USA

Where the hills and coast collide – Santa Barbara, California

Where the hills and coast collide – Santa Barbara, California

Just about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, along Highway 101, the eclectic city of Santa Barbara stretches between the hills and the coast. Eclectic seems an apt description since the location has historically attracted the rich and famous, including Clark Gable, Barbra Streisand and other Hollywood legends.

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The Godfather of Grapes

The Godfather of Grapes

With six Academy Awards to his name, Francis Ford Coppola has served up some of cinema’s greatest moments, now he’s helping today’s Oscar winners celebrate their night of nights. When the 2020 Academy Award winners tucked into their pre-Covid aware post-awards party fare back in March, they washed it down with Francis Ford Coppola wines …

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Gabriel Kreuther’s fine Alsatian pedigree graces New York

Gabriel Kreuther’s fine Alsatian pedigree graces New York

French chef Gabriel Kreuther must have beat a record for the fastest Michelin star awarded to a new restaurant. Kreuther opened his eponymous restaurant in Manhattan just three months before inspectors from Michelin paid a visit. Whilst Michelin stars are often an indication of overly formal dining, or arrogant staff, Kreuther’s well-placed mid-town restaurant defies …

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Newport still touched by America’s gilded age

Newport still touched by America’s gilded age

Newport, Rhode Island brings visions of sailboats bobbing in water the colour of dark sapphires, bright skies, and polo-clad, sun-tanned preppies. However, winter is a great time to visit this coastal New England city – one of the historic summer playgrounds for America’s wealthiest families. In December, three historic mansions are dressed for Christmas and …

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Beyond Central Park

Beyond Central Park

Manhattan’s most famous green space, Central Park, sprawls through the center of Gotham City. But, edge a bit further out … and a 20-minute ride on Metro-North’s commuter train will take you to the New York Botanical Gardens(NYBG) in the Bronx. Welcome to 250 acres of tranquility – in New York City. It’s autumn, the …

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Yale University’s Center for British Art

Yale University’s Center for British Art

People say you get what you pay for. But that’s not always, strictly the case. At Yale University’s Center for British Art, it’s most definitely not the case. An hour and a half’s drive from New York City will deliver you to New Haven, home of the ivy-clad heart of America’s ivy league. In the …

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Connecticut’s artful all American in New Britain

Connecticut’s artful all American in New Britain

In the small New England state of Connecticut, it’s capital, Hartford is known for three things: insurance companies, the home of Mark Twain, and the seat of government. But, drive less than ten miles south of the city to a place fittingly named New Britain to discover the most compelling reason to stop for a …

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The grand canyon of wellbeing

The grand canyon of wellbeing

With three locations across the United States Canyon Ranch has garnered something of a cult following, offering guests plenty to restore both body and mind Amy Hughes Canyon Ranch is a 30-plus-year-old institution centered on healthy living, for the mind and body. It began in Scottsdale, Arizona more than 30 years ago, and broke ground …

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Big Apple’s hot hotels

Big Apple’s hot hotels

The last time I was in New York City I stayed at the Sofitel on West 44th Steer, right near Times Square. On this particular occasion I had been carousing somewhat heartily with an old friend, a US Cavalry officer fresh from Iraq, at a local Irish bar. Although the sun is starting to rise and I have my GPS fired up, I find myself wandering in ever increasing circles. I finally give up and hail a passing cab, one of the many new-fangled incredibly clean and shiny velocipedes that prowl the streets of the city that never sleeps nowadays.

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Feast on Oregon

Feast on Oregon

When you think of impressive craft beers and delicious, smooth coffee your first thought is usually Australia, right? But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other places around the world with great breweries and an amazing coffee culture.

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Jersey City: home of yuppies and chic eateries

Jersey City: home of yuppies and chic eateries

I've long stopped counting how many times I've been to Manhattan. The goal isn't to see something new anymore, rather, go back and re-visit favourite places. But, as a recent last minute trip to the States affords me a weekend in the big apple during the peak summer season, it's forced me to look beyond my usual hotel go-to's which are full up.

