Hotel des Art

Hotel des Arts

Adjacent to San Francisco’s Chinatown gate, and two blocks from Union Square, sits the “city by the bay’s” most unique and modern hotel.  Hotel des Arts invites emerging local artists to feature their creativity across their walls, making art an interactive experience throughout the hotel.  The sophisticated, yet avant-garde gallery is accented by voguish furniture with clean lines to keep the eyes on the artwork.  With a tiny, sometimes broken elevator, and narrow stairways, I certainly cannot promise this artsy hotel has the newest amenities.  Many rooms have shared bathrooms, and guests are not guaranteed a room filled with art.  If you would like to guarantee an artist room, view the artwork online and call to request your favorite piece.  With an interesting concept, Hotel des Arts closely reflects a starving artist in their studio apartment.  I would not recommend this stay for anyone looking for a luxurious experience in San Francisco.

Ciano NYC

Ciano

At first sight, Ciano, located in the heart of the Flatiron district of New York City, gives off the vibe of a charming taverna-styled Tuscan restaurant. The host, who is propped up on a pedestal in front of the dimly lit bar, promptly acknowledges our arrival. I am taken aback as she is swift to mention that another party, also reserved for our table, will be arriving in just over an hour and that we would need to finish by then.  Feeling rushed already we hesitantly make our way to the quaint dining area.  With beautiful rustic hardwood floors and a cozy fireplace, the area exudes freshly baked bread.  The wait staff is friendly as they arrive with warm bread and delicious Italian olive oil.  For a wine I would recommend passing on the Pinot Grigio and opting for the Passerina 2010 Le Caniette, Marche.  Made from the Passerina grape, native to central Italy, this wine is the perfect combination between crisp and fruity.  Ciano’s signature roasted veal meatballs are not to be missed, while the tiramisu for desert was far from memorable.  Our Primi and Secondi meals arrived at the same time, leaving me with the sense that Ciano has missed the mark on traditional Italian dining experience and etiquette.

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Ocean House

Alongside the Rhode Island oceanfront sits a brightly painted Victorian mansion, with classic white columns accenting a gorgeous wrap around balcony.  It is easy to become immersed in Ocean House’s outdoor luxuries. The impeccably groomed lawn is the quintessential area for croquet and the outdoor pool amongst the private beach makes it difficult to step inside.  Nevertheless, this classic New England mansion, turned hotel, emanates chic luxury inside and out.  The lavish floral couches beside a stone fireplace are most welcoming, and pillows lining the windows allow for an easy view of the Atlantic Ocean.  All forty-nine elegant rooms and suites have ocean views, while the second floor rooms offer elegant terraces, perfect for some private R&R.   Relaxation does not end there; Ocean House’s OH! Spa offers a customized experience with a heated salt-water lap pool.  Perfect for any season, Ocean House is a particularly soothing getaway for those visiting the New England area.

El Portal Sedona

El Portal Sedona

The majestic El Portal Sedona, in the heart of Sedona, is an elegant Southwestern mix between a Bed & Breakfast and a hotel.  With dedicated owners and staff, this twelve-bedroom inn is inviting with an atmosphere as if it were home.  Sticking to truly western style, El Portal incorporates hand-sculpted walls with corner fireplaces and custom decorative detailing.  Cozy rooms are complimented with masterfully tiled bathrooms, walk in shower, and jacuzzi tub.  This Inn is dog friendly as well, a major plus for chic travelers!

An honor system is implemented for coffee, beer, wine, and sodas available to guests, as well as complementary finger foods.  I recommend enjoying your h’orderves and cocktails out in the courtyard before heading to a nice dinner in town.  Whether you’re enjoying the interior courtyard or the tranquil Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village nearby, the exquisite landscape that surrounds El Portal will beckon you to stay!

 

Niko

Niko

At less than a year old the vibrant Niko restaurant in New York City’s Soho is pleasantly inviting.  An outstanding collaboration between architect Rafael de Cárdenas and restauranteur Cobi Levy, the unique Japanese cuisine is served in an equally unique space.  A staircase leads to the main dining area with the immediate sense of intimacy.  Colorful abstract décor lines the high ceilings above the cozy booths, while the voguish crowd grows louder through the night.  The booths line the walls and windows with views over the cobblestone block as the chandeliers, by artist Jim Drain, sit dimly lit above the bar.  The menu offers everything from Sushi and Sashimi to Skirt Stake and Pork Teriyaki.  The sushi is perfectly proportioned and extremely fresh, but I recommend the succulent and full-flavored fried chicken.  However, if you are hoping for an abundance of desert selections, Niko is not your best bet.

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Neptune’s Oyster Bar

The wickedly tiny seafood restaurant, Neptune’s Oyster Bar, is located in the North End of Boston on Salem Street.  It is rare that you see an impeccable variety of oysters and wine, but with two wine lists you are bound to find the perfect vino to fit your likings.   Sit at the raw bar and enjoy your oysters or shrimp cocktail, but if your up for it I highly recommend indulging in the outstanding lobster roll.  Order it cold with mayo or warm with butter, either way it’s coming with a whole lot of fries.  Stay chic in the crowd of people, as this oyster bar is the seafood hotspot for Boston tourists and locals.

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Bedford Village Inn and Restaurant

This quaint New England inn, located in Bedford, New Hampshire, may be a better fit for corporate functions and wedding receptions, than a hotel stay for a weekend getaway.  While the fireplace appeals us to the Summit Suite for a relaxing hideaway, make certain there are no other events happening during your stay.  The spectacular landscape makes a beautiful setting for outdoor weddings and events, but disturbing to any vacationers needing some quiet time.  BVI’s restaurant alone attracts tourists and locals.  While the menu has a great selection of food, we think their wine list is worth the visit.

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Four Columns Inn

The Four Columns Inn is the perfect getaway for leaf peeping.  Tuck away your iPad, iPhone, and take a romantic weekend, or just a weekend for yourself, to this quintessential Bed & Breakfast.  Witness the fall foliage right outside the window of your elegantly cozy bedroom, or take a hike through Southern Vermont.  There is no need to leave the picturesque landscape, that is Village Green, as you have fine dining right at your fingertips.  While enjoying the distinctive blend of New American, French, and Asian cuisine next to the fireplace, your stay has left you at the most charming dining experience in Southern Vermont.  Relaxing escape in a quiet New England town, c’est chic!

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OLA

Enjoy a late night dine at OLA after soaking up the steamy rays in Miami.  OLA is a Latin American restaurant from Douglas Rodriguez located at the Sanctuary Hotel in Miami Beach.  The fire and ice décor accented by dim lighting give off that classic Miami vibe.  OLA offers an array of ceviche and an outstanding wine list to compliment the bold flavors, you really cannot go wrong at.  We would recommend the Lobster Ceviche with chili spiced cucumber, lime juice, fresh corn & tarragon beurre blanc, with the flavorful Plantain Crusted Mahi as a main dish.  Choose from their specialty mojitos, but stay classy as the bartenders have a heavy pour.

 

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Doughnut Plant

We never knew doughnuts could be so chic! Located in the heart of Chelsea, Doughnut Plant matches all natural doughnuts to a unique atmosphere.  Made with no trans fats, no preservatives, no artificial flavoring, and no eggs, these doughnuts don’t have to feel like guilty pleasures.  Our favorite doughnut offered is Tres Leches, but you have options like Blackout, Pistachio, and Crème Brûlée.