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It's peak harvest season for winemakers, where they're getting grapes prepared for their next vintage. Depending on the climate and part of the country, the process can begin in August, but it usually lasts right to until the end of October.
This is when wine lovers are excited to witness the magic and sheepishly live out their "I Love Lucy" fantasies and stomp some grapes. While the practice isn't really done anymore for hygiene reasons, there are a few wineries that will do it as part of a festival or kitsch.
Still, the autumn splendor, fall foliage, and rows of vines are reason enough for us to have a crush on these hotels in some of the country's top winelands.
1. The month-old Salamander Resort & Spa, just 40 minutes from Washington D.C., is lucky enough to be surrounded by almost 50 wineries. On Saturday October 12th, chef Todd Gray can pack guests a gourmet picnic basket as they head to the Fall Crush festival at the Winery at Bull Run. There, one can literally help stomp out poverty by taking part in grape stomping activities. There's also corn holes and live bands for added entertainment, all while trying local Viogniers and Meritages. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support Meant 2 Live Foundation and FACETS, which helps parents, their children, and individuals suffering the effects of poverty in Fairfax County and also Orphans of Zambia. Rates at the resort begin at $425.
Sheila C. Johnson in her Southern belle best on The Salamander Resort's Grand Lawn
BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson has had a heck of a busy August. Not only has she opened "The Butler", a star-studded movie featuring Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Vanessa Redgrave, and Mariah Carey, but next week on August 29th, she'll unveil her decade-long project--the Salamander Resort & Spa
It took ten years for the high powered executive to put together all the pieces necessary to build this 168-room luxury resort in Middleburg, Virginia. If you didn't know, Middleburg is a one-stoplight village just 35 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport. It also gained fame when President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy started spending weekends there--Jackie riding horses on the Salamander property while JFK held press conferences in the village. Middleburg's also smack dab in the middle of northern Virginia's wine country.
So, one can see why Johnson would choose this location to build her dream hotel. The equestrian themed resort sits on 340 acres of land cultivated for horse and wine enthusiasts. Not only is there a 22-stall stable, riding ring, and trails on property, guests have the opportunity to board their own horses and take advantage of the full-service center, programming and clinics.
Washington D.C.-designer Thomas Pheasant, who has worked on Blair House (the president's guest house), the Hay-Adams Hotel and frequently appears in Architectural Digest, is the talent behind the Salamander's "horse-country" decor. The Living Room has two grand fireplaces and distressed oak-planked flooring and opens up onto a large stone terrace, which then leads to the dramatic Grand Lawn.
Nothing says the mountains of Virginia like some floral decor!
Yup, 2012 is a leap year, which means not only do we gain a whole day in February, but also that we'll be seeing hotel rates 'leap' down in celebration of the quadrennial occasion. Like at the 3,000-acre Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, where guests are being offered a buy-one-get-one type deal for all of 2012.
With a booking period that lasts only from tomorrow until Friday January 6, anyone who books a room at the hotel will receive a second night starting at just $29. Gee, kinda makes us wish it was March 1 that's considered the leap day, and not February 29, so we could bring that number down to a nice clean $1. But we don't make up the calendars!
POTUS Hotels / White House / DC Hotels / Virginia Hotels / Ritz Carlton Hotels / Hotel Jobs / → All Tags
Almost three years ago, America welcomed its first black president. This week, history was made again when the White House hired its first-ever female Chief Usher, Angella Reid.
OK, fine, not quite as ground-breaking as Obama's inauguration. But still! One small step...yada yada. Reid will leave her post as general manager of the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City to take over the coveted position, which entails housekeeping duties like property inventory, state dinners, and Inauguration Day house moves. That last one's gotta be a doozy—moving the president isn't exactly your standard U-Haul by-the-hour operation!
Two decades of work for the Ritz Carlton brand (at properties in Miami, New York, D.C., and Rocky Hill, CT) should have prepared Reid for the role, which former Chief Usher Gary Walters told C-Span is "not always easy".
Whichever way things swing in 2012, one thing's for sure: a new Renaissance is headed D.C. way. Well, a Renaissance Hotel, at any rate. The new hotel, scheduled to open next March or April is actually in Arlington, VA, but conveniently close to Reagan National Airport and just over the Potomac from D.C.
The Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel will be LEED-certified and, according to its website, have "the soul of a boutique hotel with the location and amenities suited for business in and around the nation's capital."
If hearing that Tiger Woods' divorce settlement could cost him $750 million made you consider trying to get your own money career in golf, Keswick Hall can get you started with its Keswick Club's Golf School for the Novice.
Okay, the new golf school doesn't promise you'll be swinging clubs like Tiger, but you'll learn the basics, like choosing the right ball, hitting it out of the bunker and even talking like a golfer—apparently only amateurs say, "I'm going golfing"; proper par parlance is "I am going to play golf."
Wine-pairing dinners at a hotel restaurant? Wine tastings in the lobby? These are all things we can get behind but we'll raise our glasses even higher to the newest hotel trend: hotel vineyards.
The latest hotel to get planting is Virginia's Orient-Express jewel, Keswick Hall, where they expect the first harvest in the fall of 2011 or 2012, depending on the quality of the vines.
Easter Hotels / Hotel Brunch / Virginia Hotels / Boston Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / San Diego Hotels / Chicago Hotels / → All Tags
The Taj Boston will serve a view with Easter brunch.
Here's what's fun about Easter: bunnies, holiday candy and good eats. What's not so fun about the holiday is cooking said good eats and, even worse, doing the dishes. This year, get out of the kitchen and let someone else do the Easter cooking.
We rounded up five places you can get a tasty hotel brunch, so that you can focus on chillaxing with family and friends rather than cooking and cleaning.
Last week we shared the good news that West Virginia’s iconic Greenbrier Resort seems to be back on its feet — and freshly pedicured feet at that. But in addition to adding a new resto and coming-soon casino, C2 Limited Design Associates is injecting the resort with some mod accents.
Indeed, the ol’ Greenbrier is looking sexy — and not even in that Sean Connery distinguished sort of way. Check out the photos below.
Right on trend, the Greenbrier’s new lobby is awash in pink, gray, and black.Yes, the old pink and white candy-striped awnings remain but those are a Greenbrier tradition.
The WiFi blues strike again. Or more correctly, the lack-of-Wifi blues are what hit self-confessed geek Wayan Vota who threw his hands in the air at the internet access hell of the Marriott Centerville near Washington DC.
This hotel, admittedly, only claims to have guest rooms with wired internet access; WiFi is reserved for public areas. But wired could be okay, if it wasn't for one problem:
This 4 Star hotel only offers 6 feet of Ethernet cable in its rooms. No Wifi, just a too short cable that I was the third person in line to complain about. Marriott, do not be so cheap. If you cannot manage Wifi, at least give us 10 foot cords so we can hack from bed.
Hear, hear. We're guessing slightly longer cables are not going to break the bank as much as all those complaining people not bothering to stay there again.
[Photo: Wayan Vota]
According to local news in Charlottesville, Virginia, the colors are headed down to the Bible Belt -- one place to take in the natural autumnal palette is Keswick Hall, just a short drive from Jefferson's Monticello (as well as his classically designed University of Virginia).
Complete with baby butlers, an "Arnold Palmer" signature 18-hole golf course, a smokin' wine cellar and some delicious bars, spa, tennis, and three swimming pools, you should be able to find something to do in between all that intense leaf-peeping.
The hotel is offering a healthy handful of packages, so you might get some goodies tacked onto the usual room rates that start around $365.