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from 2004 – 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

July-August 2006

May-June 2006

April 2006

Feb-March 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

July-August 2005

May-June 2005

April 2005

February-March 2005

January 2005

November-December 2004

October 2004

September 2004

August 2004

 

 

For your review here are sample articles from previous newsletters

We raise our Champagne glass in a hearty toast to Eos Airlines, currently celebrating their first anniversary of elevating the dismal state of flying by bringing elegance, service and style back to air travel. Let’s face it, why shouldn’t the same standards apply to airlines that we demand from our hotels? Well, Eos is very good news, indeed, an airline in a class by themselves. Eos has as its goal to redefine the flying experience and make it memorable and enjoyable again. We are happy to say they succeed admirably. Eos is all you could ask for: complimentary limo service (at qualifying fares) from your home or office to the airport (you may arrive 45 minutes prior to departure with no questions asked), uniformed, polite staff to greet your car and escort you to the check-in desk, rapid, expedited check-in by caring employees, well-appointed lounges (Emirates at JFK) and happy, escorted service right to the plane moments before take off. Things only get better once onboard: Eos has carefully rethought the way space can be allocated inside an aircraft, providing a massive 21 square feet for each passenger. A typical 757 has more than 200 seats. On Eos, there are just 48 seats. And what seats—the Eos seat is more like a suite with a flat 78-inch bed, your choice of Tempur-Pedic foam or down full-size pillows, cashmere blanket or duvet and high-quality linens. There is a thoughtful extra seat for visitors, oodles of extra room for additional baggage and a clear path to the aisle. Eos dining is beyond very special. The superbly trained attendants (carefully selected from leading hospitality and service industries and educated at the Culinary Institute of America) serve dinner in three separate courses if you want to dine leisurely. Or there is an express service for those who desire a light and quick meal. Many passengers elect to have a full-course meal with a fine wine at the lounge before boarding. Wines, spirits and entrees are of haute cuisine quality. The handsome in-flight amenity kit, and this is one to keep and reuse, is by L’Occitaine. Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling headsets are provided and the selection of first-run films, classic television, music and video games is extensive. Eos has redefined every element of flying and that means they treat their clients with care as guests and not just passengers. On arrival at London’s Stansted, there are warm smiles of greeting from the Eos staff on the ground, expedited treatment at customs and immigration and—voila—baggage delivered as you reach the carousel. A limousine whisks you to your destination. This is rewarding travel, too. Eos has a generous and innovative rewards program redeemable for travel on Eos and other airlines, golf, spas, high-end retailers and fine hotels. All Eos guests have access to Quintessentially, a pre- and post-flight concierge service, acknowledged as one of the best in the world. We all know little things make a big difference when you fly. Eos founder David Spurlock, formerly Director of Strategy at British Airways, conceived this airline for those in search of a premium experience much like they would receive on a private jet. If it is rest, total comfort and ultimate care in intoxicating luxury with excellent food and drink you seek when you fly (but without unnecessary gilt and useless trappings), book now with Eos. Best of all, Eos fares are significantly lower than Business Class prices on traditional carriers. Eos flys twice daily to and from JFK and to and from convenient Stansted Airport, London. Visit www.eosairlines.com or call (888) 357-3677.

October 2006
London is a superb hotel city, filled with places to stay that fit all pocketbooks and tastes. We have always been drawn to the small, elegant and detail-oriented hotel and we found all that and more at The Egerton House Hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge. Just a short walk from Harrods, here is a pleasantly secluded refuge of charm and character overlooking two very pretty tree-lined garden squares. Look for adjoining handsome red brick period townhouses with topiary boxwood and blossoms in the windows. A roaring fire welcomes guests in the drawing room on cool days. The Egerton has been extensively restored and totally refurbished by the present owners, Red Carnation, and they have done their usual signature and extraordinary job of creating a highly refined residential atmosphere using interesting antiques, Brussels weave carpets, Savoir beds, fine museum-quality art and fabrics of the finest provenance. Here you will find a wonderful, eclectic yet classical setting: original old prints from the Illustrated London News, engravings and signed lithographs (Braque and Picasso among them) alongside of masterful paintings (one of parrots by Kim Brooks), an 18th-century clock hung by a sunburst of a mirror. The mix of furniture styles and periods from Biedermeier to Victoria adds tons of character. Orchids and masses of fragrant fresh flowers are everywhere. The result is a true jewel box. The hotel has an aura of understated elegance and discreet good taste with 30 air-conditioned bedrooms on four floors, all served by a small elevator. Each room is fully equipped, exacting international high-tech standards with touches like flat- screen TVs, Nano iPods and WiFi throughout. A small wood-paneled bar by renowned Hallidays with whimsical caricatures by JAK and Sems and staffed by one of London’s most beloved bartenders, Antonio, serves light meals of quality. Top cuisine is served daily in a most attractive dining room where one can be served a traditional English or nutritious health breakfast. A solarium, sauna, Jacuzzi, and pool await the more energetic. Arrangements on a complimentary basis can be made at a nearby gym and health club, one of London’s best. This jewel of a hotel has it all. General Manager Sandra Anido keeps it all ticking like a fine Patek Philippe aided by a staff that is dedicated to satisfying each and every guest who walks through these welcoming doors. A winner of ENTREE’s Golden E of Excellence Award and a member of Preferred Boutique Hotels. Visit www.egertonhousehotel.com. They have a sleek Bentley standing by for guests and invaluable personal shopping contacts.

