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Archive for luxury dining

A Luxury Hotel on Wheels

By Linda Tancs

If a constantly changing room with a grand view of the world’s most remarkable sites sounds appealing, then hop on board the Danube Express. Operated by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, they offer a comprehensive off-train excursion program, a fully inclusive dining experience with quality wines and overnight stays in some of the finest five-star hotels in Europe. You can discover some of Europe’s less explored destinations amongst the magnificent cities of Prague, Budapest, Venice and Istanbul on a Grand Rail Tour. Debuting this year is a Superior Deluxe cabin, with private en-suite facilities and the ultimate in comfort. Limited to just four cabins per departure, each cabin offers comfortable daytime seating with a full-length sofa, two additional chairs and two full-size picture windows. A king-size bedroom transformation awaits you at night. Sleep tight.

Ireland’s First School of Falconry

By Linda Tancs

At Ireland’s Ashford Castle in County Mayo you’ll delight in an embarrassment of riches. Dating back to 1228, the glorious castle on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib set amidst 350 acres of ancient woods was once home to the Guinness family and later found fame as the respite of choice for actors in the classic film “The Quiet Man.” Now part of the Red Carnation hotel chain, the five-star property offers luxurious trappings fit for royalty (a common guest), like unique works of art, carefully sourced antique furniture, custom designed carpets and beds and exquisite towels and linens. No wonder, then, that it’s been voted one of the best hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure. Of all the estate’s activities, one of the most exciting is its falconry school. The oldest established school in the country, instruction in this ancient sport requires no previous training. Just the thing when the usual pursuits of golf, tennis, kayaking, boat cruising, horse riding, tennis or fishing just won’t do.

To the Manner Born

By Linda Tancs

Britain’s summer social calendar (the “Season”) runs from April to September.  Awash in cultural and sporting events, the Season finds great favor among the British elite, but even the hoi polloi enjoy a taste of society life–even if it is laden with rules of etiquette.  If you’re a little rusty on the finer points of appropriate behavior, then More Than Good Manners is ready to help you.  Founded by British aristocrat Veronica Joly de Lotbinière (a descendant of kings of France and England), the company offers booking services for high-profile events as well as manners and etiquette training for things like that pheasant shoot with a duke.  You, too, can be to the manner born.

A Dinner to Remember

By Linda Tancs

For those of you who think that a swanky dinner for two at Monte Carlo’s Louis XV is a wallet-busting experience at a mere $700 or so (not to mention a gastronomical delight), here’s one for the record books:  Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel is celebrating its impending 60th anniversary with a culinary offering to the tune of $1954 per couple.  Called the 1954 Dining Experience, this culinary “journey” (appropriately named considering it costs as much as some summer vacations) begins with a bottle of Louis Roderer Cristal champagne and includes Petrossian Royal Osetra caviar, a 12-ounce Japanese Wagyu strip steak, an artisanal cheese selection and two sweet treats created by the award-winning pastry-making staff, among other things.  Following the meal, you’ll be escorted to the star-studded LIV lounge for a wee dram to aid your digestion (but not your dwindling bank account).

The Food Beneath Your Feet

By Linda Tancs

Now talk about “farm to table.”  Usually, your food comes to you, like a nice catch at 16 feet or so below sea level.  Would you like to meet your catch at the source?  Ithaa Undersea Restaurant in the Maldives is the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant.  At 16 feet below sea level, you can spot your catch with 180° views of reef and marine life–no scuba gear required.  Unforgettable?  Be sure of that.  Kind of gives new meaning to the phrase “menu is seasonal and subject to change”–don’t you think?

A Mistletoe for Any Season

By Linda Tancs

There’s no need to hold out until the Christmas season to fall under the amorous spell of the mistletoe.  At the Mistletoe Lodge outside England’s Amberley Castle in West Sussex, summer is the perfect time to play Cupid.  Perched upon the beautiful sycamore trees by the Castle’s main entrance, the lodge is a tree house reached by a rope bridge and walkway, offering spectacular views of the 900-year-old Sussex castle and its lakes and grounds.  The tree house is available for rental for a ‘dîner à deux’ from May to September (weather permitting), offering up seasonal fare and a floral ambience custom crafted to your liking.  No wonder the luxury retreat is a favorite for marriage proposals.

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Grape Fest in Naples

By Linda Tancs

They’re uncorking a new decade in Naples, Florida at the annual wine festival from 28 to 30 January.  This year’s honored vintner is Domaine Serene of Dayton, Oregon.  Chic eats will be available from top chefs like Lee Hefter of Spago in Beverly Hills, Michael Anthony of New York’s Gramercy Tavern, Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia in Sydney, Australia and Art Smith of Chicago’s Table Fifty-Two.  More than a gastronomical delight, the luxury event benefits the Naples Children & Education Foundation, which supports charitable programs for underprivileged and at risk children in Collier County.  Since its inception in 2001, the festival has raised more than $82.5 million for children in need.  What better reason to raise a glass.

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