresh flowers, exquisite bath products and a great shower. All the rooms are beautiful, but a Superior Room has a king bed and a balcony overlooking the patio. A Junior Suite adds a Jacuzzi and a fireplace.

If you really want to shoot the moon, ask for the Mayor’s House which is located just across the street in a private setting all its own. This is a magnificent retreat and one you will savor for quite some time. The bedroom features a king bed and fireplace. The large marble bathroom has a Jacuzzi and separate shower. There is a separate sitting room with its own fireplace and a courtyard deck and garden.

DINING at Inn at Little Washington

The dining room is sexy and romantic, awash in deep colors of hunter green, burgundy, brown and gold. Rose colored silk lampshades hang above each table creating an intimate and private setting. Having read all the accolades for this restaurant, there is a sense of anticipation in the air, of something special to come. And it does not disappoint for one second.

Just reading the menu fills your imagination with the varied flavors and textures; Salty Virginia country ham, sweet D’Anjou pear, peppery baby arugula and tart parmigiano-reggiano to name just one. I started with an herb crusted baby lamb that was sliced carpaccio style and served with tabouli and rosemary mustard, a perfect example of O’Connell s creative take of a restaurant standard. Jen had freshwater prawns over charred Vidalia onions with a mango mint salsa. Great flavors.

As we finished our first course, we were served a chilled vichyssoise with fresh sorrel in a small demi-tasse cup. The sorrel added a wonderful pungency to the potato and leek soup. Sadly, I have tried to duplicate these wonderful flavors, unsuccessfully so far.

For the second course, Jen chose the fricassee of Maine lobster with potato gnocchi and curried walnuts. Who would think to marry curried walnuts with flour dusted and sauté chunks of lobster? I like the combination of poultry and fruit and the marinated pan seared squab on garlic polenta with a fresh blackberry sauce was a perfect choice for my second course. For the main event I had a duet of veal; pan roasted loin of veal and braised veal cheek with raviolis of Virginia country ham, asparagus and forest mushrooms. I love the use of the salty Virginia country ham with the mild veal flavors. Jen had prime tenderloin of Angus beef on red wine risotto with morels and baby white asparagus. Cooked perfectly and the risotto was rich and wonderfully seasoned.

Even I, who seldom eats dessert, couldn t resist the temptation, on this day. We started with “Seven Deadly Sins”, a sampling of the Inn s most decadent desserts; chocolate cakes, flans, tarts, homemade ice cream and sorbet. Next we tried the southern butter pecan ice cream sandwich with hot caramel sauce and ended with a selection of imported cheeses. Wow!

Listen to how Patrick O’Connell views his “restaurant”, “Ever since we opened The Inn at Little Washington in 1978 we’ve never really thought of it as a restaurant ¬ just a hideaway in the country owned by two people who like to entertain a lot. For over 26 years it has felt as if we’ve been hosting one continuous house party. A successful party, like a great film or work of art, elevates the spirit, makes people feel life is worth living and enhances a guest’s self esteem.”

The restaurant has an extensive wine cellar of nearly 14,000 bottles and includes selections from California and France, of course, but also Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia and local wines from Virginia. There are a couple dozen choices by the glass and nearly three dozen 1/2 bottles, which I think is a wonderful idea as it allows for two wine choices for different courses.

Reservations are very difficult to get, particularly for Friday and Saturday nights. You must book months in advance. Even on the Monday evening we were there, the restaurant was full.

THE SERVICE at Inn at Little Washington

As we drove up to the Inn, a young woman was standing on the porch to greet us. We found out later that the staff rotates this function in two hour shifts, during the time guests are arriving. My car door was opened by another staffer who assured us he would take care of the luggage and car. As we entered the Inn, yet another staffer, welcomed us, told us no paperwork was necessary and invited us on a tour of the Inn. He showed us the public rooms and garden patio, presented us with a complimentary “welcome cocktail” of champagne and passion fruit and escorted us to our room. He asked us if we needed anything pressed for dinner, which we did, and he promised its return shortly.

Since we had a few hours until dinner, we took a short stroll around the little town. When we returned, tea was being served on the patio. Our server addressed us by name (how did she know who we were?) served us some delicious homemade morsels and we enjoyed a leisurely glass of wine.

When we came down for dinner, the hostess asked to pin a small carnation to my lapel, “tradition”, she said, but I suspect it was to identify us as Inn guests to the dining staff. She also asked to hold our room key for us, a subtle way of insuring who we were without asking.

Our dining experience is reviewed later, but after dinner and a drink on the lovely patio, we returned to our room, which had been completely refreshed; new towels, new soap, new bathrobes and our bed turned down. On a nightstand was a small decanter of port with two glasses and two “doggy” biscuits with a goodnight note from Jobe, one of the Inn’s Dalmatians.

We slept deeply on a luxurious featherbed and after a delightful breakfast in our room, checked out and headed for DC. About 10 minutes from the Inn, a car pulled up alongside us and we recognized the driver as Andres from the Inn. He motioned us over to the side of the road. It seemed we had forgotten something and rather than simply mailing it to us, he had hopped into his car and set out after us in hot pursuit. Wow, does anyone else “get” this kind of personal service?

This is an incredibly well trained staff, all of whom are intent on making sure that you are enjoying yourself. They are warm and gracious and really seem to enjoy what they are doing. Interesting too is that there seems to be no real division of labor, everyone does everything; carry luggage, park cars, wait on tables; bring you a lap top and press your clothes. You’ll never hear, “that’s not my job” at this place. One last note. We do not identify ourselves in our travels, so the experience we enjoyed at the Inn is the same one you will enjoy.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Inn at Little Washington

From the “truffle popcorn to the last lick of the sorbet sampler”, there’s “brilliance in every bite” at Patrick O Connell’s “magical” New American in the Virginia countryside; once again, its “drop-dead gorgeous” setting and “irreproachable” staffers who strive for “perfection in every detail” bring it the No. 1 rating for Decor and Service in the DC Survey ” no surprise to those who happily dip into their “life’s savings” to “savor” this “exquisite experience”; P.S. “stay the night to keep the fairy tale going.” ZAGAT

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Five Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Five Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Dining
3 Michelin Stars

Member Relais & Chateau
Wine Spectator Grand Award winner

“About as close to heaven as you can get while alive” gush gourmands who swear you “won’t find a better meal” than at this “unbelievable” on-site Relais Gourmand restaurant at this “fabulous” inn 90 minutes from the Capital; almost everything is “beyond perfection”- from the “over the top decor” to service that “consistently anticipates and fulfills your needs” to the uniquely furnished rooms” – so “sell your first born” if you have to and “be prepared for a shock when you get the bill”. ZAGAT

5 James Beard Awards
#1 Food/Décor/Service Zagat Washington DC
The Inn’s dining room has been rated #1 in North America, and #2 in
the World, by Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “World’s Best Awards.”

THE RATES at Inn at Little Washington

From $787 Peak Season Weekend

 

Inn at Perry Cabin, St. Michaels MD

OVERVIEW of the Inn at Perry Cabin

Movie buffs will recognize the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond as the site of the wedding in the film “Wedding Crashers” with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. To others it is a cozy weekend retreat in a delightful Eastern Shore town on the banks of the Miles River.

The Inn is an ideal escape for those living in the Mid-Atlantic region of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington as drive times easily allow a lunch time arrival.

Originally built in 1816 by Samuel Hambleton, a veteran of the War of 1812 and aide-de-camp to Commodore Perry, the property’s design concept was inspired by Perry’s cabin on the U.S.S. Niagara. It was first converted to a luxury country house in 1980 and in 2002/2003, then owner Orient-Express, undertook a $17 million project to upgrade the property. The renovation retained much of the charm of the original structure with nooks and crannies and courtyards and patios and fireplaces throughout. The fresh décor is a wonderful blend of antique and contemporary furnishings with soothing nautical colors.

Today, the Inn sits on 25 lush acres of manicured 200 year old gardens and with wonderful accommodations, excellent dining and the terrific Spa at Perry Cabin, it is an outstanding choice for a weekend getaway at any time of year. a magnificent new gold course adds to the appeal.

THE ROOMS at the Inn at Perry Cabin

The 48 guestrooms  and 30 suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many have fireplaces and separate sitting areas. Rooms on the main floor and many on the second have French doors that lead to a deck, patio or veranda. Our Master Waterview Suite had spectacular views of the water, a separate living room, a fireplace, two bathrooms, one of which was as big as my first apartment, luxury linens and a terrific bed that was hard to leave in the morning. Decorated in soothing shades of beige with local artwork and a blend of modern and antique furniture, this was a memorable place to spend a couple of days.

DINING at the Inn at Perry Cabin

While there are some charming restaurants in town, the two at the Inn are enjoyable enough that you may not want to eat anywhere else. The cozy Purser’s Pub has a wonderful open hearth fireplace for those chilly nights and a delightful outside courtyard for the nicer weather. It’s a popular spot with locals and it’s easy to see why. The drinks are excellent, there’s a good wine list and the pub food is outstanding. From October through Spring, Friday nights are “Oyster Nights” offering a variety of featured Oyster dishes including oysters on the half shell, Oysters Rockefeller, oyster Po Boys, fried oysters and oyster Stew. Delicious! Try the Yellowfin tuna “lollipops and the Greek lamb burger.

Stars is the Inn’s primary restaurant, serving all three meals. Breakfast and lunch can be served on the patio in good weather and dinner can be enjoyed around an open heath fire or along the windows.

Much care has been taken to create an elegant and sophisticated setting from sweeping river views to plush banquettes in soft Nantucket colors to striking artwork. Tables are set with Peugeot Silver Salt and Pepper shakers, Wedgwood china in the Nantucket pattern, linen by Rivolta Carmignani in a seashell pattern, blown glassware by Spiegelau and bone china shell candle holders. Joanne Effinger, the Inn’s Master Gardener, cuts fresh flowers each day and arranges them in petite vases. All this would be wasted but for the exquisite food and service. Don’t miss the crab soup, the crab cakes and the vanilla butter poached lobster. The 10,000+ bottle wine cellar has excellent choices and is reasonably priced. Live jazz on selected Saturdays in the winter by the Eric Felten Trio, named “a rising star on the international jazz scene” by PBS.

THE SERVICE at the Inn at Perry Cabin

Bellmen awaiting your arrival by the front portico sets the tone for a high level of service and continues with an efficient check-in and pleasant, friendly service throughout your visit. Breakfast was ordered through room service and we were given a precise time for arrival (it came early). A small problem with our fireplace was addressed within 5 minutes. Nightly turn down includes freshly baked homemade cookies and a newspaper is at your door early each morning.

THE RATES at the Inn at Perry Cabin

From $707 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About at the Inn at Perry Cabin

AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
“Exquisite views” abound at this “romantic and delightful” Orient Express” relaxation spot” in a “lovely waterside location” on the Chesapeake Bay with access to sailing lessons and yacht cruises; the “light, airy” rooms feature Molton Brown toiletries, French doors, fireplaces and lots of “charm”, while the service is “awesome”; though some find the fare “excellent”, others only recommend having a “scotch in the cozy bar” before “walking or biking” into town for dinner. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Inn at Perry Cabin

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Inn at Round Barn Farm, Waitsfield VT

OVERVIEW at Inn at the Round Barn Farm

The Inn at the Round Barn Farm is the quintessential Vermont B&B. A clapboard building, a roaring fireplace, the smell of fresh baked cookies, wide planked pine floors and gorgeous views combine to make this charming inn as comfortable as your own home. We half expected Bing Crosby to come out singing. Built originally in 1910, the Inn was renovated in 1988 and then added new rooms in 1992 and 1999. The concept of the “round barn” originated with the religious group, the Shakers who built their barns this way because “the devil can’t get you in the corners” In fact, the design was a very efficient one for the farmers.

Set on 245 acres, minutes from the Sugarbush and Mad River Ski slopes and 45 minutes from Stowe, the property has meticulously landscaped lawns, five ponds, lush flower gardens, an organic produce garden, meadows and woods and wonderful mountain views. In the warmer months breakfast or a drink on the terrace, overlooking a pond is serene and tranquil . The beauty of the surroundings has made this a very popular wedding venue.

THE ROOMS at Inn at the Round Barn Farm

There are 12 rooms, each stylishly decorated in warm colors with a mix of traditional and antique furniture. My Joslin Room had a canopy bed, wide plank pine floors covered with area rugs, a gas fireplace and wonderful antique dressers. White crown molding around the ceiling and windows set off the rich mauve colored walls complimented by matching window coverings and the bed canopy. A comfortable wing chair and ottoman flanked the bed and another club chair was in the bath suite. The bathroom had two sinks, a two person whirlpool tub and my favorite…a steam shower. Great shower with lots of power. Thoughtful touches include make-up remover, an extra light bulb, corkscrew, needle and thread.

DINING at Inn at the Round Barn Farm

Coffee is available each morning at 7:30am and breakfast is served from 8:30-9:30am. The menu changes daily and it is wonderfully delicious. During my stay the meal started with freshly squeezed orange juice, a coffee cake with raspberry yogurt. That was followed by an apple slaw with nuts and then by banana buttermilk pancakes with local bacon and a maple, cranberry walnut syrup. Wonderful!

The Inn has a license to sell wine by the glass and bottle and there are always complimentary drinks and snacks and hors d’ouevres and tea each afternoon.

In the winter, try to plan your stay when they have a Snowshoe Dinner. It’s a hike into the woods (and I mean a hike-about 35 minutes) but you are rewarded with a charming candle lit cabin with an inside and outside fireplace and absolutely wonderful food. Not to worry, they take you back a different way that only takes 10 minutes. Great fun.

In Waitsfield, Chez Henri is a French bistro that has been around forever, The Pitcher Inn in nearby Warren, is an outstanding fine dining experience with a gorgeous dining room and creek views and about 20 minutes away the Hen of the Wood restaurant has a Food & Wine award winning chef and exceptional food.

THE SERVICE at Inn at the Round Barn Farm

For a relatively small property, there is a significant staff dedicated to maintaining the property and serving the guests. The staff is pleasant and accessible and even after hours available to the needs of the guest.

THE RATES at Inn at the Round Barn Farm

From $237 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Inn at the Round Barn Farm

“My husband and I stayed here for two nights in February. The Inn was beautiful and the staff was great. The chef “wowed” me with his amazing breakfast and he accommodated my gluten allergy with no problem. The rooms are clean and cozy. We loved having the fireplace in our room.” Trip Advisor

“The Inn at Round Barn is our favorite place to stay and relax, whether it’s after a day on the nearby slopes, or just a day of wandering the Mad River Valley. Convenient location, considerate staff and thoughtful amenities make this inn very memorable.” Trip Advisor.

For over 20 years, the Green Mountain Cultural Center has called the Inn home to a variety of events. Performances supported by this renowned Vermont non-profit organization have become a cornerstone of the Vermont Festival of the Arts. The goal is to marry the beauty of the valley and Vermont’s Green Mountains with the unique talents of local Vermont artists, New England artists, and artists of international renown.

Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa, Jackson NH

OVERVIEW of Inn at Thorn Hill

Perched on a hill with wonderful views of the mountains and the village below, there’s much to like here at the Inn at Thorn Hill from good sized rooms with amenities like two person Jacuzzis and steam showers to a great wine list to an excellent restaurant and a gracious staff. With lots to do in the surrounding area, particularly in winter, the Inn is an ideal weekend destination.

There is a small reception area and library on the main floor, but most of the space is devoted to the enjoyment of food and drink. The cozy lounge is organized into conversation areas, two of which surround fireplaces, with comfortable chairs and leather couches. A fully stocked bar also offers some 30 wines by the glass with a fun “flight” option where you can taste 3 different wines for about $11. Mondays and Saturdays have piano entertainment.

The elegant dining room sits just beyond the lounge and when the weather is nice you can enjoy wonderful views while dining outside on the porch.

