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Travel (11)

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 19:25

The Modern Haus

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The Modern Haus heading

It has been quite the long and difficult haul for all of us, given recent events. As we emerge out of our ever changing protocols along with life, travel and all social limitations, we were urged to stay put in quarantine mode for such a long stretch, we can now finally exhale a collective sigh of relief and resume; dip a proverbial toe into the water via dining, travel, work, socializing and life as a whole. What better way to break the ice than to travel to a destination escape, that not only touts itself as a haus aka residential-style hotel for a seamless transition from home to haus (per its fitting name), but absolutely lives up to it with all of the creature comforts one could wish for, escalated to a high level of luxury unsurpassed, while still maintaining a comfortable at home vibe. 

Located on a quaint side street off of Sixth Avenue in NYC’s Soho district, enter ModernHaus and absorb it in its entirety, from its location among other stately cast-iron buildings and authentic cobblestone streets, to its deliberate nod to its artsy neighborhood dynamic. Notice the splendor of the art adorning its walls, showcasing many of the most influential icons of the 20th century, the art-clad interiors making this building feel more like a collector’s loft than a towering Manhattan hotel.

Check in if you please, and enjoy a “turn-key” room awaiting you, featuring opulent king-sized beds, walk-in showers with rainfall heads, bath tubs resplendent with Le Labo bath products, all high-end accommodations and amenities. Be wowed by the floor-to-ceiling windows, which show off its skyscrapers proudly, including the breathtaking Freedom Tower, all buildings lit up at night with the lights of many workaholics still at task.

A rooftop pool is hard to come by, agreed?

Find your pool and full oasis along with it at ModernHaus’ top-floor Jimmy, a sleek, mahogany-clad bar with panoramic views of lower Manhattan, complete with a pool deck to lounge. With decor inspired by Picasso's Blue period, JIMMY has a cozy yet lively atmosphere, with both vintage and contemporary furniture and a roaring fireplace, all surrounded by 14’ windows with panoramic views of Midtown, Wall Street, the Hudson River, and the bridges spanning the East River. For further lounge access, Jumpin Jacks on the second floor is an all-day eatery that transforms into a lounge at night.

As for a magical and tasty dining experience, visit Veranda restaurant by Michelin-starred chef George Mendes in collaboration with restaurateur David Rabin and catering and events group Abigail Kirsch. Set beneath a retractable greenhouse, this dining room allows for flexible indoor/outdoor dining, with several indoor and outdoor cocktail area seating options. Enjoy such signatures as the hummus with tomato, chickpeas, grilled naan, crudité herbs and flowers and falafel or the steamed mussels with garlic, cilantro, grilled chorizo and olive oil. For an extraordinary treat, the duck rice features traditional duck leg confit, seared breast, chorizo, black olives, orange and crispy duck skin giving it a contemporary flair. 

Noteworthy is their in-room dining program, perfect for an impromptu breakfast in bed.

Why not treat yourself?

Located steps up from Veranda with its own entrance on 6th Avenue, The Back Bar at Veranda features several open-air terraces, adorned with pendant lights and a fireplace, with both high-top and table seating. Sip a signature cocktail such as the wanderlust; mezcal, green chartreuse, absinthe, coconut and lime. For a real treat for rose wine fans, the Rose Flight features three tastings of select roses.

An elegant option for events, The Signature Room features an arched wood ceiling, velvet seating, a private bar and a skylight under which an evergreen olive tree stands and warms the space perfectly.

As far as extra accoutrements, ModernHaus Soho is loaded to the brim with those.

For example, WundaMat @ ModernHaus Rooftop Pool offers Pilates for all levels.

As we all know, brunch is beloved to many. In that spirit, Chef George Mendes presents a seasonal menu that pairs perfectly with inspired cocktails to be savored under Veranda’s glass pergola. Sip your stress away and take in the spectacular atmosphere.

Getting restless?

SoHo is one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in NYC, offering sublime shopping, dining and cultural experiences.

Exit the building and just simply start walking in any direction!


Friday, 24 July 2020 20:32


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Travel to GreecePanoptis Escape, Mykonos, Greece

13 rooms start from USD4,760 per night including breakfast

Overlooking the idyllic Elia Beach in Mykonos, Panoptis Escape is an ensemble of boutique villas that offers a 360-degree view of the Aegean Sea. From its exclusive, hilltop position, surrounded by the wild, natural beauty of Mykonos, everything about Panoptis Escape is the definition of ‘less is more’, using imaginative contemporary architecture, minimalist styling and artisan craftsmanship. Each villa features its own outdoor spa Jacuzzi or private infinity pool, individual design as well as different room concepts. Inspired by its namesake, Zeus, the king of the Ancient Greek gods, Panoptis Escape aims to elevate the hospitality experience to divine standards – and the experienced team of staff are here to take care of guests’ every whim from private helicopter to yacht charters. The resort operates from 15 May to 15 October 2020.

