Traveling to Austin for SXSW? Some VIP Mobile Tips For You

Let us know how it works during SXSW!

Just in time for SXSW and all of you social media, music and film loving Austin-bound travelers! A new service in Austin now puts the best local deals in the hands of visitors, business travelers and locals – all they have to do is use their iPhone, iPod, Android or other mobile devices. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with Miles-Weaver and MeNetwork, recently launched this VIP treatment as part of an innovative mobile program called Mobile Austin.

It’s no secret that we live in a mobile world where just about everyone carries a Smartphone or mobile device. “Austin is on the cutting edge when it comes to technology so it makes sense to incorporate our mobile devices to reach people who live, stay and play here,” said Bob Lander, president and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Mobile Austin does just that.” Trust Austin to get in on the mobile action. Oh, we love you so.

The free MeNetwork app offers exclusive discounts on live music, dining, shopping, spas and more. Just by launching the app, MeNetwork finds your location, then gives you a menu of options and tells you what’s nearby and where you can find the great deals. No smartphone – no problem. You can still find Austin deals via on-demand text message. For example, let’s say you’re in Austin and you’d like to find a good happy hour deal. Pull out your mobile and simply text: “atx happy hour” to 63638. You’ll only receive offers when requested, so there is no opting in or spam – ever. We like these seemingly small facts as, although we may be smartphone savvy, the digital divide still exists, keeping those without the funds from purchasing. So thanks for thinking of everyone, MeNetwork and Mobile Austin.

From 15% off any round of golf at Grey Rock Golf Club to a free chef’s surprise appetizer with the purchase of an entree at County Line BBQ on the Lake, there are plenty of deals to be had. If you choose, subscribe to a specific category and be notified as soon as a new offer is posted.

So check out all the happenings in Austin… Mobile Austin style.

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South Beach’s Latest Hot Restaurant

Hawaiian Tuna Poke

Our resident travel guru and Editor-in-Chief, Layla Revis, has roots in Maui so when she heard about Prime 112, South Beach’s latest dining destination, and their incredible new dish: Hawaiian Tuna Poke ($43), we had to let our readers in on the delicious recipe (PS. Thanks to Prime 112 and Chef Sabin!).

Gaining accolades from culinary enthusiasts from around the world for using the freshest and highest quality ingredients available, Prime 112’s Executive Chef Mike Sabin requests up to 300 to 500 lbs. of Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna each week for the dish.

In fact, Prime 112 is the largest purchaser of the rare Hawaiian fish in the country.

With a number of dishes comprised of this Tokyo-grade tunaPrime 112 requires the superior ingredient be shipped overnight to the restaurant three times per week. As opposed to the standard Big Eye Tuna seen on many local menus, Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna is wild-caught by skilled fisherman who pump CO2 into the fish before and after it is wrapped to keep the meat moist and bacteria free. This special cut of fish is also higher in healthy fat content giving it an unprecedented flavor.

So, our kind readers, how is tuna poke, a staple of most Hawaiian diets made?

Here you go!

Hawaiian Tuna Poke
Serves 4-6

2 lbs. #1 grade Hawaiian Big Eye tuna, cut into bite-sized cubes
1/2 cup shoyu or soy sauce
3/4 cup green onions, chopped (tops too)
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger
1 chili pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped finely
Hawaiian sea salt, to taste
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbs. kukui nuts or macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup fresh limu
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned

Directions: Combine all ingredients except for nuts, limu, and cucumber. Divide cucumber evenly and place on the bottom of four to six small bowls. Place tuna mixture on top. Garnish with nuts and limu.

A little bit about Prime One Twelve:  From distinguished restaurateur and back to back James Beard Award Semifinalist Myles Chefetz, Prime One Twelve takes the steak-house concept to another level. Since opening its doors six years ago, Prime One Twelve has obtained national and international acclaim for its outstanding service, menu and atmosphere. Located in the heart of its luxury, high-end South of Fifth Street neighborhood, Prime One Twelve is the ultimate celebrity-saturated culinary experience.

South Beach Chef Mike Sabin

The menu boasts the finest quality beef, dry-aged for 21 to 28 days and steaks that range from an eight-ounce filet mignon to an impressive 48-ounce porterhouse. Main courses can be accompanied by a delectable array of sauces and butters and the endless selection of mouth-watering ‘Accessories’ like the Truffled Lobster Mac n Cheese are large enough to share.

Reservations are a must, as Prime One Twelve is a dining destination sought after by influential tastemakers, professional athletes, Miami locals and tourists.

112 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139 | 305.532.8112| www.mylesrestaurantgroup.com

An African Safari and Luxe Beach Yoga? That’s right!

OMMMMM

Yes, we’re a bit crazy about Africa and we also dig yoga. So, new for 2012, travel specialists Scott Dunn have launched an exclusive Tanzania safari and Mozambique beach yoga itinerary. Pairing up with Vamizi Island’s brand new yoga retreats in Mozambique and Selous Safari Camp in Tanzania, this package offers the very best in sexy African adventure and holistic luxury.

For those wanting to explore lesser-known southern Tanzania, the Selous Safari Camp offers the perfect sophisticated safari experience. Situated within an open palm forest on the shores of Lake Nzerakera (say that three times fast) in the Selous Game Reserve, you can go on daily walking and boat safaris in one of Africa’s least known, yet wildest, conservation areas. And, after discovering the wilds of Tanzania, why not revive, restore and rejuvenate on Vamizi Island, an ultra-luxurious private beach lodge on the Quirimbus Archipelago, Mozambique? Well, don’t mind if I do!

Me.Wants.To. Go.Here.

Celebrating the launch, you’ll enjoy morning vinasa yoga on the shoreline followed by a freshly-prepared juice or smoothie from the island’s ‘natural pharmacy’ and an evening session against the setting sun – both hosted by renowned instructor Claire Finlay. This exclusive package also offers the chance to sample reviving spa treatments, take to the seas to catch surf-fresh tuna sashimi and dive the island’s azure waters. Does that sound Om-azing or what?

The exclusive Tanzania Safari and Vamizi Spa Retreats package is only available for limited weeks in 2012 from $6,310 per person. Valid for the weeks commencing March 1 and November 6, the price includes three nights at the Selous Safari Camp on a full-board basis with daily safari activities and five nights at Vamizi Spa Retreat on a fully-inclusive basis to include twice daily yoga sessions, one spa treatment, dive and fishing trip per stay. The price also includes taxes, domestic flights and transfers so get on it!

http://www.scottdunn.com

Wild Animals and Wine in Monterey, California? You said it!

Vino Blanco... mi favorito...

Ah, the fruit of the vine… how I love thee so.

To that end, about two or three years ago, we wrote up a great itinerary for the Russian River Valley, so we thought we’d expose our readers to another River Road Wine Trail to complement the Carmel Valley. And, with the advent of the Monterey Wine Country iPhone app, it’s easier than ever to experience authentic wine country, get close to the producers and indulge in some of the finest wines made in the world.  The Monterey mobile app acts as a private tour guide, with tasting room profiles and maps, wines, tours, and amenities. The perfect long weekend in scenic Monterey County could include three of the app’s most comprehensive itineraries: The River Road Wine TrailCarmel Valley Wine Trail, and Monterey/Carmel-By-The-Sea Wine Trail.

At the mid-point of Monterey Wine Country’s 90-mile valley, this wine trail follows a parallel path to Highway 101 at the foot of the gorgeous Santa Lucia Mountains.  Morning fog and comfortable daytime temperatures are the setting for friendly, easygoing tasting rooms that welcome guests.  With the first tasting room less than an hour from Silicon Valley, guests can pack a picnic and camera as they make memories of a journey through relaxed, hassle-free wine country with stops at Talbott Vineyards, Pessagno Winery, Manzoni Estate Vineyard, Ray Franscioni Wines, Boekenoogen Vineyards & Winery, Hahn Winery, Wrath Wines, Paraiso Vineyards, Ventana Vineyards, Sycamore CellarsScheid Vineyards, and Marin’s Vineyard.  Wine trail signs easily guide visitors along the way through this picturesque trail.

Don’t miss the River Road’s Valentine’s Day Passport on Saturday, February 11th, where visitors traveling to River Road will receive a souvenir glass for tasting at each of the wineries, entry into a grand drawing, special discounts, fun, food, and a celebration of all things amour. Each winery will be hosting their own wine and food pairing, specifically to suit the love surrounding Valentine’s Day. Tickets are $20 before February 1st and $30 thereafter. info@riverroadwinetrail.com 

Vision Quest Ranch - Your Local Safari...

