Friday, March 25 07:02 PM
Blizzards and ice storms and snowpocalypses are giving way to warmth, and with that, the patios and gardens of New York City will fill with sunseekers. The newest alfresco fun? La Birreria, a 5,000-square-foot beer garden set to open later this spring on the roof of the Batali/Bastianich foodtopia, Eataly, in the Flatiron District.
Copper vats will turn out microbrews created by U.S. sudsmeister Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head fame and Italians Teo Musso of Birra Baladin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo. The unfiltered, naturally carbonated brews will be hand-pulled through traditional beer engines and paired with pizza and sausages. And there's a retractable roof, should Old Man Winter decide to make a last-ditch appearance.
Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Decker
Thursday, March 24 06:58 PM
The upcoming royal wedding may have everyone's hearts aflutter, but the real flap should be over the new London Syon Park: This Waldorf Astoria hotel, sitting on 200 acres on the outskirts of the city, has its very own butterfly house.
The 1,000 winged lovelies in the lobby were inspired by the original butterfly house once located on the grounds. Outside, manicured gardens mix with sprawling parkland, where guests can play croquet, try their hand at archery, fish for trout, or picnic among rare flowers. Famed chef Lee Streeton (formerly of Brown's Hotel) draws inspiration and ingredients from the gardens for the British fare served at the hotel restaurant, The Capability (named for Capability Brown, who designed and landscaped the park in the mid 18th century). Decor in the 137 guest rooms and suites marries modern and old-world luxury--marble and limestone are complemented by flat screens and Apple technology. In other words, it's a royal indulgence.
Photo: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria
Wednesday, March 23 06:53 PM
What with all the fees for checked bags these days, the name of the carry-on game is generally as-big-as-you-can-get-away-with. Of course, once you touch down, you're stuck walking around with the world's largest handbag. But not if the design duo behind Haerfest have anything to do with it.
New York-based brothers Tim and Dan Joo have created a classic soft-leather and cotton shoulder bag (in black, navy, and grey) that folds completely flat ($380). Slip it into your roll-on or into that bottomless pit you're passing off as your personal item, and you'll be able to unfold it on arrival and sightsee footloose and backache-free.
Photo: Courtesy of Haerfest
Tuesday, March 22 06:51 PM
Children are our future, and if you treat them well--perhaps with a luxury cruise in the South Pacific--you'll be surprised by how they lead the way. At least that's the idea behind Paul Gauguin Cruises' new ten-night sailing headed up by Jean-Michel (son of Jacques) Cousteau.
Cousteau aims to get your kids on board with conservation by giving them an up-close introduction to the wonders of French Polynesia. Lectures aimed at both parents and children describe the ecology of the Society Islands and the Tuamotus, and the explorer leads dives to legendary spots like Rangiroa, home of the world's second-largest lagoon. Because what kid (or kid at heart) wouldn't want to protect the ocean after coming face-to-face with a playful dolphin?
Paul Gauguin Cruises' Jean-Michel Cousteau Oceanography Sailings, May 25 and June 29, 2011, $4,447 (double occupancy).
Photo: Courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises
Monday, March 21 06:44 PM
Lots of hotels try to up the luxury ante with amenities you never knew you needed, but the decadence of having a private place to float and chill still tops our list of favorite perks. And few hotels do plunge pools with as much style as the new Casa de La Flora in mellow little Khao Lak, Thailand.
Each of the property's 36 cubelike villas opens onto a private ebony-bottomed plunge pool, obscured from view by lush hedges or stone walls. The angular structures, with minimal mod interiors and Apple in-room technology, pay homage to midcentury Brutalist architecture. But we fail to see anything brutal in those floor-to-ceiling Andaman Sea views.
Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels