AmaWaterways to Host Culinary Cruise


After a successful sailing in fall 2017 with master chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Joanne Weir, AmaWaterways is continuing its partnership with the celebrated chef by presenting a special sailing: Taste of Bordeaux- Culinary Cruise Hosted by Joanne Weir.

The 7-night cruise will depart on July 26, 2018 and take guests through the Bordeaux region of France along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Shore excursions will immerse guests in French culture, food, and wine, including visits to vineyards and chateaux for wine tastings and a wine festival exclusive to AmaWaterways guests. On board, guests will have the opportunity to engage with Weir through her culinary presentations. Optional pre-cruise stays in Paris or a post-cruise tour of the Loire Valley are also available.

For more information, visit


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New Food- & Drink-Focused Itineraries Through Great Britain


Avanti Destinations and VisitBritain have come together to promote the local flavors of Britain with five new customizable food and drink itineraries, a perfect match for the culinary enthusiast.

The five new multi-region itineraries are focused on Cornwall and Devon, Edinburgh, London, and Yorkshire—the four regional food hubs designated by VisitBritain for having both heritage and undiscovered food and drink experiences. The new itineraries range from seven to 13 days, plus four new 4-day options focused on one of the four food hubs, which can be added to any other Avanti Great Britain itinerary or booked on their own.

The new itineraries are intended to be suggested itineraries and are all completely customizable to fit preferences for accommodations, length of stay, additional destinations, experiences, and transfers. The itineraries are:

  • The 8-day London & York: Bite of England, which includes a Borough Market tour, a Mayfair chocolate tour, and a Historic Pubs of Docklands tour. In York, guests will experience a cheese and tea pairing workshop, a Harrogate walking food tour that stops at a beer and coffee house featuring locally sourced products, the oldest pub in Harrogate, and a historic “sweet shoppe,” as well as a fish and chips eatery, an artisan ice creamery, and Yorkshire tapas. Rates start at $2,899 pp dbl land-only and include first-class rail and daily breakfast.
  • The 7-day London & York: England in a Glass where guests participate in an afternoon tea lesson, a City of London Gin Distillery tour and tasting and a Meantime Brewery tour and tasting while in London. In York they’ll take part in an afternoon tea tour with scones, cakes and exotic treats, and go on a tour and tasting at two-three breweries in the Yorkshire countryside. Rates start at $2,199 pp dbl including first-class rail and daily breakfast.
  • The 4-day Taste of Edinburgh takes guests on a Food Safari walking tour featuring food and drink from vegetarian haggis, scones and unconventional marshmallows to single-malt Scotch and Scottish gin, plus a tour and tasting at Pickering’s Gin Distillery. Rates start at $685 pp.
  • The 4-day Taste of Cornwall/Devon features a Catch & Cook fishing experience, a St. Austell Brewery tour and tasting, and a client’s choice of a private driver or a rental car. Rates start at $1,555.
  • The 9-day London, York, Edinburgh: Taste of British Classics takes guests on a Borough Market tour and a Historic Pubs of Docklands tour in London. While in York, guests enjoy a cheese and tea pairing workshop; and in Edinburgh they’ll have a tour and tasting at Pickering’s Gin Distillery, a Seafood and Scotch full-day tour to a village on the famous Loch Lomand to sample beechwood-smoked salmon, plus visit Glengoyne Distillery where single-malt is made. Rates start at $3,455 pp including first-class rail between cities.
  • The 13-day London, Cornwall, Cotswolds, York, Edinburgh: Great Flavors of Great Britainoffers guests private transfers from London to Cornwall to Cotswolds to York, as well as first-class rail between York and Edinburgh. On this itinerary guests will go on a Mayfair Chocolate tour, a Borough Market tour, enjoy tastings at Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, go on a Catch & Cook fishing trip, and go on private tours of Glastonbury Abbey and Robin Hood’s Nottingham, plus take part in a cheese and tea pairing workshop, and a private Yorkshire breweries tour, an Edinburgh Food Safari walking tour, and a Seafood & Scotch full-tac tour to Lock Lomond. Rates start at $7,699 pp.

For more information, visit

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Take a Bite Out of Vegas

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A Great Catch
This fall, CATCH Las Vegas restaurant—with locations in LA, Dubai and Playa del Carmen—will open its doors at Aria Resort & Casino. It will feature globally inspired high-end seafood selections such as the catch roll, truffle sashimi, Wagyu on a rock and Cantonese lobster. There’ll also be a curated wine list and what they are calling “visually stunning” handcrafted cocktails. CATCH will open in the hotel’s barMASA and Tetsu restaurant space, which closes this month.

It’s Getting Hot in Vegas
The immersive HELL’S KITCHEN Restaurant has opened its doors at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Guests of the dining venue will feel transported to the studio set of the TV show, with the bustling kitchen being the centerpiece of the eatery, and with chefs donning the exact uniforms from the show—red and blue jackets with coordinating bandanas. The show’s signature fiery pitchfork marks the entryway to the restaurant, and a life-size video screen of chef Ramsey greets guests upon arrival. There are floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Strip and the hotel’s iconic fountains, and the menu features recipes from the TV show (think lobster risotto). We’ve heard that the cocktails are not-to-be-missed, including the gin-based “notes from Gordon,” garnished with a scroll printed with a surprise note from the celebrity chef himself.

Eats by the Pool
Pool season in Vegas is here, and with it comes cool experiences at The Cosmopolitan’s Pool District. There are Dive in Movies—transforming the resort’s 65-ft. digital marquee into a colossal movie screen—which guests can enjoy with a speciality cocktail in hand and movie snacks; and the Overlook Grill, serving American staples along with uniquely curated brunch selections including a detox green bowl salad and an avocado toast benedict, as well as a “done adulting” margarita and “bikini bod” cocktail. The fun takes place at the resort’s Boulevard Pool, which overlooks the Strip and offers fab views over the Vegas

Korean-Inspired Eatery at Park MGM
Los Angeles celebrity chef Roy Choi will bring a Koreatown-inspired concept to Las Vegas this fall. The soon-to-be-named dining venue at Park MGM will be a celebration of L.A.’s Koreatown district featuring immersive spaces that feel comfortable and familiar, while creating an eclectic environment for guests. Park MGM will also feature a new pool oasis with three pools, an oversized heated spa, 12 cabanas, lounge areas and multiple bars. Guests will be able to order craft drinks such as mix-and-match craft beer buckets and a Bacardi dragonberry rum-spiked frose topped with ripe strawberries, as well as light bites such as a watermelon & arugula salad.

A Sangria Feast
ALEXXA’s, a modern bar with a unique twist, has debuted inside Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, with a sangria-focused element, global small dishes and live music. ALEXXA’s bar, connecting to HEXX kitchen + bar, and with doors opening directly onto the Las Vegas Boulevard, features nine sangria options to choose from, including sparkling sangria, cider sangria and seasonal sangrias. A selection of curated cocktails made with fresh juices are also available.

A Room with a Brewski
The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino has announced a property-wide partnership with the Las Vegas brewery Tenaya Creek to create the city’s first Bed & Brewski hotel room package and experience, which will offer private tours of the brewery exclusively to hotel guests. Guests who book this experiential package will be greeted with a 6-pack of their chosen brewski upon check-in, as well as a ticket to privately tour Las Vegas’ own Tenaya Creek Brewery. Package starts at $221; minimum 2-night stay.

Become a Master Chef at Wynn
Guests can try their hand at everything from cake decorating to learning how to cook Frank Sinatra’s favorite dishes with the Wynn Master Class series. These behind-the-scenes workshops are led by master chefs, sommeliers, bakers and artisans, and take place at locations across the hotel. Upcoming is Cooking, Sinatra Style, during which executive chef Luke Palladino and Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter, AJ Lambert, will host a cooking demo at the Sinatra restaurant (Encore) on how to prepare some of the entertainer’s favorite dishes, his way. There’s also an upcoming outdoor grilling class with the executive chef of SW Steakhouse (Wynn), who’ll be joined by Wynn’s executive director of wine to share tips on choosing grill-friendly wines.

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Drink Up Napa Valley and Sonoma County -The Perfect Blend for A Perfect Getaway.

[ON LOCATION] Anything can happen on any given day, but for some reason it’s all good once you’ve arrived in California’s Wine County, suddenly life seems to slow down to a soothing and relaxing pace.   Welcome to quiet luxury, beautifully romantic and tranquil surroundings filled with trees and flowers, extraordinary vineyards offering world class wines and legendary hospitality. There is a draw to Napa Valley and Sonoma County that seems to seep into the body and soul, soothing, restoring and simply put, allowing us to forget anything other than…the here and now.  We arrived at the exquisite Vintage Inn, nestled among the rolling vineyards of the Napa Valley wine region. Vintage Inn is a AAA Four Diamond award-winning Napa Valley Hotel on a 23-acre Vintage Estate, just steps from the dining tables of America’s most celebrated chefs in the legendary epicurean walking town of Yountville. The 80 spacious and airy guestrooms and cozy cottage-style villas are plush in accommodations and amenities providing an ideal setting for a relaxing vacation getaway or romantic respite. Take a leisurely walk through the gardens and discover the quiet romance of lavender and lilies swaying in the gentle breeze and the splendor of waterways flowing through lush green gardens.  During your stay, why not experience the Spa Villagio, with soothing fountains, cascading waterfalls and serene reflecting pools that lead to Napa Valley fieldstone and hewn wood interior spaces.  Guests staying at the Vintage Inn are welcome to use this fabulous facility. Envelop yourself in an atmosphere of quietude and creature comfort from the moment of entry into the central reception atrium. Spa Villagio features five intimate Spa Suites. Guests can spend precious time alone or cherished time together in an exclusive personal space where a customized spa experience is crafted with your choice of scents, sound, and spa refreshments for treatments and therapies. Elegantly appointed with fireplaces, oversized sunken jetted soaking tubs, steam showers, wet bars, sound systems and private terraces. You won’t want to leave. (

Part of what I love about wine is the art of pairing it with the right food, and at Bottega, Michael Chiarello’s restaurant in Napa, they nail it down to a science.  Chiarello’s roots are firmly planted on Napa ground.  This is his home, the place he has raised his family and cultivated his grapes and clientele.  At Bottega guest can expect award winning food with bold flavors and refined techniques the perfect “centerpiece” to share a glass of the latest vintages of Chiarello Family Vineyard wine.  We enjoyed a perfect evening at Bottega, starting with Wood Grilled Octopus, with olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion & salsa verde. Polenta Under Glass with caramilized mushrooms & balsamic game sauce.  Rigatoni with tomato braised Sonoma rabbit sugo, caramelized mushrooms and housemade ricotta.  Smoked & Braised Natural Short Ribs with whole grain mustard spaetzle, Sicilian pickles, apple passata & smokey horseradish jus.  Every bite scrumsious! and perfectly paired with Chiarello Family Vineyard “Eileen” 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. (

When the sun rises, wake up and step out into the cool  lovely Napa Valley morning, were the days have so much to offer! Start your day at Bouchon Bakery, set in the heart of of the small town’s main street. Enjoy a warm croissant or any of Bouchon’s extraordinary creations like their macaroons, delicious tarts and or any of their exquisite chocolate confections coupled with a hot cup of coffee . Don’t forget to take a freshly baked baguette along for your day at the vineyards. (











We began our wine tour at Freemark Abbey, a century-old winery, with rich and distinct history beginning with Josephine Tychson, the first woman to own and operate a winery in the Valley. Freemark Abbey features several Cabernets including a Napa Valley Cabernet and the vineyard-designated Bosche and Sycamore Cabernets, there is also a new mountain Cabernet from Mt. Veeder Peak. Along with Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier, Freemark Abbey makes limited amounts of Petite Syrah, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.   We favored the  2007 Cabernet Bosche, Cabernet Sauvignon. A blend of 87.5% Cab and 12.5% Merlot. Aged 26+ months in 60 gallon French Oak Barrels, 47% New Wood. At $75.00 a bottle this wine is a must “bring home”! Enjoy it now or hold 20 to 30 years in a proper cellar.  One can order on line at ( or call 707-302-3721.

Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent more than 30 years establishing itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines. From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today.  Our pick was the 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, at $75.00 it has excellent structure and balance, with layers of cassis and mulberry come through beautifully. Notes of herbs and dried fruit with robust character and deep color. Enjoy now or hold for long-term cellaring. A True Find at this vineyard was the Paraduxx Z Blend Napa Valley 2009 : Formerly known as Paraduxx Napa Red Wine, the Paraduxx Z Blend Napa Valley Red Wine is the evolution of the series.  Fusing the robust flavors of California’s native Zinfandel with the grandeur of Cabernet Sauvignon, Paraduxx has both core varietals to produce a world class blend with a decidedly Californian personality. 62% Zinfandel, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, resulting in a rich, full fruit flavor, with soft elegant tannins, making it a natural compliment to a wide array of foods. Tremendous quality and amazing value at $48.00.  (


HALL Rutherford is Craig and Kathryn Hall’s winery amid the Sacrashes vineyard. Completed in March of 2005, it has been carefully designed for the production of a small lot red wine. The winery’s  14,000 sq. ft. of caves were designed and built- by- hand by Friedrich Gruber of Gutenstein Austria. The caves are finished with handmade Austrian  brick recovered from sites in and around Vienna and showcases select works from the Halls’ art collection. Deep inside the caves resides a dazzling reception are for private tastings and entertaining.  The room’s spectacular chandelier, designed by Donald Lipski and Jonquil LeMaster, is a masterpiece dressed in hundreds of Swarovski crystals.

Although wine and food are most definitely highlights of the wine country, there is so much more to this magnificent destination! Ask and you shall receive is a pretty good description , and so we head to the Pacific Coast, our next stop Sonoma County, and “It’s More Than Just Grapes Here”! Sonoma Countys’ cities, towns and enclaves are densely rich in beauty,  history , agriculture and farming.  To truly appreciate all that Sonoma County has to offer, one first has to visit the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau for information on all that is  happening around the towns. Enjoy a beautiful day out on a walking or driving tour to discover and experience the history that lives around every bend.  Some tips on what you won’t want to miss is a visit to Rohnert Park/Cotati. Created from a single seed farm property in the early 1960’s.  After many years Cotati still maintains the character it enjoyed as a Mexican land grant rancho site. Santa Rosa, home to such notables as Luther Burbank, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and Ripley of Believe it or Not.  It is the largest city in Sonoma County. Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, Sebastopol, In the 1850’s it served as the breadbasket for San Francisco’s growing population. Stop by the Petaluma Creamery where you can sample Spring Hill Cheese. Bodega Bay/Sonoma Coast where the first European settlers, a group of Russians created the coastal fur trade. Visit the Lighthouse in Point Arena and the Museum.  The Russian River Towns with their magnificent redwood groves. Winsor, Sonoma County’s newest city surrounded by world-class wineries. It’s modern downtown with buildings inspired by the architecture of the late 1880s. Cloverdale a very charming city at the northern end of Sonoma County, known as the place where the vineyards meet the fascinating redwoods.

And that’s not all! Explore Sonoma and Marin County’s cheese trail, touring the heart of artesian cheesemaking, referred to as the Normandy of Northern California. About 9,000 acres of land in Marin and Sonoma are used for farmstead cheesemaking and are protected by agricultural conservation easements. There are 27 cheesemakers in the Marin and Sonoma Counties, but make sure to pick up a map at the Visitors Bureau and check which ones are open to the public and when, then take a drive, taste, taste, taste…buy , buy, buy!