SLH Insider Tip: Be right at home at Panoptis Escape with their groceries shopping and in-house chef services.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 14:26

Marriott Stanton South Beach Gladys

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South Beach Stanton Marriot1

… Is it a lovely stroll in vibrant lush greenery or a colorful garden, or a fabulous meal with a perfectly paired bottle of wine? Is it complete silence or the opposite--getting lost in the clamor of a perfectly busy day? Is it maybe gazing at the moon and the stars or raking your feet through the warm sand of a pristine beach?

Or Is it perhaps, all the above?

If so, visit Marriot Stanton in South Beach and dig in. With direct beach access, the Marriott Stanton South Beach checks all the boxes. Located in the posh and exclusive South of Fifth District of Miami Beach, this 224-room resort offers the serenity of the ocean and its renderings while being scant steps from the bustling city portion of the region. With a beachy and chill vibe, enter and take in the midcentury modern décor fused with South Beach’s signature Art Deco flare, again yin and yang.
Enjoy the sprawling Stanton Spa, overlooking the adjacent park with an ocean backdrop, nodding to the sea, enjoy its furnishings resplendent in natural earthy tones and textures with body treatments curated by Aroma Therapy Associates and THALGO, a leading skin care company. Relax and indulge is a massage, facial, scrub or wrap treatment such as their unique Hot Seashell Therapy; a massage using lava shells or the Alpha Beta Firming Peel; a facial using LED light therapy from celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross. The treatment rooms are designed to bring the beach feel inside from the outside, with appointments such as textured jute rugs and a nautical color palette. The Fitness Center next to the spa, offers targeted services geared toward custom weightloss, sports conditioning, strength training and all-around good health, with personal trainers on site. Scheduled group fitness classes like yoga and boxing are available and best of all, are conducted on the beach or the sun deck. Take a dip in the pool as Stanton features two pools and a chic ocean terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, with quick and direct beach access with cabanas and lounge chairs for rent. Looking for a snack to take the edge off? The street-accessible Starbucks attached, allows resort guests and locals alike, convenient access to the brand’s signature brews, artisanal pastries, fresh juices and more.

As for dining options, Lolo’s Surf Cantina, their onsite park side Mexican restaurant, features breakfast, lunch and dinner serving authentic dishes created by Chef/Partner Richard Ampudia, a Mexico City native. Enjoy such classic street food specialties like Queso fundido; molten chihuahua cheese, Oaxaca cheese, pico de gallo with chorizo and pork carnitas or for a lighter fresher option, Salmon ceviche with pico de gallo, mango, radish, fennel, cucumber, capers, cilantro, red onions with a citrus vinaigrette and plantain chips. For a vegetarian option, roasted heirloom cauliflower with mashed avocado, salsa roja, queso fresco and toasted pumpkin seed is delightful.

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South Beach Stanton Marriot3This in-house dining is truly their pièce de résistance. Azabu Miami Beach, conceived by Plan Do See’s Michelin-starred Sushi Azabu, New York, offers an authentic Japanese dining experience with a variety of gourmet selections. Helmed by Chef Masatsugu Kubo (Chef Masa) and Kenichi (Ken) Fujimoto, Azabu Miami Beach offers a full-service dining room with 80 seats, an 11-seat hidden sushi counter; The Den, where Tokyo-trained chefs serve Omakase exclusively and Bar Azabu, a classic cocktail bar featuring sakes and more than 40 imported whiskies. Enjoy the experience to its fullest and order a variety of sharable dishes like Robata-grilled Yakitori, Japanese friedrice served tableside on a sizzling Tobanyaki grill and other traditional fare. Also featured is a large, open format kitchenwhere guestscan observe and enjoy chefs preparing dishesusing the customary Japanese cooking method Robata.

Finish your dining experience here, with desert, the trendingJapanese Raindrop Cake; a jelly cake made with Pearl Agarserved with dried soybeans and Japanese brown sugar syrup.

Talk about a perfect ending!

South Beach Stanton Marriot4


Wednesday, 29 April 2020 14:05

Romantic Travel-Gladys Style

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Playa Mujeres1


When you approach the threshold of the Excellence Beloved, Playa Mujeres relax and allow your breath to be stolen away. Forgive yourself as you should, the complete and shameless abandon of your daily bustle. Drop your stress off at the Cancun airport, which is just minutes away from this dreamy paradise and allow yourself to be captured. Stroll into the grand vestibule and submit if you will, to the sights and fragrances about you, as you feel your senses heighten, ready to take in every drop of Beloved’s wonder. Take in the powdered sugar beach front stretching endlessly, peppered throughout with lazy hemp hammocks and swaying palm trees and gardens, accented in blue by pristine swimming pools. Poke a toe into the aquamarine bath warm ocean. From the meticulously prepared gourmet fare offered in a diversity of cuisines to all the luxury accoutrements, you will feel treated and romanced for the duration of your stay. With 109 suites, 4 restaurants, 6 bars and a lounge, 3 Swimming pools with 1 located beach front, a marina, 4 outdoor jacuzzies, guests staying at Beloved Playa Mujeres will enjoy 24-hour boutique all-inclusive service.

