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Ayesha Khan and Misty Milioto | Edited by Alison Abbey and Allison Mitchell | Photo: Courtesy of the resorts and restaurants | July 7, 2014
After a long work week in the city, a weekend escape is a must. From the hip Hamptons and lively New York City to the happenin’ streets of NOLA, these must-visit destinations boast new or freshly renovated hotels, bars and restos along with refreshing summer packages and cultural happenings not-to-miss. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your couture carry-on and get ready to soak up the easy-breezy season of summer!
BEST OF THE BIG EASY
Succumb to the sultry sway of New Orleans.
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
Boasting one of the most updated and luxurious collections of guest rooms in the city, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans recently completed renovations to its Maison Orleans wing (the hotel’s exclusive club level, consisting of 75 guest rooms) and The Ritz-Carlton Suite (the hotel’s 2,800-square-foot Presidential Suite). Lisambiance Interior Design updated the spaces with commissioned artwork from various local artists, masterfully refinished furnishings, LED lighting, custom cabinetry, espresso machines and mounted TVs. Meanwhile, The Ritz-Carlton Suite features one-of-a-kind blown-glass Mardi Gras masks, a luxurious canopy bed, an antique pool table, Venetian glass chandeliers and a balcony with expansive views of the Mississippi River and French Quarter. Executive suites from $599 per night, The Ritz-Carlton Suite from $3,500 per night
Loews New Orleans Hotel
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, the hotel is undergoing a significant face-lift this year with fresh rooms featuring new linens, draperies and more. To celebrate its anniversary, the hotel is offering exclusive deals throughout the year via its Facebook page, including discounted rates, complimentary in-room amenities and unique travel packages. But what’s NOLA without a little debauchery? Head to the hotel’s Swizzle Stick Bar for inventive takes on classic libations. Then, rejuvenate the next morning at Balance Spa & Fitness where offerings include nail services, waxing, facials, massages and more. From $149 per night
The Saint Hotel
This hip boutique hotel in the French Quarter recently completed five luxury suites that comprise the entire second floor of the 166-room, eight-story property. High-end amenities include Egyptian cotton linens and custom throws, Bose Wave sound systems and at least two 60-inch Tvs. The two 1,800-squarefoot master suites (each named for the opposing archangels Michael and Lucifer) also feature entertainment spaces, a bar and Carrera marble bathrooms. When you’re not soaking up the heavenly room accommodations, head to Burgundy Bar for a sinfully-sweet nightlife experience. Suites from $750 per night
Look no further than this hot spot for funky street food from Mexico City (with an added dash of flavors from the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Yucatan). Located in a renovated Greek Revival home in Central City (an area between Uptown and the French Quarter), the resto features recycled and salvaged elements from buildings in New Orleans, Texas and Mexico. The colorful ambience only enhances the food, such as specialty plates of Chilaquiles del Dia (fried corn tortilla strips topped with crema Mexicana and queso fresco). Oh, and the bar features over 100 tequilas and mezcals.
A bit off the beaten path (for tourists anyway) is the hidden gem, Ivy, located Uptown on Magazine Street. Executive Chef Sue Zemanick whips up sumptuous small plates (think cheese and charcuterie plates, mint-lamb meatballs with tomato-sherry jam, or spicy fried baby back ribs with celery and blue cheese), all paired with carefully chosen wines and classic cocktails.
Pêche Seafood Grill
With two recent James Beard Foundation Awards—one naming Pêche as the Best New Restaurant in the country, and another naming chef and co-owner Ryan Prewitt Best Chef: South (he tied with culinary star Zemanick)—you know you’re in for a treat. Located in the burgeoning Warehouse District, the resto serves up coastal seafood with a modern twist, cooked on an open hearth over hardwood coals. Sure-fire winners here include the whole grilled fish and anything from the raw bar.
Cane & Table
Island flare and Creole cuisine go head-to-head at this new restaurant and bar in the French Quarter. Grab a seat at the relaxing bar, and order one (or several) of the fruity tiki drinks. Our fave cocktail of choice is the Animal Kingdom, made with house-spiced rum, Angostura bitters, Bäska Snaps (a Swedish-style bitter spirit), Falernum, lime, pineapple and passion fruit.
Expect a Zen-like ambience, small plates meant for sharing and topnotch attention (bottle service, anyone?) At this ubercontemporary Asian-themed lounge, located in the Warehouse District. Over-the-top decor includes 24K gold-leaf domes, 350-year-old vases and a bar topped in solid bamboo. Choose from an extensive menu of Sake, crafted slings (a type of libation that predates the cocktail) and artisanal cocktails.
This new bar and resto—located along the Fulton Street pedestrian mall near Harrah’s Hotel & Casino—just so happens to offer 12 bowling lanes, plus a mixture of traditional and craft cocktails (with one of the most extensive collection of liquors in the Crescent City). A Southern/ American-influenced menu features snacks and sharable small plates. It’s fun; it’s flirty; it’s a lucky strike!
If you enjoy local craft beer, then you’ll love the new tap room at NOLA Brewing’s Irish Channel-area brewery. Choose from an array of beer that’s sold on the market (such as NOLA Blonde, Hopitoulas and Flambeau Red), plus eight specialty beers that are only available in the tap room. And be sure to catch the brewery tours (and free beer!), taking place every Friday from 2-3PM.
NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
Take a bite of the Big Apple’s buzzing new haunts.
citizenM Times Square
This euro-chic boutique hotel brings its eccentric vibe to Times Square. The artful decor is mind-blowing (think Vitra furniture and specially commissioned installations); plus, there’s a library with an extensive collection curated by world-renowned MENDO bookstore (the books are available for purchase if you find one you can’t put down). Grab a snack, drink or barista coffee 24/7 at canteenM. Or get your sweat on: Workout fiends have access to a 19th-floor nirvana, complete with a fully kitted-out gym and breezy yoga terrace. From $350 per night
Raw and opulent all at once, this building was once home to a turnof- the-century hat factory. The revamped luxe rooms come complete with a rainforest shower, Frette linens and an iHome. Grab a farm-totable bite or sip Prohibition-era cocktails at Parker & Quinn, or invite friends over for live entertainment on the hotel’s rooftop—one of the hottest chill-out spots among NYC locals. From $329 per night
Iconic French crystal house Baccarat will end its 250th anniversary year on a high note with the launch of its first U.S. hotel right off Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile on Park Avenue, ubercool L.A.-based hotel chain SLS will launch its New York debut in 2015. For those who prefer a downtown vibe, The Ludlow opens this month on the increasingly trendy Lower East Side, and will feature the much anticipated eatery, Dirty French.
EAT & SIP
Bobby Flay’s back in NYC, this time with a Mediterranean bonanza, which includes bar bites like the indulgent 11-layer potato app and to-die-for entrees like Spanish red prawns and mussels. No need to dress to the nines though; the casual warehouse-y vibe is befitting of Gato’s Lafayette Street locale.
This oh-so-cute eatery at The Marlton Hotel has become an instant hit since opening in January. Like so many Greenwich Village spots, the vibe here is relaxed, yet trendy enough to spot your fair share of celebs. Brekkie faves include gluten-free pastries, while the dinner menu offers up must-try housemade pastas. Wash it all down with a bevy of signature cocktails.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Celebrate Brooklyn! Concert Series in Prospect Park
Get down Brooklyn-style in Prospect Park, where a host of performers will showcase everything from hipster-loved indie rock acts to Caribbean and jazz musicians to local dance troupes. Food is catered by hip Brooklyn eatery The Farm on Adderley, and there are even stalls with Etsy crafts on sale. Free, weekends through Aug. 9
Queen of the Night
When it opened in 1938, the Diamond Horseshoe was the most sought-after vaudeville house in town. After being abandoned for over 60 years, the venue is back and better than ever. Equal parts fashion show (Thom Browne barely-there costumes), circus act, dance extravaganza, club night and culinary delight, Queen of the Night is the ultimate night out on the town. Originally planned for a six-week limited engagement starting in January, the show has been so wildly popular, it will now run though Aug. 31... at least!
A HIPPER HAMPTONS
Beach it up in the lap of luxury, where NYC’s elite play during off-hours.
For the beauty-minded, there’s AERIN, the eponymous lifestyle store of makeup heiress Aerin Lauder. Check out this Southampton boutique for everything from beachware and Aerin’s eponymous beauty line to home furnishings and books from Assouline.
Celeb sightings are the norm in the Hamptons, but sisters Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian are calling this spot home for the next couple of months with a new season of their spin-off Kourtney and Khloé Take the Hamptons, which will film in the East End. Get in on the action by stopping by the fam’s DASH pop-up shop opening at 35 Main St. in Southampton this summer.
Reenergize after a night of shoreside partying at Tracy Anderson’s new Water Mill outpost. Classes run the gamut from sessions using the celeb trainer’s patented DeTAil bands to traditional twohour master classes, sure to whip you into Gwyneth Paltrow-like shape.
Prep for a night on the town at Blow. This salon is already a fave among East Enders, thanks to styles named after iconic celebs (try a beachy Blake or a Jen full of volume and flair). Or opt for The Fluff; a stylish refresh of yesterday’s blowout. @blowhampton
Topping Rose House
Although this Bridgehampton haunt is a bit of a splurge, weekday deals and other offers are available throughout the summer. (The Taste of Topping Rose offer, for example, even throws in a comp dinner.) Choose to luxuriate in the newly renovated Greek revival main house; the sleek, modern studio king rooms (located conveniently above The Spa); or the luxe-meets-rustic cottages. Plus, Tom Colicchio (of Top Chef and Craftbar fame) recently took the helm of the acclaimed Topping House Rose farm-to-table restaurant on the property, so you know you’ll be well-fed throughout your stay (breakfast, afternoon refreshments and goodie baskets are complimentary). From $825 per night
EAT & SIP
Richie Notar (of former Nobu fame) just brought his New York City hit Harlow to Sag Harbor. With a fresh, nautical decor and the best sunset views in South Fork, this new resto is sure to become a must-visit. The menu is just as impressive as the aesthetics, thanks to dishes like branzino with wasabi stem gremolata and crispy hearts of palm; and lamb meatballs with kochujang marinara, mint and pickled red onions, each vying for the ever-fleeting attention of the Hamptons set.
Bay Kitchen Bar
Clam it up at Eric Miller’s new waterside eatery, where you’ll find a sizable raw bar and eats like the spit-roasted Long Island duck, and sea-to-table faves like dayboat sea scallops (with sweet pea risotto and roasted pepper vinaigrette). Oh, and the views are to die for!
Formerly the site of uberchic hot spot SL East, this indoor-outdoor 7,000-squarefoot venue is bound to be the place for celeb-spotting and all-night partying in East Hampton this season. Every Saturday Finale will play host to some of the most renowned Djs, including A-Trak, Tommy Trash and Ruckus as part of #IHEARTSUMMERSATURDAYS. Party on!