Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
In search of the ideal present for the Scotch lover on your list? Famed single malt distillery Glenfiddich has partnered with renowned luxury glassmaker Steuben to create an exclusive hand crafted whisky decanter (above) in a limited edition. Priced at $690 and available exclusively at the Steuben flagship store in New York, the bespoke decanter is a collaboration between Steuben's master craftsmen and Glenfiddich master distiller Brian Kinsman, representing more than a century's worth of artisanship, tradition and expertise. The Steuben hallmarks of flawless design and attention to detail are combined with filigreed decorative elements inspired by some of the rarest and most precious Glenfiddich expressions.
The elegant piece also features subtle design cues that reflect the storied history of the Glenfiddich distillery, est. 1876, including the famous stag head design and the signature of its founder William Grant. "Both Glenfiddich and Steuben share a dedication to craftsmanship that stretches back more than a hundred years," notes David Bitran, Glenfiddich Senior Brand Manager. "In that time, while the successes of both our companies have grown, the dedication to craftsmanship and quality has endured." "Much like Glenfiddich, this beautiful decanter is the result of hard work, the best materials and the finest craftsmanship," adds Robert Nachman, Vice President of Design and Marketing for Steuben.
New York's chic Royalton, which started the boutique hotel craze when it first opened back in 1988, has just launched Forty Four (above), a stylish new bar / lounge curated by a team of all-star mixologists known as The Cocktail Collective. Occupying the hotel's former Brasserie 44 space with the addition of a square bar at what used to be the entrance to the restaurant, Forty Four's decor is a mixture of rich dark woods, leather upholstery, metal accents and innovative lighting. Selected from the best cocktail bars in the country, the founding members of The Cocktail Collective have created a menu of classics paying homage to the finest hotel bars for the new space. Meanwhile Royalton's Executive Chef Scott Ekstrom, formerly of Daniel and Oceana, has created a modern menu of small plates to compliment the cocktails including Black Lime Shrimp Cocktail, Parmesan Risotto Poppers, White Miso Tuna and Nueske Bacon Crisps.
The drinks list includes the Maiden's Prayer (gin, calvados, Cocchi Americano, and apricot liqueur served up with a twist); The Pharaoh Cooler (a tequila highball featuring fresh organic watermelon and lime juices, house-made grenadine, a hint of cane syrup and a few dashes of rosewater), and a Champagne Cobbler (champagne poured tall over crushed ice with muddled citrus zest, sugar, Peychaud's bitters and a crown of fresh fruits in season). In addition they've come up with a "punch" menu for large groups designed to replace "passé" bottle service. The founding members of The Cocktail Collective include Richard Boccato from Pain Killer in New York City; John Lermayer from The Florida Room in South Beach and Woodward in Boston; Simon Ford, a global cocktail ambassador based in New York City; Willy Shine from Contemporary Cocktails, Inc. in New York City; Misty Kalkofen from Drink in Boston; and Eric Alperin from The Varnish in Los Angeles.
London's renowned Savoy hotel has just reopened following a massive $350 million revamp encompassing one of the most ambitious restorations in British history. The world famous landmark, built by impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan operas, originally opened in August 1889. Originally managed by Swiss hotelier César Ritz and Maitre Chef Auguste Escoffier, the hotel quickly became known for impeccable service and cuisine as well as glittering parties and famous patrons. Over the decades George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Noel Coward entertained there, while famous guests included King Edward VII, Harry Truman, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor, Coco Chanel, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and numerous others. The property, now managed by Fairmont, has been closed for nearly three years while the impressive restoration project took shape.
120 years later the hotel's two main design aesthetics, Edwardian and Art Deco, have been carefully revitalized under the direction of world-renowned designer Pierre Yves Rochon. More than 1000 craftspeople, artists and artisans worked tirelessly to create interiors that are in keeping with the hotel's original and much-loved spirit. 38 new River Suites and guestrooms have been added, offering the same stunning views over the River Thames that inspired Whistler and Monet. Nine Personality Suites pay tribute to a few of the artists and well known figures who made the legendary hotel their London home away from home including Sinatra, Maria Callas, Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich. The suites contain art, literature, photographs and artifacts that evoke the time and spirit of the stars including the 12 pink roses in the Marlene Dietrich Suite that the actress always requested upon arrival.
