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Vivian's Corner Archived News Items

July, 2005

Acu-lift facial, Exhale

7/28 ISPA's (International SPA Association) Chairman Kate Mearns welcomed writers and representatives from 22 of its members to the 11 th annual media marketplace. American destination spas, like Red Mountain, Miiamo, and Lake Austin; resort/hotel spas such as Willow Stream the Spas at Fairmount and Golden Door by Wyndam; and city day spas including Exhale and Mandarin Oriental, New York set up attractive booths to offer signature mini-treatments and to distribute their unique beauty and body products. Each exhibit was designed with themes from the spas and representative artifacts from their physical locales. The setting of Arizona 's Miraval Life in Balance was Southwestern. Cacti and Native American straw weavings served as decorations. Maine 's Cliff House set out a large bowl of chocolate-covered blueberries and offered Maine wild blueberry soothing leg and foot therapy. Masseuses from the Golden Door administered bamboo and mint reflexology. Loews Hotels provided Pacific sea enzyme treatments. Miiamo, whose booth reflected an Asian motif, guided guests through the “Journey of the Teas.” Pure Fiji gave out its two newest products, coconut body scrub and starfruit shower gel, whose botanical ingredients are grown in Fijian communities. Announcements were made about new programs and expansions. In September Red Mountain will open a new spa ”Sagestone” with treatments that are inspired by red earth, botanicals and the desert. A four-handed two-hour treatment "Oriental Harmony" will debut at Mandarin Oriental in October. http://www.experienceispa.com

Aerial view, Montelucia Resort, Spa and Residences,Paradise Valley, AZ

7/26 The West Paces Hotel Group, developers and managers of Solis Hotels and Resorts, introduced their new brand of luxury accommodations at the ‘21' Club today. Solis, meaning solitude and also warm sun, sent clever invitations in the form of baggage tags imprinted with “Welcome to where life takes you,” the Solis theme. Horst Schulze, president and CEO, enthusiastically described the three-pronged project—management of select independent properties, construction of ultra-luxury accommodations in key resort destinations and gateway cities with an emphasis on serving discerning frequent travelers, and establishing mixed-use residential components where suitable. The company foresees that many buyers of second and third homes attracted to the housekeeping, dining and spa services will form the core group of purchasers of residences associated with the resorts. Six properties are scheduled to open in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Their locations are Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, San Antonio, Frankfurt, and Paradise Valley, Ariz. All properties will include top-notch restaurants, outstanding spas and special activities, some of which will focus on adventure, such as archeology expeditions. The company plans to distinguish itself from other brands by giving the very best service pos sib le and “getting it right the first time.” In Solis speak that means that guests can expect requests for housekeeping and maintenance to be answered in 10 and 20 minutes respectively. http://www.solishotels.com .

7/8 Frank’s Restaurant, known primarily as a steakhouse and now in its 93rd year of operation, has been owned by the Molinari family during the entire time it has been in business. Now, in its third meat packing district location, the restaurant’s newest move is to the Chelsea Market, home of purveyors of food, liquor, flowers, and accessories. In an old-fashioned tradition the dining room is behind the store, Frank’s Butcher Shop. Steven Molinari, general manager, describes his family’s roles as follows: his two brothers, Steven and Chris, are respectively the chef and butcher; sister Regina runs the office; and Mom watches the money. To introduce its new menu and premises, once an old loading dock, dinner invitations were sent to select members of the press. The space is large and dim with brick floors and walls and period chandeliers. Tin ducts from the former establishment were incorporated into the design by using them for air-conditioning. Tables are spaced far apart and wooden chairs are captains' style. On this Friday night a local crowd gathered around the long bar to drink and snack. We were poured Frank’s Steak House Red 2002, a blend of cabernet and merlot, and chardonnay, both of which are bottled by Pelligrini Vineyards, Long Island. Heavenly onion focaccio, salami and proscuitto, all made on the premises, filled the antipasti plates. Next came servings of woody tasting wild mushrooms sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil. These were followed by thumb-nail-sized melt-in-your-mouth ravioli filled with pork and veal and created by a cook who visits Frank’s to prepare its pasta. Filet mignon au poivre was, indeed, peppery but the meat was so rich and tender that the spice tempered it. Mama substituted mascarpone cheese for sour cream in the home-made cheesecake, which is baked using a recipe she got from a Brooklyn bakery decades ago. All in all, a grand meal and stellar service in pleasant setting
Frank’s, 410 W. 16th Street, New York, NY 10011. Tel 212-243-1349. http://www.franksnyc.com

7/04 Gayle Da Costa, a student at Temple University 's Radio, Speech and Theater Department auditioned for her ideal summer job and was one of the fortunate hirees. Articulate and impassioned, she is a storyteller in the inaugural season of Philadelphia 's Once Upon A Nation, running from Memorial Weekend until Labor Day. The program takes place at 13 locations in the Historic District ( Independence Historical National Park ), our nation's most historic square mile. From 10:30 to 4:30 daily small groups of listeners gather on semi-circular wooden benches to hear the tales. Gayle is posted at the Lincoln Bench outside the National Constitution Center where an exhibit about Lincoln —the Constitution and the Civil War-- will be shown until November 4, 200 . The stories change, but the locations, such as Betsy Ross House, Independence Square, and Franklin Court, do not. On July 4 Gayle spoke about Lincoln 's struggles with the writing of the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln had given his brief speech a lot of thought. He saw meaning in the fact that the Union victory at Gettysburg coincided with the nation's birthday. Adventure tours—Hunt for Democracy, Independence After Hours and Tippler's Tour—reenactments of colonial life, demonstrations of crafts, and more are also parts of the Once Upon A Nation program, a monumental salute to the city and the people who brought about the events of July 4, 1776. http://www.onceuponanation.org