THE ROOMS at Inn at Thorn Hill

There are 18 rooms, 4 suites and 3 cottages on the property. I particularly like the rooms in the Main Building as they have been completely redone following a 2002 fire. My comfortable room, Mt. Madison, had a warm gold faux finish on the walls that was complimented by a gold and burgundy comforter and pillow shams. The room had a beautiful matching carved antique dresser and head/footboard and a great antique armoire. The bed was plump and comfortable and dressed in luxury linens. The bath was huge and featured a two person Jacuzzi (with mood setting candles), a steam shower (my favorite amenity), Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and plush towels and robes. Gray Manor and Mt. Monroe are two other preferred rooms.

DINING at Inn at Thorn Hill

The main dining room is warm and intimate with wonderful views of the Presidential Mountain range. In the winter a roaring fire keeps you toasty. The menu changes seasonally but here is a sampling: Lamb Lollipops – Served with an herb yogurt sauce,  Hanger Steak – Roasted shallot-marinated, grilled and sliced. Served with mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and mushroom demi-glace, Lobster Ravioli – Sweet North Atlantic lobster mixed with roasted shallots, fresh herbs, ricotta and mascarpone filled pasta. Sautéed with bay scallops and fresh vegetables
in a sherry butter sauce .

These folks take their wine seriously from the large by-the-glass list to its Wine Club and Wine Dinners to its fantastic Top 50 Wine list from their 3000 bottle cellar. This is a selection of current favorites, all at very reasonable prices. Reason alone to come here.

Call ahead and see if you can book the Granite Room, which is a private, stone walled dining and tasting room downstairs.

The Lounge also has its own menu which features small plates with items like  pretzel crusted calamari, a short rib sandwich and homemade onion rings. Great for a snack or a casual dinner.

Breakfast, served from 7:30am, is also an event. The chef visits markets every day and the breakfast menu is established based on what is freshest at the markets. There are four unique breakfast entrees each day.

THE SERVICE at Inn at Thorn Hill

The Inn is owned and run by Steve and Katey Lambert whose guiding hands are seen everywhere. The experience is always better when the owners actually manage the property. The staff here is pleasant and efficient, many are interns from Europe.

THE RATES at Inn at Thorn Hill

Rates: $400 Peak Season Weekend. Includes full breakfast daily, afternoon tea and cookies and dinner in the dining room each night.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Inn at Thorn Hill

AAA Four Diamond Award
“Everything’s coming up roses at this “fabulous inn overlooking” the White Mountains and within walking distance of Jackson Village; designed by Stanford White in 1895 and “recently rebuilt” (with a new spa), it features “elegantly furnished rooms” and cottages with prime views of Mount Washington and “personal touches” such as fireplaces and two-person Jacuzzis; but it may be the on-site, Med-inspired New England regional restaurant with a “great” 3,000-bottle wine list that prompts most to proclaim they “can’t wait to go back” (a three-course meal and an afternoon tea is included in the room rate)…” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Inn at Thorn Hill

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Inn on Main, Manasquan

OVERVIEW of The Inn on Main

We were thrilled a few years back when Inn on Main opened in our little town. There had not been many properties if this caliber in the area, so this was a welcome addition. Ideally located in the center of town, within walking distance of the train station and restaurants, and just a mile from the beach,

THE ROOMS at The Inn on Main

The Inn has 12 beautifully decorated and large rooms, some with balconies, all with sitting areas and all with fireplaces, pillow top beds, thick terry towels and Bio toiletries. Each room has its own distinctive character, but all are luxurious, comfortable and make you forget you are in Manasquan. These rooms are as nice as ones we have seen in Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Charleston and Key West and other places we have traveled.

All of the rooms are spacious and well appointed. Third floor rooms are slightly larger. My favorite rooms are #302 and #305, they are particularly large, very cozy and have balconies, fireplaces and large marble bathrooms.

This is the perfect place to house a wedding party, overflow relatives at the Holidays, friends coming to town for a reunion. And, if you need to get away from the kids for a night, there is no better place for romance in the area.

DINING at The Inn on Main

The acclaimed Blend on Main Bistro occupies the ground floor. Sister restaurant the Peach Pit serves breakfast and lunch.

THE RATES at The Inn on Main

From $219 Peak Season weekend

PROMOTIONS at The Inn on Main

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Keswick Hall

OVERVIEW of Keswick Hall

There is much to enjoy in Charlottesville, but it will be a struggle to leave the confines of the exquisite Keswick Hall, located just outside of town in the rolling hills of Virginia hunt country. In fact, with its beautiful rooms, wonderful dining, great golf course and spa and excellent service, you’ll wonder the need to go elsewhere. This is truly a romantic retreat that will rekindle whatever flame may be burning low.

The ride up the driveway past gorgeous formal gardens reveals a magnificent Tuscan influenced villa with a red tile roof. Your car is met instantly and you are guided through an arched portico to the reception desk in the Crawford Lounge, as inviting an entry hall as you will find anywhere. The public rooms are stunning yet cozy and comfortable, decorated with antiques and period pieces and filled with overstuffed furniture, striking artwork and sculptures and bookshelves. In the cooler weather blazing fires are set in the numerous fireplaces and porcelain bowls of apples, silver dishes of nuts and decanters of port and sherry sit on heirloom buffets and antique sideboards. These are not just rooms for “show” but to be enjoyed for some quiet reading, a game of snooker, an afternoon cocktail or a before bed glass of port.

THE ROOMS at Keswick Hall

The 38 (soon to be 80) recently refurbished rooms have a crisp new blue, cream and gray palette with striped wallpaper accents and patterned carpets. Andrew Shurleff’s local photography and San Francisco photographer Sharon Beals’ nature works grace the walls. Rooms are oversized at 400 + square feet and feature luxurious Duxiana beds with leather nailbed headboards, Frette linens and bath sheets. Bathrooms are constructed with Arabescato marble with double vanities, an oversized walk-in shower and Red Flower bath amenities.

All the rooms are comfortable, but the Deluxe King with Balcony or Terrace offer outside seating with views out over the golf course and pool.

DINING at Keswick Hall

Marigold by Jean-George is the Estate’s fine dining restaurant and is reviewed in our dining section. The Counter offers a quick, convenient marketplace with delicious lattes, the Jean-Georges juice of the day, and house made breads.

Crawford’s is a comfortable place to gather and enjoy handcrafted cocktails and a small plates menu. An extensive selection of house-made infusions, rare liquors, and farm-to-shaker beverages makes  a stop here imperative during your visit.

THE SERVICE at Keswick Hall

Maybe the best thing about Keswick is that you truly feel they care about you as a guest. It is the little touches that tell all like the thought process on the turn down treats or that on Christmas morning, guests staying at the hotel can wander through the public rooms to discover which fireplace their personalized holiday stocking has been hung over or the Baby Butler program to help mothers with their children or the Pet Program and Menu for your dog.

It is so refreshing to find a place that feels more like a friend’s home than a resort. Don’t miss at least one night here.

THE RATES at Keswick Hall

From $819 Peak Season weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Keswick Hall

Forbes Five Star Award
AAA Four Diamond Award- Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining

“Virginia’s Keswick Hall brings together everything you would want in a weekend getaway…serene countryside setting, a pool you could spend hours in, activities for the whole family and impeccable food” Conde Nast

L’Auberge Carmel, CA

OVERVIEW of L’Auberge Carmel

Built in 1929 and recently renovated, L’Auberge Carmel has only 20 guestrooms that surround a charming brick courtyard. The white stucco building with arched doorways, green trim and flower boxes filled with red flowers has the look and feel of an inn you might encounter in the French countryside. The small entryway leads to the restaurant, Aubergine, to the right. To the left is an intimate bar area with a fireplace and beyond that the reception desk. Straight through is the beautiful tiered courtyard, set with teak furniture, red umbrellas, pots of flowers and colorful gar dens, ideal for reading or an afternoon glass of wine.

THE ROOMS at L’Auberge Carmel

The guestrooms remind me of a Pottery Barn catalog….and that’s a good thing. Dark wood furniture and blue patterned curtains and accessories perfectly compliment cream colored plaster walls. French windows and antique doorknobs add a nice touch. Oversized and warm, the room was cozy and comfortable and outfitted with a flat screen TV, CD player and refrigerator. The designer bed had luxury linens and down comforters and pillows. The large bathroom had a bowl sink, a huge soaking tub and a separate marble shower. Radiant floors, organic toiletries and plump towels added to the appeal.

DINING at L’Auberge Carmel

Aubergine is the signature restaurant under the direction of Justin Cogley, a Relais & Chateau Grand Chef and James Beard nominee. The restaurant has received a Forbes Five Star rating and One Michelin Star.The 8 course tasting menu features locally sourced ingredients and is complimented by a 2,500 bottle cellar.

THE SERVICE at L’Auberge Carmel

Often the best service is the kind you don’t see until you need it and such is the case at L’Auberge. No one hovered, but seemed to be there when I wanted something. Check-in and out was efficient and friendly. A glass of wine was delivered promptly in the courtyard. My restaurant server was excellent and a staff member moved my car periodically so I wouldn’t get a ticket on the limited time street parking.

THE RATES at L’Auberge Carmel

From $649 Peak Season Weekend. Rates include breakfast.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About at L’Auberge Carmel

AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Dining
It’s all about “understated luxury” at this adults-only Relais & Châteaux hotel in Carmel that’s “outstanding in every respect”, especially when it comes to the “superb” 10-course contemporary Californian meals at Aubergine and the “fantastic” breakfasts; the rest of the “world-class” experience includes a staff that makes “every effort”, “beautiful rooms” with French doors and deep-soaking tubs, and “luxurious” grounds.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at L’Auberge Carmel

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L’Auberge de Sedona, Sedona AZ

OVERVIEW of L’Auberge de Sedona

It would be hard to find a better setting for a romantic weekend away than L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona. From the spectacular Red Rocks to cozy creek side cottages to private dining beside the rushing waters of the creek, a weekend here will rejuvenate an old relationship or get a new one off to a great start.

Located just 28 miles south of Flagstaff, L’Auberge sits on the banks of the Oak Creek in the Red Rock region of Arizona. The scenery is breathtaking, the town of Sedona is charming and the there are a host of activities both on-property and in the surrounding area. Art galleries, golf, hiking, horseback riding, jeep and helicopter tours, fishing, and hot air balloon rides are just some of the activities.

ROOMS at L’Auberge de Sedona

There are 62 luxury cottages, 21 traditional lodge-style guest rooms and a beautiful, stand-alone five-bedroom Creekhouse on the property. Cottages and rooms are decorated to reflect the colors of the creek with white walls, blue accents and dark wood furniture. We loved our Creekside Cottage with the sound of running water outside our door. It was nearly 500 sq ft in size, had a fireplace, an outside deck with table and chairs, an outside shower, down bedding, club chairs and an ottoman and L’Occitane bath products. As close to home as you can get.

DINING at L’Auberge de Sedona

89 Agave Cantina, located just above the resort, offers a Sonoran-style
Mexican food menu and 89 tequila options. With patio seating, this is a great place for a snack, a meal or just people watching.

Executive Chef Franck Desplechin helms the signature restaurant, Cress on Oak Creek. The prix fixe menu with French technique is inspired by Desplechin’s time in France working at 3 Michelin starred restaurants. Most recently he was Executive Chef at the acclaimed St Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Desplechin is also a level one sommelier. The restaurant offers an all day a la carte menu, a prix fixe dinner menu and a Sunday Brunch.

The dining room is elegant and comfortable but dining on the outside patio with tables set with crisp linens and flickering candles is nothing short of magical. They will even set you up in a private alcove, steps from the water for their Private Dining Creekside Reserve…it just doesn’t get more romantic than this.

Cress has been awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 22 years. They utilize a Coravin System for their “wines by the glass” program which allows them to offer rare and fine wines that are preserved by the system. The excellent wine list is fairly priced and also showcases Arizona wines.

THE RATES at L’Auberge de Sedona

From $549 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About L’Auberge de Sedona

AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Four Star Award  -Lodging
U.S. News & World Report, #49 Best USA Resorts
Condé Nast Traveler, Readers’ Choice Awards – No. 16 Top Hotels in the

PROMOTIONS at L’Auberge de Sedona

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L’Auberge Provencal, Boyce VA

OVERVIEW of L’Auberge Provencale

In the rolling countryside of Northern Virginia sits an absolutely charming French country inn, L’Auberge Provencale, that seems to have been plucked from Provence and set down here. Just an hour and a half from Washington, the Inn is the perfect place to escape the city and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the country. But this is no ordinary Inn, it is something very special from its gorgeous rooms to its amazing food, it is an experience you will want to re-live more than once.

Set on a small knoll with sweeping lawns and fields as far as the eye can see, the Shenandoah Valley setting could not be more idyllic. The circa 1753 manor house with its stone façade and wonderful front porch is surrounded by fruit orchards and flower, vegetable and herb gardens, all used in the restaurant or public rooms.

The cozy and cheerful living room is set with a plump couch and comfortable chairs and has a delightful fireplace to take the chill out of a crisp day. Sit around the fire or on the front porch, enjoy a glass of wine and a good book. The city seems so far away.

THE ROOMS at L’Auberge Provencale

There are 11 rooms and suites and another 3 rooms at a sister property down the road. Decorated in bright, cheerful colors with faux painted walls, Provencal fabrics, hand painted tiles and antiques, the rooms are spacious and elegant. Some have fireplaces and aromatherapy steam showers, some have sitting areas, all have meadow or pastoral views.

My room, Renoir was very large, had a wonderful palette of light blues and yellows and was furnished with French country antiques and striped wallpaper and fabrics. A four poster wood canopy bed centered the room next to a fireplace. A sitting area surrounded a large screen TV and looked out onto the gardens. The linens were luxurious, the toiletries aromatic and the shower had great pressure, all contributing to a most pleasant experience.

DINING at L’Auberge Provencale

As wonderfully charming as the rooms are here, it is the food that brings people here again and again. Trained in Provence with cooking stints in Europe and throughout the U.S. owner Alain created an extraordinary restaurant, La Table Provencale,  that has become a destination for many “foodies.” Today the kitchen is helmed by Richard Wright who got his training at the Gotham Grill in NYC and under renowned chef Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, also in NYC. He fashions a menu using vegetables, herbs and fruits grown right on the property and works hard to support sustainable farming in the area using fresh organic meats, cheese and eggs.

There is a wonderful bar serving hand-crafted cocktails, herb-infused drinks from their gardens, and local craft beers and ciders on tap. The menu is classic bistro with snacks, caviar, cheese, charcuterie, oysters, burgers and more.

The intimate dining rooms are all decorated with antiques, fine art, Provencal fabrics and whimsical artifacts from France. Guests can enjoy a changing prix fixe menu or a Chef’s Tasting menu. and both have a wine pairing option.

Breakfast at L’Auberge rivals dinner in its creativity and uniqueness.

THE SERVICE at L’Auberge Provencale

Owners, Celeste and Alain or a staff member are always available to get you a glass of wine  or a cocktail or to answer any questions you might have about “things to do” in the area. Looking for a place to walk/run they directed me to a wonderful Arboretum just down the road. No one hovers, but someone seems to always be there when you need them. Service at both dinner and breakfast was flawless. Nice touch when you check-in; there’s a basket of fruit, cookies and chocolates in your room.

THE RATES at L’Auberge Provencale

From $379 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About L’Auberge Provencale

Wine Spectator Award
You can have a “perfect” French multi-course dining experience – featuring herbs grown in the on-site garden – at this “old”, “romantic” inn in the Virginia hunt and wine country 90 minutes from DC; though it has solid service, a “gorgeous setting” and the requisite antiques in its “charming” rooms, it’s a “restaurant first and a B&B a weak second” say foodies who find a “dream come true” in the “incredible” fare. ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at L’Auberge Provencale

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La Mer/Dewey House

OVERVIEW of the La Mer/Dewey House

Staying here is getting the best of all worlds. La Mer and Dewey House are delightful, private and intimate oceanfront B&B’s, but are part of the adjacent Southernmost Hotel which has three pools, two outside bars and a fishing pier.  Also part of the complex is the Southernmost Beach Cafe an open air restaurant and bar, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even cocktails from early morning.