Beloved is proud to specialize in offer a romantic escape, showcasing any couple’s fantasy getaway, from honeymoon or vow renewals to anniversaries. Blue waters warmed by a glistening sun provide the ideal backdrop to your story as a couple. Every detail is curated with a couple’s unique love and romance in mind. Take a look at the honeymoon and anniversary packages available at Beloved Playa Mujeres and put yourself in the best of hands. Besides the formal celebrating, Beloved features private beachfront candlelight dinners or a beautiful breakfast in bed service, delivered first thing in the morning with finesse. There is a state-of-the-art discothèque for dancing till well into the night, and several drink spots to keep the party going. Beloved Playa Mujeres has complimentary honeymoon or anniversary packages, with specially prepared amenities like a turndown service and a champagne breakfast in bed. Also available is an Excellence Package upgrade, which includes a couple’s spa treatment and a private beachfront dinner.

At Beloved, you will find luxurious rooms and suites, many with both indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi’s, a walk-in shower room appointed with teak wood benches and rose petals sprinkled playfully atop white towel doves on your bed. Enjoy champagne chilling for a romantic toast, and a top shelf stocked bar for a last night cocktail.

The sky is the limit.

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Visit the Excellence Spa at Beloved and treat yourself to their signature hydrotherapy in the pool Aqua Viva, perhaps a Swedish sauna or a deep tissue massage. Enjoy the Mediterranean hydrothermal therapies including crystal steam Hammam, Roman Caldarium, and a Swedish Sauna as well as an ice glacier room, five sensations showers, heated lounge beds, plunge basins, contrast walk pools, swan neck massage jets, cervical cascade jets, water massage lounges and water ab stations, all treatments guided by a thermal valet. Add a lavish treatment or two such as a therapeutic massage, traditional Mexican healing rituals, full-body cocoons in heated beds, aromatherapy, seaweed treatments, facial and various signature massages. In keeping fit, Beloved Playa Mujeres fitness facilities includes an extensive state-of-the-art gym with a weight training area featuring the latest Technogym equipment, including the new EXCITE collection with individual TV screens and Personal Kinesis movement systems. Partake in a yoga or pilates session or perhaps sign up for a personal trainingsession.

At Beloved Playa Mujeres, the restaurants each offer healthy choices among their menus, including special vegetarian menus so you can enjoy wellness without comprising flavor.

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Le Bisou

This French influenced dining spot offers breakfast and dinner,with an ample and sumptuous buffet to start your day off right. Enjoy a variety of homemade breads, omelets, tropical fruits and juices and more. For dinner, Le Bisou serves traditional French fare in an elegant setting. Enjoy such tasty courses like escargot with potato confit in cream and parsley or clams and vegetables is short broth with garlic and cilantro. Beef loin in green pepper sauce, potatoes juice reduction and caramelized carrots is an example of a delicious meat option. Al dente asparagus with quail eggs in a vinegar reduction satisfies the vegetarian and all diners.

El Mar

Enjoy appetizers, pizzas, grilled fish and fresh seafood while you soak up the magnificent views.

La Isla Trattoria

Located poolside, La Isla Trattoria offers an open-air setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Beloved Playa Mujeres. Some favorites on the menu are bruschetta with ham, basil and olive oil or smoked salmon salad with vinaigrette dressing.

Lupita Steakhouse

A sublime à la carte experience is here, where an array of premium cuts of meat are their shining stars such as the flank steak, ribeye and New York strip. Pork, chicken and variety of pasta dishes costar and are just as popular.

Looking to add a little adventure?

With the marina right next door, set out by boat on a guided tour to nearby islands just off the Playa Mujeres coast, like a day trip to Isla Mujeres or the protected nature reserve of Isla Contoy. Looking to venture further? Explore the hidden wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula together with guided tours to ancient Mayan cities like Tulum or Chichen Itza.

Looking to shop a little? Beloved Playa Mujeres is within easy reach of the Cancun Hotel Zone, where you can spend a day of luxury shopping at malls like Kukulcan Plaza, La Isla Shopping Village, and Puerto Cancun.


Sunday, 26 January 2020 21:16

Out of this World Love!

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jupiter beach resort aerialOut of this World Love!

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa (Jupiter, Florida that is)

Karen Holly Berliner

Most people know Jupiter as the fifth planet from the sun, but the town of Jupiter is under the very same sun; a small and upscale coastal town in northern Palm Beach County.

Located here, Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa offers 168 rooms (36 suites) plus 4 luxury penthouse suites on pristine oceanfront property, resplendent with a limestone reef shoreline. Stay here and enjoy all that the resort has to offer. Take a leisurely swim in the oceanfront pool, complemented by a Jacuzzi, hammocks and an awaiting fire pit on the dune overlooking the ocean, perfect for those snuggly brisk nights. Sunbathe for hours on end or take a lovely beach walk.