For luxe and out-of-the-ordinary overnight accommodations, check out the nearby Vision Quest Ranch is a B&B situated on an exotic animal sanctuary that offers safari tent-style bungalows – chic canvas-walled hotel suites complete with bathroom facilities – as well as morning breakfast delivered to the veranda by an African elephant.

Day 2: Carmel Valley Wine Trail 

“Country elegance” defines this well-marked wine trail, which runs east-to-west along the famously charming Carmel Valley Road.  Wineries to visit include Chateau Julien Wine Estate, Boekenoogen, Chateau Sinnet, Heller Estate Organic Vineyards, Talbott Vineyards, Joyce Vineyards, Carmel Hills Winery, Holman Ranch, and Bernardus Winery.  Nearby, it’s easy to find bistros serving sumptuous fare, art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, hiking trails, equestrian trails and world-class golf to round out the perfect Carmel Valley experience.

A Room at Bernardus Lodge

After a full day of indulgence, the accommodations at Carmel Valley’s Bernardus Lodge are sure to rejuvenate and relax.  Nestled among the oaks and vineyards of scenic Carmel Valley, savor the gracious intimacy of a resort with epicurean flair, feather beds, cozy fireplaces and oversized bathtubs for two. The spa’s meditation garden, warming room and soaking pool along with dining at Marinus restaurant welcome you.

Day 3: Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea

For the last delicious day, re-energize in the buzz of Wine Country’s downtown tasting rooms in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, and on historic Cannery Row.  Conveniently located amid art galleries, fine dining, shopping, pristine beaches and tourist attractions like the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, tasting opportunities in this area include Morgan Winery, Caraccioli Cellars, Figge Cellars, Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room, Galante Vineyards, Cima Collina, Coastview Vineyards, Wrath, Otter Cove Wines, Bountiful Basket, Pepe’s Vino Napoli Wine Bar, Tudor, McIntyre Tasting Studio, Bargetto Winery, Pierce Ranch Vineyards and Ventana Vineyards.

The Stunning Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

For a true “Monterey” experience, indulge in a night’s stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa located on Cannery Row.  Dramatically perched over the Monterey Bay, the Plaza is a Forbes four-star-rated hotel in the heart of the city that begs guests to enjoy the sounds of the surf, the fresh scent of sea air, and all the activities that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.  The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa was recently awarded the Trip Advisor Reader’s Choice Award, highlighted as one of the top 25 hotels in the United States.

For more on these three delicious days by the Bay, visit:

www.MontereyWines.org 

To download the Monterey Wine Country app, visit iTunes.

10 Reasons to Visit Nantucket in the Spring

Nantucket Nantucket!

Grey skies, slushy streets, and a lack of Vitamin D can leave even the most cold-tolerant of us feeling the winter blues. Luckily, thoughts of a spring visit to Nantucket can brighten the dreariest of days. Spring on Nantucket means perfect temperatures, festive events, and amazing rates. If that’s not reason enough, here are 10 Reasons to visit Nantucket in the Spring and some of the best places to stay. We can’t wait as we plan on visiting the Wine Festival and reporting back all the high notes. The thought of a breezy, New England seaside holiday sounds enchanting. The cobblestone streets, grey shingled houses, and plethora of blooming hydrangeas almost provide a trip back in time. Nantucket Island Resorts’ also offer a perfect fit.

The White Elephant

1.       Great Rates

A spring trip to Nantucket doesn’t have to break the bank – Nantucket Island Resorts offers fantastic spring rates. For instance, rates at The Wauwinet after it opens for the season on May 9 start at just $225 per night. Want to stay closer to Main Street? Not a problem! Stay at the White Elephant, opening on April 19, for just $195 per night.

2.       Easy Access

Jet Blue begins direct service from New York City to Nantucket on May 17, meaning Nantucket is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. The only hard part will be finding room to pack all of those spring clothes you’ve been dying to pull out of hibernation!

Daffodils

3.       Daffodil Festival (April 27-29)

Every year, Nantucket kicks off spring by honoring the trumpeted flower with the Nantucket Daffodil Festival Weekend. Over three million daffodils bloom on Nantucket from early-April to mid-May, and the yellow, orange, white, and pale pink blooms bring new life to the island. It’s a full-scale celebration of winter’s thaw and includes fun and festive activities such as the Antique Car Parade, featuring over 100 vintage cars decked out in bright yellow daffodils.