June, 2005

Cowboy breakfast

6/22 Texas Tourism hosted a marketplace on the 24th floor West Terrace of the Hudson Hotel, which is part of Ian Schrager's Morgan Group and which was renovated by designer Philippe Starck. Dressed in cowboy hats and accompanied by a Western singer and 8-piece Mariachi band, representatives from major Lone Star cities passed out margaritas. Lunch consisted of Tex-Mex food, barbecue and Hill Country desserts. During the presentation guests learned about special attractions in various parts of the state. In 2005 the number of cruise ships sailing from Houston and Galveston increased. How Texas musicians gave birth to new American musical genres was stressed. Ten museums and halls of fame devoted to Texas music, performers, and composers exist throughout the state. Local golf, the wine country, culture and arts, and nature study at the extensive state parks system were also featured. The traditional World Championship 3-day Ranch Rodeo at Amarillo was announced for November 10-12th of this year. http://www.TravelTex.com

6/9 Historic Hotels of America brought together representatives of about 50 of its more than 200 properties for an annual press conference. Copies of this year's directory were distributed. To qualify for inclusion in the HHA program, which is associated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or be recognized as historically important. The previous week NTHP announced a joint program with The History Channel of public service announcements, which will be made throughout the summer to make known the 2005 list of America 's 11 most endangered historic places. Topping the list is the Bellevue Biltmore Hotel in Belleair , Fla , which is slated for demolition. The NTHP often campaigns to save historic sites, which might otherwise be destroyed. Mohonk Mountain House announced the opening of its full-service spa including different massages, body and skin-care treatments, baths, salon service, fitness activities, treatments specially designed for teens and men, and packages. California 's Mission Inn and South Carolina 's Old Edwards Inn are two of the other properties that house large spa facilities. The Spa at the Grove Park Inn in N. Car. is underground and includes waterfalls. Cambridge, Massachusetts's Kendal Hotel, once a Victorian firehouse known as Engine 7, expanded this year by adding a new tower across the street that includes 12 rooms and suites, some with kitchens and terraces, and a fitness center.


6/3 The temporary exhibition, Germany – A SENSE-sational Experience, opened today in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall. Twelve partners joined the German National Tourist Office to sponsor the exhibit. The press was invited to a German-style breakfast at Metrazur Restaurant in the Terminal featuring presentations about the country's vibrant cities and tourism highlights. Lufthansa announced the launch of a new product, which will allow First and Business Class passengers to connect through Munich on private jets to 1,000 European airports. LTU Airlines publicized the inauguration of frequent direct flights between New York and Düsseldorf. RailEurope was the third transportation partner. A replica of a soccer goal wall heralded the upcoming 2006 World Soccer Cup, which will be held in 12 German cities. Munich's Alpha Klinik has developed a minimally invasive treatment for spinal conditions. The city's other representative at the exhibit was the Hofbraeuhaus. The Lower Rhine region promoted an alliance of country house owners, Culture & Castles. Such An eXperience Of GermaNY highlighted the art and culture of the Saxony region. Other locations with booths in the Hall were Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), and Baden-Wurttemberg. Accord and Steigenberger Hotels represented the hospitality industry. The German Emigration Center will open in Bremerhaven in August. http://www.cometogermany.com

April, 2005

Nicole and Lucas cutting the cake

4/26 While drinking champagne at the noon reception in the lounge of Thomas Kellar's Per Se restaurant in New York's Time Warner Center, the guests--editors, writers and photographers--asked each other whether they were from the bride's or the groom's side. Nicole, the bride, resplendent in a long slim fitting white gown by Andy Anand, carried a bridal bouquet of orange calla lilies arranged by the florist, Fresh Cut Flowers. Lucas, the groom, dashingly dressed in black tie, escorted his consort around the room to say “hello” to everyone. A harpist played lovely melodies and enough pictures were taken to fill a large album. Guests were ushered into the dining room where tables laid for a wedding luncheon had disposable cameras. The setting, an elegant room with large picture windows overlooking Central Park on a glorious day, could not have been surpassed. Centerpieces were composed of colorful fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables. A wedding cake baked by Ron Ben-Israel and decorated with real flowers had both round and square tiers layered on angles that tipped in several directions. Menus with engraved covers listed three exquisite courses—endive with potato, quail egg, watercress and truffle vinaigrette; guinea hen prepared several ways; and cupcakes with butter cream frosting and an edible lily that simulated the blossoms in the bride's bouquet. Weddings by Sol Melia, Share Our Passion, hosted the event to announce their new destinations wedding program. The program is available at some of the group's romantic four and five star hotels and resorts, the Melia and Paradisus collections in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Ron Roy, Vice-President of Marketing, Sol Group Corporation stated, “Weddings by Sol Melia is an exceptional alternative for couples looking for a more intimate, personal setting.” Carolina Friser-Frederiksen, Wedding Coordinator, The Americas Division, said that there is a specialist at each resort who handles the details of the nuptials taking place there. A pamphlet, “Bliss begins with this,” describes the all-inclusive packages that are available, suggests the fine points of planning and includes blank pages for making notes. http://www.weddingsbysolmelia.com