September 2006
There is something totally magical and wondrous about finding a place of great style, elegance, comfort and beauty in a remote corner of the world. We first felt that way when we came upon the one-and-only Explora Lodge in Patagonia. We found another oasis of luxury in a remote part of Argentina near the Brazil and Paraguay borders, hard by the majestic, thundering Iguazú Falls. The all-suite Iguazú Grand Hotel Resort & Casino is set in a majestic natural location and offers a first class spa, South America’s most important and glamorous casino, warm hospitality and pampering indulgence. One can have it all here and in an enchanting setting where you’d least expect it. Family-owned and operated with passion, here is a resort distinguished by its classic architecture and a museum-quality art collection where guests are spoiled by a staff of smiling, multi-lingual personnel. Proud of its glamorous casino, a business center, two fine restaurants, the Paradise Spa (with massage, wraps, masks and baths), a fully equipped state-of-the-art health club (with professional trainers) overlooking the tropical gardens, three clay tennis courts (lit at night), and three swimming pools (one heated), the resort’s jungle-meets-cosmopolitan atmosphere is very hard to leave. The Iguazú Grand presents diverse evening entertainment such as musicals, live tango dances and other performances at the Le Bistro Theater. Playland, the resort’s unique recreation center for children, assures parents that the young ones will be entertained and supervised in a happy and safe environment with outdoor activities such as volleyball, games and art programs. Golfers have access to a fine golf club just minutes away. In addition to the attractions within the resort, the breathtaking waterfalls are only ten minutes away. A day trip to the falls will complete your unforgettable experience at the Iguazú Grand Hotel. There are 107 very spacious and attractively decorated suites. Visit www.casinoiguazu.com, a member of Leading Small Hotels of the World. This is the only place to stay when you visit Iguazú, a true paradise on earth.

July-August 2006
True virtuosity in hotelkeeping is very rare. Like a perfect symphony, it manages to harmoniously combine so many elements into one effortlessly. Thank goodness for Summer Lodge in beautiful Dorset, a pleasant three-hour drive from London. Here is a symphony of the most extraordinary kind. We discovered this idyllic spot last month and couldn’t wait to tell you about it. Imagine, first of all, England’s most beautiful countryside. No less a writer than Thomas Hardy, who lived here and loved it, extolled the virtues of the green Dorset hills, the Jurassic cliffs and coast, and the glistening sea in masterpieces like TESS of the d’URBERVILLES. And here, in Summer Lodge, is another Wessex masterpiece. Then there is the setting for Summer Lodge: unspoiled countryside, jet d’eau, tumbling waterfalls, fragrant fruit trees, magical footpaths, sculptures, ancient stone walls, Japanese bridge, lily pond, and tranquil kitchen garden. Songbirds serenade morning and night. Set in the tiny, picturesque village of Evershot, Summer Lodge is actually a series of carriage houses and handsome slate-roofed Georgian townhouses that hold just 26 rooms. And what rooms! Heavenly decorated with miles of beautiful cottons, linens, silks, soft flannels, priceless antiques and hand made custom designed Brussels weave carpets. For those wanting ultimate privacy, there is a charming cottage on the prettiest street in town with a walled garden and a Jacuzzi. But we love the rooms in the Lodge, especially spacious Number 1, with high ceilings, large windows that invite the soft Dorset sun, fireplace, two comfortable baths and a four-poster bed that discreetly hides a flat-screen television. The decor at Summer Lodge is some of the most sophisticated in the world with rare paintings, prints and objects on the walls, luxurious linens, considerate placement of precious tables and chairs just as an elegant-yet-very-stylish country Marchioness might have, and fragrant fresh flowers everywhere. Total comfort and ultimate calm have been the objective, and the owners have succeeded brilliantly. All of this would make for the best in English country living, only Summer Lodge goes further with a staff of caring young people that appears and disappears like magic, catering to every wish—no, seemingly anticipating every guest’s wish. Need an extra down pillow or pashmina shawl? They have it. Want to play croquet? They will fetch the mallets. Need a partner for tennis? One will happily play with you on Summer Lodge’s court. Swimming pool? Right this way. Relaxing and rejuvenating spa services are organized in a moment at the lovely spa on the property. The dapper and aristocratic Charles Lotter is General Manager here and he orchestrates all with exacting yet relaxed standards of superb quality. Cuisine in the British shires has long been hit-and-miss. Mostly miss. Such is the cost of maintaining a serious restaurant in the English countryside. Summer Lodge leads the way with a decided culinary upturn in the form of Steven Titman, an accomplished chef who leads a team totally dedicated to fine dining. Concentrating on locally-grown produce enhanced by herbs from Summer Lodge’s garden, he manages to create haute cuisine of exquisite refinement yet of straightforward direction. There is no precociousness here, simply the best meats, chicken, fish and vegetables carefully prepared with love. The cooking has been acclaimed by critics from all over the world. Supporting Chef Steven is a cadre of bright, enthusiastic and professional sommeliers, waiters and barmen who are eager to please in a dining room of extraordinary beauty. Prominent among them is super-knowledgeable Master Sommelier Eric Zwiebel, who will go deep into Summer Lodge’s caves to find you Romanee Conti or perhaps a special bottle of South African Bouchard Finlayson. All wines at all price levels are there at Summer Lodge. Zwiebel’s understudy, Ben, has an enchanting way about him, and his knowledge of wines is also impressive. One could happily occupy themselves just lazing on the manicured grass at Summer Lodge in a chaise lounge, or pulling on the Wellingtons they have so thoughtfully provided for guests for a hike, but many things await outside the walls of this country house. Dorset is steeped in history: there is Sherborne Castle and Athelhampton House, plus antique shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants galore to visit. But we prefer not to leave the cossetting of Summer Lodge and their fine people. There is a fine afternoon tea with delicious scones and clotted cream in the afternoon, perhaps it’s time to plan a picnic, maybe we’ll do some watercolors in the conservatory, or simply walk down the main street to the historic Acorn Inn, for a cold beer and a salmon sandwich. Or drop in on the enchanting country shop on the main street, and peruse its wonderful selection of speciality foods, wines, cards and gifts. With its spectacular setting, elegant restaurant, breathtaking rooms, restorative spa and so many local attractions, this is a place you must experience. We have known few places on this planet where all is in perfect harmony, where man and nature join in an embrace to produce the very best experience that makes you truly love life. This is one of those places. They have perfected the art of exceptional hospitality here at Summer Lodge and you will be welcomed as family. A proud member of Relais & Chateaux, visit www.summerlodgehotel.com.

