Archive for February, 2012

SANTA MONICA ON MY MIND

The mention of Santa Monica conjures images of languid movie stars, oceanfront estates, kitschy theme parks, and freakish natural beauty. Santa Monica Beach, a silky stretch of white sand just off the bluff of Ocean Boulevard, beckons surfers and sun-worshippers. Miles of soft sand and mild waves soothe the hectic mind. But Santa Monica isn’t just a Lotus Land of sun and sand peppered with tanned celebrities. People aren’t just lying around like lizards on the beach (though many are). Make no mistake: this is, despite the apparent languor, a body-conscious, body-friendly zone, a place of muscular activity, where physical exertion, fitness, and beauty form its core principles.

Which is to say, not everyone tools around Santa Monica in Kodachrome Ferraris. Many locals and visitors alike rollerblade, wind-skate, jog, walk, and bike everywhere, for pleasure or lifestyle choice. Miles of bike paths circle and crisscross the city. Palisades Park, a 25-acre sprawl of palm trees overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is a Mecca for bikers, hikers, walkers, yogis and voyeurs taking in the Muscle Beach exhibition.

Behind Ocean Boulevard, parallel to the beach, lies the pedestrian-friendly Third Street Promenade, a two mile jaunt of shops and eateries where vehicles are prohibited and the exercise will justify a seaside feast. At the end of historic Route 66 looms the Santa Monica Pier and its Ferris wheel, roller coaster and merry-go-round. Acrobats and circus clowns will keep you on your toes, and live evening music will drive you to dance. All of this taking place some 30 feet above the lapping blue of the Pacific.

Just a short bike ride or power-walk south down the bike path brings you to mythical Muscle Beach, the Medina of the body beautiful, where young Arnold Schwarzenegger used to strut his rhomboids before branching off into other forms of posing, and Venice Boardwalk, that catwalk of beach culture, kitsch, trinkets, tasty grub and breezy bars.

WHERE TO STAY: The Hotel Oceana sits right on Ocean Avenue in a presitgious residential area, just steps from Santa Monica Beach, Palisades Park and Third Street Promenade. Stay with us for a complimentary upgrade and waived service feeds which includes use of pool, fitness center, beach cruiser bicycles, WiFi, newspaper and local calls.

Shutters on the Beach is one of only two hotels right on the sandy shores of Santa Monica. Enjoy a full gamut of amenities from an intimate outdoor pool deck with a heated pool, whirlpool spa, poolside cabanas, chaise lounges, offers the ideal place to lay back and relax while listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean waves lapping up on the shore.

The Hotel Casa Del Mar is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over the Pacific, a cozy retreat on a chilly evening, your first stop and your last.  This 5 star boutique luxury hotel offers the ambience of a modern California beach club while paying homage to the original grandeur and Renaissance aesthetic that has made it a favorite for both Santa Monica elites and discerning travelers alike.

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THE HOTTEST POOLS IN SOUTH BEACH

Traditionally, travelers have come to South Beach Miami to enjoy the azure Atlantic Ocean waters. The ocean is not for everyone though. If saltwater and ocean life scare you away, not to worry; South Beach offers enticing alternatives to nature’s enormous swimming pool. What is the ultimate escape? The refreshing, sea-creature-free waters of South Beach’s hottest pools – and by ‘hot’ we mean ‘cool’!

The Setai

Pool Vibe: Zen-like Retreat

What to Expect:  The Setai is a unique mix of pleasure and peace. This Balinese-style sanctuary offers one of the most peaceful pool experiences in South Beach. Catering to international travelers and hip-hop moguls, lush landscaping surrounds not one but three pools, all with different temperatures, to embody the feeling of one walking deeper and deeper in the ocean, sans the salt!

The Shore Club

Pool Vibe: The Place to Party

What to Expect: This pool area turns into a nightclub at night, with the best DJs spinning tunes while an eclectic crowd lets loose. Surrounded by swank décor, a sexy vibe is ever present and celebrity clientele are the norm.

Delano

Pool Vibe: Sensual Sophistication

What to Expect: Dress to impress at the Delano, this hotel pool scene is not so much about the water as it is about the company – Miami has never been so hot! The underwater music is enticing while the surrounding area is reminiscent of a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

 

The Perry South Beach

Pool Vibe: Always happening

What to Expect: A pool by day and a trendy lounge by night, the adult-only Roof Top Bar 18 stories above Collins Avenue is a favorite for both travelers and locals alike. For a more family-friendly atmosphere, the Pool Plaza offers an infinity-edge ocean view pool surrounded by a tropical pool deck.

