Recently, over a glass of red wine in the Four Seasons Restaurant at the Love Heals Gala, stylist Mary Alice Stephenson told us that her plan is to bounce around the country for her spring getaway.
“I’m heading to Tampa, which is such a glamorous, exciting place,” she joked. The fashion maven is scheduled to join Donna Karan for a taping for the Home Shopping Network. “Then I’m heading out during Easter to go to Beaver Creek to go skiing with my boyfriend and then out to L.A. to shoot something.”
Ms. Stephenson fancies a stay at the rustically opulent Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (ritzcarlton.com). Guests this season should be aware, however, of the resort’s $15 million renovation, which will mean a few venue closings. We couldn’t get much more in before Lucy Sykes, fashion director at Rent the Runway, butted in.
“I’m going to Jaipur, India, and Dubai!” she announced.
“Where do you stay in Jaipur?” NYO asked her.
“At the Rambagh Palace whole thing,” she raved. “For some reason, my husband [Euan Rellie] was like, ‘We’re going to India and Dubai, and we’re taking the kids.’ So they’re starting their medications tonight and that’s that!”
We recommend she and her kin check into one of the Taj Hotels-owned property’s splendiferous suites with views of the Mughal Terrace and the Maharaja’s Garden. She better have already booked: a mid-March search showed blocks of the resort already sold out (tajhotels.com).
In fact, we too had been attempting a visit to India. Susan Shin had recently invited us to join His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur in the Blue City for his new philanthropic initiatives, the “One World Retreat” and the Indian Head Injury Foundation. We sadly couldn’t attend.
The Sykes/Rellie clan aren’t the only ones heading to the United Arab Emirates—designer Charlotte Ronson is planning a visit there as well.
“I’m thinking of possibly going to Dubai for fun,” she told us at the after-party for the premiere of Oz the Great and Powerful. She said she had traveled there once before, this past November. For spring travelers in search of the high life, why not enter the desert playground, albeit one perhaps devoid of funky character and open debauchery. NYO suggests flying Emirates. If you can swing it, why not cough up the $20,436.70 for a round-trip, first-class private suite, boasting amenities such as five-star dining, an in-cabin shower and a lounge (emirates.com). Then it’s straight to the tallest and most moderno accommodation, the Armani Hotel Dubai in the Burj Khalifa tower (dubai.armanihotels.com). Those looking for a better rate should seek out the racetrack-adjacent Meydan Hotel and its grand Shiba Bar (meydanhotels.com).
The tremendously chic financière Alexandra Lebenthal, who also attended the Love Heals Gala, explained that she had in fact settled on the fluffy slopes of Lake Tahoe for her vacation. “I’m going for four days to ski. I’m staying at a friend’s condo.”
Most Sierra Nevada skiers and mountaineers fly into San Francisco International Airport and drive, but another option is Reno-Tahoe Airport, which is served by Alaska, Delta, American, United and US Air, among others (renoairport.com).
At the ever-popular Heavenly Mountain Resort, you may find suitable accommodations at the Marriott Grand Residence Club, located in the prime Gondola Base Area, or if Squaw’s reported 25 feet of snow this season is a draw, check out the condo-style lodging at The Village (skilaketahoe.com).
“I’ve never been there,” Ms. Lebenthal continued. “I’m flying to San Francisco and driving from there and then going back to do some business.”
Mixing work with pleasure is simply the way to go in this chaotic and stressful day and age.
Saks Fifth Avenue contributor and “hungry editor” blogger Benjamin Setiawan rented a house with friends in Tahoe and flew United Airlines into San Francisco.
“We skied Squaw,” he told us. “The snow was good this year; there were definitely certain trails that were better than others.” As for his favorite culinary joint? Wildflour Baking Company. “Fresh cookies right out of the oven—so good!”
Jeff Goldstein, owner of the Blue & Cream boutiques, is also a skiing fan.
“We spend our whole summer in the paradise of the Hamptons, working. So in the ‘off-season,’ we need our holidays. We go skiing in Snowmass [aspensnowmass.com], Aspen’s snowboarding-friendly sister mountain.” Mr. Goldstein recommended a stay at the Viceroy [viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/snowmass], “Because the ski-in, ski-out experience cannot be beat.” When the man’s hungry, he heads to Paradise Bakery, where he gobbles up zucchini-nut muffins. “I think all year about [it],” he said. He also enjoys being greeted by Nobuko Kang for sushi dinners at Matsuhisa in Aspen [matsuhisaaspen.com].