Guest House at Keyah Grande

4/26 Barbara and Alan Sackman held cocktail party at their townhouse on Manhattan 's Upper West Side introduce Keyah Grande, their luxurious new guest house located between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colorado. The Sackmans are world travelers and hunters and their homes reflect those interests. On the walls of the very large trophy room directly beyond the entrance animal heads are mounted and a stuffed leopard stares at visitors. The floor of the upstairs living room is covered with a polar bear skin that the Sackmans shot on an expedition. It took four years to build and furnish Keyah Grande, which opened in January of this year. A very exclusive lodge, it has eight guest bedrooms and suites, each uniquely furnished to represent a different country or region. Surrounded by 4,000 acres of the scenic San Juan Mountains , the altitude is 7000 feet. The house chefs, a husband wife team, Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot came east to prepare the party fare, "Taste and Flavors." The hors d'oeuvres were made with several Colorado products and three kinds of caviar, which are served the resort. Guests can participate in a range of outdoor activities, such as ATV and snowmobile touring, snowshoeing, horseback riding, fly fishing, skeet and trap shooting, hunting and white water rafting. http://www.keyahgrande.com

4/18 A new spring menu “In the Key of C” was introduced to foodies and music lovers at the fifth floor Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, one of three performance venues in Frederick Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, adjacent to the Time Warner Complex, Columbus Circle. The logo of the 140-seat classic style nightclub is a red trumpet. Great Performances, a long-time caterer, is permanently ensconced on the premises as restaurateur. Menus featuring down-home flavors with a New York flair will change seasonally and dishes that honor Dizzy Gillespie, the spirit of jazz, and the regions where the music originated, will be served. Guests tasted a variety of Southern soul food—she-crab soup, fried avocado with chipotle sauce, gumbo, meatloaf, fried chicken and blueberry crisp. Monday nights are devoted to presenting young, up and coming musicians. The Julliard Jazz Orchestra, a collaboration between the Julliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center, entertained this Monday evening. Programs change frequently and feature many well-known artists and ensembles. You can watch the players, whose backdrop is the New York skyline, at 7:30, 9:30 and late night “hang” sets called After Hours from unreserved seating at the bar and tables. Dizzy's is the world's first performing arts facility designed specifically for jazz. http://www.jalc.org .

Jaws, Photo by Edith Blake, courtesy of the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce

4/7 Representatives from many different venues in the Bay State participated in a Taste of Massachusetts Media Reception. The chefs of the Harvard Club where the marketplace was held looked after the tastes, including New England clam chowder and fresh and cooked seafood for which the area is famous due to the neighboring Atlantic Ocean and well-stocked large bays. Convention and Visitors Bureaus publicized the 2005 events taking place in the Mohawk Trail region, Greater Merrimack Valley, Franklin County, and in Springfield and the Pioneer Valley. Martha's Vineyard will host a Jaws Fest '05. The Berkshires will be sponsoring “American Traditions in the Berkshires,” a festival of exhibitions and performances. This year's theme at Plimoth Plantation and Mayflower II is Savor the Past--A Season of 17th-Century Food and Drink. The Peabody Essex Museum has a new exhibit, "Yin Yu Tang, A Chinese House." The 9th annual Wine Festival and the 10th annual film festival will take place in Nantucket. Lowell welcomes visitors to its nine museums and the Lowell National HistoricPark, the first urban park so designated (1979) in the entire country. The focal point of the newly opened Shui Spa, Crowne Pointe Inn, Cape Cod is water treatments. Recreational and cultural opportunities in Boston include a Harborfest, free Shakespeare, movies and concerts, parades and Summer in the City. http://www.massvacation.com

Dancers at Scottish Village

4/1 A Scottish-style party (lots of whiskey was poured) kicked off Tartan Week in New York at the preview of the Scottish Village Exhibition (4-2 to 4-10) in Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall. Glenfidich served its 12-, 15-, and 18-year old Scotch and some of the country's signature foods—smoked salmon and haddock and mussels-- were passed. While scenes form the country were flashed on screens, representatives from Scotland manned booths showcasing tartan fabrics and fashion, education, food and drink, and tourism. Clans with names like Campbell, Macpherson and Malcolm marched in the Tartan Day Parade on 4/2 on Sixth Avenue. It rained, but Highlanders and Lowlanders never let a little water dampen their spirits. A celebration was held on Ellis Island to honor countrymen who contributed to America 's development. Pipers and Ceilidh dancers perfomed at a pre-parade concert. Marathon runners competed in the Scotland Run in Central Park. Whiskey Live, a traveling tasting that takes place all over the world, made a stop in NYC to introduce connoisseurs to rare single malts and to give them an opportunity to talk to distillers. At Icons of Scotland at the Waldorf, awards were presented to eight people in eight different categories who best represented significant contributions to Scottish life. Perhaps the highlight of the week was the third annual Dressed to Kilt on Tartan Day (4/6). Hundreds showed up to watch Scottish flings and reels, to listen to bands, and to see the fashion show. The runways at the Paris and Milan couturier shows have nothing on the one at the Copacabana. More than 50 men and woman like Ted Turner (yes, that Ted Turner) and Stone Phillips modeled stunning fashions, predominantly kilts, which were designed on both sides of the Atlantic using tartan plaids. Judges from the fashion world, including Simon Doonan and Carol Alt, were so enthusiastic that they continuously waved their placards to register the highest possible scores for the models and the clothes and they also stuffed dollar bills into the men's knee socks. Http://www.visitscotland.com