THE ROOMS at the La Mer/Dewey House

These wonderful adjoining properties literally sit on the beach at the end of Duval and have beautifully decorated rooms, many with porches overlooking the ocean. Decorated in soothing beach colors with ceiling fans and luxurious marble bathrooms, many with Jacuzzi tubs. There’s complimentary bottled water, plush robes, designer linens, a self serve bar and a newspaper delivered to your door every morning.

Start the day with a delicious continental breakfast served on the patio around the wading pool overlooking the ocean. You can spend the day around any of the pools but most opt for the white sandy beach with comfortable lounge chairs ($5) and drink service. Lunch is only a few steps away at the beachfront café and at the end of the day you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon tea in a beautiful oceanfront setting.

Our last room, 403, had 10 ft. ceilings, crown molding, beige walls dressed with local art and dark hardwood floors. An armoire housed a TV and DVD player, safe and refrigerator. The bathroom was tiled with white bricks and featured Vykasa Tea Tree toiletries. French doors opened onto our private wrap-around porch with lounge chairs. the  beach, steps down from our veranda. Other room recommendations are 404 in La Mer, and 418, 419 and 420 on the second floor of the Dewey House. Room 420 also has a little kitchenette.

There no better way to start the day than sitting on a patio with a cup of coffee and watching the sun rise over the ocean. This is the only B&B in Key West in which you can do that.

DINING at the La Mer/Dewey House

The Southernmost Beach Cafe, Pineapple Bar, Shores Beach Bar and Shores Bar are Southernmost Resort restaurants offering local fresh fish dishes, freshly squeezed beverages, and award winning key lime pie.

THE RATES at the La Mer/Dewey House

From $501 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at the La Mer/Dewey House

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Lake Placid Lodge

OVERVIEW of The Lake Placid Lodge

The Lake Placid Lodge is a spectacular property on the banks of Lake Placid that offers a main lodge and a collection of lakeside cabins. Rooms are extraordinarily decorated, the food is outstanding and the views breathtaking.

In December 2005, just two months after our first visit, a devastating fire destroyed the Lodge’s main building, a wonderful old structure that overlooked Lake Placid and included rooms, the bar, restaurant and the wine cellar. Precious art and furniture and the Lodge’s amazing wine collection were lost forever.

Reconstruction of the main building was just about complete when we visited in November ’08 and it is once again quite spectacular. The new structure has much of the charm of the old, but with some wonderful new twists. A huge stone fireplace welcomes you upon entry and straight ahead is a staircase, adorned with a wonderful collection of Adirondack artwork, leading up to rooms and down to meeting rooms, a lounge area (The Moose Room), the bar (which is about three times the size of the old one) the restaurant and the dine-in wine cellar. The table in the wine cellar is a huge old door from a monastery in Santa Fe.

THE ROOMS at The Lake Placid Lodge

The 13 main house guest rooms are spacious and luxuriously decorated in a rustic yet elegant style. Each has a massive stone fireplace built by a local artisan, custom made beds, soaking tubs, beautiful artwork and magnificent lake and mountain views from the balcony.

On our stay, we chose to stay in a lakeside cabin. Check-in was swift and we were escorted to our cabin by one of the staff. A bottle of wine and a personally written note from the General Manager.

Our cabin, Moss Cliff, was set among a group of tall white birches right on the edge of Lake Placid with views of the mountains in the distance. The cabins are spaced well apart from each other, affording maximum privacy. Inside, there’s a huge picture window and outside there are Adirondack chairs on a small patio, both with spectacular lake and mountain views.

Cabin interiors are roomy and decorated with rustic elegance. Hand cut timber walls are offset with a burgundy couch, two forest green club chairs and burgundy paisley draperies. A massive stone fireplace flanks a plump feather bed and local art grace the walls. The large bathroom features a huge soaking tub for two, silk-like bathrobes, high quality bath products and towel racks fashioned from branches. Other amenities included a French press coffee maker and a refrigerator with milk, juice and water.

DINING at The Lake Placid Lodge

All meals are served in the Inn’s restaurant which is reviewed separately.

THE SERVICE at The Lake Placid Lodge

When we returned from dinner, a fire had been set, the lights dimmed and soft music was playing. We enjoyed a final glass of wine with the moon splashing its light across the Lake and fell into a deep sleep under luxurious linens and a down comforter. Few nights could be as romantic as this.

We awoke to a soft knock at our door that told us our breakfast had arrived and we enjoyed it beside the fire as a soft mist passed over the mountains in the distance. Another indulgent soak in the tub and we were on our way. Ah, the good life…

THE RATES at The Lake Placid Lodge

From $719 Peak Season weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Lake Placid Lodge

Relais & Chateau Member
Top 20 U.S. Small Hotels – Zagat
Best Hotels in the World – Travel + Leisure
Top 15 Resort Hideaways – Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report
Forbes Travel Awards – Recommended

PROMOTIONS at The Lake Placid Lodge

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Lambertville House, Lambertville

OVERVIEW of Lambertville House

Lambertville House, a historic inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places sits a few blocks from the Delaware River in the heart of Lambertville. With 26 rooms and suites, this splendid facility has been welcoming guests for almost 200 years. It has retained the charm of its long history, but has been restored to present day conveniences.

THE ROOMS at Lambertville House

Any place that has coffee and newspapers available at 6am and breakfast at 6:30am gets my vote as a good place to stay. But that’s not all there is to like here. The rooms, most with fireplaces, balconies and/or courtyards are beautifully decorated, very well maintained and of ample size. On our last visit, we stayed in the Queen Courtyard Suite, which had two rooms; a hot tub room with a fireplace and a bedroom with a fireplace, a separate bath with shower and an intimate balcony overlooking the courtyard. There was Internet access, turndown service with chocolates and even television speakers in the bathroom. A soft comfortable bed with luxury linens, thick towels and bathrobes all made this a delightful experience.

DINING at Lambertville House

Enjoy a cocktail in Left Bank Libations, as cozy a bar as you will ever see, before heading out for the evening. Relax in comfortable easy chairs or plump couches inside or front porch or garden seating outside.

Dish Catering curates the food program, offering Cheese & Charcuterie, Small Plates, Sandwiches, Soups, Salads and Entrees for dinner. Weekly specials. A “Continental Plus” breakfast, included in the room rate, is served every morning on the lower level.

Guests have the use of the Center Club, a fitness center, a short distance from the hotel.

Lambertville is a great little town just to walk around. Lots of little shops, antique stores, art galleries and restaurants all within a few blocks of this hotel.

THE RATES at Lambertville House

From $290 Peak Season weekend.

Le Pavillon

OVERVIEW of Le Pavillon

Located in the center of the business district and minutes from the Superdome and the French Quarter, Le Pavillon sits on land once a plantation. Built in 1907, this grand hotel has an amazing collection of art, antique furniture and architectural features. You’ll marvel at a 17th century hand carved wood fireplace, full and half tester beds that pre-date the Civil War, a Louis XV lobby armoire, a three arch Brunswick bar circa 1880 salvaged from a Chicago hotel that was frequented by Al Capone, eleven crystal chandeliers from Europe, a rare marble bathtub purported to have been owned by Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and more.

Ornate elevators framed by draperies, high ceilings, doormen in white tie, tails and top hats and some wonderful traditions make this a very special place.

THE ROOMS at Le Pavillon

Guest rooms are oversized with high ceilings, traditional furnishings with designer draperies, plush duvet covers, automated mini bars and 46 inch flat screen color televisions. The bathroom features a natural stone vanity and designer toiletries. A basket of fresh fruit, water and cookies greets each guest.

DINING at Le Pavillon

The Crystal Room offers French-Creole cuisine in a dramatic space with columns, marble floors and 22-ft.-high ceilings. The restaurant is renowned for its daily luncheon buffet. The bar, La Gallery, offers a great drink menu and casual fare.

One of the best features about this hotel is its year round, heated rooftop pool, fitness center, hot tub, sun deck and private cabanas. The views are spectacular and there is a dining and drink menu that is surprisingly inexpensive for a hotel.

THE SERVICE at Le Pavillon

Each night at 10pm, the hotel invites its guests for a little taste of home offering peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ice cold milk in the lobby.

THE RATES at Le Pavillon

From $289 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Le Pavillon

AAA Four Diamond
“Guests of this business district grande dame feel like they’re staying at Tara thanks to the columned entrance, the old world luxury of the magnificent lobby and, most of all, the top notch (and top hated) staff delivering a heavy dose of New Orleans charm and complimentary nighttime snacks of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches; rooms are smallish but comfortably appointed, and while parking leaves a lot to be desired, the location is one block from the streetcar.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Le Pavillon

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Lenox Hotel

OVERVIEW of The Lenox Hotel

Originally built in 1900, The Lenox Hotel, was the first “boutique” hotel in Boston and has a fascinating history. Legendary tenor Enrico Caruso arrived on his private train, Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal stayed here while filming Love Story and Tony Curtis during The Boston Strangler production. Judy Garland stayed for three months before departing on her final London trip. I remember going to Diamond Jim’s Piano Bar in the 70’s to hear 80 year old Gladys Troupin, “Boston’s Grand Dame,” who was engaged to George Gershwin when he died.

Today, the hotel is a AAA Four Diamond property and a leader in the “green” initiative among hotels in New England.

THE ROOMS at The Lenox Hotel

The 214 spacious guest rooms and suites combine old world charm with modern technology . Accommodations are richly appointed with mahogany furniture, crystal lamps, high ceilings accented with brass chandeliers, exceptionally comfortable beds and exquisite Italian marble bathrooms with Aveda toiletries and plump towels and robes.

When there is a nip in the air, book an Executive King with Fireplace. My corner room had over 400 sq feet of space and a wonderful wood burning fireplace. Great views of the Back Bay, a roaring fire and a glass of Cab made it feel like I was right at home.

DINING at The Lenox Hotel

Do not miss drinks in the dark and sophisticated City Bar with its lit from below bar top and amazing list of martinis and small plates. This is a new favorite after work spot in town. Great before or after dinner. The new City Table serves breakfast and dinner each day and dinner is a celebration of comfort foods like lobster soup, cod with grilled corn and lobster chowder sauce, fire roasted chicken, Maine lobster roll and sliders three ways; beef lamb and crab cake. Solas means comfort in Gaelic and you’ll find plenty of that in this authentic Irish Pub from Irish beers to Shepherd’s Pie to Fish & Chips Harp.

THE SERVICE at The Lenox Hotel

In an age of $600 per night rooms that charge for wireless access, The Lenox stands out for its amazing list of things it will provide the traveler…for free. from toiletry items you may have forgotten to a selection of pillows and much more. Nightly turndown comes with a seasonal treat, there’s a complimentary hybrid SUV service and stories about Lenox employees “going the extra mile” for guests are legion. One dedicated doorman once went the extra 50 miles in his own vehicle to deliver a forgotten briefcase to a very grateful businessman. Another recently retired after 60 years of service. It’s hard to beat family owned properties for attention to detail.

THE RATES at The Lenox Hotel

From $365 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Lenox Hotel

AAA Four Diamond
Travel & Leisure Best Hotel’s Top 500 List

PROMOTIONS at The Lenox Hotel

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Little Palm Island, Torch Key FL

OVERVIEW of Little Pal Island

I went looking for Paradise..and I found it on a small island in the Florida Keys. Among the many wonderful and romantic places we have visited, Little Palm Island stands out as one of the most romantic. Private and secluded with ample opportunity to be alone, this is the perfect place for a special occasion, to rekindle a romance or to get one started. Sit on the beach, around the pool or in one of the lounge chairs strategically placed in secluded spots around the island. What could be more romantic than a spectacular dinner served at your private table, set, in the water, on a small sand bar, surrounded by torches that reflect off the water. Add a full moon, a great bottle of wine and the world is your oyster.

Little Palm is truly an island, accessible only by boat or seaplane. 30 cottages are spread around the perimeter of the island in order to enjoy water views. Most activities are centered clustered at one end of the island, so that the majority of the cottages are secluded and away from the the restaurant, pool and bars.

THE ROOMS at Little Palm Island

Guests are housed in private suites which are really free-standing thatched cottages on stilts spread out across the island. Nestled among swaying palms and colorful bougainvillea, they are completely private and leave you feeling as if yours is the only cottage on the island. Most have water views, some better than others. Suites are a spacious 500+ square feet with vaulted ceilings that make them feel even larger. All have king beds, some draped in flowing canopies, ceiling fans, outdoor showers and a small deck with a table and chairs. Bathrooms are huge with a soaking tub and separate shower (ours had three shower heads) and Spa Terre toiletries. The décor is an elegant island/Tommy Bahama kind of theme with dark woods, stone floors, bamboo, rattan and rich fabrics. Beds are draped in luxury linens and comforters and the bath towels are oversized, plush and soft. Our Premium Bungalow Suite (one of a group of recently renovated suites) had a wonderful sitting room with glass doors looking out over the water. It was hard to leave the room.

DINING at Little Pal Island

I knew we were in for something special when we ordered margaritas and chips and salsa for an afternoon snack. The margarita came with freshly squeezed lime juice, the salsa homemade and the chips right out of the oven.

Making time for drinks at the bar before dinner and sampling one of their terrific house martinis is a must. Everyone is relaxed and in “vacation mode” and the conversations are fun and entertaining. Try the Paradise Found, Parrot Bay Passion Fruit Rum blended with mango, Midori Liquor, and topped with 151 Rum or the resort’s signature Gumby Slumber, coconut rum, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, tropical juices, and finished with fresh coconut soaked in Bacardi 151 Rum.

The views would almost be enough to make this an amazing experience, but Executive Chef Luis Pous’s seasonally fresh menu with French and Latin influences make it a truly extraordinary one. The menus change daily but we enjoyed tuna tartare with a wasabi foam, Berkshire pork chops with an arugula and red onion salad and blue cheese and a delicious roasted organic chicken with a wonderful black bean salsa.

The wine list is excellent, with all the major regions of the world represented and surprisingly (for a place of this stature) there are lots of reasonably priced choices. We enjoyed an excellent Tocai Friulano, Bastianich, priced at $50.

Breakfast, served on the outside terrace overlooking the water featured freshly squeezed juices and excellent coffee. Our French toast made with homemade bread coated in corn flakes and served with mascarpone cheese and fresh fruit was absolutely amazing.

THE SERVICE at Little Pal Island

Your first experience with the Little Palm staff is when you arrive at the small hut from which you will be whisked by an antique launch to the island. Check-in is swift and efficient and you are offered a delicious rum punch (or two) while you wait for the boat. The staff is friendly, yet deferential. On the island, when you pass one on a path in their golf cart, they stop and wait for you to go by. As all “great” places, Little Palm makes that extra effort to insure your comfort and enjoyment. There is an espresso machine, juice, soda and water in each room. USA Today is delivered to your suite each morning. At turn-down, candles are lit in your room and there are book lights and water set on each side of the bed. A canvas bag is provided with towels to take to the beach or pool. Binoculars are available for searching the waters and skies, umbrellas are provided for the occasional shower and your room keys have lights in them to make it easy to find your lock when returning at night. The stationary in your room is even engraved with your name! The property is meticulously maintained where even the sandy, gravel walkways are constantly raked by staff members.

