Small Luxury Hotel’s Top Caribbean Picks 2017

This just in from Small Luxury Hotels for 2017…

A Caribbean hotel round up! Check it out, swoon, and book (if you’re anything like me and really need a vacation… STAT).

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The Manoah – Anguilla

The Manoah Boutique Hotel: Shoal Bay, Anguilla

Every aspect of the brand new Manoah Boutique Hotel has been designed to celebrate its stunning location on the shores of Shoal Bay.  Opened in December 2016, the 25 bedrooms and suites are decorated in cool neutral shades and each room has a private glass-fronted veranda overlooking the beach. The resort boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens plus two tropical beach bars. Guests can opt to spend their days at the tranquil Manoah Spa, or relax on the powdery white sands of Shoal Bay taking in the view. Water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking or scuba diving can also be arranged. Inspired by a delicious mix of global cuisines, chefs at the Ocean Beach Club Restaurant have created a unique menu using fresh seasonal produce, best enjoyed accompanied by the sound and sights of the sea.

SLH Insider Tip: With local stables nearby, spend an evening on horse-back with a sunset beach ride on Cove Bay.

www.slh.com/manoah

Rates: $350/night

anguilla best hotels

The Reef by CuisinArt: Anguilla

The Reef by CuisinArt: Anguilla

Desirably situated on Merrywing Bay on the tranquil island of Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt debuted in November 2016, revealing a beachfront contemporary oasis featuring 80 suites, directly on the Caribbean Sea. The hotel offers an array of accommodation, some with sea views and others that are right on the white sand beach with dramatic outdoor Jacuzzis. Fresh locally sourced ingredients from the on-property hydroponic farm and fresh seafood fill the menu at the nautical inspired fine dining restaurant, The Yacht Club, and the casual cool beach front bar and restaurant, Breezes. The architecture and design of the hotel is fresh and modern, with touches of colour and the sea brought inside and ocean views from almost every window.

SLH Insider Tip: Head to the other end of the island and take a boat out to tiny coral island, Scilly Cay, for live music, delicious lobster and for what many hail as the best rum punch on the island.

Rates: $500/night

www.slh.com/thereef

st barts best hotels

Le Barthelemy Hotel and Spa: St Barths

Le Barthélemy Hotel and Spa: St Barthélemy

This exclusive oceanfront resort is SLH’s first property in St Barth’s. The hotel opened its doors in November 2016, welcoming guests to its 46 rooms and suites with interiors by celebrated designer Sybille de Margerie and cuisine by Michelin-starred French chef, Guy Martin. The elegant boutique hotel perfectly captures the laid-back luxury of St Barth’s, with light airy interiors and genuine island hospitality. The bright and airy rooms and suites are decorated to reflect the white sands and turquoise blue of the ocean and each one opens out onto a private terrace with ocean or garden views and private swimming pool. Aux Amis, the resort’s restaurant serves a light menu during the day and in the evening the space opens onto a beachfront terrace where guests can enjoy French and international cuisine overlooking the bay. The hotel’s spa has partnered with luxury French skin care brand La Mer and offers a wide array of treatments in its open-air atrium.

SLH Insider Tip: On the south-east tip of the island sits Anse de Columbiere – this undeveloped bay is only accessible by foot or by boat and is a peaceful haven for those seeking somewhere secluded to swim and sunbathe.

Rates: $648/night

www.slh.com/barthelemy

nevis luxury hotels and villas paradise beach nevis

The pool at Paradise Beach Nevis

Paradise Beach: St Kitts and Nevis

Exclusivity, intimacy and personal service are key at this beachfront resort on the utopian island of St Kitts and Nevis. Boasting an idyllic location – nestled into a glorious white-sand beach and overlooking St Kitts and Mount Nevis – Paradise Beach Nevis has the distinction of being the only villa resort on the Caribbean island of Nevis. The resort is child friendly and the villas for up to eight people make it a great option for a family getaway. Each of the seven villas is its own personal palace with a marble or limestone bath, king beds, a sound system which allows guest to stream their own music, fitness studio, dining rooms for private meals, a private pool, a sea view and kitted out with Hermés bath products. The hand woven, palm roofs were designed to mirror the Nevis Peak, which, combined with lush gardens and an amazing beach, provide a paradise of luxury and tranquillity. 

