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




  • pinitbutton For Your Next Vacation, But Only If You Like White Sandy Beaches

by Sophie Gayot

When Gordon “Butch” Stewart purchased his first hotel in Montego Bay in Jamaica in 1981, I am not sure he knew what he was about to start. He sure knew what he wanted to do, but did he envision how successful he would be thirty years later? Stewart is now the chairman and founder of Sandals Resorts International, the privately-owned Jamaican-based parent company to Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, totaling 23 Caribbean properties. Sandals caters exclusively to couples while the others are for families as well.

Continue reading “For Your Next Vacation, But Only If You Like White Sandy Beaches” »

Help for Hopeless Romantics

on February 07th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Help for Hopeless Romantics
heart candle 300x225 Help for Hopeless Romantics

Plan a romantic dinner for two this Valentine's Day

by Jeff Hoyt

Lovers, unite! With Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday this year, you have many choices of dates to celebrate with your significant other. Enjoy a romantic meal and gift-giving this Friday, Saturday, Sunday or the Monday itself. Or, wait until the following Friday and take your partner away for a three-day weekend if you have President’s Day off. offers both the best Valentine’s Day restaurants and the most romantic restaurants. We’ve even got the top 10 romantic restaurants and the top 10 places to kiss in the country, as well as the sexiest restaurants in certain cities. If you want to do it yourself, we feature a selection of romantic cookbook reviews, and your meal can be accompanied by one of our top 10 Valentine’s Day wines or top 10 romantic wines. Or, you can try one of our fine chocolates or aphrodisiacs!

Don’t forget our romantic spas, romantic hotels, and sexy hotels near you. We’ve even got the top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts, but we also recommend a couples massage. That way you’re getting as well as giving!

May you enjoy a LOVE-ly holiday.

  • pinitbutton Can I get room service in my yurt in Kyrgyzstan?
songkul 300x178 Can I get room service in my yurt in Kyrgyzstan?

Traditional yurts in Kyrgyzstan make for a unique travel experience

by Jeff Hoyt

Want to get away? I mean, really, really away? How about Easter Island, considered the most remote spot on the planet? For peace and quiet, you can head out for the Outback of Australia, up to the highest mountains in Norway or down to the deepest recesses of the South Pacific. You can even visit an uncrowded part of the USA in Sarah Palin’s Alaska. “I just came back from my vacation in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan!” is sure to stop conversations at your next holiday party.

Our list of the Top 10 Remote Hotels Worldwide features far-flung destinations that promise a vacation filled with solitude. It’s part of the latest edition of our TASTES newsletter, which was published today. Make sure you stay in the loop by subscribing to our free newsletters, which include the Hotel Issue and the Annual Restaurant Issue, coming out in January. Keep coming back to for the latest restaurant news, culinary events and hotel and restaurant reviews.

When I was a Hostage

on October 20th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton When I was a Hostage
airplane andre 300x187 When I was a Hostage

Are airlines today exploiting their passengers with astronomical fees?

by André Gayot 

In the last century, terrorists of many descriptions found a spectacular way to make their point: they hijacked planes and seized the passengers as hostages to monetize them.

This lesson has not been forgotten. Airlines that were in the epicenter of the drama realized that they, too, could take advantage of this strategy and mimic the principle. It would be even easier because they already had the planes, and the passengers as well, in their grasp. Thus, they did not even need to capture them, which incurs additional costs.

Becoming a hostage seems to us to be an improbable event. Don’t believe that.

Continue reading “When I was a Hostage” »

  • pinitbutton Air France: Paris / Los Angeles, Celebrating 50 years
sophiegayotdavidmartinon 300x199 Air France: Paris / Los Angeles, Celebrating 50 years
Consul General of France David Martinon, Sophie Gayot, pastry chef Yvan Valentin, Christine Ourmières, Air France Vice President & General Manager USA

by Sophie Gayot

It’s been fifty years since Air France became the first French airline to link to the West Coast of America. On April 4, 1960, the airline inaugurated twice-weekly flights of a Boeing 707, which took thirteen-and-a-half hours from Paris to Los Angeles, including a stopover in Montréal. Previously, the flight stopped in New York and lasted an extra 10 hours! Of course, things are even better today with three non-stop daily flights, done in eleven hours. From two classes of service (Luxe and Economy), there are now four: La Première, Business, the new Premium Economy (read a description of it in our Travel section) and Economy.