The reopening also includes the addition of a stately $16,000-per-night, 325-square meter Royal Suite featuring two bedrooms, a study, sitting room, dining room, master bathroom, dressing room (with a specially ventilated shoe closet) and a master bedroom with a bespoke Savoir bed. The suite has been specially designed so that all the rooms enjoy one of the finest views of London. The legendary River Restaurant meanwhile gets a contemporary interpretation of Art Deco décor, and the famed cocktail mecca the American Bar is back in business while Savoy Grill returns under the operation of Gordon Ramsay Holdings with Chef Patron, Stuart Gillies and Head Chef, Andy Cook. [continued]
Gallery: The Savoy Reborn
Filed under: Spirits
Adjoined to the well-lauded Chicago nightclub Le Passage is The Drawing Room, an exclusive dining and cocktail lounge and nominee for a Readers' Choice Award for Best Cocktail Lounge.
Pull up a chair to a rustic wooden table in the exquisite venue inspired by designer Hugh N'Cho-Allepot and order a small plate of contemporary, seasonal cuisine -- you'll need food in your stomach as you embark on a journey through the handcrafted liqueurs and innovative imbibables of The Drawing Room.
Gallery: The Drawing Room in Chicago
Tales of the Cocktail winner Charles Joly is the Chief Mixologist presiding over the impressive team of Master Bartenders at The Drawing Room, and together they hone delicious recipes and hand-make ingredients for both pre-Prohibition cocktails and cocktails of the future. Ask for table-side service, and someone will wheel a cart to your table with all the in-house brandied cherries, hand-squeezed fruit juices and bitters from scratch they need to create your consummate cocktail. Your mixologist will walk you through the process and let you smell and/or taste each delectable ingredient. Even the ice is special: The Drawing Room uses a one-of-a-kind, upside-down, horizontal evaporating ice machine to make each cube clear and perfect.
Drinks at The Drawing Room are constantly changing, but they've been known to make their "culinary cocktails" with ingredients like rose water, honey water, lemon oil, egg white, Canton ginger liqueur, torched bitters and Malort, among other unusual elixirs. Metromix recommends the "Secret Cocktail (Plymouth gin, Laird's AppleJack, pomegranate grenadine and fresh lemon-sour, $16), and A Perfect Poire (Bacardi Apple, Marie Brizard Poire liqueur, pear puree, cinnamon-pear maple syrup and a caramelized pear slice garnish, $16)."
Some readers seem perfectly willing to lay down in the street to get their hands on a table, describing the cocktails as "unbelievably well-balanced" and "the best drink I've ever had." Similar comments surround the food -- we highly recommend going there and checking out whatever they're doing with bacon this week.
Vote for the cocktail lounge that you believe is the best of breed. The voting period runs through April 30 and winners will be announced on May 1.
Lost Society is a perfect hideaway for late night dining and especially drinking in Clapham, London, and has been nominated for a Readers' Choice Award for Best Cocktail Lounges.
The venue, which is a two-story barn dating back to 16th century England, has been redesigned as a dark, sexy country mansion reminiscent of movies like Clue or even Eyes Wide Shut. Six rooms provide completely different experiences, from dancing in the Crystal Ballroom to dining in the Black & White room, from classic cocktails in the Conservatory to "intelligent drinking" in the Library.
And what it is "intelligent drinking," exactly? Curl yourself in an ornate chair by the sky-high bookshelves and taste a fine wine or a Grape Expectations (White grapes and basil leaves with Zubrowka Bison Vodka, elderflower, lime juice, sugar and Chilean Sauvignon Blanc), and you will probably come up with the answer yourself.
Gallery: Lost Society in London
Felix at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong offers both spectacular service and a stupendous view of Hong Kong, and has been nominated for a Readers' Choice Award for Best Hotel Bars.
Fortuitously situated with an outlook facing Victoria Peak and Hong Kong Harbor, Felix boasts front row seats for a "galaxy of lights" in the evening which they describe as "the most magical show on earth." As you can see from the photos, the views inside the bar aren't too shabby, either.
The grand opulence of The Peninsula Hotel is the perfect setting for this luxurious bar experience. Guests of the highest caliber from all over the world can enjoy the beauty of Hong Kong from the uber-contemporary 28th-floor haven over an elegant bowl of Sunchoke and Lobster Soup with Meyer Lemons and Capers, or a Prawn Cracker-crusted Garoupa with a Shrimp Pillow, Scallions and Champagne Butter.
Late night dishes include small yet extravagant fusion offerings like Smoked Beef Tenderloin with Carmelized Onions and Brie on Toast, Salty Five Spices Pork Ribs and Salmon Nachos, and desserts like Rose Champagne Terrine with Seasonal Berries and Peach Reduction and a menu item entited "Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate" (really, who needs a further explanation?).
You'll find cocktails of both the avant-garde and classic varieties at Felix, and no children under 12. An additional bonus: as no "plastic footwear" is permitted, you won't see a single pair of Crocs.
Vote for the hotel bar that you believe is the best of breed. The voting period runs through April 30 and winners will be announced on May 1.
Filed under: Spirits
No matter what country they're from, everyone seems to love Harry's New York Bar, a Paris venue nominated for a Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice Award for Best Cocktail Lounge.
Since 1911, Harry's New York Bar has been mixing masterpieces for Parisians and international celebrities like Ernest Hemingway, FDR and the Duke of Windsor. The expatriate community is celebrated and encouraged there -- a somewhat atypical attitude in Paris -- and the bar is adoringly referred to as "Sank Roo Doe Noo," which is what the address sounds like if your French is terrible.
The bar is in the style of a proper classic cocktail venue; the main wooden bar is cozy and intimate, the walls are layered with college football pennants and black and white photos, the ceiling is dark and ornate, the downstairs piano bar is sultry and sophisticated and the lighting is warm and low. Be sure and take note of the Scottish crests on the walls; the original owner, American star jockey Tod Sloan, hired Scotsman Harry McElhone to run his "New York Bar," and he left his mark everywhere including the neon marquis out front.
Gallery: Harry's New York Bar in Paris
Harry's New York Bar has the distinguished distinction of (and our eternal gratitude for) having invented the Bloody Mary, the Sidecar and many other cocktails during their 99 year history. Perhaps one of their current concoctions will one day be as successful. Our bets are placed on the "Web Spirit" (5 cl mezcal, 2 cl cranberry juice, 1 cl lemon juice and 2 cl peach liqeuer), which they created for the launch of their website -- simple, yet devastatingly effective.
Though it's a long way to travel, you're certain to be welcomed at Harry's New York Bar -- and if you find yourself in Paris on Thanksgiving or The Fourth of July, there's no better place to be for American splendor (and drink specials).
Vote for the cocktail lounge that you believe is the best of breed. The voting period runs through April 30 and winners will be announced on May 1.
Glassware - How many to stock of each depends on usage and personal preference, but the list is generally ordered from most frequently used at the top to least frequently used at the bottom.
Mixers - Most mixers are best stocked in small or single-serve sizes so they stay fresh for long periods and limit waste when you open one for a single drink.
Bloody Mary mix
Arne Jacobsen's Cylinda-Line bar accessories have been around since the 1960s and the latest incarnation of the design is courtesy of iconic British designer Paul Smith, who has turned the classic set into "a gorgeous fantasy in black." Titled simply 'Statement,' Smith gave the steel a black titanium finish and accented it with his own personal statements, engraved so the letters shine through the titanium in contrasting steel script, that say inspirational things like "take pleasure seriously" and "start something new." The Statement bar set is available in limited edition and includes a cocktail mixer and spoon, shaker, ice bucket with tongs, a two-liter pitcher with strainer, small glass coasters and a serving tray.