SLH Insider Tip:  Probably one of the more well-known attractions but still well worth the hype is the Sugar train –the last scenic railway in the West Indies. The double decker carriages have open sided top decks for guests to enjoy the breeze along with their rum punch and the sounds of the trains own choir.

Rates: $876/night

www.slh.com/paradisebeach

turks and caicos hotels

Point Grace Resort and Spa: Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

Point Grace Resort and Spa: Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

An all-suite hideaway surrounded by perfect sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, Point Grace Resort and Spa overlooks the stunning Grace Bay and is SLH’s first hotel in Turks and Caicos. The tropical resort is turn-of the-century style with a contemporary twist and consists of 25 suites all spanning over 1,000 square feet, two restaurants and the Thalasso Spa, where treatments are inspired by the ocean. Grace’s Cottage, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant is an architectural gem featuring picturesque outdoor seating where old world elegance meets modern gourmet cuisine. Guests can also enjoy lunch and breakfast at Hutchings, which is nestled in a tropical garden and serves casual food with a Caribbean influence. A unique collection of African tribal crafts and artwork can be found dotted around the hotel, most of which are locally sourced from the island and lend an insight into the culture and travel experience of the turn of the century West Indian traveler.

SLH Insider Tip: If you’re a wildlife lover visit the Leeward settlement, an uninhabited islet known as ‘Iguana Island’ – a sanctuary for the endangered Turks & Caicos Rock Iguana.

Rates: $460/night

www.slh.com/pointgrace

LuxeFIT: Get Fit While You Travel

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Founder, Loren Ann Mayo

Two young businesswomen have found a way to combine their passion for travel and healthy lifestyles through a brand-new venture, luxeFIT. The company offers week-long luxury fitness retreats to exotic destinations, arranging workout sessions and activities, nutritious cuisine prepared by a private chef and opportunities for socializing and fun – all in a luxurious private beachfront estate setting.

LuxeFIT blends fitness, nutrition, adventure and the opportunity to explore new and exciting destinations worldwide. Our fitness adventure experts coordinate all-inclusive, week-long luxury fitness retreats to exotic destinations, offering workout sessions and activities, healthy food prepared by a private chef and opportunities for socializing and fun – all in luxurious villa settings.

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Co-Founder, Holly Morris

LuxeFIT blends fitness, adventure and nutrition with the opportunity to explore new and exciting destinations worldwide. The first retreat is slated for April 30 – May 6, in Barbados.

Activities will include yoga, paddleboarding, snorkeling, surfing and water-skiing, with numerous social opportunities — as well as free time — throughout. Excursions will be available to explore Harrison’s Caves, tour Mt. Gay Rum Distillery, shop in Holetown and more. It’s a great group for people who want to sweat it out every day and meet like-minded people and have fun in some of the most beautiful places on earth!” luxeFIT co-founder Loren Mayo says, “Retreats aim to be a place where guests feast on delicious, healthy cuisine, exercise in spirited and challenging sessions with top trainers, experience the sights and sounds of the area and, ultimately, return home looking and feeling better than when they left.”

Just as food typically plays a central role in any travel experience, healthy eating is at the core of a luxeFIT adventure. One of the founding principles of luxeFIT is to provide wholesome, delectable, locally produced meals for guests to enjoy. The accommodations feature a private chef, who will offer meals that meet guests’ nutritional needs, while taking great care to develop menus reflecting the culture of the destination. 

The two launched luxeFIT in November 2016, engaging Mia Duval, an Orangetheory fitness instructor in Sarasota, FL, as head trainer for the venture. Beyond the Barbados retreat, the duo is exploring additional options in the Caribbean and Mexico.

