Posts tagged hotel

Magic Cachaça World Cup Cocktail

World Cup 2014 is on fire in Rio de Janeiro and Belmond Copacabana Palace has added its own spice to the mix. The iconic hotel’s new pan-Asian restaurant MEE, fronted by celebrity chef Ken Hom, has created a beguiling concoction that’s casting a spell on World Cup fans.

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The “Mandinga” cocktail is a seductive blend of Cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice) and cashew juice with a dash of hazelnut and mandarin liqueurs.

MEE hopes this touch of Afro-Brazilian magic will carry the Seleção squad to their sixth World Cup trophy. Brazil may not have invented soccer, but they are known for perfecting it. Saúde!

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Here’s the Mandinga Cocktail Recipe to mix up wherever you are in the world:

- 1.5 fl. oz. Leblon Cachaça
- ¼ fl. oz. Frangelico liqueur
- ¼  fl. oz. Mandarinetto liqueur
- 1 fl. oz. cashew juice
- ¼  fl. oz. lemon juice
- ¼  fl. oz. sugar syrup

Local’s Guide to Rio

With the 2014 World Cup finals taking place in Rio de Jainero, all eyes are on Brazil’s City of God. Not that they weren’t already, what with the city’s world-famous beaches, carnivals, Afro-Brazilian samba and arguably the sexiest population on the planet.

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Beyond the obvious iconic sights – Christ the Redeemer’s outstretched arms high above the city, cable cars climbing Sugarloaf Mountain and the sublime white sands of Ipanema Beach – here are our local Carioca friends’ recommendations on what to do while in town.

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Boutique digs: Fasano Rio de Janeiro is a shining gem in Brazilian hotelier Rogerio Fasano’s luxury portfolio. The first Philippe Starck project in Brazil, the hotel is located in the heart of Ipanema, and honors the golden era of bossa nova with vintage uniforms and 50s furniture. Avenida Vieira Souto 80, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; fasano.com.br/hotelaria/hotel/2

Beach bums: Ipanema Beach’s “Posto 9” is the hip spot to camp out for the day, with prime views of both Twin Brother mountain and skimpy Brazilian bikinis. Spend the twilight hours at the neighboring surf spot Arpoador, which has amazing sunsets during Rio’s summer. To hang with the locals head to Leme beach. 

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Bottoms up: This buzzing bohemian resto-bar is the sister restaurant to the popular Astor São Paulo. It has a mix of locals and travelers with decent food and even better cocktails. Sipcaipirinhas on the outdoor terrace, checking out the Ipanema beach beauties. Avenida Vieira Souto 110, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; barastor.com.br

Futebol fever: There doesn’t have to be a World Cup tournament to catch an exciting game at Estádio do Maracanã. South America’s largest stadium fills up with rowdy fans year-round for matches between Rio’s major football clubs. Rua Professor Eurico Rabelo, Rio de Janeiro;maracana.com

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Beauty berry: For the best juices in Rio go to Bibi Sucos in Leblon and sample Brazil’s celebrated Amazonian superfruit — the acai berry. Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 591-A, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; bibisucos.com.br/site/v4/  

Green scene: Parque Lage is a beautifully restored sugar plantation colonial estate that is now home to Escola de Artes Visuais (School of Visual Arts). Wander the free art exhibitions and explore the surrounding tropical gardens with its lush foliage, tiny lakes and picturesque waterfalls. From here you can also embark on a challenging hike to the top of Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer. Rua Jardim Botanico 414 (1km from Jardim Botânico), Rio de Janeiro; eavparquelage.rj.gov.br

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Brazilian tapas: Snack like a Brazilian at Chico e Alaíde, a local boteco (casual bar). Order a chopp(cold draft beer) and petiscos (Brazilian tapas). Make sure you get the bolinho de Alaíde, a fried dumpling with shrimp and native catupiry cheese – it’s a house specialty (really, really good). Rua Dias Ferreira 679, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; chicoealaide.com.br

Sunset cocktails: After visiting Sugarloaf Mountain head to Bar Urca and enjoy the peaceful setting and postcard views of Guanabara Bay. Take your drinks and apps to the rock wall out front and watch the sun go down. Rua Cândido Gaffrée 205, Urca, Rio de Janeiro; barurca.com.br

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Quiet coffee: Duck into Livraria Argumento and peruse their small selection of foreign-language books and magazines over a cup of joe in the charming café tucked into the back of the bookstore. Rua Dias Ferreira 417, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; livrariaargumento.com.br

Neighborhood wander: Take a break from the beach and hop aboard the bonde streetcar to explore the winding cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa, which are dotted with 19th century belle époque mansions. Situated on a hilltop overlooking Guanabara Bay and downtown Rio, Santa Teresa is an enchanting enclave that fell from glory in the early 1900s and was later revitalized by artists and writers in the 1970s — a creative bohemian vibe still prevails. Don’t miss Museu da Chácara do Céu (museuscastromaya.com.br/chacara.htm), Parque das Ruinas (rio.rj.gov.br), a “pastel de feijoada” at Bar do Mineiro (bardomineiro.net) and a meal at the open-air resto Aprazível (aprazivel.com.br/aprazivel.htm).

