You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘SPA’ category.
I’ve been hanging at home this winter catching up on the latest Ina Garten recipes but couldn’t resist a trip out west with friends to ski. I’m an Aspen girl but jumped at the chance to give Utah a try. They say Deer Valley is for the pampered set so my expectations were high. After five days of comparing every last detail to Aspen/Snowmass, I’m pretty sure my traveling companions wanted to throw me off the high speed quad. Truth is: it took me about five days to really appreciate what Deer Valley has to offer.
We rented an amazing townhouse at the base of the mountain. We shared with friends, cooking most dinners at home with a glass of wine in hand, a fire roaring and children underfoot. Wearing my pjs and reading by the light of the fire is my ski trip fantasy.
I checked out The Montage, The St. Regis and The Stein Eriksen Lodge. I would stay at any of these fab resorts. Ski-in, ski-out, each serves a delicious skiers’ buffet lunch and is nestled into the mountain. As a rule, Deer Valley is more accessible than Aspen via direct flights into Salt Lake City and therefore makes it a perfect weekend destination. Despite a great kids ski school and a family friendly reputation, DV felt more like a lovers’ long weekend retreat. Any of these hotels will do the trick.
Fireside Dining was worth the hype but the accompanying optional sleigh ride wasn’t. If it’s a sleigh ride you want, try Sun Valley or Aspen as this short ten minute ride around the parking lot will likely disappoint. The dining, however, was superb. Imagine a starter course of raclette cheese melted by an open fire with cornichon, fruit and charcuterie. Followed by short ribs, trout, lamb and rosti potatoes. The fondue dessert came three ways: dark chocolate, white chocolate Grand Marnier, and caramel with a buffet of fruit and cakes to dip.
Although the service should have been better at this Four Diamond restaurant, the burger was one of the best I’ve had at the Goldener Hirsch. A favorite for fondue and a busy evening spot, try a relaxing lunch between runs on Bald Eagle Mountain. You will feel as if you’ve been transported to an Austrian village no matter what you order.
Pop into the St. Regis après ski for quite possibly the best hot chocolate bar EVER. I think the secret is in the whipped cream. And did I mention it’s free?
Well, ski, of course! Deer Valley has the requisite ski valet on mountain and great dining options, but what makes this mountain special is the fact they groom nearly 100% of their terrain nightly. Die hards will argue that the snow is drier in Utah than Colorado and they may have a point. Deer Valley also doesn’t allow snow boarders on mountain.
No post about DV would be complete without including a little plug for one of our fave SJ retailers, Splendor, located at the Redstone Town Center in Park City. A cozy apothecary stocking high-end beauty products and boasting a skin bar offering a full menu of treatments, Splendor has been carrying Stephanie Johnson products for years, and is a must-stop if you ever find yourself in Park City!
All of the above-mentioned Deer Valley luxury resorts have great spa options, so indulge in a massage after a day on the bumps.
Deer Valley had me wanting for Snowmass’ wide slopes, mountain maps on every chairlift, and the temperature display at every chair download. However missed these small perks were, I still would hop the four hour flight to SLC for a weekend of guaranteed groomed trails and a greater likelihood of snow. After all it’s about the skiing, right?
I rang in the New Year in Hong Kong, one of my favorite cities. So culturally different from New York, I know I’m not at home anymore when I arrive at CDG and see the familiar surgical masks that many wear on their face, and I pass through the ‘temperature check’ on route to immigration. This time I asked my greeter if people wear the masks to prevent disease as I once heard they do not act as a barrier to such. She confirmed but then surprised me by saying many of the young girls also wear them if they have a pimple outbreak they would rather no one see! Couple that with all the girls at the mall taking photos of themselves in front of every store window, store ad, logoed wall and random orchid, and I know ‘we are not in Kansas anymore.’
In order to keep things fresh I decided to stay at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Right out of the gate (literally), they impressed me by having a greeter wait for my arrival on the jetway and efficiently usher me through immigration and baggage claim. Something else I won’t see back home unless of course I’m Reese Witherspoon. (Wink, wink as I recently ran into new mom Reese at JFK.) The service upon arrival was no less exceptional. The rooms – however well-appointed – felt modest compared to my lofty Upper House experience and left me longing for a view. After two lovely days I missed my Hong Kong skyline view and dutifully checked into Upper House on the 47th floor. View? Check.
