The Diva Drops In for a Drink on the Rooftop of the Peninsula Beverly Hills

 

What a wonderful spot to meet for drinks on a summer’s afternoonview from the Penn–perched on the rooftop of the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel with an awesome view of the city and beyond… I wanted to shoot the pool but the security guys wouldn’t let me photograph lest I might capture one of the “beautiful” people sunbathing or chatting on cell phones in the privacy of their cushy cabanas.  Real eye candy  bronze, toned and self assured men and women enjoying la dolce vida at the Pen, because they still can (reference to the economy if you don’t get it). 

 Anyhow I met my long time friend Karen Murphy for a mighty fine Steel Chard.  We’ve been pals ever since she was the youngest PR person on the block manning the department for the Hyatt in Maui. Now she has her own major PR firm, Murphy O’Brien with her husband, and handles the Pen hotels, too, among many upscale clients.  KarenThat’s Karen Murphy,  one of my favorite people and special  friend.  While  the Steel Chard cost $16 a glass, it’s  certainly worth the price considering the quality of the wine and the setting. Food is also served on the Rooftop  during the day and it’s really good, too. 

for diva siteThat’s yours truly, Patti the Diva with Karen at the Rooftop bar.  Non-guests aren’t allowed by the lovely pool, but can sit at tables in front of the guarded gate that leads to the pool/cabana area.

FYI: rooms and suites at this hotel are exceptional. Your Diva has tried each variety from regular room, suite to private bunaglow and we’re talking the lap of luxury with great service and attention for a price of course. But worth it and in these times you might be able to work out a deal.

The Peninsula Hotel, 9882 S. Santa onica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-551-2888 or 800-462-7899. www.pbh@peninsula.com.

The Diva Mourns the End of an Era

The Hotel Bel-Air, one of the Diva on the Go’s favorite haunts shuts its secluded doors at the end of September to undergo a  mega make-over, which the Diva fears will completely morph out the place.  

Precipitated probably by the relatively newDorchester Collection ownership , the 91-room ultra chic hideaway will most likely emerge as a mere shadow of its former self.  Let’s hope they don’t gut the charm and ambiance or the luscious lake with its white swan inhabitants.  

I’ve bedded down there, had en-suite spa treatments, lounged by the peaceful pool, dined indoors and outdoors at many lunches and dinners, breakfasted on a private patio and sipped wine and champagne at the Bar. 

I’ll probably go for one last look before the slaughter begins. And hey it probbly will turn out okay, change is good right?

I also wrote much of the copy for the hotel’s web site: www.hotelbelair.com, so check it before it checks out.

Princess Cruises Spices Up 2010-11 Pacific Rim Itineraries

 Princess Cruises–one of your Savvy Seafarer’s favorite cruise lines has sweetened the pot with new exciting, new South Pacific and Hawaii Sailings in 2010-11 on the gorgeous Sapphire Princess.

Fall 2010 to spring 2011sailings aboard Sapphire Princess  include two leisurely Pacific crossings between California and Sydney, plus additional Hawaii cruises.

 

“Due to the enthusiastic response to our 2009 Trans Pacific sailing we wanted to offer additional opportunities to experience this unique itinerary,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.  “The two new month-long sailings visiting 13 tropical ports of call will give cruisers a true taste of the idyllic South Pacific.”

 

Swartz added that increased interest in roundtrip Hawaii sailings prompted Princess to add several more of these sailings to its west coast lineup as well.

 

The new Sapphire Princess voyages include:

 

  • 2-day Pacific Coastal (Vancouver to San Francisco) – September 20, 2010
  • 30-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific (San Francisco to Sydney) – September 22, 2010
  • 29-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific (Sydney to Los Angeles) – October 23, 2010
  • 10-day Mexican Riviera (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – January 5, 2011
  • 14-day Hawaiian Islands (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – January 29, 2011
  • 14-day Hawaiian Islands (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – February 26, 2011
  • 14-day Hawaiian Islands (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – March 26, 2011


The new sailings are currently open for sale, with fares starting at $199 per person for the new two-day coastal cruise.  Hawaiian Islands sailings begin at $1,995 per person, and Pacific crossings begin at $4,195 per person.

