Canada Turns 150 – Fairmont Hotels + Air Canada Throw a Fabulous Winter Party

Canada Tremblant Apres in the Air
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Image by Stephanie Starjovski

With its hotsy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and its enviable, progressive society, Canada doesn’t look a day over 21. But in truth, she turns a gorgeous 150 this year – and we were recently invited up to celebrate that special birthday with her.

Our hosts? Toronto based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have actually teamed up with Air Canada Jetz to offer up one of the most fabulous promotions we’ve ever had the pleasure to make acquaintance with: Après in the Air allows you and fifty-odd of your most fun-loving friends / hangers-on to charter a swish private jet – whose interior is sexily done up like a very stylish ski chalet party, complete with plush pillows and blankets, a cheese trolley and copious champagne.

The trip then takes you to the capital, Ottawa, and the dazzling Quebec resorts of Montebello and Tremblant.

Of course, you don’t need four-dozen friends to enjoy an ethereal winter getaway up North – though we highly recommend accumulating them beforehand. Either way, here’s how to do it all in very Canadian style.

Ottawa, Fairmont Chateau Laurier

The country’s capital, it has a homey, rustic feel (think Portland), but with awesomely grandiose architecture perched dramatically above its eponymous river. Check in to the spectacular Fairmont Chateau Laurier, which is, stylistically, an 18th Century French castle right in the middle of downtown.
Hipster sorts will love the city’s Canada Agriculture And Food Museum, or the Canadian Museum of Nature; But the National Gallery, which houses contemporary, Asian, sculpture and photography collections, is perhaps very much on topic with its exhibition, The Advent of Abstraction: Russia, 1914-1923.
Make time to walk the Alexandra Bridge over the Ottawa River (it takes you all the way to Quebec) for jaw-droppingly awesome views of the city skyline.
If you want to hit Ottawa’s food scene, Riviera, Back Lane Cafe, Navarra by Rene Rodriguez, Play Food & Wine, Pressed, Fraser Cafe and The Urban Pear are amongst the best.
But back at the Chateau Laurier, a must do is the Great Canadian Winter Tea in the hotel’s Zoe’s Lounge – with duck confit sandwiches, maple eclairs and Saskatoon berry tarts. Later, order up a few rounds of their exclusive 150 Canadantini – made with Iceberg Canadian Vodka and Cave Spring Canadian IceWine.

Quebec, Fairmont Le Château Montebello

Simply put, one of the most romantic destinations anywhere. The Chateau itself, built by a Swiss millionaire in the 1920s, is the largest log structure in the world, actually – as if someone had constructed a charming wood cabin and it was subsequently puffed up into a luxurious resort. We took a rather thrilling ride through the woods and over the grounds by means of a husky-propelled sled. But sporting types can also take to one of a pair of curling courts on site (it’s really just as exciting as it looks in The Olympics), enjoy a bit of cross-country skiing, or do some high-speed snowmobiling on an ethereally frozen Ottawa River.
But perhaps the best winter sport of all is cocktails or brandies at the Chateau’s Bar le Foyer, which surrounds a striking six-sided fireplace. Afterwards, dine on locally-sourced dishes (tartare of Quebec smoked duck, Boileau red deer, vegan squash & chickpea cake) at the hotel’s rustic-luxe Aux Chantignoles restaurant.

 

Quebec, Fairmont Tremblant

This is the grooviest ski resort in Quebec Province, hands down. Hit the slopes above a buzzing brightly-painted village of shops, restaurants and cafes, which is part Canadian charm, part Swiss chic.
In between swishes, take a dip in the Chateau’s heated outdoor pool (or if you’ve had a particularly vigorous day of skiing, try the outdoor therapeutic whirlpool bath). Set aside an afternoon for the Spa de Tremblant – indulge in a warm & cold basalt stone massage, a Valmont signature facial treatment or an elixir ice cider body wrap (Seriously, how could you not want an ice cider wrap?). Rooms have a plush, living room vibe – ask for one with views up the slopes.
Even if you don’t ski, take the gondola up to the top of Mont Tremblant, and just stand around in awe for awhile.
End it all with Après–ski at its finest: champagne cocktails on the Chateau’s terrace around a crackling a fire, with a striking nighttime view of the village below.
Happy Birthday, Canada!