March, 2005

3/24 Bright lights shone on the façade of the Roger Williams Hotel. From five o’clock on, hundreds of guests began arriving to celebrate the renovation of the property located in Manhattan's Murray Hill section. They were greeted by doormen dressed in black bowler hats and escorted into the lobby where they were offered apple martinis, the evening’s signature drink. Waiters carrying trays of appetizers circulated the room and lively music set a mood of merriment. A dramatic staircase on the right side of the lobby led to the second floor where the party continued. Japanese chefs prepared sushi, which was served by waitresses in costume. Guests were escorted to the top floor to inspect rooms decorated in bold colors. A Maybach, Bentley and Rolls Royce were parked at the curb to drive writers to The Franklin, the Manhattan member of the Oceana Hotel Group, for dessert and champange. The 49-room hostelry tucked away on a side street on the Upper East Side has the feel of a European boutique hotel and is decorated in cheerful country cozy style. The manager said that the Roger Williams is referred to as the masculine member of the four-property chain and The Franklin is the feminine one. http://www.rogerwilliamshotel.com

3/9 Charles Peck, President and CEO of Destination Hotels and Resorts, an independent hospitality group located in the United States, talked to a group of New York metropolitan area travel journalists about the company's plans for expansion. Presently there are 30 stand-alone luxury hotel, resort and ski properties in the collection. Included are 17 golf courses, nine full-service spas and more than 7,500 guest rooms. Peck plans to double that amount in the next five years. Public relations representatives from the various properties were also present and spoke to the media in small groups about their clients while they were seated at tables of four during lunch. The popularity of vacations in condominiums with kitchens and several bedrooms representing value for price paid has increased reservations at DH&R. Nine of the properties focus on skiing and snow boarding. Seven of those make up the Rocky Mountain Collection. Hotels with meeting and conference facilities and those located in cities like New York and San Francisco and close to Wash, D.C. and Phoenix also comprise an important part of the company. Destinations has a sales and marketing alliance with the De Vere Hotel Group PLC representing hotels in the United Kingdom.

Wheel of Adventure, Red Mountain Spa
Credit: Edward Moffett

3/7 To introduce its March/April Spa 100 issue, “the most alluring treatments, places and trends from high tech to high touch,” the magazine hosted a showcase that included 30 sponsors: purveyors of beauty products and directors and therapists from destination and resort spas. To keep in sync with the spring issue, the theme of the event was “fresh spa trends and treatments.” The publication's editors and writers researched and reported on the current 100 outstanding therapies being offered to clients. Amy McDonald, spa and program director at El Monte Sagrado, commented on infant massage, which is making its debut. Her one-month old baby, along with the eight-month old daughter of Jennifer Hawkins, whose company Hawkins International arranged the program, served as models for a demonstration of the gentle strokes used in the procedure. Representatives from Red Mountain Spa spun a “Wheel of Adventure” like the ones found at carnivals. The spinner stopped at one of eight categories--health, fitness, hiking--which determined whether guests won athletic shoes, picnic sets, yoga mats or trips. Aestheticians from Red Mountain demonstrated facial acupuncture, one of the spa's services. Deborah Szekeley, the doyenne of the industry, who, along with her husband, Edmund, started the fitness craze 65 years ago, was present and was honored for her achievements. In the press kit of Rancho la Puerta, the spa she co-founded, were three entire front–page copies of The San Diego Union, dated July 13, 14 and 15, 1949 with long feature articles about the “Ranch.” Spokeswomen from Paraiso de la Bonita, the only thalassotherapy center in N. Amer., explained the benefits of their seawater-based treatments. Drs. Lana Holstein and David Taylor, Managing Directors of “Patterns, Pleasure and Passion,” programs at Miraval Spa and Resort, were on hand to distribute copies of their book, “A Long Erotic Weekend.” Attendees received treatments like hand, back and head massages. A model for Ionithermie Detox, a cellulite reduction program, was slathered with green algae-infused clay. Wonderful fragrances wafted through the several rooms where exhibitors set up tables. Aromatherapy Associates and Jurlique infuse their products with roses. June Jacobs uses citrus in its line. Bellagio gave out oatmeal-honey scented lotion and polish. Lake Austin favors lavender toiletries. Guests took home enough exclusive moisturizers, conditioners, bath salts, oils and soaps to keep their bathroom shelves stocked until next year when the 6 th annual preview will take place. http://www.spamagazine.com


Eygptian Pyramids, Park East

3/3 If you were hosting an event in New York to showcase a collection of tour companies that provide unusual holidays for upscale travelers to world-wide destinations, wouldn't the venue of the century-old Explorers Club communicate exactly what you were all about? Grand Expeditions, a group of Seven Wonders of the Travel World, and the principals of their diverse brands gave a reception at the club building to talk about some of the more than 300 unique trip options: reindeer safaris in Lapland, riverboat Amazon voyages and discovering Iceland's geothermal and geological phenomena. Hans Birkholz, President and COO said, “We cater to a knowledgeable client seeking high-quality vacation experiences." TACOMA designs escorted, custom and adventure trips to many exotic destinations. Some of them are arranged in cooperation with a sister company, TCS, the world leader in private jet expeditions.The Moorings is the premier yacht charter company located in 32 home bases. Park East specializes in African safaris. Country Walkers, whose motto is “Explore the world one step at a time,” organizes tours on foot in such far-away places as Bhutan. International Expeditions specializes in nature travel to areas filled with abundant natural history. NauticBlue rents power yachts to boaters in the Caribbean and Mediterranean and takes care of provisioning, sports equipment and even plane tickets.To entertain the atttendees, a caligrapher drew their names in Chinese characters on bookmarks and artists dressed in native costumes presented music, songs and dances from Africa, India and New Zealand . http://www.grandex.com