THE RATES at Little Palm Island

$3,000 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Little Palm Island

AAA Four  Diamond Award
“It may be hard “for a place this expensive” to be worth every penny . . . but it is” purr patrons of this “intimate getaway” on a private island (reachable by boat or seaplane), where the “spacious” bungalow suites have their own private decks and no TVs; the “most romantic” spot in the Keys includes “impeccable service”, “exceptional” dining and no children under 16 plus the use of cell phones in public areas is highly discouraged.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Little Palm Island

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Lodge at Glendorn, Bradford

As you pass through the entry gates, a long driveway, bordered by lush foliage, leads to The Big House, home to a group of rooms and suites, the main dining rooms, the Billiard Room and other public rooms. Guests can also select one of 12 rustic and charming cabins spread throughout the property in the secluded woodlands. The cabins are ideal for friends or families traveling together as many have multiple bedrooms. Each accommodation is uniquely decorated with fresh flowers, quality antique furniture, “built in” cabinetry and bookshelves, vintage memorabilia, luxury draperies, monogrammed linens, thick, plush towels (that have a wonderful fragrance) and all have at least one wood burning fireplace.

THE ROOMS
All the accommodations have their own personality so it’s difficult to pick a favorite. My cabin, Hutch, was nestled in a ring of ancient Hemlock trees. It had a king-size bedroom with a raised hearth wood-burning fireplace, a large bath with separate shower and tub and an additional queen size bedroom with private bath. The cozy living room had a wood-burning fireplace, there was a full kitchen, and a wonderful screened porch with another wood burning fireplace. Outside, there was a fire pit and lawn furniture. John’s Cabin and Guesthouse are also beautifully decorated and have wonderful views of Skipper Lake.

THE SERVICE
From patient Orvis endorsed guides, Shane and Damon, who taught us to fly fish, to Natalia’s beautifully choreographed dining staff, to housekeepers who always seemed to get to my room before I did, to Director of Hotel Operations Stephanie Schafer, the service level was as good as we have ever experienced. While you expect that at a Relais property, it is such a pleasure to experience it first hand. Complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water are always available as are jars of delicious chocolate chip cookies.

RATES: From $425 mid-week. There is also a $100 per day resort fee, the practice of which we are not a fan.

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
Relais & Chateau member
AAA Four Diamond Award
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

Lodge at Glendorn, Bradford, PA

OVERVIEW of the Lodge at Glendorn

Built in 1929 by the Dorn Family and used as a retreat for family and friends The Lodge at Glendorn began welcoming guests in 1995. Today it is owned by Cliff and Tracy Forrest, former guests who purchased Glendorn when the Dorn family put it up for auction in 2009.  It is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateau group, has earned the Four Diamond Award from AAA, has been called one of the “20 Coziest Getaways in North America and Europe” by the Huffington Post and one of “America’s Most Romantic Hotels” by Travel + Leisure Magazine

Surrounded on one side by Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, Glendorn is located on 1500 acres of dense forest in northwestern Pennsylvania.  The enchanting property is crisscrossed with babbling brooks, trout streams, tranquil lakes and an abundance of wildlife. The grounds are impeccably maintained and the gardens offer colors and fragrances that are just breathtaking.

THE ROOMS at the Lodge at Glendorn

As you pass through the entry gates, a long driveway, bordered by lush foliage, leads to The Big House, home to a group of rooms and suites, the main dining rooms, the Billiard Room and other public rooms. Guests can also select one of 12 rustic and charming cabins spread throughout the property in the secluded woodlands. The cabins are ideal for friends or families traveling together as many have multiple bedrooms. Each accommodation is uniquely decorated with fresh flowers, quality antique furniture, “built in” cabinetry and bookshelves, vintage memorabilia, luxury draperies, monogrammed  linens, thick, plush towels (that have a wonderful fragrance) and all have at least one wood burning fireplace.

All the accommodations have their own personality so it’s difficult to pick a favorite. My cabin, Hutch, was nestled in a ring of ancient Hemlock trees. It had a king-size bedroom with a raised hearth wood-burning fireplace, a large bath with separate shower and tub and an additional queen size bedroom with private bath.  The cozy living room had a wood-burning fireplace, there was a full kitchen, and a wonderful screened porch with another wood burning fireplace. Outside, there was a fire pit and lawn furniture. John’s Cabin and Guesthouse are also beautifully decorated and have wonderful views of Skipper Lake.

DINING at the Lodge at Glendorn

The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Katelyn Steffan. Starting as a line cook at The Point, a Relais & Chateau property in New York, the summer before her senior year of high school, her love of culinary arts blossomed. He studied Culinary Arts at Paul Smith’s College in New York, and went on to work at another Relais property, Lake Placid Lodge as an assistant pastry chef and mastered each station in the kitchen before being promoted to sous chef, where she deepened her relationships with local farmers and purveyors to source the freshest seasonal ingredients for the lodge’s two restaurants. In 2014, Steffan set out to learn the secrets of artisan bread making at The Old School Bakery in Colorado Springs, Colo., before returning to Pennsylvania to join Glendorn’s culinary team.

The team blends classic French technique with fresh local ingredients and much of the produce, herbs and flowers are grown right on the property. Every meal is an occasion and may be served at various locales around the property. A Wine Spectator award winning cellar adds to the fantastic experience. This is a “foodie” paradise.

Breakfast
Breakfast is served in the Big House dining room and weather permitting on the outside terrace.  You’ll start with fresh baked muffins and fresh squeezed OJ and then  breakfast choices include; homemade granola, buttermilk pancakes topped with Pennsylvania maple syrup, fresh local cage free farm eggs, breakfast sausages made in house from Heritage breed pork and more.

Lunch
Lunch can be enjoyed in the Big House dining room, by the pool or on the terrace. If you would like to explore the property the staff will prepare a back pack lunch and they will also do a BBQ lunch along Fuller Brook.

Dinner
Dinner is served in the Big House dining room with soft candlelight, a roaring fire and tables set with crisp linens and gleaming tableware. It is a most intimate and romantic setting. Dinner is a four-course prix fix and while the menu changes often it might include  Ricotta Ravioli with peas, parmesan and tomato; Venison Carpaccio with cherry, hazelnut and Stilton; a veal chop with wild mushroom risotto and for dessert, =banana with pecans, Dulce de Leche and vanilla ice cream.

The wine list offers some 350 selections and is well conceived, if a little pricey. After Dinner, guests relax in overstuffed couches in front of the Main Lodge fireplace or play a game of pool in our billiards room. There is an excellent selection of choice hand-made cigars in the humidor should you wish to top off a great meal with a fine cigar.

On Saturday evenings, there is a bonfire at Skipper Lake with complimentary smore’s and beer and tall tales about the fish that got away.

THE SERVICE at the Lodge at Glendorn

From patient Orvis endorsed guides, Shane and Damon, who taught us to fly fish, to Natalia’s beautifully choreographed dining staff, to housekeepers who always seemed to get to my room before I did, to Director of Hotel Operations Stephanie Schafer, the service level was as good as we have ever experienced.  While you expect that at a Relais property, it is such a pleasure to experience it first hand. Complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water  are always available as are jars of delicious chocolate chip cookies.

THE RATES at the Lodge at Glendorn

From $525 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Lodge at Glendorn

Relais & Chateau member
AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Four Star Award

Lodge at Pebble Beach, CA

OVERVIEW of Pebble Beach

Set high above the crashing waves, overlooking Carmel Bay, Pebble Beach Resorts is world renowned for its golf courses which host the annual AT&T Pro-Am PGA event and has been host to 5 U.S. Open tournaments. Golfers the world over are familiar with this amazing setting.

Playing these courses is a golfer’s Nirvana and something every duffer should experience. But the breathtaking scenery, excellent food and non-golf activities make it a worthwhile trip even if you have never picked up a stick. Just sitting in one of the fireplace rooms overlooking the Bay….with a good book and visions of delicious meals ahead is worth the visit alone.

Conde Nast Traveler ranks The Lodge #4 in its Top 50 U.S. Resorts and Travel & Leisure names the Lodge to its World’s Best Hotels list. Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond award recipient. Ranked #3 of Golf Digest Top 75 U.S. Golf Resorts.

THE ROOMS at Pebble Beach

Rooms are spacious and wonderfully appointed. A plump couch and chair surrounds a wood burning fireplace. The style is California Mission with iron headboards and lamps, light oak furniture and soothing colors of beige, yellow, brown and gray. Walls feature colorful California art and the large bathrooms are decorated in a kind of rose colored marble. There are 5 categories of rooms, plus suites with varying views and amenities. Garden View rooms are the lowest priced category. They feature a wood burning fireplace and either a patio or a balcony overlooking the private gardens or the first fairway. But it is really the Ocean View rooms that make this a very special place. With panoramic views of the 18th fairway and Stillwater Cove, a wood burning fireplace and a patio or balcony, these rooms are nothing short of spectacular.

Rooms 125-131 have the best direct views of the bay, but have no balconies. Room 197 is the most requested room, it’s where Kevin Costner stays during the Tournament. It’s a separate building by itself, has a direct view of the bay and has its own spa. If you want an ocean view room, ask for a room in the left wing (as you face the entrance), they have direct views and balconies.

DINING at Pebble Beach

Stillwater Bar & Grill
Stillwater highlights local and regional seafood in a setting with magnificent views of Carmel Bay and the 18th green. Lively and fun place. Wonderful seafood bar. Start with some fresh shellfish and have the duo of Ahi & Hamachi Tuna Sashimi and maybe some Dungeness Crab Cakes with Daikon pickles and whole grain mustard miso. I never miss the delicious Monterey Bay red abalone or the pan roasted Pacific pink snapper. Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and an extensive Sunday Brunch
The Tap Room
Great, cozy, masculine pub with wonderful collection of Pebble Beach memorabilia. Perfect for an after golf drink or a dinner of prime steaks or delicious comfort food. Popcorn shrimp, prime rib chili, steaks, chops, short ribs and meatloaf. So good…. An outstanding selection of draft and bottled beers and televised sporting events also make this a perfect stop on a rainy day. Lunch, Dinner and Late-Night Supper
The Gallery Cafe
Overlooking the first tee and the putting green, this bright and airy café is the spot for an early breakfast. They open at 6:30am and serve just about anything you might want, including freshly squeezed OJ, smoothies and great specialty coffees. Eat inside or on the outside balcony. Serves Breakfast and Lunch
The Bench
Glass enclosed conservatory, overlooking the 18th green with an eclectic menu of wood roasted specialties.
Peppoli at Pebble Beach
At the Inn at Spanish Bay, this cozy Italian features authentic Tuscan specialties with the largest selection of Antinori wines outside of Italy. Dinner only.
Roy’s at Pebble Beach
Also at Spanish Bay. James Beard winner Roy Yamaguchi presents his acclaimed Hawaiian fusion cuisine in a casual and fun setting. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

THE RATES at Pebble Beach

From $1100 year round

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Pebble Beach

“A golfer’s dream”, this legendary lodge two hours from San Francisco is “absolutely out of this world” and “sets the standard for others”; from the “fantastic, flawless” rooms and “stunning setting” to the ‘luxurious” service, “exceptional dining” and “lovely spa”, it’s not just for duffers ” but if you do play and have “buckets of money”, ‘why would you stay anywhere else?” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Pebble Beach

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Lodge at Spruce Peak

OVERVIEW of Lodge at Spruce Peak

The dramatic Spruce Peak opened in September 2008 and is destined to take its place beside the great resorts out West in the best ski areas.The $400 million project includes 300 luxury guestrooms and private mountain cabins, a new base lodge, upscale retail shops (think Ralph Lauren), a marvelous 21,000 sq. ft spa and wellness center and a fantastic Bob Cupp designed golf course. It is the only ski-in, ski-out resort in New England

The buildings, grounds and golf course were all designed to maximize energy conservation and to produce some of its own like the snowmaking and irrigation that will come from the man made lake. Most of the décor was designed and custom produced by Vermont artisans.

The lobby is a breathtaking introduction to the Lodge with soaring ceilings, woven timber, stone walls, stone and wood columns with decorative dogwood tree trunks and branches, floor to ceiling windows and wonderful Vermont artwork. Decorated with leather couches layered with colorful pillows, iron chandeliers with shaded lights and bright area rugs over multi-colored marble floors, the look is rustic chic. Fabrics are a cheerful palette of yellows, oranges and light blues. Rocking chairs and bowls of fresh apples create a homey feel to the large room.

THE ROOMS at Lodge at Spruce Peak

As happens with many resorts these days, rooms are sold to the public as private residences and then leased back to the hotel for renting. The advantage for the traveler is larger than normal rooms with lots of extra amenities. My room, with a balcony and views of the mountains and outdoor pool area, had a sitting area with couch, leather chair, reading lamp and fireplace. Decorated in rich shades of gold, hunter green and burgundy with Vermont themed watercolors and photography, it had a Queen feather bed, luxury bamboo linens and down duvet, a large flat screen TV and custom made lamps by Simon Pearce. There is a small kitchenette with burners, microwave, refrigerator and service for two with Simon Pearce tableware. The large marble bath had a soaking tub and separate glass shower with Anichini towels from Vermont and Mario Russo bath products.

DINING at Lodge at Spruce Peak

The Hourglass Bar serves good house drinks and offers a casual menu. Good wine by the glass selection. Cozy room with couches and chairs around a fireplace. The Pantry offers a variety of artisan foods, local products and ingredients, and a selection of wine and beer. The Beanery has coffees, teas, juices, smoothies, baked goods and sandwiches.

Solstice the 110 seat signature restaurant, has soaring ceilings, stone walls, fireplaces, custom made wood tables and an open kitchen design. Views of the mountain are wonderful and there is an outdoor stone patio. During my visit, I had an exceptional lunch of chopped BBQ short rib on a homemade bun with a delicious tangy apple cole slaw and crispy onion fritters. Not the usual fare. Room service is available 24 hours.

THE SERVICE at Lodge at Spruce Peak

The service here was quite remarkable. Cars are met swiftly upon arrival, check-in quick and efficient. I was escorted to my room and all the amenities explained. Staff members called me by name during my 2 day visit. My car had been parked outside and when it began to snow was moved to cover. One night when it was snowing quite hard, I was driven and then picked up from my restaurant. At turn down, there were wonderful muffins with icing on top and two glasses of cold milk set in ice. When housekeeping came in the morning they asked for a time when it would be convenient to return.

THE RATES at Lodge at Spruce Peak

From $342 Peak Season weekend.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Lodge at Spruce Peak

AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Four Star Award
*Best Spas in the World” ­ Condé Nast Traveler
*Best Hotels in the U.S.” ­ US News & World Report
*#3 Family Hotel in the United States” ­ Travel + Leisure
*Top 50 Golf Courses for Women” ­ Golf Digest

PROMOTIONS at Lodge at Spruce Peak

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Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla CA

OVERVIEW of The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Set on 6 1/2 acres beside the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is one of the most dramatic settings for a resort in the country. The beautiful Torrey Pines State Park with its beaches, rugged cliffs and forests of rare Torrey pine is just steps away.

The Lodge is a AAA Five Diamond award winner, one of the Top 500 Hotels in the World, Travel + Leisure Magazine, one of the Top 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America according to Golf Digest and Forbes Four Star Spa award winner.

The Lodge hosts the Farmer’s Insurance Open each January and was the site of the 2008 U.S. Open, the last major Tiger Woods won.

THE ROOMS at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Designed with the look and feel of a residence, The Lodge at Torrey Pines authentically reflects the California Craftsman style of architecture, featuring a natural color palette, graceful wing-like rooflines, shingle and sandstone-bluff exteriors, clinker-brick masonry, rich Jatoba woodwork and natural stone surfaces. With its post-and-beam construction, expansive spaces, respect for the natural landscape and integration of indoor/outdoor living, The Lodge at Torrey Pines pays homage to the California Craftsman style of architecture of the early 1900s.

There are 169 rooms including 8 suites with views to the golf course or the Lodge’s garden courtyard. Oversized at 520 square feet and up, the rooms are decorated with custom designed furniture, fabrics and carpets with a William Morris like design that give the rooms a historic yet contemporary feel. Plump beds have Egyptian cotton linens and quilted duvets. Bathrooms are oversized with a soaking tub and most rooms come with a balcony or patio.

DINING at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Overlooking the 18th green, A.R. Valentien is the resort’s signature restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant takes its name from the celebrated 1900’s California artist whose works are now collector’s items and also also on display in the restaurant.

The post and beam decor, with stained glass lanterns, cozy booths and warm colors create an intimate environment and Chef Jackson’s market driven and seasonally inspired menu will satisfy any tastes. Jackson was previously Executive Chef at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica and was winner of the esteemed USA Bocuse d’Or Culinary Gold Cup.

The spring menu reflects his straightforward yet innovative culinary philosophy in dishes such as parsley root soup, potted short ribs with tarragon vinaigrette, roasted beet and pickle, hot smoked salmon with mashed potatoes, buttermilk and chives followed by butterscotch pudding, pecan cookies and bitter hot cocoa.

Excellent wine list, partial to California, with a nice selection of wines by the glass and 1/2 bottles. Some favorites on the list include; Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau Montelena, Chardonnay, Domaine Serene, Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, Turley Petit Syrah and Decoy, by Duckhorn, Bordeaux Blend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Celebrated chef Jeff Jackson turns out a superb menu of fresh, locally sourced Cal cuisine at this elegant special-occasion restaurant in La Jolla’s Lodge at Torrey Pines; unbeatable service including an incredibly helpful sommelier, plus gorgeous golf course and ocean views help make it well worth the investment. ZAGAT

The Grill, overlooking the putting green also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a more casual setting with a more casual menu.

RATES at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

From $425 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

“It “doesn’t get better” than this “beautiful”, Craftsman-inspired “luxury” resort in La Jolla, overlooking the renowned Torrey Pines golf course, providing “all you could want on a weekend getaway”  including an “excellent spa”, “fine restaurant” and even a pool with underwater music; the “large”, “well-appointed rooms” are “spectacular”, combining Bose stereos with Mission-style furnishings, and the “conscientious” service is “first class”, leaving admirers “breathless.”  ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

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Loews Regency Hotel

OVERVIEW of The Loew’s Regency Hotel

The Regency is a Loews Hotel, located on the Upper East Side near some of the City’s best shopping, museums and restaurants. With 379 rooms and 58 suites, it is one of my favorites for a number of reasons; great location, a wonderful bar, large rooms and one of the best weekend values for a hotel at this quality level.

 

THE ROOMS at The Loew’s Regency Hotel

My room, a luxury king, was a study in beige; walls, carpeting, draperies, and even the marble top desk and bath countertops. The monochromatic look was somehow very soothing and made the room very comfortable. Large by NY standards, it boasted a luxurious king bed with soft linens, an easy chair with an ottoman and reading lamp and a large marble topped desk. The marble bath, while small, had plush towels, a mini TV and Clarity toiletries.

DINING at The Loew’s Regency Hotel

The day begins with the infamous “Power Breakfast” at the Regency Bar & Grill, a term coined by the hotel’s founder Bob Tisch in the 70’s when he brought together the movers and shakers of the City during its bankruptcy problems. The tradition continues today and on any day you can see the powers of the worlds of Wall Street, entertainment, media and politics. By night the restaurant is a warm and comfortable spot serving small plates, steaks and fresh fish and other comfort food.

THE SPA at The Loew’s Regency Hotel

The Julian Farel Hair Care and Day Spa has taken a page from the Power Breakfast and created the “Power Hour” where the guests and enjoy three simultaneous services in an hour.

THE SERVICE at The Loew’s Regency Hotel

I was greeted promptly at the curb upon arrival and escorted thru the marble lobby to the front desk. A computer glitch made check-in longer than necessary, but it wasn’t unbearable. Overall service was very pleasant and there are some nice touches; a basket of fresh fruit and Fiji water upon arrival, virtually any amenity you might need in your room from Q-tips to a shoe shine sponge and a very innovative program called Home Sweet Loews where you can order up things like a chenille throw, night light, sound machine and other things that make you feel more at home. They’ll also provide things you may have forgotten; reading glasses, a belt, and tie and so forth.

THE RATES at The Loew’s Regency Hotel

From $399 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Loew’s Regency Hotel

AAA Four Diamond Award

“Everyone gets the superstar treatment at this Upper East Side grande dame on Park Avenue; with its famous power breakfasts, afternoon wine in the Library, accommodating staff and wish-fulfillment address, it’s particularly impressive for out-of-town business clients; just a few nitpickers natter about spotty rooms.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at The Loew’s Regency Hotel

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Maison de Ville

OVERVIEW of Maison du Ville

Maison du Ville is a charming B&B only a block from wild Bourbon Street, yet you would never know it. It is a tranquil oasis where rooms encircle a wonderful brick patio centered with a fountain and the crowds seem far away.

Built in 1783, apothecary Antoine Amede Peychaud was one of the earliest residents. He went on to create New Orleans first signature cocktail the Sazerac. Peychaud made the drink with a mix of bitters and liquor, measured in a coquetier, or eggcup and to this day it is still made with Peychaud’s Bitters. The home became an inn in 1944 and later entertained Tennessee Williams while he completed A Streetcar Named Desire. The Tennessee Williams Suite at $465 is the most expensive room, but what a treat.

THE ROOMS at Maison du Ville

Rooms are stylishly decorated and feature queen or king beds, some with 4 poster beds and antique and period furnishings. Select rooms have balconies over Rue Toulouse or Bourbon Street.

Complimentary coffee and pastries are served every morning and complimentary snacks are available 24 hours.

THE RATES at Maison du Ville

From $325 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Maison du Ville

Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Awards-Best in the World

PROMOTIONS at Maison du Ville

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Maison Fleurie, Yountville

OVERVIEW at Maison Fleurie

This may well be THE value accommodation in the Napa Valley. Located in the heart of the valley in Yountville, this charming B&B sits on a half acre of beautifully sculpted gardens and is made up of three stone and brick buildings. Maison Fleurie was built in 1873 as the Magnolia Hotel, constructed of stone from local quarries. A few decades later, bricks from a demolished church and a balcony from San Francisco’s old French Hospital were added. It is the oldest hotel in the Napa Valley. In the early days, the Magnolia was not only a place for travelers to lodge but also, according to local lore, a bordello.

It is within walking distance of excellent restaurants, tasting rooms and boutiques. Maison Fleurie is part of the Four Sisters group of inns and B&B’s.

THE ROOMS at Maison Fleurie

The 13 rooms are beautifully decorated with antiques and rich colorful fabrics. Some have a spa tubs, window seats, fireplaces and outdoor patios. My room, #1 was spacious, had a fireplace and a great bed and shower. A couple of the rooms are very small, so choose carefully. Room #12 has a king bed, fireplace, private entrance, jetted spa tub and overlooks the pool area.

DINING at Maison Fleurie

The signature breakfast buffet is included with your stay and features a hot entrée prepared by the  innkeepers. French Toast, Spinach and Mushroom Baked Eggs, Hobo Breakfast, French Bread Custard or Veggie Quiche are just a sampling of what you can expect at breakfast each morning. They also prepare a fresh baked good such as our delicious Honey-Buttermilk Muffins, Blueberry Sour Cream Scones or Pumpkin Muffins.

Each afternoon, from 5-6:30pm, the Inn offers complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres like Hot Artichoke Dip, Sundried Tomato Tapenade and a Blue Cheese, Honey & Walnut appetizer.

THE RATES at Maison Fleurie

From $372 Peak Season Weekend

OTHER at Maison Fleurie

There is an on-site outdoor pool and hot tub and complimentary bicycles.

PROMOTION at Maison Fleurie

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Mandarin Oriental

OVERVIEW of the Mandarin Oriental

Handmade furniture, carpeting and original artwork grace the lobby while a fireplace adds warmth and coziness. Located in the Back Bay area on Boylston Street and connected to the Prudential Center, the location is ideal for both business and pleasure travelers. With only 136 rooms and 12 suites, it has the feel of an intimate boutique hotel.

In keeping with its Asian themes of serenity and tranquility, The Mandarin has found a way to slow down the pace of life surrounding you in a cocoon of well-being. The outside world is kept at bay and you are free to relax and replenish.

THE ROOMS at the Mandarin Oriental

The rooms are large by any standard, starting at a very generous 400 square feet and are equipped with luxury beds and linens, spacious bathrooms with soaking tubs and all the high tech amenities you would expect. The color palette is soothing, the setting elegant and comfortable. Great soundproofing give you wonderful city views without the noise.

DINING at the Mandarin Oriental

Bar Boulud, Boston is a French style bistro and wine bar from award winning chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel, NYC). The bistro serves all meals. We have reviewed this restaurant in our Dining section.

SPA at the Mandarin Oriental

One of the many things that sets Mandarin Hotels apart from others is their spa. In this case a fantastic 16,000 foot facility with a fitness center, nine treatment areas and extensive heat and water facilities, including dedicated hydrotherapy room with therapeutic tub, color therapy experiences and Vichy shower, crystal Steam Rooms, vitality pools, experience showers, and ice fountains. Quite an experience and unlike anything you have seen before.

THE RATES at the Mandarin Oriental

From $675 Peak Season Weekend


WHAT OTHERS SAY About
the Mandarin Oriental

AAA Five Diamond – Lodging
Forbes Five  Star – Lodging
Forbes Five Star- Spa
“Be prepared to break the bank” if you’re going to stay at this “pitch-perfect”, “peaceful” Back Bay outpost of the luxury brand, which is “on its way to becoming a signature Mandarin” thanks to “exquisite” service and “generously sized” rooms, with Asian-inspired design accents, that are “to die for”; the location, in central Back Bay and adjacent to Prudential Mall, “couldn’t be better”, and “fantastic” amenities, like the super-modern American restaurant Asana, M Bar & Lounge and sanctuary like spa, help make it a “must-stay.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Mandarin Oriental

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Mandarin Oriental

OVERVIEW of Mandarin Oriental

The Time Warner Center has become a mecca for New Yorkers seeking the hottest restaurants and shops. Occupying floors 35-54 of the Center, the Mandarin offers stunning views of Central Park, the Hudson River and the City and its bars and restaurants are the “in” places to be seen.

The Mandarin chain has slowly crept up on the super luxury leaders, Four Seasons and Ritz, to become a formidable competitor in markets in which they compete together. In fact, the Mandarin has surfaced as the #1 or #2 hotel in many major cities.

THE ROOMS at Mandarin Oriental

This one has 203 guestrooms and 48 suites, all with floor to ceiling windows and remarkable views. The hotel claims $27,000 worth of home entertainment and communications technology in each room! We had a plasma TV in our bedroom and one in the bathroom, a DVD player, a CD player, Internet access and all kinds of phone and fax lines. The rooms are decorated with a pale green grass cloth wallpaper, black Oriental style furniture and wood trim, silk bedside lanterns and luxurious bedding.

While my decorating tastes tend more toward the traditional, our room was so comfortable and the view so amazing, that we cancelled our dinner plans and ordered from room service. Our Deluxe Hudson River King room was somewhat small, but the sleek marble and glass bathroom, which was almost the size of the bedroom, more than made up for it. The bath had a soaking tub next to a large picture window where you could enjoy the views of the River while watching the bathroom TV. The glassed in shower had a regular and rainforest shower head and the toilet had a separate room unto itself. A wonderful array of Aromatherapy bath products covered just about any need.

DINING at Mandarin Oriental

Asiate is a AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four Star restaurant serving contemporary American cuisine with stunning panoramic views, exquisite service and a wonderful wine program. Spectacular views create the foundation for Aviary NY a cocktail lounge featuring very creative cocktails and small food plates. The Office NYC is an intimate speakeasy-style space, featuring collectors’ art and artifacts, as well as an ‘extinction’ collection of some of the rarest spirits in the world.

THE SERVICE at Mandarin Oriental

The attention to detail and service here is what sets hotels like this apart from their lesser brethren. By the time we had ridden the elevator to reception, the doorman had determined our names from our luggage and we were greeted at the front desk by name. The rooms had reading glasses and paperbacks, slippers and bathrobes, an umbrella and a lint brush. You could have your shoes shined or your clothing pressed at the push of a button. The staff brought Fiji water at turndown and a NY Times in the morning.

When we ordered breakfast, we were given a precise time at which it would arrive and it came 10 minutes early. When we called for our car, it was brought promptly from the garage. Check in and out literally took seconds. Scarcely, anything goes unnoticed by this efficient and dedicated staff.

Now this may not be true, but it seemed to me that there was a steady stream of wonderful scents being pumped into our room from the ventilation system. Even if that was my imagination, it tells you a little about what this place does to you.

THE SPA at Mandarin Oriental

For the health conscious, there is a 15,000 square foot spa, and a fitness center with a 75 ft. lap pool overlooking the Hudson. This Forbes Five Star Spa is one of the best you will ever experience.

THE RATES at Mandarin Oriental

From $697 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Mandarin Oriental

AAA Five Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Spa

“New York energy meets incredible Asian serenity at one of the swankiest (and priciest) destinations in Manhattan, where Zensational rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, the staff is trained (or born) to perfection, the gorgeous spa feels like a temple and Asiate is one of the best hotel restaurants in town; the only downside is the awkward entrance via public elevator, though with access to more great restaurants and shopping in the next-door Time Warner building, you barely need to leave the hotel” – ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Mandarin Oriental

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Mandarin Oriental

OVERVIEW of the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

The Mandarin Oriental Washington is located in the heart of the district in the southwest section, overlooking the marina, the Tidal Basin and the monuments. The view of the Jefferson Memorial at night is quite spectacular. While I would generally scoff at a description of “Feng Shui touches”, there is something incredibly soothing and calming about these hotels. For one thing, they have aromatherapy down to a science. Everything smells so wonderful, we even suspected they were piping fragrances into our room in New York. The elegant décor makes use of silk tapestries, stunning art reproductions, soft colors and polished hardwoods.

THE ROOMS at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

Our room, a deluxe water view, was a picture of soft elegance made all the more dramatic by a stunning view of the Jefferson Memorial. At night it was simply breathtaking. Very adequate in size at @400sq. feet, the room had a King bed with luxurious Fili d’oro linens, a large marble bathroom with a soaking tub and separate glass enclosed shower, a flat screen TV/DVD player and all the other amenities you would expect like a morning paper, 24 hour room service and more. Next time I would opt for the Premier Water View room. Located on corners of the building, they are about 500 sq. feet, have views of the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin. The view from the corner soaking tub extends across the marina.

DINING at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

Amity & Commerce is the signature restaurant, an American Bistro and Bar with international flair. Floor to ceiling windows provide waterfront views of the Washington Channel and dark wood banquets and dramatic wine cabinets are the perfect backdrop to this excellent restaurant. In nicer weather, meals are served on the terrace overlooking the gardens. Mini Sushi Bar features Master Sushi Chef Minoru Ogawa with his omakase-style, eight-seat sushi counter. Located just off the lobby and overlooking the property’s lush garden, Mini Sushi Bar gives diners an interactive dining experience unlike anything else in Southwest DC

THE SPA at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

The hotel offers a full fitness center that opens at 5:30am and is equipped with virtually anything you might want. Fragrant flowers, citrus flavored waters and scented cool towels provide more “Feng Shui touches.” A swim in the indoor pool or a stop at the luxurious Spa complete any work-out. Speaking of the Spa, this is experience you won’t want to miss, perhaps the most relaxing experience ever. Imagine total tranquility, soothing music, intoxicating aromas and magical treatments.

THE SERVICE at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

We arrived on a rainy day and were met at the curb by a bellman with an umbrella. Our car was checked, we were escorted swiftly to the front desk in a beautiful circular lobby of marble and mahogany, centered with a huge Christmas tree. We were in our room in less than 10 minutes and our luggage arrived shortly after and was neatly set up on carts and in the closet.

The difference between good hotels and great hotels is in the details. Wonderful aromas are matched with soothing music in the public rooms and elevators. The elevators seem to come instantly upon call. The hotel offers free use of laptops. Coffee is available in the lobby at 6:30am. The showers have great pressure. The towels and robes are thick and soft. The bed linens are plush and silky. Little things that add up to a wonderful experience.

