Friday, February 25 04:54 PM
The hottest ticket in England these days isn't the royal wedding, it's scoring a table at Dinner. The new restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is the first London outing of Heston Blumenthal, the patron saint of modern British cooking.
A departure from the mad scientist fare at The Fat Duck, Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Berkshire, Dinner aims to resurrect centuries of British food tradition with dishes such as turkey pudding with cockscomb and rice and flesh. The elegant dining room has playful touches, such as porcelain sconces in the shape of antique jelly molds and a wall of 16th-century British cookbook prints that appear and disappear, depending on the light. Just the kind of magic that will keep them coming back for ages.
Thursday, February 24 03:18 PM
The 82-room S.S. Antoinette, Uniworld River Cruises' newest boutique vessel, is a ship of firsts. It's the first river vessel to have an on-board cinema. The first to have deck-level guest rooms with open-air private balconies that convert to enclosed conservatories. And it makes a majestic first impression: The two-story lobby is lit by a 10-foot Baccarat crystal and sapphire chandelier; Brazilian marble shines on the walls and floors; and a 19th-century Venetian glass mirror multiplies all the sparkle.
Like the ship itself, the Antoinette's inaugural itinerary, Castles Along the Rhine, promises to be a regal affair when it launches on March 27. The eight-day journey includes Alsatian wine tastings, excursions to the medieval town of Koblenz, and walks through the Black Forest. Or you can simply size up the royal competition through windows framed by Figueroa silk-taffeta drapes.
Photo: Courtesy of Uniworld River Cruises, Inc.
Wednesday, February 23 11:27 AM
The new Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa is an eco-friendly property built in glass and stone that sits beside the Vilcanota River in Peru's Urubamba Valley. The 128-room complex centers on a gorgeous two-pool spa, an ideal place to relax after hiking or cycling the quinoa-covered grounds or a day trip up to Machu Picchu on the recently opened Urubamba train line.
While you're in Peru...
Malabar is Peru's first outlet for haute Amazonian cuisine, served amid brightly colored furniture and a riot of artwork. Though many of the jungle's creatures, fruits, and vegetables take the form of street food in their native habitat, at this Lima restaurant chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino creates soufflés (hearts of palm), purées (yuca), and vinaigrettes (the applelike cocona).
The 2011 centennial of Hiram Bingham's rediscovery of the mysterious Incan ruins promises to attract bigger crowds than ever. One of the most rewarding ways to sidestep the hordes is to trek along the fabled Inca Trail. On the last morning you reach Machu Picchu's Sun Gate by sunrise, after which you can expect a tourist-free couple of hours before the buses start to roll in.
Photo: Courtesy of Tambo del Inka Resort and Spa
Tuesday, February 22 04:47 PM
Beautiful people. Beaches. Polo. Even Marvin Gaye would have had a hard time dreaming up a combo this sexy. But those are the three steamy entities that have become bedmates at the new Hotel Fasano Las Piedras. Set on a historic ranch outside the party town of Punta del Este, this Isay Weinfeld-designed property sprawls over 1,200 acres, from a vast plateau across a cactus-dotted valley to the crystal-clear Maldonado River.
The 20 bungalows (another 12 will be available from mid March) have a please-touch vibe, all leather headboards and shag carpets, with playful touches like vintage school maps. What better place to chill out after riding horses across the estancia with those cute vacationing Brazilians you met by the natural limestone pool? Have the hotel's private car take you to see-and-be-seen beaches like La Barra and Jose Ignacio, five minutes away. Or catch an on-site polo match before retiring to the hotel bar. A few drinks there will encourage you to do what comes naturally.