Today’s post should technically be called, “where did I go”. Took my love to Philadelphia by train to celebrate a romantic and food filled Valentine’s weekend. We stayed in town at the oh so chic Hotel Palomar. Had a great king room for $152 a night. Joined the In Touch program and also reaped free wi-fi and a midnight raid of the mini-bar on them. Love those guys! If you’re heading to Philly, you should really check this place out. Their restaurant Square 1682 was amazing!
Okay guys, the Super Bowl is behind you. Now it’s time to concentrate on that really big event of the year…Valentine’s Day. Want to impress your lady love? Take her away for the weekend. No plans you say? Well don’t despair because Valentine’s packages are popping up all over the place. The best one I’ve seen so far is at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento, CA. I know you’re grumbling and thinking, “A weekend of in-room massages, champagne and chocolates? That isn’t for me.” Well this package is, it’s called Hot & Spicy Valentine’s Day. It not only includes room and valet parking, but also provides you with a bottle of Herradura tequila, shot glasses, limes and salt. It even comes with salsa and chips. Oh and for your lady, a scented candle, love dice and massage oil. So get out there and make your love connection guys!
St. Petersburg is one of the loveliest cities I’ve ever visited. I went in Summer, but I believe it would be equally stunning in Winter. The tourists are gone because of the cold, but local life proceeds apace. Check out the ice sculpting contests, stroll along the Neva or visit the Hermitage. It’s the only time of year that you’ll have the city to yourself. So go indulge your Dr. Zhivago dreams, just be sure to dress warmly. Temperatures can hover at -13 degrees F. Want to experience St. Petersburg with a modern twist? Then book into the new W Hotel St. Petersburg, it opens in March.
Looking for a way to inspire yourself during this long, dark, cold Winter? In my opinion there’s no better place to travel this time of year than Italy. Particularly Florence. It’s a city of museums, beautiful geography (love the Arno!), and vibrant people. It’s also home to many cooking schools. A vacation where you can relax and learn a new skill? What could be better than that? The L’Arti & Hotel Firenze offers a Tuscan cooking package suited for all levels, they even cover kosher Italian cooking. Book as a group or on your own for private tutoring. You can learn in French, English or Italian. Best of all, after class is over, you eat!
I’ve been in the desert this past week and it’s inspired me. There is no better place to sit out this year’s brazen Winter storms. The days are warm and sunny. There’s hiking, spa retreats and tram ways to take advantage of. It’s a vacation where you can be as active or inactive as you’d like. The Miracle Manor Retreat (left) is a cozy bed and breakfast in Desert Hot Springs, CA near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. You can customize your own retreat for a week or even a month. Not a joiner? You can create a self directed itinerary suited to your own personal needs.
With the deep South sheathed in a glaze of ice and another weather system poised to strike the Atlantic states all I can think of is sunshine. My choice for a perfect warm weather destination in 2011? Greece. Why? Because all of the civil unrest this past year has kept the Europeans away. That means it’s ripe for bargains. Everything from accommodations to cruises is on sale. So pack your bags, book your flights and don’t forget to pack a hangover cure. I hear that Ouzo packs quite a whallop!
I have a thing for castles. Always have. Maybe I have an inner princess. Or maybe it’s just that I recently saw Tangled and loved her tower in the woods. Castles always seem like sanctuary to me. A place to relax, retreat and reflect. Something I think we’re all in short supply of these days. In our hectic world it’s a pleasure to escape to a simpler time. When I saw this beautiful crenalated stronghold in Burgundy I just swooned. It looks like something out of a German fairytale. The Chateau Bellecroix is located in Chagny near beautiful art, wine and digustation menus to fill you up for days. There’s even a turret room where you can channel your own inner Rapunzel.
Tired of all the snow and cold? Need a break after spending your holidays with friends and family? Well if you’re looking for a place to getaway and celebrate New Year’s as you’ve never done before you should book a LAN flight and head to Quito. Ecuadorians have a unique way of celebrating the end of the year. The men dress up as women (ugly, ugly women), and stop cars and passersby asking for alms to bury the old year. The money really funds a block party with music, liquor and even a bonfire. Yup, just about midnight they throw effigies of people they don’t like into a pile of wood and light it up. It’s an amazing sight that I just can’t do justice to in print. We had a chance to experience it ourselves and I can’t recommend it enough!
Well I was going to send you all to Paris this week. There is a gorgeous art deco hotel opening up there soon. However, one look at the weather in Europe and I know that’s out. Things haven’t been this snarled up since the volcanic eruptions in Iceland last Summer. I guess instead I’ll just suggest that you go home to friends and family for the holidays and hope that you have on-time flights, heated trains, clear roads and happy holidays. Cheers!
Baby it’s cold outside and that has me dreaming of sandy beaches, bathtub warm waters and cold drinks. I just recommended tropical Be Tulum to a friend this week. It’s a place I would totally choose for an escape. The turquoise waters, the laid back casual chic beachy decor, and proximity to the ruins and beaches of Tulum make it a perfect Winter getaway. Heading South of the Border? You might want to consider dropping in.