THE RATES at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

From $197 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Spa

“East meets West” in “luxurious,” “feng shui” inspired rooms and suites with “beautiful views” of the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial at this “stunning” property; a “first-class” spa, “Zen-like” vibe and “exceptional dining options” …mean some sybarites “have to be dragged from the hotel to go sightseeing” which is just as well, since the “only real problem (other than cost) is an isolated location” that’s a cab ride from everywhere.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

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Mandarin Oriental, Miami FL

OVERVIEW of Mandarin Oriental

One of the things that make Mandarin special is their ability to find locations that afford a spectacular view. New York has Central Park and the river, Washington DC has the Jefferson Memorial, La Vegas has the Strip and Miami has water views from nearly every room. Set on Brickell Key, MO manages both a private island setting and access to downtown Miami, just steps away.

Sunrises and sunsets make this a truly magnificent setting and ideal for starting the day or ending it with cocktails.

 

THE ROOMS at Mandarin Oriental

The 295 elegant guestrooms and suites have floor to ceiling windows and are decorated in neutral tones with splashes of color from artwork and furnishings. Beds are dressed in luxury linens and goose down duvets. Marble baths feature a separate tub, a glassed walk-in shower and Shanghai Tang amenities.

DINING at Mandarin Oriental

The hotel’s restaurant, La Mar by Gaston Acurio, features an amazing Peruvian menu. This was my first venture into Peruvian food and it was a revelation. I started with Anticuchos, traditional peruvian skewers from the anticucho grill, in this case free range chicken, potatoes, choclo, chalaca and ocopa sauce. My entree was Churrasco a lo Pobre; ribeye angus beef, chimichurri, beans and rice tacu-tacu, egg, criolla, chorrillana sauce and fried banana. Paired with a Peruvian Sauvignon Blanc, the meal was rich and flavorful with hints of delicious spices and sweet and savory overtones. Dessert was an unforgettable La Guanabana Esfera; purple corn sorbet, meringue, yogurt, peruvian corn, mote, guanábana cream and chinese cinammon.

YAKU by La Mar is a chic outdoor bar and lounge from award-winning restaurant La Mar by Gaston Acurio. Serving a selection of Peruvian-inspired punch cocktails, beers and wines alongside delicious small plates such as Cebiche Tostado (with tuna tartare, chipotle aioli, avocado and onion) and Los Choritos (mussels with caucau flavours), YAKU is the place to be Thursday – Saturday night

Rounding out the dining options MO Bar offers cocktails and casual food in the lobby and the Oasis Pool Cafe serves lunch by the pool.

THE SPA at Mandarin Oriental

Soak up the sun at the gorgeous 20,000 square-foot private white sand beach overlooking Biscayne Bay or next to the infinity edge pool and treat yourself to a spa treatment at the tranquil and serene Spa. Mandarin Oriental spas are among the most acclaimed in the world and Miami is no exception having earned Forbes highest Five Star rating.

THE SERVICE at Mandarin Oriental

As expected at a MO hotel, the service is exceptional without being overbearing. The staff is friendly and helpful and quick with somehow remember your name after only one meeting. One example tells it all, I arrived at the hotel before my room was ready and they gave me a locker in the Spa, so that I could change and enjoy the pool while waiting.

If you are looking for a break from northern climes, MO will sooth your soul and revitalize your senses….don’t miss it.

THE RATES at Mandarin Oriental

From $213 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHER SAY About Mandarin Oriental

AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Spa

Dining – La Mar
“Tasty, decadent” Peruvian fare from acclaimed chef-restaurateur Gaston Acurio includes “outstanding” ceviches and tiraditos and signature pisco sours at this “beautiful”, upscale destination in Brickell Key’s Mandarin Oriental; an outdoor terrace boasting “a wonderful view of the water” plus a “chic”, “tasteful” wood-trimmed interior add to the “memorable dining experience.” ZAGAT

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Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness NH

OVERVIEW of The Manor on Golden Pond

Like many, the movie, “On Golden Pond” is one of my favorites and this is where it was filmed. The area is as beautiful as you remember it from the film. A boat tour will allow you to revisit the settings for many of the scenes; the boathouse, Purgatory Cove and the lakeside home.

The Manor on Golden Pond is a gorgeous inn and the perfect place to enjoy this idyllic part of New Hampshire. Set atop Shepard Hill with sweeping lake vistas, the mansion was originally built as a private home by a wealthy Englishman for his debutante wife. It was completed in 1907 and quickly became a showcase and the setting for many elaborate parties. The current owners purchased the property in 1999 and have spent the 10 years restoring and upgrading the property to its current splendor.

The public rooms have retained much of their original charm with hardwood floors, wood paneling, beamed ceilings, lead paned windows and marble fireplaces with carved wood mantles. The living room and library are furnished in antiques and somewhat formal furniture, yet they manage to be warm and cozy at the same time.

THE ROOMS at The Manor on Golden Pond

There are 24 rooms and suites in 3 buildings and a cottage on the property, all decorated with different colors and styles. The smallest are the Classic Rooms, but even they are charming, very ample in size and perfectly acceptable if budget is a consideration. The preferred rooms are the ones with mountain and lake views, in particular Windsor and Churchill. Churchill is decorated in wonderful shades of blue, has a fireplace and sitting area, a semi-private deck and a Jacuzzi. My room, the Stratford, was delightful with pine walls, a king 4 poster bed, comfortable reading chairs around a wood burning fireplace and decorated with wonderful antiques. The color scheme was burgundy with plaid curtains and bed canopy offset with flowered bed sham and gingham chair fabrics. The view of the lake and mountains from my windows and private porch were spectacular. When I awoke the morning of my stay it was raining and foggy. I made some coffee, lit a fire and read the paper by the fire. The dreary day didn’t seem so bad after that.

The bathroom, while small, was nicely decorated in a country motif with plaid wallpaper and a flowered curtain that framed both the window and shower. Plush, oversized towels, L’Occitane toiletries and contemporary Kohler fixtures rounded out the amenities.

Rooms are equipped with wireless, bottled water, coffee and tea and a small refrigerator.

DINING at The Manor on Golden Pond

Dark wood, subdued lighting and small copper tables create an intimate feel at the Three Cocks Pub. M Supper Club is a monthly  5 course dinner with wine pairing options during the season with a farm to table theme.

The elegant Van Horn Dining Room has beamed ceilings, wood paneling, a fireplace surrounded with hunter green tile and a carved mantle, lead paned windows and tables set with crisp linens and sparkling tableware brings to mind an English country manor. With the sun fading over the lake and mountains, candles flicker in shaded lamps and create a warm and romantic ambiance.

The menu changes often but here are some recent highlights and their suggested wine pairings: Lobster “Roll” Butter Poached Lobster with Crispy Wonton , Arugula and Mignonette
Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, 2015; Crispy Pork Belly, Braised Beans, Mustart Barbeque, Pickled Chateau Souverain Chardonnay, 2013;  Summer Chicken, Crispy Fried Statler Chicken Breast with  Potato Puree, Pickled Green Beans, Vichyssoise Sauce, Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, 2015; Smoked Local Pork. Locally Sourced Tenderloin, Herb Rubbed, Savory Bread Pudding, Blistered Heirloom Tomatoes, Bacon-Onion Jam, Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015; Lamb Shoulder.
Bourbon Braised Shoulder of Lamb, Herb Mousseline, Roasted Carrots, Patatas Bravas, Lamb Jus, Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015

Wine Spectator award winning wine list concentrating on California and France and very reasonably priced.

Breakfast, which is served from 7:30am in season and 8:30am in the off season had some wonderful choices like pear and pomegranate pancakes and banana pecan French toast. I opted for an egg crostini, an open faced sandwich of egg and bacon on multigrain toast with tomato, spinach and Asiago cheese and served with delicious home fries dusted with cumin. Great start to the day.

THE SERVICE at The Manor on Golden Pond

Apart from a friendly and attentive staff, these are innkeepers who have taken the time to think about what you may need or want during your visit and things that will just make your experience here better. A welcome letter greeted me upon arrival with a card reminding me of the time of my dinner reservation. There is a basket in the hallway with items you may have forgotten to bring, a night light and sewing cushion in the bathroom, a throw blanket on one of the reading chairs, turndown service that leaves fresh cookies on your pillow, a weather forecast and newspapers in the living room each morning at 7:30am, fresh lemonade and iced tea all day on a sideboard, afternoon tea, umbrellas at the doors and a basket of reading glasses in the Pub. To enhance the “Golden Pond” experience, they even pipe in the soundtrack of the movie complete with loons calling on the lake!

THE RATES at The Manor on Golden Pond

From $257 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Manor on Golden Pond

AAA Four Diamond Award

Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, one of the “Best of New England”Member Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldWine Spectator Award Winning List

“If “you want to get away” from it all, you can “switch off” at this Central New Hampshire “country inn on steroids” that fans call “the best on Squam Lake” (featured in the film On Golden Pond); a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this “winner” offers rooms with fireplaces, Jacuzzis and luxury bath amenities (some have private decks and water views), as well as an outdoor pool, gourmet breakfasts, fine dining, afternoon high tea and a private beach with canoes and paddleboats.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at The Manor on Golden Pond

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Mansion on Forsyth

OVERVIEW of the Mansion on Forsyth

Opulent, over the top, hip and trendy are all apt descriptions of the Mansion of Forsyth. Built in a magnificently renovated 1888 Victorian mansion, the 126 room MFP is located right on beautiful Forsyth Park in the heart of Savannah.

Throughout the hotel, the hallways (with red ceilings and curtains) are filled with some 400 illuminated pieces of rare, mostly modern art, so striking as to be breathtaking. The stunning marble lobby is illuminated with crystal chandeliers and decorated in tones of blue and gold with gold trimmed mirrors and hardwood floors topped with Oriental rugs. Just beyond the lobby, through French doors is a courtyard used for private functions and behind it a small, but delightful pool and lounging deck.

The Bosendorfer Lounge has a beautiful bar illuminated from beneath the bar top and is a favorite place for cocktail hour and piano music. Casimir’s Lounge atop the restaurant is a favorite after dinner, offering live jazz and blues and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Park.

700 Drayton is an elegant fine dining restaurant

THE ROOMS at the Mansion on Forsyth

Our room, with a wonderful view of the Park was a good size and decorated with gray walls and carpeting, white bedding and red accents; curtains, faux leather chair cushions and a red faux mink throw on the bed. There was a crystal chandelier over the reading chair, a candelabra lamp on the desk and crystal sconces in the bathroom. The bed was a plump pillowtop and covered with a down comforter and pillows….lots of them. In the center of the room, almost next to the bed, was a huge soaking tub surrounded by flowing curtains. Eclectic to be sure, but somehow it all works.

DINING at the Mansion on Forsyth

The Bosendorfer Lounge has a beautiful bar illuminated from beneath the bar top and is a favorite place for cocktail hour and piano music. Casimir’s Lounge atop the restaurant is a favorite after dinner, offering live jazz and blues and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Park.

THE SERVICE at the Mansion on Forsyth

Upon arrival to the front courtyard, our car was instantly met by a bellman who took our luggage and car and escorted us quickly to the front desk. A reservation mistake (my fault) resulted in there being no room for us and the hotel was fully booked. The front desk went out of their way to find us other accommodations and then thankfully there was a last minute cancellation and we had our room.

Pets are welcome, and WIFI is complimentary.

THE SPA at the Mansion on Forsyth

The Poseiden Spa has a full range of spa services from massages to specialty treatments. There is an outdoor heated pool and a fitness center.

THE RATES at the Mansion on Forsyth

From $333 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Mansion on Forsyth

AAA Four Diamond

“See Savannah in style from this eclectic boutique hotel described as both a “mixture of classy meets Las Vegas” and a “breath of fresh air”, “fantastic rooms” are unique, food is “excellent”, “surroundings are delightfully posh” (think big columns and statues), the service includes “free limos” and the “incredible spa and cooking school” …ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at the Mansion on Forsyth

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Marshall House

OVERVIEW of the Marshal House

The unique 65 room Marshall House, right in the middle of the downtown area is the choice for a full service hotel. Originally built in 1851, it went through a $12 million renovation in the late 90’s which upgraded all of the facilities, but retained its old southern character. Today the room doors, 12 ft. ceilings, pine floors, 10 ft. windows and the second floor veranda remain from the hotel’s past.

The public rooms are strikingly decorated and very comfortable. Many guests relax in these rooms reading the paper or playing board games.

The Marshall House’s history as hospital during the Civil War and through two yellow fever epidemics, makes it very conducive to ghost stories and haunted tales. It is rumored that the hotel is haunted!

THE ROOMS at the Marshal House

My large second floor room had 30 ft. ceilings, crown moldings, dark pine floors, a huge pine headboard and footboard and a white pine armoire. The room opened onto the veranda which overlooked Broughton Street and had rocking chairs for relaxing and watching the action on the street below. The bath had white pine walls, a pedestal sink, Bath & Body Works toiletries and thick robes and towels.

DINING at the Marshal House

The hotel’s restaurant, 45 Bistro is a favorite with the locals and the bar is a very comfortable place for a drink. A full breakfast buffet is served in the Atrium each day.

THE SERVICE at the Marshal House

Complimentary wine and cheese is served in the library each afternoon and a continental breakfast is available in the courtyard in the morning. Two newspapers are delivered to your room each day, one local and one national and the hotel provides membership privileges at the Downtown Athletic Club, just down the street.

THE RATES at the Marshal House

From $217 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About the Marshal House

Voted Savannah’s Best Hotel 2018 by Savannah Morning News

PROMOTIONS at the Marshal House

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Mayflower Inn, Washington CT

OVERVIEW of The Mayflower Inn

Located just two hours from Manhattan in the hills of Connecticut,  the 30 room luxury inn sits on 58 gorgeous acres of gardens and woodlands and is surrounded by a 3,000 acre nature preserve.

The majestic Mayflower House is home to reception, The Tap Room lounge, the Mayflower Dining Room and some wonderful parlors, each with a blazing fireplace during our visit. My favorite was the cozy and intimate library which also had a fireplace and some super comfortable leather reading chairs. It was the perfect place in the morning for coffee and a newspaper.

THE ROOMS at The Mayflower Inn

Accommodations are spread over 4 buildings and each is individually styled. All have feather topped mattresses, antique oriental rugs, oversized marble baths with brass and Limoges fittings, gas fireplaces, a well-stocked in-room bar, thick luxurious duvets, plump oversized pillows, linens by Frette and antique four-poster beds.

DINING at The Mayflower Inn

Guests can dine in the casual Tap Room which has a fireplace and a piano for Saturday night entertainment or the Mayflower Dining Room, a more formal setting with a soft gray palette, accented colorful artwork and fresh flowers. The restaurant has fantastic views over the lawn to the Shakespearean garden maze and in warmer weather guests can dine al fresco on the terrace.

The Tap Room offers small bites, oysters, salads, sandwiches, lobster rolls, burgers, pizza, steaks and more.The Dining Room menu has an Italian bent with items like Burrata Salad with
Garlic Croutons, Onion, Honeydew, Cavatelli Bolognese, Beef Ragu, Aged Parmesan, Garden Herbs, 90 Day Dry Aged Grilled Ribeye, Forrest Mushrooms, Pomme Puree, Herb Butter. For dessert try the Lemon Tart with Port Wine Reduction and Lavender Ice Cream.

Nice wine list with interesting choices and fair prices.

THE SERVICE at The Mayflower Inn

Service is what we have come to expect at Relais properties. Our car was met at the front door, we were offered a glass of champagne or bottled water and a hot towel with a eucalyptus fragrance. Check-in was swift and we were escorted to our room, a short drive away. Our room had a choice of pillow types and an aromatherapy device that released a choice of fragrances into the room. Downstairs in our building there were rain slickers and umbrellas for those wet days.

THE RATES at The Mayflower Inn

From $840 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About The Mayflower Inn

AAA Four Diamond – Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award -Lodging
Forbes Four Star Award – Spa
Relais & Chateau member.