May-June 2006
Sox appeal: why do so many otherwise smartly dressed men fall victim to sartorial amnesia when it comes to that key space between the bottom of their trousers and the top of the shoes? We’re talking socks here and how few gents pay proper attention to them. Maybe it’s because there is a dearth of original, well-designed, quality-made chaussettes out there. So let’s pop a bottle of Champagne because a gentleman named Vivek Nagrani has come to the rescue. Nagrani, who manages to resemble both Adrian Brody and Andy Garcia at the same time, is a very talented 33-year-old Indian-born, American-raised gentleman with exquisite taste. His fanciful line of power (and powerful) socks are made by legendary artisans in France and Italy. They are bright and colorful and wildly patterned and now considered collector’s items by the cognoscenti. You will not find them everywhere—only in the best stores like Fred Segal and Stanley Korshak. We must warn you, not every man can wear them. You’ve got to be secure about your fashion sense. After all, pistachio and salmon are not everyone’s colors. But, believe us, they are heaven on the feet and at $30 a pair or $150 a dozen, a bargain, sort of little artworks for the feet. One design even wound up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Nagrani’s socks are destined to be the best-dressed insider’s secret like Lobb shoes and Charvet ties. These socks go so well with bespoke suits or jeans, and, rest assured, there are never more than 312 pairs made per design. To appreciate those who love these socks, Nagrani has founded his very own 21 Club. He celebrates your 21st pair, when added to your wardrobe, by welcoming you to an esteemed group of gentlemen who become privy to his future works. These members define future collections one sock at a time, as they are invited to experience prototypes and give their suggestions. Check out Nagrani’s company, Ovadafut, on the web at www.vknagrani.com, and when next getting dressed, never forget what the great architect Mies van der Rohe said: “God is in the details.”

April 2006
A quick getaway to Puerto Vallarta was recently in order to restore our spirits, and we found a shining jewel in Hacienda San Angel. This small colonial-style hotel is illustrative of what the beauty of Mexico means to us when we dream of its possibilities. A member of the prestigious Hoteles Boutique de Mexico, we can highly recommend Hacienda San Angel as the best and most stylish place to stay in the area. Located above the soaring grace of the Cathedral of Guadalupe, the Hacienda transports visitors to a time of colonial elegance that is rarely seen today. With stunning terraced gardens, breathtaking ocean and city views and a staff that deeply cares, here are five creatively restored villas with fourteen superb suites and bedrooms exquisitely filled with museum quality 18th- and 19th-century oil paintings, hand-carved antique furnishings, tapestries, statuary, and colorful painted tile work. Yet, the Hacienda is very up-to-date with state-of-the-art purified tap water, remote-controlled air-conditioning, cable television, DVD, and in-suite phone with complimentary local calls. Guests have access to three heated swimming pools and an oversize Jacuzzi on the rooftop sun deck with stunning views of Banderas Bay, a perfect spot to watch the sunset. The tranquility here makes it easy to forget that you are just a few minutes’ stroll from downtown Puerto Vallarta, with its beaches, shopping and lively nightlife. Built around a romantically landscaped central courtyard with flowing fountains, winding paths and fragrant, blooming tropical flowers, the Hacienda has happy and polite employees that treat their visitors as if they were honored guests in a wealthy landowner’s private home. Indeed, the core villa on the property was a Valentine’s Day gift from Richard Burton to his wife and has since evolved carefully into an enchanting maze of villas, suites, gardens, dining rooms, terraces and private areas perfect for relaxing and reflecting. The chefs here are an inspired bunch, and the Hacienda boasts a menu of full à la carte lunches and dinners. The Hacienda San Angel has some of the softest imported bed linens we’ve ever slept in and all-natural bath amenities. The charming owner Janice Chatterton deserves spirited applause for her fine taste and hard work in turning the Hacienda into Puerto Vallarta’s loveliest address. The delightful concierge Rocio can assist arranging tour services and excursions. We loved the gratis high-speed Internet access and public phone to make complimentary calls to the U.S. Reservations for Hacienda San Angel may be made at www.haciendasanangel.com or by emailing info@haciendasanangel.com. Phone (415) 738-8220 from the US, or 011-52-322-222-2692 from elsewhere. Rates in high season range from $250 per night for some of the more secluded rooms to $425 and $475 for the prime-view spaces. Prices include Continental breakfast and snacks during cocktail hours, often with mariachi music. Choose a room, select a suite or rent the entire Hacienda, this is the perfect place for total relaxation in a setting of total beauty.