Eight Reasons to Love the New 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

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With luxury skyscrapers going up all over Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, we’re long past the notion that there is still some set of mythical “Brooklyn values” in place. (You’d probably have to move to Omaha for that.) But while some of the borough’s trendy hotels (i.e. The William Vale) feel more SoBe than BKNY, the gorgeous new 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (we popped in for the opening bash last week) feels distinctly….right for the “new” Brooklyn.

In all honesty, the hotel could likely simply advertise, “Well, we’ve got these views of Manhattan…” and the job would be done. But it’s actually shot through with what seems a genuinely sincere attempt at conscientious hospitality, down to the recycling baskets in the rooms. And yet, there is most definitely a subtle glamour at work as well.

Here’s what we (and you will as well) love most about it.

Views! Views!…Views!

Surely Manhattan looks best at its southernmost. And waking up to the sun rising over the East River, and glancing over the hotel’s namesake bridge to the epic towers of the Financial District – that is hands down our new favorite amenity right now. Oh, how jealous your Instagram followers will be.

The Design

We were instantly taken with what could only be described as a beautifully realized Asian-industrial aesthetic. Distressed concrete gives it a “not-too-overdesigned” feel. And everywhere you look, something seems to bring you closer to a sense of serenity – while the high ceilings, tall columns and massive windows inspire a bit of awe. Call it…”epic zen.”

Rooms With Sliding Windows (and Views!)

American hoteliers have a terrible habit of installing windows in the rooms that open only about two inches…or not at all. Those at 1HBB actually slide all the way open – glory! And glass enclosed showers mean that you can scrub-a-dub-dub whilst thrilling to those aforementioned spectacular views. We love the concrete floors, too.

The Tesla

The hotel has its own black, gull-wing Tesla, which can zip guests around to nearby locations. Very. Cool.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

How many hotels in New York City have their own park? And indeed, 1HBB sits proudly amidst the lovely waterfront green space pithily named Brooklyn Bridge Park. Spend a peaceful sunset moment after a long day of dealing with the world and its wife.

Poolside Cocktails

You could have easily guessed this one. In May a new venue will be unveiled at 1HBB, for cocktails and bites by the pool. Expect it to be a scene – but one with (see above) really, really great views.

The Food

There’s a welcoming, sunlit cafe already on site, stocking local Brooklyn goodies – and a terribly stylish Lobby Lounge. But sometime in spring, the hotel will open a still hush-hush restaurant drawing on its eco-luxe ideology. Watch this space for word on who will be helming the kitchen.

It’s Pet Friendly!

Bring Fido. He’ll love the park as well, obviously.

 

The Hot Hotels for Paris Fashion Week

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Most calamitously, the upper echelons of the fashion flock had been forced to endure the several-times-delayed reopenings of both Le Ritz and de Crillon, Paris’ exalted “Palace” hotels. But the former is at last welcoming guests again, much to the relief of its fiercely loyal clientele. Even still, the capital is hardly ever wanting for fabulous places to bed down after the rigorous whirl of fashion shows and parties.

And so, as another Paris Fashion Week prepares to dazzle its way through the City of Light, we look at the best new and renewed hotels in the capital, and who will be staying there.

 

Le Ritz, 1st Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: The elite of the elite of fashion.

There’s a scene in How to Steal a Million, where Peter O’Toole asks Audrey Hepburn for a ride back to the Ritz, and she replies, “You’re a very chic burglar, aren’t you?” What more need be said? It’s the most glamorous hotel in the world, now newly glamorized – and where you need to be to bump expensively clad shoulders with the likes of Karl, Anna and Kate.