 

The National

Pool Vibe: Infinitely Appealing

What to Expect: A seemingly eternal water paradise, The National boasts the longest pool in South Florida making it a welcome escape from the standard beachfront swimming area.  The stunning oceanfront infinity pool stretches 205-feet to a streaming waterfall, followed by a second pool.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Pool Vibe: Vegas on the Beach

What to Expect: After a one billion dollar renovation, something for absolutely everyone can be found at this luxury property. Featuring nine pools including the main ‘bow-tie’ pool, smaller dipping pools and a children’s pool, this water wonderland is ideal for couples, friends, and families.

Dive right in to the pool experience you crave! Call us at 1-888-238-0167.

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THE 2012 OSCARS

With the 2012 Oscars looming, many celebrities and entertainment elite have begun planning for their 2012 Oscars Gala, everything from attire to accommodations. For regular Oscar lovers and aficionados, now is not the time to dither if you want partake of the festivities and catch a glimpse of the stars lining the red carpet.

The 2012 Oscars will be held at the Kodak Theater on Sunday, February 26th and will be hosted by Billy Crystal. Many celebrities already live in Los Angeles, but out-of- towners will be booking into luxury hotels or lux furnished rentals. Some of the past celebrity favorites have been The Beverly Hilton, The Beverly Wilshire, and The Four Seasons Hotels. And while these choices may be out of reach for most folks, Los Angeles has no lack of economical alternatives.

While traditional hotels will be much in demand, more and more people opt for furnished accommodation in the Los Angeles area. With a population of nearly 20 million residents spread out over thousands of square miles, rental options can vary greatly. But if you’re coming to Los Angeles to enjoy not only the Oscars but also the many attractions the city has to offer, keep a few key areas on top of your list.

Known around the world as the Silver Screen capital, Hollywood is the obvious choice for total Oscar immersion. From the Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars, to the Mann Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Park Observatory, Universal Studios Hollywood, and many more attractions, Hollywood is THE destination for nearly 46 million yearly visitors.     

Malibu is also a prime destination. Some of the most stunning, pristine beaches in the Greater Los Angeles area grace this haven. Check out the Malibu surf, the Santa Monica pier, Venice and more, all just minutes away from this vacation mecca. You may bump into a few stars along the way.

The perfect place for a taste of the luxury lifestyle, Beverly Hills is the playground of celebrities and millionaires from across the globe. Featuring some of the world’s best fashion, shopping, dining and night life, Beverly Hills is, well Beverly Hills. Check out Rodeo Drive for a day of true indulgence, or take a drive through the manicured streets of Beverly HIlls. Dine at the famous Spago’s restaurant and pretend you’re rich and famous for an evening.

WHERE TO STAY: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was hosted the 1st Academy Awards in 1929 inside its Blossom Ballroom. Today, the Oscars are held at the Kodak Theatre, just down the road. However, this hotel is still the place for celebrity sightings and Oscar after-parties.

The Sunset Tower Hotel originally built in 1929, is a famous landmark luxury hotel on Sunset Strip. This 4.5 star hotel has continued to provide highly polished service, a glamorous atmosphere and Oscar-worthy amenities since the moment it first opened its doors. Former residents of this elegant Art Deco style building include the likes of Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, to name just a few. Stay with us for complimentary wifi, spa credits, and continental breakfast for two.

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TREAT YOURSELF TO THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

New York City, April 18 – 29, 2012

Located in the fashionable downtown Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca, this festival is the spring event of choice for New Yorkers and visitors alike. Each year since its modest inception in 2002 it has grown and bloomed into a premier event with celebrities from the worlds of art, film and music appearing at its screenings and other programs. The Tribeca Film Festival draws over 3 million people to lower Manhattan, where film buffs view a variety of narrative and documentary features as well as short films, and attend its star-studded parties and informed lectures.

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in the aftermath of 9/11. The tragedy sapped Tribeca of vitality, and the festival founders hoped to spur its economic and cultural revitalization through an annual celebration of film, music and culture. It has since showcased an eclectic variety of independent films, documentaries, narrative features, shorts, family-friendly films, panel discussions, and talks with stars of the film world.

Tribeca has recovered since the 9/11 attacks, as hip and prosperous as ever, and as the Tribeca Film Festival’s reputation has soared the quality and variety of films have improved each year. At the 2012 Festival, expect more of the same potent cocktail of celebrities in art, film, and music.

The Festival’s stated mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the film community and general public to experience the power of cinema, and promote New York City as a major filmmaking center. Tribeca Film Festival supports emerging and established directors. Since its founding, it has screened over 1200 films from over 80 countries, and has attracted an international audience of more than 3.5 million attendees and generated an estimated $725 million in economic activity for New York City.