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Culture vultures: Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) is considered an architectural masterpiece by the famous Rio-born modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. There’s not much to see inside but the water views from the Niterói Bridge are worth the trip. Mirante da Boa Viagem s/n, Boa Viagem, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro; macniteroi.com.br

House of Feijoada: Feijoada, a traditional Brazilian dish with Portuguese roots, is a hearty stew served in a clay pot with beans, fresh pork or beef, vegetables and a side of rice and sausages. Locals say that Aconchego Carioca is great place to try a Bolinho de Feijoada, but service can be spotty after a long wait in a not-so-stellar ‘hood. Case in point – leave your expectations at home and bring a sense of adventure. Rua Barao de Iguatemi 379, Praça da Bandeira, Rio de Janeiro; facebook.com/aconchego.carioca

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Meat me: You’re going to Porcão Rio’s for the waterfront view as much as for the all-you-can-eat skewers of fresh rib-eye, sirloin, lamb, pork and chicken carved at your table. Pace yourself, the portions are generous and the cocktails are strong (with prices to match). Avenida Infante Dom Henrique s/n, Aterro do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro; porcao.com.br

Shake it up: This 19th century cultural gem lights up Lapa with live Brazilian music and a whole lot of soul. Rio Scenarium is a three-story space bursting with vintage curios including an antique car. If dining, make reservations in advance and try the bolinhos de bacalau (cod croquettes). At night, samba, choro and forró with the locals. Rua Do Lavradio 20, Lapa, Rio de Janeiro; rioscenarium.com.br/novo

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Shop ‘til you drop: For upscale finds, visit Shopping Leblon (shoppingleblon.com.br). Feeling adventurous? Check out the frenetic open-air market Saara at Estação Uruguaiana, which is chock-full of locals haggling for affordable goods. Go to Gilson Martin (gilsonmartins.com.br) for a selection of quality mementos to take home.

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Written for Galavante.com

(Photos courtesy of RIOTUR | ASCOM)

Feast Fit For The Stars

Written for Galavante.com

Whether it’s a super-secret Friends and Family restaurant opening or the front row at Chanel, there’s nothing like a star-filled room. Throw some tapas and good intentions into the mix? You have yourself a party.

To celebrate its 20th birthday on June 12th, the Hotel Arts Barcelona has rounded up the hottest Michelin-stared chefs in Spain to serve a veritable tapas feast to its privileged party guests.

Forget the chorizo and albondigas your best friend prepared after her extended honeymoon in Andalusia. These are molecular kings, culinary prodigies and avant-garde visionaries whose gastronomic talents are revered around the world. 

You’ll be rubbing shoulders with Albert Adrià, Joan Roca, Andoni Aduriz, Marc Gascons and the Hotel Arts’ own superstar chef Paco Pérez while they whip up their favorite tapas dish.

For some serious foodie time with the chefs, just drop €20,000 for the hotel’s best digs and get a behind-the-scenes tête-à-tête with the masters. Hey, the theme of the week is a splurge and we are here to deliver.

For that price, you’ll also get preferred reservations and VIP access for a year to Paco Pérez and Albert Adrià’s acclaimed restaurants, which are transforming Barcelona’s culinary scene. (And if you think about it, that’s saving your assistant many phone calls to the reservations receptionist. Time is money.)

The best part? Hotel Arts Barcelona will be donating all party proceeds to UNICEF. So, in addition to spending a long weekend in one of the world’s best cities sampling its finest cuisine, you save the children while doing it. Who’s the star, now?

Photos courtesy of Hotel Arts Barcelona

Mendoza’s Heavenly Hot Springs

When my mother visited me in Mendoza, I took her to my favorite off-the-grid oasis—a mountain spa with thermal baths located in the wee town of Cacheuta. I recommend this hidden gem to anyone interested in a wine-free day of relaxation in Mendoza.

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You’ll know you’ve hit Cacheuta when the highway suddenly clings to vertical granite cliffs and converts into a rural dusty road.

The Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Spa is tucked away at the base of a canyon with an inconspicuous sign marking its entrance. The sandy arid terrain transforms into a glistening stretch of emerald when you reach the spa grounds. It’s like a mirage of the Swiss Alps in the middle of the desert.

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 The Terma Spa welcomes full-day guests with an assemblage of natural hot springs overlooking the scenic Mendoza River flowing downstream from the Andes.

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The indoor/outdoor thermal spa circuit winds through gurgling curative waters ranging in temperature from 73 to 105 degrees. Bubble beds, a water volcano and a foot bath are strategically placed throughout the circuit to knead tense muscles.

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The Natural Solarium has a basin of therapeutic mud for slathering all over your body and baking on the pool deck.

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Once you’re good and cakey, scrub yourself clean in the bithermal hydrojet shower and kick back on the flowering Andaluz patio. Next, head underground to cavernous vaporarium and detoxify in its natural steam.

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After completing a full thermal circuit, you’ll definitely be craving sustenance. A complimentary lunch is included in the spa’s entrance fee and you’ll get more than your money’s worth. You’ll need to make several trips to the buffet to sample the extensive spread of roasted vegetables, salads and tasty grilled meats.

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After dining, relax on chaise lounge in the garden until you’re ready for an afternoon spa treatment or another convalescing soak in Cacheuta’s healing mineral waters.   

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Details:

  • The Terma Spa Thermal Center is open from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: $370 pesos per person or $420 pesos with transportation included. 
  • Terma Spa is located 30 minutes from downtown Mendoza. Transportation can be arranged by calling Productos de Cacheuta at +54 261 429 9133. 
  • Pregnant women and children below the age of 14 are prohibited.
  • Check out their website for an interactive map of the spa center.
  • Ruta Provincial N°82, Km 38, Cacheuta, Mendoza; +54 0262 449 0152; reservas@termascacheuta.com
Melted like butter in the hot springs of Cacheuta. (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

Melted like butter in the hot springs of Cacheuta. (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

Q&A: Entre Cielos Wine Hotel + Spa

Written for Travel + Leisure on January 2, 2014

Entre Cielos, which translates to “between heavens” and “between skies,” is a holistic hospitality concept nurtured to life by three Swiss friends in the foothills of Mendoza, Argentina.

Daniela Wäger-Spreafico, David Wäger, and Cécile Adam dreamed of a wine hotel and spa where guests could reconnect with themselves, commune with nature, sip wine, and delight in impeccable gastronomic experiences. A worldwide pursuit for the perfect location led the group of three to Vistalba, Mendoza, where they invested their savings to purchase a 20-acre plot of land with sweeping views of the Andes mountains.

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In 2009, they built a modern boutique hotel featuring 16 individually-designed luxury rooms and suites overlooking the mountainous landscape, including a floating wine loft in the vineyard. Entre Cielos also features Latin America’s first authentic six-stage circuit hamam spa, a lush eight-acre vineyard producing a crop of delicious Malbec wines, and a host of traditionally-inspired dining experiences.

I caught up with Entre Cielos Vice President and Founder Cécile Adam, who spends her time on-property greeting guests and fulfilling the hotel’s promise of quality and personalized service.

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Q: Why did you choose Mendoza, Argentina as the location for Entre Cielos?

A: We started with a handful of destinations on the list, but narrowed down the options to France and Argentina. Argentina won because it was very welcoming to outside investment and has a strong European influence. Mendoza beat out Buenos Aires and Cordoba because of its burgeoning wine scene, growing tourism industry, sunny climate, and impressive view of the Andes. It’s also close to Chile’s Santiago Airport, making it easily accessible for international travelers. Additionally, Mendoza scored high on the criteria we used to evaluate potential destinations including quality of life, education, business opportunities, health programs, security, environment, outdoor activities, and approachable culture. Meeting these conditions was crucial to inspiring friends and family to join us on this journey.

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Q: How did you get into winemaking?

A: The three of us are big wine aficionados and part of our dream was to learn how to make wine. The land we purchased for Entre Cielos had a large vineyard with unsalvageable 80-year old Malbec grape plants. The first thing we did was to soil, plough, and plant new grapes. Later, we got connected with a Swiss enologist living in Argentina named Hubert Weber who took on the project of helping us make wine.

