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Kudos to hotelier Carlos Couturier and partners Grupo Habita, on HOTEL AMERICANO, their first hotel in the US and making a statement of their own

 [On Location]…

Hôtel Americano  An innovative boutique hotel that opened in the fall of 2011 in the heart of Manhattan’s West Chelsea, is where it’s at! This Steamy HOT 10-story building is located alongside the world’s best art galleries and New York’s famed High Line Park. The clientele is elite; the music sets a stylish euro vibe. The Americano restaurant is fab! Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is New York at its best; friendly staff and fantastic menu with dishes like Salad De Homard (main lobster, quinoa, avocado, cilantro, salsa verde, crème fraiche) Saumon A La Plancha (seared salmon, grilled vegetables, sauce vierge) all simply perfect. And if a burger is what you are in the mood for, well… Burger.MX (avocado, poblano, tomato, lettuce, chipotle mayo, jalapeno pickle, served with pommes frites) is packed with   amazing flavors that explode and melt in your mouth. The cuisine mixes American with Mexican influences and it works beautifully! The wine list includes solid selections both by bottle and glass like Chenin Blanc, Savennieres Domaine de Deux Vallees 2009 which we enjoyed with a lovely cheese selection of Pleasant Ridge Reserve Extra Aged, Roquefort and Double Cream Crement. Dinner reservations required.  Hotel Americano truly IS all the rage. Outside, the building is a glass structure encased in a metal mesh façade capturing the industrial feel of the surrounding neighborhood. The rooms suggest an urban ryokan with wooden platform beds, warm lighting and natural materials. Custom Amenities and advanced technology provides a serene space to retreat from the City’s bustle. Indoor and outdoor private event space including outdoor rooftop terrace, pool and cabanas, Manhattan-made Bowery Lane Bicycles for guest use, Free wireless high speed internet service in all rooms and public spaces makes Hotel American a perfect spot for Corporate events. Hotel Americano 518 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001.  +1 212 216.0000.  For more information go to:

http://www.hotel-americano.com/  The group has twelve boutique hotels throughout Mexico. http://www.grupohabita.mx/

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Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Announces Official December 1st Opening of its New Surfcomber Miami, South Beach

Following a top-to-bottom renovation, this popular South Beach classic will reveal its new look and personalized approach to service and design-driven spaces that marry the eclectic style of European Bohemia with American front porch appeal creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. The newly Surfcomber hotel offers guests a retro, breezy atmosphere and a distinctive South Beach experience that is as cool as it is friendly, and as sexy as it is fun.  “The new Surfcomber brings to South Beach all the things South Beach visitors desire most – a sultry and stylish hotel that is dynamic and fun, yet inviting and authentic. Together with the enticing surf that inspired our name, it all makes for the ultimate playground under the sun,” said Sean McKeen, general manager at the Surfcomber. Surfcomber sits on the Atlantic Ocean’s edge along 200 feet of oceanfront property in the heart of the Art Deco District. The hotel’s heated pool and .outdoor deck surrounded by spacious cabanas remain a signature element and provide a sublime setting for sipping cocktails poolside. Surfcomber gives guests a place to relax and re-charge in its 186 inviting guest rooms with luxurious Frette bed linens and bath products by European fashion designer, Etro.  Enjoy the diverse mix of dining options, including a Southeast Asian street fair inspired restaurant concept.  

As with other Kimpton hotels, Surfcomber is pet-friendly, providing them with their own services and amenities at no extra cost, including VIP (Very Important Pet) amenity; pet bowl and pet bed. For guests traveling alone… request a live goldfish – fed and cared for by the hotel staff to stay overnight in their guestroom. Additional Surfcomber amenities include favorite offerings such as personalized guest preferences, Forgot It? We’ve Got It! menu of travel essentials, creative mini bars with healthful and organic options, complimentary Wi-Fi to Kimpton InTouch members, morning coffee and tea service in the living room, hosted evening wine hour daily, and health-minded wellness options, such as complimentary on-demand yoga, Pilates and meditation channels on television, and a yoga bag filled with accessories for use during a guest’s stay. Surfcomber guests can also take advantage of  the hotel’s 24-hour in room dining, 24-hour on-site business center, concierge service, same day laundry and dry cleaning service, and 24-hour valet service. In addition, Surfcomber appeals to those who wish to go green and stay green, having implemented Kimpton’s more than 100 environmentally responsible operational practices under the Kimpton EarthCare program, which has been proven effective in reducing waste, energy and water consumption nationwide. To book a stay at Kimpton’s new Surfcomber, and be among the first to experience the hotel’s new surf-splashed and sun-kissed appeal, a special grand opening rate has been created. Available for booking through January 31, 2012, rates start at $149 and $199 depending on dates of stay, with some blackout dates.