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Cleaning the world, one used soap bar at a time

Cleaning the world, one used soap bar at a time

One of my favourite things about luxury hotels is the seemingly endless supply of designer toiletries – soaps, gels, lotions and shampoo – all in a conveniently compact, travel-friendly size. In fact, over the years I've amassed quite a collection in my own bathroom at home.

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A fork-full of Philadelphia’s finest

A fork-full of Philadelphia’s finest

Most foodies want to experience local food trends, local chefs, and the local palate. Fork does all of these things, even with cheeky amuses bouches which wink at Philadelphia’s famous pretzels. Owner Ellen Yin is ever-present and makes a terrific ambassador to the city’s food culture, stopping at each table to welcome guests.

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Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell Museum

It’s easy to see where America’s greatest illustrator took inspiration from as we pull into Stockbridge, a small, New England town in the Berkshires. Norman Rockwell, considered by many America’s most popular artist of the 20th century, made his home here in 1953. He became so attached to the community, he established a trust while he was still alive, ensuring his works would be left to the Stockbridge Historical Society, who later created the Norman Rockwell Museum.

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An uncommon Boston hostelry

An uncommon Boston hostelry

My first stop after check-in is never my room. It’s always the gym. I like to see what kind of sweat I can expect to get from what’s typically no bigger than a broom closet. Is there more than one treadmill? Does it have easy controls so I can do interval sets? Are there free weights, or is it limited to three cardio machines and a mat? When the hotel gym is that grim, I pray for flat pavements and breathtaking views.

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Hotel Eliot – Boston’s little dose of luxury

Hotel Eliot – Boston’s little dose of luxury

It’s a bright, sunny afternoon as the summer starts to take hold in Boston. I’ve just arrived for my college reunion, I’ll leave the year a mystery, and already I’m transported back to dorm life.

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Stranded in NYC is just fine

Stranded in NYC is just fine

The Strand’s location at 37th Street between 5th and 6th, incredibly convenient for access to Grand Central, shopping trips at Macy’s (just 3 blocks), nights at the theatre, and forays into Union Square. Staying Midtown, until now, was unchartered territory, but I’m hooked. Service at The Strand is friendly, relaxed and warm, and our 10am arrival wasn’t too early to get a room. Free Wi-Fi, newspapers, and iPod docks are becoming more the norm in the Big Apple, but are still a treat.

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A tale of two cities

A tale of two cities

There are two prevailing popular visions of Los Angeles: the hard-partying nightlife of Hollywood, nights out on the Strip and in clubs on the West side, and the California dreaming of the canyons and beaches of Santa Monica.

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NY from on high

NY from on high

There is no more scenic way to experience the sensation of having your heart in your mouth than by touring Manhattan Island by helicopter.

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Coastal culture

Coastal culture

New York may be the hub of American style, but it’s not the only cultural hotspot in the area. Head northeast along the coast, and in an hour or so you’ll find yourself in Connecticut.

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Liv’s Connecticut coastal adventure

Liv’s Connecticut coastal adventure

Seafood restaurants line Connecticut’s eastern shoreline, but many are either very limited, with choices of fried or broiled, or are so gourmet, one wonders how the seafood can possibly be tasted after it’s been glazed with an emulsion of at least five different ingredients. A middle ground was all I wanted. A place where I could get great local fish, with an option other than butter. And I found it.

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Bags of gold in the mattress

Bags of gold in the mattress

Forget about the bathrobe, if you’re going to steal one thing from New York’s Chatwal Hotel, take the mattress - it’s worth $19,000. The Chatwal is the crown jewel of Starwood’s Big Apple hotels.

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Back room bender

Back room bender

As you duck down a set of unmarked stone stairs through that dank back alley, under the clotheslines and over the black puddles, the pungent smell of moss is punctured only by the allure of a hidden room. My footsteps echo up the steel fire-escape stairs and through the heavy black door of the Back …

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