4.       Wine Festival (May 2012)

For over 12 years, 100 wineries visit Nantucket for a weekend and host special events including hosted dinners, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, seminars, and auctions.  Make sure to pop by and sample TOPPER’S at The Wauwinet’s extensive wine list. With over 1450 selections, wine connoisseurs won’t be disappointed!

5.       Expansion of the White Elephant Hotel Residences

Just a few steps away from the White Elephant, Nantucket Harbor, Jetties Beach, and Brant Point Lighthouse, the White Elephant Hotel Residences has always been one of the chicest spots to stay on island. This spring, the Residences are getting even better with the addition of 14 new suites and six new guest rooms.

Some of the delicacies during Nantucket Restaurant Week

6.       Nantucket Spring Restaurant Week

Dine on prix fixe menus at participating Nantucket fine dining establishments, including the Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant and TOPPER’S at The Wauwinet.

7.       Outdoor Activities

Being cooped up inside all winter isn’t good for your mind or body, and Nantucket has the cure! Rent a bike and roll down the 6.4 miles of bike paths. Bike rentals typically cost around $30/day; complimentary bikes are available for guests of White Elephant Hotel ResidencesThe Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, and The Wauwinet. Or tee off at one of Nantucket’s top-notch golf courses –  Miacomet Golf Course or Sankatay Head Golf Club.

8.       Nantucket Film Festival (June 20-24)

The annual film festival draws celebrities and movie buffs alike to the island. Instead of velvet ropes and Hollywood glamour, the festival honors the art of substantive screenwriting, offering celebrity panels and readings.

Outdoor Dining at Brant Point Grill

9.       Dining Al Fresco

Spring means finally being able to enjoy a dinner al fresco again. Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant’s Harborside Terrace is the perfect place to do just that. Dine on fresh seafood and sip on one of the bar’s new specialty beer cocktails while admiring the stunning views of Nantucket harbor.

10.   Movie Time

We all know that April showers bring May flowers, and the perfect place to wait out a spring rain shower is at the only year round movie theater, Starlight Theater. Be sure to warm up with some New England Clam Chowder before the show at the Starlight’s café.

*Insider tip: Come during the island’s “secret season” and get amazing rates in the spring and fall with Nantucket Island Resorts’ Hot Dates, Cool Rates program.

Places to Stay in Nantucket

White Elephant

If you want to be within arm’s reach of the action of town and still by the sea, this is the perfect spot. The White Elephant is just steps from Main Street and overlooks the beautiful Nantucket Harbor. It’s right next to the calm Children’s Beach and a short walk to Brant Point Beach and iconic Brant Point Lighthouse. This intimately-scaled hotel dates back to the 1920s and blends traditional materials and forms of Nantucket’s Quaker past with the modern comforts of a luxury property, including the famous Brant Point Grill and the White Elephant spa.

White Elephant Hotel Residences

The White Elephant Hotel Residences serve as a natural extension of the White Elephant’s service and hospitality; guests have the convenience of a hotel along with the privacy of renting a house. Located on the edge of town, the Residences are close to the White Elephant, Nantucket Harbor, Jetties Beach, and Brant Point Lighthouse. Guests also have access to a pool with access to wonderful food and non-alcoholic beverage service (think ice cream for the kiddies).

The Cottages at Boat Basin

Cottages and Lofts at the Boat Basin

If the waterside cottage aesthetic is the thing for you, the Cottages and Lofts at the Boat Basin will make you feel right at home, evoking the mood of a quaint New England fishing village. The views are of Nantucket’s beautiful harbor and the design fits with the settings with a modern maritime theme. Many of the cottages have decks and patios where guests can enjoy al fresco clambakes and picnics. Those with pets can stay in the pet-friendlyWOOF Cottages – a great way to share a vacation with man’s best friend! There are 11 WOOF Cottages and each comes with an array of pet provisions such as Draper Canine beds, a welcome basket of treats and toys, and a list of pet-friendly attractions on Nantucket. 

Nantucket Boat Basin

If you’d like a place to park your yacht, sail into the Nantucket Boat Basin. For seafaring guests, this marina is the place to be and was voted Marina Life’s Best Marina in 2010. Able to accommodate vessels 35’ to 316’ vessels in length, the Boat Basin brings luxury to the boating experience. While docked here, the concierge service can arrange for many things, such as restaurant reservations, bike and scoot rentals, and golf and tennis times. One can even arrange on-board spa services and massages. 

