After five years in the making, the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe finally opened its doors to the public today. (Lucky first guests/skiers at the 170-room property were treated to a fresh snowfall.)
2010 is shaping up to be a great year for Americans to travel to the Argentine capital, which celebrates its bicentennial next year with a wave of new hotels, a grand theater reopening, and one of the best exchange rates of the decade.
Spain-based NH Hoteles is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the country by inaugurating not one but two new Buenos Aires properties: the nominally green, 116-room NH Tango (whose décor, appropriately enough, is themed after that quintessentially Argentine dance); and the sleek, 176-suite NH 9 de Julio, so named for its position on the mammoth 10-lane boulevard traversing the city. Both hotels are located downtown, near such tourist attractions as the Obelisque and the Teatro Colon. Another addition to the city: the luxury 91-room Blue Tree Buenos Aires Ker, in tony Recoleta.
Yes, Philippe Starck may be one of the most overexposed hotel designers in the world. But just when you think, “If I’ve seen one room by Philippe Starck, I’ve seen them all,” you step into a space like the Spa at Icon Brickell.
The first documentary from King of New York director Abel Ferrara takes the Chelsea Hotel, that Manhattan landmark (and not in a T+L 500 way), as a subject. Since 1905, the place has been a haven for artists (Andy Warhol, R. Crumb), writers (Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams), and musicians (Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan), not to mention a fair share of drug addicts and prostitutes.
But as Bob would say, the times, they are a-changin’—two years ago, new management ousted owner Stanley Bard and several long-term residents in effort to clean up and bring in a different type of clientele, or, as Ferrara puts it in the movie, to turn the hotel “into a more expensive version of itself.”
With so many people—and companies—“going green” these days, it’s hard to know who’s in the Eco Revolution for real. When it comes to buildings, however, there is one way to be certain: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The strict guidelines developed by the U.S. Green Building Council focus on construction and energy consumption. In the world of travel and hotels, this seal of approval helps separate serious change agents from so-called green properties touting towel re-use programs. Every little bit helps, but there are shades of “green” to be sure.
To date, there are only 16 LEED hotels in the U.S., with a handful more pending the arduous certification.
On October 1, Ritz-Carlton will open its first-ever LEED-built property in Charlotte, North Carolina’s Uptown neighborhood. (We even hear the president, CEO, and founding chairman of the USGB, Rick Fedrizzi, will be doing the ribbon cutting.)
At the new Walt Disney Family Museum, opening in San Francisco on October 1, you can catch a glimpse of Walt Disney, the man, before there was an empire. Before his animation career took off, Walt spent his childhood in rural Missouri and Kansas City, and worked a newspaper route and drove an ambulance in World War I.
On October 1, the first Waldorf Astoria outside New York City will open in Bonnet Creek, a development area adjacent to Walt Disney World. Alongside it (and opening the same day) is the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
“I've got travel rage,” the hotel-and-spa designer Clodagh (right) told me recently when I visited her studio in New York's Soho for a virtual tour of the just-opened W Ft. Lauderdale.
I've met Clodagh (just one name—like Madonna) a couple of times before and always walked away feeling totally relaxed. She has that kind of an effect on people, so I was a little surprised that this calm Irish woman could have anything verging on rage. But apparently, it informs many of her designs. Her number-one complaint: bad lighting.
This summer, I've been on the lookout for exotic and far-flung experiences within the U.S. And I have another find for you, dear reader: the casual new Los Angeles restaurant Street, where chef Susan Feniger serves up dishes inspired by the food at casual stalls and markets around the globe. (You may know her cooking from LA restaurants Ciudad and Border Grill, but this is her first solo venture.)
Jacques Pepin, one of the world’s most famous chefs and one of the few who has not previously attached his name to a restaurant, announced yesterday that he will open a signature French bistro aboard the new 1,258-passenger Oceania Cruises’ Marina when it launches late next year. The bistro, to be called Jacques, will seat approximately 80 guests and will serve Pepin’s signature dishes like pumpkin soup a l'Anglaise served in a pumpkin shell and free-range chicken cooked on a rotisserie. The hallmarks of Pepin’s cuisine are simplicity and high-quality ingredients.