Enjoy a Happy Hour at the Square Grouper Tiki Bar and be entertained by live music while sipping a cocktail prepared to order. Dine at Sinclairs Ocean Grill, Jupiter’s only oceanfront restaurant, which has enjoyed a complete transformation in adding a beautiful bar and expanded seating area that can accommodate up to 100 people. This beachfront restaurant overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and offers an intimate tropical setting with indoor and outdoor seating. With gourmet seafood dishes such as Sautéed Florida Keys Yellowtail Snapper, an extensive wine list, and signature cocktails, the restaurant showcases this towns signature casual elegance. The restaurant’s adjoining Sinclairs Lounge offers a cozy ambience with coastal designer furnishings and artistic accents of taupe, cream and sea glass green making for a well thought out backdrop. Dine on fabulous custom prepared dishes on the menu with signature dishes that include braised pork shank, seared sushi grade tuna and fresh ceviche made with yellowtail snapper and juicy white coastal shrimp. For a more casual vibe, The Sandbar is the resort’s poolside bar and restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, and noshes, fresh-pressed cocktails, and a kid-friendly menu portion for the children. Be sure to order the “Jupiter Dare Burger,’ a flame-grilled Angus patty with applewood smoked bacon, caramelized red onion, jalapeño, creamy peanut butter, grape jelly on a toasted brioche bun.

Can you beat that combo?

The outdoor dining area offers a hot tub, hammocks to swing on leisurely and sublime ocean views.

The Spa at Jupiter Beach Resort aims to pamper and offers signature treatments such as The OPAL Signature Ritual, which combines Body Renewal, Signature Ocean Facial, and the Ocean Manicure and Pedicure. Afterwards, sip an organic tea or a glass of the spa’s signature drinkable, smooth decadent dark chocolate.


jupiter beach resort sinclairs terraceWhen Jupiter (Florida) Aligns With Mars!

Step outside the resort and feast your senses on these!

Jupiter, Florida was originally named for the Hobe tribe of Native Americans, “Hobe” written in Spanish as “Jobe,” and then mistranslated by a mapmaker as “Jove” – which is the Latin translation of the Roman god's name Jupiter, “king of the gods.”

--Quite a circuitous route to the a most suitable name.

As for routes, why not venture a few and experience what this super town has to offer:

After all, Coastal Living magazine named Jupiter as one of the Top 10 Happiest Seaside Towns in the USA.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center

This 30-year-old organization rescues injured sea turtles and nurses them back to health before releasing them back into the ocean. Visit this center, and be sure to pack plenty of tissues for sentiment sake, as you get up close and personal with the rescued turtles here who live in huge open-air tanks, with the turtles’ names posted, their individual back stories, ailments and updates as well. Experience Loggerhead Marinelife Center via public or private guided tours, and venture behind the gates of their outdoor sea turtle hospital with their sea turtle patients, featuring a surgical suite, x-ray room, blood work lab, and endoscope and ultrasound units. From rescue to release, watch these precious creatures revitalize; maybe even participate in their “Adopt a Sea Turtle” program and become part of the solution.jupiter beach resort sincalirs ocean grill


Lazy Loggerhead Café

This comfortable and fresh café is located in Carlin Park within walking distance of the Jupiter Beach Resort. Named after the loggerhead turtle, which nests regularly on the beaches in south Florida, enjoy lovingly prepared soups, salads, sandwiches and light bites. Wash it down with a well paired glass of wine or a crisp iced tea!


Bluelife Surf & Paddle Co.

Take the 90-minute stand up paddle-boarding or kayaking eco-tour to explore the fascinating

wildlife of the Intracoastal. Along with renting your own stand-up paddleboard or kayak, eco tours are offered here as well as stand-up paddle boarding lessons, yoga on the water classes and the hosting of parties or events.



jupiterbeachresort poolGuanabanas offers fresh and inventive seafood dishes, other options for the landlubber, iced cold cocktails, waterfront views and nightly live music. This open air restaurant and bar features authentic tiki huts and banyan trees for the perfect ambiance. Enjoy their signature cocktail the  Mango Beach Break; Flor de Cana 4year old rum, Florida orange infused triple sec, mango puree, pineapple juice and Orchid Island orange juice or  the Lime in the Coconut-Absolut lime vodka, coconut rum, pineapple juice and a dash of pina colada. Floridian Fritters-local shrimp fritters served with sweet jalapeno mustard sauce is a must to munch on.


DuBois Park

A shallow lagoon style beach with a “lazy river”, this large park sits smack dab at the mouth of Jupiter Inlet, with perfect views of the Jupiter Lighthouse. Jet skiers and boaters can start their trip through the Intracoastal Waterway or out to sea, right from the marina slips. Canoe and kayak adventurers can paddle to the Loxahatchee River, one of only two national Wild & Scenic Rivers in Florida.

Sunday, 26 January 2020 21:06

Dos Mexican Hermanas!

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Cancun Article pic1

Dos Mexican Hermanas!

Allegro Playacar Cancun and Cozumel

Karen Holly Berliner

Cancun Article pic2When you step through the threshold of the Allegro Playacar, relax and allow your breath to be stolen away. Forgive yourself as you should, the complete and shameless abandon of your daily bustle. Drop your woes, iPods, Fit bits and iPads at the Cancun airport, just scant minutes away from this dreamy paradise. Simply allow yourself to be captured.

