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Karen Tina Harrison

Karen Tina's Luxury Travel Blog


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Santa Fe's Most Exciting Eats & Drinks, from Haute to Humble

Friday April 18, 2014
Chef Martin Rios

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.

Margarita Santa Fe
  • New Mexico's chow isn't Mexican, or Tex-Mex, or Arizona Southwestern
  • Santa Fe chefs have masterminded unique New Mexican cuisine
  • Geronimo restaurant Santa Fe
  • 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.

Chris Milligan Bartender Secreto Santa Fe

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.

Horseman's Haven Santa Fe Carne AdovadaPhotos from top: Chef Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin; Fresh raspberry margarita at Fuego; Santa Fe bouquet at Geronimo; Mixologist Chris Milligan of Secreto Lounge; Chef Eric DiStefano Santa Fe Chef Andrew Cooper's short ribs at Terra Restaurant; Carne adovada at Horseman's Haven; Chef Eric DiStefano of Geronimo and Coyote Café; (below) the marquee item at Kakawa Chocolate House. All ©Karen Tina Harrison Kakawa Chocolate Santa Fe

Montreal Jazz Festival, Fun & Fabulous, Coming June 26th

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Montreal Jazz Fest

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.

Montreal Jazz Fest Karen Tina Harrison

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.

Montreal Jazz Festival concert Photos: top ©Jean-François Leblanc/Montreal International Jazz Festival; fast festival friends (that's me at right, Karen Tina Harrison); above & below, Frédérique Ménard-Aubin/Montreal International Jazz Festival. Montreal Jazz Fest concert

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe: Cowboy Deluxe

Monday April 14, 2014
Four Seasons Santa Fe

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).

Santa Fe magic hour

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.

Diablo Canyon Santa Fe

For nature immersion, I recommend Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe a mere 10 minutes from the Plaza. Among its lures:

Pics including below: ©Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. Exceptions: Santa Fe landscapes: magic hour, Diablo Canyon, aspens ©Karen Tina Harrison

Rancho Encantado fire pit

How to Sleep Better Everywhere: on the Plane, at the Hotel, & Back Home

Friday April 11, 2014
Plane window

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.

Plane window sunrise

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:

Bora Bora view Cabeau sleep mask

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; Cosmopolitan-of-Las-Vegas-Hotel-Terrace-Suite-Bedroom.jpg 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. Benjamin Hotel NYC Sleep Concierge

Lexington Hotel NYC: Celeb Pedigree

Tuesday April 8, 2014
Lexington Hotel NYC

Celebrity-favored hotels are not a new phenom.

Marilyn and DiMaggio

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.

Lexington Hotel NYC stairs

And like a true superstar, it keeps reinventing itself. The Lexington is now an arts hotel, with great things to look at.

Leixngton Hotel library

Photos: ©The Lexington Hotel New York City. Exception: Marilyn and Joe the month they were married, January 1954. ©Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

Dental Tourism: Traveling Near & Far to Save Money & Your Smile

Sunday April 6, 2014
Dog Smiling

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.

Siamese Cat

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

Let's celebrate Luxury Travel together on | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | About |

Photos from top: Jack Russell terrier ©Brambleberries Photography/Wikimedia Commons; Blue Point Siamese ©Karen Tina Harrison; (below) sign on Central Asia's Silk Road ©MarthaC/Wikimedia Commons Silk Road Dentist

The Betsy South Beach Hotel: Arts, Books, & Cuisine on Ocean Drive (!)

Friday April 4, 2014
The Betsy lobby

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.

Betsy pool

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.

BLT Steak Tuna Tartare
  • 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.

Betsy deck

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Official 1,000 Places You Must See

Wednesday April 2, 2014
Quito Night Tarquinia

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.

St. Petersburg

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.

Ellora Caves

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.

Statue of Liberty

One way to think of them: Earth's Greatest Hits.

See some of them here on Luxury Travel:

Images of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from top: Quito, Ecuador ©Casa Gangotena: St. Petersburg, Russia; Tarquinia, Italy;Bruges 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 Fushimi Inari

Hotel St. Francis Santa Fe: Monastic Chic, Mixology Magic, Modest Tabs

Friday March 28, 2014
Hotel St Francis Santa Fe lobby

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.

Hotel St Francis Santa Fe room

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.

Hotel St Francis Santa Fe staircase

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.

Chris Milligan Bartender

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.

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

St. Francis Patio

Viceroy New York: Midtown Party

Sunday March 23, 2014

Viceroy New York hotel room

If you know NYC, you know that 57th St. is a dignified, uptown-attitude boulevard that runs from river to river.

Viceroy New York hotel 57th St.

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.

Kingside restaurant Viceroy New York hotel

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.

Viceroy New York hotel view

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.

Photos (including below): all ©Viceroy New York

Viceroy New York hotel lobby

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