Openings & Closings
Soon there will be a new reason to be enchanted by Puerto Rico. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced that it will open its second-ever Reserve property—one built to LEED Silver standards—in Dorado Beach. The luxury island destination first grabbed travelers' attention when Laurance S. Rockefeller opened one of his eco-friendly RockResorts in the area more than 50 years ago. In December 2012, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve hopes to boost interest in the tropical sanctuary with a 115-room oceanfront hotel and residences and a renovation of the original Dorado Beach Resort.
The brand's exclusive Reserve extension features "low-density" boutique resorts in exotic corners of the world, with more indigenous materials, as well as local products and traditions. At this time, the only other Reserve location is Phulay Bay in Krabi, Thailand.
It's one thing to watch a herd of wildebeest thundering across an obscenely large, 3D flat screen dangling precariously from your living room wall. It is quite another to witness the Great Migrations in the flesh, accompanied by the sweet smell of your morning coffee swirling with the kicked-up dust from the Serengeti plains as the high-pitched trumpets of young elephant calves (or grunts from those numberless gnu) waft into your bedroom.
Toss away that remote. Two new properties, new to Tanzania and Kenya, obliterate the "Channel" and key in on the "Discovery" of the African wild.
The newest addition to Vikram Chatwal's Dream hotel line may be his trippiest yet. The aquatic Dream Downtown opens this week on the brim of NYC's Meatpacking District to much chatter. A converted structure that once housed the city’s homeless is now home to the notably hyped Romera New York, where the pre-fixe will set guests back a cool $245.
Today, the Mandarin Oriental's hotly anticipated new Paris location opens its doors, complete with 138 rooms, a prime location, and (of course) a killer spa. Located at 251 rue Saint-Honoré in the city's First Arrondissement, the art deco-meets-contemporary property is literally steps away from a number of favorite Parisian sights, like the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens, and the Garnier Opera.
Did you know that a Turkish cartographer drafted one of the oldest surviving maps of the Americas? That a Muslim woman in Morocco founded the world’s first modern university, which still holds classes today? That a man named Abbas ibn Firnas tried to invent a flying machine... more than a thousand years before the Wright Brothers finally succeeded? That the word candy came from the Arabic qand?
With the recent congressional hearings on Muslim Americans and the furor surrounding the community center near Ground Zero, it’s easy to overlook all the positive contributions Muslims have made to modern society. So “1,001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World,” which opened May 27 at the California Science Center, in Los Angeles, couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.
Memorial Day Weekend always kicks off the summer season in the Hamptons, and after weeks of endless rain, east coasters have never been more keen on escaping to the glamorous sliver of earth that juts into the Atlantic on New York’s Long Island. The race to define the newest in vogue summer spot is an annual ritual on the Gold Coast. This year the buzz is behind South Pointe, the newest and most robust addition to the Hamptons night scene.
It’s one of the most buzzed-about and eagerly anticipated hotel openings across the pond: London’s iconic St. Pancras railway station has reinvented itself as a sumptuous new Renaissance hotel, and last week unveiled The Gilbert Scott restaurant. Celebrated chef Marcus Wareing (of the Michelin two-starred Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley) derived inspiration for his second restaurant from both the historic building itself, as well as from dishes that are nearly 200 years old, but cooked with modern techniques.
Austin, Texas has always favored and encouraged local entrepreneurs; it’s how they “Keep Austin Weird.” Although Kendra Scott is a Wisconsin native, she began her jewelry line as a mini-collection in Austin in 2002 with only $500, an extra bedroom and a newborn baby. Today, her collections are in more than 800 stores worldwide including big name retailers such as Nordstrom, Henri Bendel, and Lord & Taylor. Due to Austin’s large part in the success of Kendra’s company, she only felt it was appropriate to anchor her flagship store in this flourishing city.
If you find yourself heading to Delhi in the future, but are overwhelmed
by the populous metropolis that it is, consider
staying at the newly opened Oberoi, Gurgaon, located just outside of the city in a
self-described “urban oasis.”
SFO's long-awaited Terminal 2 opened last week after a $383 million upgrade and renovation. Designed by global architecture powerhouse Gensler, the new terminal is home to American Airlines and Virgin America and is remarkable for its strong public art program and commitment to sustainability (it's anticipated to achieve LEED Gold Certification). It's also the first airport dining program in the country to have a 'slow food' food court: they recruited and prioritized vendors, like the Plant Cafe Organic, Pinkberry, and Lark Creek Grill, that offer healthy food from local, organic sources. Find more info here.
Jaime Gross is Travel + Leisure's San Francisco correspondent.
Image courtesy of Gensler. Photographer: Bruce Damonte