To book, visit www.surfcomber.com, call (800) 994-6101 or email FloridaSales@KimptonHotels.com and refer to booking code GRAND. Surfcomber Miami, South Beach is located at 1717 Collins Avenue, Miami, Florida.

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“It’s a Suite Life Baby” as Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach Partners with Maclaren

Four SeasonsResort Palm Beach announces Suite Palm Beach Kids, a new program that provides guests with access to select items from Maclaren’s baby furniture and accessories. Upon checking into one of the Resort’s newly redesigned two bed-room suites, families will find it furnished with a stylish crib and changing table from Maclaren’s Cabine collection, complete with the brand’s new line of nursery bedding. In addition, parents have access to other items such as a top-of-the line Maclaren stroller and bounce seat at no additional cost.

The Resort offers a wonderful complimentary program for children ages five to  twelve that includes daily activities from morning fun on the beach to afternoon arts and crafts, music, story time, and at The Ocean Bistro, kids under five years of age eat free!.  Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach recently completed a two-year, multi-million dollar improvement campaign that included a complete room redesign, added a luxurious salon and Spa and upgraded the pool terrace.

Maclaren is a leading consumer lifestyle company for parents. With the creation of the industry’s first umbrella fold buggy more than 40 years ago, Maclaren revolutionized how millions of families with young children explore their world. Maclaren also introduced the first infant travel system and the first umbrella fold twin buggy. The company has continued to establish their strong brand by innovating to provide families with high quality, modern, stylish goods in premium transport products, extensive accessories, personal care and soft goods. In addition to providing world-class engineering and the industry’s first Sovereign lifetime warranty, Maclaren is also on the cutting edge of fashion with its collaborations with Burberry, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Lulu Guinness, Mina Perhonen, Philippe Stark, and others.

For more information visit: www.fourseasons.com  Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach is located on:  2800 South Ocean Blvd.  Palm Beach, Florida 33480 (561) 582-2800 Fax.  (561) 547-1557

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ItaliaOutdoors ANNOUNCES CUSTOM SKI ADVENTURES FOR WINE ENTHUSIASTS AND FOODIES

Fresh from its successful “Chefs on Bikes” tours with James Beard Award-winning chefs Susan Regis and Jody Adams, Italiaoutdoors introduces equally engaging and intimate custom ski and snowboard tours for the winter sport enthusiast. Like all Italiaoutdoors experiences, the small group tours are led solely by partners Vernon McClure, a one-time Airborne Ranger turned Defense Department mountaineering instructor, and Kathy Bechtel, a certified ski instructor and chef. Together, they customize unique tours that reveal their deep-rooted passion for the Trentino Alto-Adige region of Northeastern Italy. Programs can be designed for every budget, with each custom tour including daily wine tastings and activities tailored to all ski levels, from shorter trails and groomed terrain for relaxed athletes to classic climbs of the majestic Dolomite Mountains for the advanced skier.  Dates are available beginning December 2011.  Trips are all-inclusive, with the exception of air, and can be arranged from a mini-holiday of five days to a more comprehensive tour of two weeks. As an example, a week-long adventure starts as low as $2800 per person and can be customized to include all level of accommodations.  