PROMOTIONS at The Mayflower Inn

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Meadowood, St Helena

OVERVIEW of Meadowood

In 1979 H. William Harlan was searching for land on which to create a wine estate when he was introduced to Meadowood, which had been founded in 1964 as a private country club. The property wasn’t ideally suited to grape growing, but Mr. Harlan was intrigued and called his partners to share the news of the hidden gem. Within forty-eight hours the partners owned the estate and began planning its future.

Today this exquisite 250 acre property is owned by Bill Harlan of Harlan Estates (100 point rated Cabernet) and Stan Kroenke, (owner of Screaming Eagle, the St. Louis Rams, the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche sports teams). It is also the home of the Napa Valley Vintners, who host the most exclusive wine event of the year ‘Auction Napa Valley’ here.

The beautiful treed property seems miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Valley and affords a wonderful degree of peace and serenity.

THE ROOMS at Meadowood

85 cottages, suites and villas start at a generous 400 sq feet and are spread across the hillside and strategically placed to provide the utmost privacy. Most have working fire

places and terraces or decks and many have sitting areas. Views are across wooded areas, the golf course or the croquet lawn. The color scheme is soothing whites and grays and rooms are decorated with elegant furnishings. California beds are covered in luxury linens and down comforters. Amenities include Hi Speed Wi-Fi, LG LCD/HD TV’s, iPad Docking, coffeemakers, a tea kettle and Molton Brown toiletries.

DINING at Meadowood

The Grill is a casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a great outside deck overlooking the croquet lawn and the golf course. They offer cold pressed juices and great items like a Wild Mushroom Flatbread: Smoked Bacon, Crescenza Cheese, Meadowood Garden Micros, a killer Waygu burger and more. The kitchen will also pack a picnic basket for you and suggest places to enjoy it. During the season, lunch is also available poolside.

But it is the Restaurant at Meadowood, one of only 12 in the U.S. to earn three Michelin stars that brings people from near and far. Under the direction of Executive Chef Christopher Kostow and his team, this is truly a magical experience where the setting, the food, the presentation, the wine and the service come together to create a memorable evening.

“Simply extraordinary”, this “top-of-the-line” Californian in a “beautiful setting” at St. Helena’s Meadowood resort provides an “ingenious” tasting menu from chef Christopher Kostow that’s “inventive, bold and unforgettable”, with “wines to match” and service that “mirrors the high level of execution”; if you’d like to see everything “meticulously prepared” – and you’re ready for an even more “expensive” evening – reserve the “ultimate chef’s table”; P.S. the bar’s three-course menu is a less extravagant option. ZAGAT

THE SERVICE at Meadowood

The drive up the tree lined driveway brings you to reception where you are greeted, offered a glass of wine and then escorted to your room. The staff is friendly and helpful. Car Service to downtown St. Helena and Yountville is available. There is a Wine Reception every day from 4:30-5:30pm and newspapers are delivered early each morning. And, thankfully there is no resort fee.

OTHER at Meadowood

An all-suite spa offers a full range of treatments, some wine inspired. There’s a nine-hole walking executive golf course, a driving range and a golf studio: the patented TrackMan technology will transform your game, monitor your swing and help you to become a better golfer.

They also offer the opportunity to play ‘hickory golf’, where you walk the course accompanied by a golf professional using vintage equipment from the early 1900s; hickory shafted clubs and a replica gutty percha golf ball.

There are also tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a pool, bike rentals and 4.5 miles of hiking trails.

THE RATES at Meadowood

From $1,250 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Meadowood

Member Relais & Chateau
AAA Four Star Award – Lodging
AAA Five Diamond Award – Dining
Forbes Five Star Award – Lodging
Forbes Five Star Award – Restaurant
Forbes Five Star Award – Spa
Michelin 3 Star Restaurant
Wine Spectator Grand Award Winner

PROMOTIONS at Meadowood

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Mill Street Inn

OVERVIEW of The Mill Street Inn

An article surfaced the delightful Mill Street Inn and I was charmed by this all-suite property housed in a 19th century mill. With 23 suites, the Inn is located just two blocks from the center of town, convenient to restaurants and shopping. It is a member of the prestigious “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” Collection and became a member of the “Green” Hotels Association.

THE ROOMS at The Mill Street Inn

Rooms have a rustic charm with original brick walls, the heavy beams of the mill and hardwood floors. Crisp colors of sea foam and white introduce a contemporary feel and feather beds, high quality linens and towels and Aveda toiletries add a luxury touch. Floors are covered with area rugs and the leather and fabric covered furniture is stylish and comfortable. The marble bathroom is small but has a great rainfall shower with lots of pressure. Townhouse suites, located on the 2nd and 3rd floors have two levels, a separate living room and bedroom and a private outside deck with views of the Harbor.

DINING at The Mill Street Inn

Afternoon tea and a nice continental breakfast are part of the rate.

This is an unpretentious property whose very affordable pricing ($115 on my visit) often portends a questionable experience. Not here however. This is a keeper and one to be considered on any visit to Newport.

RATES at The Mill Street Inn

From $739 Peak Season Weekend

PROMOTIONS at The Mill Street Inn

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Mirbeau Inn, Skaneateles NY

OVERVIEW of Mirbeau Inn

The name “Mirbeau”, which may be loosely translated as “reflected beauty,” is inspired, in part, by the soft light and warm colors of Monet’s paintings. Set on 12 acres just blocks from the lake, Mirbeau was designed to evoke the warmth and comfort of a French wine country estate. The chateau-like Inn and Spa building and four freestanding cottages curve gracefully around the beautiful French impressionist gardens and ponds creating a Monet landscape. In fact, the gardens are patterned after Monet’s own famous gardens at Savor, near Paris.

It is a glorious and tranquil setting that can be enjoyed both from your room and from the dining room and outside terrace.

THE ROOMS at Mirbeau Inn

There are 18 rooms in the main building and the remaining 16 are housed in four cottages. These are wonderful accommodations…so comfortable and cozy. All rooms have fireplaces surrounded by club chairs, ideal for curling up with a book. Decorated in soothing golds and blues, the rooms are generous in size and equipped with super luxurious beds, made especially for Mirbeau….you’ll feel like you are sleeping on a cloud. Bathrooms are huge with a tiled walk-in shower (and great water pressure), claw foot soaking tubs (anything better?) and double sinks.There’s a flat screen TV, DVD player, Bose stereo system and complimentary Internet connection and coffee service.

Be sure to get a room overlooking the pond but don’t bother with the extra charge for a first floor with a patio. They are not private patios.

DINING at Mirbeau Inn

You can’t talk about the restaurant without first discussing The Wine Bar. It’s a wonderfully cozy spot that includes its own fireplace and surrounding seating and a wonderful selection of wines, many from the Finger Lakes region.

The very unique Wine Station allows guests to browse and sample a variety of wines from around the world in three different pours – taste, half, or full – allowing patrons to samples wines from all price points from $2.50 per taste to $70.00 per glass. Selections may include top local Finger Lakes Wines, Opus One and Caymus from California, along with a wide variety of European Wines.

The Bistro & Wine Bar serves all meals in an elegant country dining room with its crisp linens, gleaming tableware, fresh flowers and stunning artwork. For a particularly intimate and romantic evening, ask to sit outside on the terrace overlooking the pond. The restaurant showcases local Finger Lakes produce, meats, cheeses and other farm fresh products and offers in-house dry-aged beef, fresh seafood flown in daily and house-made breads and desserts from Mirbeau’s own bakery.

Breakfast features items like Mascarpone French Toast, house-made brioche, brown sugar cinnamon mascarpone filling, mixed berry coulis and Mirbeau Cristo, house-made brioche dipped in royal batter, gruyère, ham, scrambled eggs, whole grain mustard aioli. Dinner might start with cheese and charcuterie or French Onion Soup or perhaps Lamb Lollipops, with smoked tomato jam & goat cheese crostini. Entrees might include Goat Cheese and Herb Chicken, goat cheese & herb stuffing, artichokes, wild rice, pan jus or Steak Frites, 10oz handcut sirloin, with caramelized shallot butter, truffle fries. pair your courses from an excellent wine list, fairly priced.

THE SERVICE at Mirbeau Inn

From reception to dining staff to spa staff, everyone was pleasant and friendly and it felt genuine, not “forced” as it is in some places. Everyone seemed well-trained and appeared to truly enjoy their jobs. The bartender was particularly knowledgeable about their wine selection and guided me through a number of tastings that were outstanding.

THE RATES at Mirbeau Inn

From $450 Peak Season Weekend. Includes a European style Continental breakfast.

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Mirbeau Inn

AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Four Star Award
Condé Nast Traveler- Top 100 Spas in North America

“Quelle surprise to find this “Monet inspired” “bit of French countryside in upstate NY” near the “beautiful” Skaneateles Lake; love birds chirp the “charming rooms with fireplaces”, “a staff that can’t do enough for you” and “excellent food” at the restaurant are perfect for a “cozy, romantic getaway”, and pamper-holics praise the on-site spa – “one of the best in the country.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Mirbeau Inn

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Mirror Lake Inn

OVERVIEW of Mirror Lake Inn

Some places are just so comfortable and welcoming, you know from the start that you will keep coming back. Mirror Lake is one of those places. It is a delightful place to stay in any season, but it becomes truly magical when all lit up with tiny lights and surrounded by snow. It evokes memories of the wonderful old inns in movies from the 40’s like Holiday Inn and White Christmas. Perched on a hill overlooking the Lake and the mountains, the white clapboard Inn with dark green shutters has everything you might want for an enjoyable weekend; great rooms with stunning views, excellent food, a world class spa and the most convivial bar in town.

The lobby provides a wonderful introduction with beautiful mahogany walls, hardwood floors, Oriental rugs, gleaming chandeliers, illuminated artwork, antiques and stone fireplaces. Comfortable sofas, plump easy chairs and cozy little nooks make this the perfect place for morning coffee or a cocktail by the fire.

THE ROOMS at Mirror Lake Inn

Rooms are good sized and most feature a balcony with views of the lake and mountains. Décor is split between traditional Colonial furniture and a lighter Mission style. We’ve stayed in the main building in a delightful Deluxe Noonmark room on the third floor, decorated with hunter green, burgundy and tan striped wallpaper with pine cone accents, Mission style furniture, Adirondack accessories and a comfortable fishing print chair and ottoman overlooking the Lake. The bathroom had a stone shower with dual showerheads and fat, fluffy towels. Lots of quality features here; beautiful crown moldings, flat screen TV, down comforters and pillows and wonderful local Adirondack artwork.

Our favorite accommodations, however, are in the Lake Cottage, directly across from the main building and sitting at water’s edge. If you want a real treat, book the Adirondack suite, a delightful room with a huge stone fireplace, comfy couches and an plump Adirondack twig bed with views onto the lake.

DINING at Mirror Lake Inn

The Inn’s restaurants, The View, for fine dining and The Cottage Cafe, located right at water’s edge, is a favorite local watering hole and apres ski spot with excellent pub food and a deck open year round. In winter there’s a fire burning inside and out on the deck in a pot bellied stove. A great spot for lunch or an afternoon snack.

THE SERVICE at Mirror Lake Inn

The staff is well trained and very friendly. Housekeeping personnel greet guests as they pass in the hall and front desk people are anxious and willing to help. Afternoons there’s milk and homemade chocolate chip cookies in the lobby…worth the trip alone!

OTHER THINGS at Mirror Lake Inn

For activities, there’s an indoor and outdoor pool, a tennis court, a special lighted area on the lake for ice skating, rowboats, canoes and paddleboats and a truly outstanding spa. The spa is an exercise in total relaxation. Treatment rooms have luxurious appointments and fireplaces. Don’t miss the Adirondack Maple Sugar Body Scrub. Rates are surprisingly reasonable with a 50 minute massage at only $80.

THE RATES at Mirror Lake Inn

From $499 Peak Season weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Mirror Lake Inn

AAA Four Diamond Award – Lodging
AAA Four Diamond Award – Dining
Top 500 Hotels in the World – Travel + Leisure
Gold List – Conde Nast Traveler
Top 12 Luxury Resorts in the U.S. – Departures Magazine

PROMOTIONS at Mirror Lake Inn

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Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton SC

OVERVIEW of Montage Palmetto Bluff

Nestled beside the May River, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC is a spectacular resort just 15 minutes from downtown Savannah. Built on a 20,000 acre parcel, the Inn is part of a complex that includes residential homes, a delightful Village reminiscent of a New England town and a host of recreational opportunities.

THE ROOMS at Montage Palmetto Bluff

There are four basic types of accommodations here; guest rooms, cottages, cottage suites and village homes. The cottage is the basic unit, the suites add a separate living room and and the village homes are offered in 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units with full kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms. Seldom will you find more spacious and well-appointed quarters. Vaulted ceilings make the huge 1,140 sq. foot cottages seem even bigger. Soft beige walls and sparkling white wood trim are countered with dark pine floors covered in rich area rugs and dark mahogany furniture. Colorful Low Country artwork and antique reproduction mirrors grace the walls. Luxury linens top the 4 poster bed from which you can watch a Plasma TV. There is a fireplace for cool nights and a wonderful screened in porch overlooking the water, perfect for enjoying breakfast or an end-of-day cocktail from the wet bar which also has a Sub Zero refrigerator. The large marble bathroom has a separate steam shower (this is luxury!), a deep soaking tub and custom bath products.

The cottage suites are @ 1,340 square feet and have everything the cottage has plus a separate living room with couches and reading chairs. Village homes are magnificently decorated and equipped with amenities like Viking stoves and fine china, glass and silverware. These are perfect for when you are traveling with another couple or with family. Many have wonderful porches and outdoor patios.

There is no bad room here, but I like the May River Cottage Rooms over the ones on the lagoon. If you opt for a suite, ask for one on the River. Last visit I stayed in Village Home #1 and it was nothing short of magnificent. It overlooks the lagoon, has a wonderful library with fireplace, a formal dining room, three outside porches, a great kitchen and is spectacularly decorated.

DINING at Montage Palmetto Bluff

Octagon Porch.
Overlooks the Inn back yard with its firepits, pools, sweeping oak trees along the inland waterways. Designed to reflect the authentic Southern porches of years gone by. Bright and airy. Low country menu.
Buffalo’s
Casual. Sandwiches, salads, Breakfast Biscuit Bar, burgers, pizza. Fireplace.
Canoe Club
Casual dining overlooking the May River. Heirloom tomato gazpacho, Deviled eggs, Crab Beignets and Fried chicken and waffles are highlights.
Canteen
Grab & Go for breakfast and lunch
Cole’s
Casual setting with beautiful marsh views. Southern comfort food; fried chicken, fried dill pickles, patty melt, BBQ
Fore & Aft
Located alongside the lagoon waterway edge and the Inn pool. sandwiches and salads.

The wine list, available throughout the property is extraordinary in its selections. Sadly, it is a very expensive one. Without actually counting, I would guess only 20% of the bottles are under $100.

All meals are served on the Octagon Porch, Buffalo’s and The Canteen. Lunch is also served at Fore & Aft and dinner is served at Cole’s and The Canoe Club.

THE RATES at Montage Palmetto Bluff

From $315 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Montage Palmetto Bluff

AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Four Star Award

“Sunny cottages” “scattered like Easter eggs” “among majestic oaks and rolling lawns” define this “little piece of heaven on the May River” that has groupies gushing over the “most perfect rooms you could imagine,” “food to die for” and “a good dose of Southern charm”; “idyllic surroundings” next to a nature reserve, “phenomenal activities” like golf and a “sublime spa” and plenty of “relaxing” make it a “marvelous getaway” “for anyone, anytime”  “it’s pricey but worth it.” ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Montage Palmetto Bluff

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Montage, Laguna Beach CA

OVERVIEW of Montage

Perched on a bluff above the mighty Pacific Ocean with the rugged coastline below, the Montage Laguna Beach is a stunning property set on 30 beautifully manicured acres halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.

