In this issue: Geneva, Majorca, Miami, New York, Paso Robles, and Los Angeles…
New York’s Latin Hot Spot
Rayuela. The young and sexy frequent this vibrant Lower East Side restaurant to sample Latin cuisine courtesy of Maximo Tejada, the chef who built his reputation cooking at New York City’s popular Pipa and Lucy Latin Kitchen. This bi-level eatery, with a dining area and ceviche bar, features an olive tree growing in the center of the restaurant. The menu features small plates with nearly three dozen ceviches and tapas, such as the must-have lobster with Uruguayan caviar. If you’d like a pre-dinner drink, arrive early to grab a stool at the first floor bar and enjoy a standout cocktail, such as the pisco made with fresh quince and aloe vera juice. 165 Allen St. (between Rivington and Stanton). Lower East Side. 212/253-8840. www.rayuelanyc.com. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price $26.
In Miami, Dine Like a Celebrity
DeVito South Beach. Actor Danny DeVito’s Ocean Drive eatery is attracting a stylish crowd due to its chic South Beach scene and acclaimed Italian cuisine. The high-backed white leather chairs, red Murano glass chandeliers, marble tabletops, and subdued lighting provide a fashionable background for a decadent meal. The menu features a raw bar and specialty items such as lobster risotto, Petrossian caviar, and the pricey Kobe Flight: a trio of Japanese rib-eye, Australian Wagyu steak, and American Wagyu boneless rib-eye (it’s enough for 2-3 guests). For a less expensive and quieter meal, go for lunch. 150 Ocean Dr., South Beach. 305/531-0911. Reservations Essential. AE, D, MC, V. No lunch weekends. Entrées range from $30–$35.
Los Angeles Gets Crafty
Craft Los Angeles. One of New York’s most prominent chefs, Tom Colicchio (star judge of TV’s Top Chef), spreads his burgeoning empire of eateries with this sleek Southern California outpost. Thanks to Century City’s growing legions of Hollywood agents and lawyers, Craft has emerged as a major industry hangout, where deals are made over shared dishes created from superb seasonal, artisanal ingredients. Diners mix and match their meals from Colicchio’s signature a la carte menu, featuring items like Maine diver scallops, Santa Barbara spot prawns, fresh morel mushrooms, and perfectly aged beef. 10100 Constellation Blvd., Century City. 310/279-4180. Reservations essential. AE, D, DC, MC, V. No lunch weekends. Entrées range from $26–$50.
Italian Luxury in California’s Wine Country
La Bellasera Hotel and Suites. The luxurious La Bellasera Hotel and Suites brings a touch of elegance to Paso Robles, California’s Central Coast wine-growing region. The Italian-themed hotel, one of two new high-end lodgings in the area, comes complete with its own cypress trees and Italian-style bath products. Room are cozy with modern touches such as plasma TVs, docking stations for iPods and MP3 Players, and high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi. Locals and visitors alike will appreciate the on-site Enoteca Restaurant & Bar for eclectic cuisine. Pros: attentive service; lovely pool. Cons: no view of the vineyards; not within walking distance to downtown. 206 Alexa Ct., Paso Robles, CA 93446. 805/238-2834 (ph.). 805/238-2826 (fax). www.labellasera.com. 60 rooms. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), refrigerator, DVD (some), Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 1 restaurant, room service, 1 bar, pool, gym, spa, laundry facilities, laundry service, concierge, public Wi-Fi. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at $289.
Sweet Suites in Majorca
La Residencia. A longtime favorite for its dramatic setting and perfectly understated service, Orient-Express’ La Residencia, in artsy Deià, Majorca, launched eight new Tramuntana Suites in 2007. The suites boast four poster beds, super-size tubs and showers, fireplaces, and terraces planted with Balearic flora; some have private plunge pools. While the rooms in the main buildings exude charm, the suites offer privacy for romance and space for those few weeks a year when children are allowed. Pros: feels like a remote mountain hideaway, but is within walking distance to the village and Mediterranean coast; excellent on-site dining and spa; unique programs and amenities; luxurious without being stuffy. Con: only accessible via rental car or taxi from Palma airport; children under age 10 are permitted only during the weeks of July 1-August 15, October 20-31, Christmas and New Years. La Residencia, Son Canals s/n, Deia, Majorca, Spain, 07179. 97/163-9011 (ph.) 97/163-9370 (fax). www.hotellaresidencia.com. 67 rooms. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), refrigerator, DVD, VCR (on request), Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 3 restaurants, room service, bar; tennis courts, pools, gym, spa, bicycles, children’s programs (ages 2-10), laundry service, concierge, public Internet, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle (fee), parking (no fee). D, DC, MC, V. Suites start at 1,050 Euro (approximately $1,502 USD).
Grand Lodging in Geneva
Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva. With its 2007 overhaul, the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva shrugged off its stiff business overcoat to boast a sexy, new glass facade. The modern lobby feels cozy and inviting with comfortable seating located throughout. The hues found in the adjacent Lake Geneva can be seen in the tasteful décor and soothing palette of soft taupes, tans, and blues. The views of the lake and the Alps are impressive from FLOORTWO, a restaurant, lounge and bar. The service is relaxed and patrons are encouraged to have a drink and linger. Pros: coveted view of Lake Geneva and Mont-Blanc; short walk to Geneva’s Old Town and main train station. Cons: renovations to standard rooms not complete; breakfast not included.19, Quai du Mont-Blanc, CH-1201, Geneva, Switzerland. 22/908-9081(ph.). 22/908-9090 (fax). www.kempinski-geneva.com. 379 rooms, 44 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), refrigerator, DVD (some), VCR (some), hi-speed Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 3 restaurants (as of 2008), room service, 1 bar, 1 nightclub, pool, gym, spa, laundry service, concierge, public Internet (fee), public Wi-Fi (fee), parking (fee), some pets allowed (deposit), no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at CHF 680 (approximately $606 USD).
Contributors: Puja Chugani, Roger J. Grody, Jennifer Luce Hinesman, Sandra Ramani, Shivani Vora, Liza Zimmerman