WHERE TO STAY: The Trump SoHo New York is surrounded by quirky galleries, upscale boutiques and fanciful restaurants, and is only a few blocks away from the Tribeca Film Festival. This 5 star hotel boasts spacious rooms, expansive city views, and book with us for complimentary upgrades until March 31st, 2012.

The Hotel Gansevoort is widely credited with transforming the Meatpacking District from gritty to fabulous. Whether to dine at Tanuki Tavern, swim in the Plunge rooftop pool, or spend a blissful day shopping the cobblestoned streets of the Meatpacking District, guests continue to flock to Gansevoort New York. Book with us for complimentary upgrades and special amenities for suite reservations.

The SoHo Grand Hotel offers an atmosphere of SoHo-chic meets 19th century elegance, and is only a few blocks from the Festival. The lobby recalls a grand train station of a bygone era with its striking metal staircase, soaring ceilings, and mosaic tiles patterning the floor. Tantalize your tastebuds with gustatory delights from The Gallery or their outdoor eatery, The Yard.

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GET READY FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

April 19–May 3, 2012

Few festivals better suit their city than the San Francisco International Film Festival. The vibe is decidedly West Coast, laid back, low key, and remarkably intimate. It’s a festival programmed by film-lovers for people who love film. Renowned as a showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation, in one of the world’s most enchanting cities, the San Francisco International Film Festival offers a wide range of marquee premieres, international competitions, documentaries, new digital media work, live music performances and gala events.

Founded in 1957, SFIFF is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Held each spring for two weeks, it features some 150 films and live events, with more than 100 filmmakers and nearly two dozen awards presented for cinematic excellence. The Festival attracts an annual audience of more than 80,000. Keenly anticipated by film buffs, championed by civic leaders, respected by filmmakers and closely watched by industry professionals, SFIFF is a key event in the Bay Area’s cultural calendar and a crucial stop on the international festival circuit.

Filmmaking is and always has been a powerful medium and will continue to be in all its mutating forms, be it television, or online media. SFIFF is deeply rooted in the finest traditions of film appreciation, both as an art form and as an agent for social change.

This season SFIFF will again feature full-length films, live action and animated shorts, television and theatrical documentaries, experimental work and new digital media, as well as panels and seminars, awards events, and retrospectives. Its acclaimed Schools at the Festival program draws 4,200 students from grades 1–12 into the festivities.

Established in 1957 to augment the Festival’s tradition of recognizing excellence, the Golden Gate Awards continue honoring filmmakers. For decades the competition has introduced Bay Area audiences to filmmakers who have transformed the medium.

WHERE TO STAY: The Clift: The Festival is hosting their Centerpiece Party here, which you won’t want to miss. This 4 star hotel’s contemporary design incorporates beautiful art pieces all around. The Redroom a cherished San Francisco landmark, features original redwood paneling and an enormous bar which legend says was carved from a single redwood tree. Book with us for a complimentary upgrade.

Campton Place: This 4.5 star Taj hotel is conveniently located by Union Square, is home to the Michelin Star Campton Place Restaurant known for its Mediterranean-influenced modern Californian cuisine. Complimentary upgrades are available until April 30th, 2012.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins: Perched atop Nob Hill overlooking San Francisco, The Mark Hopkins Hotel is one of the city’s most historic and grand landmarks. Enjoy breathtaking views o the city and its famous 1000 Martinis menu atop the aptly named, Top of the Mark sky lounge. Stay with us for fantastic rates during the festival.

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THE BOSTON MARATHON IS WORTH YOUR BUCKET LIST!

The only prize that used to be awarded to the winner of the Boston Marathon was a wreath woven from olive branches. These days the winner of one of the world’s great road racing events gets a fat cheque from corporate sponsors and nice chunk of change from endorsements. Of course, you’ll have to run the 26.22 miles in two hours and a bit to contend for victory, but that’s another story.

Begun in 1897, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and attracts 500,000 spectators each year. Originally a local race, its current fame and status draws runners from all over the world and has become a rite of passage for serious and recreational runners alike. Whether you intend to shoot for the wreath or merely push yourself to complete the race without keeling, the Boston Marathon offers a unique and challenging course with the beautiful city of Boston as a backdrop.

The Boston Marathon also ranks as one of the best races in the world to spectate. Viewing along the course is on a  first-come basis. On-street parking in Boston’s Back Bay is limited, but the Charles River (north) side of Boylston Street is open to the general public. Many fans arrive before dawn to secure choice spots. The corner of Hereford and Boylston Streets, adjacent to the Boston EMS Medical Tent and the fire station, has been designated for people with disabilities. A Family Meeting Area is located on St. James Avenue and Stuart Street.

