Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Cozy with a Cocktail

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Not many stand-alone bars can match the swank and sophistication or just the sheer comfort of a hotel bar. From the décor to the signature selection of drinks, don’t forget to check out the coolest hotel bars on your next trip out of town.

colorful cocktails with olive and cherryNew York City: Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel
Rose Bar is an intimate hideway inside the trendy Gramercy Park Hotel. This is likely the reason that it’s also a celebrity favorite with visitors such as Janet Jackson, Sting and Chace Crawford. Complete with wood-beams, a walnut bar and a big limestone fireplace, this bar is a hotspot for the city’s most fashionable events.

New York: Soda Bar at NYLO Southside
On a warm night, the rooftop Soda Bar is a fun spot to hang with friends. Park yourself in a cabana next to the pool and take in the sweeping city skyline.

Aspen, CO: 39 Degrees Lounge at the Sky Hotel
A famous après-ski spot, Aspen’s best burger and wicked cocktails from Denis Cote make 39 Degrees a lively local favorite. Hang out by the pool, refuel after a day shopping or on the slopes and discover for yourself why 39 Degrees is a Celebrity Spotting hideaway.

Boston: Simple Truth Lobby Lounge at the Hotel Veritas
Located near the hallowed halls of Harvard Yard, the Hotel Veritas wreaks of higher education. And yet inside its lobby is the simply stated Simple Truth Lounge that is a welcome distraction or perhaps think tank for nearby academia types.

Snowmass, CO: The Lobby Bar at the Viceroy Snowmass
Well it is ski season… this uber chic bar keeps you feeling cool even when the lobby fireplace is roaring hot.

Los Angeles: Bar Marmont at the Chateau Marmont
If you want to see people having conversations that make things happen then spend an afternoon or evening at Bar Marmont. The dim lighting and exclusive feel make it a haven for celebs meeting up for networking or a little fun.

New Orleans: Carousel Bar & Lounge, The Hotel Monteleone
The drinks aren’t all that will make your head spin at this revolving bar inside on of New Orleans most historic and famous hotels.

Dallas: Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa
Dragonfly oozes sophistication and sexiness. It feels offensive to merely call this a bar. Signature drinks and the occasional star sighting makes this “bar” located in the trend Hotel ZaZa the place to see and be seen.

Atlanta: Rooftop 866 at Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel
Rooftop 866 offers the best rooftop views in Atlanta with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. While the bar can get crowded on the weekends, the great mix of cocktails and small plates make it worth waiting to find a spot. My favorite? The double dog dare!



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City of the Month: Summer Escape to Santa Ynez Valley

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

If you are looking for a new spot to explore this summer, plan a trip to the Santa Ynez Valley in California. The area, located two hours north of Los Angeles and a mere 30 minutes from the Santa Barbara airport, is an escape from all things in a hurry, bustling, and citified.

676001.TIFSanta Ynez Valley is comprised of five communities: Santa Ynez, Solvang, Los Olivos, Ballard and Buellton. The area offers a great diversity for food, history buffs, and nature lovers and features 70 (many award-winning) wineries; the Santa Ynez Valley is known especially for its outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. You may remember it best from The Academy Award-winning movie “Sideways“. The film was set here and highlights the region’s wines.

It’s so easy to get around that you can literally cycle through the scenic heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, and immerse yourself in the vineyards, wineries, lavender farms, apple orchards and horse ranches.

Santa Ynez
The “downtown” area of Santa Ynez is about three-square blocks and resembles an old western movie set. It’s home to several great restaurants and stays up later than some of the neighboring towns.

An authentic Danish settlement, the charming city of Solvang was founded in 1911. Today, Solvang’s architecture reflects its heritage with windmills, tudor storefronts, thatched roofs and even a replic of the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen. Shops in this quaint town offer imported European wares: porcelain, ironwork, leather, linens, and handicrafts.

Solvang is truly pedestrian-friendly with wide sidewalks and benches for restful viewing of the colorful village scene. There are more than a dozen wine tasting rooms in town, all within steps of each other.

Things to do in the Santa Ynez Valley
In the summer, you can purchase The Summer Pass to enjoy wine tasting at the 13 premier boutique wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley. With your pass, you can taste one time at each of our Association tasting rooms from now through August 31, 2013.
A couple toasting
Not without the arts, Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) is celebrating its 49th year. Between June and September, nights in Solvang sparkle under the stars with Theaterfest; PCPA’s world-class theatrical productions in the 700-seat open-air Solvang Festival Theater. Theaterfest is the only professional resident theater company on the Central California coast.

During your visit, stop by the Carriage museum in Santa Ynez, play some golf on a breathtaking course, take a nature hike at Lake Cachuma, ride a glider over the entire valley, and browse the art galleries in Los Olivos. Later this week here on Travel Smart Blog, check out an itinerary with even more suggestions for a great trip to the Santa Ynez Valley.

Where to Stay
Santa Ynez Inn is a luxury boutique hotel, featuring 20 rooms that are just right for a romantic weekend away. Guests receive a complimentary breakfast and free parking, and it’s located near many local wineries and attractions.

Victorian Mansion at Los Alamos is one hotel stay you will never forget. Located in the nearby town of Los Alamos, the Victorian Mansion features six themed suites that are big on luxury and fun. From a 50’s drive-in, to a pirate ship, and a gypsy caravan – all suites include private “hidden” baths, fireplaces and spa tubs.

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is located in the town of Buellton. Rooms open to balconies and the hotel features an outdoor pool, free Wifi, and parking.




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