 

To accommodate the new cruises, which were added as a result of shifting demand in the west coast cruise market, Princess has cancelled 15 previously scheduled Mexican Riviera sailings.  An additional 17 Mexican Riviera sailings are still available during this time period.

 

Info:  1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PrincessCruises

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PrincessCruises

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/princesscruises/

 

 

About Princess Cruises:

One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided in an environment of exceptional customer service.  A recognized leader in worldwide cruising, Princess offers its passengers the opportunity to escape to the top destinations around the globe, with sailings to all seven continents, ranging in length from seven to 107 days.  The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE:CCL; NYSE:CUK).

 

 

 

The Diva Does New York

NY

The views  from our suite at the New York Palace–my new favorite Big Apple Hotel.

IMG_0465

It was an eventful week away. All  came up roses until our Avis rental car was stolen. But let’s start with the good stuff first.

We flew Virgin America to JFK–our first time on this carrier. It was okay. Seats a bit cramped in main cabin (really coach) but didn’t look much better in “main cabin select” or “first class”.  Had to buy food–opted for chicken wraps which were pretty good for $9 each.  Anyhow it got us there on time.

First stop the New York Palace–now operated by the prestigious Dorchester Collection, the architecturally-stunning, 805-room, 88 suite-hotel–formerly the Helmsley Palace (you remember Leona don’t you?)– sports one of the most accommodating staff’s in town (at least they treated us well).  The decor reflects the  neo-Italian Renaissance style originally commissioned by Henry Villard in 1882 when the regal mansion was built. Each public area exudes an old world charm with ornate touches like bronze dore moldings, intricate mosaics, gilded capitals and stained glass windows.  But even with all that jazz it’s hardly stuffy. Sophisticated, yes, but accommodating.

We had a massive suite on the 41st floor in the “Towers” towerwhich offers private check-in and privileges. We also opted for the executive lounge add on and were thrilled we did.

The suite life:  huge living room WiFi, views, two baths, one big one with tub, shower, two sinks, luscious Acqua di Parma  toiletries, comfy bed covered in divine, upscale linens; flat screen tvs, robes, slippers and of course hair dryer etc.suite .richatpalacet even has a kitchen. There’s a great workout room included in the 7,000 square foot Spa & Fitness Center with a full complements of equipment–almost unheard number of treadmills, weight machines and options and it’s free for guests including a locker room with steam bath and showers, workout clothes to borrow, toiletries and best of  all it’s free for hotel guests. The Spa is gorgeous and offers head to toe treatments in a peaceful, luxurious environment.

We needed the gym to counteract all the tasty food, we could have used a massage but alas two days weren’t long enough to fit everything in, next time. We did get lots  of exercise walking around the city. We even did museums. We were actually in town during Restaurant Week and had a price fixed three course lunch at Alto, nearby for $24 each, unheard of here. We did the museums, took out Mexican one night from Chipotle nearby and even watched a Yankee game on the flat screen.   

IMG_0470To the left is the Executive Club Lounge–we made good use of this elegant spot for  breakfast, lunch and evening drinks and snacks. IMG_0468

And a glorious dinner at Gilt……..the piece de resistance

giltWhere we had a romantic table with a view of the knock down gorgeous room. Richard (my mate) sipped a Martini while I started on a bottle of mighty fine Talbot
Chardonnay. We dined on a truly amazing  English pea ravioli–delicate and delicious, perfectly prepared halibut with poached oysters and baby veggies, Tangy  Ono ceviche,  moist and delicious black cod, authentic NY cheesecake (man it was good) and Strawberry short cake. Since we just flew in from the west coast and were guarding against jet lag we skipped coffee but I sure was jonesing for a cup.

SomeGilt-toids:  two Michelin star rating, housed in Landmark Villard Mansion. New American cuisine created by executive chef Justin Bogle.  Gorgeous appointments 8,000 bottle wine cellar, artisanal breads, real 14 K Gold bar.

NY Palace FAQs:  The gracious courtyard provides the perfect intro to this old-world hotel with designs reminiscent of 15th century Italian .