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Hotel Grand Amour, 10th Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: The “It” people

With Monsieur Andre’s hipster playground Hotel Amour feting its 10th anniversary last year, he’s given it a sister to celebrate. Hotel Grand Amour, opened amidst the nightlife buzzings of the 10e, has 44 capriciously designed rooms – some by Purple’s Olivier Zahm, some by Glenn O’Brien – and a charmingly cozy bar and restaurant. Staff uniforms are by Maison Kitsuné – so, yes, do mind your style at all times.

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Renaissance Paris Republique, 10th Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: The Epicures

That its opening party in June was DJ’d by The Misshapes says it all. This strikingly designed hotel has sleek rooms with multiple “picture” windows framing the Parisian cityscape, and something of a retro living room feel in the public spaces (which include a stunning terrace). But it’s also right nearby to the indie fashion shopping of Le Marais, the ethnic restaurant scene along Canal Saint Martin, and not far from all that hip rue Oberkampf bar hopping.

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Hotel Les Bains, 3rd Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: The A-list celebs, rock stars, and the designers who dress them.

First opened in 1885, Les Bains was later a decadent spa/nightspot that attracted the likes of Bowie, Depeche Mode, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Jean Paul Gaultier and Jean Michel Basquiat. Now it’s a pinnacle of bohemian luxe (and the newest Parisian member of Design Hotels), fittingly located in the boho-chic Marais. When booking, request a room with a balcony. Though with a private lounge, dramatically designed bar and a basement nightclub, expect sleeping to be the last thing on anyone’s mind.

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Le Grand Pigalle, 9th Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: The cool kids and the up-and-comers

In the now so terribly hip (and former red light district) Pigalle neighborhood that gives it its name, this is an “It” hotel – from the Mssrs. behind Experimental Cocktail Club – designed by “It” girl Dorothée Meilichzon. Naturally, then, stylish, faux vintage rooms have minibars with ready-mixed cocktails. But the Italo-inspired wine bar is where you’ll find all the best fashion schmoozing.

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La Reserve, 8th Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: The couture clients

Sister to the hotels of the same name (and same exorbitant rates) in Geneva and St. Tropez, the Paris edition is fitted into the plush former mansion of the Duc de Morny in the poshie 8e. But far from stuffy, interiors by superstar designer Jacques Garcia include flamboyant flourishes of his signature Empire style – as in, lots of burgundy and turquoise velvet set against dramatic drapery and baroque fireplaces. Regal, but chic.

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Generator Hostel, 10th Arrondissement

Who’s Staying: Stylistas on a budget

Paris’ latest entry in the “hip hostel” stakes, this Generator follows properties in London, Barcelona, Berlin, etc. Its dorm style rooms and shared hallway showers (it does have private chambers, should you so desire) make it perfect for fashion bloggers and non-super models. Style is somewhere between shambolic, neo-hippie and industrial-chic.

Generator Paris - Cafe Fabien - Nikolas Koenig

 

 

 

Culture Weekend Getaway: Logan Philadelphia Hotel

Assembly - Cathedral View
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Admittedly, when we stayed at the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia a few years back, we loved the space and the location – but found the vibe to be a little, well…stiff. So we returned intrigued after the property had been rebranded as The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton.

The slightly complicated moniker has to do with it being a part of the newish Hilton boutique brand, meant to allow each hotel to express its particular individuality. Indeed, nothing about it suggests following any sort of corporate-issued blueprint. Immediately upon entering, one is greeted by the chic, fireplace-adorned Commons Lounge & Library, with its cooly mismatched furnishings and wall of windows overlooking the comely courtyard – making it feel like a sort of home-away-from-home for those with impeccable stylistic proclivities.

 

 

Notably, the hotel’s commissioned art collection makes clever reference to the city itself. A spectacular chandelier/installation, for instance, holds images of famous Philadelphians, and dangles dramatically above the lobby entrance. And a set of intriguing wire sculptures guards the elevator bank, a striking tribute to Philly’s storied Schuykill Regatta rowing team.

