Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




  • pinitbutton General Motors Buys Stake in Peugeot
cadillac deville1 300x204 General Motors Buys Stake in Peugeot

Cadillac, the iconic car of GM

When GM means Grand Marriage

by André Gayot

I love reunions, reconciliations, rapprochements, consolidations, alliances, coalitions, engagements and weddings. They all contain a sign of peace and while they are not always evidence of love, in many cases they demonstrate the power of reason. That’s why I find myself rejoicing at the announcement that American General Motors plans to acquire 7% of French Peugeot. It’s the nicer side of globalization: a marriage of convenience and — even better — perhaps also a marriage of love.

GM (which in this instance could stand for Grand Marriage) has always loved things French. Perhaps this is because it was co-founded by William C. Durant who also co-founded Chevrolet with Louis Chevrolet of French –Swiss descent. Chevrolet later merged with GM, which baptized its prestigious machines with French names like DeVille, Biarritz, Orléans, LaSalle, Pontiac and Corvette. The name of its iconic brand Cadillac, synonymous the world over with luxury, elegance and quality, is borrowed from the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac who founded the city of Detroit — another French name.

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  • pinitbutton Jaguar Suite at 51 Buckingham Gate
jaguar suite living room2 300x207 Jaguar Suite at 51 Buckingham Gate

Jaguar Suite living room at 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences in London

The Night of the Jaguar

by André Gayot

Undoubtedly, we are a car civilization. The automobile is an ordinary object in our spoiled world, a dream in the barren parts of the planet and a nightmare at a quarter to nine a.m. on the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. We find cars a convenient instrument to go to the stores and take back home the stuff of which probably we bought too large a quantity at our local Costco. A car is more practical than a backpack and a bicycle, but more polluting — as we are told by ecology — and more expensive, as we can see by the price soaring at the pump.

OK, it’s our way of life. But some of us are in love with automobiles. They admire the beautiful machines, their engineering, their design and their power, regardless of the speeding tickets and hefty insurance premiums they may have to face.

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Buick Food & Wine

on January 25th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Buick Food & Wine
buick test drive cars 300x200 Buick Food & Wine

Buick Discovery Tour

The General’s Art

by Alain Gayot

The automobile is not only a favored mode of transportation but also an objet d’art. Cars are designed not just to be driven, but to be looked at and admired. They often come in flashy, eye-catching colors, adorned with shiny chrome and festooned with insignia, spoilers and racing stripes. Some are even displayed in museums and art galleries.

In the right hands, food and wine can be art as well. Emphasizing the artful connection between gourmet food and wine and fine automobiles, Buick has hired top chefs to help them market their line of cars. Together with sponsor Food & Wine magazine, Buick is taking its Discovery Tour around the country. We had the pleasure of playing “art critic” when the tour pulled into the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills this past weekend.

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Kia Design Experience

on December 05th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Kia Design Experience
kia soul 300x237 Kia Design Experience

The Kia Soul in Seoul, South Korea

A Design DNA that Started with a Soul

by Alain Gayot

Kia, the South Korean automobile manufacturer, is on fire, having come a long way from their early days when they simply manufactured bicycles. The name itself means “arise out of Asia,” and that’s exactly what’s happening. Sales of the well-priced cars are up as consumers are taking a liking to the style, performance and value offered by the brand. Not long ago, sophisticated buyers would have frowned at the thought of settling for a Kia automobile. Today, many are proud and consider their purchase a wise investment.

Kia Motors started producing steel tubing and bicycle parts in 1944 and their own bicycles in 1951, then graduated to scooters and motorcycles and manufacturing trucks and automobiles designed elsewhere. Over time, the company gained more expertise in building engines. It was not until 1994 that the Kia Sephia, an entry-level sedan, was offered in the United States, followed a year later by the Sportage, a small SUV with off-road capabilities. From there, things grew exponentially.

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  • pinitbutton Of Cars and Pans: Culture Shock at the Assembly Line
porsche leipzig 300x178 Of Cars and Pans: Culture Shock at the Assembly Line

The striking Customer Center at Porsche Leipzig

by André Gayot

Remember the riddle about the ideal world in which the Italians would be in charge of singing opera, the British would prepare the tea, the Chinese would fry the rice, the French would do the cooking and serve the wine, the Germans would build sturdy cars and be police, etc. That’s the image of the world that we were so comfortable with thanks to the well-worn clichés. Something must have gone wrong: it’s hard today to recognize these established values in the same spots.