February-March 2006
Who among us has not dreamed of having a magic carpet upon which we could be whisked off to the far reaches of the globe? Well, ENTREE has found that magic carpet. It comes in the form of The Leading Residences of the World, an extraordinary risk-free destination club of unparalleled quality. We’ve seen all the destination clubs in our day, surrounded by all the hoopla, and none compares to this. First of all, Leading Residences is backed by Cendant Corporation, the blue chip travel and residential real estate company. Unlike other clubs, Leading Residences insures their memberships with a policy written by the best in the business. Members receive a refund of 80% of their membership deposit if they ever decide to resign. Secondly, all memberships are equal—there are no tiers, everyone pays the same and has the same preferred access. What we like a lot is Leading Residences’ rotating priority reservation system, which assures equal access to the club’s unmatched property portfolio. This novel system safeguards all members’ investments and addresses high-demand periods elegantly. What is best about this club is their meticulous standards in keeping with their affiliation with Leading Hotels of the World. Now, for the magic carpet: members can use stunning residences in beach, golf and ski resort destinations and in the world’s greatest cities including New York, Paris and London. We’ve been to the two spectacular houses the club has in Cabo San Lucas and can only pronounce them out of this world. With a membership in Leading Residences, members can go to Gleneagles, the South of France, Steamboat Springs, Hotel Hana in Hawaii, Kiawah Island, Santa Fe, and The Grenadines. Administering all this is a superior management team, crackerjack concierges, and a support system that features private jets, elite rental cars, Avis President’s Club and special perks at Leading Hotels of the World. The price? $325,000 and annual dues of $15,000. For this you have continuous access for thirty years...and then you are refunded 80% of your deposit and can continue to use the benefits each year dues are paid. This is a fantastic opportunity for those who love to travel and want to stay in sublime accommodations at a fraction of the purchase price. The Leading Residences of the World is the only destination club ENTREE endorses or will ever endorse. For more information on exploring your passion for the finest travels this way, visit www.lrwclub.com or call (866) LRW-CLUB.

January 2006
Even the most passionate of traveler must come down to earth every once in a while and head for home. That is why ENTREE is continually on the lookout for splendid places to live. Santa Barbara isn’t too bad, but we think we’ve found a better place: Monterra. Monterra is often called “the pinnacle of the Monterey Peninsula” and it’s true: this exclusive, private community rises high above the bright blue Pacific Ocean and is carefully protected and preserved for eternity. Only 168 limited-edition homes will be built at Monterra, each on generous acreage (two to 20 acres) blessed with majestic ancient oaks, rolling meadows, canyons and brilliant wildflowers. Monterra is an exclusive community providing property owners a welcome alchemy of space, privacy and sociability. It’s just a nature walk away from home to an afternoon of fitness, fine dining or a friendly tennis match. Just beyond the guard-gated walls of Monterra lies the prestigious Tehama Golf Club where a membership awaits. Monterra is a place of extraordinary quality offering the legendary allure and lifestyle of the gorgeous Carmel Valley. Monterra is not inexpensive: homesites start at $1,500,000. But, make no doubt about it: the quality is there and so are people who appreciate it. And do not forget that besides a magnificent meeting of land, sea and sky, Monterey’s and Carmel’s much-heralded attractions of music, shopping, restaurants, parks, golf and trails are at your doorstep. If you would like to learn more about this rare opportunity to own a natural and beautiful piece of California history to call home, telephone (866) 648-9080 or visit www.monterra.com.

December 2005
Robert Hancock went scouting for a pristine, untouched stretch of beach on Mexico’s West Coast, and found it two hours north of Puerto Vallarta. And he found a lot more there: a gorgeous, coconut-producing plantation, an 1,100-acre estuary teeming with exotic birds and a turtle camp protecting the endangered olive ridleys. Here, along the 11-mile beach, Hancock began building stylishly designed villas for rent to vacationers or for sale at his Playa Las Tortugas. They’re set back double the required distance from the beach. And the American has wholeheartedly thrown himself into the effort to help save the olive ridleys from extinction by supporting the Turtle Camp, which, while sponsored by the Mexican government, depends largely on donations. When the females crawl up the beach to lay up to 100 eggs a night, predators are right behind them: raccoons, dogs and worst of all, locals who sell the ping-pong ball-sized eggs to bars, where locals eat them, falsely believing them to have aphrodesiac qualities. But staffers and volunteers from the Turtle Camp make nightly patrols to harvest the eggs first, store them for incubation, then release the hatchlings into the sea. Even then, the rate of survival to maturity is eight percent, at best. Visitors at Playa Las Tortugas can go out on nightly turtle patrols and also help with the release of hundreds of hatchlings, or paddle out into the estuary to watch birds like the spectacular roseate spoonbill as it flies over on flaming red wings. Villas can be rented from $195 a night. Oceanview homes start at $275,000. Telephone (800) 320-7769 or visit www.playalastortugas.com.

November 2005
For Champagne aficionados, there’s nothing like the bubbly magic brewed in the chalky hills of northeast France. Otherwise, you’re going to be drinking mere sparkling wine produced elsewhere in the world—and don’t call it Champagne. The French are very particular about this, saying that if it isn’t produced in the highly regulated region of Champagne, you can’t call it that. ENTREE visited Champagne for the annual September harvest, where bunches of Chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes were hand-picked by a small army of workers, using nearly as much care with each cluster as though they were handling a newborn baby. We found tourists swarming to the vineyards as well, following the Route of Champagne between Reims and Epernay, visiting the famous houses, tasting the bubbly and prowling the vast network of cool cellars where the each precious bottle sleeps until its time is right. A word of caution: Do your homework first. Some Champagne houses are not open to the public and others are closed on weekends. Reims and Epernay are only slightly over an hour by train from Paris, allowing for a day trip. But to really taste the region, it’s best to drive or hire a car. Moet & Chandon (www.moet.com), the mega-producer, offers an excellent tour, as well as a pricey gift shop. In its Epernay courtyard you’ll find a statue honoring Dom Perignon, the Benedictine monk who, contrary to popular legend, did not “invent” Champagne but did years of diligent work to help perfect the blending and intricate production of the most famous wine in the world. If one is to drink well, one must eat well too. One Champenois citadel dedicated to fine food as well as Champagne is the Royal Champagne, F-51160 Champillon, RN 51, Bellevue,. telephone 33-03-26-52-87-11, www.royalchampagne.com, a Relais & Chateaux hotel. Its restaurant boasts a Michelin star, thanks to its young chef, Philippe Augé. At night the elegant dining room and guest rooms offer a spectacular view of the lights of Epernay below, like bright gems flung from on high. ENTREE, however, dropped our bags at Hostellerie La Briqueterie, 4 Route de Sézanne, 51530 Vinay, Epernay, telephone 33-03-26-59-99-99. (www.labriqueterie.fr.), a charming country inn a few miles outside Epernay with a heated indoor pool and fine dining room. For more information, contact the Office of Champagne USA, Washington DC, (www.champagne.us).

October 2005
Forget Prada binges. Forget dining at Grand Vefour. Forget yachting in Croatia. The biggest trend in international travel seems to have sprung from a less material source, Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. International travelers are coming to Europe in droves to follow in the gumshoes of the art world detective who cracked the mysteries of the Mona Lisa. While Da Vinci Code tours are the rage, ENTREE loves the style, artistry and sense of cool Geneva's unparalleled Hotel d'Angleterre (since 1872) has blended into their Looking for Mona Lisa package. A two-night minimum stay in the pristine confines of the d’Angleterre’s grand quarters includes an indulgent daily breakfast buffet, sauna and gym access and a make-up session with Clarins to look your loveliest while sitting with Swiss portrait artist Dominique Cornaglia. Master of a wide range of mediums from oils and acrylics to watercolor and pencil, Cornaglia will paint a classic portrait of each guest with all the romance and precision of a Renaissance master. Mona Lisa guests will also receive a Da Vinci cocktail in the sexy confines of the hotel’s classic Leopard Lounge, purring over a potentially lethal combination of Tequila, Campari, Cointreau and lemon. We’re not sure Mona Lisa herself knocked back a lot of tequila, but still we adore you, Mona. The Looking for Mona Lisa package starts at $1,070, depending on accommodations and choice of medium used in your portrait, and is one of very few to leave you with such a permanent, personal keepsake. Who knows? In 600 years, crazed tourists might be cramming into The Louvre to wonder what was on your mind. Let’s hope it wasn’t leaving the door unlocked back home. Geneva’s elegant five-star luxury Hotel d’Angleterre is found in the heart of the city, romantically perched over Lake Geneva. The hotel is legendary for high-profile guests and perfectly-managed grandeur. For more information or reservations, please visit www.dangleterrehotel.com or call +41 (0) 22 906 5555.

September 2005
One of West Hollywood’s best-kept secrets: The Tower Bar, the snazzy new restaurant in the landmark Argyle Hotel, currently being renovated by the talented owner, Jeff Klein. Wunderkind Piero Morovich is in the kitchen, the gracious Dimitri Dimitrov is at the maitre d’ stand, and the distinguished Page Cavanaugh lovingly tickles the 88s. The Tower Bar, 8358 West Sunset Blvd., (323) 654-7100. Almost forgot to name drop: we saw the lithe and lovely Nicole Kidman, here sitting under the photo of Zazu Pitts.

July-August 2005
The Pierre has been one of New York’s finest hotels for over 70 years. Some things never change. The Pierre is now a Taj Hotel. Fifth Avenue at its door, Central Park just across the avenue, The Pierre, with its neoclassic spire and distinctive copper roof, has been a landmark among New York landmarks since 1930. And even more of a landmark is the effortless grace that, along with ever-attentive service, has made The Pierre New York a home away from home for international travelers. We know and respect Taj Hotels greatly, not only because the elegant hotelier Raymond Bickson confidently heads the company with great professionalism. Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia’s largest and finest group of hotels, with 56 hotels in 39 locations across India with an additional 17 international hotels in the Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Seychelles, U.K., Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. As treasured historical landmarks, Taj Hotels have become destinations in themselves. They share a mutual culture, which places a premium on distinctive service while retaining the unique appeal of each hotel. This can be seen clearly throughout the Taj Palace hotels in India where the group understands the importance of protecting the heritage of the properties, while offering unrivaled luxury. This knowledge will only help them to become conscientious guardians of The Pierre’s legacy, as the Taj guides it into the future. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces will ensure that The Pierre continues to symbolize uncompromised luxury, not only in New York, but also around the world. For more information and instant online reservations at The Pierre visit www.tajhotels.com/Pierre. Or call (212) 838-8000. News flash: the gracious General Manager of The Lowell Hotel in New York, Heiko Kuenstle, has been selected to run The Pierre. This is a stroke of genius: the gracious Mr. Kuenstle is one of the best in the business, a razor-sharp General Manager with a great sense of style.

May-June 2005
There was a time when ENTREE considered the French the world’s greatest hoteliers with the best hotels. That was in the 1980s. They still have some spectacular men and women running some breath-taking hotels like the Four Seasons George V, Crillon, Plaza-Athenee and Bristol in Paris. In the ’90s we gravitated to England and fell in love with London hotels and the talented professionals who orchestrate them. London still has world class properties like The Lanesborough, Milestone and The Dorchester and we are looking for terrific things from Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley now that they are rebranded as the Maybourne Hotel Group. But this is the 21st century, and the news is we have just returned from India and can pronounce Indian hospitality without peer on the planet. We were in the loving hands of Taj Hotels and Oberoi on this trip. India is a land steeped with noble heritage, picturesque with exquisite architecture, imbued with a heroic and romantic past. Every step in India is a walk through history. This is a land of pomp and pageantry, of dust and dung, of marigolds and monsoons, love and valor, snow—a place where sand, smoke, ash, and blinding colors all coalesce in an ineffable sweetness. The people will open their hearts and minds to you. You must see India and see it with Taj Hotels and Oberoi. We’ll say more about India in future issues. For now, hold this image of a vast country of endless gods, swamis, jungle, desert, oasis, elephants, Bollywood, crushing poverty and untold wealth, a place we hold a deep love for, thanks to the men and women of Taj and Oberoi who, in their graceful, thoughtful and sincere fashion, made us feel both at home and like maharajahs. India is all of our history, India is the past, present and future. Go now, go while you are young, or if you are old. Go if you are bored or if you are excited by life. India has the capability to dissolve your notions of what it means to be alive. Start by visiting www.tajhotels.com and www.oberoihotels.com. Fly Malaysia Airlines to India, www.malaysiaairlines.com.

April 2005
It is rare when a new hotel knocks our socks off. But ZaZa in Dallas did just that. We thought we had seen it all. But dramatic and intimate ZaZa trumps most. ZaZa is the hottest hotel in the country—a four-storey sunny yellow chateau filled with surprises at each and every turn. We have always defined great Dallas hotels by the standards of The Mansion and Crescent. We still do. But they must make room now for ZaZa, a banquet for the senses with a style that blends together urban Dallas at its best with sexy Mediterranean elegance. ZaZa is sensual and full of fun—a compelling escape—with impeccable attention to detail. But ZaZa is not a great hotel just on the surface. Beneath the “Phantom of the Opera meets South of France villa” décor is a commitment to outstanding hotel keeping, thanks to the eagle eye direction of General Manager Matt Greene and his splendid young and well-groomed staff. True credit for ZaZa’s electricity must be given to owner Charlie Givens, the creative genius behind the hotel. Nothing seems a problem for ZaZa’s happy employees who always are at the ready to gracefully meet any challenge. There are 145 guest rooms that are rich in color and texture, yet state-of-the-art equipped. Thirteen large and extravagant concept suites, each with experiential differences, like the Out of Africa Suite, the Far East Suite and the Bohemia Suite, allow guests to revel in another world. Our personal favorite is the ZaZa Suite, 1500 square feet of well-bred calm with jaw-dropping views of the skyline, imported antiques, full kitchen, large balcony and whirlpool bathtub. ZaZa’s Dragonfly Restaurant and Lounge attracts Dallas’s prettiest women and dashing men each evening. Created in collaboration with well known chef Stephan Pyles, the restaurant crisply serves exquisite Mediterranean cuisine with Asian influences in an atmosphere of whimsy, with energetic music and romantic lighting. We guarantee you’ll see Prada bags and Stetson hats, Tiffany baubles and Tony Lama boots. ZaZa is all about playfulness and a sense of humor. It is also the ideal place for business meetings. But after work, a pool awaits, as does the 4000-square-foot ZaSpa for relaxing massages, pedicures and facials. It is almost as if Mr. Greene, his owners and staff took a close look at every aspect of the hotel experience and agreed to evolve it to a higher, more creative level. Hence, the bikini underwear for sale in the candlelit lobby and washable transfer tattoos for all. Everywhere one turns there is inspiration: Helmut Newton photos, Frette linens, snack-stock pantries on each floor. To sum it up, ZaZa is trendy, ZaZa is wildly popular, ZaZa is excellently located, ZaZa is chic. More than that, ZaZa, underneath all the cool, is a hard-working hotel, anticipating your every need and every bit the masterpiece of fine hospitality as any Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton. Hotel ZaZa, 2332 Leonard Street, Dallas, (214) 468-8399, www.hotelzaza.com. As we went to press, we learned of ZaZa’s seven new ultra-luxury suites—The Magnificent Seven—decadent villas with private access, endless extras, gourmet kitchens, rainforest showers, oversized beds, 42-inch plasma screen televisions, sky-high ceilings, reserved parking, Whirlpool spas, advanced music systems—and stylish comfort of the highest level. Need we go on? Who could resist a suite named “Crouching Tiger” or “Red Shoes” or “Dangerous Beauty”? Not us, surely.

February-March 2005
One of our favorite spas is surely the esteemed Golden Door in Escondido, California, north of San Diego. The happy weeks at this destination spa run from Sunday to Sunday. Most weeks are for women only and limited to 40, with a large, caring staff and lovely Japanese gardens for atmosphere. Hiking and every type of aerobics are offered,
as well as a full schedule of yoga and Tai Chi. All guests are given a personal trainer to help them achieve their goals. One of the best parts is the daily routine of massages in your room, with facials and nail care in the beauty
compound. The Golden Door is not resting on its laurels, and has started upgrades galore. They are replacing the 1960s parquet flooring with bamboo and re-doing all the bathrooms and draperies, making the rooms (all of which open onto courtyards) even more charming for relaxation. The newest addition is a small pool house with a very warm pool, built above the Japanese gardens for in-water massages. We didn’t try this but we heard many rave reviews. At The Door, one makes new friendships, hears interesting evening lectures and experi-
ences valuable cooking classes to stay healthy. How great is it that, along with mind, body and spiritual renewal, personal laundry is done and sweats are provided. Pack your troubles and shoes and find all the peace of mind you could hope for in one week. Reward yourself: Golden Door weeks are $6500, all included, except for a few à la carte services. P.O. Box 463077, Escondido, CA 92046, (800) 424-0777; www.goldendoor.com.