Stroll into their grand entry and submit if you will to the sights, fragrances and sounds about you, as you feel your senses heighten, ready to inhale every drop of this resort’s wonder in grand elegance and lush tropical splendor. Poke a toe into the aquamarine bath warm ocean, itself as vivid as a masterpiece painting. Be greedy for the first time in ages, as you see hear taste and smell absolutely everything and all for yourself, from the meticulously prepared gourmet fare offered here, to the lot of sun kissed beach here. Come lap in Allegro Playacar’ s signature luxury, as it fast dispels the myth of the cliché all-inclusive resorts, we all of us have come to expect.

Cancun Article pic3The Allegro Playacar resort is all about quality, not quantity. Visit these sister properties and experience them in the spirit of a romantic getaway. While romance is as diverse as the hearts that beat it, Allegra Playacar manages to offer every universal aspect of it, showcasing any given couple’s fantasy getaway, from honeymoon or vow renewals, to anniversaries and beach front weddings, themselves choreographed from start to finish on either of these destination resorts.

Discover all-inclusive luxury right next to the Caribbean Sea at Allegro Playacar. The hotel offers unlimited delicious meals, snacks and beverages at any of their 4 restaurants and three bars plus a swim-up bar for pool soakers who refuse to get out. This program allows guests to enjoy meals, drinks, snacks and beverages at any of the hotel’s bars and restaurants. The cuisine ranges from Mexican, Italian, American, breakfast and dinner buffets.

Feel like taking a swim?

There are 2 magnificent swimming pools available with both an area filled with sun loungers and a zone with activities scheduled for the whole family. The little ones can also enjoy the hotel’s Kids Club while the parents can sunbathe at the beach. 

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Feeling restless?

Sports and water activities such as kayaking, beach volleyball and catamaran are offered here, complete with state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, there are 2 tennis courts, a basketball court, a volleyball court and an entertainment center with a ping-pong table and darts and billiards. Scuba diving experts as well as scuba newbies will find a full range of services at the Allegro Playacar. This includes scuba diving expeditions as well as guided courses with certifications issued, equipment rental, trips and an excellent PADI 5-star dive shop.

Cancun Article pic5Cancun Article pic6If culture is your passion and you wish to step out a bit, Playa del Carmen allows for visits to areas like the archeological ruins of Tulum.

Its sibling in Cozumel is also a tropical dream destination, settled on fresh untapped Mexican sand and soil. As a result, pampered guests get captured by both and why not visit both? 

Cancun’s sister property, the all-inclusive Allegro Cozumel offers luxurious  accommodations on Playa San Francisco, one of the most sought after beaches in Cozumel. Featuring 305 rooms adorned in tropical design and décor, and an assortment of five restaurants, this property provides various leisure and entertainment options as well such as a spa, a waterpark and a vibrant sports bar. The all-inclusive Allegro Cozumel offers guests who care to dive, the “Ultimate Dive Experience” where you can dive and see some of the greatest coral reefs in the world. The kid’s club and water park here allows families with children, the option to enjoy kid friendly fun. The hotel also has a fully equipped fitness center, a wellness center complete with sauna, a steam bath, massage cubicles and a hot tub. This property has 5 pools, one of which is an aquatic park for children. Also featured are 2 tennis courts and a court for basketball or volleyball. Wind surfing, body boarding, sailing, diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking complete their vast activity profile.

Feeling hungry? Allegro Cozumel offers 5 restaurants and 5 bars with cuisines ranging from Italian, Asian, Mexican, breakfast and dinner buffets and various bars around the property including the pool bar located between the relaxation pool and sports pool.

Be a guest at either or both of the Allegra Playacar locations.

After all, sometimes don’t you just want to be swept off your feet?

Friday, 01 November 2019 17:36

A Holiday Haven Haven Riviera Cancun

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By Karen Holly Berliner

This holiday season rather than saying yes to make your family and friends happy, why not run away from home and make yourself happy? ---And run away to riviera Cancun, if you do.

To Haven.
Picture this: You escape the usual holiday madness as you fly towards Cancun Mexico, your chosen tropical destination in paradise. You are truly longing for this; you can almost feel the sun on your back and hear the crunch of the sand between your toes like finely ground sugar. You daydream without inhibition, of dancing in the moonlight to salsa and Mariachi strains. You can just about taste the Mexican mixology drinks and tall fruity cocktails, generously laced with tequila if you please.

holiday02Before long, you will begin to make out the scenery below the clouds. Situated on the coast of Mexico, between Cancun and riviera Maya, an adults-only haven awaits you. Haven riviera Cancun is a mem- ber of Preferred Hotels and resorts L.V.X. Collection - a collection of high end properties featuring fine accommodations hosting with top notch personal service.

With 333 guestrooms, 88 swim-out suites, all with ocean views from private terraces, king-size beds, a personalized mini-bar, Nespresso machines, concierge services and 24-hour room and butler service, picture décor throughout the resort, rich in modern Mexican design, complimented with pops of vibrant color and fabric. to take it up a notch further, upgrade to Haven’s Serenity Club and enjoy an expedited check-in, exclusive lounge areas, an in-room aromatherapy menu, mini bar, premium pillow menu, sleep well kit, and daily alfresco à la carte breakfast options. Add complimentary access to the water journey experience at the on-site spa and pool circuit and one complimentary snorkel tour per person and you have it all at your disposal.