February 2005

2/24 To introduce its new route LTU Airways sales and marketing division invited travel professionals to sail with them on a dinner cruise in the Hudson River on the World Yacht Princess. Although the German company has been going for 50 years, not many people are familiar with it. That's about to change. Starting on May 2, six planes week--there will be no flights on Wednesdays--will fly from JFK, New York directly to Düsseldorf, located on the Rhine and the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia. Service will be aboard a new Airbus 330-200 with 18 seats in first comfort and 305 in economy classes. LTU also flies out of seven other North American cities. From Düsseldorf its planes go to 40 European destinations. Connections to Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt are offered on Lufthansa. Most European capitals are no more than two hours by air from Düsseldorf International Airport. The airport is also a transportation center with its own mainline train station offering connections to all German destinations and to some in neighboring countries. Messegelande, the city's Trade Fair Center, is the scene of many business events. 866-book-ltu. http://www.ltuairways.com

2/24 Paul M. McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leading Hotels of the World. Ltd., addressed a group of travel writers, editors and broadcast journalists at lunch at Jean Georges. His topic was “A Luxury Travel Trends Forecast for 2005.” McManus said, “Luxury is back.” The 76-year-old company's directory of 420 hotels in 80 countries has undergone a revamping to make it more user-friendly. The directory includes 29 additional Leading Hotels and 25 more Leading Small Hotels. The directory's cover design by Artist David McGrievey "entitled 'Serenity' " evokes a sense of peace and well-being, draws attention to a new aspect of luxury: the aspect of time," said Mr. McManus.The brand has been extended and now incorporates a new division of hotel and resort-based Leading Spas. McManus stressed that this is a natural progression for the “stately grand” hotels. To make certain that high standards were established at its spas, LHW in combination with internationally acclaimed wellness leaders, devised 200 criteria to be used by inspection teams to accredit spas. Leading hotels is now involved in 10 joint ventures. Some of these include hotel schools, the promotion of logoed merchandise, residence clubs and insurance. More services are being offered to two market targets, business and leisure travelers. Eighty-thousand frequent guests belong to the Leaders Club. LHW will be offering, by invitation only, three tiers of member services to loyal guests. 800-223-6800, http://www.lhw.com

2/22 Every February representatives of California's Travel and Tourism industry cross the country to inform members of the New York media about happenings in their state. This year's theme was “What's New—2005,” We greeted public relations people whom we have come to know over the years and gathered brochures dispensing information about all the up-to-date programs and changes that have taken place in the last 12 months in the Golden State. City Pass, a booklet containing six half-price admissions to museums, river cruises, tours and observation towers, has added Hollywood Walk of Fame to its inventory. Included in the ticket book are admssions to such stellar attractions as Movie Homes Tour, Wax Museum, and Kodak Theater. The town of Gilroy promoted its annual garlic festival, “Eat, Drink and Stink.” Six new restaurants opened in Santa Monica .Universal Studios, Universal City , has a new experience, “Fear Factor Live” based on the TV show. Santa Barbara County distributed a Sideways map based on the wine tasting road trip in the movie. Catstudio gave away sets of frosted glasses with state map imprinted on them in seven colors. Vintage Inn and Villagio Inn & Spa announced the opening of the Vineyard Pavilion on the Vineyard Estate in Yountville. Take home gifts included bottles of superb California red and white wines.http://www.visitcalifornia.com


2/21 Cynthia Barnaba, dancer, actress and stage director, wrote from Los Angeles , “During the week of the 77th Academy Awards in the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Blvd.some stars walked the red carpet not once but twice.” From Monday through Saturday preceding the ceremonies, celebrities were welcomed to Red Carpet Week at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, the hotel where “Pretty Woman,” was filmed. The entire 9th floor was transformed into six luxury suites. Hollywood 's famous faces, accompanied by their stylists, were offered fashion advice and beauty treatments. Ms. Barnaba received some of the services and viewed the latest accessories. The spa suite housed M Aesthetic Spa of West Hollywood, who provided massages and non-invasive face lifts using their trademarked Lift 6 machines. Colorscience Mineral Makeup did make-up applications and Nailtini gave manicures. Mario Badescu Skin Care set up a station for facials. Stewart Weitzman lent shoes to the stars, who also borrowed handbags from Lauren Scherr, sun glasses from Robert Marc and jewels from Chris Aire and Rafinity. The Natural Colored Diamond Association (NCDIA) created a dazzling display of jewels on loan from some of its members. Working with designers, the organization created a “Wrap Me in Diamonds” campaign to use colored stones to decorate one-of-a-kind dresses. Zone Chefs served sweets and snacks, Evian dispensed water and Bacardi introduced apple rum mixed drinks. http://www.kipmorrison.com

2/10 Kathleen Beckett, a fashion writer, whose byline has appeared in Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar and who has years of experience observing industry trends is now using those skills to help women acquire wardrobes that are uniquely suited to their lifestyles and personalities. Beckett heads a shopping service called Beckett's Black Book (BBB.) Unlike some personal shopping services focusing on retail stores, she opens doors for her clients to buy either off-the-rack or custom-made clothing in designer's showrooms at  special savings.  Beckett  has entrée to more than 100 sources. Think big name American fashion elite--Nicole Miller, Yeohlee, Zang Toi, Vera Wang, Diane von Furstenberg and more. Depending on budget and taste, BBB might arrange appointments at workrooms and boutiques of lesser-known, but equally creative talents. Shop alone or with a group of friends. On a recent trip to Carolina Herrera's, clients not only had the benefit of Beckett's advice--"that's you" or "it doesn't work"--but that of the designer who spent time with the group. A designer might point out how clothing should be altered and what colors are most flattering. For shoes Beckett works with Stuart Weitzman, for hats, jewelry and accesories she takes clients to showrooms whose latest lines are this season's must-haves. She can help arrange purchases of bridal gowns, men's clothing  and gifts as well as total makeovers. In partnership with the Breakers in Palm Beach, Beckett accompanies guests on shopping sprees in and around Worth Avenue .
Kathleen Beckett, 25 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4F , New York , NY 10003 . Tel. 212-505-2157.
Email: Info@BeckettsBlackBook.com