January 2005
The Mosaic Hotel is just what all of us are looking for: a well-run, attractive hotel in Beverly Hills that will not require mortgaging the Bentley. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, steps from Rodeo Drive, this 47-room gem has style and ambiance and is an oasis of elegance, warmth and peerless service in a very calm and private setting. All rooms and suites have free DSL, two phones, CD player and luscious robes. There is an efficient concierge, fitness center and outdoor heated pool at The Mosaic. Best of all, a full-service restaurant serves excellent food with an international flair, and the small bar off the dining room buzzes with smart and attractive locals, especially the young Creative Artists crowd. Rich Wood is the chef performing all the magic in the kitchen. Brendan Carlin is the friendly General Manager who directs his eager staff with true talent. Rooms start at $242. The Mosaic is at 125 S. Spalding Drive, (310) 278-0303.

Blakes was London’s first boutique hotel and we recently decided to go back to see how it has matured. The good news is that it still remains among the best of chic London nests. It is an elegant, seductive and, some say, pleasantly decadent hotel with design elements from the East, Europe and England. The talented Anouska Hempel assembled Blakes’ exotic and mysterious atmosphere from her far-flung travels, and a more romantic setting would be hard to find. Rooms are richly done up and imaginative. Blakes has a seriously dramatic restaurant with inspired cooking. It is hard to capture the essence of Blakes, but if you can imagine old Vuitton trunks, orange salmon sashimi, exotic fans made of Brazilian bird feathers, black lacquer trays, slipper orchids, a white gravel courtyard and a can-do-anything concierge, you’ll begin to understand this highly polished gem. Room rates begin at about $290. Oh, and there is oxygen in the mini-bars. Blakes, 33 Roland Gardens, telephone 020-737-06701.

November-December 2004
A total transformation has occurred at the manor house in the Dorset village of Evershot, England. Originally built circa 1788, writer Thomas Hardy was the architect when it was extended in 1893. In recent years the home was turned into a hotel with a perfectly ghastly interior that rendered its Relais & Châteaux membership a mystery. The R&C membership not only continues—it finally makes sense. Using her finest creative instincts, hotelier Bea Tollman has carefully restored the formerly mundane guest house into Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, this wonderfully enhanced Georgian manor is now a unique addition to Mrs. Tollman’s collection of Red Carnation Hotels. Under the watchful eye of General Manager Charles Lötter, Summer Lodge is running very smoothly—an elegant getaway, a unique business retreat with state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned address for fine dining. The friendly staff caters beautifully to all, ensuring that guests enjoy the country house lifestyle. Even the young are treated kindly as adults. The teddy bear in each unique bedroom, however, is for both young and older alike—a welcoming and amusing touch. Summer Lodge has the coziest of duvet-covered beds, which ensure a blissful night’s sleep. Accommodations are sophisticated yet warm and comfortable. The extensive accessories in the baths and bedrooms, the fabrics and overall décor are of lush quality, all of them selected with the talented eye of Mrs. Tollman. The dining room offers food that can rarely be faulted. Taste and presentation are superb. Local guests hold celebrations by feasting here while others hail from all parts of the continent and beyond. The ambiance influences the behavior of any child present. We were charmed to see that backs were straightened, voices lowered. One young but very grown-up fellow quietly enjoyed a game of “I Spy With My Little Eye” with his family while awaiting his chocolate soufflé. This dining room hums with the quiet conversations of families and the whispers of couples on romantic anniversary getaways—or were they lovers’ trysts? Or, after an intense day in the Lodge’s high-tech conference room, business executives can also enjoy the excellent wine list and relax over epicurean delights. Executive Chef Steve Titman should be most proud of his following of all ages, nationalities and vocations. Mrs. Tollman’s horticultural flair is in evidence everywhere. Displays of boxwood topiary line the driveway, and orchids abound throughout the residential and public areas. Her love of dogs is also clearly shown in the clubby bar: very Ralph Lauren, with antique canine paintings on all available walls. The family dogs—two unusually long long-haired dachshunds—can be seen cavorting around the grounds or shadowing their mistress during her frequent personal visits to this relaxing haven. Now that the spa is about to open and the new conservatory to cover the heated swimming pool is almost complete, we wonder how one can be tempted away to visit all the scenic delights Dorset has to offer. Summer Lodge, telephone 011 44 1935 48 2000, visit www.summerlodgehotel.com.

October 2004
The bustling streets of Taipei are in turns rewarding and overwhelming, with thousands of mopeds screaming in every direction, street markets teeming with fun seekers, and flavors both tasty and strange coming from every direction. The Grand Formosa Regent Taipei is its best hotel, offering comfortable sanctuary and indulgent luxury in a prime neighborhood. When foreign leaders and international stars like Elton John and Michael Jordan land in Taipei, the Grand Formosa is their first stop. They are whisked through the sexy glass and marble lobby to plush and restorative rooms. The 19th floor Tai Pan Residences and Club redefine hotel luxury with rooms that resemble executive offices filled with business technology and first-class amenities to help weary travelers stay in touch with their homeland and their sanity. From giant flatscreen TVs to a pillow menu to the wide city views that include a glimpse of Taipei 101 (currently the world’s tallest building), The Tai Pan Residences are seductive and complete, with butler service; a massive, fully stocked lounge overseen by attentive, friendly concierges; meeting rooms and the same delicious Chinese and Western food found in the Grand Formosa’s cherished and acclaimed restaurants that include Robin’s Grill for steaks and the elegant Lan Ting for Shanghai cuisine. The Grand Formosa also boasts the gorgeous Wellspring Spa for traditional Swedish, Thai and Balinese massage therapies, as well as the latest in beauty trends on the floor beneath a rooftop pool. A great basement gym is popular with local members and is available almost 24 hours a day for guests. The Grand Formosa sits atop some of the world’s best shopping, and has plans to construct a fashion center, strengthening its position as the premier stop for jewelry and couture in Taiwan. Completing the perfect experience at the Grand Formosa are the vigilant and friendly staff, who are always charming in a genuine way and never intrusive or obsequious. The Grand Formosa Regent is another gem in the Four Seasons crown, head and shoulders above any other hotel in Taipei, a city of thousands of hotels catering to business and tourist needs. General Manager Rudy Scherb has entered our pantheon of great Four Seasons managers. The Grand Formosa Regent Taipei can be reached at 886-2-2523-8000. Visit www.grandformosa.com.tw. Room rates range from $147-$2363.