The Wauwinet - A Top Family Hotel

The Wauwinet

For a beautiful spot outside of the hustle and bustle of town, try the quiet Wauwinet, flanked by Nantucket Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The windswept moors of the island’s far eastern end provide a peaceful and soothing atmosphere and an ideal vantage point for pink and orange sunsets over the ocean. In-house restaurant, TOPPER’S, is the island’s most glamorous with creative dishes such as local cod with roasted cockles or lobster and crab cakes. The hotel’s boat, The Wauwinet Lady, makes several trips from the property’s 254-foot dock to the harbor in town, and The Wauwinet’s Spa by the Sea features locally-inspired treatments much as the Nantucket Cobblestone Massage and Atlantic Seaweed Wraps.

The Classic Interior of the Jared Coffin House

Jared Coffin House

If you want to be right in the action, the historic Jared Coffin House’s center-of-town location is the place for you. Built by and named for one of Nantucket’s original whaling captains, it’s the only Nantucket Island Resorts property that stays open year-round. The period antiques and reproductions help create that feeling of a bygone era. The building dates from the mid-19th century and has always been a lively part of the island. Set on a prime corner of Nantucket’s cobblestoned downtown, guests quickly get to know their way around as well as the locals do. While those with gourmet tastes will delight in the fact that the hotel is surrounded by top restaurants, they will be equally as pleased to note that one of these is right in their own back pocket. The recently opened Brick Bistro, located on the main floor of Jared Coffin House, has a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere and comfortably blends contemporary style with the quaint and classic nature of the House.

Love is in the Air This Valentine’s Day

The Snowy Peaks of Telluride

St. Valentine… ah, a story around martyred Saints. Makes me sorta in the mood. You too? To that end, I think of snowy peaks and warm fires. Precisely why we’ll be posting about a few Valentine’s Specials. This one in glorious Telluride, Colorado.

The Peaks Resort & Spa announced today the Valentine’s Day Staycation Special – an evening of pampered luxury for lovely couples everywhere – this Valentine’s Day at the premier resort in Telluride, CO. The Peaks Resort and Spa’s Valentine’s Day Staycation Package includes 1 Night Stay, 3-course dinner for two, a complimentary bottle of Champagne upon check in, 15% off Spa services and a rose petal turn-down service, all for the Romantic Price of only $299 per couple. Pretty great, eh?

A Room at The Peaks Telluride

With 29″ of fresh powder this week in Telluride, there’s no better way to heat things up this February. Treat your loved one to luxury at the world-renowned Resort and Spa. Plus, Telluride’s sweet cruisers, steep bumps and alpine bowls are in amazing shape. Enjoy a glass of your favorite red or indulge in a slice of sumptuous flourless chocolate cake before retreating to a rose-petal room turndown service turning your one-night escape toward an evening of nirvana. Already in town? Reserve yourself dinner at their award winning Palmyra restaurant and let the professional staff lead you on a culinary journey through a special three course menu priced at only $50 per person. *

The property includes 161 guest rooms including 32 suites, penthouse condominiums and two, three, four and five bedroom mountainside cabins – all with astounding mountain views. The resort offers slopeside access in the winter and is the home to the Telluride Golf Club championship course and Pro Shop. Onsite dining includes Palmyra, the Great Room, The Lift, Legends and Deep End Grill (summer only), as well as in-room private dining.

The Peak's Spa

What we also love? The onsite Spa at The Peaks Resort. At 42,000 sq. ft., is the largest spa in Colorado. The Spa features 32 treatment rooms and a variety of treatments like The Alpine Glow or Après Ski Calming Facial for wind whipped skin. The Spa also encompasses a full service salon, fully-equipped fitness center including Pilates and yoga studios, certified fitness instructors providing a variety of private and group classes, three-lane lap pool with Telluride’s only indoor water slide, indoor climbing wall, gender specific steam rooms (though we love co-ed… cause us Euro), saunas and Roman tubs, and indoor/outdoor heated pool and hot tubs. The NEW Laser Center at The Peaks is also located within the Spa at the Peaks and offers Botox, Restylane, Juvederm and Laser assisted surgery for all you Angelenos who want a secret vacation injection.

www.thepeaksresort.com