Families, friends and athletes should plan prior to race day on where to reunite. It may take your athlete some time after crossing the finish line to meet you, so be patient.

WHERE TO STAY: Taj Boston, only 1 mile away from the finish line, this 4 star historic hotel built beside the beautiful Boston Gardens and famous for their Afternoon Tea in The French Room, also a pet friendly hotel.

Back Bay Hotel is also only 1 mile away from the race’s finish line. This downtown boutique hotel was once a police department building this historical hotel offers 2 on-site restaurants and free wifi.

The Nine Zero Hotel is located in the heart of downtown steps from the Financial District, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and directly across from the Boston Common and only 2 miles from the finish line. Complimentary wine receptions are held every evening.

2012 RACE DAY SCHEDULE
9:00 a.m. Mobility Impaired Start
9:17 a.m. Push-Rim Wheelchair Division Start
9:22 a.m. Hand cycle Start
9:32 a.m. Elite Women’s Start
10:00 a.m. Elite Men’s Start & Wave One
10:20 a.m Wave Two
10:40 a.m. Wave Three
5:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony Fairmont Copley Plaza,138 St. James Ave.
7:30 p.m.–12:00 a.m. Post-Race Party: House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St.

The Boston Marathon
Sunday, April 15, 2012
8:00 a.m.EDT
Starts and finishes near Copley Square Park in Boston’s Back Bay.

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY BOSTON 2012

March 17th, 2012

Boston St. Patrick's Day

Besides Dublin itself, you couldn’t pick a better city than Boston to observe St. Patrick’s Day. With its deep Irish roots and resonant Irish mythos, Boston remains one of the top destinations around the world for St. Patrick’s Day. From the South Boston parade to pub crawls, Irish music, the Irish Heritage Trail, no Celtic stone is left unturned in Beantown’s full-blooded St. Paddy’s Day celebrations.

Get into the mood with The Chieftains on Wednesday, Mar 14 8:00 p.m. at Boston Symphony Hall. The six-time Grammy winners have garnered world fame playing traditional Irish music. Paddy Moloney and band return for a pre-St. Patrick’s Day bash and a prelude to the Guinness tsunami.

Speaking of which, this year the World’s Largest Pub Crawls hopes to make history yet again in Boston. Up to the challenge? Join the Luck of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl, enlisting some of Boston’s best bars, and offering great drink specials. With its surfeit of pubs, cocktail lounges, and hotels, Boston’s bar scene is considered one of the liveliest in the U.S. and exploring it on your own is an option. Compact, walkable, culturally rich, metropolitan Boston offers an A-Z of quality drinking establishments.

Start with ALIBI, a smooth lounge bar housed in the stylish Liberty Hotel (215 Charles Street). The hotel was once the Charles Street Jail, and Alibi retains remnants of its earlier incarnation with prison bars and floor outlines of old cells. And, as the name suggests, DRINK (348 Congress Street) is a bar that celebrates the wet stuff in all its variations, and tops the list for creative cocktails in Boston. Want to dress up? Try the elegant Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons (200 Boylston Street), or the low-lit Vox Populi (755 Boylston), appointed with with inviting banquettes. Later, walk on the wild side to The Franklin Café (278 Shawmut Avenue), a cultish late-night neighbourhood café bar where local chefs and waiters wind down—so it has quality grub too.

And what would St. Patrick’s Day be without a parade? The City of Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on Sunday March 18 1:00 p.m. at Broadway MBTA Station. Bring your shamrocks and shillelaghs. And if you’re in town for the week don’t miss the 13th Annual Irish Film Festival, taking place March 22 – March 25, 2012 at the Somerville Theater, Somerville and the Brattle Theater, Cambridge.

WHERE TO STAY: The Back Bay Hotel is a historical landmark in the city of Boston. Once a former Police Station, the Back Bay Hotel is a one-of-a-kind 4 star boutique property in Back Bay, one of the most sought after locations in all of Boston with nearby attractions including Newbury Street, Boston Common and the Public Gardens.

The Onyx Hotel offers contemporary style, complimentary wine receptions every evening and is a pet-friendly hotel. Only minutes from Faneuil Hall and the North Station, the luxury Onyx Hotel Downtown Boston has been awarded with the coveted Green Seal Silver Certification. Book with us for incredible rates during the month of March.

Enjoy a 5 star stay at the Boston Harbor Hotel. An architectural masterpiece, The Boston Harbor Hotel is conveniently located on the historic Rowes Wharf, one of the most scenic locations in the city. Inspiration from its surroundings and of the area’s colonial past, filters seamlessly in to the hotel and is visible in both the public spaces and spacious guestrooms.

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