Designed for small groups of friends and family, or ski clubs, Italiaoutdoors works with each group to craft a custom itinerary that provides a perfect balance of activity, rest and relaxation. The small group size (12 travelers maximum) allows for daily itinerary customization and refinement, based on participants’ interests, pacing, and real-time “finds.” Exploring the region’s well-known and undiscovered wines in and around the cities of Bolzano, Trento, Merano and Bressanone, and pairing them to the area’s fine cuisine, are itinerary staples. 

An avid researcher of and writer about the region’s wines, Bechtel carefully curates each day’s wine tasting selection, choosing wines from the world-renowned wine regions of Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli Venezia-Giulia, as well as some wines only familiar to frequent travelers within Italy, including Amarone, Valpolicella, Lagrein, Schioppettino and Vino Santo. In the evenings, the culture and rich Austrian-Hungarian history of the region come to life, as guests enjoy local cuisine in charming osterias and elegant dinners in more refined ristorantes. This small region boasts more Michelin star restaurants than any other region in Italy. 

By day, guests ski and explore the Trentino Alto-Adige region of Northeastern Italy, home to the majestic Dolomite Mountains and numerous winter resorts, where guests can enjoy some of the most stunning panoramic vistas in the world while skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing.  Italiaoutdoors partners Bechtel and McClure personally design and lead each tour. McClure, a trained ski and snowboard instructor and mountain guide, has more than 15 years experience designing, leading and teaching ski adventures in Italy and Europe. Bechtel is a trained ski instructor currently on staff at Sugarloaf, Maine.  She is also a chef with formal wine training and hosts a TV food and wine show at Sugarloaf where she shares recipes and tips inspired by her travels to these regions. Commented James Beard Award winner (and “Chefs on Bikes” special guest) Chef Susan Regis about her experience, “Italiaoutdoors supplies the framework for the trip of a lifetime leaving just the right amount of time and space to discover the unexpected and the authentic Italy. To feel as though you are part of the Italian culture is a testament to the insightful precision of a thoughtful journey, because in the end, it is all about the roads taken. I loved my journey! 

For more information on custom ski or bike tours or to receive Italiaoutdoors’ newsletter with recipes and wine information, visit http://www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com or Chef Kathy Bechtel’s blog at www.chefbikeski.com. For ski clubs and other groups, discounts are available for trip organizers, with a free trip earned for as few as eight guests.

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Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises announces 20 voyages in 2012 will feature the exclusive “Relais & Châteaux L’École des Chefs” interactive cooking school.

Silversea enjoys the privilege of featuring the only Relais & Châteaux L’École des Chefs cooking school at sea, offered completely free of charge.  Guests will have a special culinary curriculum, hands-on instruction and entertaining events hosted by Silversea culinary trainer David Bilsland, a former instructor at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London. He presents a program developed in collaboration with Jacques Thorel, the owner of L’Auberge Bretonne and a consulting Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux.  Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 500 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries. Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character. It is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for and a personal commitment to ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony.

The curriculum for each of these cruises is designed to celebrate the cultural  flavor of the ship’s itinerary. Highlights include specialized workshops covering topics from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to sauces and baking; cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; cooking competitions between Chef Bilsland and the ship’s own culinary team; a “Lunch and Learn” event offering small groups of guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepared dishes; and inspired “Take It Home” recipes. 

Also offered on certain voyages, when the itinerary permits, is a “Market to Plate” experience that provides an escorted tour of a local market followed by a cooking class, and a “Culinary Outing,” an instructor-escorted excursion to a local restaurant, hotel or other venue where guests can enjoy a unique culinary exploration.  “L’École des Chefs cooking school is an enrichment program that lets guests discover new cooking techniques and sample dishes that highlight the culinary traditions of the ship’s itinerary,” said Rudi Scholdis, Silversea’s director of culinary development.

 Following below is a small selection of the L’École des Chefs voyages for 2012:

 AFRICA & ARABIA 

Voyage 2235: Silver Wind departs Athens November 12 on a 16-day sailing to Dubai with calls in Alexandria, Sharm el Sheikh, Aqaba, Safaga, Muscat and Fujairah. Silver Savings fares start at $8,958.

 Voyage 2236: Silver Wind departs November 28 on a 7-day roundtrip sailing from Dubai with calls in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait City, Al Manama, Doha and Khasab. Silver Savings fares start at $5,198.

