Trump: He Towers

After you volunteer your time to a family in Nepal, consider saving up for a few nights at The Donald’s new digs. Sure, you’ll have to wait a year or two, but you gotta love Trump. Aside from Dubai’s crane-loving Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who else is going to keep impeccable service and high-rise luxury alive and well?

The Donald tells like it is and, let’s face it,
He towers.

Ten years after he unveiled his luxury condominium hotel at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, the renowned developer and three children – Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric (um… how come we’ve never seen Eric?) – are taking the Trump concept worldwide. Trump Hotel Collection is said to be the next generation of luxury hospitality – one that promises to raise the bar on the top-end travel experience with a style of customized service. ‘Trump Attache’, a brand-wide personalization program dedicates an entire department to delivering individualized service to every hotel guest upon request. Going beyond concierge/butler service, the Attaché meticulously records individual preferences and maintains a detailed guest history to ensure that no stay feels like the first and no request needs repeating. Arranging everything for an in-room chef or personal trainer to stocking kitchens with favorite groceries, printing personalized business cards and stationery, shopping for gifts, arranging special in-suite appointments for children, and meeting transportation needs from limousines to private jets, Trump Attache sounds like the fanciest service around.

Soon to be slated:

Trump Chicago (December 2007)
Trump Vegas (Early 2008)
Trump SoHo (Spring 2009)
New Orleans (2010)
Dubai, UAE
Baja, Mexico
Cap Cana Dominican Republic
Waikiki, Hawaii

First and foremost, Jaunt Magazine says, ‘Way to invest in the Big Easy!’ Meanwhile, Donald says, “Each hotel will be distinguished by outstanding architecture created by some of the finest architects in the world and complemented by the highest level of personalized service. These are great hotels in established and emerging destinations, and we are very proud to launch them around the world.”

And you know what? By the looks of these CGI drawings, we don’t doubt that Round Two of The Great Trump Lineage just might live up to Round One.

If anything, at least his snappy offspring will have a free place to stay.

LA Local Gem: Melrose Bar & Grill

I love it when I come across a local gem. I love it even more when it’s close to home. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar.

‘Honey, where should we eat?’
‘Somewhere close.’
‘We had sushi last night.’
‘Somewhere good… and inexpensive.’
‘Looks like it’s Baja Fresh.’

Well, think again.

Finally, the neighborhood has a new cozy bar & restaurant that feels like a NY grill without the pretense. Melrose Bar & Grill, nestled discretely on Melrose near Robertson and Doheny… is somewhere between NY pub and Aspen den. Now, I don’t normally order duck or burgers, but I had a bite of my husband’s Duck Burger with Gouda Cheese and Cherry Ketchup and I almost kissed the chef. Then there’s the Berkshire Pork Chop cider brined and served Alsatian style with house cured sauerkraut, the Mediterranean Platter, Thin Crust Pizzas and snacks like Warm Pretzels with House Made Sausage. Specials include Fresh Oysters, Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice (my personal favorite), Fish, Cheeses, and Desserts. And… let’s certainly not forget about the 600 + wine list, selection of sakes, specialty cocktails and beers on tap. As they say, ‘The atmosphere is casual, relaxed and contemporary.’ Wood banquettes, a fireplace, an open kitchen, a spacious bar… I give Melrose Bar & Grill a 9.5 for being that go-to neighborhood spot perfect for couples, family, and friends. You can actually talk, dine well, and leave without spending half your paycheck. Their goal? To keep everything under $25.

It’s about time, LA.

Shhh… don’t tell everyone, just tell enough people to keep this awesome gem around.

Melrose Bar & Grill
8826 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 278-3684

Nepal: Because The Himalayas Feel Good

Two words for your next foray into… feeling good.

Volunteer. Nepal.

Several programs today reflect a growing trend among exotic travel junkies. The volunteer experience. Forget trekking for yourself, it’s time you trek for your fellow man. Or in this case, a beautiful Nepalese family, an orphaned child, or a village of farmers. You need them and they need you (and your soon-to-be-semi-expert guidance on health or the English language). You could certainly learn a thing or two about nature, living with less, and the human experience, right?

Nepal, with it’s ever-reaching Himalayan mountains, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Through Volunteer Nepal, volunteers in schools and orphanages in Nepal offer short stays and 2-5month programs that cover all food, accommodation, orientation courses, lessons in Nepali, tours, lectures, and social events. As they say, with little contact with the outside world, you, the volunteer teacher, will form an intimate relationship with the students and their culture, while you also learn what it’s like to be freed from your Western attachments.

In addition to volunteering at an orphanage, you can study/volunteer in the following areas:
Environment & Community Education
Language and Culture

You can even teach in a monastery!