In Marin County the tour starts at the Marin French Cheese Company right outside Novato. Taste their award-winning Rouge et Noir brie. Nicasio Valley Cheese Company produces fantastic farmstead cheeses in the artisanal tradition of the Swiss-Italian cousins in Switzerland.  Head to Tomales Bay Foods, also known as Cowgirl Creamery.  In Sonoma County, the tour begins at Spring Hill Cheese. Stop by Vella Cheese Company, known for their aged dry Jack. Drop by Epicurean Connection for flavors of fresh and soft cheeses and more local fare. Enjoy the beautiful agricultural landscapes and working ranches. If you decide to visit Sebastopol, visit the Matos Cheese Factory and sample their St. George, a buttery semi-hard cheese made in the style of the Azores.  Tip: The best way to store cheese is to wrap it in wax or butcher paper, then put it in the refrigerator vegetable crisper.  To learn more about other California cheeses and the people who make them, visit

Experience towns and villages, Point Reyes National Seashore and the nearby oyster operations.  If wine is what you want, explore the numerous world renowned wineries of Sonoma County. There is so much to Sonoma County you won’t want to miss! Quaint towns, cafes, galleries, farmers markets and restaurants that will definitely delight everyone, from the casual diner to epicurean alike.

For more information on Sonoma County visit:

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On Sunday, Oct. 21,  Alize in The Palms, Las Vegas will unite top chefs to create an unforgettable evening to honor the memory of the late Jean-Louis Palladin. The evening of stellar chef collaboration and talent to benefit James Beard Foundation will take place at Alizé. Named after the gentle trade winds that sweep the French Caribbean Islands, Alizé at the Top of The Palms features world-class cuisine, service and wine list, boasting the most dramatic view of the famous Las Vegas Strip. 

Chef Jean-Louis Palladin is considered one of the culinary geniuses of the 20th   century. Also known as the chef who put fine dining on the proverbial map, Palladin inspired world-renowned chefs to emerge from their kitchen and go to the farms in search of the finest products no matter where they were located. Chef Palladin was a master of his craft, known for his creativity, passion, technique, and commitment to the very best. Jean-Louis was as much a teacher as a chef, encouraging and mentoring many while demanding perfection of himself and all around him.

The chef’s lineup will be announced later this spring.

The James Beard Foundation is proud to offer the Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Work/Study Grant. Created to perpetuate the mission and programs of the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation, the initiative will provide a series of annual grants of up to $10,000 to working chefs.  This grant will allow recipients to spend time learning from and working with master growers, producers, and food artisans; to toil alongside renowned chefs in America and abroad and to study varied specialized skills.  

Alizé has gained notoriety and accolades and is one of the top new restaurants in the world.  Located inside the Palms Casino Resort at 4321 W. Flamingo Road, Alizé is open daily from 5:30 p.m.

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This Mother’s Day, what better time and place to spend “quality time” together than a Girls’ Getaway to Hayman, Australia’s celebrated private island destination in the Great Barrier Reef.

Hayman is Australia’s premier luxury nature-resort destination, located on the northernmost of the Whitsunday Islands in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland.  Hayman, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, covers 726 acres offering guests an experience of tranquility and natural beauty in the resort’s 210 stylish accommodations.

Spoil mom or a group of girlfriends with a special getaway, at the Hayman Spa as a celebration of Mother’s Day.  Enjoy a complimentary 30-minute Refresher Facial when booking a 1-hour Massage or Body Treatment and a complementary 15-minute Makeup Touch-Up when booking at 1-hour Facial. In addition to Hayman Spa’s full range of pampering indoor and outdoor therapies and treatments, acclaimed yoga specialist Skye Baird from Skye LifeStyle will be conducting tailored yoga classes over Mother’s Day weekend.

 From May 10-13, the Hayman Yoga Escape offers a line-up of activities, including daily 90-minute yoga and 30-minute meditation sessions, leisure time and healthy dining. The three-night Hayman Yoga Escape is priced from $1425 per person twin share or $2160 single which includes accommodation, return launch transfers from Great Barrier Reef Airport, scheduled yoga and meditation sessions, breakfast and 3-course dinner.  