 ASIA

 Voyage 4208: Silver Whisper departs Bangkok March 26 on an 18-day sailing to Dubai (a segment of World Cruise 2012) with calls in Ko Samui, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Cochin, Mormugao, Mumbai and Fujairah. Silver Savings fares start at $9,598.

 Voyage 3211: Silver Shadow departs Tokyo April 25 on an 11-day sailing to Shanghai with calls in Hiroshima, Busan, Jeju, Dalian and Tianjin (Beijing). Silver Savings fares start at $7,238.

 CARIBBEAN

 Voyage 4229: Silver Whisper departs November 1 on a 7-day roundtrip sailing from Barbados with calls in Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Isla Margarita and Grenada. Silver Savings fares start at $2,798.

 Voyage 4230: Silver Whisper departs Barbados November 8 on a 9-day sailing to Fort Lauderdale with calls in St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Barts and St. Croix. Silver Savings fares start at $3,638.

 NORTHERN EUROPE 

Voyage 1218: Silver Cloud departs Copenhagen July 10 on a 16-day sailing to London with calls in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm, Riga, Warnemunde (Rostock), Hamburg and Amsterdam. Silver Savings fares start at $8,398.

 SOUTH AMERICA 

Voyage 5204: Silver Spirit departs Buenos Aires February 12 on a 7-day sailing to Rio de Janeiro with calls in Punta del Este, Rio Grande do Sul, Santos (Sao Paulo), Parati and Buzios. Silver Savings fares start at $4,838. 

Voyage 5205: Silver Spirit departs Rio de Janeiro February 19 on a 15-day sailing to Barbados with calls in Salvador de Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Belém, Tobago and Grenada. Silver Savings fares start at $7,598.

 TRANSOCEANIC 

Voyage 3227: Silver Shadow departs Vancouver September 6 on a 16-day sailing to Tokyo with calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Kodiak, Kamchatka, Hakodate and Sendai. Silver Savings fares start at $7,798.

Click here for a complete list of L’École des Chefs voyages, or visit Silversea.com and click on Life Onboard/Enrichment/Culinary & Wine Voyages/Relais & Châteaux L’École des Chefs. 

Fares listed above are per person, based on double occupancy for a Vista Suite. Silver Savings is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability. 

For information on Relais & Châteaux, please call (800) 735-2478 (U.S./Canada) or 00 800 2000 00 02 (U.K.) or visit www.relaischateaux.com.

For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit www.silversea.com.

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ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S 150 CENTRAL PARK GOES GENUINE WITH CHEF MICHAEL SCHWARTZ ON BOARD OASIS OF THE SEAS

