Regular readers of Luxury Travel know that I'm besotted by Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's an inspired luxury travel destination, and the food is fantastic.
This town of 65,000 boasts more fine restaurants than many cities 50 times its size.
- New Mexico's chow isn't Mexican, or Tex-Mex, or Arizona Southwestern
- Santa Fe chefs have masterminded unique New Mexican cuisine
- It showcases the Roadrunner State's Spanish and Pueblo heritage and its agricultural bounty
- And if you can handle them, New Mexico's incendiary chiles
It's basically impossible to get a bad meal here.
I've corralled Santa Fe's divine dining in two articles that tip you off to the can't-miss places and the most delicious dishes and drinks.
- Santa Fe's great gourmet restaurants
- And if you can dig a fabulous dive or two: Santa Fe's amazing affordable eateries
- Plus more reasons (like bespoke cowboy boots) to adore Santa Fe
A music festival is a great way to experience a destination. It settles the question of "what should we do tonight?" And music-fest T-shirts are the best.
Speaking of superlatives, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is the world's biggest and best jazz fest.
Its performers and concerts are sensational. And its timing, during French Canada's brief but delicious summer, is inspired.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival erupts for the 35th year from June 26 through July 6. It's got lots to love: 1,000 concerts and events; 3,000 musicians from 30 countries.
This season's artists include legends like Michael Bublé, Keith Jarrett, Diana Ross, Bobby McFerrin, Brad Mehldau, Randy Brecker, Dianne Reeves, Ginger Baker, Roy Hargrove, and many other icons and stars-to-be.
Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of America's most distinctive destinations. Credit its vivid high-desert panorama and its exotic hybrid culture (Old Spanish, Pueblo, Wild West).
Many Santa Fe visitors, especially first-timers, like to stay downtown near the historic Plaza. But it would be a shame not to come face-to-face with the glorious landscape.
I think that the ideal Santa Fe visit would entail a few nights in town and a few more amidst the landscape.
For nature immersion, I recommend Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe a mere 10 minutes from the Plaza. Among its lures:
- A classic Western perch: piñon-covered hills and turquoise sky by day; by night, a canopy of stars with coyotes howling in the distance
- Deluxe private casitas with everything you need (like a great bed, a vast tub) and lots that you crave (heated bathroom floor, terrace, fireplace)
- Wonderful dining at Terra restaurant; a bliss-out spa; an on-site nature outfitter
- And that signature we-love-you service from Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
- Find out more about Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe
- And its home, the habit-forming American destination, Santa Fe
Pics including below: ©Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. Exceptions: Santa Fe landscapes: magic hour, Diablo Canyon, aspens ©Karen Tina Harrison
When you fly business or first class, or in a private jet, you know you're going to fly comfortable.
Flying coach, you're the master of your own fate. You must do everything in your power to improve your flight experience.
That means getting a better seat and carrying on what you need for enhanced comfort.
I'm a carryon ninja, hand-carrying my two small bags, including my inflight kit, onto the plane. In the kit:
- Noise-reducing headphones
- Inflight beautifiers including hydrating, lasting BeautyADDICTS Sweet Lips gloss
- My iPad and a magazine
- And the best seat accessories, by Cabeau: Evolution Pillow, Midnight Magic Sleep Mask, and their kitten-soft travel blanket
- Clinch a premium economy seat for no upcharge, and other travel tricks that no one ever shares
- Beat jet lag and relearn good sleep habits; how Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts can help
- Check out how a hotel in the city that never sleeps can guarantee good sleep to guests
- How international model India Hicks fools herself into thinking she's flying first class
- How to pack everything you'll need inflight and at your destination, all in your allowed two carryon bags
- Once you've landed, get the hotel room you want
- Dare to dream: our travel writers' bucket lists
More ways to get the travel experience you want:
Pics from top: Three views from the plane, the last of Bora Bora in French Polynesia ©Karen Tina Harrison; Midnight Magic Sleep Mask and Evolution Flight Pillow ©Cabeau; Suite bedroom at ©Four Seasons Resort Nevis; Terrace Suite at ©The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; (below) Anya, the Sleep Concierge at ©The Benjamin Hotel NYC.
Celebrity-favored hotels are not a new phenom.
The Kim and Kanye of their day, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, kicked off their honeymoon at The Lexington Hotel New York City.
The hotel has lasted considerably longer than that marriage: 85 years versus nine months.
And like a true superstar, it keeps reinventing itself. The Lexington is now an arts hotel, with great things to look at.
- Find out more about the star-studded past and arty present of The Lexington Hotel New York City
- Be hungry for superb and scenic dining in nearby Grand Central Terminal at Michael Jordan The Steak House N.Y.C.
- Here are the reasons, but a visit is up to you: New York, New York
Photos: ©The Lexington Hotel New York City. Exception: Marilyn and Joe the month they were married, January 1954. ©Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain
Medical tourism has become mainstream.
Even with the advent of Affordable Care, many U.S. citizens will still cross borders seeking top-notch but lower-priced medical care.
They will still head to places like Pamplona in Spain for cardiology and neurology, Bangkok in Thailand for fertility treatments, and Sao Paulo in Brazil for cosmetic surgery.
One of the most popular forms of medical tourism is dental tourism.