“From invigorating workouts to gourmet fare, this program is designed to nourish and energize our guests on every level, offering the perfect blend of cardio, rest and relaxation,” said Morris. “It’s paradise with a purpose — a better, more balanced you, in less than a week!”

Retreats are all-inclusive — all but airfare is included. Guests will enjoy six-nights in either a 5-Star villa or luxury condo, freshly prepared meals with an emphasis on local cuisine, fitness and yoga sessions, the ability to work out with a first-rate fitness instructor and round-trip transportation to group activities.

luxefit.co

The World’s Best Luxury Mountain Wellness Retreats

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Red Mountain Resort and Fitness Center – Utah

By Paul Joseph, Health and Fitness Travel

For those seeking to relax in the most luxurious pockets of the Earth, Health and Fitness Travel, the leading specialists in wellness holidays worldwide, has compiled their top five mountain wellness retreats to go and escape from it all.  Spread across the world from Utah to Crete and Oman to India, these mountain wellness retreats are great to visit all year around.  Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie craving that next rush or want to relax away from prying eyes, these wellness retreats need to be at the top of your list.

Utah: Red Mountain Resort

The St George mountain range set in the rugged American landscape provides the perfect backdrop to a weight loss holiday that you will never want to leave.  Great to visit in the spring time, the Zion and Bryce canyons provide spectacular locations for horseback riding and mountain biking.  If you’re craving an adrenaline rush, then you can’t leave without trying an exhilarating rock climb, and joining other guests in seeing the incredible mountain-top views. After a long day of challenging your limits, relax in the luxury spa with body contouring wraps and Tai Chi classes.

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Milia, Crete

Crete:  Wildfitness

The majestic mountain hamlet of Milia is a great option for those who want to tone their bodies for next summer. Created with nature in mind, Wildfitness encourages you to use the trees and rocks around you to tone and sculpt your body. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Cretan mountains, you’ll be able to shape up in the utmost tranquillity and luxury.  This retreat puts your fitness goals and desires first with personalised assessments and consultations.  Return to basics in the crisp mountain air with challenging fitness regimes and training sessions.

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Zighy Bay, Oman

Oman: Zighy Bay

For the adrenaline junkies, out there, paragliding from the Musandam Penisula must be on your list. The dramatic mountainous landscape, surrounding Zighy Bay, provides you with the opportunity to push your very limits to achieve your fitness goals.  This luxury mountain retreat boasts the Six Senses Spa designed to encourage you to utterly indulge yourself.  Rejuvenate with Arabian Hammans and bath rituals in the six spa rooms available.  Travel during the spring time to enjoy the variety of activities, including tennis and bootcamp fitness, to ensure that you return home with an all-round sense of well-being.

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Ananda – Himalayas

India: Ananda in the Himalayas

Set at the foot of the Himalayas, this secluded wellness retreat is a great option for those looking to relax in style and luxury.  The Himalayan mountain range is breath-taking, especially after the rainy season of July and August, and can be seen in all its glory on guided nature walks.  Ananda offers a wellness approach designed to unite the mind, body and soul, with holistic spa treatments and an array of well-being activities, including meditation and yoga.  If you are looking to transform your life, whilst learning a new skill, then definitely take advantage of the Pranayama sessions.

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Shanti Som, Spain

Spain: Shanti Som

In the striking Andalucían region, lies Spain’s stunning Sierra de Las Nieves Nature Park and at the heart of this is the luxurious Shanti Som.  This mountainous area is the definition of tranquillity with its peaceful gardens and fragrant orange groves.  Your well-being will be revived in this remote sanctuary with a choice of tailor-made wellness programmes, including yoga and holistic healing.  Best to visit during June and September, you’ll be able to rejuvenate in the lavish spa with Ayurveda and aromatherapy.  You’ll never be able to forget the superlative mountainous landscape, even after you’ve returned home.