The gorgeous lobby has massive floor to ceiling windows that showcase the crashing waves and slender palms lining the rocky coast. Cozy couches dot the Craftsman-style space, and guests can enjoy their libation of choice expertly mixed or poured at the lobby bar while listening to the live piano music drifting through the air. The resort showcases a museum-quality collection of fine art inspired by the Early California Arts and Crafts movement.

THE ROOMS at Montage

Every guest room in this 250 room resort offers a stunning view of the ocean. Upon entering, my room felt bright, airy and immensely comfortable. A plush bed of pure white linens sang a siren song to my travel weary body. The bathroom was massive and the sight of the bathtub made me feel giddy with happiness. Luxe, nearly full sized toiletries smelling of lemon verbena adorned the yellow and white striped bathroom, while a golden glow emanated from the light fixtures at the vast marble sink. It was this bathroom and the balcony overlooking the crashing waves that fought for my attention. The balcony looked out over the Montage’s elegant ocean front infinity pool, as well as one of the resort’s restaurants, perched on a bluff that seemingly arose straight from the cerulean depths. Shades of yellow, blue and white were ever present in the spacious room, replicating the sun, ocean and white sands of Laguna Beach.

DINING at Montage

The Loft restaurant is a truly unique experience, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Bright and airy with a 6 foot wood burning rotisserie and wonderful views, it is a great spot for casual dining. But it is the interactive cheese bar that amazes. A frommagier helps choose a set of cheeses and sauces to complement them, like a Keens Cheddar, a rich earthy cheese paired with ginger and cinnamon infused applesauce, a Beemster gouda, a smoky and salty cow cheese served with a tangy caramel sauce, and D’Affinois, a creamy, brie style cheese served with strawberry compote. Paired with a chilly New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, recommended from an intense 33 page wine list, the Loft at Montage is a “foodies” idea of food heaven.

Studio is the hotel’s premier restaurant, perched on a rocky outcropping offering a stunning ocean view and serving up modern French cuisine. Studio offers an intimate dining experience in the richly decorated dining room, with classic touches like the finest of linens, china and glassware. The selections rotate seasonally, but expect items like butter poached main lobster with agnolotti, artichokes, fennel, espelette pepper, basil and sauce Americana, or smoked squab with wheat berries, dried cherries, haricots verts and pickled pearl onions. Although they may sound a bit pretentious, the food is hearty and delicious−and strangely, the view of the ocean seems to make the food taste even better. Temporarily closed as of November 2022.

The resort is the recipient of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award representing one of the best wine lists in the world.

RATES at Montage

From $1,457 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Montage

“Find a ‘slice of paradise’ at this cliffside ‘hidden jewel’ on the Southern California coast’, where the food is ‘divine’, the spa ‘consistently excellent’ and the setting ‘unbelievable’ with ‘everlasting’ views; there are ‘fabulous rooms…and the ‘amazing’ staff ‘knows what you want before you do’…ZAGAT

PROMOTIONS at Montage

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Morris House Hotel

OVERVIEW
The Morris House Hotel may just be our “find” of the year. Ideally located in the Society Hill area of the City, this 15 room, circa 1787 boutique hotel oozes with charm. It is a registered national landmark that has retained much of its colonial past, while modernizing just enough to be acceptable to today’s traveler.

Surrounded by huge iron gates, the property includes a wonderful brick courtyard used for dining for the M Restaurant next door and private functions. The lush gardens make it one of Philadelphia’s favorite outdoor dining spaces. Inside, there’s a warm and cozy library on the main floor that had a roaring fire on the day we arrived and two dining rooms, one of which has French doors that open onto the courtyard.

THE ROOMS
Bedrooms are oversized with built in bookcases, fireplaces (non-working) original plank floors and decorated with period furnishings. All have a shower/bathtub or standing shower and Jacuzzi, 600 thread count cotton sheets, Egyptian cotton towels, IPhone docking stations, plasma cable TV’s and EcoFresh bath amenities. Beds were comfortable with down bedding and pillows.

DINING
A Continental breakfast, available at 7am, includes a variety of fresh whole fruits, cereal, granola, yogurts, a delicious assortment of locally baked breads and pastries, coffee, tea and juice. Every day at 3p.m. the hotel offers freshly baked cookies with tea in the Library.

M Restaurant was voted “Most Romantic” and “Best Ambience” by Open Table, and “Best Outdoor Dining” by Philadelphia Magazine and Open Table, It serves an affordable menu of creative, seasonal/locally-sourced fare, blending new American and European cuisines.

THE RATES: From $209 Peak Season Weekend. Great value.

Nantucket Hotel

OVERVIEW of the Nantucket Hotel

A few years back, the Snider family purchased the old Point Breeze Hotel (circa 1891), poured a ton of money into a complete renovation and the result is the wonderful, family friendly Nantucket Hotel + Resort. Properties are run better when the owners are also the operators and The Nantucket proves the rule.

THE ROOMS at the Nantucket Hotel

The property offers 46 accommodations ranging from hotel rooms to 1-4 bedroom suites , to 1 & 2 bedroom private cottages. All are decorated with a beach theme and feature whimsical artwork and accessories, some rooms have kitchenettes and decks. Luxury beds are dressed in Frette linens and bathrooms feature plush towels and custom blended bath products.

DINING at the Nantucket Hotel

Breeze is the hotel’s signature restaurant, serving a complimentary Continental breakfast each morning and lunch and dinner each day. Brunch is served on Sundays from 11am. Meals can be enjoyed in the cozy dining room or outside on the terrace beside a warming fire pit. Menu items can range from a wonderful Lobster Risotto with English pea puree and sage and pancetta to a hearty burger served  on toasted brioche bun to organic salmon on a polenta cake, with truffled wild mushrooms, asparagus and hazelnut brown butter. If you are around for the Sunday brunch don’t miss the chocolate chip pancakes with blueberry compote and whipped cream.

THE SERVICE at the Nantucket Hotel

What makes The Nantucket truly unique is that they put their guests interests and comfort above all else and don’t feel the need to charge for every amenity.  They offer a pick-up and drop-off service to/from the Ferries (in an antique bus), a pre-reserved parking space at The Nantucket Hotel if you are bringing a car, shuttle service to the beaches, Children’s day program, Morning coffee and afternoon cookies and lemonade in the lobby…all on the house.

OTHER at the Nantucket Hotel

Located just a block from town, the hotel is convenient to just about any activity you would like to enjoy in Nantucket. On the property there are two heated pools, one for families and one for adults only, saunas and an outdoor hot tub. The Nantucket Club is a full service health club with spa treatment rooms and yoga and fitness classes. There is a complimentary Summer Children’s Program from 9-12pm each day and an Evening Children’s Program offered Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m, so parents can get a little time to themselves.

THE RATES at the Nantucket Hotel

From $975 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHER SAY About the Nantucket Hotel


US News & World Report’s 2018 “Best of” Awards
Conde Nast Traveler in their 2017 “Readers’ Choice Awards.”

PROMOTIONS at the Nantucket Hotel

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Nathaniel Lord Mansion, Kennebunkport ME

OVERVIEW of Nathaniel Lord Mansion

The Nathaniel Lord Mansion, is one of the best B&B’s we have encountered in our travels. But don’t let the term “B&B” dissuade you, because this place is much more than that. This is a AAA Four Diamond property owned by the same people, Rick and Bev, for over 30 years. It is a labor of love that is evident everywhere. Bev handles the gardens and the decorating and her talents are equal to any professional. The rooms are magnificently decorated and Bev actually sews all the window treatments, bed skirts and comforter covers.  Rick is the marketing guy and never stops thinking about how to make the Inn better and more customer friendly. One visit here and it will become an annual event for you.

Set at the top of a sloping lawn that overlooks the Kennebunk River, the imposing yellow Mansion sits on a beautifully manicured lawn with perennial gardens and shaded by towering maple trees. Comfortable Adirondack chairs are scattered around the lawn, perfect for a lazy hour or so with a good book.

Step inside and the first thing you’ll see is a sign greeting guests by name and home town. You’ll also notice umbrellas for the rain and OFF for the mosquitoes considerately set out for the guest’s comfort.

Just to the left of the entry hallway is the Gathering Room, a comfortable and elegant room with a large fireplace (that served as the cooking fireplace in 1812) surrounded by couches, window seats, hardwood floors, Oriental rugs and a beamed ceiling. Guests “gather” here for coffee in the morning, tea or cocktails in the afternoon, a game of chess or a drink before bed. Downstairs is a Gift Shop and a Game Room with a fireplace, game table and a big screen TV.

THE ROOMS at Nathaniel Lord Mansion

Too often, B&B’s have a couple of really nice rooms that are featured on their website and the rest are passable but nothing special. Not the case here where each room unveils its own charms and each one you see becomes your new favorite. They are exquisitely decorated with period antiques, wonderful artwork, lush fabrics and quality wall coverings. While we didn’t see every room, we saw enough to know we’d be happy in any one of them.

All 20 rooms have king or queen beds, gas burning fireplaces, Posturepedic mattresses with down comforters and pillows, large marble baths with heated floors, fresh flowers and plants, Jacuzzi tubs for two, big, plush towels and “Baronessa Cali” toiletries.

Our room, The Captain Merchant’s Suite, was gorgeous with a carved 4 poster high boy canopy bed centering the main room with couches and a wing back chair at its base surrounding the fireplace. The artwork and furnishings were magnificent. A 42″ plasma TV rose majestically from its cabinet and a mini refrigerator was stocked with water and juice. The huge bathroom had its own fireplace, a marble 10-jet, hydro-massage, waterfall shower which I didn’t want to leave, a double vanity and a two person whirlpool tub.

DINING at Nathaniel Lord Mansion

I am not usually one for communal breakfasts, but here it is fun event, served in a wonderful, renovated country kitchen on two long farm tables by two local women who couldn’t be more pleasant. Somehow these charming women get everyone talking to each other and you find yourself really enjoying the camaraderie. Take excellent coffee and freshly squeezed juices, add poppy seed muffins, homemade granola, fresh fruit, cream cheese stuffed French Toast or blueberry pancakes or another of the ever changing entrees and you’ve got a great start to the day….and some new friends.

Locally, there are some excellent restaurants for lunch and dinner. Lunch one day was at Pier 77, a charming place on the water with white paneling, cherry wood tables and chairs, hardwood floors, a fireplace, a baby grand piano and a cute little 8 stool bar. Adjacent to the restaurant is the Ramp Bar & Grill, a more casual sibling with outdoor seating overlooking the harbor. We enjoyed a wonderful sunset and a delicious meal at The Hurricane, in town and on the water.

Stunning ocean views from a crisp white dining room with striking and colorful gold framed artwork and a blue palette serve as the background for the excellent Cape Arundel Inn restaurant.  See our White Barn Inn profile for our review of that restaurant.

THE SERVICE at Nathaniel Lord Mansion

The innkeepers and staff seem to truly enjoy what they are doing and it shows in how they interact with the guests. The list of thoughtful amenities seems endless; free wireless, guest computer, iPod dock, complimentary bicycles, beach chairs and towels, a birding kit, chocolate chip cookies in your room, iced coffee and tea and lemonade in the summer and “Swedish Glogg” (a non-alcoholic mulled cider and cranberry juice) simmering in a crock-pot on the antique stove in the kitchen, a sewing kit in the bathroom, special make-up remover and towel and even a pretty good wine list.

Visit 10 times and a commemorative brick will be added to the patio with your name on it….what a charming little way to say thanks.

THE RATES at  Nathaniel Lord Mansion

From $412 Peak Season Weekend

WHAT OTHERS SAY About Nathaniel Lord Mansion

AAA Four Diamond Award
Select Registry Member
“The individually decorated rooms – many with “canopy beds” and fireplaces – are “so pretty you won’t want to leave”, except to dig into the “fabulous breakfasts” at this “homey” B&B “near the heart of Kennebunkport” (though “thankfully” enough of a distance from the Bush compound); “warm and friendly owners” offer “home-baked cookies” and other daily snacks, while “no TVs” in most of the rooms mean “total relaxation”; N.B. children over age 12 preferred.” ZAGAT.

PROMOTIONS at Nathaniel Lord Mansion

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Nemacolin Woodlands, Farmington PA

 OVERVIEW of Nemacolin Woodlands

Nemacolin began life in the late 60’s as a private game reserve where Pittsburgh industrialist, Willard Rockwell entertained friends and business associates for hunting and fishing weekends on its then 400 acres. Today the resort is owned by the Hardy Family (84 Lumber) encompasses some 3000 acres and is a Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond award recipient. The Falling Rock section of the resort and the restaurant Lautrec have been recognized with the AAA Five Diamond award.

This is the best family resort we have visited. Set on 3000 acres, there are two golf courses, a shooting academy, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, an off road driving academy, a magnificent Spa, wine tastings and cooking classes for adults. The children’s activities are truly amazing. There’s a zoo, a marina with boats and kayaks, snow sports, horseback riding, arcades, paint ball, archery, volleyball and more.

THE ROOMS at Nemacolin Woodlands

Chateau Lafayette
Chateau Lafayette is the sophisticated and elegant alternative to the sleek and contemporary Falling Rock. Designed to replicate the Ritz in Paris, you are introduced to the hotel through a grand lobby with soaring ceilings, crystal chandeliers and a stunning $45 million art collection. Lafayette is home to a tea room, a cigar bar and the resort’s AAA 5 Diamond award winning restaurant Lautrec. The 124 rooms and suites are oversized and made to seem even larger with vaulted ceilings and crystal chandeliers. Furnishings are elegant and stylish in muted shades of beige and olive with heavy formal drapes covering large windows and furniture in Queen Anne styling. Butter soft linens top pillow-top beds covered with silk bedspreads. Bathrooms are large with plenty of space, equipped with high end toiletries and soaking tubs and separate showers.
The Lodge
Originally a hunting retreat. Today, it offers luxury accommodations and is home to Rockwell’s steak house and the wine cellar of 21,000 bottles.
Falling Rock
Forbes Five Star Hotel. Rooms are large and decorated in soothing shades of brown, gold and burgundy with fabric covered walls, mahogany furniture and either a small balcony or a sitting area. Pillow-top beds and luxury linens make for a luxurious sleep. Marble bathrooms are also large with plush towels and robes, a deep soaking tub and separate glass enclosed shower with more shower heads than I could figure out. 24 hour butler service is a great touch. They will get you food, iron your clothes, draw a bath, wake you up in the morning, just about anything you can think of.
Luxury Vacation Homes
Beautiful homes sleeping from 6-22 people.
Townhouses
Two bedroom, fully equipped homes. Perfect for couples or families traveling together.

DINING at Nemacolin Woodlands

Nemacolin offers the most extensive line-up of dining options in this group of Great Resorts.
Bars & Lounges
Cigar Bar
Roaring 20’s theme. Speakeasy style entrance. World’s finest bourbons, scotches and cognacs, as well as wines, beers and Prohibition-style cocktails, all served by bartenders adorned in attire reminiscent of the era. Guests can enjoy fine cigars from the neighboring Cigar Shop.
The Lone Wolf
Casino bar. Entertainment and dancing. Burgers and wings.

There is also a bar at Rockwell’s restaurant, a Lobby Bar at the Chateau lafayette and the Amber Bar at Falling Rock.

Casual Dining
The Tavern is a popular English style pub serving lunch and dinner year round. Great beer selection, TV’s and pool tables and you can dine in the bar or an indoor sidewalk cafe around a free standing aquarium. Cut above the normal pub food. Try the double crunch homemade potato chips, the chili, the Wigle Bourbon Glazed BLT and the Hot Fried Chicken.

P.J.’s is a 1950’s style ice cream, pizza parlor and deli located next to Kidz Klub. Pizzas, salads, sandwiches and old-fashioned ice cream floats. Kids will love this.

The Caddyshack is housed in the resort’s original golf pro shop and features slow-cooked barbeque by the resort’s resident Pit Master, free-range rotisserie poultry, classic sid