Holocaust Memorial
Foto: Stiftung Denkmal fuer die ermordeten Juden Europas, Referenzstelen August 2003

2/9 The year 2005 promises to be a banner one in Germany and especially in Berlin. With so many new developments taking place, representatives of the German, Berlin and Dresden Tourist Offices met with travel writers at the Oceana restaurant in New York to talk about upcoming plans and to present slides illustrating the exciting projects being unveiled. One of the most heralded on-going events in the capital is “The Year of Architecture.” Large scale construction in the city continues, such as the work on the Bode Museum on Museum Island and on the Grand Hotel de Rome. Some projects like the Hauptbahnhop, the redesign of Octagon at Leipzinger Platz and the Academy of Arts will be completed in 2005. The Maritim and Concorde Hotels will be finished, too. Sixty years and two days after the end of World War ll, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe will open. Topping the art scene are exhibits of the work of Francisco de Goya and the artist group, Die Brucke. An Air and Space Center located at the German Museum for Technology will begin receiving visitors. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of scientist Albert Einstein's discovery of the Theory of Relativity and 50th anniversary of his death several exhibitions will honor him. Milestones in other cities include a new emigration museum in Bremerhaven and the reopening of Dresden's Frauenkirche, Church of Our Lady, which was destroyed in the 1945 bombing. North America is the most important overseas market for Berlin . The implementation of direct flights from the New York area to Berlin on Delta and Continental in early summer will make traveling to the capital much smoother. http://www.berlin-touristnformation.de, http://www.cometogermany.com

2/8 Jane Renton, General Manager of The Lowndes, a four-star deluxe boutique hotel in London, visited the United States to meet press and talk about what makes the property special. Renton with the help of M. Silver Associates, Inc., the hotel's public relations representative, invited a small group of travel journalists to lunch at Alain Ducasse's restaurant, Mix, in New York She was accompanied by Jane Gibbs of Jumeirah International, agents for the hotel, who traveled with her to other cities. Among the boutique hotel's many high points is its location in the charming residential area, Belgravia Village near Knightsbridge, the shopping district and home of London 's most famous emporium, Harrods. The townhouse property has just 78 guestrooms and suites and a service-oriented staff. Many of them have worked here for more than two decades. Afternoon tea is served in the lobby whose décor is quintessential English—comfortable sofas and chairs, wood paneling and a warming fireplace. Citronelle, its restaurant, serves Mediterranean food. Guests are welcome to use the facilities at The Carlton, a sister property across the road, which has a spa and health club with a swimming pool. Female travelers choose the colors of in-room flowers and scents for aromatherapy. Until the end of 2005 guests who book a superior room at least 30 days in advance will be given a 50% discount.The Lowndes, 21 Lowndes Street, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 9ES. Tel. 44 0 20 7823 1234 .http://www.lowndeshotel.com

Petra, Lost City of Stone

2/7 Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan will be hosting a traveling exhibit, “ Petra, Lost City of Stone,” from April 4 until August 14. New York 's Museum of Natural History and the Cincinnati Art Museum, venues where the show first appeared, organized the exhibition and chose the 200 objects for display. Nabatean travelers discovered the location more than 2,000 years ago and built a desert city there. In Greek petra means rock. An earthquake in 363 A.D. buried the site, which was uncovered by archeologists in the early 1800's. Movie-goers are familiar with the red Jordanian relics because Indiana Jones searched for the Holy Grail in the excavation's cliffside temple. Along with multi-media presentations and an audio tour visitors will experience a virtual reality show that will give them the feeling of walking through ancient Petra . Stone sculptures and reliefs, ceramics, metalwork, stuccowork, ancient inscriptions and architectural groupings from Nabatean monuments will be shown. The exhibition is divided into 12 sections. Some of them focus on Petra rediscovered, crossroads of the ancient world, the great earthquake, Roman rule and the Byzantine era. Khazneh Café will serve Middle Eastern foods and coffee, Soug-el-Hadaya gift shop will offer Jordanian handicrafts and archeological digs will take place at the nearby Al Beidha excavation site. Calvin College, Prince Conference Center, 1800East Beltline SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, Tel. 1-800PETRA05. http://www.calvin.edu/petra

January, 2005

1/28 Cheers, or make that bravo to the Fireman Hospitality Group, restaurateurs who introduced a hitherto unknown dish, foccacia con fromagio to Bond 45 in New York. For the first time in the U.S. people will be able to eat food that is associated with the Italian province of Liguria and particularly the town of Recco on the Italian Riviera. This foccacio is unlike the familiar bread with varied toppings. The distinctive pie can only be fired in a special bread oven imported from Italy . At Bond 45 it has been christened “pantondo.” Made of paper thin dough filled with stracchino cheese and a sprinkling of salt, it is rushed to the table after being baked in Bond 45's open kitchen. The ambrosial flaky, crisp dough and creamy oozing cheese melts on the tongue. The décor of the bi-level space might be described as “nostalgia Broadway” with Art Deco touches that seem to be updated. The restaurant is open from breakfast into the wee hours. I'd substitute the standard Big Apple breakfast, a bagel and cream cheese, for the foccacia any day. Bond 45, 154 W. 54 th Street, New York, NY 10038.Tel. 212-869-4545. http://www.thefiremangroup.com

