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W St. Petersburg opened in April this year, making it the first W Hotel in Russia and one of several new hotels to open in the city recently (Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, and Courtyard Marriott also opened properties here). Located in the aptly dubbed “Venice of the North,” a network of canals lined with cathedrals and palaces and plied by gondolas, the W. St. Petersburg showcases jewel tones (inspired by Russia’s Faberge egg) and lavish touches like hanging mirrored balls in guest rooms and a fleet of luxury cars to chauffer guests around town. The 137 good-looking guest rooms, especially the suites with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking St. Isaac Square and St. Petersburg, were designed by Milan-based Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel Partners. The signature restaurant miX, bar, and rooftop lounge have menus created by Michelin-star chef, Alain Ducasse. There’s also a spa with an indoor pool and fully-equipped fitness center. Opening rates start at $258/night; 011-7-812-610-6161; www.wstpetersburg.com
Last night I went to an event hosted by the inimitable Diane Von Furstenberg at her downtown studio. She’s teamed up with the new Red Star Line Museum, opening in Antwerp, Belgium (grand opening, spring 2013), to bring a little pizazz to a project the Belgium-born designer is passionate about. The Red Star Shipping Line transported some 2.6 million emigrants to the U.S. between 1873 and 1934, including Albert Einstein, Irving Berlin, and Arthur Murray (a few descendants inconspicuously roamed around DVF’s studio last night). The museum, which can be likened to Ellis Island, will bring the long abandoned buildings back to life with interactive exhibits and installations. (In fact, the architectural firm redesigning the complex is the same that renovated the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.) Yet the night’s focal point, aside from Diane and her exquisitely colorful space (sorry, fashionista talking), was a large poster board of an unidentified young girl sitting at the RSL station. Antwerp Vice-Mayor Philip Heylen announced the launch of a nationwide “do you know this girl?” campaign in an effort to discover her identity and arouse attention from the masses – perhaps one of your ancestors came over on the RSL? The contest winner will receive a trip for two to Antwerp and a $1,000 DVF shopping spree, which the designer added to the pot last night. Read more
New York City’s High Line, which runs up Manhattan’s west side from 14th Street to 30th Street, has been generating buzz since it opened in 2009, and for good reason: The abandoned, elevated railroad tracks were reincarnated as a floating park that puts visitors eye to window with skyscrapers – and brilliantly utilizes Manhattan’s limited real estate.
The park could eventually reach 34th Street, but don’t wait until the project finishes to trammel the tracks. This summer presents at least three new reasons to head west – not the least of which is the brand new, 10-block section of the park that opened today.
Until just a few months ago, manicures were a short-term beauty dalliance. Nicks, chips, and peeling were just part of the rules of impermanence, which allowed us to experiment with trendy colors without commitment. Oxidized copper anyone?
Now, CND, a spa hand, nail, and foot beauty brand which creates some of the most cutting-edge manicures for designers during fashion week, has made a spa manicure that dries instantly, doesn’t chip, and lasts a solid two weeks.
Sin City’s latest resort casino – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – opened last week five years after construction originally began. With a prime location between the year-old CityCenter and the Bellagio, the hotel is the only one to open in Vegas this year.
The Cosmopolitan boasts nearly 3,000 rooms in two towers, many with luxe extras like private terraces and Japanese soaking tubs, and all promising sleek design and the latest in hi-tech gadgets. A slew of celebrity chefs, including David Myers and Scott Conant, have jumped on board for the hotel’s current 9 restaurant offerings.
When it comes to play time, the 100,000-foot Boulevard Casino – with windows facing the Strip (Windows? In a Vegas casino? Unheard of!) – should suffice, along with the extravagant Marquee nightclub and five bars. During the day, guests can take advantage of three pools (including one adults-only) and a full spa.
A focus on contemporary art manifests itself in four commissioned murals/graffiti works in the Cosmopolitan’s garage. Look for other examples of visual art, new media, and design throughout the hotel.