For more advice, guidance, and booking, visit:

www.healthandfitnesstravel.com 

Paul Joseph, Health and Fitness Travel Founder

Paul Joseph, Health and Fitness Travel Founder

About Paul Joseph:

Wellness Travel Specialist and Entrepreneur, Paul Joseph, is the co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, a global leader in wellness holidays worldwide. Always ahead of the curve in pioneering new health programmes that revive the soul, boost fitness or address serious health issues, the worldwide wellness tourism industry has now become a multi-billion sector, growing faster than travel in general. Paul has a wealth of PR, Marketing, Sales and Management experience in the health and tourism industry, consulting leading hotels on their wellness strategy and contributing regularly to broadcast and media interviews.

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@hf_travel), Instagram

 

An Insta-Worthy Spa Guide

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The Cove, Shore Lodge – McCall, Idaho

The Cove, Shore Lodge, McCall, Idaho
Set on the southern glacial waters of Payette Lake and tucked into Idaho forest, The Cove at Shore Lodge is a retreat that embraces the outdoors, with sculptural fir tree logs lining the lobby and a tranquil stone hallway leading to intimate treatment rooms. The spa’s unique indoor/outdoor saltwater immersion pools – lined with local granite boulders and affixed with antique copper water pumps – pay homage to Idaho’s plentiful natural hot springs. Nature-based massages, facials and body treatments are performed using a holistic and organic skincare line, tailored to meet the needs of both serene pleasure seekers and active mountain enthusiasts.
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Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui

Mandara Spa , Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui
Located on the beautiful southeast shore of Maui, Mandara Spa truly embodies Maui’s natural beauty and sense of aloha in every aspect. The Mandara Spa is located on the lobby of the resort, overlooking the serene Hawaiian waters, Molokini crater and the island of Kaho`olawe.  The 9,153 square feet facility features twelve treatment rooms, some of which are Ocean view single treatment rooms and deluxe couple’s suites for facials, body treatments and massages. A welcoming relaxation area, steam room, lockers and showers is privately located in the center of the spa; separated for men and women. The spa also has a full service salon for hair, make-up and nails.
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Miraval Life in Balance Spa, Monarch Beach Resort – Dana Point, CA

Miraval Life In Balance Spa, Monarch Beach Resort – Dana Point, CA
Situated on the idyllic coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Dana Point, California, the newly opened Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort is a state-of-the-art oasis and the only Miraval location in California. Renowned for its “Life in Balance” philosophy, innovative programs and wellness activities, Miraval Life in Balance Spa offers an expansive spa experience inspired by the resort’s oceanfront location. The spa offers more than 70 of the signature treatments developed at the company’s flagship Miraval Resort & Spa near Tucson, Arizona, each designed to “awaken the senses, create balance and promote a sense of well-being. You’ll also discover an entirely new catalog of services created specifically for Monarch Beach Resort,  featuring California-inspired ingredients like crystal salt stones, algae, and marine mud.
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Ventana Inn, Big Sur, CA

The Spa at Ventana, Ventana Big Sur, CA
The Spa at Ventana is a refuge from the stresses of daily life. Start your journey with a hot cup of organic tea or cool fruit-infused filtered water before you wander down to the outdoor clothing-optional amenity area. Like that? Clothing optional! Let the heat of the Japanese Baths and Dry Sauna gently unwind your muscles. Relax by the heated pool and take in the natural beauty that is Big Sur. The Spa at Ventana embraces the magical “Essence of Big Sur” introducing two new dreamy experiences to reinforce Big Sur’s reputation as a sacred site and healing vortex. The Lavender Dreams Experience is an 80-minute, head-to-toe spa experience combining the calming elements of Wild Lavender with earthy minerals, concluded by a luxe foot and pressure point scalp massage in a nourishing cocoon. Also, a new  50-minute Mineral Body Scrub stimulates circulation and leaves the skin soft and hydrated (and even safe for expecting mothers), featuring an exhilarating thermal salt exfoliation applied in a two‐step treatment and mixed with a guests’ essential oil blend of choice.
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Carmel Valley Ranch, CA