Program fees for schools/orphanages placement are as follows:

1-2 weeks US$ 300
3-4 weeks US$ 400-$500
For each additional month US$ 200

Another feel good program, Volunteer Society Nepal, offers stays from 1 week-5 months and fees that range from $300-$1150, depending on the program and length of stay. You can choose different areas that interest you like:

The Environment
Women’s Issues

Want a few more options to make sure the program, and the group, is right for you? See below and fulfill what your heart and soul is really craving.

The Global Volunteer Network

Transitions Abroad

So, really… next time you want to galavant around the globe and make out with every Tomas, Ricardo, and Horacio, remember to make out with the greatest lover of all…


Sleep It Off: London

Whether you’re sleeping off a good shag or still pissed from those drinks on the plane, here are a few select spots to rest your weary head. We’ve handpicked a small group of properties that fall into the following categories: quaint little gem in a hip part of town that won’t break the bank and sweet digs worth the splurge because, well…
you only live once.

Portobello Hotel
Notting Hill, baby. In a converted neo-classical mansion, you’ll nuzzle your lovey and feel like the King’s top courtesan. Remember, you’re playing in pounds so even luxe moderately priced digs like this will make a small dent. They also offer a hotel apartment rooms for those wishing to live like a Queen just a little longer.

From £142-£310

The Main House
This one you’re really gonna thank me for… each suite occupies an entire floor in this home away from home that starts at an amazingly low £50/night. Private bathrooms and wireless internet, a complimentary newspaper with morning coffee or tea is brought to the room or enjoyed on the balcony. Too good to be true? The Main House is also just a minute from the famous Portobello Road, antique markets, designer shops and art galleries. Man, it sure is good to know smart travelers.

Blue Bells
Also known as Number 14 or 14 Pembridge Square. Ideally located in the heart of Notting Hill in Kensington, this place is just flat-out pretty. An 18th Century Victorian building situated in a quiet residential square makes you feel like you live here. At £55-£125/night it’s another sweet steal that might make you want to bake me a fluffy cake or buy me a really nice bottle of wine. (Du Vin on San Vicente has a Viognier with my name on it… winky wink)

#5 Cavendish Square
It’s a sophisticated club, a restaurant, and a boutique hotel. Take a Whiskey Bar with dark mahogany wood, plush leather seating, a restaurant with dark red walls, and a menu that features homemade pastas and brilliant wines, this former Spanish Embassy turned exclusive nightclub, restaurant and hotel even boasts a rooftop terrace.

Contemporary chic budget accommodations, it’s all about Base2stay. The rooms are small, but absolutely clean and crisp, you’ll thank me for introducing you to a place that’s a steal at £89/night.

Sloane Square Hotel
Located in Chelsea aka. central London, this hotel was suggested from a friend of a friend of a friend on asmallworld. Thanks, random friend of a friend. Modern, beautifully designed rooms with Philippe Starck basins and blackout drapes, you’re just a quick jaunt to Tiffany’s, Gucci and everyone’s favourite London landmark… Harrods!
From £140/night

These properties say chic like no one’s business.

St Martins Lane Hotel
Part of the Morgan’s Hotel Group that also operate the Delano, Mondrian, and Sanderson (see below), this 5 star Covent Garden hotel says ‘dazzling’ with it’s interactive light displays, Asia de Cuba restaurant, and Philippe Starck sex appeal. Atmospheric lighting throughout the hotel and in the rooms shift from pink to orange to green. In the Light Bar, Raspassion Martinis and Elderflower Collins are sipped alongside giant black and white photographs of different people making funny expressions. If you’ve got the dough, flaunt it here. Starts at around £245 so better enjoy yourself, sweetcheeks.

With a similarly swank vibe to St. Martins Hotel, in the heart of the West End is The Sanderson. Their Purple Bar is like no place you’ve ever seen… or been. With a Dali-esque twist, at some 80-feet in length, their glowing onyx Long Bar is another spot to thank yourself for a life well led. Expect to see beautiful people and men with style.

SoHo Hotel
Average price £320. Average accommodations? No siree. Ultra fabulous. Entirely cool. This is considered by many as the #1 hotel in London for luxury, service, and design. The Tatler calls it the ‘Most Glamorous Hotel in the World.’ We call it posh and extravagant. Along with the Charlotte Street Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel, The Metropolitan and Number 16, this is a member of Design Hotels.

The Berkeley
I love Maybourne Hotels. They’re classic, luxurious, and have the finest staff in the world… right up there with the Ritz. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. Claridges is world famous among nobility and The Berkeley world famous among discrete celebs (psstt… Madonna loves The Blue Bar).

What is The Blue Bar? you ask. Think a more refined Purple Bar. One also mustn’t miss their Fashionista Pret-a-Portea experience.

Starts at around £349 so you do the math.

Now where were we? Oh yeah… you were ready to book your Virgin Atlantic flight, find a good shag and get pissed on the plane.

— LR