The rooms are still plush, but now sleeker and brighter – request one with a view of Logan Circle and its monumental historic architecture. But our favorite feature? The swish Library & Billiards Room just off the lobby lounge, where we sank a few (yes, you can take that as a double entendre) before our evening activities. It must be said, that far too few hotels have one.

Philly itself has always been one of our fave weekend getaways for food, culture and especially live music. It’s also a particularly poignant time, for obvious reasons, to revisit the Birthplace of American Democracy. Here’s how to do it best, with The Logan as your HQ.

The Barnes Foundation

Now moved to its architecturally spectacular new home quite nearby to the hotel, it’s a life-altering collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early modern works – as well as African sculpture and Native American textiles. It also has a film screening series, and “mixer” nights for budding art aficionados.

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Recently ranked as the third most important museum in America, its staggering collection of more than 240,000 works has just been augmented by the addition of the New South Asian Galleries. A current exhibition not to be missed is Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage.

The Independent Gallery Scene

Philly creative types have the advantage of operating a bit outside the pressures of major market trends – so one can expect art of a less self-conscious, more provocative sort. The best galleries in which to immerse oneself in the scene are Pentimenti, Wexler and Paradigm Gallery + Studio, pictured below.

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Love Park 

Nearby to the Logan, the park renowned for its beloved Robert Indiana “LOVE” sculpture is getting a $16 makeover. It will become a great springtime hang, with more green space, fountains and, as it goes these days, zeitgeisty food trucks.

Sunday Brunch at Urban Farmer

The Logan’s trendily monikered restaurant actually manages to avoid all the farmy, Portlandia cliches. Dinner means some of the best steaks in the city (i.e. Kansas Creekstone Prime); but brunch is the real scene, with veggie frittatas, blue crab omelets, popcorn grits and a groovy, energetic crowd.

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La Colombe Coffee Roasters

Yes, they’re now in New York, Boston, D.C., Chicago…but this is where it all started. And don’t let some persnickety hipster barista tell you otherwise – La Colombe still serves the best coffee, period. Hit the Rittenhouse Square location, which retains a cool Boho vibe; and while you’re there, go all connoisseur and take home something from their rare Workshop collection…like the Lycello Blue Geisha or the Kenya – Karogoto.

The S. 18th Street Restaurant Scene

Just a short walk from the hotel, you can satisfy virtually every culinary craving imaginable within a four block stretch. There’s Stephen Starr’s The Dandelion for modern pub food in a cool, Anglophilic setting; Bar Bombon for buffalo cauliflower tacos and a serious mezcal list; a.kitchen + bar (pictured below) for bourgeois-chic style, killer martinis and mod bistro eats; Tria for Euro-y cheese-charcuterie-wine pairings; and Starr’s perpetually hip Parc, for a Europhile crowd sating on brasserie classics like steak tartare and trout amandine.

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Assembly Rooftop at The Logan 

If you can hold out until spring, the Logan’s rooftop bar is the chicest in the city, offering a striking overview of Philly’s most storied architecture and a notable selection of champers by the glass.

The Music Scene

Want to see a band, minus all the bored/boring, arms-folded hipsterati cluttering up venues in WBurg and Silver Lake? Make the rounds of Philly’s legendary venues like Electric Factory, The Trocadero and The TLA…or the newer Union Transfer – which in the coming weeks will feature the likes of Austra, Parquet Courts and The Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque. Other shows coming up in the city include Kings of Leon, Devandra Banhart and Talib Kweli.

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A Renaissance Republique Paris Guide

Paris Place de le Republique
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Oh so much of the buzz concerning Paris’ hotel scene in 2016 revolved around the those opulent legends awarded the classification “Palace”: the reopening of Le Ritz, and delayed reopening of de Crillon and Le Bristol chef Eric Frechon being named the culinary overlord of the city.

But we found ourselves taken with one of a decidedly more groovy appeal, the new Renaissance Paris Republique.