Continue reading “Of Cars and Pans: Culture Shock at the Assembly Line” »

  • pinitbutton Dining Out More, but Enjoying it Less?
dining out enjoying less Dining Out More, but Enjoying it Less?

FLIP Burger Boutique in Atlanta, one of our Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S.

by Jeff Hoyt

Americans are dining out more, but spending less per meal. That’s the conclusion of payment processor First Data. Comparing September 2010, to a year earlier, food service establishments posted a 12.7-percent jump in transactions, the highest increase in 18 months. However, they also suffered a 4.5 percent decrease in the average check for the month, meaning customers were ordering less and taking advantage of promotions. Perhaps diners are sharing appetizers and desserts, or forgoing the steak for the hamburger.

To make your dining dollars go further, check out our Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S. and Best Value Restaurants near you. In our GAYOT Economic Stimulus Plan, we list the Top 10 Value Hotels Worldwide which can help you save on your vacation, and even the Top 10 Value Automobiles to help you get there. And if dollars are so tight that you’re stuck at home, why not try one of our Top 10 Wines Under $10? Cheers to better times ahead.

Ferrari Style

on July 29th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Ferrari Style
ferrari engine 300x182 Ferrari Style

Ferrari F430 engine

A Day in the Life of a Ferrari Rally

by Alain Gayot


Once upon a time we had a chance to participate in a Ferrari Rally, which is one of the many events that the prestigious Italian manufacturer of GT cars gets involved in.
The mostly red cars with the prancing horse have crossed deserts and ascended mountain passes in all sorts of conditions over time to demonstrate the capabilities of the automobiles beyond racetracks. Their lead in wins at the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is a testament to their performance and endurance, and a billboard for sales. Continue reading “Ferrari Style” »



  • pinitbutton We Raced Obama, and Won!
electric plugin volt1 300x199 We Raced Obama, and Won!
Alain Gayot getting a closer look at the Chevrolet Volt plug-in

by Jeff Hoyt

Congratulations to President Obama for finally getting behind the wheel of the Chevy Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability during a visit to the Compact Power battery plant in Holland, Mich. LG Chem, the parent of Compact Power, is making the battery cells for the Volt, which goes on sale late this year in California, the Washington, D.C. area, and Michigan.

But we beat the President to the punch, experiencing the car powered with electricity at all times way back in September of 2008 talked about the car’s importance with the former Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz before he retired. The Volt, with its range of about 340 miles, was even used by Olympic athletes back in February in Vancouver.



  • pinitbutton World Class Driving Car Club
slr 203 300x258 World Class Driving Car Club
Alain Gayot getting ready to break the speed barrier with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Breaking the 200 MPH Speed Barrier With World Class Driving

by Alain Gayot


Some say that hitting 200 mph in an automobile is equivalent to breaking the sound barrier in an airplane. Technically, there is a 568 mph difference, and yes, 200 mph on the road is scary fast. But for [rich] adrenaline junkies, it’s guaranteed to satisfy. In addition, you are in total control of the vehicle, albeit with a racing instructor in the passenger seat. If you tried on your own, providing you had the right tool, you probably could not and would not make it.



Enter World Class Driving and their friendly and experienced instructors, and your dream comes true. Well, it could. Not that it ever was my dream to achieve that speed on the ground, but I did have the opportunity do to it and was comfortable enough to try. I thought, “What’s the big deal?” I had gone that fast flying airplanes (and even up to twice the speed of sound flying the Concorde as a passenger). Let me tell you, this is just as thrilling, but requires much more work, preparation and precise coordination.


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The New GM

on February 23rd, 2010
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  • pinitbutton The New GM
img 1052 300x225 The New GM
Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz Drives Home a Few Key Points for the Energized Automaker and the Industry as a Whole


by Alain Gayot


From his early upbringing in Zurich and cross educational platforms in Lausanne and UC Berkeley to a five year stint as a US Marine Naval Aviator, Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz has been a citizen of the auto world. With positions at General Motors in Europe starting in 1963, BMW, Ford Europe and U.S., Chrysler and back in the General ranks since 2002, the multi-lingual executive wants to hang on until his “Intense Focus on Superior Products” doctrine sticks at The New GM. “Our J.D. Power Initial Quality Study results are at par with Honda and Toyota… and we can still do much better,” claims Lutz. “Residual values for our new models are up,” he added, “sales are up, and we are energized with the launch of the Volt in the fall of 2010.”


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