Spa Aiyana, Carmel Valley Ranch, CA
The spa spans 10,500 square feet and has 11 treatment rooms, most of which have private outdoor terraces. There are three couples treatment rooms, grouped in the same wing, allowing them to be sequestered for private functions, such as pre-wedding and birthday spa celebrations. The spa also features private men’s and women’s locker rooms, with steam saunas, as well as a co-ed Relaxation Lounge and Fitness Center. Treatments in the spa are each based on one of four specialized gardens, Lavender, Herb, Aiyana and Alchemist, which use the invigorating, restorative and relaxing energy found in the natural world. Services also include massage therapies, body therapies, advanced and organic skincare, visible results oxygen fusion, nail care, and waxing.
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Hacienda AltaGracia, Costa Rica

Auberge Spa at Hacienda AltaGracia, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica
Central America’s largest spa, the 20,000 square-foot Auberge Spa comprises indoor and outdoor treatment rooms – some featuring soaking tubs and private outdoor gardens, locally-inspired facials and body treatments, a panoramic pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and steam and sauna rooms. Untouched by tourism, the resort is located in the purest valley of what is the last unexplored area in Costa Rica, AltaGracia offers a true retreat surrounded by untainted beauty.
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Castello di Casole – Tuscany

Essere Spa
Originally the estate’s wine cellar, Essere Spa offers a serene setting within one of the most dramatic spaces on the property. Barrel-vaulted ceilings and restored stone walls create a theatrical setting accentuated by long views across an expansive valley. Essere Spa, meaning To Be in Italian, brings one into harmony with body, mind, spirit, and all that is Tuscany. A full treatment menu is inspired by local ingredients – rosemary, grape and olive oil – with products from the renowned brands Comfort Zone and Germaine de Cappuccini. European spa and wellness experts offer an extensive collection of traditional and modern therapies. Pools and steam rooms, a spectacular couple’s treatment suite with deep soaking tub and shower, and luxurious private outdoor gardens promise to at least make you feel like Italian royalty.

Mother’s Day Getaways To Bond For…

Pasta picture frames don’t quite make the grade as a Mother’s Day gift once darling daughter’s grown, but time together – especially when it takes the form of a weekend getaway – is something Mom will always treasure. We’ve gathered a few ideas to appeal to mothers and daughters of all interests, from luxury spa retreats to scuba diving adventures, each with plenty of opportunities to raise a glass (or tea cup) to the woman who made it all possible.

Take a look:

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1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel – Clayton, New York

A Thousand Thanks: Treat Mom to an epicurean Thousand Islands getaway at AAA Four Diamond-rated 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton, N.Y. The hotel’s Wine Tasting package offers tastings at two nearby vineyards, including the award-winning Coyote Moon; a selection of locally made River Rat Cheese; and breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant, Seaway Grille.

www.1000islandsharborhotel.com

Umstead Spa

The Umstead Hotel and Spa – Cary, NC

Two for Tea: The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C.) has all the makings of a classic mother-daughter day combining spa treatments with the hotel’s coveted Afternoon Tea. Unwind and bond in the Umstead Spa’s two-story relaxation lounges, complete with heated open-roof current pool and indoor Jacuzzi. After a rejuvenating treatment, it’s a short stroll to the hotel’s art-adorned lobby lounge for Afternoon Tea. There, guests enjoy a traditional presentation of teas and treats, from tea sandwiches to scones, accompanied by live harp music.

