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Hotel Restaurants / Jose Andres / Celebrity Chefs / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / → All Tags
Last week we told you about the first star-studded wedding at the new Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, but today we’re focusing on the hotel’s own celebrity. That would be Spanish chef extraordinaire and ThinkFoodGroup owner José Andrés who opened the restaurant Mi Casa at the luxury resort.
Normally you’ll find José’s restaurants on the U.S. mainland at the SLS hotels in Miami and Beverly Hills, as well as other restaurants in Washington D.C., Las Vegas and other cities. However, having eaten at a few of those places, we found familiar items from those far-away restaurants right on hand at Mi Casa, so we’d like to think that they are the chef's favorites, or perhaps they’re a starter menu and he’ll be creating items to put the Ritz-Carlton stamp on Mi Casa.
Our photo gallery highlights the fun design and food surprises we found at the restaurant.
Celebrity Scoop / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Hotel Weddings / Puerto Rico Hotels / Wedding Hotels / Khloe Kardashian / Eva Longoria / → All Tags
The Ritz-Carlton, Dorado Beach Reserve in Puerto Rico has only been open since December, but a boatload of guests have already booked and stayed, even with their most-expensive-resort-on-the-island rep. However, even this high-class hotel's chops were tested when they had their first wedding of the season—a big ‘un with a $5 million budget to spend.
Plus, they only had one month to pull it off.
Who was this anxious-to-wed couple? Actor/musician Duane McLaughlin and his fiancé, Lumiere De Vie skin care product founder, Amber Ridinger. Originally the pair considered the St. Regis (at the time, the most swank space in PR), but after hearing about the RC Dorado and taking just one look, Amber changed her mind. Soon after, wedding invitations were sent out to the couples’ high profile pals (which included Khloe Kardashian and Scottie Pippen) for their April nuptials.
Now that the Ritz Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach is opening on December 12th, travelers are booking as fast as we type this--and why not? The resort is impressive (and expensive).
We've talked at length about the Dorado's high points, from the Jose Andres restaurant to the five-acre spa with treehouse massage platforms. And didn't you hear? Guests will also receive gold bars at turndown. We lie about the latter, but it's not unlikely.
So, what's the fate of the original Ritz-Carlton, San Juan? It probably will no longer reign as mother hen to Puerto Rico's jetset—but it's still a top property that shouldn't be forgotten.
In fact, here are 5 reasons we encourage you to still stay there, especially if the Dorado's four-figure price tag is tripping you out.
As Puerto Rico says goodbye to native son Hector "Macho" Camacho, in what can only be described as a heinous crime, let's not forget that the island, though plagued with problems, has a sunnier side.
This view, taken from the El Conquistador Resort near Fajardo, is a shining example of the country's beauty.
The 18-hole, par 72 golf course has just one of the many gorgeous views from the hotel which is located atop of a steep hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Hotel Openings / San Juan Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Historic Hotels / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
With all the emphasis on “new!new! new!” we like it when an old lady gets her groove back. That’s kinda what happened today. After being shut down for 20 years, Puerto Rico’s historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel flung open her doors to San Juan’s awaiting public. We are crazy jelly of the party that's happening tonight, but they're not there to see the rooms, which aren't ready yet. More on that in a bit.
A $270 million reno was done on the grand dame hotel built in 1919 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, kin to one of America's wealthiest families. The property was designed by the architectural firm responsible for The New York Biltmore and Grand Central Station. It closed in 1997 under the name Condado Beach Hotel after a few changes of hands, names, and in a state of disarray. Now it's being restored to its former grandeur that once attracted the likes of Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, and FDR.
We mentioned in June that the Ritz-Carlton’s first Reserve property in the Americas, the Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico would open in December. We weren’t sure if that would happen, but the company has just announced they’re now accepting reservations for its 12-12-12 debut. Given that it’s turned a mite chilly outside, we think this news is just in time for those looking to make winter getaway plans.
High season rates at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado start at $1,600 per night (down from the $1900 quoted in June), which is pretty hefty for Puerto Rico (although you do a beachfront room, a private plunge pool, and butler service). Plus, you’re paying for whatever it cost to get José Andrés to put his restaurant there.
Hopefully we’ll get to see what this resort looks like in person, but if the photos are any indication, this is going to be one caliente spot.
Gay Hotels / Paris Hilton / W Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Millennium Hotels / Boston Hotels / QT Hotels / Australia Hotels / Hotel Deals / Celebrity Scoop / → All Tags
As the whole internet knows by now, Paris Hilton has been categorically demoted from vapid-but-fun reality TV star to villain, after a taxi driver recorded a conversation in which she basically wrote off the entire gay male population. In the aftermath of the controversy, we thought it would be appropriate to call out a few gay-friendly hotels that Paris would do well to avoid for the time being...
