Five Luxury City Hotels to Have Lunch at Once in Your Life

Having a great lunch at a luxury city hotel is always special. Combine that with unique ambiance and a view and it becomes unforgettable.  Here are five city hotels in the world that offer it all.  I’ll never forget them and I guarantee you won’t either.

The first is in my home town, New YorkAsiate restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel serves one of the best Sunday brunch-with-a -view, in all of Manhattan. It’s a pre-fixe sit down (not buffet) in an Asian inspired room.  Arrive around 1:30 and plan to dine for three hours. In the winter months when the days are short and the sun is descending you’ll see the deep purple hues hanging over Central Park and the residential high rises of the East Side.  It’s a great finale to a wonderful afternoon. You’ll need a reservation well in advance.

The second is Orchids at the Halekulani in Honolulu.  This is the hotel’s casual restaurant and is adjacent to the pool. The view of Waikiki Beach and the many surfers constantly gliding to shore over the perfect wave is always mesmerizing. The Halekulani is on a peninsula which juts onto the beach. People who are walking past have to walk over a catwalk, so all at once they are center stage for anyone who is dining at Orchids. It’s never boring!

The third is Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. The dining room in this former Ottoman palace is not only beautiful with great food, but the view of the Bosporus is spellbinding.  Here you are dining in Europe while looking at beautiful gardens, and beyond that Asia, while a constant parade of boat traffic ploughs the straights between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara as it has for centuries.

The fourth is Ajax Tavern in Aspen at the Little Nell Hotel.  Aspen is a resort but it’s also very much a city as well.  The restaurant is at the base of Aspen Mountain by the gondola so the view is exceptional.  It’s always been a great place for very good comfort food but the combination of people from all over mingling with the locals is a big part of what it’s about.  You’re bound to see either someone famous or at least the best ski outfits outside of St. Moritz.

My last pick is in South America at the bar and restaurant overlooking the pool on the roof of the Hotel Fasano in Rio de Janeiro. When the elevator door opens your eyes will pop and your jaw will drop.  The views of beautiful white sand Ipanema Beach with its pounding surf and the surrounding lush green mountains just doesn’t get  any better.  The produce in Rio is wonderful so do try the caesar salad.  Look behind you and up and you’ll get a glimpse of Christ the Redeemer guarding Rio.  You’ll understand all at once why Carioca’s always tell you that God is Brazilian.

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Culinary Tour Through Southeast Asia

For a foodie there is nothing better than traveling through local markets and eating at hidden gems in a foreign city.

From hole in the wall undiscovered treasures, to five star, impossible-to-get-into places, when it  comes to Southeast Asia (particularly Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) Chef Robert Danhi knows the food scene better than anyone.

Chef Danhi is a renowned chef and has written a James Beard nominated cookbook, Southeast Asian Flavors (one of my personal favorites) and has a new book on its way. He travels the world to inspire new recipes and will take groups of lucky travelers with him and give them access to a true culinary immersion experience. So get your friends together and head out on a custom made delicious adventure!

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Why Book Virtuoso?

So many of my clients say, “I have never used a travel agent before.” or “What is Virtuoso?” They don’t know the advantages that Classic Travel can provide.

I am here to tell you that we can bring you a ton of added value! Not only do we have extensive knowledge of most destinations you would like to visit, but through the Virtuoso network we have close relationships with hoteliers around the world and can get you great rates and special amenities. The best part of all is that you can book by yourself at and access our exclusive Virtuoso rates online.

How does this really help you? Well, let’s say you want to go to Rome. You look online and see the the Hotel de Russie has a deluxe room available for €700 per night. Then you head over to where you will see the same room available for €700 per night, but now it will come with an upgrade (if available), complimentary daily breakfast for 2 guests and €85 food and beverage credit.  The next room category is priced out at €800 per night, so for a 5 night stay, if you get upgraded, you will have received €500 of value. Breakfast daily is €40 per person, so over 5 days for 2 people that totals €400.  Plus the F&B credit.  The grand total of added value by using Classic Travel is €985!  This is almost $1,300!

I think the better question, is why would I ever not want to book with a travel agent?!

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Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations

I’m Heather, the Honeymoon Specialist at Classic Travel and I plan tons of romantic trips. However, some destinations were just made for honeymooners. Here are my top 5 romantic honeymoon places where you just can’t go wrong:

French Polynesia – Everyone wants an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora – we combine this with some time in Moorea and I always recommend a few days in Le Taha’a for really escaping it all.  This trip is great for beach lovers, and don’t miss the ATV ride and snorkeling with the sting rays for some added adventure!

Italy – What could be better than eating and drinking your way through Italy with the one you love? Some wine tasting in Tuscany, seafood in Capri and late nights in Rome make for a perfect trip!

Thailand – Everyone wants to visit the gorgeous beaches of Thailand – Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi…the choices are endless, each is unique.  I like to add in some time in the north – either Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai to see another side of this really special country.

Caribbean – Sometimes nothing is better than a quick jaunt off to the Caribbean.  Head to St. Barts during the winter months and you will feel like you are in St. Tropez in the summer!

South Africa – Sleep under the stars of an African sky while on safari in Kruger, one of the best game parks in the world. Then head to the beach in Cape Town and enjoy delicious wines and incredible scenery in Franschhoek, just a short ride away!

If you want any additional advice on any of these places or are looking to book your own romantic honeymoon, send me an email and I’d be happy to help!

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