www.theumstead.com 

Pampering in Lake Placid: The 98-suite Whiteface Lodge (Lake Placid, N.Y.) has everything daughters need to treat mom to a luxury getaway surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondacks. The Pamper Yourself Spa Package for Two includes two 50-minute massages plus access to health and wellness classes, cedar wood saunas, eucalyptus-infused steam room, indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub. Also included are breakfast and suite accommodations with cast-iron gas fireplace, jetted spa tub and private balcony. Package rates start at $410

www.thewhitefacelodge.com 

Marriott Singer Island Pool

Marriott Singer Island Pool – Palm Beach

Palm Beach Spa Retreat: With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, the all-suite beachfront Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa in Florida offers sweeping views and palm-fringed sands. The resort’s Ultimate Spa Retreat pampers mothers and daughters with a 50-minute spa treatment at SiSpa and access to all spa facilities, including steam room, heated marble beds, relaxation room with hot tea bar, private whirlpool, and waterfall showers. Rates start at $504.

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Sanctuary – Camelback Mountain

Martinis and Mountain Hikes: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, one of Scottsdale, Arizona’s premier resorts, provides the perfect backdrop for a sun-soaked mother-daughter luxury adventure. The BFF Retreat package includes three nights’ accommodations; a martini kit in-room upon arrival; daily breakfast; a guided hike up Camelback Mountain; and a Bento box lunch to be enjoyed by the sparkling infinity pool.

www.sanctuaryaz.com 

Classic Martha’s Vineyard Vacation: Kelley House, in the heart of Edgartown, offers prime access to shops and restaurants, the town’s harbor and lighthouse. The inn’s historic Newes of America Pub is the perfect place to toast Mom with a pint of craft beer paired with classic pub-style fare, while the outdoor Wave Bar serves creative cocktails and small plates by the pool. Active mothers and daughters can hop on the Kelley House’s branded bikes to explore the island’s trails and streets.

www.kelley-house.com

Sea Crest Beach Hotel

Sea Crest Beach Hotel – Falmouth, MA

Double (or Triple) the Fun on the Cape: Make it a three-generational mother-daughter retreat, or add a sister or two by booking the three-bed, three-bath cottage at Sea Crest Beach Hotel (North Falmouth, Mass.). This quintessential Cape Cod retreat on the private sands of Old Silver Beach is home to Red’s restaurant, an indoor pool, and water-view rooms decorated in classic Cape style. The hotel’s private cottage features a private deck and back yard, fire pit, kitchenette, and large fireplace, perfect for family bonding.

www.seacrestbeachhotel.com 
A Carefree Cottage in Nantucket: Harborview Nantucket’s charming compound of 11 luxurious vacation cottages – each utterly distinct, offers rare harborfront access just steps from the attractions of Main Street. A range of cottage sizes, from one to four bedrooms, accommodate everyone from mothers and daughters to grandmothers and girlfriends. Cottage amenities include a full kitchen, spacious living and dining areas, a washer and dryer, and complimentary Cisco Brewery assorted beers and local wine upon arrival. Exceptional guest services and an attentive staff make planning the ultimate Mother’ Day celebration a worry-free treat.

www.harborviewnantucket.com 

The Virgin Hotel, Chicago: Miss Ricky’s

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Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

We’re lucky. We love Richard Branson and we now live down the street from his first foray into hospitality located in downtown Chicago, The Virgin Hotel. The property opened about a year and a half ago and, we’ll admit, they struggled a bit to find their way. Cocktails were too sweet and their wines were less than stellar. Since then, they’ve dug their heels in and are making vast improvements. Plus, their hotel rooms are well designed and offered at a great reasonable price. You can’t beat the location as a tourist either. You’re close to Millennium Park and all the great art museums, like The Art Institute.

One place that has been solid since inception has been their downstairs diner, Miss Ricky’s.

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Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

You don’t come here to diet (although I did eat the Dark Greens Salad – seen below), but you will find some perfect brunch and late night “I’ve had just enough drinks not to care” fare. I mean, will you look at those Chicken + Waffles and Tres Leches French Toast? They’re a sight to see. And, they were delicious. I’ve been to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, a famous spot for Chicken + Waffles and, although my California friends  and purists might kill me when I say this… I like Miss Ricky’s more. The chicken they use tastes like a high quality chicken breast and the syrup is the perfect compliment because it’s not thick and heavy, but rather, a light and spicy Sriracha maple combo. To die for!

