3 Perfect Days In Chicago

Chicago

To quote the late, great Frank Sinatra, “This is my kind of town, Chicago is!”   I couldn’t agree more.  And if you’re going to tackle this Mid-Western gem, you might want to begin this way:

Day 1:

Start by checking in at the Public Hotel, in Chicago’s affluent Gold Coast neighborhood.  The property is newly renovated and rich with history. It used to be The Ambassador East, a place where Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan and Judy Garland used to socialize.  It was recently acquired by famed hotelier and former Studio 54 guru Ian Schrager, who took this place well into the millennium with sophistication, grace and that hip vibe you need to bring in all the cool folk.  Modern and classy, it is the IT hotel in Chicago. At night, the hotel’s restaurant/bar, The Pump Room, is packed and the music is kicking.

The Pump Room At Public Hotel, Chicago

Public Hotel: Lobby

Put on your walking shoes. You’re going to need them.  Exit the hotel and walk toward Chicago’s most exclusive street, Michigan Avenue.  Make sure you’ve got your wallet handy. Today, isn’t about “window” shopping. It’s about shopping! Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and the area around it known as the “Magnificent Mile” is a shopper’s paradise.  You’ll be surrounded by skyscrapers as you make your way south. Hold on a second. You aren’t going to do your spending just yet. First, you want to head to Millennium Park.  This is a great place to stroll around on a sunny day.  You’re here to look for a big, shiny, grey object that looks like a giant piece of mercury.  It’s called Cloud Gate, a modern art piece.  Try and spot yourself in the shape.  Fun, interesting, and just plain cool. It is one of Chicago’s treasures and most talked about things.

Cloud Gate

Cross the street and head back up Michigan Avenue, stopping along the way at your favorite shops.  Get out your [Read more...]

Noma…Once Again Named World’s Best Restaurant

The annual list of the World’s Best Restaurants is out.  S. Pelligrino (which clearly isn’t just sparkling water company) has complied its 50 Best Restaurants list.  It is the gold standard when it comes to dining.  And once again NOMA in Denmark and it’s owner Rene Redzeip have taken the top spot. This is the 3rd year in a row Noma with its Neo-Nordic cuisine has proven it stands out amongst the rest. So in recognition of this latest achievement, I’d like to replay a video from my trip to Noma.

Last Chance To Transfer American Express Points To Continental

The day has arrived.  September 30th marks your last opportunity to transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to your Continental Airlines One Pass account. I just transferred some points, and several of my friends did as well. There was something I wanted to point out: Continental points don’t expire. But, there was a disclosure when I did my transfer that said that once the merger is complete between Continental and United Airlines, the miles will become United miles that WILL expire if the account is inactive for 18 months. (You can buy some points or redeem an award to keep the account active, and it will extend the life of the account for another 18 months.  Make sure you [Read more...]

A Moment Of Your Time, Please

I’m always curious how people stumble onto my site.  If I could trouble you for a moment. Would you please hit the “leave a comment” button and tell me how you found my site, where you are writing from and if there’s anything else you’d like to see me blog about, I would GREATLY appreciate it.

Lufthansa 4 Day Strike, But There IS Good News

I am a HUGE fan of Lufthansa, Germany’s main airline.  I have flown it many times in the past.  Sadly, Lufthansa crew are going on a 4 day strike, sure to disrupt major routes.  But while I was reading about the strike, I found a promotion worth mentioning: Lufthansa is giving away 1,000,000 frequent flyer miles to the person who names its new A380 plane.  By the way, that’s enough miles to fly around the world in first class twice!  To find out more, click here.

3 Days In and Around Sydney, Australia

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Lovely Lake Garda, Italy

Jet-setter Jennifer Niejadlik shares this story of a recent trip to lovely Lake Garda, Italy.