The Road to Mandalay Cruise

1/24 Orient Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises brought its 2005 Roadshow to New York 's latest “in” party space, Frederick Rose Hall, located in the Jazz at Lincoln Center building. Representatives from all over the world traveled to the city to meet with writers, travel agents and meeting planners to apprise them of the latest developments in the company. The year 2004 was an innovative one for the group with many new investments in leisure properties. En Encanto, a hotel in Santa Barbara, CA was acquired by the corporation. OE now has an interest in Afloat in France, a company whose five barges explore the French countryside by cruising through canals and on rivers. The Tu Moana and Ti'a Moana boutique yachts owned by Bora Bora Cruises have come on board, too. The Royal Scotsman, a train that rides through the Scottish Highlands, is now an affiliate. Italy, the country where the first hotel purchase was executed 1976, will see the opening of its fourth property, Hotel Caruso in Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast overlooking the the Gulf of Salerno. Helicopter safaris were introduced in Botswna. A new partnership with the Asian chain Pansea Hotels brings deluxe accommodations in Laos, Cambodia,Thailand, Bali and Mynamar (Burma) under the corporate umbrella. New spas were opened at Bora Bora Lagoon Resort, Maroma in Mexico, on The Road to Mandalay Cruises and at the Lapa Palace in Lisbon. No doubt Orient Express will be back in the Big Apple at the beginning of 2006 to discuss the successes of '05 and the ongoing plans. I can't wait! http://www.orient-express.com

1/13 While the snow was covering the slopes of Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado, the public relations representatives of these Rocky Mountain resorts were hosting a cocktail party at trendy Spice Market Restaurant in Greenwich Village to kickoff a promotion featuring 2005 summer activities. Hors d'oeuvres created by gifted chef Jean- George Vongerichten were inspired by Asian street food making them the perfect nibbles for on-your-feet eating. Summer sports include hiking, white water rafting, horseback riding in the mountains, guided walks, mountain biking and scaling the peaks. The Vail Valley Music Festival will take place during selected weeks from late June to early August. At a lunch a Café Gray that same day an announcement was made about this season's participation of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. http://www.thinkvail.com .http://www.beavercreek.com, http://www.vailmusicfestival.org

1/11 Rebecca Widness, partner in the public relations firm, Widness and Honan , hosted a benefit for the victims of the December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Asia . Widness collected monies for two charities, Oxfam America and The US Fund for UNICEF. The early evening event was held in the Black Duck Bistro at the Park South Hotel in Manhattan 's Gramercy Park neighborhood. The restaurant donated the food and drinks. A three-piece band entertained. Some of the attendees won dinners or trips for two. The organizations promised that more than 90 per cent of the contributions would go directly to the tsunami relief fund. http://www.oxfamamerica.org and http://www.unicefusa.org .

Leroy Neiman painting


1/12 Las Vegas, which is celebrating its hundred anniversary (1905 to 2005) threw a party for Gothamites in Grand Central Station's Metrazur Restaurant, an American Brasserie located on the balcony overlooking the main concourse. Chef/Restaurateur Charlie Palmer gave an hour long cooking demonstration. He prepared one of his signature veal dishes and served the results to the attendees who all said that the dish was especially tasty and tender. A cocktail party followed the class. One of Las Vegas 's most beautiful show girls was present and was photographed with every guest. Leroy Neiman, the artist, was commissioned to do a painting commemorating the centennial. Each guest received a signed copy of the original work. http://www.vegas.com


December, 2004


12/15 “Discover the desert as you never knew it,” is the current slogan for the campaign to promote tourism to Phoenix, Arizona. To kick off the promotion, Doug MacKenzie, Director of Communications of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, came to New York with members of his staff and hosted several media events. At one of them Doug appeared in brightly colored trousers embroidered with candy canes. To publicize Phoenix as a destination, two very large billboards with flashing lights have been placed at the corner of 7th Avenue and Broadway. MacKenzie said that visitation to Phoenix has increased by 40 percent in the last year and that there are three new hotels with 2200 added rooms. A sub-slogan to the promotion is, “Amazing what you can do here.” Some of the outdoor activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding and hot air ballooning. Multi-cultural arts and attractions are plentiful. Many organized tours are available in the Greater Phoenix area, which includes Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale and Mesa . http://www.visitphoenix.com

12/1 Judy Kingsley Fitting, an artist who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, wrote to say how much she enjoyed the "Inner Peace" experience, a package offered by The Inn at the Alameda. "All in all, I truly felt I was quite far from my everyday life at home and the studio, in spite of the fact that I was seven minutes away." Judy said that the staff was very hospitable and even welcomed her dog, Maggie, with toys and biscuits. She mentioned that the quiet and private hotel is within walking distance of the Plaza, the center of town, where she and Maggie shopped before afternoon wine and cheese were served, returning in time to socialize with other guests. The Southwestern-style adobe building has individually decorated accommodations. A two-day Inner Peace package includes two "energizing" and "relaxing" massages, an anti-stress amenity bag with body products, restorative herbal teas and cookies upon arrival, a CD of Native American songs and a buffet breakfast with a large variety of delicious food. http://www.inn-alameda.com