“After sake bombs and way too much sushi, stumble over to Caribou Club [caribouclub.com] and fall into a couch. It’s like a place lost in time where you always see the same old friends,” he enthused.
Neighbors to the North
At Padma Lakshmi’s Blossom Ball to support The Endometriosis Foundation of America, Susan Sarandon, who spoke at the event, told us that she had just returned from Atlanta, where she was working on location. “Now I’m going to Toronto—I’m working,” she confessed. Her favorite place to unwind and have some fun? “I have a club! SPiN!” (toronto.spingalactic.com.)
That’s right, the Ping-Pong social club has expanded internationally, and the 12,000-square-foot space located at 461 King Street West in downtown Toronto is no laughing matter. There are enough booze and leisure games to entertain even the fussiest vacationer.
If you’re in town, go see Patti Smith’s not-to-be missed “Camera Solo” show at the Art Gallery of Ontario (ago.net), which will remain open until May 19. Our Toronto connoisseur recommended dinner and a bottle of Barolo at Mark McEwan’s Bymark (bymark.mcewangroup.ca) and a pampering stay at the ultra-hip Drake Hotel in West Queen West (thedrakehotel.ca).
All Work and a Lot of Play
Actor S. Epatha Merkerson, also at the Blossom Ball, divulged even bigger upcoming plans: “I’m going to Luxembourg, but I’m going to work. I’m gonna do a film. I’ve never been there,” she told NYO. “I’m looking forward to just getting out of the country and in a new environment.”
We should have given her a few pointers, aside from enjoying the beautiful abbeys and winding Greco-Roman streets. Par example: take a 1 p.m. lunch at Ristorante Roma (roma.lu)—be sure to make a reservation. And, if the film’s budget permits, Ms. Merkerson should rest her weary head at the wondrous contemporary temple, Albert Premier Hotel (hotelalbertpremier.lu). She might want to even venture to the Luxembourg City History Museum, which features 17th- to 19th-century restored residences on Rue du Saint-Esprit and explores the thousand-odd years of Le Grand Duchy de Luxembourg (mhvl.lu).
Restaurateur and nightlife stud Ronnie Madra doesn’t have much time for holidays. “I never have a break!” he told us at his hot spot The Darby, which co-hosted the after-party for the screening of Olympus Has Fallen with the Cinema Society.
“If I take time off, I do it in the spring. I go to Miami or upstate New York.”
“Where do you stay?” NYO asked.
“I have a friend with a house out there; I think the hotels are not so great in Miami.”
Well now Mr. Madra, let’s be fair! The Mondrian, The Raleigh, Soho House, the W South Beach, the SLS and the newfangled James Royal Palm aren’t exactly dumps.
Mr. Madra however, did admit that he loves to hit the nightlife.
“I have my own party at the house, and then I like to go to Story Night Club. It’s a big club [storymiami.com, 136 Collins Avenue]. If I want chill time, I go to Casa Tua [casatualifestyle.com/miami/]. It’s very sexy,” he said with a come-hither smile.
Huddling with a group of pals toward the entrance of the club was the star of the film, Gerard Butler. We asked him how he planned to relax.
“I’ve already been in a lot of countries promoting this film,” he said. “I’ve been in eight weeks in Italy, France, Switzerland, Thailand, Colombia, Panama, Mexico. Some to just get away.”
We could only wonder if he had stayed at the mystical Tcherassi Hotel + Spa (tcherassihotels.com) in Cartagena. It’s out-of-this-world design-porn.
“The best days I spent were skiing in Mont Blanc and on a motorbike going through the mountains of Thailand,” he said.
NYO knows that some of the world’s best skiing can be found at Chamonix (chamonix.com), but we’re a bit less informed about rural expeditions in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Speaking of fun in the sun, we asked Josh Taekman, co-founder of Eboost, a health-energy drink: should we follow everyone’s lead and go to Tulum? Or is the roaring art scene in Mexico City where it’s at? “Cabo San Lucas,” was his answer. I suppose a stay at the clandestine Capella Pedregal does a body good (capellahotels.com). Then again, we’ll be sure to pack plenty of his Eboost to battle through our inevitable springtime vacation hangovers.