Situated within separate locations throughout the property, are the stunning new residences—all with access to the turquoise waters and access to the Reef.  With four restaurants, Hayman Spa and fitness facilities, picturesque meeting and special event areas, and 24-hour butler and concierge service, leisure and luxury are offered in many forms throughout the island.

There also will be plenty of time for wandering at a leisurely pace through the Hayman Arcade’s boutiques featuring a range of designer wear and accessories from leading Australian and international fashion houses, as well as a selection of fabulous Hayman branded merchandise. During each weekend in May, a glass of sparkling wine will be available in all of the outlets beginning at 3 p.m. while everyone looks for that special purchase to take home. 

Packages are priced from $980 per person twin share including four nights’ accommodation and daily beachfront breakfast. Please contact for further information. 


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MUSSEL BAR Serving Up Sophisticated Food Raising “Eating at the Bar” To A Whole New Level

 Revel Beachfront Resort award-winning  chef Robert Wiedmaier also famed as master of Belgian cuisine, opens the first extension of Mussel Bar, outside of the Washington Metro Area at the resort this spring.  The inspiration for Mussel Bar draws from an old-world Belgian roadhouse serving Bière, Moules & Frites, and other Flemish favorites.  Mussel Bar blends the comfort of a pub, live rock and roll, the energy of a sports bar, and  culinary excellence to raise “eating at the bar” to a whole new level.  The latest dining venue to be announced for Revel will include a stage for live performances and a window into the kitchen to showcase the creative process in the kitchen. A selection of over 150 Belgian and domestic beers will be perfect accompaniment.  “Casual eateries like Mussel Bar were just the place my friends and I used to go to kick back and relax when living in Belgium and Germany – eating  mussels, drinking beer, and listening to rock and roll into all hours, before we had to head back to the kitchen or home,” Wiedmaier reminisced fondly.  “People enjoy that.  It’s good, reasonable everyday food.  It’s comfortable.”   

Mussel Bar is reminiscent of a roadside tavern that one might discover while traversing the Belgian countryside.  Guests are greeted with knotted oak wainscoting and floors, terracotta tile columns and borders, mussel-shaped ceiling drops as well as beer bottle and rope light fixtures.  The bar features a concrete surface embedded with mussel shells and a 16-foot-by12-foot illuminated glass façade bottle cooler.  Train clocks, beer towers, slate menu boards and muscled graphics punctuate the space. And with a slight nod to his favorite pastime, riding his motorcycle, a custom-made Bourget hangs from the ceiling for all to admire.  

 Culinary stations echo a food market and boast the offerings on Chef Wiedmaier’s menu: the catch of the day is displayed with other fresh fishes on ice, pizza is rounded out on a limestone work surface and cured meats hang over cheeses in the charcuterie.  


Revel, the 6.3-million-square-foot beachfront resort, will be a complete entertainment destination encompassing more than a dozen  other restaurants, two nightclubs, private beach club, more than 1,800 guest rooms, retail shops, a 31,000-square-foot spa, two theaters that seat 5,500 and 700 guests respectively and a 150,000-square-foot casino.  Revel will bring a true resort option to the Northeast, enhanced by entertainment and lifestyle offerings designed by top performers in daylife, nightlife, theatrical, spa, and experiential programming. 

Chef Wiedmaier joins an impressive roster of chefs at Revel including Chefs Jose Garces and Marc Forgione.  Each culinary partner at Revel has a vested interest in the resort and brings signature flair from their regional restaurants in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.   

Named Washington’s Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington in 2009, Wiedmaier is recognized for his passionate respect for top-notch product. When not in the kitchen, he can be found out hunting duck, deer or elk in the fall and winter.  In the summer, he fishes with his two sons, teaching them what it means to bring fish from open waters to the table, an adventure that was captured by the PBS James Beard award-winning program Chefs A’ Field. 

To experience Revel and to see a glimpse of the future, visit

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