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Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

There are two things everyone likes. Tres Leches cake and French Toast. If you don’t, I don’t want to know you. So, when you combine the two it is obviously a winning combination.

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Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

Of course, since I have to try my share of fattening foods to write about them, I ordered and devoured the Dark Greens salad. The dressing was light and perfect and they chopped it finer for me since there’s nothing that bothers me more than a salad with big chunks of lettuce or kale. Momma likes it finely chopped and I’m pretty sure most of the world does too (why else would all those chopped salad places start popping up, right?).

What I like most about Miss Ricky’s, however, just might be the staff. They come by and ask you, genuinely, how things are. They want to make improvements. And they do. Typical of a company run by someone like Branson, they listen and they learn. So, for diner fare, I given them a solid thumb’s up for speed, quality, and gluttony. I think they need to continue to refine their cocktail menu to remove some of the sweetness and work on the current trends in the cocktail space (e.g. spice, tart, botanical, etc.)

With that in mind, we recommend Miss Ricky’s for a solidly delicious brunch or late night meal that you’re going to enjoy. You may have to get a room to sleep it off or hit the skate rink at Millennium Park to work it off, but it’s damn good.

https://virginhotels.com

Italy’s Emilia Romagna

Lambrusco Grapes

Lambrusco Grapes

The region of Emilia Romagna always reminds me of a beautiful woman nestled in the arms of her sultry Italian love. So, as a tribute to a region we hold dear, we wanted to share a few A, B, C’s to get you started dreaming about wandering through cobblestone streets, sipping Lambrusco, and dipping fresh bread into their version of black gold… also known as balsamic vinegar.

Without further ado… the first five letters of the alphabet of Emilia from the top!

  • A for Art: The regions of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Le Marche and Umbria are celebrating the one year anniversary of their collaboration on the Terre di Piero, a unique trail following the work of 15th century painter Piero della Francesca visiting the four regions that inspired his work. The new year will bring two updates to the route. The first is a new exhibit at the San Domenico Museum Complex comparing the works of painters who came after Piero and were inspired by his work. The second will be that restorations to The Resurrection, which has been called the most beautiful painting in the world, are scheduled to be completed in August 2016. The process is currently in progress in a way that allows visitors to still view the masterpiece.
  • B for Black Gold: While balsamic vinegar is often thought of as a dressing, traditional balsamic vinegar is far too rich in flavor with a production process that is time-intensive to use it on salads. In order to receive recognition as a maker of traditional balsamic, the producer must follow a strict set of guidelines and practices. Visitors to the Modena area will find a number of tradition balsamic vinegar producers who are happy to share their knowledge and passion.
  • C for Competition: This year, Emilia Romagna’s Lambrusco Wine Competition showcased over 90 Lambrusco wine producers. Special to Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco grapes create a semi-sweet, fresh and light wine that has been produced since the Roman period. This wine can be found in most Emilian kitchens and consistently enhancing the flavors of any traditional meal. When Lambrusco is not being used to enhance the meal it can be ideal in making a Sangria or Spritz.
  • D for Delicious: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has been a culinary staple for ages to enhance flavor and, of course, top-off our favorite pasta dishes. The process of boiling, stirring and shaping the cow’s milk requires deep concentration to form the perfect block before aging to form the “King of Cheese.” Travelers visiting the Parma area will come across numerous Parmigiano Reggiano farms where they can see first-hand the steps that go into creating this beloved food.
  • E for Eat Up: Emilia Romagna boasts itself as the “breadbasket” of Italy. It is here that many pasta varieties we have all come to know, love and crave were created. From lasagna to tortellini, tagliatelle to ravioli, gnocci and more – Emilian’s throughout history have perfected the art of pasta-making. While visiting the region, sign up for an authentic Italian cooking class and toast these new-found skills!

For more information on places to stay, have a look at: http://www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/where-to-stay