It debuted last summer with a glamorous, Misshapes-DJ’d opening bash. But we popped in for a stay recently with the intent of kicking about the Marais, one of our most beloved Paris hoods – which is also the stomping grounds of the indie fashion set. The hotel turns out to actually have one of the most trend-perfect locations in the city: alongside the grandiose Place de la Republique; a few blocks from the hip restaurant scene on the Canal Saint Martin; an easy zip to the cool-kid nightlife happenings along the rue Oberkampf; and just a picturesque stroll to the center of the aforementioned Marais.

 

 

The hotel also has some of the most stylish features in the capital. Rooms in the Bobo category each have a little balcony overlooking the rooftops of the 10e; but we loved the Urban Rooms, with their wide, porthole windows and sexy glass bathrooms. Downstairs the cool Martin Bar off the lobby is a throwback 60s/70s mod, serving not only swish cocktails but also a signature, eponymous beer. It spills onto a gorgeous terrace.

And then there’s that rarest of things: a truly worthy but not exorbitantly priced hotel restaurant, in this case the hotel’s Origin eatery. Benedicte Van der Motte (another rarity, a top female French chef) heads an excellent kitchen that turns out such delectable surprises as lamb sweetbreads and egg yolk confit.

Best of all, the Renaissance Republique is romantic enough for a Valentine’s Day getaway, and chic enough for a home base during the upcoming Paris Fashion Week (February 28 to March 7). Here’s how to make it a perfect Parisian stay.

 

Shopping in Le Marais

Plan to spend an afternoon strolling the boutique strewn streets of the Marais, especially the Rue des Francs Bourgeois and Rue Vieille du Temps. Some highlights: Piscine, Maje, Sandro (pictured below), Iro, L’Eclaireur. Take a break at on-so-Parisian Cafe Au Petit Fer a Cheval.

Sandro Paris

Dining Along Canal Saint Martin

Once a rather scruffy stretch, the canal is now home to the coolest mix of ethnic food in the capital. A few faves? Le Cambodge, for Cambodian dishes that are custom made to your taste; Street Bangkok (pictured below) for Thai street food and a stylish crowd; Typick Café for Aussie inspired eats in cool, colorful surrounds.

Nightlife in the Rue Oberkampf

One of Paris’ first hipster enclaves, it’s still counted amongst the city’s great bar crawls. For a bit of plundering-chic, hit up the buzzy Bar Les Pirates; the nearby Le P’tit Garage has the vibe of a classic American rock & roll joint; and Ave Maria mixes retro-chic with a knowing reggae/soul soundtrack.

 

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Cocktail Legend ‘Employees Only’ Opens in Miami

Employees Only Cocktail image
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It’s hard to imagine now, but when Employees Only opened in the West Village in 2004, it was really only them and cocktail pioneers Milk & Honey in the game. But with the word “mixology” having long ago reached its self-parody stage, EO is at last in serious expansion mode.

Amidst the Art Deco chic of South Beach’s Washington Park Hotel, the new Miami outpost of EO (which opens today), like the original – there’s also one in NYC’s Chinatown, and another in Singapore – is all understated classiness: dark woods, tin ceiling, retro lamps, flattering lighting accents and an awe-inspiring wall of booze. It’s savvy of them, of courses, to not try to create some SoBe-fied version – but rather to just do what they do so well.

“While looking for the perfect Miami location for Employees Only,” explains Founder Billy Gilroy, “it was important to maintain the brand’s Deco roots and serve as a place for locals first.”

As much a restaurant as bar, Employees Only liquid classics like the Billionaire Cocktail and the Lazy Lover will be complemented by bone marrow poppers, steak tartare and a selection of caviar. Since the classy Washington Park is hardly some preening scenester hotel, expect more of a sophisticated crowd that is serious about its drinks.

Apres imbibing, book into one of the WPH’s sleek terrace suites, to wake up to sunny SoBe views.

 

Design Lovers’ Escape: The Brentwood at Saratoga Springs

Brentwood Saratoga
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Need a little relief from the current climate, political and otherwise? If the urban grey of winter and the bad news on CNN have got you down, then look no further to rest your world-weary head than the stylish new Brentwood hotel, just a quick train or Zipcar ride up to Saratoga Springs, NY.