According to chef Michael Schwartz the secret to good food is… good food. Honored with the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South in 2010, Schwartz is recognized by his peers and the diners that flock to his restaurants for his fresh, simple and pure cuisine incorporating responsibly- anAccording to chef Michael Schwartz the secret to good food is… good food. Honored with the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South in 2010, Schwartz is recognized by his peers and the diners that flock to his restaurants for his fresh, simple and pure cuisine incorporating responsibly- and locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Royal Caribbean International has announced their selection of chef Michael Schwartz to create exciting menus for their upscale dining venue, 150 Central Park, on Port Everglades, Fla., based cruise ship Oasis of the Seas. Schwartz will offer his expertise as the cruise line selects and integrates local produce farmers into 150 Central Park’s supply chain. 150 Central Park is the showpiece of the lush Central Park neighborhood with its 12,000 plants and trees and its variety of specialty dining and retail venues such as the Coach store. Guests dining at the upscale and intimate restaurant enjoy a seasonal tasting menu and customized wine pairings delivering an exclusive culinary experience comparable to the finest land-based restaurants. Chef Schwartz will create new dishes, as well as seasoned favorites from his restaurants in Miami and Grand Cayman and debut  cookbook, MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, such as Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Carrot Butter Sauce and Mahogany Black Cod with Whipped Parsnip, Baby Bak Choy and Mustard Sauce, and Slow Roasted and Grilled Harris Ranch Beef Short Rib with Roasted Cippolini Onions, Swank Farms Cress and Romesco Sauce. Opened daily for dinner, it features two rotating six-course menus per voyage, which will now incorporate produce from small Florida farms like SWANK Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with such an acclaimed global brand as Royal Caribbean and to work with them to further the important sustainable philosophies I care so much about,” said chef Michael Schwartz. Chef de Cuisine James Seyba from Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink will oversee the execution of the new menu while learning the ropes of a successful chef at sea, including Royal Caribbean’s quality controls and provisioning measures. On hand to share her expertise will be Chef de Cuisine Molly Brandt who, at the helm of the of Allure the Seas, was herself a first-time cruise chef after winning the coveted job in a chef search with the Culinary Institute of America.Completing the gastronomic experience at 150 Central Park is the most dynamic wine pairing program of any Royal Caribbean restaurant, created with the direction of Michael’s Genuine Sommelier Eric Larkee. “Royal Caribbean continually looks to deliver the Royal Advantage to its guests through diverse and innovative dining concepts and the freshest possible ingredients,” said Frank Weber, vice president Food and Beverage, Royal Caribbean International. “By joining forces with chef Michael Schwartz at Oasis of the Seas’ 150 Central Park, we are gaining a respected hometown partner who will help us to navigate and embrace the local agricultural community by hand-picking the most appropriate local small farms to supply ingredients for our premiere dining venue.” 150 Central Park by Michael Schwartz on Oasis will launch October 29, 2011, with new pairs of menus rolling out every three months during the year-long collaboration.Oasis of the Seas is the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she spans 16 decks, encompasses 220,000 gross registered tons, carries 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,700 staterooms. Oasis of the Seas was the first ship to tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which includes Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship sails from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. http://www.royalcaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow Royal Caribbean on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/royalcaribbean or on Twitter, @royalcaribbean. Travel professionals should go to http://www.cruisingpower.com or call (800) 327-2056.

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The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, have officially opened Le Cirque at The Leela Palace New Delhi

Le Cirque is Asia’s first international French–Italian gourmet restaurant, its concept, “controlled confusion” an eclectic mix of ontemporary French and  classic Italian cuisine. Capt. C. P. Nair, chairman of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said, “We are extremely pleased to introduce Le Cirque to Asia at The Leela Palace New Delhi. Le Cirque has been ranked among the best by food critics and esteemed guests worldwide and we are excited to present a fresh new dimension to dining in Delhi. Le Cirque provides an exquisite culinary experience that celebrates Italian and French cuisine. We are proud that the Maccioni family share our vision which is to bring only the finest in luxury to our guests.” Some of the signature dishes at Le Cirque include: Arancini  Risotto, Mama Egi’s Ravioli, Tuna in Pistachio Crust, Paupiette of Black Cod and Crème Brulee. Each of the dishes offered are authentic and classic allowing guests to experience the truly innovative cuisine. Designed by Spin Studio of Japan guests will indulge in an ambience that is  fashionable, sophisticated and stylish, complimented with rich accents of rustic earthy tones and mood lighting that will enhance the fine dining experience.

New Delhi’s most sought after restaurant features an avant garde bar lounge serving premium spirits. The restaurant also offers an impressive wine list with over 80 labels of Italian wines and 100 labels of French wines and a privilege of three private dining rooms where you can relish tempting French and Italian delicacies straight from the Chef’s kitchen. Located on the 10th floor of The Leela Palace New Delhi, the 144 cover restaurant offers special seating pervading the metallic show kitchen, exclusive board room suitable for key meetings, a Chef’s table and marvelous alfresco dining option overlooking the city’s skyline.

In keeping with local Indian dining preferences, an impressive selection of vegetarian dishes has been added to the menu. Each of the items offered remain true to the Maccioni vision of classic, yet innovative French-Italian cuisine. Signature dishes include Sirio’s Pasta Primavera, Mama Egi’s Ravioli, Tuna in Pistachio Crust, Paupiette of Black Cod, Crème Brûlée and Floating Island ‘Le Cirque’.  For more information, visit www.theleela.com

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