Famed French luxury goods house Louis Vuitton has come out with an updated, ultra-luxe version of the classic Whisky Case portable bar that the firm first offered in 1955. Available by special order priced at about $35,000, it's wrapped in elegant Taiga leather, though you can order it in iconic monogram canvas as well. And whereas with its compartment for mixer the previous model was more of a Scotch and soda case, if you will, the new incarnation demands nothing less than the finest single malt. Constructed entirely by hand at Vuitton's atelier in France with fittings, hasps and locks of silvered solid brass, it comes with a silver ice bucket and tongs, silver cocktail sticks in a pull-out drawer, four crystal whiskey tumblers, a crystal decanter with a silver lid, and two crystal "Coupelle" dishes in separate compartments.
The world's coolest new bar has just opened at the ultra-luxe Ayana Resort & Spa in Bali. To get to the Rock Bar, towering 46 feet above the crashing waves, you have to take a special lift that traverses the face of a dramatic craggy seaside cliff. There are uninterrupted, 360-degree views on all sides in a setting any Bond villain would love. Designed by Yasuhiro Koichi of Japan's Design Studio SPIN, it's an enviable feat of engineering, architecture and mixology. Designed to ensure maximum seclusion for every guest, the Ayana's 78 free-standing, cliff-top luxury villas are set in traditional Balinese compounds with private pools surrounded by tropical gardens.
[via Duncan Quinn]
Seems like most of the mobile bars I see are stainless steel, which looks nice but is also very cold and modern. I prefer the coziness that comes with a bar like this one, the Italian Leather Bar by Serge de Troyer. Made of Iguana-embossed Italian leather and styled like a large trunk, it exudes comfortable elegance in the form of mirrored double doors that open to reveal a fully functional bar inside with padded leather drawers, a sliding glass shelf, slots for glassware and plenty of room for large and small bottles. The exterior detailing includes leather straps and chrome studs, and of course wheels for easy mobility and accessibility. $8,500
Last week my colleague Deirdre Woollard reported on the Empire State Building's swanky new lobby, part of a $550 million building-wide renovation project. Now comes word that the New York architectural icon is also getting a great new cocktail lounge from nightlife entrepreneur Mark Grossich, known for elegant boîtes like the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station. He's turning a 3,500-sq.-ft. former post office on the skyscraper's ground floor into the Art Deco-style Empire Room, slated to open at the end of November. Design firm Goodman Charlton has cooked up an elegant scheme employing plush mohair, intricate cut velvets, macassar ebony, silver leaf, embossed leather, marble and polished stainless steel in tones of rich brandy, deep cognac, icy silver, and golden cream for the interior (rendering above), meant to evoke a more glamorous era of supper clubs and gentlemanly drinking establishments.
[via Duncan Quinn]
An historic landmark has been reborn in New York, "marking the intersection between decades of nightlife expertise and over 100 years of luxury design." Located in a circa 1865 building in the heart of the city's most famous nightlife neighborhood, The Gates features an interior salvaged from the art nouveau masterpiece the New York Biltmore Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Upon the hotel's demolition in 1984 the most impressive elements from the lobby and bar (including an original bronze and marble telephone booth) were rescued and re-established in the Chelsea space which has since become one of the most iconic rooms in the city.
After laying empty for several years and having fallen into a state of neglect, The Gates (formerly the Biltmore Room) was recently brought back to life by nightlife impresarios Danny Kane and Rod Surut. The lavish space, featuring floor-to-ceiling Carrera marble walls (valued at $2.5 million alone), is kept private from the street by a pair of stunning brass gates from the original hotel, which give the venue its name. A VIP room complete with a fireplace and crystal chandeliers, a full kitchen and bar catering to 285 people, a state of the art sound system, DJ booth and the refinement of the bar room to its previous glory are the key elements breathing new life into a storied space.
"We were working with a room that had such a strong personality, it was great to play that against all the innovations we were making to create one of the most unique spaces in the country," Kane notes. The project felt like the "re-emerging of a character who's played such an important part in the social history of New York City." The New York Biltmore Hotel, opened in 1913 with nearly 1,000 rooms, was a landmark luxury hotel designed by Warren and Wetmore, who also designed the adjoining Grand Central Terminal. Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald honeymooned there (and were asked to leave on account of rowdiness) and the Biltmore figured in several of his stories as well as in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
Gallery: The Gates