From Brooklyn’s Studio Tack, this revamped 12-room motor lodge is brilliantly situated directly in front of the Saratoga Race Course, making it nirvana for the equestrian obsessed. Every room enjoys a view of the massive, 50,000-seat historic thoroughbred track; yet the cozy-chic accommodations are perfect for a quiet, off-season retreat. (You know, like Valentine’s Day?)

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Avoiding that cookie-cutter soullessness we’ve seen in so many modern makeovers, Studio Tack took a homegrown approach to the design, collaborating with local craftspeople they consider friends and colleagues. Partner Brian Smith says, “Working with talented people helps us grow and learn as a company and always makes for a more compelling product.” The result, a refreshing eclecticism that goes just slightly irreverent.

The lobby, for instance, feels like a classic parlor room, with custom millwork, reclaimed white oak flooring from Hudson & Co., antique gilded mirrors and an intriguing collection of vintage oil paintings. Part check-in, part bar, and tons of welcoming charm.

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In the rooms, the solid clear pine beds with signature octagonal posts were handmade by Dave Cummings, a local woodworker in nearby Bolton Landing. While the custom, hand-dyed French bed linens are from Brooklyn-based textile purveyors Sharktooth. Even the vintage oil paintings hanging above each bed were handpicked from regional collectors, featuring bucolic scenes meant to complement surrounding Saratoga. And with considered amenities like bath products from our favorite, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries, as well as rain showers, and a refreshment bar stocked with local snacks, the stresses of city living easily melt away.

Smith enthuses, “If you appreciate handsome and classic spaces, you’ll love our design. If you like small-town charm and, of course, horses, you’ll love our location.” And the property is delightfully dog-friendly – so there’s no need to leave Fido behind.

Top Restaurants in Saratoga Springs

Salt & Char, Gray Kunz’ modern American steakhouse; Lake Local for seafood classics and lakeside dining; The Mouzon House for farm-to-table Creole in a striking Victorian setting.

To Do in Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Yaddo Artist Community; Saratoga Automobile Museum; National Museum of Dance; Tang Museum at Skidmore College (pictured below)

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Aperitivo Hour Cocktail Recipes: Michael White’s Bar Fiori

Bar Fiori Langham
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From Milano to Roma, one of Italy’s grand traditions is the aperitivo hour. Think of it as happy hour, but with a spread of very good food.

It’s now starting to catch on in America – and Michael White’s Bar Fiori is leading the trend. The elegant bar attached to his exalted Ai Fiori restaurant, in the plush and very fabulous Langham Place, New York hotel, it attracts a crowd of urbane movers and shakers. And now they’re coming for its new Aperitivi Menu, making it the perfect place to meet a sexy fellow Italophile.

For those who don’t find themselves often in NYC, we asked Head Bartender Pete Stanton for his best Italian-influenced cocktail recipes, so that any evening just might turn into aperitivo hour.

 

Arancia Americano

Glass: Highball 
Garnish: Dehydrated Orange  
 
1 1/2  oz Contratto Bitter
1 oz Punt e Mes Vermouth 
1/2 oz spiced blood orange cordial**
top of club soda
Method:
Combine blood orange cordial, Contratto Bitter and Punt e Mes in a highball;  over ice in a Bordeaux glass and garnish with dehydrated orange wheel
 
This is a wintery take on a Americano that combines homemade blood orange cordial, which is a oleo sacrum based syrup with clove, nutmeg and blood orange.Thee Contratto Bitter will provide a light bitter sweet component with citrusy overtones. This drink will be a great wintery starter for a large dinner or midday drinker.
 
** Spiced Blood Orange Cordial: zest 1 orange into 2 cups sugar. muddle 10 cloves and 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg into the sugar mixture. Whisk in 2 cups of blood orange juice.   
 