One thing Upper House lacks is a spa. This is where The Landmark Mandarin Oriental excels. I fully spent the afternoon of New Year’s Eve lounging by the indoor pool and reading the new Tom Wolfe. New Year’s Day was spent having a reflexology treatment and reading in the most sublime relaxation room I’ve ever seen. Heated stone recliners and ‘massage’ chairs in the whirlpool round out the experience. Worth the trip and worth the stay if you don’t miss the view.
Unfortunately I was plagued with stomach issues for the duration of the stay, making a 3 a.m. visit to the hospital for mild dehydration, so I didn’t get to indulge in one of Hong Kong’s best assets: its food. I did venture out for a New Year’s Eve dinner to a local Cantonese restaurant, Island Tang, as it was one of the only spots where I didn’t have to order the price fixe menu. Despite the very ordinary meal of white rice, I loved the art deco ambience and classic feel with servers in white tie.
I’ve been dreaming about the breakfast at Cafe Gray at Upper House for the past year. You can’t beat a homemade ten grain hot cereal with stewed raspberries and a peppermint tea while watching the container tankers and the star ferry cross the harbor from the 49th floor. Good morning Hong Kong!
Don’t miss Yardbird, a Japanese style Yakitori bar just off the Hollywood Road. They offer Yakitori from all parts of the chicken so be sure to try the oyster (the juiciest part) and meatball. The more adventurous among you might like the neck, knee, heart or gizzard. The cucumber salad is a refreshing delight with miso, pine nuts and sesame. Homemade salted peanut butter ice cream with orange zest is the only dessert on the menu (um, yes!). Meet a friend at the bar and enjoy.
I thought I may spend New Year’s Day at Hong Kong Disneyland but alas, my stomach begged me not to. Next trip.
I’ve just returned from a love filled weekend in St. Michaels, MD where my dear friend Lisa Kopp married her perfect man. It was one of those weekends that was perfect in every way and everything kept exceeding your expectations. Hard to pull off!
I travelled by rail from NY to BWI and that was my first surprise. I think the Acela and I will be good friends. Sure beats cabbing it to JFK and going through airport security. Hertz Gold was a breeze (why haven’t more car companies copied this?) and the 1.5 hour drive was scenic and equally breezy.
When I arrived down a tree lined drive at The Inn at Perry Cabin, I could feel the smile spread across my face. This white shingled low slung property was where ‘Wedding Crashers’ was filmed. I’m a huge Owen Wilson fan (o.k., borderline obsessed) and now I’m a huge fan of this Orient-Express Inn (calling this quaint place a ‘hotel’ just wouldn’t be right). My room (No. 8) was at the end of the hall in the main building where both the restaurant and pub are housed (convenient late night) and despite this, it was a tranquil paradise. Newly renovated, the room’s decor was finished in neutral tones, dark woods and hints of sea blue, with a small (but perfectly-appointed) bathroom, and a huge, insanely comf king bed. But the highlight had to be its two French doors clad in Bermuda shutters that opened out onto a grassy lawn leading to the bay. Heaven. Fun fact: for the last 23 years Ms. Gussie has been baking cookies for turndown as a sweet treat before you retreat. I was mad for her sugar cookies and white chocolate macadamia nut.
Here are some of the bride’s and front office’s local favorites for dining:
Italian: Ava’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar
Sushi: Akai Sushi and Asian Cuisine
Sandwiches: The Big Pickle
Grab a bike at the hotel and cruise to town peeking in shops along the way, or put your sneakers on and take a walk along the St. Michaels Nature Trail.
Explore the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to see the world’s biggest collection of Chesapeake Bay boats and artifacts.
Take a boat tour along the Miles River on the Maritime Museum boat. Daily tours leave from the lighthouse.
Kinda loved The Inn at Perry Cabin’s small sea-chic spa (if only they carried Stephanie Johnson!). Named after the large Linden trees that line the brick driveway, the spa uses their blooms for many of their signature treatments. Try the ‘peel me a grape’ facial.
I’d like to give a shout out to Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions – the wedding planner extraordinaire – for her amazing attention to detail, and coordinating such a magical and memorable event. And of course thanks go to the bride and groom for sharing their incredible weekend with me. It was an honor to be included and celebrate this perfect day with you. Wishing you both a love filled life together.