If you crave a little holiday pampering, MySenses Spa is their onsite sprawling sanctuary offering tranquility, wellness and the promotion of experiences with finely honed and custom therapies mindful of Ma- yan healing philosophies which all combine to create a unique experience of well being.

The water journey experience is a must, featuring a sauna, a high-density Hamman style steam room with a Herbarium Sensation shower, a luxurious ice fountain, a cold mist shower, a pressure shower for chromotherapy, a refreshing cold water plunge pool and a whirlpool Jacuzzi.

Spend the day at the pool and on the beach. Go for a refreshing swim in the infinity swimming pool, with ocean views and a swim up bar or the other large lake like pool, also with a swim up bar and loads of swimming and relax- ing space. Located at the resort’s expansive pools, both feature swim-up seat- ing as well as shaded outdoor seating and serves tall icy drinks, beer and wine.

Indulge at the on-site eateries and find everything from fine-dining overlook- ing ocean views to light bite casual fare. With a variety of international dining spots, restaurants ranging from fine dining experiences to a Beach Stand, the restaurants at Haven riviera Cancun pay homage to the Mexican Caribbean and the in international dining scene.
Acclaimed among the best golf courses in Latin America Cancun Country Club and its El tinto golf course, just ten minutes from Haven riviera Can- cun, tee times are subject to availability and must be arranged with the Golf Concierge at the hotel.

Feeling restless?
Venture to nearby destinations like Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres or Cozumel. Enjoy activities such as tennis, yoga, beach volleyball, ping- pong and water aerobics. Explore mangrove natural walkways, jogging and bike trails.

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Gladys Dines at Haven Riviera Cancun

FLAVOURS Enter this delightful indoor/outdoor dining spot and find an extravagant and tasty buffet in a casual, unique and comfortable setting. Enjoy stations overflowing with seafood, meat, poultry, vegetable dishes, fruits, cheeses and an authentic Tortillery to add Mexican spice. Pair with a wide selection of wines and decadent desserts. Make sure to sample the massive mountain of seafood on ice. Decadent!

AGUA BENDITA A contemporary blend of traditional Mexican cuisine with a classic steak house twist, showcasing steaks, chops and specialty cuts along with the bold flavors of Mexico, such as the signature hand- made tortillas. The Cowboy Ribeye makes for a feast!


OLIOS A fine Mediterranean restaurant with an emphasis on the land and the sea, this restaurant offers special Chef’s Tables dishes, featuring a gourmet tasting menu, thanks to the mega talented chef at the helm.

VORA MAR As you enter this dining spot, you’ll be immediately awed by the Basque charcoal grill and a Baja Med Kitchen, offering a perfect fusion of Mediterranean and Baja California dishes. If you’re crav- ing something that isn’t from the grill, the cold kitchen is for you. Fresh fish and seafood is on display with clams, oysters, scallops, mussels and crab - all prepared to order. Dig in.

SATSU This Asian Fusion restaurant hosts from an open kitchen format, featuring, sushi and sashimi, its Robata Grill offering charcoal-grilled small plates, aromatic Thai dishes and a traditional Teppanyaki station showcasing of Japanese food.

VISTAS SNACK BAR Enjoy a casual poolside meal, featuring contemporary small plates.

MISTRAL Perfect for beach or poolside dining, Mistral is the casual spot to dine and take in the sights and sounds of the Mexican Carib- bean, an all sensory experience

MOCACCINO Mocaccino Deli offers casual snacks such as fresh handmade ice-cream, specialty coffee concoctions and sweet and savory pastries.

LIMES An American-style bar, choose from wide variety of international and local beers, wines and spirits and contemporary finger food. This bar features indoor and outdoor seating and is located next to the Agua Bendita Restaurant. While there, catch the perfect sunset, offered up by Mother Nature.

HAVENS LOUNGE The perfect place to start your evening or take a break from the midday sun, Havens Lounge serves refreshing beverages throughout the day and evening with a choice of comfortable indoor or outdoor seating.

MOONS This nightclub is a great night finale, offering cocktails and entertainment in a vibrant, neon-infused, cabaret comes, 5 nights a week with electrifying stage shows, live music and comedians to name a few. Stay after and dance to select music via the DJ. For special occasions Moons also features two fully private VIP areas with personalized service.




Plunked directly on Clearwater Beach, the best named beach in the country and joining forces with its beautiful sister prop­erty Sandpearl Resort, this contemporary IS-story curved structure offers panoramic views of the vibrant Gulf of Mexico from each of its 230 beachfront rooms, all adorned with private balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows for optimal views. Accommodations and common spaces offer a fresh, sleek atmosphere with a coastal­inspired color palette, wood accents and mixed textures expressed about the property. Add to this artwork, commissioned from talented Floridian artists displayed throughout the property, a refreshing ze­ro-entry pool, a full service pic2luxury spa, a state of the art fitness center, a refreshment nook on every floor and multiple dining options and you have an upscale beach getaway offering all that your heart de­sires. With a flat-screen TV and a pillow-top bed, expect comfort and easy living. Take in the view from your balcony as you breathe in the fresh natural scents of land and sea. Enjoy your wet bar and a variety of kitchen amenities like a mini-fridge, an electric cooking range, a dishwasher and a microwave. The well-appointed master bedroom connects to a grand master bath with a large shower and garden tub, along with a separate half-bath just off of the main guest room. Relax at the zero-entry pool, poolside cabanas and full-service Opal Spa. Enjoy a cocktail poolside or take a refreshing swim.