A recent road trip led us to Lake Garda, Italy. We stayed three days in the country side 30 minutes outside Verona beside Lake Garda and the Alps in Palazzo Arzaga Hotel Spa and golf resort. My fiancé took advantage of the PGA quality golf course. The first 18 holes, Arzaga I, were designed by Jack Nicklaus II. While he was out on the green, I relaxed at the spa with an aroma oil massage and an exfoliant glycolic bio-treatment facial. The service of this 5 star hotel was nothing but top quality. The hotel itself was built in the 15th century and once was a monastery. The stone detail of this historical building was museum quality. Each morning we awoke to the chirping of small birds on our windowsill and enjoyed a traditional Italian buffet breakfast of thinly sliced meats, cheese, and fruit, in the cobblestone center courtyard.

Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake and was created by glaciations. Garda is an ideal spot for windsurfing and sailing. It hosts famous regattas such as the Centomiglia. 

One evening we drove to the small inlet harbor island town of Sirmione. There we took in the local sights of the grand castle, Rocca Scaligera. It was built by Mastino I della Scala in the 13th century. Once through the tower and battlements of the castle we walked around the center town square. The square was lined with tiny boutique shops and restaurants with terraces where we enjoyed a gastronomic meal of duck risotto, local wine and farm fresh cheeses for desert.

Another evening we sat right on the edge of Lake Garda at restaurant Arpege in Desenzano. There we enjoyed a mix of seafood such as a salted Branzino, and fried smelt white fish and shrimps. Again a choice of local wine was like discovering new taste buds. This restaurant was decorated in a way to ignite romance. Outside there was a beautiful fountain and a gazebo. Inside there was another fountain flowing right down one of the marble walls like a waterfall. The restaurant was newly open and treated its customers to a specially priced menu where none of the fine cooked cuisine was priced more than 14 euro. A walkway beyond the garden terrace led right to Lake Garda itself. This restaurant would be an ideal place to host a wedding reception.

In the heart of the Desenzano center is Piazza Malvezzi. It is home to an antique market known for its silverware and prints.

On the road again we spent the majority of the rest of our two week vacation in the South of France with day trips to neighboring towns outside Cannes. One day we drove to Monaco and took in what I like to call the ultimate car show with the entire lot of Ferrari’s, Porches, and Rolls Royce’s outside the Monte Carlo. Ventimiglia is just over the border and we couldn’t resist fresh baked Italian pastries, a canola and mid afternoon cappuccino. This small Italian town is known for its open market on Fridays and Saturdays.

If you are heading to Italy for a summer vacation, Lake Garda and its surrounding towns are a must see. 

Lufthansa First Class: Where They Drive You To The Plane

I was fortunate enough to score a couple of first class award seats recently to Germany on Lufthansa (the German national airline.)  The food was great starting with the caviar sampler.  The seats went all the way back into a bed.  And the service was top-notch.  But, without a doubt, my favorite part of the experience was the shuttle service from the First Class Lounge to the plane.  You are driven on the tarmac, by the planes, to the flight after everyone has boarded.  It makes it all so simple.  From the time we left the lounge to the time we boarded it was around 5-8 minutes.  I cut it down to around 20 seconds with this video clip.

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The best job in the world


I’M SURE BY NOW YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT “THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD.”  THE TOURISM PEOPLE IN QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA CAME UP WITH AN OUT-OF-THE-BOX AND BRILLIANT WAY TO PROMOTE THE AREA– A JOB LIKE NO OTHER.  IT INCLUDES SIX-MONTHS ON AN ISLAND, EXPLORING QUEENSLAND, LIVING IN A PHAT PAD, WRITING BLOGS, TAKING PICTURES AND SHOOTING VIDEOS.  OH DID I FORGET TO MENTION YOU GET PAID FOR IT??  $100,000.  NOT BAD.  THE JOB OF A LIFETIME. NATURALLY, I THINK I’M PERFECT FOR IT. THREE REASONS: 1) I LOVE SEEING NEW PLACES 2) I ALREADY HAVE A BLOG AND PROMOTE TRAVEL AND 3) I’M A GREAT GUY. BUT THE COMPETITION FOR THIS JOB IS TOUGH.  34-THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE APPLIED ALREADY WITH A ONE-MINUTE VIDEO EXPLAINING WHO THEY ARE AND WHY THEY ARE PERFECT FOR THE POSITION.   I’LL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT TURNS OUT (HOPEFULLY FROM AN ISLAND IN AUSTRALIA.)

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