 

Chinotto Cobbler

Glass: Highball
Garnish: Raspberry on a skewer
 
2 oz Valdespino Innocente Fino Sherry
3/4 oz Housemade orange cordial
3 dashes of Housemade Seville orange and tarragon tincture
3 dashes Lazaroni Amaretto
3 Raspberries
 
Method:
Add 3 raspberries to a highball and add 3 dashes each of Seville tarragon tincture and Amaretto along with the orange cordial. Fill glass with crushed ice and lightly swizzle breaking up the raspberry add more crushed ice and dome over the rim of the glass add two thin ling cocktail straws and pour the sherry over the top. Garnish with on raspberry over a long skewer.
 
This is a take on a Sherry Cobbler, one of the most popular drinks in the mid to late 19th century. It was a key vehicle in introducing the drinking straw, a new novelty at the time, to the American public. The etymology of the drink is hazy but the most probable referring to the little cobbles or pebbles of ice, another new innovation of mid-19th century drinking. This cocktail uses Valdespino Fino sherry, a great savoury sherry from one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez, registered in 1875 (the family has been involved in the production of wine since at least 1430).This particular sherry is sourced from one of the most revered vineyards in Jerez, Macharnudo Alta. We make a house made tincture with bitter Seville orange (sometimes lumped into the chinotto family of bitter orange) and dried french tarragon which adds a bitter savory punch to the cocktail.

Romantic Winter Getaways: From Madrid to Mexico

Only You Boutique Madrid
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Only You Boutique Hotel, Madrid 

Love hasn’t exactly been in the air in 2017, has it?  But winter is still the absolutely best time to pitch some serious woo in someplace terribly romantic. And whether it’s the beach or the snow or just a hotel suite with really fabulous views that gets your heart racing, we know just where to send you.

 

Only You Boutique Hotel, Madrid

Barcelona has the party people, but Madrid has the food, the wine and fiery spirit. Chueca is one of the capital’s hippest neighborhoods, home to a thriving gay community, sexy nightlife, and also one of the most strikingly designed hotels on the entire Continent. Exalted designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has decked the breakfast room walls with plates, the elevator with books, and the corridors of this 18th Century mansion with untold surprises. The two cocktail bars and the YOUnique restaurant are each more stylish than the last – the latter even has a patio with a kind of surreal hanging garden. Splurge for one of the stunning terrace suites, overlooking the surrounding rooftops.

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Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Quebec

Canada turns 150 this year, and with hotsy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the helm, she’s never looked better. And who needs the beach when you can take your true love dog-sledding? The chateau here is actually the largest log structure in the known world, built in the 1920s. Spend the day skating or cross-country skiing before a L’amour De Ma Vie couples massage in the spa. Finish the evening making googly-eyes over hot toddies around the six-sided fireplace in the rustic-gorgeous lobby lounge. Let it snow…

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The Langham Huntington, Pasadena

It’s been a rough few months for Hollywood and its, shall we say, “value system.” But we still say “let love rule.” And thankfully, just up the freeway from La La Land is a place of beautiful sanctuary for sensitive, creative sorts. Indeed, Pasadena’s Langham Huntington has everything you could possibly need to stir up a little soul-soothing romance: rooms overlooking ethereal gardens; long walks on acres of lawns; signature couples treatments at the on-site Chuan Spa; and something called Pink Chocolate Afternoon Tea (which involves, yes, a pink chocolate fountain). After dinner at The Terrace, snuggle up with live jazz and specialty cocktails in the bar.

Langham Pasadena Courtyard

Langham Pasadena - Exterior Aerial

Hilton Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas

All talk of Mexico these days seems to involve that…wall. But for those with love in their hearts, our neighbor to the south has plenty of amor to give in return. One of its splashiest beach resorts, Hilton Los Cabos, offers scuba diving, swimming with dolphins…and it’s also whale watching season. Or just kick back by the sprawling pool, book one of the spa’s four couples rooms, and find your “center” together with aerial yoga, Zumba and Transformational Breathing. Sunset dinner at one of the five restaurants (Vela is best for setting the mood) can be followed by tequila and mezcal tastings in the Azul lobby lounge. La vida romántica!

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