Getting restless?

The award-winning Clearwater Beach provides guests with a charm­ing beach town environment, home to local eateries and shops, Pier 60, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, water sports and boating, parks, art and cultural outposts.



Enjoy fresh seafood-centric dining with a delightful Italian influence. This restaurant invites with its soothing decor and charming servers who are geared to satisfying you from start to sweet tooth finish! The menu here offers choices for any discerning palette with delicious op­tions such as the Baked Artichoke Fonduta; baked artichokes slath­ered in creamy fontina and ricotta cheese and topped with melted tomatoes, fresh herbs and hearth flatbread or the Crab and Avocado; layered lump crab meat with creamy avocado mousse, cucumber, red onion, peppers and mango vinaigrette. Start with the decadent Lob­ster Bisque, loaded with sweet lobster chunks in a rich lobster and sherry cream soup. For something a bit heartier, choose the Rustica Pizza with roasted foraged mushrooms, asiago, mozzarella and ricot­ta cheeses and white truffle essence all topped with balsamic dressed baby arugula. The Linguine Vongole is a favorite, loaded with fresh clams steamed in fragrant pinot grigio, toasted garlic, chili flakes, sweet heirloom tomato, and fresh herbs, all tossed with house crafted linguine. The pan-seared hogfish showcases local hogfish roasted with Florida corn broth, sweet gulf shrimp, smokehouse bacon and po­tato hash with roasted fresh cauliflower. For dessert, the Bananas Foster Cheesecake features a vanilla bean sugar cookie and burnt banana, while the Key Lime Creme Bnllee is consistently scrumptious.


In the mood for a casual bite to eat? Enjoy sandwiches, tacos and seafood specialties and wash it all down with a tropical cocktail at their beach­front tiki bar.


Take in the marina vibe while watching the boats cruise by at Marina Cantina and enjoy a fusion of Florida and Mexican cuisine.


Indulge and treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment at OPAL Spa, where facials, massages, scrubs and medi-spa options, like derma-peels are all of­fered. Try their Signature Body Renewal Treatment; a ritual that starts with a dry skin brushing followed by a gentle exfoliation using a scrub enhanced with essential oils, then finished with an application of body serum, oil and cream in a full body massage or if you prefer, the Signature Facial Radiance, a facial using the latest anti-aging technologies for increased firmness, elas-



The Detox- A detoxifying program that promotes the appearance of toned and firm skin while drawing out impurities. Expect a full body wrap, re-mineralizing thermal waters with active ingredients enveloped in a cocooning mask and The Scrub; a sensory focused fusion of tex­tures, beginning with a vigorous renewing scrub ritual and concluding with an application of creamy body butter. The Stone showcases smooth warm basalt stones, which bring increased circulation and relief to sore muscles. Careful stone placement combined with soothing massage and touch, uses these stones as therapeutic tools and encourages a sense of bliss and peace.

OPAL PAWS for your canine companion:

The Opal Sands Resort welcomes dogs who are 30 pounds or under. Upon arrival at the resort, expect a gift bag outfitted with waste bags and dental stick treats to ensure your furry friend has everything he needs for a chic stay. Guests bringing canine companions will also be outfitted with a plush Opal Paws dog mat and food and water bowls to ensure your dog's vacation is sublime!

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Thursday, 31 January 2019 15:03

Italian Love Affair

Written by

Italian Love Affair

A Search for the Genesis of Love

by Scott Harris

The words love & Italy go hand in hand, like two lovers storing into each other's sensual depths, anticipating their first embrace. Italians will tell you love is not an emotion or a need; it's a fuel that powers their existence on a cellular level. I recently experienced the Italian umami SPARK as I first stepped foot on the same clay soil thrown to cast bricks that built their empire. Perhaps it was the combination of the Italian prosecco and espresso, but as you open your proclivities, you suddenly feel as if you triggered a sixth sense so deep, your soul is evolving.


Before my pilgrimage, I associated Italy with Gucci & Armani, spaghetti & meatballs, but what about the Italian geniuses such as Leonardo do Vinci & Michelangelo, and their romantic, passionate interludes with architecture and ort? I was naive in my understanding of how deeply a relatively small country's people defined and impacted our world's history and culture. Is LOVE the responsible party for what bred their early enlightenment?


As a master builder and an architectural designer, creating a romantic HOME is how I spell LOVE. While for many, fashion and design is a language to express their flavor of LOVE, for others, they ore simply just guided by LOVE. What occurred to me as I walked these chiseled cobblestone streets, perhaps there is an obvious common thread that connects all things. Is this thread LOVE, or as the Italian's call it, AMORE? I had to test this theory and paused to think of my most memorable and inspirational account of love.


