Monday, January 31 11:19 AM
The grass (or in this case, glass) is always greener on the other side. And that'll definitely be the case at the Templar Hotel, a Canadian newcomer opening in Toronto's entertainment district at the end of February.
This design-conscious glass and aluminum hotel will undoubtedly draw style-seekers to its lobby full of modern art and its 27 retro rooms with custom-built furnishings. But we recommend making a beeline for the bar. Looking up through the Monk Lounge's transparent ceiling into the Onsen Spa pool, you might get a sudden urge to drink less and take better care of your body. Meanwhile, the swimmers peering down will probably be hankering for a post-dip cocktail.
No matter which way you look at it, the Templar has the appearance of a hot spot in the making.
Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels
Friday, January 28 11:14 AM
If the thought of chocolate-covered strawberries and diamond heart pendants gives you rage blackouts, you might consider booking your Valentine's Day in advance at Night hotel near New York City's Times Square. On offer for V-day dissenters is a Cupid-free package complete with 24-hour access to adult entertainment and dinner for one with a comped double shot.
After your meal, you can hole up in a room with walls the color of your ex's black heart, a little anti-love goth nest for one. A turndown service of bottomless ice cream and tequila should drown the pain and/or lubricate you enough to hit the town to find someone to share your breakfast-in-bed. Either way, there's no better bedmate than 400-thread-count Frette linens.
Photo: Courtesy of Night
Friday, January 21 03:13 PM
Conspicuous consumption may have fizzled out over the past few years, but it's certainly bubbling back up again at the May Fair Hotel in central London, with the opening of 150. The stylish watering hole gets its name from the magnums (150 cl) of Champagne on the menu, which deep-pocketed guests can order alongside specially matched small plates by Brit star chef Silvena Rowe.
The fizzy parties start at $1,000 for four magnums of Moët & Chandon Impérial, including one blinged out with the name of the host in Swarovski crystals. But the real indulgence is the $6,800 Dom Experience: four magnums of 1998 Dom Pérignon Rosé paired with canapés like pomegranate-glazed foie gras and West Mersea oysters with Sevruga caviar and Szechuan-spiced butter. Now that's what we call bottle service.
Photo: Courtesy of the May Fair Hotel
Thursday, January 20 01:36 PM
When you think of France, do food, art, and perhaps poetry spring to mind? If so, Atelier Crenn, Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn's new restaurant, which opens tomorrow in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood, is likely to transport you there.
Crenn, who is originally from Versailles, sees plates as blank canvases on which she attempts to remind the diner where the food comes from: Many of the ingredients on her seasonal, modern French menu come from Gouge Eye Farm, a small holding near Sacramento. Winter dishes include slow-cooked eggs, chanterelles ŕ la grecque with wild nettle, and trout fumé served with rose, horseradish, and crispy fennel--but don't be surprised if soil or river stones are incorporated into your dining experience to connect your dish back to its source.
The paintings on Atelier Crenn's walls are by the chef's late father. And the poetry? Crenn is inspired by verse and composes a poem before writing her menus. It seems that she aims to feed the soul as well as the stomach.
Photo: Courtesy of Ron Armstrong
Thursday, January 20 11:42 AM
Here are two words for those of you who are guilty of ordering the same old dish at the same old restaurant month after month: Aburiya Toranoko. Go there, order the shiokara-marinated intestines, and open your palate to a whole new set of sensations. Good ones, we hasten to add.
Aburiya Toranoko, opening tomorrow in downtown L.A.'s Little Tokyo, is the latest offering from Michael Cardenas, who also owns the Lazy Ox Canteen next door. Alongside those intestines, you might also like the miso-marinated beef tongue. But don't worry, there are plenty of play-it-safe dishes on the menu, too, from sumiyaki to sushi--all expertly created by former Nobu Matsuhisa chefs.
As you'd expect from an izakaya cocktail bar, the menu includes an extensive sake selection as well as plum wine, Japanese beers, and cocktails with an Asian twist-- surefire ways to guarantee you won't chicken out.
Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels
Tuesday, January 04 12:30 PM
If you're going to hurl yourself out of a helicopter, we can't think of a better sidekick than former James Bond film stuntman John Falkiner. This Aussie adventurer is one of a cast of intrepid outdoorsmen (British commandos, counterterrorism specialists--exactly the kind of people you want around when the chips are down) who lead the way on Momentum Adventure's bespoke extreme sports tours.
The company arranges itineraries based on your fitness level and interests, be it heli-skiing in the Rockies, ascending unconquered mountains in Antarctica (pictured), or dogsledding at the South Pole. And because these are the self-styled "Savile Row" of tailor-made trips, you can wash down a day of adrenaline with a dry martini. Shaken, not stirred, of course.
Photo: Courtesy of Momentum Adventure
Monday, January 03 12:03 PM
If there are a few feet of snow between you and the local gym, you'd probably rather stay at home and eat take-out under a blanket than hit the weights. But what if you could work out someplace warm, by the sea&like, say, Oahu? Suddenly, getting in shape sounds a lot more appealing.
Starting this month, the 353-room Waikiki Edition in Honolulu--a stylish, modern resort by hotel impresario Ian Schrager and Marriott International--offers a four-day Surf and Bikini Boot Camp. Waterfall hikes, kayaking trips, surfing and paddleboard lessons, and yoga sessions will be led by a crack team of pro surfers, naturalists, yogis, and personal trainers.
But this trip isn't all work, no play. The resort offers plenty to do (four bars, a spa, an outdoor movie theater) during your "rest" period. Never has losing your post-festivities paunch been so enjoyable.
Photo: Courtesy of Waikiki Edition