Continue reading “Air France: Paris / Los Angeles, Celebrating 50 years” »

  • pinitbutton The Strip Grows and Glows Even More with CityCenter
glacia at crystals 225x300 The Strip Grows and Glows Even More with CityCenter

Glacia at Crystals

by Leslie Cotterman



While other touted Strip properties couldn’t make it to the finish line (think Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Echelon), CityCenter rolled out its red carpet as promised in late 2009 (The Harmon and Veer Towers excepted).




Well-rehearsed staff populates every corner — don’t even try to maneuver this sprawling urban campus without letting them direct you to the closest tram station or one of the many restaurants.




That tram, by the way, is quite efficient, and shuttles passengers like clockwork between sister MGM MIRAGE properties Bellagio and Monte Carlo Resort & Casino, with a stop at CityCenter’s Crystals in between. So if the restaurant Michael Mina Bellagio is booked, you can zip right over to the chef’s American Fish at ARIA Resort & Casino.

   Continue reading “The Strip Grows and Glows Even More with CityCenter” »



  • pinitbutton Flying High on the FreeFest Express
freefest 300x184 Flying High on the FreeFest Express

Virgin Mobile FreeFest Express

by Becky Sauer


As if giving away 35,000 tickets to a concert headlined by Blink 182, Weezer and Franz Ferdinand weren’t enough, Virgin Mobile also went above and beyond to provide an extra-special Virgin Mobile FreeFest experience for a few dozen music fans on the West Coast.

Continue reading “Flying High on the FreeFest Express” »

  • pinitbutton Budapest the “Paris of the East,” Really?
fourseasonshotelbudapestfacade 300x178 Budapest the “Paris of the East,” Really?

The Art Nouveau façade of the Gresham Palace in Budapest

By André Gayot


Mais oui! Even a hardcore Parisian would admit it. Beautiful grand boulevards, large avenues, handsome mansions, green parks, impressive landmarks, museums, opera house, lively streets and art life, all of these match the French model to recreate another Paris on the Danube closer to the original one than the Las Vegas cardboard elliptic version.


What about food, then? I am not so sure about eats, for I am not a big fan of goulash. You know that robust stew of beef, onions and potatoes more fit to sustain one’s efforts fighting the rigors of winter than the appetite of a modern city dandy. But, there are quite a few places that offer a more elaborate food with or without Paprika, the Hungarian national spice.

  Continue reading “Budapest the “Paris of the East,” Really?” »



  • pinitbutton The Day in the Cloud Challenge
day in the cloud sign 300x225 The Day in the Cloud Challenge

About to board

By Alain Gayot


Take any flight on Virgin America and compute in the cloud with your notebook or mobile phone. Today was D-day for the young airline to offer a WiFi environment for any passenger on every flight in the U.S., the first airline to stake that claim. Sir Richard Branson appeared via an animated video to introduce the program via Gogo technology, along with the flight’s friendly crew. What was special about our 6:00 am flight VA 921 from Los Angeles to San Francisco is that it competed with flight 920 from San Francisco to Los Angeles in The Day in the Cloud Challenge – an online puzzle played in the air and on the ground. Our winning plane earned each participating passenger a nifty and slim HP netbook. The game continued for 24 hours as well, and enabled all top five scorers of each flight to earn A Year in the Cloud package comprised of free flights, free in-flight WiFi  from Virgin America, a netbook computer from Hewlett-Packard  and one terabyte of online storage from Google. Happy gamers went to work early and connected to Google apps in the clouds to secure information to solve the puzzle.


Continue reading “The Day in the Cloud Challenge” »

V Australia: A New Airline

on February 06th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton V Australia: A New Airline
australia V Australia: A New Airline

The new Boeing 777-300ER from V Australia at LAX

This afternoon on a much needed rainy day in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa welcomed Sir Richard Branson and one of his brand new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for his new airline V Australia. The aircraft was on a special livery stop-over at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Tomorrow, the crew takes the aircraft to Sydney where the sister airline to Virgin Atlantic will offer non-stop service between Los Angeles and Sydney and Brisbane beginning February 27, 2009. Continue reading “V Australia: A New Airline” »

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