Italian Love Affair pic2A FATHER'S LOVE created the Duomo

In Florence, resides an iconic and unforgettable brick structure rising high above all else, atop the Florence Cathedral, known as 'Brunelleschi's Dome.' Its history dating back to the year 1,296 AD., with the greatest builders gather­ing to construct a church so grand that they looked for god's divinity to deliver the knowledge needed to complete their dome.

Italian Love Affair pic1Fast-forward to 1,418 AD, a public competition was created to find their 'King Arthur' to guide them to complete the dome on their open-air church. A local civil servant had a young son trained as a master metal smith, named Filippo Brunelleschi. His father believed in, and loved Filippo so greatly that he con­vinced him to enter the competition; telling him he would WIN and forever change the world.

Pre-Brunelleschi, buildings were created from scaled models. He went on to change the world and created an order of drawings that we refer to now as modern architecture for which he is forever known as the 'Godfather of Archi­tecture.' He also developed the mechanics to create perspective drawings through the use of vanishing points that become a foundation for all modern ort. His other accomplishments ore too numerous to list, but through a father's LOVE, a young man had a "profound and unanticipated influence on the rise of our modern sciences."The town's wisest elders, along with Filippo, were given a single uncooked egg and block of marble. The winner would be able to stand their egg upright on the marble without the use of tools or props. While the most accomplished tried various technics of balancing the egg, Brunelleschi who grew up on a form, TAPPED the top of the egg where he knew the air pocket hid. It stood perfectly on end! The challengers said "Hey .. that's not fair. You can't do that!" Brunelleschi said proudly, "But I did it! And, while I was the first to think of this, I also will be the FIRST to guide this great city to build their dome." And so he did.

Italian Love Affair pic3So, perhaps love is their connective tissue, but then I recalled my visit to see the works of the great Italian architect Corio Scarpa and questioned if there was really any love in his work, or perhaps it was quite the opposite?

When I first saw Carlo's creations, it was mind-boggling; I couldn't tell if he was influenced by primitive Mayans, or an extraterrestrial life form. Every move is seductive, deliberate, but equally unexpected. There is no center. There is no explained rhythm, but the rhythms he uses, become mesmerizing. The only clue you ore given, what is expected, he will refrain from and taunt you with the beginning of something familiar. Just as you understand what he is doing, he will move away, and then back again, but left this time.

Italian Love Affair pic4When do we try to keep someone guessing and equally capture them? The answer was clear. When we are enmeshed in the pursuit of a passionate love affair. In the throes of the seduction, like the perfect kiss, locking eyes, feeling their breath stutter, knowing it's imminent, yet they pull back, lightly grazing the nape of your neck, gently brushing their lips across your forehead, and then pull away again. This is how I would describe Carlo Scarpa's architectural work.

Carlo was able to take LOVE and weave it through his creations to translating a perfect love affair into his structures. What a gift I had to start to understand that what LOVE in Italy is! It's playing with the unknowns, attempting what others have feared to try, believing in our family, but how far back does this practice date?

Italian Love Affair pic5CASTLES Cast by Love

Before traveling to Italy, I first experienced Prada and Versace, as I walked the Citadel, an outlet mall adjacent to Interstate 5. I was fortunate on this trip to be able to experience true history, live, as I breathed in, and touched the true castle appropriately called, 'Cittadella of Alessandria', one of the most well preserved castle walls throughout Europe where the first modern Italian flag was raised. Its city-founding dates back 5,000 years and just shy of 800 years prior, millions of handmade bricks created the walls I was now stand­ing on. To better understand the magnitude of these castle walls, you have toabsorb that it takes nearly one hour to walk the perimeter of this ancient city still flourishing today.

I thought castles only existed in Hollywood movies, but I realized a castle wasn't a castle as I've been shown; it was a wall, or a fortress to an inner city. The beautiful undulations at the wall tops that I've tried to emulate in my buildings were not created for architectural beauty; they were designed to allow the defenders to take cover, while simultaneously catapulting their most advanced weapons from the adjacent openings. For the first moment, halfway through my life, I understood where the term "evil" came from when referring to the "medieval" period.

Italian Love Affair pic6So maybe love did not exist during the genesis of this great country and it was built on the backs of brutal, ironclad warriors? But then, when you see inside the castle walls, the most amazing family homes, cafes, businesses and small outdoor theatres that have stood for close to a thousand years, you realize that what built these walls was a LOVE for community, a LOVE for its people and a LOVE for peace.

So while it may appear that they were striving for independence, just as if you are trying to win someone over in love, you discover that while they may have histori­cally mighty walls rising, they want nothing more than a safe connection with you.

Italian Love Affair pic7From the rise of Rome, as they illuminated the Dark Ages, from sculptors to weavers, from designers to chefs, from mathematicians to physicists; Italy has clearly had one of the most profoundly transformative effects on our modern world. Their artisans all share one philosophy. They weave love fearlessly and passionately through their fabric of what they create in a way others feared to try. I have concluded that perhaps Italy is the original Garden of Eden where LOVE originated from, and while we all come upon the same serpent in our lives, I now better understand how to neutralize the serpent's words. I have been taught that if you allow it, LOVE does truly fuel our existence on a cellular level.

Grazie ltolio per avermi mostroto amore!



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