The hotel currently lists rates starting at $135/night, though note rooms are booked solid through New Year’s. www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
Find the best offers to Sin City with our Las Vegas Travel Deals.
A recent flurry of hotel openings along one of New York City’s most famous addresses – Fifth Avenue, beloved window-shopping corridor and central dividing line between the city’s east and west neighborhoods – means couples planning a romantic visit to the Big Apple have more centrally located accommodation options than ever before. Ranging from boutique chic to five-star luxurious, these four new properties all offer big city ambience at a variety of price points.
Andaz Fifth Avenue Open since early July, this 184-room boutique property by Hyatt Hotels is a study in sleek modernism: loft-like rooms (322 square feet) are soothingly spare (some are even hypo-allergenic) with neutral décor and dramatic black accents, a comfy chaise, a king-sized bed, and 12-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows (shown above at left, courtesy of Hyatt Hotels). Bathrooms are done in eye-catching travertine marble with a strikingly modern bathtub. Located at 40th Street and Fifth Avenue, across from the landmark New York Public Library, Andaz Fifth Avenue joins sister NYC property Andaz Wall Street, as well as properties in London, West Hollywood, and San Diego. The hotel features 24-hour room service and a 24-hour gym, plus The Shop, a restaurant serving fresh seasonal cuisine based on ingredients from local farms for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and The Bar Downstairs, serving small plates paired with local beers, boutique wines, and specialty cocktails, from $295/night.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living like French royalty in Paris, this may be your shot. The Shangri-La Hotel, Paris – opening December 17 as the luxe brand’s first European property – is housed in the former palace of Napoleon’s grand-nephew Prince Roland Bonaparte in the ultra-chic 16th Arrondissement. Originally constructed in 1896, Shangri-La spent four years converting the residence, which is now a registered historic monument in France.
Renowned French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon drew inspiration from the palace’s original furnishings and decorations while adding a modern twist to outfit the hotel’s 54 rooms and 27 suites. Spacious accommodations start at over 500 square feet, and some sport views of the Eiffel Tower. All come equipped with marble bathrooms with heated flooring and BVLGARI White Tea bath products.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I visited New York City, taking the subway quickly lost its luster after the upteenth time of nabbing the wrong train and getting lost in the system during a Service Disruption Jamboree, also known as every weekend. Sense of adventure be damned! But now that I live here, I can’t really justify cabbing it all over town, especially when the city’s newest gay hot spots – the steampunk-inspired Industry (355 W 52nd St., Industry-Bar.com) and Bedlam (40 Ave. C, BedlamNYC.com), a bi-curious take on a Victorian apothecary from one of Eastern Bloc’s randy geniuses – are a Hell’s Kitchen to far East Village trek (we’re talking Avenue C here).
But no more. To help pick the Taxi of Tomorrow and tailor-fit it to riders needs, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission in conjunction with the Design Trust for Public Space is offering a painless two-minute survey. Grand prize: $5,000 worth of free taxi rides for a year!
As far as Western Europe goes, Portugal is a more economical alternative to its neighbors, while still offering dazzling beaches, an Old World capital city, charming countryside, and its famous wine. Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, has had a crop of new hotel openings in 2010, giving us even more reason to buy a Portuguese phrase book and plan a trip for 2011. Read more
Wynn Las Vegas debuts a new wine bar, La Cave, this week. The cavernous hangout is located next to the casino floor and spans 4,000 square feet between its three rooms. In addition to a broad range of vintages from across the globe, La Cave will also offer artisanal beers on tap, cocktails, and small bites like charcuteries, cheeses, and tapas. The bar’s design seems to be getting most of the buzz – don’t expect the traditionally teeny, cozy wine bar from Wynn. 555 International, also behind Moon Nightclub and N9NE Steakhouse in Vegas, designed the space with striking contemporary features like a bar made of LED-lighted reflective tiles, a dark red burlap wall, and a custom-made steel gate riddled with Latin phrases. La Cave opens to the public this Friday, December 3.
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