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Today, we have our own wine label, Marantal, named after a bright star in the Orion constellation that can be seen from the hotel. We offer several wine categories that feature a rose Malbec, a classic Malbec and a Gran Reserva Malbec and Pinot Noir. We make wine that can age for a long time, and we also use larger barrels, which minimizes the young oaky aroma. Marantal tends to have a less fruity flavor than most Argentine wines, but far more than European wines. At the moment, we sell Marantal at the hotel and in Switzerland, but soon we will be exporting our wines to Brazil and the United States.

Q: What made you decide to build a hamam and spa?

A: In recent years, the Swiss have been reinventing the hamam experience, which is a thousand-year-old bathing custom and consists of a six-stage treatment circuit that uses heat and water to rid the body of accumulated toxins. We all frequented hamams in Switzerland and love that it is an experience you can share with friends or significant others. Most importantly, the hamam practice is in line with Entre Cielos’ holistic lifestyle approach by nurturing the mind, body, and soul through rituals like herbal steam baths, relaxation pools, and nourishing body treatments.

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Also, there are no other traditional six-stage circuit hamams existing in Latin America, so we knew it would be a differentiator for the hotel. We flew in experts to create a truly authentic hamam experience at Entre Cielos. A stand-alone spa structure was built because we wanted it to be a sanctuary enjoyed not only by our guests, but by all travelers visiting Mendoza and the local community as well. We weren’t sure how Argentines would react to a communal spa experience. There was some hesitancy at first, but eventually they really embraced the hamam culture and now Mendoza residents make up half of our spa business.

Q: What is the culinary scene like at Entre Cielos?

A: Of the three of us, Daniela is the one with a culinary background. Our main restaurant, Katharina, is named after her grandmother and offers an elaborate selection of à-la-carte plates from talented Mendocenean chefs who use local produce and meats to create a fresh brand of regional haute cuisine. The seasonal Beef Club & Wine House is a casual setting where guests can mingle with locals over an authentic outdoor Argentine asado, or barbecue, of juicy meats and vegetables. The wine list features over 100 labels and is curated by our in-house sommelier who also leads exciting wine tastings for guests. This year, we are opening a high-quality fast food gastro-market in the garden, which will offer simple but delicious food, specialty fish, a cooking school, and a new bar.

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Q: Entre Cielos has won numerous design awards. What makes it distinctive?

A: Our original vision was to refurbish an existing estancia, but when we bought the land we had to construct Entre Cielos from scratch. We wanted the design for our luxury retreat to encourage guests to relax, renew and reflect. A4 Estudio, our principal architects, accomplished this goal. They also did an excellent job of translating international influences into the design. Inspired by prominent architects Le Corbusier and Oscar Neimeyer, A4 Estudio created contemporary spaces using exposed concrete forms and textures. Each structure was designed to integrate with the existing landscape, so guests could always feel the freedom of open space and enjoy the soaring mountain view. At the moment, we are toying with the idea of adding a sixth room category in the vineyard. Nothing is finalized, but we are excited about the possibility. It is impossible for us to stand still.

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Luxe wedding at Park Hyatt Mendoza.

Luxe wedding at Park Hyatt Mendoza.

Villas at Cavas Wine Lodge, Mendoza.

Villas at Cavas Wine Lodge, Mendoza.

Above Grand Army Plaza @theplazahotel. #nyc #hotel

Above Grand Army Plaza @theplazahotel. #nyc #hotel

@mo_newyork tower from across town #hotel #nyc

@mo_newyork tower from across town #hotel #nyc

Which is the most beautiful #hotel on @centralparknyc? @thepierreny @theplazahotel #EssexHouse @mo_newyork

Which is the most beautiful #hotel on @centralparknyc? @thepierreny @theplazahotel #EssexHouse @mo_newyork

Snowy Mist in Central Park

A winter’s walk through a silent and slippery Central Park this morning. image

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The Breakers hotel in Spring Lake, New Jersey. Suites overlooking the ocean and the damaged boardwalk ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The Breakers hotel in Spring Lake, New Jersey. Suites overlooking the ocean and the damaged boardwalk ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

InterContinental Times Square

The one place I didn’t get to visit in this LEED certified, sustainable hotel is their rooftop beehive, which produces the honey they use to sweeten their homemade craft cocktails. Next time!

View from the Penthouse on the 36th floor

Penthouse Dining Room

Penthouse Master Bedroom

Comfy penthouse living room with a cozy fireplace

Chef Todd English’s CaVa Brasserie

CaVa Lounge

CaVa Dining Room

InterContinental Times Square
300 W 44th St. btw 8th & 9th Ave.
New York, NY, 10036
Front Desk: +1-212-8034500

LES Thompson Hotel Pool Party

LES Thompson Hotel Pool Party