September 2004
The reports are true, there is currently no nightlife neighborhood as bustling and glamorous as the Meat Packing District on the far West Side of New York around 14th Street. We saw the streets teeming with groups of good-looking, sharply-dressed partygoers having a ball among the numerous hip nightclubs, bars, restaurants and lounges to be found amid its charming streets. In many ways, the Meat Packing District obliterates the grungy scenes of the East Village and Lower East Side, allowing New Yorkers the chance to be dapper and elegant again. The area’s best place to stay and usually the best place to go is The Hotel Gansevoort. The Gansevoort resembles the eternally cool beachside hotels of Miami with a sexy, glass, color-changing façade and unlimited style. The rooms are spacious and chic, but retain the intimacy of the best boutiques. Flat-screen TVs, dark wood, granite balconies, sleek bathrooms, featherbeds and comfortable, ergonomic furnishings are the standards among plenty of surprises the Gansevoort reveals. Whether visiting or local, everyone’s favorite destination appears to be the hotel’s rooftop. During the day, a refreshing outdoor pool on the roof keeps guests occupied when not taking in the stunning views of the Hudson and city over breakfast or cocktails; at night the balconies and lounges fill with fashionable and fun cliques of revelers. Still, the roof does not feel crowded, but rather like attending a soiree at a Gothamite’s multi-million-dollar apartment. Plans for a second floor Japanese restaurant are currently being carried out. The Gansevoort brings added cool and credibility under the expertise of owner Henry Kallan to this latest neighborhood to become a red-hot party zone. The Hotel Gansevoort is found at 18 Ninth Avenue and can be reached at (877) 426-7386.

August 2004
Women are taking over Paris, including some of its most famous institutions. It began with Grace Leo-Andrieu’s creation of the chic Hôtel Montalembert and subsequent redesign of the five-star Lancaster. Then chefs like Hèléne Darroze broke through what was not so much a glass ceiling as a crystalline fortress of male domination a century in the making. But what has rocked the French hospitality industry is the appointment of Mme. Franka Holtmann as general manager of the Hotel de Crillon. With its site on the Place de la Concorde at the foot of the Champs Elysèes, the Crillon is one of the grandest and most historic of the capital’s palace hotels. This is where presidents entertain in the Salon Marie Antoinette, and heros are accommodated in the magnificent Leonard Bernstein Suite, where the old rogue’s baby grand is kept in tune pending a ghostly reappearance. It is not that the glamorous Mme. Holtmann is unknown—she was number two at the divine Plaza Athenée, having been commerical director of the incomparable Paris Ritz. Rather it is the distinctive feminine touch that has caused an institution many found intimidating to loosen its stays. The miracle is that nothing of its atmosphere has been lost in the process. Staff smiles and service is imaginative with original touches. On the day of departure, for example, our room was made up as thoroughly as if we had been staying on—a practice not encountered often in 40 years traveling. Guest accommodations have been redecorated throughout with a subtle hand, resulting in rooms that are lighter and airier, yet still quintessentially Parisien, with no two the same in layout or decor. Unlike many new hotels, in-room broadband Internet access is simply a matter of plugging in the ethernet cable on a desk upon which Napoleon could have accepted surrenders. Paris has been hard hit by the reluctance of Americans to visit in the wake of you-know-what. The lateral thinking Taittinger Champagne family, who own the Crillon, along with Cannes’ definitive Martinez, took a risk in appointing a female general manager, with dreams of making the hotel appeal to a younger clientele—in France you tinker with national monuments at your peril. But that is what has happened, and other grand hoteliers are still agog at the boldness of the experiment. Happily, we found guests devoid of the fashionista pretension abounding around Avenue Montaigne, but not lacking in chic. Indeed, the gorgeous young couple locked in embrace upon a sofa in the bar restored our faith in Paris as THE city of romance. Other recent guests include Catherine Deneuve, fashion mandarin David Tang, Lance Armstrong, and the Dalai Lama. Naturally, none of this comes cheap, but not shatteringly expensive either. With Faubourg St. Honoré shopping a few paces from the side entrance, it looks like a bargain. The other reason to visit the Crillon is Les Ambassadeurs, hitherto a marble and mirrored museum of gastronomy. Not any more. One of Mme. Holtmann’s calculated risks was to bring in Alain Ducasse’s 34-year-old protégé, Jean Francois Piege from the Drôme (geographic origins counting for much in a country of regional cuisines). Piege, a droll man who describes cooking under the eye of the master as like driving with your family in the car, seems to be enjoying navigating solo, although supported by a gifted 25-year-old pastry chef and youthful brigade. His cooking has exploded in Les Ambassadeurs like a carnival in a mausoleum. Dishes froth and foam, flavors illuminate the tastebuds—and tease. Three Michelin stars are expected as the dynamic Jean-Luc Naret sets to awaken that somnolent guide to the arrival of the 21st century. And of women chefs and hoteliers. One feels Maurice Chevalier, if not Leonard Bernstein, would approve. Hotel de Crillon, 40 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France +33 144 74 15 00; www.crillon.com. From 390 euros double occupancy, including tax and service. Restaurant Hèléne Darroze 4, rue d’Assas, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, +33 1 42 22 00 11; www.relaischateaux.com. From $120 for two with wine, including tax and service.