455 Madison Ave., NY 10022; www.newyorkpalace.com; www.dorchestercollection.com

 –So as heretofore mentioned, we flew to NY on Virgin America. The price was right–no matter what cabin class you select you get to choose any seat(a nice touch). We arrived on time. The pilot carefully avoided turbulent skies and it was quite smooth over the country (I watched his maneuvers on the video screen, at one point he flew over Canada to avoid bumps).  We flew coach, something your Diva doesn’t do eagerly but made an exception since we flew back in style on American Airlines in Business/First–sat in two center seats that reclined comfortably with big fluffy comforters to keep us warm, actually top quality wines and pretty good food for an airline meal. The flight crew was tops and kept on their toes making sure we were well tended to. Tip is to make sure you book a flight that comes in from Europe because it’s usually a bigger jet with a better First and Business Class section.

Okay the stolen car put a damper on an otherwise super trip. It happened in a town called Ronkonkoma, Long Island, at the train station where the car was parked from 9:30 AM to well we don’t know when the theives made of f with it,but it was gone at 5:30 PM the same day when we returned to the train station. Never happened to the Diva on the go in all her years of travel. Guess there’s a first time for everything.

 Memories of the NY Palace stil dance in our heads.

Stay tuned I’m not finished, come back for more….and I tell you all about our stolen rental car.

 

 

The Travel Diva’s Trip to New York

The view from our suite at the New York Palace Hotel

Gavin Couper, manager of the Executive Lounge–an amiable Brit imported from the Dorchester, Gavin gave a pleasant, sophisticated touch to the room.

The extravagant entrance to Gilt.

It was an eventful week away. All came up roses until our Avis rental car was stolen. But let’s start with the good stuff first.
We flew Virgin America to JFK–our first time on this carrier. It was okay. Seats a bit cramped in main cabin (really coach) but didn’t look much better in “main cabin select” or “first class”. Had to buy food–opted for chicken wraps which were pretty good for $9 each. Anyhow it got us there on time.
First stop the New York Palace–now operated by the prestigious Dorchester Collection, the handsome hotel sports one of the most accommodating staff’s in town (at least they treated us well), gorgeous appointments and public areas. We had a massive suite on the 41st floor in the “Towers” which offers private check-in and privileges. We also opted for the executive lounge add on and were thrilled we did.
The suite life: huge living room WiFi, views, two baths, one big one with tub, shower, two sinks, lushes Acqua di Parma toiletries, comfy bed covered in divine, upscale linens; flat screen tvs, robes, slippers and of course hair dryer etc. . There’s a fully equipped fitness center that’s free for all and has it all including a locker room with steam bath and showers, workout clothes to borrow, toiletries and best of all it’s free for hotel guests.
We needed the gym to counteract all the tasty food. But of course we got plenty of exercise walking around the city. We even did museums. We were actually in town during restaurant week and had a price fixed three course lunch at Alto, nearby for $24 each, unheard of here. We did the museums, took out Mexican one night from Chipotle nearby and even watched a Yankee game on the flat screen.

We made good use of the Executive Club Lounge–a tres elegant spot for breakfast, lunch and evening drinks and snacks. The morning spread is a real feast with everything from fresh raspberries to scrambled eggs and bacon, breads, cheeses and a whole lot more. Our yeah, I discovered I could actually order an espresso or cappuccino, so I did ’causee I could. Lunch is slightly less generous but enough with great sandwiches and salads. Evening is just a few nibbles served with wine, beer and soft drinks.
And a glorious dinner at Gilt……..the piece de resistance
Where we had a romantic table with a view of the knock down gorgeous room. Richard (my mate) sipped a Martini while I started on a bottle of mighty fine Talbot
Chardonnay. We dined on a truly amazing English pea ravioli–delicate and delicious, perfectly prepared halibut with poached oysters and baby veggies, Tangy Ono ceviche, moist and deliciousblack cod, authentic NY cheesecake (man it was good) and Strawberry short cake. Since we just flew in from the west coast and were guarding against jet lag we skipped coffee but I sure was jonesing for a cup.
Some Gilt-toids: two Michelin star rating, housed in Landmark Villard Mansion. New American cuisine created by executive chef Justin Bogle. Gorgeous appointmentsAn 8,000 bottle wine cellar, artisanal breads, real 14 K Gold bar.

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