Millennium Bostonian Hotel is one of 14 IGLTA-sponsor Millennium hotels around the US (other cities include LA, Chicago, Boston and the tea-loving Millennium UN Plaza in New York)—each of which offers a 15% discount for guests who use the promo code PRIDE when booking reservations. The Boston property (pictured) overlooks Faneuil Hall, and sits within walking distance of the North End and Boston Harbor. Rates from $330/night, with the discount.
Hotel News / Hotel Restaurants / Celebrity Chefs / W Hotels / Alain Ducasse / Vieques Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / → All Tags
After weeks of asking various members of the W Vieques team about Alain Ducasse’s departure from the hotel’s kitchen a few months ago, and receiving limp responses, the company has finally announced a new chef and name change.
Fernando Coppola is the new Executive Chef of Sorcé, the restaurant that’s thankfully swapped out the old (and irritating) name of miX on the Beach. Coppola was the sous chef there and has been promoted, though the company says Coppola is not “technically replacing Ducasse since Duccasse’s role was not to be on-site and in the kitchen on a daily basis.” Fair enough. But with the initial build up of Ducasse coming to the W Vieques in the first place back in 2010, and now that his presence is…gone…we’re not sure what other word to use for Coppola than replacement.
The W Vieques released this statement:
“When W debuted on Vieques Island, it created a new way to escape, and we would like to thank Chef Alain Ducasse and his culinary team for creating a dynamic, first-rate dining destination that was key to this successful launch,” said Greg White, general manager of W Vieques. “As we evolve to meet the needs of our jet set guests, our food and beverage strategies remain critical to enhancing overall guest experience while also drawing in locals.”
Celebrity Chefs / Hotel News / Hotel Restaurants / Alain Ducasse / W Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / → All Tags
We remember when the W Vieques opened in 2010, we were swept up in the hype. Here was this slick newjack busting in on a sleepy Puerto Rican isle that no one outside the armed forces had heard of. This island was the bomb, literally.
So, we watched with interest, especially when we found out they were bringing in chef extraordinaire Alain Ducasse to helm their restaurant called miX. Soon it seemed like everyone was heading to the W Vieques in droves. It was the “it spot”, indeed.
Fast forward to this past June when we visited in person. On the way to the “retreat” (they don’t use the word “hotel”) we heard some bad news. Ducasse had pulled out of the restaurant just weeks earlier! Yikes. We didn’t want that piece of gossip to taint our experience, but when we ate at miX, we had, well, mixed feelings.
The pumpkin veloute at a hefty $15 a bowl, was a watery disappointment. The description of the gambas (shrimp) mofongo with pork cracklings and sofrito sounded so good, we thought tasting it would make you want to slap your mother. Instead, it only made drink a ton of water it was so salty. But we kept picking at it, because hell, it was mofongo! And like pizza, even bad mofongo can be good mofongo, especially when you’ve had a few mango mojitos at WET bar. Which we did. And those drinks were on point! And the lunchtime ceviche was good too.
Anyhoo, regarding a replacement for Ducasse, reps for the W responded to an email saying they "don't have a statement ready yet, but we should have something soon."
Celebrity Scoop / San Diego Hotels / New York Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Mexico Hotels / → All Tags
Celebrities seem to be having fun in hotels in full force lately, whether they’re working on or wrapping up television shows or movies shot on location, or just shooting the breeze at their favorite spots. We’ve got the lowdown on where the bold-face names have been laying their hats.
We mentioned the other week that Puerto Rico was finally opening the five-star Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Dorado this December, and the images blew our socks off (as did the rates which start at $1,200 a night.)
So, we seriously muttered, "ay dios mio", in earnest when we heard about the new Olive Boutique Hotel, which recently opened in San Juan's cool Condado section, an area known for its serious 5th Avenue-like shopping scene.
One of just two properties in Puerto Rico that's a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member, Olive opened in May 2012 with just 15 rooms. They're divided into four sections--Morocco, Spain, Italy and France and all pay homage to the owners’ Mediterranean travels.
Hotel Openings / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Reserves / Jose Andres / → All Tags
We recently mentioned the upcoming Ritz-Carlton Aruba opening in 2014, and threw in a poke at our doubts regarding the chain’s habits of tempting us with Caribbean resorts, given its years-long teasing with a Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos property. Well lo’! We’ve been struck dumb again with exclusive news from RC HQ that the new Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico will indeed open this December! Que bueno!