November, 2004

11/20 It is vast. It is white. And it's home. MoMA is back in Manhattan. Commemorating the Museum's 75 th anniversary the newly-designed, newly-renovated Museum of Modern Art on 53 rd Street in Manhattan reopened to the public on November 20th. With its exhibition space now expanded to 125,000 square feet, nearly double that of the former building, and its main entrance moved closer to 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) MoMA has been received with appropriate accolades and a welcome embrace. In the words of the architect, Yoshio Taniguchi, “the Museum is a teacup. It is a container for the art and for the people who come to drink the tea – the paintings.” The pleasure of viewing familiar old friends--Matisse's “The Red Room,” Picasso's “Demoiselles d'Avignon ,” Andy Warhol's “Campbell Soup Cans”--installed in a spacious, serene, light, airy environment has done much to quell the initial brouhaha over the $20 Adult admission fee. Seniors (65 and over) $16; Students (full-time with ID) $6; Children (under 16 accompanied by an adult) free, and Target-sponsored Friday Nights ( 4:00 – 8:00 ) free.) The much loved Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden has been meticulously restored and four Danny Meyer restaurants ranging from the “ luxe ” MODERN adjacent to the Sculpture Garden to casual cafes on the second and fifth floors offer visitors a choice of dining options. The Museum is open from 10:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M., Friday from 10:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and is closed on Tuesday. www.moma.org

October, 2004

2-Bedroom Pool Villa, Phunket

10/21 Singapore-based Maisy Koh, Corporate Director of Brand Management, and Kalai Natarajan, Manager of Media Relations for Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, visited the United States to inform the media about developments at the 10-year-old company. The small group of properties is located in Mahe Island, the Seychelles; Vabbinfaru Island, Maldives; Bintan, Indonesia; and Phunket and Bangkok,Thailand. The original resort in Phunket has been upgraded and new ones are being built in Ringha, Tibet and on both coasts of Mexico. The renovation of thirteen 5,500-square-feet spa villas with outdoor baths in Phunket creates “a spa within a spa.” Some of the new features are floating bed pavilions, treatments at the accommodations, massage lessons and private dinners prepared at the villa by a chef. So that couples whose average visit is four days might enjoy a “wellness holiday”, dual facilities—shower heads, massage tables and underwater loungers--were installed in each suite. The addition of 20 water villas constructed near and into the lagoon will be finished in 2005. Guests at the resort in Ringha, due to open next year, will live in renovated original Tibetan farmhouses. Scheduled for completion in 2006, the project, in Mayakoba, Riviera Maya is meant to attract Mexicans and Americans, whereas the one at Punta Diamante, Acapulco is designed for international travelers. Banyan Tree Hotels maintains their own schools in Bintan, Sri Lanka and in Phunket. Potential spa employees are taught to give treatments and to speak English. http://www.banyantree.com

Amara Creekside Resort

10/7   Reed Groban, Executive Chef of the Fairmont Scottsdale (Arizona) Princess, was in town on 10/5 to participate in A Taste of the Southwest . He stayed on to cook at Experience the Many Faces of Arizona, which took place at the St. Regis. The Arizona Office of Tourism helped coordinate both events. On 11/7 representatives from four local CVBs met with journalists to talk about the vacation possibilities in their communities. Luxury spas, resorts and hotels were on hand to introduce their properties and to provide information about new programs. Miraval, Life in Balance, a frequent winner of first place magazine ratings of spas announced its many themed weeks, which focus on both mind and body experiences. The Four Seasons, Scottsdale at Troon North Phoenix, borrowed a masseuse, who offered neck, back and shoulder massages, from the New York member of the same chain. Amara Creekside Resort distributed brochures filled with photographs illustrating its setting amid Sedona's bright red rocks. Saguara Ranch, Tucson , a development with multiple recreational amenities, invited the press to visit to look at its project in progress. Also in attendance were The Sanctuary at Camelback, L'Auberge de Sedona, Marriott, Westin, Scottsdale Resort and Athletic Club, Hyatt Regency and the Pointe Hilton Resorts. A cookbook, Arizona 's Salsas & Sauces, was presented to each attendee and includes recipes from all the properties and CVBs that were present, as well as a few others. http://www.arizonaguide.com

September, 2004

9/23 Canadian Travel Partners celebrated the 25 th anniversary of its annual New York City Media luncheon. Since the 1979 inauguration when the partnership had one member, Air Canada, the event has always taken place at the Four Seasons restaurant. Dick Griffith, President of Griffith & Associates Communications, told the guests that the group has grown to 16 affiliates, the majority of which are tourist boards of Canadian provinces, including Alberta , British Columbia , Quebec and Ontario. Time was allotted both before and after lunch for one-on-one contacts between the representatives and writers. Attendees were presented with binders containing information about what's new and what's coming in transportation, museums, hotels, entertainment, restaurants, adventure travel and so forth. Cirque du Soleil, headquartered in Montreal, has a brand new show and Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels opened a resort in Whistler this past summer. http://www.travelcanada.ca

Museum of Modern Folk Art, Cancun, Credit: Edwin C. Fancher

9/22 When Rose Mary Cortes, New York representative of the Mexican Tourism Board, was searching for space for a culinary event, she visited the penthouse terrace at the Kitano Hotel. “I knew that I had to have a cocktail party here,” she said and on the day she chose, the weather cooperated. Drinks were served outdoors at a culinary press conference, which began at noon. Misael Chi Tun, Executive Chef of La Parilla Restaurant Group, Cancun, Mexico, had flown to New York to participate in a week-long food celebration, Flavors of the Mexican Caribbean. Sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board, Mexicana Airlines, Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau and Quintana Roo (district) Tourism Secretariat; the event offered diners at the hotel's restaurant an opportunity to taste Caribbean-inspired foods. Items such as tortilla soup and red snapper, prepared pibil-style were prepared for lunch and dinner by Kitano's executive chef and the visiting Mexican cooks. In addition to the fish entree that was on the regular menu, journalists were served ceviche, black bean soup and crepes with caramel sauce and nuts. Scenes of Cancun were projected onto large screens at the same time that presentations were made about upcoming events like Cancun in Lights, a musical extravaganza with international performers, and the 3rd annual Festival Gastronomico, both of which will take place in November.