Destinations like Costa Rica and Zagreb in Croatia lure overseas patients with their longstanding traditions of dental care.
Some American dental tourists don't even have to step onto a plane. They can park near the border in Arizona, walk through Mexico's border gates into the town of Aguas Calientes, and enjoy first-rate dental care at a fraction of American tabs.
- Find out more about how U.S. services like Dental Departures package your travel and treatments, and how much you can save with dental tourism
- Get up to speed on the explosive overall phenomenon of medical tourism
South Beach...not exactly the literary crowd, huh?
Well, guests at The Betsy - South Beach are exactly the literary crowd. This beachfront Ocean Drive hotel goes for it. It celebrates the arts in concept and in practice.
Says Sara Liss, who visited and wrote up The Betsy for Luxury Travel, "In South Beach, you want and expect a 1940s beachfront hotel, renovated for today's tastes."
"What you might not expect is a South Beach hotel with a writer-in-residence, memoir workshops, jazz jams, and poetry slams."
"The Betsy - South Beach is not for the Koolaid-and-vodka after-party crowd," muses Sara.
- See what else Sara liked, such as the BLT Steak restaurant, the rooftop lounge, and the free yoga classes, at The Betsy - South Beach >>
Note to readers: Sara is no longer a Guest Author at Luxury Travel. She is the new Expert at resorts.about.com. Go say hello!
Pics (including below) ©The Betsy - South Beach.
The places you must see: a buzzy phrase for a few years now.
Credit where credit is due. UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural arm, started the original list in 1978.
But UNESCO World Heritage Sites is more than a list.
UNESCO's ongoing designations reflect a noble aim and project: to identify and protect the world's most meaningful places, whether built by man or created by nature.
Today, there are 981 UNESCO World Heritage Sites everywhere but Antarctica. Italy has the most (47), India 30, the U.K. 28, U.S. 21, and Canada 17.
If you've experienced the world's great cities and beautiful beaches, here's a new goal. Start seeing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
One way to think of them: Earth's Greatest Hits.
- Find out more about UNESCO World Heritage Sites
See some of them here on Luxury Travel:
- Angkor Wat Shrine, Cambodia
- Borobodur Temple, Indonesia
- Kyoto’s temples and shrines
- The banks of the Seine in Paris
- Tower of London and Westminster Abbey in London
- Etruscan Necropoli of Cervetari and Tarquinia, Italy
- Porec in Istria, Croatia
- Leon Cathedral and Leon Viejo in Nicaragua
- Quito, Ecuador
- City of Valletta, Malta
- Fortified Old City of Quebec
Images of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from top: Quito, Ecuador ©Casa Gangotena: St. Petersburg, Russia; Tarquinia, Italy; Ellora Caves, India; Statue of Liberty; Clock, Tallinn, Estonia; Clock Tower, Bordeaux, France; Bruges, Belgium ©Karen Tina Harrison; (below) Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan ©Paul Vlaar /Wikimedia Commons
It's not easy to get a great rate in a super-stylish boutique hotel. Especially in a luxury travel hotspot like Santa Fe, New Mexico.
But Hotel St. Francis delivers. This 1920s-era beauty two blocks from Santa Fe's central Plaza was recently renovated in monastery chic to honor the Franciscan monks who were dispatched to Santa Fe in the 1600s and 1700s.
The hotel's vaulted lobby is lit by iron sconces and pillar candles. And its rooms are sparely beautiful, with handmade wood armoires and downy white beds.
Somehow, I doubt that Santa Fe's Franciscans slept in such comfort.
The hotel's cutting-edge bar, Secreto, isn't exactly a bastion of monastic behavior, either. Even if Santa Fe star mixologist Chris Milligan works miracles with fire and ice.
- Find out more about Santa Fe's mid-priced marvel, Hotel St. Francis
- Check out Santa Fe's great cheap restaurants
- And Santa Fe's best luxury restaurants
- And Santa Fe's celebrity cowboy boot shop, Back at the Ranch
- I've got many more reasons to love Santa Fe
Photos of ©Hotel St. Francis, from top: lobby; room; staircase; Secreto bartender Chis Milligan (©Karen Tina Harrison); baptismal font in lobby; (below) dining patio of the hotel's Tabla de Los Santos restaurant
If you know NYC, you know that 57th St. is a dignified, uptown-attitude boulevard that runs from river to river.
And here comes a brash new hotel, Viceroy New York, to break the rules.
You'd expect that from the upstart Viceroy Hotels and Resorts brand. And you'd also expect their 57th St. hotel to become a hot local hang.
You'd be right. Viceroy New York's be-here-now lobby restaurant and bar, Kingside, has brought downtown cool uptown, along with NYC chef Marc Murphy's signature dig-in dinners for two and handcrafted cocktails.
Upstairs, Viceroy's rooms are pretty sweet. And the Central Park view from the penthouse bar, The Roof (shown here at dusk), is unique New York.
- See what you'd like most about Viceroy New York
- And for your next tropical vacation, consider Viceroy Riviera Maya
- Or Viceroy Zihuatanejo (both in Mexico)
- Or across the country, for LA chic on the beach, Viceroy Santa Monica
Photos (including below): all ©Viceroy New York